26 May 2020

Hate Liturgy? (1)

"From the tyrannye of the bishop of Rome and all his detestable enormities, Good lorde deliver us.".

As the victims of the Tudor regime were being dragged to their ritual disembowling, it must have comforted them mightily to reflect that at least the kyngs maiestie and his counsaile were keeping papal influence well beyond the boundaries of the Staple of Calais.

The words I quote above are the sort of thing I mean by Hate Liturgy.

But I must confess that I do have a softer spot for our own sort of Hate Liturgy. At the Byzantine Liturgy, when the Monogenes is being sung ... I must admit this ... there does surge within me the warmly combative sentiment "T*ke th*t, N*st*r**s!" I'm sure you experience the same feeling. It's only human.

Today, I want to look at a delightful piece of Hate Liturgy which frequently crops up in our beloved Roman Rite.
For thou only art the Holy, thou only art the Lord; thou only, O Jesus Christ, with the Holy Ghost, art the Most High in the glory of God the Father..

Keen eyes will spot that the definite article has been added in the phrase the Most High. It is not in the Latin. Latin does not have articles, either definite or indefinite. But the addition in the translation is correct, because the phrase is being used as a title. And that is why, in modern translations, the same is done to Holy. Since it is being used as a title, it can indeed be usefully rendered as the Holy One. It is important also to remember that 'the Lord' is used, following Septuagint and Vulgate precedent, as the equivalent of YHWH, the ancient and unutterable Name of the God of Israel. It is quite something that we are saying in this paragraph about our Lord Jesus Christ.

So where does the 'hate' come in?

We should never forget the Arians, particularly because so many Christians today (without, poor poppets, being aware of it) are Arian; they do not instinctively believe that, within the undivided and ever-blessed Trinity, our Lord is co-equally God with his Father. Whenever a speaker ... even a homilist ... uses a phrase like "God and Jesus", we should be suspicious. Jesus is God. Just as 'much' as the Father is.

Arians, aka Unitarians, believe that Jesus Christ is no more than the greatest created being. S John Henry Newman explained that, in asserting this, Arians (and modern liberal Protestants and all the rest) are demoting Christ to the slot properly occupied by our Lady. It is not surprising that, meeting the way we Catholics and Orthodox talk about Mary, ignorant modern proddies might accuse us of raising Mary into the place of Christ. They fail to understand that, merely by entertaining this suspicion in their poor simple heretical minds, they reveal themselves not to have a nearly 'high' enough belief ... not within a million million miles ... about Christ: about who/what  he is. They show themselves, all unwittingly, to be Arius-groupies.

If you now look back at that last paragraph from the Gloria in excelsis Deo, you will realise how precisely and effectively it is crafted to 'get at' the Arians. The Man from Nazareth is YHWH! He is 'the Holy One'! There were, indeed, the more  'high church' Arians who were prepared to use the loftiest language they, in good conscience, could manage to describe Christ. But obviously, even they could hardly describe Him as 'the Most High'. Obviously, that title would appear to make Him outrank the Father, who .... obviously ... is the 'mostest High' (Jungmann adduces PL  LXII 387).

So, every time we partake in the final paragraph of this splendid hymn, we are  really saying "S*d  y**, Ar**n sc*m!" As well, of course, as praising the Lord!!

To be continued.


Mick Jagger Gathers No Mosque said...

Dear Father. Maybe proddies are scandalised by the truth that God loved Mary far more than He loved any of His other created persons; or, maybe they do not know that at all. But that is why Mary is who she is because God loves her far more than any other person.

One can be sure, in any event, that many today (most?) are also pelagians because if you ask them - Did God love Peter more than Judas? they's say, no, and they would explain that Peter acted mo'betta than Judas because his will was mo'betta than Judas but, in any event. God loves us all equally is what they think even if they do not say it.

Todd said...

Thank you for repeating Cardinal Newman's brilliant comment about Mary vis-a-vis Arian views of Christ. I always found this be very insightful.