20 February 2024

Part (2) of the Bishop of Lamus.

In the first half of this piece, I demonstrated the shifty treatment which an old prayer received at the hands of the liturgists of 1943. I also wished to suggest to you that, whereas the seventh century original was about the Church of Rome and its protection by its august Apostolic Patrons, in 1943 the spotlight falls on the lonelier, soltary figure of the Bishop of Rome ... whom we rather hope will continually protect the Roman Church.

I can best illustate this by a quotation or two from the sam ancient source. 

In an adjacent Preface, we learn that, however many heretics there are around (errantium multitudo), the true Sons of the Father's Redemption are those who do not make a different noise from from the principalis Traditio; who follow quidquid sedes illa censuerit quam tenere voluisti totius ecclesiae principatum.

The "Principal Tradition". The "See which by God's will holds the principatus of the whole, world-wide, Church".

As I read this, I feel almost as if I am back in the first or second century. You will remember the Latin version of S Irenaeus: "ad hanc Ecclesiam propter potentiorem principalitatem ... in qua semper ... conservata est ea quae est ab Apostolis Traditio". S Cyprian called Rome the "Ecclesia principalis, unde unitas saccerdotalis exorta est." As Dix pointed out, everybody knew that Jerusalem was the first Church chronologically, and then there was Antioch; early writers cannot be staking a claim that Rome came first chronologically. I suspect that Greek concepts are at work here: the authenticity of Roman Tradition means that, like a stream emerging from a hill-side, Rome is at the pure source. S Irenaeus is certainly making that point when he calls the Roman Church arkhaiotate. Classicists will remember the poetics of Callimachus and his school. 

A couple of generations ago, scholars on the continent (Callewart, Chapelle ...) and even in England (Cross in Oxford) did a fair bit of work, identifying on stylistic grounds liturgical compositions by various Roman Pontiffs, going back to S Leo himself, in the Verona Sacramentary. They identified two or three centuries of elegant, gracious, confident Latinity, centred around the essential concepts of Primacy and Tradition. Here is one example; another Preface:

" Qui ineffabili sacramento ius apostolici principatus in Romani nominis arce posuisti unde se evangelica veritas per tota mundi regna diffunderet, ut quod in orbem terrarum eorum praedicatione manasset Christianae devotionis, sequeretur universitas salubrique compendio; et hi qui ab illorum tramite deviassent haberentur externi; et tantummodo filii veritatis existerent qui a principali nullatenus traditione discederent."

I don't find it easy to imagine men who thought, conversed, and prayed like this, discovering much in common with the Fernandezs or the Bergoglios or their Rome.

1 comment:

William Tighe said...

"Potentiorem" or, as Dix (and Jalland) thought, "potiorem?"