Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Fr. Angelo of Mary Victrix

is one of those teachers on the blogosphere whose comments in response to comments are worthy of posts in themselves.

I always learn at his blog. It has that particular Catholic stamp of richness and deepness that comes from thinking with the Church, rather than asserting that one knows what is good for the Church. And he is unafraid of the polemical propaganda of the red pill restorationists.

Take his comment from this post for instance:

Actually, that the N.O “theogically impoverished” is your personal opinion and not the teaching of the Church. So in your personal opinion does that make the N.O. valid and licit but not pleasing to God, or not as pleasing to God? And what does attending the N.O. in “good faith” mean? Does that mean those in “good faith” are in error, but unaware? Or uninformed, but following the postconciliar Church without knowing better?

And is theological impoverishment a numerical or qualitative problem? Is it that the signs (matter, gesture and words) are fewer or less distinct? Or that they are no longer capable of signifying what Christ intended in Instituting the Sacrament and Sacrifice of the Eucharist? In what sense does the N.O. not capture the fullness of Catholic doctrine about propitiatory sacrifice?

Are you sure that Christ does is not satisfied with the N.O. celebrated according to the mind of the Church, or that He is less satisfied? And I assume if you are, you would assert this as a matter of reason, and not divine faith? Or is it otherwise?

You can go on and on about the problems of abuse and the lack of faith, but that does not really answer the theological question at hand. And that is the real question, because it is the only one you raised. And the only conclusion you can come to is purely a personal opinion which neither you or anyone else can impose on anyone or expect to use as a policy to control the behavior of other people, especially those who do not and have never believed such things.

I certainly admit a legitimate range of opinion on the matter, as long as it is presented as purely non-authoritative opinion. The problem is when this is translated into slogans like “save the liturgy and save the Church,” or “of Mary and the liturgy there is never enough.” And it becomes more of a problem when it becomes the policy of a religious community, whose members are free to adhere to the teaching of the postconciliar magisterium and cannot have imposed on them the purely personal opinions that you hold. Indeed, they have at least as much right to resist such opinions, if not more, than you do to expect the toleration of them.

One last thing: There is a very bad habit on the part of many in the Church today, whether progressive, conservative or traditionalist to confuse apologetics, polemics, politics and journalism with theology. Theology is not agenda driven and it only works well when it exercised in full communion with the Church.

The essential problem you are dealing with concerns the theological relationship between the sign and its signification, which are distinct. This distinction is the reason why, for example in the East the epiclesis can play a far more prominent role and occur after the Institutive Narrative. The sign is different than the Western Rite, but the signification is not, or at least, not so much. The relationship between these two things is neither purely physical nor mathematical. It is not like programing code. The relationship is metaphysical and related to the Institution of Christ and the guidance of the Holy Spirit. This is not a political question, nor is it going to be solved by the inside baseball of agenda driven liturgical ideology.

I totally agree that the liturgy, even the current one, may develop and be corrected and improved, but the problem cannot be lifted from its ecclesiological and metaphysical context. And it certainly is not going to be solved by bloggers and armchair theologians.

A feast of sanity is found at his blog.


Terry Nelson said...

Yeah - he is the one in a million - his theology and ecclessiology is completely sound - he is truly a son of the Church. Thanks for pointing out this comment.

petey said...

i agree, Fr Geiger's posts are thorough, precise, sound. I look forward to them. Because of his blog i have taken an interest in the Fi.