Fidelity to the Word
Our Lord and His Holy Apostles at the Last Supper


A blog dedicated to Christ Jesus our Lord and His True Presence in the Holy Mystery of the Eucharist


Stir up our hearts, O Lord, to prepare the way of Thine only-begotten Son: that through His coming we may attain to serve Thee with purified minds. Who liveth and reigneth, with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, through all the ages of ages.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Mysterium Fidei (from ctngreg)

From ctngreg yahoo group:

I wrote:

I came across this interesting exchange earlier today. Can anyone confirm that use of the phrase "Mysterium Fidei" has been traced back as far as the second century? According to the Catholic Encyclopedia at newadvent.org, the only part of St. Victor's writings known are his letters regarding the day on which to celebrate Easter.

>>Obviously with the variations in wording among the different
>> rites, the consecration formulas are not precise verbatim
>> quotes. They arevery close paraphrases that convey the
>>essential meaning of the orginal words of our Lord. We can
>>say that He said the words in the consecration of a particular
>>rite, but we don't put the words in quotes.
>
>Then we shouldn't have added Mysterium Fidei. As far as I'm
>aware it is early usage (second century with Pope St. Victor)
>but I do not remember him saying the Lord said those words,
>but rather it was used in the consecration.
>
>I really don't see the meaning changed by the insertion of all.
>I just think as a mistranslation it needs to be corrected.


The comments can be read here.

The original post can be read here.

-------------------------------------

AA wrote:
St. Victor is credited with the introduction of Latin into the Roman liturgy. Nothing heard about im and the text of the Canon.
...
The earliest specimen of the Canon ("De Sacramentis") does not contain "Misterium fidei", but this text is attributed to Northern Italy (St. Ambrose, Milan, Aquilea?). All the Roman texts of the Canon do contain these words, but the earliest copies come from the 8th century or so.

Fortesque mentions a hypothesis that it is a diaconal exclamation like the Greek "tas thyras" ("the doors"), to once more make sure that there are no catechumens left.

--------------------------------------

I wrote:
It should be mentioned that according to the Roman Catechism, the phrase "Misterium fidei" was preserved in the Church from Apostolic tradition.

--------------------------------------

WG wrote:
The form with the words mystery of faith was given to the Apostles by Christ. Innocent III Denz. 415.

Google " Cum Marthae circa" scan to Innocent and Trent/3Cols.

--------------------------------------

AB wrote:

This is one of those silly medieval opinions, right up there with the idea of the traditio instrumentum being the matter of Holy Orders.

No other rite besides the Roman Rite in the Catholic Church has the words "mysterium fidei" in the consecration, even other western rites like the Mozarabic. Ergo, its highly unlikely it is anything other than a Papal addition to the Roman liturgy.

The "missing mysterium fidei" argument is one of the justifications used by sedevacantists for their schism. No need to throw fuel on the fire for them.

--------------------------------------

DF wrote:

So is it now ok to describe the authoritative teaching of popes (Innocent III) and Councils (Florence) as "silly opinions"?

If so, I can think of a few more recent pronouncements that I would be more inclined to put into this category!

If the previously authoritative teaching of popes or councils is to be considered as superseded (as it may well be in these cases), a more sensible and respectful account of the process is required than simply trying to dismiss alternative accounts as "silly" and "mediaeval".

--------------------------------------

WG wrote:

I can't so easily dismiss Pope Innocent III's Deposit of Faith assertion. In my opinion, deletion of the Real Presence affirmative words "The Mystery of Faith" from the consecration form diminished its traditional hidden material reality meaning to the Protestant spiritual presence meaning intended in "our spiritual drink" offertory, involving no mystery and requiring no great faith.

--------------------------------------

AB wrote:
> I can't so easily dismiss Pope Innocent III's Deposit of Faith
> assertion. In my opinion, deletion of the Real Presence affirmative ...

Why? St. Thomas Aquinas was quite content to dismiss opinions of Innocent III when they clearly had a faulty basis in reality. For example, Pope Innocent was of the opinion that Christ said no words at all in first performing this Sacrament:

"There are many opinions on this matter. Some have said that Christ, Who had power of excellence in the sacraments, performed this sacrament without using any form of words, and that afterwards He pronounced the words under which others were to consecrate thereafter. And the words of Pope Innocent III seem to convey the same sense (De Sacr. Alt. Myst. iv), where he says: 'In good sooth it can be said that Christ accomplished this sacrament by His Divine power, and subsequently expressed the form under which those who came after were to consecrate.' But in opposition to this view are the words of the Gospel in which it is said that Christ 'blessed,' and this blessing was effected by certain words. Accordingly those words of Innocent are to be considered as expressing an opinion, rather than determining the point." (Summa, Pt. III, Q. 78, Art. 1, Re ad 1)

> "The Mystery of Faith" from the consecration form diminished
> its traditional hidden material reality meaning to the Protestant
> spiritual presence meaning intended in "our spiritual drink"
> offertory, involving no mystery and requiring no great faith.

Is every other rite of the Catholic Church "Protestantized"? There is no "Mystery of Faith" expression among the Orthodox, the Assyrians, or the Copts, and that accounts for everyone who was ever part of the Church prior to the missions of the 1500's from Egypt to Ethiopia, from Jerusalem to Japan, from Constantinople to Arkhangelsk, and in Spain and North Africa.

St. Thomas held that the phrase "mysterium fidei" in the Latin rite had the following meaning:

"Secondly, for justifying by grace, which is by faith according to Rm. 3:25,26: 'Whom God hath proposed to be a propitiation, through faith in His blood . . . that He Himself may be just, and the justifier of him who is of the faith of Jesus Christ': and on this account we add, 'The Mystery of Faith.'" (Summa, Pt. III, Q. 78, Art. 3)

That explanation seems right along the lines of the two New Mass antiphonal proclimation of in horrible ICEL English "Lord by your Cross and Resurrection you have set us free, you are the Savior of the World" and "Dying you destroyed our death, rising you restored our life. Lord Jesus, come in glory."

St. Thomas certainly didn't see it having anything to do with the Real Presence, as I read you to be saying (in agreement with the Roman Catechism I note). Perhaps I misread you though? It would seem this phrase could legitimately be read to mean a variety of things.

It may very well be of Apotolic Authority from St. Peter, although no fragments of the Roman Rite from the first couple hundred years bear that out. It would not appear to be of universal Apostolic or Dominical Authority (as say the Sanctus and Pater Noster are, appearing as they do in all rites of the Church), simply because it is not used anywhere outside of the Roman Rite or of those rites heavily influenced by Roman pressure (Armenian and Maronite). Even the Mozarabic in Spain did not use it, so it was not even universal in the west.

--------------------------------------

NDG wrote:

> This is one of those silly medieval opinions, right up there with
> the idea of the traditio instrumentum being the matter of Holy
> Orders.

It's "traditio instrumentorum".
A silly contemporary grammar error, perhaps.

> No other rite besides the Roman Rite in the Catholic Church has
> the words "mysterium fidei" in the consecration, even other
> western rites like the Mozarabic.

The Ambrosian Rite has.

--------------------------------------

AA wrote:

> The form with the words mystery of faith was given
> to the Apostles by Christ.

It may certainly be so. But I think Innocent III had attempted to say that these words are used from times immemorial and it is not known of anybody having those words added to the Canon. And he gives a beautiful interpretation later echoed by St. Thomas in his Hymns.

> Innocent III Denz. 415.
> Google " Cum Marthae circa" scan to Innocent
> and Trent/3Cols.

Nevertheless, in the 19th-20th centuries, as Fortesque indicates, the origin of these words was still considered a legitimate object of scholarly inquiry.

--------------------------------------

WG wrote:
>St. Thomas held that the phrase "mysterium fidei" in the Latin rite
>had the following meaning:
>
>"Secondly, for justifying by grace, which is by faith according to
>Rm. 3:25,26: 'Whom God hath proposed to be a propitiation,
>through faith in His blood . . . that He Himself may be just, and
>the justifier of him who is of the faith of Jesus Christ': and on
>this account we add, 'The Mystery of Faith.'" (Summa, Pt. III,
>Q. 78, Art.3)

Not so!
"Reply to Objection 5: The word "mystery" is inserted, not in order to exclude reality, but to show that the reality is hidden, because Christ's blood is in this sacrament in a hidden manner, and, His Passion was dimly foreshadowed in the Old Testament." (Summa,Pt.III,Q.78,Art.3)

--------------------------------------

I wrote:

> > I can't so easily dismiss Pope Innocent III's Deposit of
> > Faith assertion.
>
> Why? St. Thomas Aquinas was quite content to dismiss opinions
> of Innocent III when they clearly had a faulty basis in reality.

St. Thomas and Pope Innocent speak with one accord on the question of the origin of the words "The Mystery of Faith":

The Evangelists did not intend to hand down the forms of the sacraments, which in the primitive Church had to be kept concealed, as Dionysius observes at the close of his book on the ecclesiastical hierarchy; their object was to write the story of Christ. ... The words added, namely, "eternal" and "mystery of faith," were handed down to the Church by the apostles, who received them from our Lord, according to 1 Cor. 11:23: "I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you."
Summa, Pt. III, Q. 78, Art. 3, Re ad 9

> ...
> Is every other rite of the Catholic Church "Protestantized"?
> There is no "Mystery of Faith" expression among the
> Orthodox, the Assyrians, or the Copts, and that accounts
> for everyone who was ever part of the Church prior to the
> missions of the 1500's from Egypt to Ethiopia, from Jerusalem
> to Japan, from Constantinople to Arkhangelsk, and in Spain
> and North Africa.

If I understand this article correctly, the Copts had somewhat similar words received from our Lord for the consecration of the bread:

For He in the same night that He was betrayed, took bread into His Holy and blameless hands, and looking up to Thee His God and Father, brake it, and gave it to His disciples, saying: This is the mystery of the New Testament, take of it, eat; this is My Body which is broken for many for the remission of sins.

I think the above is from the Euchologion of Saint Serapion of Thmuis (whose feast day was yesterday), but I may have misread the article.

Virtually the same words appear in the Constitution of James, from the Constitutions of the Holy Apostles, Book VIII, which you can read here.

--------------------------------------

I wrote:

> If I understand the article at http://www.pro-multis.org/eucspr1.html
> correctly, the Copts had somewhat similar words received from
> our Lord for the consecration of the bread:
>
> For He in the same night that He was betrayed, took bread into
> His Holy and blameless hands, and looking up to Thee His God
> and Father, brake it, and gave it to His disciples, saying:
> This is the mystery of the New Testament, take of it, eat;
> this is My Body which is broken for many for the remission
> of sins.

I also found the following quote from Eusebius of Caesarea, which uses the same phrase to refer to the Precious Blood.

Eusebius of Caesarea: Against Hierocles
Book VII Chapter 1
http://www.tertullian.org/fathers/eusebius_de_09_book7.htm

To us, that is, who in Galilee of the Gentiles have believed on Him, to whom He has brought light and joy, and the new and fresh drink of the mystery of the new Covenant: according to the prophecy which says:
"First drink this, drink quickly -- land of Zabulon, and land of Nephthalim, and the rest who dwell by the coast, across Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles: O people that sat in darkness, behold a great light, and to them that sat in darkness and the shadow of death a light is risen."
These are they who from the Gentiles believed in the Christ of God, and the disciples and apostles of our Saviour, whom He called from the land of Zabulon and Nephthalim, and chose for the preachers of His Gospel. To them therefore who believed, the Angel of Great Counsel is given as a son to bring them salvation, but to them who disbelieved fire and burning.

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