"Today the concept of truth is viewed with suspicion, because truth is identified with violence. Over history there have, unfortunately, been episodes when people sought to defend the truth with violence. But they are two contrasting realities. Truth cannot be imposed with means other than itself! Truth can only come with its own light. Yet, we need truth. ... Without truth we are blind in the world, we have no path to follow. The great gift of Christ was that He enabled us to see the face of God".Pope Benedict xvi, February 24th, 2012

The Church is ecumenical, catholic, God-human, ageless, and it is therefore a blasphemy—an unpardonable blasphemy against Christ and against the Holy Ghost—to turn the Church into a national institution, to narrow her down to petty, transient, time-bound aspirations and ways of doing things. Her purpose is beyond nationality, ecumenical, all-embracing: to unite all men in Christ, all without exception to nation or race or social strata. - St Justin Popovitch

Wednesday 31 October 2012


ROME, October 23, 2012 – The documentation on Vatican Council II was enriched a few days ago with a new text never published before. And of noteworthy value.

It is made up of certain portions of the diary of Cardinal Roberto Tucci (in the photo), at the time the director of "La Civiltà Cattolica."

And it was precisely this magazine of the Jesuits of Rome – on the basis of these diary entries – that opened its latest issue with the account of the five conversations that Tucci had with Pope John XXIII between 1959 and 1962, or the announcement and beginning of Vatican II.

"La Civiltà Cattolica" is a very special magazine. Before it is printed, its articles undergo inspection by the Vatican authorities, who sometimes approve them, other times modify them, and still others scrap them.

With Pius XII, it was the pope himself who reviewed the articles. John XXIII passed this burden on to his secretary of state.

But he continued to meet with the director of the magazine. Who afterward wrote about each conversation in his diary.

The diary of Fr. Tucci therefore provides a very up-close description of how John XXIII approached the Council that he had proclaimed.

For example, it confirms how the pope was struck by the silence that surrounded him when in 1959 he made the announcement of the council to the cardinals gathered in St. Paul's Outside the Walls: "He proposed the matter, asked them to tell him their views frankly, and no one spoke."

About other moments of the pope's preparation for the council there are in the diary of Tucci a few unexpected observations.

For example, the idea of the voyage by train made by John XXIII to Loreto in order to invoke the protection of the Virgin Mary over the assembly appears to have been born from political calculations:

"About his voyage to Loreto, the pope said that he had to do it in order to satisfy the minister of public works, who had spent a great deal in that area, and in order to give President Gronchi the opportunity for a meeting: [Gronchi] had been wanting to find a way to get the pope to go to the Quirinale."

Also striking are the abrupt words of John XXIII against "the subtle evil" of the curia, made up of careerism and nepotism, and also his distaste for the Vatican apparatus.

Pope John was even more irritated by those whom he later called "prophets of misfortune" in the memorable address with which he opened the council.

But there is much more in the diary entries of its director during those years, made public by "La Civiltà Cattolica" in its issue of October 20, 2012.

The following are the salient passages of the article.



by Giovanni Sale

Through the diary of the director of "La Civiltà Cattolica" at the time, Fr. Roberto Tucci, now a cardinal, who because of his office was received a number of times in audience by John XXIII, it is possible to verify, over the span of the three years of preparation for the event, the issues that were closest to the pope's heart and the strategies of action that he set in motion in order to give a stronger impulse to the future council. [...]


The first audience was set immediately after the appointment of Fr. Tucci as director of the Roman magazine of the Jesuits. It took place at Castel Gandolfo on September 12, 1959. The director observed in this regard: "Striking simplicity and affability of manners that dispel any embarrassment and are very touching. Welcome at the door and accompaniment almost back to the threshold again." The pope, going beyond protocol, had gone to receive the young Fr. Tucci, who at the time was 38 years old, and, standing, conversed amiably with him: he marveled at his youth, spoke of the Jesuits he had known and of his work on the pastoral visits of St. Charles Borromeo to the diocese of Bergamo.

Concluding the audience, the Jesuit wrote, the pope "returned to the seriousness and doctrinal soundness of our periodical, and mentioned the fact that the good French Jesuit fathers of 'Études' had allowed themselves to be swept away a bit by the movement of innovative ideas when he was nuncio in Paris. He mentioned a form of neo-modernism that at times, 'according to what I am told,' is introduced even into ecclesiastical teaching: all of this becomes a problem and the young end up calling everything into question."

The pope made reference to the theologians of the "nouvelle théologie," who had been condemned by Rome at the time and viewed with suspicion in some Catholic circles. Many of these theologians, in fact, were Jesuits; they included the fathers de Lubac, Daniélou, Teilhard de Chardin, Rahner and others; the writers of the Parisian Jesuit magazine, unlike their Roman colleagues of "La Civiltà Cattolica," were enthusiastic supporters of that "innovative" current. [...]


The subsequent audience, which took place five months later, on February 1, 1960, was very important; in it, the pope spoke extensively about the future council. [...]

"He clearly demonstrated," noted the director of "La Civiltà Cattolica," "that he sees the ecumenical council in connection with the problem of the reunification at least with the separated Eastern Churches. He does not delude himself, but he notes that the spiritual climate has greatly improved since the time of Leo XIII [...] They tell me to be on my guard, but how can I respond harshly to someone who addresses himself to me so amiably? However, I am always looking out of the corner of my eye to keep from being deceived."

The pope spoke immediately afterward about the need to update the language of Catholic theology and doctrine formulated over the centuries: "He then makes," continued the director, "a fairly explicit distinction between dogma properly so called, mysteries to be accepted with humility, and theological explanations." [...] He then said that he had to talk about hell to the faithful, emphasizing however "that the Lord will be good to many." He added moreover, jokingly: "Of course we can all go there, but I tell myself: Lord, you won't let your vicar go, will you?" [...]


At the audience of June 7, 1960, John XXIII spoke with the director of "La Civiltà Cattolica" about the preparation for the council. At that time, the pre-preparatory phase had already ended, and the pope had already appointed the commissions charged with drafting the schemas to be brought to the council.

"It is the pope's intention," Fr. Tucci wrote, "to involve in the effort of preparation not only the Roman curia but to a certain extent the whole Church. He observes that often those on the outside have a grudge against the Roman curia, almost as if the Church lay entirely in the hands of the 'Romans'; there is so much wonderful energy elsewhere, so why not seek to employ it?" [...]

"[The pope] admits," wrote the Jesuit, "that there has been a certain resistance on the part of the cardinals [of the curia] and that moreover he does not want to act without those who are at his side precisely to assist him in the government of the Church. He expects that a rather tenacious battle will begin now, because the cardinals have their secretaries or their protégés whom they want to place on the commissions, and certainly not for supernatural reasons [...]. It is the subtle evil of the Roman curia: the prelatures, the promotions [...]. He tends, however, to use foreigners as well: he has therefore asked all of the bishops and nuncios to compile lists of persons suited for such work." The Church, the pope concluded, must in some way adapt itself to the times, and thus also the Roman curia and the pontifical court."

He then referred to his condition as "prisoner of opulence" in the Vatican and to the excessive pomp and ceremony that surrounded his person. "I have nothing against these good noble guards," the pope confided, "but so much bowing, such formality, so much pomp, so much parading make me suffer, believe me. When I go down [to the basilica] and see myself preceded by so many guards, I feel like a prisoner, a criminal; and instead I would like to be the 'bonus pastor' for all, close to the people. [...] The pope is not a sovereign of this world. He recounts how much he disliked at the beginning being carried on the sede gestatoria through the rooms, preceded by cardinals often more elderly and decrepit than himself (adding that this was moreover not very reassuring for him, because ultimately one is always teetering a bit." [...]


At the audience of December 30, 1961, John XXIII expressed to the director of "La Civiltà Cattolica" regret and dissatisfaction over an article by Fr. Antonio Messineo, commissioned from him by the Holy Office, against Giorgio La Pira for his positions on political matters, considered overly indulgent or naïvely optimistic with regard to the left. "One does not write in such a way against a practicing Catholic of upright intentions," the pope said to Fr. Tucci," even if he is a bit mad and sometimes with ideas not well founded doctrinally." [...]

At that same audience, the pope also spoke about the political situation and about the need of the Church to emerge from the old frameworks of ideological opposition and to work for the reconciliation of men.

He complained of the criticisms made against him even by some ecclesiastical circles for having responded to the message of good wishes sent to him by the president of the Soviet Union, Nikita Khrushchev, and added: "the pope is not a simpleton, he knows very well that the gesture of Khrushchev was dictated by political aims of propaganda; but it would have been an unjustified act of discourtesy not to respond. The response, however, was calibrated. The holy father allows himself to be guided by good judgment and by the pastoral sense." [...]

The pope complained moreover that some detractors accused him of a "conciliatory spirit" and said that he had never "departed even in a single point from sound Catholic doctrine," and that those who accused him of this would have to provide proof. "He then takes to task," noted Fr. Tucci, "the 'zealot types' who always want to bash and slash. They have always been there in the Church and they always will be there, and we need patience and silence!" [...]

Turning to Italian politics, the pope gave the director of "La Civiltà Cattolica" very strong and binding guidelines. "The pope wants," Fr. Tucci noted, "a lower profile stance in matters of Italian politics." [...]

The pope also said, kindly but firmly, that he did not greatly appreciate the militant, intransigent spirit of the magazine, and asked that it adapt itself in style and content to the new times. Citing a comment from a friend of his, he said: "The good fathers of 'La Civiltà Cattolica' for everything pour down tears and more tears! And what have they gotten? [...] One must see the good and the bad," he commented, "and not always be pessimistic about everything." [...]


In the last months, before the end of the long preparatory phase, John XXIII was occupied in an attentive reading of the schemas drafted by the commissions, before these were sent to the council fathers. [...] John XXIII was not very satisfied with the preparatory schemas, and he talked about this with the director of La Civiltà Cattolica at the audience of July 27, 1962.

The pope, Fr. Tucci noted, "spoke to me about the revision of the conciliar texts that he is is making. [...] He showed me some of his marginal notes on the texts: [among others] on a page and a half on which were marked nothing but errors, noting that less harshness was required. He also told me that he had to make it known that he intended to revise the texts before they were sent to the bishops. But that they had not taken this into account from the beginning, such that some of the texts were sent before he was able to see them." [...]

Returning to political matters, we recall that at that time among Italian Catholics, as well as among the leaders of Democrazia Cristiana themselves, there was a debate over the necessity or not of accepting collaboration with the government of the socialists of Nenni. This perspective [...] was highly criticized by the president of the Italian episcopal conference, Cardinal Giuseppe Siri, and also by many prelates of the Roman curia, first among them by the pro-secretary of the Holy Office [Cardinal Alfredo Ottaviani]. The administration in the United States was following the question with great apprehension, and was pushing its ambassador in Italy to do whatever possible to prevent the expansion of the governing coalition to the left. At that time, many Catholics maintained that, from the ideological and political point of view, between the position of the socialists and that of the communists there was in practice not much difference, and that therefore accepting collaboration with the former meant implicitly accepting the latter as well.

"We must be very careful," the pope confided to Fr. Tucci, "because today the politicians, even the democristiani, are seeking to draw the Church onto their side and end up using the Church for purposes that are not always the highest. [...] I don't know much about it, but frankly I do not understand why one cannot accept collaboration with others who have a different ideology in order to do things that are good in themselves, as long as there are no concessions on doctrine."



by Daniel M. Clough

In order to understand the liturgical movement of the present day, we must understand it in view of its founder, whom Pope Paul VI called “the author of the liturgical movement.”1 Prosper Guéranger was born in France in 1805 at a time when there was a decay not only in the liturgical life of the Church but also in the entire Catholic culture itself. This decay resulted, primarily, from the recent French Revolution of 1789, during which entire “religious orders were abolished and the clergy were refashioned into civil servants.”2 The government had even made religious life illegal.3 It was during this time period that Guéranger would be inspired to do great things for the Church. He wanted to restore the culture, first of all, by restoring the monastic life. This work he began by buying the abandoned Benedictine monastery at Solesmes in 1833. He described his plan thus: “the idea came to me that if I could gather several young priests, we could reestablish the Order of Saint Benedict, with the divine office and studies.” He initiated this plan with the approval of the bishop of Le Mans and started a community 4of Benedictines at the ancient monastery of Solesmes.5 In 1837, he received official recognition of his new Benedictine community from Rome and was named abbot. The abbey of Saint-Pierre de Solesmes thus became the beginning and the head of all future Benedictine monasteries in France, since there were none remaining after their abolition following the Revolution.6

Dom Guéranger insisted upon the restoration of the monastic life as a means of sanctification and also as a means to preserve and promote culture, as did the Benedictines of old who had helped to preserve the European culture and intellectual heritage in the midst of the Dark Ages and to pass on to future generations the riches of ancient times. In the practice of the monastic life, the liturgy held a primary place as a means of “restoring to men the lost sense of tradition”7 because the liturgy was the “chief repository of tradition…wherein the Church professes her doctrine.”8 The faithful draw from the liturgy many of the interpretations that have been handed down and meditated upon through the centuries, especially in the antiphons and responses of the divine office. Patristics is called “the soul of the liturgy”9 because there are, in the liturgical texts as it were, so many commentaries upon the sacred texts which draw out the correct interpretation of the Sacred Scriptures according to the mind of the Fathers of the Church. Because the liturgy is “the echo of the teaching of Jesus and of the Apostles,”10 the faithful pray and meditate upon it so as to receive deeper knowledge of the teaching of our holy Faith. They also receive actual graces by praying the prayers, but most of all they receive sanctifying grace through the Holy Eucharist at the highest liturgical celebration, the Holy Mass. Dom Guéranger began to restore the liturgy and its study beginning at his own abbey, from whence he wished this to spread to the whole of France.

Particularly in the Benedictine tradition, Gregorian chant is added to the liturgical texts. This chant becomes a means of meditation upon that text and the chant melodies help to foster prayer.11 Pope Leo XIII described Gregorian chant in this way: “As long as the melodies are artfully executed, they have the power, at once sweet and grave, to find their way more easily into the listeners’ souls and thereby move them to piety and salutary thoughts.”12 Dom Guéranger wanted the faithful to be penetrated by this “spirit of the liturgy” so that “they would feel the need of joining in the sacred chants.”13 Unfortunately, at this time in the 19th Century, concert music was very often used in the liturgy of the Church and “the ancient chant melodies were modernized” in order to please profane ears,14 causing the sacredness of the Mass and also of the chants to be diminished. There was need of a restoration of the sacred in the ceremonies of the Church.

This began at Solesmes in 1853, when the Bishop of Le Mans asked Dom Guéranger to help in restoring the true chant in his diocese. Although he could not undertake this work himself, he directed his monks to return to the medieval manuscripts which were the first written sources of the chants.15 He assigned one of his monks, Dom Paul Jausions, to study and research the sources of Gregorian chant in order to aid in the restoration of the chants. He undertook this research with his assistant, Dom Joseph Pothier, at different libraries, searching for the manuscripts that contained the ancient notation. They discovered that in the manuscripts prior to the 16th Century the chant had been preserved “very often note for note and group for group.”16 From that time on, the chants had suffered from “all sorts of alterations and mutilations.”17 These were the result of their being performed badly or as Dom Pothier called it a “hammered execution”18 which resulted in “a heavy and tedious succession of square notes, incapable of suggesting the least bit of feeling or of saying anything whatsoever to the soul,” as Dom Guéranger described it.19 The research undertaken for restoring the chants to their “primitive purity”20 resulted in the publication of Dom Pothier’s first edition of the restored chants in the Liber Gradualis in 1883.21

The melodies of Gregorian chant are supposed to enhance the accents of the sacred Latin text and create “a musical phrase” that would be a natural extension of the written phrase.22 The melodies are based upon the actual accent patterns of the syllables of the language and naturally build upon them. The texts themselves are already prayers, but this chant is super-added to them and becomes a means to enter more deeply into that prayer. This could be what the Catechism of the Catholic Church means when it says that singing is praying twice.23 It is because the singing should be a natural extension of the spoken word that it would be praying twice, that is, by enhancing what itself is already a prayer. Hence, Dom Pothier described the chants as a music that “is at once a word and a song, a rich and powerful music that is also simple and natural, a music that does not seek to be music, does not listen to itself, but is released as the spontaneous cry of religious thought and feeling.”24 This differs essentially from the concert music that was performed in churches at that time, which was primarily meant to be listened to. However, Gregorian chant is intended to come forth naturally from the words and to express by its melodies a prayer, producing mystical effects in the soul. The purpose of sacred music is to glorify God and to sanctify the faithful.25

At the First Vatican Council in 1870, there was “no mention at all of the reform of religious chant.”26 Hence, Dom Guéranger was twice asked to intervene by bishops in order to get Rome involved in the liturgical movement for the restoration of Gregorian chant. He knew that the time was not yet right for the next stage of the movement, so no action was taken,27 and since his work on earth was near its completion, it would be left to his monks, of whom he was the Patriarch, to complete his work. He did not realize the importance of this work until it had been far advanced: “I was unaware of all the musical riches contained in our liturgy.”28 On the occasion of Dom Guéranger’s death in 1875, Pope Pius IX praised him and, on account of his effort at restoring the liturgy, granted “that henceforth a Benedictine should always be included among the members of the Sacred Congregation of Rites.”29 Pope Gregory XVI had previously entrusted the work of “reviving the almost extinct traditions of the liturgy” to the French Congregation of Benedictines in 1837 upon their erection and this work was now far advanced. Another generation would pass after the death of their first abbot before any great works would be produced by them.30 The work of Dom Guéranger would begin to bear its fruit when the monks of Solesmes would take on an even greater role in the restoration of the chants during the pontificate of Pope Pius X.

As the work of Solesmes was progressing, there was a young priest, named Giuseppe Sarto, in Italy who had been ordained in 1858 and who would eventually become Pope Pius X. He began working with the young people of his parishes to introduce them to Gregorian chants, and he also trained them to sing plain chant and to form scholae cantorum.31 He did this independently of Dom Guéranger, who at this time had already firmly established the foundation for the liturgical movement. The purpose of this promotion of the chants among his flock was so that they would enter more deeply into the Church’s liturgy so as to increase their devotion and, in the end, grow in holiness. He would often say: “We must not sing or pray during the Mass, but we must sing and pray the Mass.”32 It is one thing just to sing and pray while the Mass is going on, but it is another thing to enter into the ceremonies themselves and be transformed by them. This is what he intended his people to do, so that they would “once again more fully participate in the sacred liturgy,”33 not only with an outward participation but more importantly with an interior participation. Pope Benedict XVI reminded us of this when he said: “It should be made clear that the word ‘participation’ does not refer to mere external activity during the celebration.”34 The melodies of the chant aid this participation and help to “move the faithful to devotion and dispose them more easily to receive the gifts of grace” which are received whenever the sacred mysteries are celebrated.35 The “fruitful participation in the liturgy requires that one be personally conformed to the mystery being celebrated, offering one's life to God in unity with the sacrifice of Christ for the salvation of the whole world.”36

When Giuseppe Sarto became Pope Pius X in 1903, he knew from his long experience that what he applied in parish life needed also to be promulgated throughout the whole Church. After his Motu Proprio on sacred music in 1903, he established a Commission under the direction of Dom Pothier, who had worked so intensely to restore the chants, and he entrusted this work of revising the chants to the monks of Solesmes.37 The liturgical movement founded by Dom Guéranger now became an official movement of the Church under the direction of his own monks. Pope Pius X had given their work his official sanction in the Motu Proprio of April 24, 1904, saying: “The Gregorian melodies were to be restored in their integrity and identity, after the authority of the earliest manuscripts, taking account of the legitimate tradition of past ages, as well as of the actual use of the Liturgy today.”38 It was because the Abbot of Solesmes had pledged “the effort and work of Solesmes” to the Holy See for whatever purpose the Holy Father intended with regard to the restoration of Gregorian chant39 that Pope Pius X entrusted to the monks of Solesmes the work of “editing those parts containing the chant”40 that would be printed in the new versions of the chant books. However, the Pope limited the publication of the new books to the typical and essential books, namely, Liber Gradualis, Liber Antiphonarius, Rituale Romanum, Pontificale Romanum, and others.41

The work of the Commission began in 1904, but it was plagued with much disagreement among its members about the principles to be used for the restoration of the Gregorian melodies. The controversy was concerned with the different kinds of rhythmic interpretation of the chants. Dom Pothier’s theory of a speech-based approach was contested by Dom Mocquereau, who had a more melody-based theory.42 A decision of the Secretary of State of the Vatican in 1905 settled the issue by determining that the Liber Gradualis of Dom Pothier should be used as a model to follow for the new edition of the chants.43 Thus, the Vatican edition of the chants was published and its use began to spread throughout the Church. The first book, the Kyriale, containing the ordinary chants, was published in 1905. Others were published by the Commission up until 1913, including the Graduale Romanum, containing all the proper chants. Other volumes were published at Solesmes after the Commission had completed its work.44 Especially worthy of note is the Liber Usualis, which was edited by the monks of Solesmes, and it was similar to the missal used by the faithful at Mass. It contained all the chants for the Masses throughout the liturgical year in a single volume, as well as other chants that included those for Sunday Vespers and certain feast days. This book was used until following the Second Vatican Council as the common book of the monasteries and scholae cantorum because it provided most of the chants they needed in an easy to carry volume.

By the time of the Second Vatican Council, the work of preparing the chant books had not yet been completed. This was mainly due to the fact that Pope Pius X had limited the publication of the restored chants to the essential books. Consequently, many parts of the restored Gregorian chants were never published, particularly most of the music for Matins.45 During the Second Vatican Council, there was expressed a desire to complete the work that remained undone with special reference made to the preparation of simpler chants to be used in the parishes: “It is desirable also that an edition be prepared containing simpler melodies, for use in small churches.”46 This is exactly what Pope Pius X desired because of his experience as a parish priest. This had also been emphasized by Pope Pius XII, when he said, “local Ordinaries and the other pastors should take great care that the faithful from their earliest years should learn at least the easier and more frequently used Gregorian melodies, and should know how to employ them in the sacred liturgical rites.”47 The Council wished that this work on the books of Gregorian chant be completed so that they could be employed not only in monasteries and cathedrals, but also in the local parishes in simpler form:48 “steps should be taken so that the faithful may also be able to say or to sing together in Latin those parts of the Ordinary of the Mass which pertain to them.”49 Gregorian chant is the proper music of the Roman liturgy because it belongs to the rite and is specifically intended for it. It must have the principal or primary place, which means that it is to be the first choice for liturgical music in the Roman rite.50 This is because Gregorian chant and the Roman liturgy are so linked together that “one cannot exist in the fullest sense without the other.”51 Just as a language that a person has learned from their youth is natural to them, so Gregorian chant is natural to the Roman liturgy because it has grown up through the centuries along with the rite itself.

Due to the reform of the liturgy in 1970, there was required a change in the arrangement of the chant books so that they would fit with the new liturgy and liturgical year.52 At Solesmes, the monks were assigned the work of editing and printing of Gregorian chant and a new version of the Graduale Romanum was published in 1974 in order to follow the new arrangement of the liturgy, although it mostly reprinted the chants from the earlier edition.53 The monks of Solesmes also undertook to produce chant books for the new version of the divine office, most of which have now been published. The fruits of Dom Guéranger’s labors continued at Solesmes, even though throughout the world there began to be a loss of the practice of employing Gregorian chant in the liturgy.

Although the Council stated that the “Church acknowledges Gregorian chant as proper to the Roman liturgy” and that it should have the principal place in liturgical services,54 there followed a “widespread abandonment of Latin and Gregorian chant.”55 This laying aside of the Roman rite’s own music caused Pope Paul VI in 1974 to issue a booklet containing the easy and familiar chants with a request that at least these would be taught to the faithful. He sent this booklet to all the bishops and heads of religious orders in the world56 in the hope that the study and practice of Gregorian chant would be promoted.57 He had hoped for a new springtime by means of the liturgical renewal which would be “the fruit of that seed which Dom Guéranger worked to scatter.”58 This loss of interest in Latin and Gregorian chant was due to the changes in the liturgy with its complete translation and use in the vernacular languages. The chants were available in Latin only, so that when the liturgy was employed in the vernacular the chant books were relegated to the library shelves and other music was adopted which was in the language of the people and could be more easily used by those not trained in chant. Besides this, the melodies of the chant were fitted for the Latin language and any translation of the sacred texts also required a corresponding adjustment to the chant so as to accommodate the difference in accent and syllabic structure. This disuse of Gregorian chant is occurring still today, even though it has been strongly affirmed in the post-conciliar documents and “the desire is repeatedly stated that chant is to be preserved in the reformed liturgy.”59

The implementation of the simpler forms of chant in the parishes remains mostly undone. This is due to the fact that, since the chants have fallen into disuse, other forms of music have taken precedence in parish life, and there is even ignorance of the Church’s musical patrimony. The study of Latin also has fallen by the wayside to some extent, and when its study will have been taken up again and increased in the Church, then, there will be a corresponding increase of interest in the treasury of sacred chants that are contained in Latin. Pope Benedict XVI has even recently renewed the desire of his predecessors and of the Second Vatican Council, saying: “I desire…that Gregorian chant be suitably esteemed and employed as the chant proper to the Roman liturgy.”60 In order to facilitate the esteem and implementation of the proper music of the Roman liturgy he has also asked that future priests learn “to use Latin texts and execute Gregorian chant.”61 This brings to mind also what Pope Pius X was able to accomplish in parish life in his own day, “that the faithful can be taught to recite the more common prayers in Latin, and also to sing parts of the liturgy to Gregorian chant.”62 This implementation of the simpler chants begins in the individual parishes, but it falls to the diocesan bishops to take the initiative in their own cathedrals, because they are the “guardians of the entire liturgical life in the church committed to them,”63 and they should show by their example how the liturgy ought to be celebrated in their diocese. The Second Vatican Council called upon the bishops to do this when it said, “Scholae cantorum must be diligently promoted, especially in cathedral churches.”64

There needs to be renewed in the Church the liturgical movement founded by Dom Guéranger, because it has not yet been completed. Once again the sacred chants should be heard at Sunday Mass in parishes throughout the world, so as to move them spiritually and allow them to draw deeper into the interior life. This liturgical movement that followed the secularization of the French Revolution and was a means to reestablish the Christian sentiment in society is as much needed now as it was then. Pope Pius XI spoke of this when he said that the “liturgical chant played no small part in converting many barbarians to Christianity and civilization,” and that it was due to these chants “that St. Augustine made up his mind to become a Christian.”65 In our own day, when the secularization of society is not just on a national level but has spread to whole continents, there needs to be a deep spiritual renewal. This can be brought about by the renewal of the liturgical life in parishes as well as by the home being the domestic Church where the fruits of the liturgy are implanted in the souls of future generations. Living the liturgical year helps us in understanding the truths of the Faith in such a way that our faith is “enlightened more and more each year” while a theological sense is formed within us and the brightness of the mysteries “becomes so vivid that the mind and heart are enthralled” and “we begin to grasp the joy that the eternal sight of these beautiful and divine realities will give us.”66

1 Sister Mary David Totah, The Spirit of Solesmes (Petersham, MA: Burns & Oates, 1997), 18.

2 Katherine Bergerson, Decadent Enchantments (Berkley: University of California Press, 1998), 1.

3 Louis Soltner, Solesmes and Dom Gueranger, trans. Joseph O’Connor (Orleans, MA: Paraclete Press, 1995), 25.

4 Ibid.

5 Bergerson, 12-13.

6 Ibid., 14.

7 Dom Olivier Rousseau, OSB, The Progress of the Liturgy, trans. the Benedictines of Westminster Priory (Westminster, MD: The Newman Press, 1951), 36.

8 Ibid., 21.

9 Ibid., 27.

10 Dom Columba Marmion, OSB, Christ the Life of the Soul (St. Louis, MO: B. Herder Book Co., 1925), 124.

11 Cf. Anthony Ruff, OSB, Sacred Music and Liturgical Reform (Chicago: Hillenbrand Books, 2007), 495, 484.

12 Pope Leo XIII, Letter to Dom Delate, Abbot of Solesmes – Nos Quidem (1901).

13 Ruff, 203.

14 Rousseau, 114.

15 Soltner, 105.

16 Rousseau, 117.

17 Bergerson, 17.

18 Bergerson, 18. “exécution martelée.”

19 Soltner, 108.

20 Bergerson, 145.

21 Soltner, 17.

22 Ibid., 105.

23 Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2nd Edition, 1156.

24 Soltner., 104.

25 Second Vatican Council, Sacrosanctum Concilium (1963), 112. Cf. Pope John Paul II, Apostolic Letter – Spiritus et Sponsa (2003), 4.

26 Dom Pierre Combe, The Restoration of Gregorian Chant, trans. Theodore Marier & William Skinner (Washington, DC: CUA Press, 2003), 79.

27 Ibid.

28 Ibid., 21.

29 Rousseau, 34. This congregation is now known as the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.

30 Rousseau, 42.

31 Rousseau, 150-51.

32 Ibid.

33 Vincent Yzermans, editor, All Things In Christ (Westminster, MD: The Newman Press, 1954), 202. Pope Pius X, Motu Proprio – Inter Plurimas Pastoralis (1903).

34 Pope Benedict XVI, Apostolic Exhortation – Sacramentum Caritatis (2007), 52.

35 Rousseau, 153.

36 Sacramentum Caritatis, 64.

37 Rousseau, 152-54. Bergerson, 143-145.

38 The Liber Usualis (Belgium: Desclée & Co, 1938), ix-x.

39 Combe, 251.

40 Ibid., 264.

41 Ibid., 263.

42 Edward Schaefer, Catholic Music Through the Ages (Chicago: Hillendrand Books, 2008), 110.

43 Combe, 414.

44 Ibid., xi.

45 Peter Jeffery, “The New Chantbooks from Solesmes,” Notes, Second Series, Vol. 47, No. 4 (Music Library Association, June 1991) http://www.jstor.org/stable/941612 (23/06/2010), 1041.

46 Sacrosanctum Concilium, 117.

47 Pius XII, Encyclical - Musicae Sacrae (1955), 46.

48 Cf. Sacrosanctum Concilium, 117.

49 Ibid., 54.

50 Cf. ibid., 116.

51 Schaefer, 161.

52 Jeffery, 1044.

53 Ibid., 1048.

54 Sacrosanctum Concilium, 116. “Ecclesia cantum gregorianum agnoscit ut liturgiae romanae proprium: qui ideo in actionibus liturgicis, ceteris paribus, principem locum obtineat.”

55 Jeffery, 1039.

56 Ibid., 1043.

57 Sacred Congregation of Rites, Musicam Sacram (1967), 52.

58 Totah, 183.

59 Ruff, 481.

60 Sacramentum Caritatis, 42.

61 Sacramentum Caritatis, 62.

62 Ibid.

63 Second Vatican Council, Christus Dominus (1965), 15.

64 Sacrosanctum Concilium, 114. “Scholae cantorum assidue provehantur, praesertim apud ecclesias cathedrales.”

65 Pope Pius XI, Apostolic Constitution – Divini Cultus (1928).

66 Soltner, 92. Dom Guéranger – General Preface to The Liturgical Year.
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Tuesday 30 October 2012

THE CHURCH: HER NATURE AND TASK by Father George Florovsky (Orth)

for source click here (numbers refer to notes to be found in the original)

the Catholic mind
It is impossible to start with a formal definition of the Church. For, strictly speaking, there is none which could claim any doctrinal authority. None can be found in the Fathers. No definition has been given by the Ecumenical Councils. In the doctrinal summaries, drafted on various occasions in the Eastern Orthodox Church in the seventeenth century and taken often (but wrongly for the “symbolic books,” again no definition of the Church was given, except a reference to the relevant clause of the Creed, followed by some comments. This lack of formal
definitions does not mean, however, a confusion of ideas or any obscurity of view. The Fathers did not care so much for the doctrine of the Church precisely because the glorious reality of the Church was open to their spiritual vision. One does not define what is self-evident. This accounts for the absence of a special chapter on the Church in all early presentations of
Christian doctrine: in Origen, in St. Gregory of Nyssa, even in St. John of Damascus. Many modern scholars, both Orthodox and Roman, suggest that the Church itself has not yet defined her essence and nature. “Die Kirche selbst hat sich bis heute noch nicht definiert,” says Robert Grosche.1 Some theologians go even further and claim that no definition of the Church is possible.2 In any case, the theology of the Church is still im Werden, in the
process of formation.3 In our time, it  seems, one has to get beyond the modern theological disputes, to regain a wider historical perspective, to recover the true “catholic mind,” which would embrace the whole of the historical experience of the Church in its pilgrimage through the ages. One has to return from the school-room to the worshipping Church and perhaps to change the school-dialect of theology for the pictorial and metaphorical language of Scripture. The very nature of the Church
can be rather depicted and described than properly defined. And surely this can be done only from within the Church. Probably even this description will be convincing only for those of the
Church. The Mystery is apprehended only by faith.
The new reality
The Greek name ekklesia adopted by the primitive Christians to denote the New Reality, in which they were aware they shared, presumed and suggested a very definite conception of what the Church really was. Adopted under an obvious influence of the Septuagint use, this word stressed first of all the organic continuity of the two Covenants. The Christian existence was conceived in the sacred perspective of the Messianic preparation and fulfilment (Heb. 1:1-
2). A very definite theology of history was thereby implied. The Church was the true Israel, the new Chosen People of God, “A chosen generation, a holy nation, a peculiar people” (1 Pet. 2:9).
Or rather, it was the faithful Remnant, selected out of the unresponsive People of old.4 And all nations of the earth, Greeks and Barbarians, were to be coopted and grafted into this new People of God by the call of God (this was the main theme of St. Paul in Romans and Galatians, cf. Ephesians ch. 2).

Already in the Old Testament the word ekklesia (a rendering in Greek of the Hebrew Qahal) did imply a special emphasis on the ultimate unity of the Chosen People, conceived as a sacred
whole, and this unity was rooted more in the mystery of the divine election than in any “natural” features. This emphasis could only be confirmed by the supplementary influence of the Hellenistic use of the word ekklesía meaning usually an assembly of the sovereign people in a city, a general congregation of all regular citizens. Applied to the new Christian existence, the word kept its traditional connotation. The Church was both the People and the City. A special stress has been put on the organic unity of Christians.  Christianity from the very beginning existed as a corporate reality, as a community. To be Christian meant just to belong to the community. Nobody could be Christian by himself, as an isolated individual, but only together with “the brethren,” in a “togetherness” with them. Unus Christianus— nullus Christianus [“One Christian— no Christian”]. Personal conviction or even a rule of life still do not make one a Christian. Christian existence presumes and implies an incorporation, a membership in the community. This must be qualified at once: in the Apostolic community, i.e. in communion with the Twelve and their message. The Christian “community” was gathered and constituted by Jesus Himself “in the days of His flesh,” and it was given by Him at least a provisional constitution by the election and the appointment of the Twelve, to whom He gave the name (or rather the title) of His “messengers” or “ambassadors”.5 For a “sending forth” of the Twelve was not only a mission, but precisely a commission, for which they were invested with a “power” (Mark 3:15 ; Matt. 10:1; Luke 9:1). In any case as the appointed “witnesses” of the Lord (Luke 24:48; Acts 1:8) the Twelve alone were entitled to secure the
continuity both of the Christian message and of the community life. Therefore communion with the Apostles was a basic note of the primitive “Church of God” in Jerusalem (Acts 2:42: koinonía).
Christianity means a “common life,” a life in common. Christians have to regard themselves as “brethren” (in fact this was one of their first names) , as members of one corporation, closely linked together. And therefore charity had to be the first mark and the first proof as well as the token of this fellowship. We are entitled to say: Christianity is a community, a corporation, a fellowship, a brotherhood, a “society,” coetus fidelium. And surely, as a first approximation, such a description could be of help. But obviously it requires a further qualification, and something crucial is missing here. One has to ask: in what exactly this unity and togetherness of the many is based and rooted? what is the power that brings many together and joins them one with
another? Is this merely a social instinct, some power of social cohesion, an impetus of mutual affection, or any other natural attraction? Is this unity based simply on unanimity, on identity of views or convictions? Briefly, is the Christian Community, the Church, merely a human society, a society of men? Surely, the clear evidence of the New Testament takes us far beyond this
purely human level. Christians are united not only among themselves, but first of all they are one— in Christ, and only this communion with Christ makes the communion of men first possible— in Him. The centre of unity is the Lord and the power that effects and enacts the unity is the Spirit. Christians are constituted into this unity by divine design; by the Will and Power of God. Their unity comes from above. They are one only in Christ, as those who had been born anew in Him, “Rooted and built up in Him” (Col. 2:7), who by One Spirit have been “Baptized into One Body” (1 Cor. 12:13) . The Church of God has been established and constituted by God through Jesus Christ, Our Lord: “she is His own creation by water and the  word.” Thus there is no human society, but rather a “Divine Society,” not a secular community, which would have been still “of this world,” still commensurable with other human groups, but a sacred community, which is intrinsically “not of this world,” not even of “this aeon,” but of the “aeon to come.” 

 Moreover, Christ Himself belongs to this community, as its Head, not only as its Lord or Master. Christ is not above or outside of the Church. The Church is in Him. The Church is not merely a community of those who believe in Christ and walk in His steps or in His commandments. She is a community of those who abide and dwell in Him, and in whom He Himself is abiding  and dwelling by the Spirit.

Christians are set apart, “born anew” and re-created, they are given not only a new pattern of life, but rather a new principle: the new Life in the Lord by the Spirit. They are a “peculiar People,” “the People of God’s own possession.” The point is that the Christian Community, the ekklesía, is a sacramental community: communio in sacris, a “fellowship in holy things,” i.e. in the Holy Spirit, or even communio sanctorum [“communion of the holy things”] (sanctorum being taken as
neuter rather than masculine— perhaps that was the original meaning of the phrase). 

The unity of the Church is effected through the sacraments: Baptism and the Eucharist are the two “social sacraments” of the Church, and in them the true meaning of Christian “togetherness” is continually revealed and sealed. Or even more emphatically, the sacraments constitute the Church. Only in the sacraments does the Christian Community pass beyond the purely human measure and become the Church. Therefore “the right administration of the sacraments” belongs to the essence of the Church (to her esse [“act of being”]). Sacraments must be “worthily” received indeed, therefore they cannot be separated or divorced from the inner effort and spiritual attitude of believers. Baptism is to be preceded by repentance and faith. A personal relation between an aspirant and his Lord must be first established by the hearing and the receiving of the Word, of the message of salvation. And again an oath of allegiance to God and His Christ is a pre-requisite and indispensable condition of the administration of the sacrament (the first meaning of the word sacramentum was precisely “the (military) oath.”) A
catechumen is already “enrolled” among the brethren on the basis of his faith. Again, the baptismal gift is appropriated, received and kept, by faith and faithfulness, by the steadfast standing in the faith and the promises. An d yet sacraments are not merely signs of a professed faith, but rather effective signs of the saving Grace— not only symbols of human aspiration and
loyalty, but the outward symbols of the divine action. In them our human existence is linked to, or rather raised up to, the Divine Life, by the Spirit, the giver of life.

The Church as a whole is a sacred (or consecrated) community, distinguished thereby from “the (profane) world.” She is the Holy Church. St. Paul obviously uses the terms “Church” and “saints” as co-extensive and synonymous. It is remarkable that in the New Testament the name “saint” is almost exclusively used in the plural, saintliness being social in its intrinsic meaning. For the name refers not to any human achievement, but to a gift, to sanctification or consecration. Holiness comes from the Holy One, i.e. only from God. To be holy for a man means to share the Divine Life. Holiness is available to individuals only in the community, or rather in the “fellowship of the Holy Spirit.” The “communion of saints” is a pleonasm. One can be a “saint” only in the communion.

Strictly speaking, the Messianic Community, gathered by Jesus the Christ, was not yet the Church, before His Passion and Resurrection, before “the promise of the Father” was sent upon it and it was “endued with the power from on high,” “baptized with the Holy Spirit” (cf. Luke 14:49 and Acts 1:4-5) , in the mystery of Pentecost. Before the victory of the Cross disclosed in the glorious Resurrection, it was still sub umbraculo legis [“under the shadow of the Law”]. It was still the eve of the fulfilment. And Pentecost was there to witness to and to seal the victory of Christ. “The power from on high” has entered into history. The “new aeon” has been truly disclosed and started. And the sacramental life of the Church is the continuation of Pentecost. The descent of the Spirit was a supreme revelation. Once and for ever, in the “dreadful and inscrutable mystery” of Pentecost, the Spirit-Comforter enters the world in which He was not yet present in such manner as now He begins to dwell and to abide. An abundant spring of living water is disclosed on that day, here on earth, in the world which had been already redeemed and reconciled with God by the Crucified and Risen Lord. The Kingdom comes, for the Holy Spirit is the Kingdom.6 But the “coming” of the Spirit depends upon the “going” of the Son (John 16:7). “Another Comforter” comes down to testify of the Son, to reveal His glory and to seal His
victory (15:26; 16:7 and 14). Indeed in the Holy Spirit the Glorified Lord Himself comes back or returns to His flock to abide with them always (14:18 and 28)...Pentecost was the mystical consecration, the baptism of the whole Church (Acts 1:5). This fiery baptism was administered by the Lord: for He baptizes “With the Holy Spirit and with fire” (Matt. 3:3 and Luke 3:16) . He has sent the Spirit from the Father, as a pledge in our hearts. The Holy Spirit is the spirit of adoption, in Christ Jesus, “The power of Christ” (2 Cor. 12:9). By the spirit we recognize and we acknowledge that Jesus is the Lord (1 Cor. 12:3) . The work of the Spirit in believers is precisely their incorporation into Christ, their baptism into one body (12:13), even the body of Christ. As St. Athanasius puts it: “being given drink of the Spirit, we drink Christ.” 

 For the Rock was Christ.7
By the Spirit Christians are united with Christ, are united in Him, are constituted into His Body. One body, that of Christ: this excellent analogy used by St. Paul in various contexts, when depicting the mystery of Christian existence, is at the same time the best witness to the intimate experience of the Apostolic Church. By no means was it an accidental image: it was rather  asummary of faith and experience. With St. Paul the main emphasis was always on the intimate union of the faithful with the Lord, on their sharing in His fulness. As St. John Chrysostom has pointed out, commenting on (Col. 3:4), in all his writings St. Paul was endeavouring to prove that the believers “Are in communion with Him in all things” and “Precisely to show this union does he speak of the Head and the body”.8 It is highly probable that the term was suggested by the Eucharistic experience (cf. 1 Cor. 10:17), and was deliberately used to suggest its sacramental connotation. The Church of Christ is one in the Eucharist, for the Eucharist is Christ Himself, and He sacramentally abides in the Church, which is His Body. The Church is a body indeed, an organism, much more than a society or a corporation. And perhaps an “organism” is the best modern rendering of the term to soma, as used by St. Paul. Still more, the Church is the body of Christ and His “fulness” Body and fulness (to sóma and to pléroma)— these two terms are correlative and closely linked together in St. Paul’s mind, one explaining the other: “which is His body, the fulness of Him Who all in all is being fulfilled” (Eph. 1:23). The
Church is the Body of Christ because it is His complement. St. John Chrysostom commends the Pauline idea just in this sense. “The Church is the complement of Christ in the same manner in which the head completes the body and the body is completed by the head.” Christ is not alone. “He has prepared the whole race in common to follow Him, to cling to Him, to accompany His
train.” Chrysostom insists, “Observe how he (i.e. St. Paul) introduces Him as having need of all the members. This means that only then will the Head be filled up, when the Body is rendered perfect, when we are all together, co-united and knit together”.9 In other words, the Church is the extension and the “fulness” of the Holy Incarnation, or rather of the Incarnate life of the Son, “with all that for our sakes was brought to pass, the Cross and tomb, the Resurrection the third day, the Ascension into Heaven, thesitting on the right hand” (Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom,Prayer of Consecration).

The Incarnation is being completed in the Church. And, in a certain sense, the Church is Christ Himself, in His all-embracing plenitude (cf. 1 Cor. 12:12). This identification has been suggested and vindicated by St. Augustine: “Non solum nor Christianos factos esse, sed Christum” [“Not only to make us Christians, but Christ”]. For if He is the Head, we are the members: the whole man is He and we— totus homo, ille et nos— Christus et Ecclesia [“the whole man, he and us— Christ and the Church].” And again: “For Christ is not simply in the head and not in the body (only), but Christ is entire in the head and body”— “non enim Christus in capite et non in corpore, sed Christus totus in capite et in corpore”.10 This term totus Christus11 occurs in St. Augustine again and again, this is his basic and favourite idea, suggested obviously by St. Paul. “When I speak of Christians in the plural, I understand one in the One Christ. Ye are thereforemany, and ye are yet one: we are many and we are one”— “cum plures Christianos appello, innuno Christo unum intelligo”.12 “For our Lord Jesus is not only in Himself, but in us also”— “Dominus enim Jesus non solum in se, sed et in nobis”.13 “One Man up to the end of the ages”— “Unus homo usque ad finem saeculi extenditur”.14

The main contention of all these utterances is obvious. Christians are incorporated into Christ and Christ abides in them— this intimate union constitutes the mystery of the Church. The Church is, as it were, the place and the mode of the redeeming presence of the Risen Lord in the redeemed world.  “The Body of Christ is Christ Himself. The Church is Christ, as after His
Resurrection He is present with us and encounters us here on earth”.15 And in this sense one
can say: Christ is the Church. “Ipse enim est Ecclesia, per sacramentum corporis sui in se ...
eam continens” [For He himself is the Church, containing it in himself through the sacrament of
his body.]16 Or in the words of Karl Adam: “Christ, the Lord, is the proper Ego of the Church”.17
The Church is the unity of charismatic life. The source of this unity is hidden in the sacrament of
the Lord’s Supper and in the mystery of Pentecost. And Pentecost is continued and made
permanent in the Church by means of the Apostolic Succession. It is not merely, as it were, the
canonic skeleton of the Church. Ministry (or “hierarchy”) itself is primarily a charismatic principle,
a “ministry of the sacraments,” or “a divine oeconomia.” Ministry is not only a canonical
commission, it belongs not only to the institutional fabric of the Church— it is rather an
indispensable constitutional or structural feature, just in so far as the Church is a body, an organism. Ministers are not, as it were, “commissioned officers” of the community, not only leaders or delegates of the “multitudes,” of the “people” or “congregation”— they are  acting not only in persona ecclesiae. They are acting primarily in persona Christi. They are “representatives” of Christ Himself, not of believers, and in them and through them, the Head of the Body, the only High Priest of the New Covenant, is performing, continuing and
accomplishing His eternal pastoral and priestly office. He is Himself the only true Minister of the
All others are but stewards of His mysteries. They are standing for Him, before the community—
and just because the Body is one only in its Head, is brought together and into unity by Him and
in Him, the Ministry in the Church is primarily the Ministry of unity. In the Ministry the organic
unity of the Body is not only represented or exhibited, but rather rooted, without any prejudice to
the “equality” of the believers, just as the “equality” of the cells of an organism is not destroyed
by their structural differentiation: all cells are equal as such, and yet differentiated by their
functions, and again this differentiation serves the unity, enables this organic unity to become
more comprehensive and more intimate. The unity of every local congregation springs from the
unity in the Eucharistic meal. And it is as the celebrant of the Eucharist that the priest is the
minister and the builder of Church unity. But there is another and higher office: to secure the
universal and catholic unity of the whole Church in space and time. This is the episcopal office
and function. On the one hand, the Bishop has an authority to ordain, and again this is not only
a jurisdictional privilege, but precisely a power of sacramental action beyond that possessed by
the priest. Thus the Bishop as “ordainer” is the builder of Church unity on a wider scale. The
Last Supper and Pentecost are inseparably linked to one another. The Spirit Comforter
descends when the Son has been glorified in His death and resurrection. But still they are two
sacraments (or mysteries) which cannot be merged into one another. In the same way the
priesthood and the episcopate differ from one another. In the episcopacy Pentecost becomes universal and continuous, in the undivided episcopate of the Church (episcopatus unus of St.
Cyprian) the unity in space is secured. On the other hand, through its bishop, or rather in its bishop, every particular or local Church is included in the catholic fulness of the Church, is linked with the past and with all ages. In its bishop every single Church outgrows and transcends its own limits and is organically united with the others. The Apostolic Succession is
not so much the canonical as the mystical foundation of Church unity. It is something other than a safeguard of historical continuity or of adminnistrative cohesion. It is an ultimate means to keep the mystical identity of the Body through the ages. But, of course, Ministry is never detached from the Body. It is in the Body, belongs to its structure. And ministerial gifts are given inside the Church (cf. 1 Cor. 12).

The Pauline conception of the Body of Christ was taken up and variously commented on by the
Fathers, both in the East and in the West, and then was rather forgotten.”18 It is high time now to
return to this experience of the early Church which may provide us with a solid ground for a
modern theological synthesis. Some other similes and metaphors were used by St. Paul and
elsewhere in the New Testament, but much to the same purpose and effect: to stress the
intimate and organic unity between Christ and those who are His. But, among all these various
images, that of the Body is the most inclusive and impressive, is the most emphatic expression
of the basic vision.19 Of course, no analogy is to be pressed too far or over-emphasized. The
idea of an organism, when used of the Church, has its own limitations. On the one hand, the
Church is composed of human personalities, which never can be regarded merely as elements
or cells of the whole, because each is in direct and immediate union with Christ and His Fatherthe
personal is not to be sacrificed or dissolved in the corporate, Christian “togetherness” must
not degenerate into impersonalism. The idea of the organism must be supplemented by the idea
of a symphony of personalities, in which the mystery of the Holy Trinity is reflected (cf. John
17:21 and 23), and this is the core of the conception of “catholicity” (sobornost).20 This is the
chief reason why we should prefer a christological orientation in the theology of the Church
rather than a pneumatological.21 For, on the other hand, the Church, as a whole, has her
personal centre only in Christ, she is not an incarnation of the Holy Spirit, nor is she merely a
Spirit-being community, but precisely the Body of Christ, the Incarnate Lord. This saves us from
impersonalism without committing us to any humanistic personification. Christ the Lord is the
only Head and the
only Master of the Church. “In Him the whole structure is closely fitted together and grows into a
temple holy in the Lord; in Him you too are being built together into a dwelling-place for God in
the Spirit (Eph. 2:21-22, Bp. Challoner’s version).
The Christology of the Church does not lead us into the misty clouds of vain speculations or
dreamy mysticism. On the contrary, it secures the only solid and positive ground for proper
theological research. The doctrine of the Church finds thereby its proper and organic place in
the general scheme of the Divine Oeconomía of salvation. For we have indeed still to search for
a comprehensive vision of the mystery of our salvation, of the salvation of the world.
One last distinction is to be made. The Church is still in statu viae and yet it is already in statu
patriae. It has, as it were, a double life, both in heaven and on earth.22 The Church is a visible
historical society, and the same is the Body of Christ. It is both the Church of the redeemed, and
the Church of the miserable sinners— both at once. On the historical level no final goal has yet
been attained. But the ultimate reality has been disclosed and revealed. This ultimate reality is
still at hand, is truly available, in spite of the historical imperfection, though but in provisional
forms. For the Church is a sacramental society. Sacramental means no less than
“eschatological.” To eschaton does not mean primarily final, in the temporal series of events; it
means rather ultimate (decisive); and the ultimate is being realized within the stress of historical
happenings and events. What is “not of this world” is here “in this world,” not abolishing this
world, but giving to it a new meaning and a new value, “transvaluating” the world, as it were.
Surely this is still only an anticipation, a “token” of the final consummation. Yet the Spirit abides
in the Church. This constitutes the mystery of the Church: a visible “society” of frail men is an
organism of the Divine Grace.23
The new creation
The primary task of the historical Church is the proc-
lamation of another word “to come.” The Church bears witness to the New Life, disclosed and
revealed in Christ Jesus, the Lord and Saviour. This it does both by word and deed. The true
proclamation of the Gospel would be precisely the practice of this New Life: to show faith by
deeds (cf. Matt. 5:16).
The Church is more than a company of preachers, or a teaching society, or a missionary board.
It has not only to invite people, but also to introduce them into this New Life, to which it bears
witness. It is a missionary body indeed, and its mission field is the whole world. But the aim of
its missionary activity is not merely to convey to people certain convictions or ideas, not even to
impose on then a definite discipline or a rule of life, but first of all to introduce them into the New
Reality, to convert them, to bring them through their faith and repentance to Christ Himself, that
they should be born anew in Him and into Him by water and the Spirit. Thus the ministry of the Word is completed in the ministry of the Sacraments. “Conversion” is a fresh start, but it is only a start, to be followed by a long process of growth.
The Church has to organize the new life of the converted. The Church has, as it were, to exhibit the new pattern of existence, the new mode of life, that of the “world to come.” The Church is here, in this world, for its salvation. But just for this reason it has to oppose and to renounce
“this” wor[l]d. God claims the whole man, and the Church bears witness to this “totalitarian”
claim of God revealed in Christ. The Christian has to be a “new creation.” Therefore he cannot
find a settled place for himself within the limits of the “old world.” In this sense the Christian attitude is, as it were, always revolutionary with regard to the “old order” of “this world.” Being “not of this world” the Church of Christ “in this world” can only be in permanent opposition, even if it claims only a reformation of the existing order. In any case, the change is to be radical and total.
Historical antinomies

Historical failures of the Church do not obscure the absolute and ultimate character of its challenge, to which it is committed by its very eschatological nature, and it constantly challenges itself.

Historical life and the task of the Church are an antinomy, and this antinomy can never be solved or overcome on a historical level. It is rather a permanent hint to what is “to come” hereafter. The antinomy is rooted in the practical alternative which the Church had to face from the very beginning of its historical pilgrimage. Either the Church was to be constituted as an exclusive and “totalitarian” society, endeavouring to satisfy all requirements of the believers, both “temporal” and “spiritual,” paying no attention to the existing order and leaving nothing to the external world— it would have been an entire separation from the world, an ultimate flight out of it, and a radical denial of any external authority. Or the Church could attempt an inclusive Christianization of the world, subduing the whole of life to Christian rule and authority, to reform and to reorganize secular life on Christian principles, to build the Christian City. In the history of the Church we can trace both solutions: a flight to the desert and a construction of the Christian Empire. The first was practiced not only in monasticism of various trends, but in many other Christian groups and denominations. The second was the main line taken by Christians, both in the West and in the East, up to the rise of militant secularism, but even in our days this solution has not lost its hold on many people. But on the whole, both proved unsuccessful. One has, however, to acknowledge the reality of their common problem and the truth of their commonpurpose. Christianity is  an individualistic religion and it is not only concerned for the “salvation of the soul.” Christianity is the Church, i.e. a Community, the New People of God,leading its corporate life according to its peculiar principles. And this life cannot be split into departments, some of which might have been ruled by any other and heterogeneous principles.
Spiritual leadership of the Church can hardly be reduced to an occasional guidance given to individuals or to groups living under conditions utterly uncongenial to the Church. The legitimacy of these conditions must be questioned first of all. The task of a complete re-creation or re-shaping of the whole fabric of human life cannot or must not be avoided or declined. One cannot serve two Masters and a double allegiance is a poor solution. Here the above-mentioned alternative inevitably comes in-everything else would merely be an open compromise or a reduction of the ultimate and therefore total claims. Either Christians ought to go out of the world, in which there is another Master besides Christ (whatever name this other Master may bear: Caesar or Mammon or any other and in which the rule and the goal of life are other than those set out in the Gospel— to go out and to start a separate society. Or again Christians have to transform the
outer world, to make it the Kingdom of God as well, and introduce the principles of the Gospel into secular legislation. There is an inner consistency in both programmes. And therefore the separation of the two ways is inevitable. Christians seem compelled to take different ways. The unity of the Christian task is broken. An inner schism arises within the Church: an abnormal separation between the monks (or the elite of the initiated) and the lay-people (including clergy, which is far more dangerous than the alleged “clericalization” of the Church. In the last resort, however, it is only a symptom of the ultimate antinomy. The problem simply has no historical solution. A true solution would transcend history, it belongs to the “age to come.” In this age, on the historic plane, no constitutional principle can be given, but only a regulative one: a principle of discrimination, not a principle of construction. For again each of the two programmes is self-contradictoiy. There is an inherent sectarian temptation in the first: the “catholic” and universal character of the Christian message and
purpose is here at least obscured and often deliberately denied, the world is simply left out of sight. And all attempts at the direct Christianization of the world, in the guise of a Christian State or Empire, have only led to the more or less acute secularization of Christianity itself.24 In our time nobody would consider it possible for everyone to be converted to a universal monasticism or a realization of a truly Christian, and universal, State. The Church remain “in the world,” as a heterogeneous body, and the tension is stronger than it has ever been; the ambiguity of the situation is painfully left by everyone in the Church. A practical program for the
present age can be deduced only from a restored understanding of the nature and essence of the Church. And the failure of all Utopian expectations cannot obscure the Christian hope: the
King has come, the Lord Jesus, and His Kingdom is to come.

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