I’ve become a big fan of Fr John Hunwicke, a Church of England priest of the staunch Anglo-Papalist type (a subset of High Church Anglicans with a definite Romeward orientation) who also shows a high degree of interest in Eastern Christianity.
A recent series of posts at his blog, concerning the opening prayer Te igitur from the Roman Canon and its relation to ecclesiology, seems worthy of discussion here at Eirenikon, in part because a small minority of Western Rite Orthodox Christians under both the Antiochian and Russian Patriarchates pray the Roman Canon and include, in the Te igitur, commemorations of their Patriarch, Metropolitan, Holy Synod, local Bishop, President of the USA, etc.
[Whom to name in the Te Igitur?] Note that I do not say “in the Eucharistic Prayer”. Because the EPs of other rites and the newer Roman EPs may have a different theology from that of the Canon Romanus.
More than half a century ago, Dom Eizenhofer (Sacris Erudiri 1956, 75 gives the Latin summary) demonstrated, in my view conclusively, that the word “Communicantes” goes grammatically and theologically with the end of the Te igitur (Memento being an originally diaconal parenthesis). The grammar is “una cum …communicantes”. And that the theology of the Prayer means that our sacrifice is commended to the Father as acceptable because we are offering it in and for the Church in union with its [earthly] head the Bishop of Rome. He backs this up with a great many pieces of contemporary Latin showing that the language expresses the ideology of the Roman See at the time the Canon acquired its present state: that being in communion with the Roman See is the touchstone of Catholic communion.
Of course not everybody accepts that notion. But what Eizenhofer’s demonstration makes clear is that it would not be proper to substitute another prelate for the Roman Pontiff unless one were prepared at the same time to argue that he is not just a Catholic bishop, not just the Head of a Communion, but the actual Prelate communion with whom gurantees one’s Catholicity. So the old Anglo-Catholic ploy of naming the Archbishop of Canterbury, or the Orthodox ‘Western Rite’ practice of naming a Patriarch, are improper unless one really does believe that communion with that prelate is the universal touchstone of whether anybody is in full commuion with the Church Catholic. (original post)
My previous post on the Te igitur leaves a big question: how does its conclusion fit in with a situation in which Christendom is divided? Does it mean that only those in full canonical communion with the See of Rome should use the Canon Romanus?
I think this does not necessarily follow. The solution, I feel, may be offered by the CDF document Communionis notio of 1993 (para 14). A valid Mass offered in a community which lacks full communion with the See of Peter, by its very nature as a Eucharist of the Whole Church, “objectively calls for” the “universal communion with Peter”. I feel that therefore those in this sort of anomalous situation do appropriately name the Successsor of Peter since their Mass “objectively” calls for full communion. And this is even truer, a fortiori , when the celebrant subjectively longs for such full communion and has no desire to adhere to any schism.
This is a good opportunity to repeat that Communionis notio, like its successor Dominus Iesus, was a document unfairly attacked by bigots as “unecumenical”. Both are quite the opposite. They provide an impetus for properly based ecumenism by their teaching that a Particular Church, which has a Bishop and valid sacraments, is a true Particular Church and ipso facto a local manifestation of the Church Catholic even if it is not in full canonical communion with the See of Rome. Disunity will wound it because it lacks the Ministry of Peter which is organically internal to a properly constituted Church but this does not deprive it of its status as a true particular church. The CDF went on to balance this by saying that the Roman Communion is also itself wounded by the disunity because it is deprived to a degree of universality. (original post)
The 1984 Statement of the Joint Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church which included such heavyweights as John Zizioulas and Joseph Ratzinger described mention in the Canon of the bishop by virtue of communion with whom one offers Mass as “essential”. This may seem a trifle overstated – after all, there are extant Eucharistic Prayers which have failed to do this; are they therefore lacking an ‘essential’? – but I believe it does express the ancient notion that the Bishop is the true primary celebrant and, as S Ignatius put it a long time ago, that Eucharist is to be accounted bebaios which is celebrated by the Bishop or by one to whom he commits it.
In the Te igitur of the Roman Canon, the mention of the Bishop is not a prayer for him but an expression of the fact that the presbyteral celbrant offers qua delegate of that bishop.
Together with the mention of the Roman Bishop, the Te igitur thus gives full expression to the synchronic unities which constitute a particular Eucharist as the Eucharist of Christ’s entire Catholic Church, and not a ritual activity of a local gathered and autonomous group. The presbyter is at one – ideally! – with his Bishop; the bishops of the world are at one with each other through the ministry of Peter. Ideally! (original post)