The Eucharist as the Church’s only ordo theologiae

The proper and ineluctable ordo of Roman Catholic theology is the Eucharistic covenant as it thrives in the Church. All theological principles and categories must submit to and be subsumed under this one triune matrix of actual, substantial, concrete, and free––because historical––communion in and through the μια σαρχ (One Flesh).

Hence, predestination is a perversion of the Faith if and when it is imagined as belonging to some higher, antecedent ‘cosmic’ order. Predestination is only orthodox when subsumed under the Eucharist. There is no antecedent rational necessity to account for divine predestination, since God’s providence is only truly real in the historically immanent Lordship of the Eucharistic Jesus. There is no higher ‘reason’ for creation and salvation, but this does not mean they are arbitrary and meaningless realities, since the only grounding of them is the free, coherent, historical action of God in the Eucharistic covenant.

People are not predestined according to some cosmic, pre-incarnate decree, but are predestined precisely in the free, actual, historical appropriation or rejection of the New Adam in the Eucharist. There is no supreme natural order that exists prior to creation’s covenantally grounded structure in the triune work of God. The economy of salvation, therefore, does not take place ‘in’ nature, but rather generates coherence and meaning for nature precisely by virtue of the historically free and objective concreteness of the Eucharist. All existence is grace, although not all existence is equally graced. History, in turn, is not an absolute, prior category of thought or reality, but is a radically and properly theological concept generated in the human consciousness by the concrete immediacy of the Eucharist as the One Sacrifice for all times and all peoples.

As Fr. Donald Keefe says in Covenatntal Theology: the Eucharistic Order of History (pp. 551, 552):

“When, as often, the Platonic resolution of fallenness by its dehistoricization is mistaken for theology, its self-salvific rationalizing thrust finds a pseudo-Christian expression in theories of predestination; these, whether single, as in Origen’s hypothesis of apokatastasis, echoed by Barth’s systematics and, as has been feared, by von Balthasar’s aesthetics, or double, as from Gottschalk to Calvin to the Synod of Dort, are all led by the same conviction that man’s dignity, his moral freedom, must evanesce before the divine omnipotence, and that the truth and reality of the historical human condition is actual only in a union with divinity outside of time, whether in the world of Forms or in an inscrutable divine judgment. … Augustinianism ineluctably relapses into its pre-conversion condition, that of Platonism, when the sacrificial realism of the Catholic Eucharistic tradition is refused or systematically ignored.”

Fr. Keefe notes earlier, on page 535, that the only thing which keeps Augustinianism from relapsing into unreconstructed Platonism, is St. Augustine’s radically sacramental consciousness. From page 535:

“…[St. Augustine] sees the fallen consciousness of man to be integrated historically [not ideally or atemporally] in the Eucharist. … [N]othing further is required for the reconstruction of a realistic Augustinian theology of transubstantiation than the systematic exploitation of Augustine’s own equation of the One Sacrifice, the One Flesh of the second Adam and the second Eve, with the Eucharistic Sacrifice, for it is the freedom of this union that constitutes its historicity. Only the historical density of the liturgical experience itself is able to ground Augustine’s sacramental theology, and to found an Augustinian theology upon any less concrete and historical ground than the Eucharistic Sacrifice is to ignore once again the free historical foundation for Augustine’s on-going conversion of his Neoplatonism to the Catholic faith. This foundation is the Eucharistic liturgy which was his central responsibility over thee nearly forty years of his episcopacy. To ignore this liturgical foundation is to misconceive Augustine’s theology.

“In Augustinian as in Thomist metaphysics we therefore have to do with the concrete, historical, free and objective relation between the event of the Church’s offering of the bread and wine of the Offertory and the Event-presence of the Christ to the bridal Church as Priest, as Victim, and as semper interpellans. This is simply the historical ordo, the dynamically integrating relations of circumincession which we have seen [in the preceding hundreds of pages] to exist between the event of the Old Covenant, the Event of the New Covenant, and the Event of the Kingdom. It is identically the free and intra-substantial ordering of the Offertory, the Canon, and the Communion; it is the historical ordo of sarx, mia sarx, and pneuma, the ordo of the literal, the allegorical and the anagogical sense of Scripture, and finally, the ordo of the sacramentum tantum, the res et sacramentum and the res tantum, radically of the Eucharist and derivatively of the other sacramanets. This is the free order of objective reality, which is to say, the intrinsic meaning of historical substance, the subject matter of any historical-covenantal metaphysics.”

Fr. Keefe’s allusion to Thomistic metaphysics alerts us to the fact that the Eucharistic covenant, as the only real grounds of Catholic theology, poses both a similar challenge to Augustinianism and Thomism (vis-à-vis the former’s risk of relapsing into Platonism and the latter’s risk of relapsing into Aristotelianism), and a similar buttress against such relapse. On page 558 he says:

“‘Form’ cannot then mean in Augustinian theology what the term Logos has generally been understood to mean whether by Thomists or by Augustinians: viz., the eternal Son in some cosmic moment prior to his becoming man. ‘Form’ in Augustinian theology must refer to the Son of God who is the Son of Mary, ‘one and the same,’ and this not as static [cosmic] fact but as covenantal Event. … However thorough the methodological conversion of theology from cosmological to historical metaphysics may be, we still are very largely under the sway of a cosmological imagination, which simply takes for granted a nonhistorical status quo ante as the prius or starting point for all theological inquiry … [which] conforms to a cosmological but not a Christian quaerens intellectum: it seeks always for the God behind the revelation, convinced that only there may be found the quintessential divinity…. The time-honored notion that it is the nonhistorical and cosmological God behind the revelation that is the object of theology forgets that theology is a quaerens directed solely at the revelation, and that the revelation is not information provided in the Old and New Testament about the eternity and the freedom of God, but rather is the Lord in whom the act of faith ‘terminates,’ Jesus Christ, the Son of God and the Son of Mary, ‘one and the same,’ in whom the divine freedom and divine transcendence over history is concretely actual in and by his Eucharistic immanence in history.”

So, even when St. Augustine failed, in various writings or claims, to remain consistent to the sacramental ordo theologiae, which he recognized as paramount, nevertheless it is his fundamental commitment to a “liturgical phenomenology” that can and should correct for his Platonic detours in a stringently Form-based, absolutist predestinarianism.

The vision Fr. Keefe’s places at center is that there is no “world out there” outside the actual, historical Event of the One Flesh being offered triunely. Literally nothing––literally, nihil––exists outside the Event-structure of the Mass. Hence, eternal predestination is coterminous with the historical entry into, or flight from, grace in the Eucharist. The eternal truth that “Christ, the Lamb of God, died for all” is historically coterminous with Christ being received or rejected by all in the Eucharist, as it is offered, historically and actually, to all. Historical worship is thus theologically and Christocentrically antecedent to cosmological predestination. Predestination, in other words, happens now, here, in the Eucharist. Further, because Christ is “pan-historical” by virtue of His covenantal kenosis, as opposed to cosmically “immanent” presence, in fallen humanity, He is transhistorical. His pervasive grounding of history as the arena of grace is what simultaneously makes Him the transcendent Lord of “predestination.” (As for those outside the reach of formal Eucharistic worship, Fr. Keefe’s notes how the trahi a Deo in St. Thomas’s thought and the Lumen mundi in St. Augustine’s, provide the grounds for personal culpability, since, in any case, original sin is already present, metaphysically but not temporally, in fallen human existence.)


64 Responses

  1. I’m sorry for this Eucharistic idolatry; monamanicalism that tends to glorify one thing to the detriment of all other things. There are six other sacraments just as important. The Church itself is important. The Faith is important, not just the Eucharist.

    It seems that the Church is losing sight of proportion, harmony, symmetry. Beauty is found in thru these laws which I think is being much overlooked in the Church. It looks to me that Fr. Keefe seeks to “reduce” the Faith to just “Eucharist”. I believe the Faith is a “total package” and not reduced to just the “Eucharist”.

  2. There are six other sacraments just as important.

    From the Catechism: “This order, while not the only one possible, does allow one to see that the sacraments form an organic whole in which each particular sacrament has its own vital place. In this organic whole, the Eucharist occupies a unique place as the “Sacrament of sacraments”: “all the other sacraments are ordered to it as to their end.” (1211

    “The Eucharist is “the source and summit of the Christian life.” 136 “The other sacraments, and indeed all ecclesiastical ministries and works of the apostolate, are bound up with the Eucharist and are oriented toward it. For in the blessed Eucharist is contained the whole spiritual good of the Church, namely Christ himself, our Pasch.” (1324)

  3. There is a connection between the metaphysical and the physical. Theology, right or wrong, affects the behavior of the believer and the religious body. Bad theology affects the Church.

    The total emphasis on the Eucharist and hearing of mass has destroyed the Divine Office. I ask any of you, where is the Divine Office in the Cathedral practice of Latin Christianity? It’s gone, vamoosh. I don’t think any of you can argue against this point. The only thing important is Mass. In Eastern Orthodoxy, the Divine Office is still there, not as it used to be, but still there. It is an active part. The Orthodox Church still has Saturday night Vespers. Where is that in the Latin Church? gone The overemphasis of the Eucharist has killed it.

    The Orthodox Church still practices Matins on Sunday morning. Where is that in the Latin Church? gone. The overemphasis of the Eucharist has killed it.

    If the Eucharist is the end all, and be all of existence,—why do anything else?

    I have a saying, “Even good, done in the wrong proportions, does evil”. The overemphasizing of the Eucharist has killed many other aspects of the Cathedral Church.

    Is not the basis of all and any Christian life the praise and Worship of God? Basically, if we would have never fallen, what would we be doing?—the Eucharist or the Divine Office everyday? The Divine Office.

    The purpose of the Christian is to Praise and Worship God—not take the Eucharist. Where is praise and worship in the Catholic Church? The over-intellectualization of the Christian theology is also harming the Church. Yes, the Eucharist is a great sacrament—but it is sacrament—not Praise and Worship. We need the Eucharist because we are fallen. If we had not fallen, we would have no need of the Eucharist–but we would still be praising and worshiping the Triune Godhead. To praise and worship God, to give Him the Glory is the raison d’etre of Christianity. Sacraments are not worship. According to New Advent, this is what a sacrament is: “Sacraments are outward signs of inward grace, instituted by Christ for our sanctification”. Sacraments are there for our santification. They are our medicine but per se, they are not “worship”.

    The purpose of the Church is Twofold: Save mankind—and Worship God. What Worship is there? The Divine Office is an important tool and is the real core of the Church.

    The Divine Office is just as important in the Church But where is it today? EXTINCT.

    What killed the Divine Office?

    The overemphasis, the Disproportion, of the Eucharist and the over-intellectualization of Christian Theology. The extinction of the Divine Office in the LIfe of the Church is a concrete physical reality of Roman Catholic error in not obeying the Natural Law. One of the principles of the Natural Law is Proportion. Yet, every Catholic clergyman has a degree in Philosophy, yet is, from observation, ignorant of one of the most basic principles of reality—that of Proportion, Limits. There is a reason why philosophy is conjoined with theology. And why these two are not working in concert in understanding reality and putting it into practice is beyond me.

    “Even Good, done in the wrong proportion, causes evil”. The over emphasis of the eucharist in Roman Catholicism is killing Christianity in Roman Catholicism.

  4. Nothing killed the Divine Office. It’s all over the place. The Liturgy of the Hours (in addition to one particular blessed, Bl Pier Giorgio Frassati) converted me from “Catholic” to Catholic. I came into contact with it through laypeople, then through priests, then through nuns. I have seen it all over the place in Catholicism. Why do you say it is ‘extinct’?

  5. Mr Wheeler:

    From July 2006 to April 2008, I lived near Charlotte, NC and worshipped at Belmont Abbey. Their worship included daily Divine Office as well as Mass. IMHO, they did the former better than the latter. I could multiply examples, but for Catholics they would be unnecessary. It is, as Lucia says, “all over the place.” I still do it myself, though not daily as monks do.

    BTW, not every Catholic clergyman has a degree in philosophy. Far from it. Few deacons do, and most priests have only taken some courses in it without having “majored” in it. I know this because, in addition to having known hundreds of Catholic clergymen and worked with dozens of them, I have taught in three seminaries. I sometimes find myself wishing that Catholic priests did major in philosophy as undergraduates, so as to dispel some of the woolly-mindedness I often encounter in them. But that’s unrealistic of me.

    You are revealing only your ignorance. Please observe “Proportion, Limits.”


  6. Of course monasteries do have the Divine Office. So do the religious orders such as the Nobertines. The Church is divided between the Monastic Office and the Cathedral Office. I am talking about the Cathedral Office. I am talking about the local diocesan church which is the Cathedral Office. I am talking about the run of the mill local church

    The Orthodox Church which has maintained Holy Tradition anally continues the Divine Office at every diocesan church. It just doesn’t happen at only monastic centers. This is the point I am trying to make. Where is the community of faithful engaged in the Divine Office? Where is vespers at the local Church? The Eithopian Orthodox, Syrian Orthodox, the Greek Orthodox, the Russian Orthodox all practice Communal Laity Vespers at their local run of the mill diocesan churches.

    There is a disparity between the Orthodox practice and witness and the Roman Catholic practice and witness. My point is that the over-emphasis of the Eucharist in the Latin rite damages the total practice and tradition of the Church.

  7. A Catholic who writes “There are six other sacraments just as important” has no business talking about “proportion” or attempting to dictate what he/she thinks is wrong with the Church.

    If the Eucharist is the end all, and be all of existence,—why do anything else Who ever said that? The Catechism (which you seem ignorant of) encourages the use of the Divine Office but notes it is like an extension of the Eucharistic celebration.

    Is not the basis of all and any Christian life the praise and Worship of God? Basically, if we would have never fallen, what would we be doing?—the Eucharist or the Divine Office everyday? The Divine Office. Even if true it is highly irrelevant, since we have in fact fallen. Prayer in such a situation is meaningless without communion with God. Said communion was established in the Paschal/sacramental mystery. The Catechism states: “In this age of the Church Christ now lives and acts in and with his Church, in a new way appropriate to this new age. He acts through the sacraments in what the common Tradition of the East and the West calls “the sacramental economy”; this is the communication (or “dispensation”) of the fruits of Christ’s Paschal mystery in the celebration of the Church’s “sacramental” liturgy.

    And does it really need to be pointed out that the Office is a sacrmental?

    Sacraments are not worship. According to New Advent, this is what a sacrament is: “Sacraments are outward signs of inward grace, instituted by Christ for our sanctification”. Sacraments are there for our santification. They are our medicine but per se, they are not “worship”. This raises the question: then what the hell does liturgy mean? The Catechism states: “The liturgy then is rightly seen as an exercise of the priestly office of Jesus Christ. It involves the presentation of man’s sanctification under the guise of signs perceptible by the senses and its accomplishment in ways appropriate to each of these signs. In it full public worship is performed by the Mystical Body of Jesus Christ, that is, by the Head and his members. From this it follows that every liturgical celebration, because it is an action of Christ the priest and of his Body which is the Church, is a sacred action surpassing all others. No other action of the Church can equal its efficacy by the same title and to the same degree.” (1070) And in 1123: “The purpose of the sacraments is to sanctify men, to build up the Body of Christ and, finally, to give worship to God. Because they are signs they also instruct. They not only presuppose faith, but by words and objects they also nourish, strengthen, and express it. That is why they are called ‘sacraments of faith.'”

    The purpose of the Church is Twofold: Save mankind—and Worship God. What Worship is there? The Divine Office is an important tool and is the real core of the Church It is an important tool, but like other important tools such as the Liturgical Seasons and the Liturgical Year, it derives its importance from the Eucharist which is the real core of the Church.

  8. Only because Mr Wheeler has responded so vociferously to this post, do I feel entitled to use his words as a vivid example of exactly the sort of distortions Fr. Keefe is writing about in Covenantal Theology (CT).

    In the first place, he says we are called to Worship God. And yet somehow the very sacrament in which God Himself makes Himself most fully and intimately present to us, is inferior to our singing and praying. The Divine Office has never been called, and will never be called, the medicine of life.

    Second, the flight from the radical concreteness of Christ in the Eucharist signals only discomfiture with what God intended in the Incarnation. And this in favor of a socialized, emotionalized spirit of celebration. Almost as if the praise we give God were better than the Gift He gives us; almost as if our offering up is more fit in His eyes than our “opening up” to His life in the Eucharist. The frantic nature with which Mr Wheeler tries to put the Eucharist “in its place” very likely indicates a panic at just how radical the sacrifice is in true Eucharistic worship: we die that Christ may live; we are utterly silent that He may speak; our life is cast out that His may enter.

    Third, the very temptation to situate the Eucharist in some larger, objective “system” of worship, is exactly the ancient temptation to place Christ in some kind of larger ‘cosmic’ order. For if the Eucharist is not a rationally deduced facet of the cosmos, it seems meaningless, dangling, historical, contingent, etc., to the cosmological mind. On the other hand, if it is imposed in total violation of nature’s order, it appears arbitrary and artificial and deontic to that fleshly mind. Only if we recognize the Eucharist as THE axis of both free historical worship and larger cosmic intelligibility can we see it is sensible: its historically free offering is its own ground of reason, immanent but not cosmically necessitated.

    My review of CT may help fill in the gaps of what I have written so far.

    “Take note of those who hold heterodox opinions on the grace of Jesus Christ which has come to us, and see how contrary their opinions are to the mind of God…. They abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer because they do not confess that the Eucharist is the flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ, flesh which suffered for our sins and which that Father, in his goodness, raised up again. They who deny the gift of God are perishing in their disputes.” –– Ignatius of Antioch, Epistle to the Smyrnaeans, Chapter 6.

    “I purpose soon to write a second epistle to you… [e]specially if the Lord will make known to me that you all by name come together in common in one faith and in one Jesus Christ, who was of the race of David according to the flesh, the Son of man and Son of God, by obeying your bishop and the presbytery with an entire mind, breaking one and the same bread, which is the medicine of immortality and our antidote so that we should not die, but live forever in Christ Jesus.” –– Ignatius to the Ephesians, chapter 4, 17.

    “Be eager, therefore, to use one Eucharist––for there is one flesh of our Lord Jesus Christ and one cup for union with His blood, one sanctuary, as there is one bishop, together with the presbytery and the deacons my fellow slaves–so that, whatever you do, you do it in relation to God [1 Cor. 10:31; Col. 3:17].” –– Ignatius to the Philadelphians 4:1.

    “The Blood of the Lord, indeed, is twofold. There is His corporeal blood, by which we are redeemed from corruption; and His spiritual Blood, that with which we are anointed. That is to say, to drink the Blood of Jesus is to share in His Immortality. the strength of the Word is the Spirit, just as the blood is the strength of the body. [20,1] Similarly, as wine is blended with water, so is the Spirit with man. The one, the Watered Wine, nourishes in faith while the other, the Spirit, leads us on to immortality. The union of both, however, ––of the drink and of the Word,––is called Eucharist, a praiseworthy and excellent gift. Those who partake of it in faith are sanctified in body and in soul. By the will of the Father, the divine mixture, man, is mystically united to the Spirit and to the Word.” –– St. Clement of Alexandria, The Instructor of Children [2,2,19,4].

  9. First off, let me say that I think we are talking past each other here. My criticisms are not directed to the Eucharist PER SE. But its overemphasis that is all.

    There are many things that one can not cover in a single post that I must lay out.

    First and foremost, Christianity grew up under Hellenism. It’s books were written in Greek and the Faith was formed by (understanding cultural determinism), Hellenism, esp. Platonic philosophy; two major Church Fathers, St Justin the Martyr and St. Augustine both being Platonic philosophers. (q.v. “Plato’s Gift to Christianity, the Gentile preparation for and the Making of the Faith” by Jerry D. Ehrlich). Christianity is a Greek religion. In my learnings, I have noticed that Latin Christianity is very “Roman”; that around 4th and 5th century possibly, the Western Church “de-Hellenized”. Throughout Western Church history, many Popes have expressed hatred of things “Greek”. There used to be many Greek monasteries on the Italian peninsula and slowly thru the centuries, they have been forced to close or Latinize.

    Observing Roman Catholicism in a detached sociological/psychological perspective, one notices the Lack of proportion, in much of Roman Catholic practices that is not noticeable in Orthodoxy.

    Let me point out another example of this deficiency. In practically every sermon, “Love” is spoken about. Love is an all important topic, much like the eucharist. but the overemphasis of this topic is, In my opinion, causing to effeminize Christianity and the emasculation of men in the Church. (q.v. “The Church Impotent, the Feminization of the Church” by Leon Podles).

    Proportion, which is a classical Greek principle, is missing in the Church at large. The push-back against me, the antipathy, in this thread is a great example that the importance of proportion, it’s concept, its use, its necessity, is totally foreign to the Catholic. Many of you are making judgements about something, you obviously haven’t heard or know about before.

    On the Temple of Delphi, is written a phrase that is part and parcel of Doric philosophy: “Nothing too much”. This phrase encapsulates the Golden Mean; it talks about Proportion. Excesses kill.

    If I drink too much water, I can kill myself. If I eat too much meat and only meat, that causes gout. If one waters too much plants–they die. Now, I am a farm laborer and a construction laborer and many times I have run into concrete examples of how Disproportion destroys.

    Is this not the point that Aristotle makes in discussing Virtue—Virtue is the mean between EXCESS and deficiency. There are three states; one of balance, one of excess and the one of deficiency. I mean this was demonstrated to me quite well on the subject of something so stupid and general as hay-making. Too much sun on hay destroys, cooks-out, the nutrients in the hay. I have had real-life experiences of the importance of Proportion.

    If I sound a little vociferous, it is because I know the dangers–first hand–and then I see Roman Catholicism making huge mistakes with its monomanicalism in certain areas.

    Proportion is everywhere in the real physical world. As below, so above. Metaphysics is no different. If Virtue, a metaphysical subject, is bound by the science of proportion, so is Theology.

    Jesus Christ said, “Man does NOT live by bread alone, but BY EVERY word that proceeds out of the Mouth of God”.

    Well, Creation, the Cosmos, proceeded out of the Mouth of God. Creation, the Cosmos was created THRU Jesus Christ. Creation, the Cosmos is the First Scripture. And throughout Creation, the Cosmos, is embedded the Logos. And what does the LOGOS teach?—-It teaches “Nothing too much”; Proportion.

    This is what I am pointing out. Harm is being done, to the faithful, by the over-emphasis, the monomanicalism, exhibited by Latin Christianity that has “de-hellenized”. Man can not reject, neglect the Logos whether presented in Holy Tradition OR in the Cosmos.

  10. Now, I think I am talking past some people here and I want this opportunity to discuss the Divine Office.

    The Divine Office did NOT originate with Monasticism in 300 A. D.! It has always been part and parcel of Lay Christian worship since the very beginning and is an integral part of Christianity proper; of the Cathedral; of the Church Which IS the Body of Christ!

    The eucharist in the Early Church was celebrated ON Thursday; not on Sunday. And as to the formal ritualized eucharistic celebration, St. Paul had to discipline Christians who ate and drank too much on these Thursday get-togethers.

    On Sunday, Christians met early in the morning to celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. There was NO mass on Sunday–but there was Matins. This liturgical motiff has been preserved in Eastern Orthodoxy. It had no connection to monasticism or the Mass. The hymn to the Myrrh-Bearing Women is one of the oldest hymns in the Christian Church. The remembrance of the resurrection was done without the Eucharist. Then some point the Eucharist on Thursday was moved to Sunday.

    Again, the light ceremony of the Vespers on Saturday is also a very early Church ceremony that had nothing to do with monasticism. Robert Taft S.J. writes on the Eastern style of the Divine Office:

    “It the East, liturgy is not just a service. It is also the place of theophany., In Sunday vigil (Saturday Vespers), as in the Bible, the very first theophany is creation. In chanting the invitatory psalm, special emphasis is given to the christological theme of darkness and light, which forms the fundamental symbolism of the cathedral office.” (from The Liturgy of the Hours in East and West, pg 385

    God is present in all things the Church does. The Divine Office bespeaks the mystery of God, of redemption and symbolizes God for the faithful.

    The Divine Office should be an integral part of the local run of the mill diocesan church! It was always part of the Church and it is not “solely” the job of monastics. The Divine Office was there at the very beginning of Christianity. So the practice and use of the Divine Office belongs first of all to the Cathedral Church and NOT to Monastics. Its proper place is in the fullness of Church Life, which brings me to…:

    Elliot Bee writes the flight from the radical concreteness of Christ in the Eucharist signals only discomfiture with what God intended in the Incarnation.

    Well Christ IS the Church. Christ is fully incarnate in the Church. Do we not say “The Church IS the Body of Christ”? Is this not the TOTALITY of Christianity; that Christ IS the Church. The Eucharist is the medicine of life but we also Meet Christ in the Church–in the Life of the Church.

    The Church is a total Package; it is the whole enchilada. It can not be reduced to “Just the Eucharist, maam”. (a play on Dragnet’s “Just the facts, maam”.)

    It is a dangerous road not to practice balance. It is precisely my point that this “Euchrist Only Theology” harms the church and you can actually notice this harm by the absence, neglect of the Divine Office in the Cathedral Church where it originally came from. Excess does kill and the excessive, monomaniacal, emphasis on the Eucharist has killed the Divine Office in the Life of the Church Which is the Body of Christ.

  11. That’s my point…the Divine Office is *not* limited to monasteries…I encountered it through everyone but monks.

    And no one is “reducing” the Church to the Eucharist. Perhaps you have been confused by the mindset you are denouncing. You would think the Eucharist (the presence of God, that is) would be treated with a little more respect.

  12. Mr Wheeler:

    I don’t know whether you’re Orthodox or not, but your position clearly is that Orthodoxy, being more “Hellenic” than Roman Catholicism, is a more authentic version of Christianity than Roman Catholicism. You don’t seem to have taken due note of the fact that such a premise is not shared here.

    Moreover, the Catholic Church is not limited to the Latin Church. There are Eastern churches that have never been out of communion with Rome for any great length of time, and others reunited with her after centuries of schism. One could make a good case that the Catholic Church should all the same become less “Latin” and thus more catholic or universal; that’s exactly the case made by Pope John Paul II in his encyclicals Orientale Lumen and Ut Unum Sint. I agree with him. But catholicity is not at all manifest in the view that that the Greeks are more authentically Christian than the Italians just in virtue of their cultural differences. That is sectarianism. We have no time for sectarians here.


  13. Mr Wheeler:

    I admit I am also quite uncertain as to your ecclesial standing, though I will presume you are an Eastern Orthodox convert. There is, you see, something of the distinct shrillness of a Clark Carlton or a Frankie Schaeffer in your voice.

    In any case, you seem intent on living out the adage, “Im Anfang liegt das Ende” (In the beginning lies the end). To wit, I realized my mistake in replying to you as soon as I recalled the very first words of your initial comment: “I’m sorry for this Eucharistic idolatry”. From the moment you typed those words, any replies rooted in a properly Eucharistic framework of truth would be, and indeed have been, futile. Deaf ears most happily mount a clamorous mouth.

    Consider the illogic of your initial clause: Idolatry is worship of a false god; the Eucharist is Christ wholly present, Light from Light, true God from true God; ergo, unless you are a Protestant unconvinced of the divinity of the Eucharist, or perhaps are a disillusioned former Christian now giddy with Hellenism, Eucharistic worship is not even conceivably idolatrous in the Catholic Church.

    So, not only is this entire merry-go-round with you predicated on an absurd notion of the Eucharist and idolatry, but is also mounted on the patently groundless notion that the Divine Office is “extinct” in the West. You have been refuted in regard to that claim by more than one person in this thread alone. Hence, if you persist in claiming that the Office is defunct in the Catholic Church, you will make it evident to all that you are the one talking past others.

    Moreover, I would like to provide an indication of just how you are talking past your own putatively Eastern Orthodox tradition by reacting against the centrality of the Eucharist in favor of a vague quasi-pagan Hellenism redivivus. At the same time, mindful as I am that more words often only harden some ears, I offer the following quotations to edify those in love with the Eucharistic Lord, Jesus Christ.

    “We must not objectivize God’s presence, God’s giving of himself to us in the eucharist, as just another of the many ways of being present to us. The eucharist is the centre of all other presences of God toward us. In the eucharist, we touch the basis of all reality, the Holy Trinity; here are concentrated the uncreated, personalized, loving energies of God as loving community. God’s fullness of love moves toward us in order to transform us into his loving children.”

    ––(George A. Maloney*, SJ, Be Filled with the Fullness of God [Hyde Park, New York: St. Paul’s, 1993], p. 120).

    * Fr. Maloney, God have mercy on his soul, was dual-rite Jesuit in the Russian Byzantine rite, was immersed in the teaching of the Eastern Fathers, and founded the John XXIII Institute for Eastern Christian Studies at Fordham University.

    “Therefore, in order that we may become his Body, not in desire only, but also in very fact, let us become commingled with that Body. This, in truth, takes place by means of the food which he has given us as a gift, because he desired to prove the love which he has for us. It is for this reason that he has shared himself with us and has brought his Body down to our level, namely, that we might be one with him as the body is joined with the head. And to show the love he has for us he has made it possible for those who desire, not merely to look upon him, but even to touch him and to consume him and to fix their teeth in his Flesh and to be commingled with him; in short, to fulfill all their love. Let us, then, come back from that table like lions breathing out fire, thus becoming terrifying to the Devil and remaining mindful of our Head and of the love which he has shown us.”

    –– (Fathers of the Church [New York: Fathers of the Church, Inc., 1957], p. 33:468–469, as cited in G. Maloney, ibid., p. 125–126)

    “I receive in Communion / the Body divinized as being that of God. / I too become god / in this inexpressible union. / See what a mystery! / The soul then and the body… / are one being in two essences. / Therefore these are one and two / in communion with Christ / and drinking his blood, / they are united to two essences, / united in this way to the essences of my God, / they become god by participation. / They are called the same name as that of him / in whom they have participated on a level of essence. / They say that coal is fire / and the iron is black. / Yet when the iron is immersed in the fire / it appears are fire. / If it then appears as such, / we also call it by that name.

    [Fr. Maloney adds:] ” We are received into the only-begotten Son of God by an ontological union, a unique oneness with God. Marriage perhaps comes closest to describing such a union and yet even that fails to express the oneness of person, Trinity and ourselves individually and all of us together united in the eucharist.”

    –– (quotation from Symeon the New Theologian, Hymns, 30.169–170, as cited in ibid., p. 131)

    “[T]he whole of the ascetic and mystical life is a deepening and realization of our Eucharistic union with Christ the Saviour. … This means that the earliest childhood memories of the Church that an Orthodox Christian has will probably be linked with coming to receive Christ’s Body and Blood; and the last conscious action of his life, so he hopes, will also be the reception of the Divine Gifts. So his experience of Holy Communion extends over the whole range of his conscious life. It is above all through Communion that the Christian is made one with and in Christ, ‘christified’, ‘ingodded’ or ‘deified’; it is above all through Communion that receives the firstfruits of eternity. … ‘[So perfect is this Mystery, so far does it excel every other sacred rite that it leads to the very summit of good things.] All human striving reaches here its ultimate goal[. … Wherefore the Eucharist, alone of sacred rites, supplies perfection to the other Mysteries]’, says Nicolas Cabasilas. ‘For in this sacrament we attain God himself, and God himself is made one with us in the most perfect of all possible unions…. This is the final mystery: beyond this it is not possible to go, nor can anything be added to it. … [After the Eucharist then, there is nowhere further to go. There we must stand, and try to examine the means by which we may preserve the treasure to the end.]'”

    –– (Kallistos Ware, The Orthodox Way [Crestwood, NY: SVS Press, 1995], as citing Cabasilas, The Life in Christ [Crestwood, NY: SVS Press, 1974], pp. 114, 116, with some additions by myself from that work).

    “[F] the early Fathers it [i.e., ‘Eucharist‘] was the key word giving unity and meaning to all the ‘elements’ of the liturgy. … Eucharist (thanksgiving) is the state of perfect man. Eucharist is the life of paradise. Eucharist is the only full and real response of man to God’s creation, redemption and gift of heaven. But this perfect man who stands before God is Christ. In Him alone all that God has given man was fulfilled and brought back to heaven. He alone is the perfect Eucharistic Being. He is the Eucharist of the world. In and through the Eucharist the whole creation becomes what it always was to be and yet failed to be. … The Eucharist of Christ and Christ the Eucharist is the ‘breakthrough’ that brings us to the table in the Kingdom, raises us to heaven, and makes us partakers of the divine food. For eucharist––thanksgiving and praise––is the very form and content of the new life that God granted us when in Christ He reconciled us with Himself. The reconciliation, the forgiveness, the power of life––all this has its purpose and fulfillment in this new state of being, this new style of life which is Eucharist, the only real life of creation with God and in God, the only true relationship between God and the world.”

    –– (Alexander Schmemann, For the Life of the World [Crestwood, NY: SVS Press, 1973], pp. 34, 37–39).

    “After the transformation of the bread and wine in the Mystery of the Eucharist into the Body and Blood, they no longer return to their former nature, but remain the Body and Blood of the Lord forever, whether or not they are consumed by the faithful. … Since to the God man Christ it is fitting to offer a single inseparable Divine worship, both according to His Divinity and His humanity, as a consequence of their inseparable union, therefore also to the Holy Mysteries of the Eucharist there should be given the same honor and worship which we are obliged to give to the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. … To receive communion of the Body and Blood of the Lord is the essential, necessary, saving, and consoling obligation of every Christian. … The saving fruits or effects of the Mystery of the Eucharist, if only we communicate them worthily, are the following: It unites us in the most intimate fashion with the Lord….” Etc.

    –– (Protopresbyter Michael Pomazansky, Orthodox Dogmatic Theology, chap. 8).

    Finally, I offer the following links to, which might help flush out more of what CT is about.

    “The Reality of the Real Presence” by D. Keefe

    The Knucklehead’s Guide to Covenantal Theology: A kind of Junior Illustrated Classics introduction to Covenantal Theology, dogmatic theologian Rev. Donald J. Keefe, SJ’s highly abstruse but devastatingly important masterwork. Covenantal Theology bears an Imprimi Potest, a Nihil Obstat, and an Imprimatur. The Knucklehead’s Guide doesn’t have any of those, but it tries to be a reliable introduction ‘for normal people.'”

    “The Eucharistic Sacrifice as the Only Possible History…”, by John Kelleher

    “A Christian View of History”, by David Meconi

  14. BTW, the second quotation is from St. John Chrysostom, Homilies on St. John’s Gospel.

  15. Mr. Elliotbee, I do believe in the Real Presence in the Eucharist; that Jesus Christ is fully present in the consecrated host. I do believe that Mass is an integral part of Christian worship.

    In answer to Michael Liccone, I lived and worked under the Belgian Nobertine Boniface Luykx, who was an liturgical expert, fluent in many languages. He laid the groundwork for Vatican II. His words: “Vatican II was to bring the Roman Catholic Church closer to Eastern Orthodoxy”. He constantly brought up Cultural determinism, esp. how Hellenism was the cultural backdrop that formed Christianity. I am NOT saying that “Orthodoxy is more authentic”, what I am saying and what Hegemon Boniface was saying is that Christianity was formed by Hellenism, a special mindset and cultural milieu that set the character of Christianity and formed its practices and doctrines. As Culture defines politics, culture also defines religion. I thought that this was a philosophy blog and I would think philosophy would take into consideration Historical development and historical sociology in order to understand phenomena. This loss of cultural connection can cause aberrations. It was the Belgian Nobertine, liturgical expert, that brought out the importance of the Hellinistic formation of Christianity especially, his favorite topic, Georges Dumzel, and trifunctionality of the European people and its effect on Christianity.

    Now, I thought this was a Philosophy blog. I brought up an important point that Philosophy speaks to. To me, Philosophy is the discovery and use of the Natural Law. That is what I garner from philosophia prima, or Greek/Platonic/Aristotelian philosophy I applied the Natural Law, I applied the principle of proportion. I am using philosophy but other than myself, I see that no one else has used “philosophy” in their critique.

    Does not Plato and Aristotle use proportion, are cognizant of the demands of Proportion in their philosophy? And then don’t they apply proportion in the real physical lives of people?

    Socrates in Plato’s Republic

    “And once more, the inharmonious and unseemly nature can only tend to disproportion?


    And do you consider truth to be akin to proportion or to disproportion?

    To Proportion.

    Then, besides other qualities, we must try to find a naturally well-proportioned and gracious mind, which will move spontaneously toward the true being of everything” (from Jowett’s translation, sec 486; paperback pg 218)

    Laconized thusly and extrapolated a little, “Disproportion leads to bad men”.

    This is philosophy. Proportion was one of the major elements in Hellenistic thought which in turn drove the formation of Christian doctrine. Now, living in the modern world, I never heard of proportion or its effects until much later in life and in studying what Virtue is. Reading Plato’s Republic clarified how important Proportion is, and then Living and working in the real world, experiencing it.

    Proportion is a central feature of Western Thought or should be. Socrates makes it clear that disproportion is harmful.

    Now, I have been with many an Orthodox priests and laity as well but they don’t go to the extremes that the RC does when it comes to the Eucharist. They, in a million years, wouldn’t think of putting it in a monstrance and having prayers to it. Just because I question the over-emphasis makes me some sort of Protestant, then the Eastern Orthodox must be Protestants as well. Their liturgical practices exhibit rhythm, a cycle, a respect for Time and Place which is very Hellenistic. The mass is so important that it is a community function not a private devotion. That during the week, if one walks into a church in the morning, one sees the Office being performed, that it has Time and Place. Whereas in the Catholic Church, it is Mass 24/7 and the DO has no place in the life of the Church.

    Proportion, balance, create liturgical rhythm that is a part and parcel of Church life. All I am pointing out is the loss of the respect and use of Proportion in Roman Catholic thought and in theology. The Roman Catholic Church plays up Natural Law all the time and yet, I don’t see it exhibited here. The Church demands the use of philosophy but I don’t see it being used practically. Can we not just have “Christian Theology”. What is wrong with just “Christian theology”?

    Now, in my 18 years growing up Catholic and attending Catholic school, I never once practiced, said, or knew anything of the DO. The three Catholic Churches in my town, today, do not have the DO. In my 40 plus years as a Roman Catholic, I have never attended, seen or heard, outside a monastic/religious center, the DO in any Diocesan church. My experiences are then much different from yours I suppose. Secondly, I have gone beyond Christian partisanship; I adhere to the apostolic Christian teaching confirmed by both the Catholic and Orthodox Church. Now, if that makes me evil in your sight, so be it.

  16. Wheeler: “They, in a million years, wouldn’t think of putting it in a monstrance and having prayers to it.”

    1) Did you catch the magic Freudian slip? “It”. The Almighty Savior of the world reduced to an it. Was ‘it’ just easier than typing ‘the little cracker’? The Eucharist is not an It––at least, ‘it’ is no more an ‘it’ than the Holy Spirit. The Eucharist is Christ among us, Emmanuel. To quote Pomazansky again:

    “After the transformation of the bread and wine in the Mystery of the Eucharist into the Body and Blood, they no longer return to their former nature, but remain the Body and Blood of the Lord forever, whether or not they are consumed by the faithful. … Since to the God man Christ it is fitting to offer a single inseparable Divine worship, both according to His Divinity and His humanity, as a consequence of their inseparable union, therefore also to the Holy Mysteries of the Eucharist there should be given the same honor and worship which we are obliged to give to the Lord Jesus Christ Himself.”

    Your experience among Orthodox celebrants has absolutely no bearing on the point of this discussion, since the topic is precisely the proper and fundamental role of the Eucharist in the Western Church. I admit, the lack of eucharistic adoration and the general Orthodox uneasiness about the Sacred Heart distress me, but I’m not going to scold them for honoring their own traditions. Dogmatically the Orthodox are of one mind with the point I am making, and that Fr. Keefe makes in CT. So the Orthodox you know wouldn’t consider a monstrance; as a Roman Catholic, I can only say, so much the worse for them. And then I drop it.

    2) You make much of your pedigree as a Catholic, but your 18 years in high school and 40 years in the Church and however many years under any number of “experts” don’t seem to have had much real impact on transforming your mind with proper devotion to Jesus Christ and the Holy Gifts. What you have done is read some very strong sacramental philosophy and have launched into a pet sermon about Proportion; what you have not done is undermine the absolute centrality of the Eucharist in both the East and West. I have cited the Fathers; you have vented anecdotes. That is awfully disproportionate of you.

    No one here is saying the Church ONLY has or ONLY needs the Eucharist. You are confusing the proposed necessary status of the Eucharist with its sufficient status, a status not being proposed by anyone here. (Am I being adequately philosophical for you?)

    The claim actually being made here is that everything else in the Christian life is in fact only proportionately (!) scaled, or put in the right perspective, when rooted in and compared with the Eucharist. The Eucharist is the only possible means for Christian theology to be true to itself; and, in the midst of being eucharistically self-consistent, She of course lives the Divine Office, and all sorts of other devotions. Hence, you are kicking the s––t out of straw man.

    3) It’s, er, nice that you think you are the only person in this discussion using philosophy, but what I think you fail to grasp is that proportion is not a univocal concept. Should I give a proportionate amount of time to my dog, my friends, and my wife (ex hypothesi), just in order to be perfectly proportioned, like some kind of social Vitruvian man? No. Each aspect of life deserves a PROPER proportionality, not univocal shares of my time and energy. That which is more noble deserves a greater proportion of our energy and attention. Ergo, if God is the highest and noblest Being, supereminent even over what we can grasp as Being, then He deserves the greatest, unqualified proportion of our devotion. And because the divine life is made present to us in a preeminent way in the Eucharist, it follows that this Mystery and this rite deserves the highest proportion of our worship. No honor is even possibly proportionate to the Highest. I cite the words of Nicolas Basilas once more:

    “So perfect is this Mystery, so far does it excel every other sacred rite that it leads to the very summit of good things. All human striving reaches here its ultimate goal[. … Wherefore the Eucharist, alone of sacred rites, supplies perfection to the other Mysteries. … For in this sacrament we attain God himself, and God himself is made one with us in the most perfect of all possible unions…. This is the final mystery: beyond this it is not possible to go, nor can anything be added to it.”

    Stop making so much noise about how no one here is engaging you. Bluster, you might like to know, is also a very unbecoming trait in a self-styled philosopher.

    Let me also say the reason I find your words so jarring, is because it truly breaks my HEART to know Catholics such as yourself can hold such a trivial attitude towards the Real Presence. I guess my ‘problem’ is that I’ve “only” been a Catholic a tenth as long as you; I still happen to believe in the old magic called orthodox devotion.

  17. Dear Mr. Wheeler,

    Your point about the Divine Office may have merit. It certainly is not given the prominence it should have in the Latin Church. But I cannot agree with you that this has something to do with an overemphasis on the Eucharist. How can we overemphasize the Eucharist when the Eucharist is Christ Himself? Can we ever overemphasize our Lord? I think not.

    You argue that the Eastern Church has preserved the proper balance and proportion. Perhaps with regard to the Office she has. But let me ask you this. Can the Orthodox receive communion daily? The reason I ask this is because if one looks at the early Church one will find that it was the traditional practice to receive communion every day of the week or, at the very least, 3 or 4 times per week. During that period of the Church’s history, lay people brought the consecrated hosts to their homes and received it by their own hands. Now, while both the Eastern and Western Churches discontinued this practice, the Western Church still allowed for frequent communion via the daily celebration of Mass. So, perhaps we can say that, in this case, the Western Church has preserved the ancient practice while the Eastern Church has lost it. It seems to me one could argue that it is a disproportionate thing to allow for reception of the Eucharist only on one day of the week.

    As for Eucharistic adoration outside of the liturgy, I can’t see why you would have a problem with it. Surely you believe that the Eucharist is the Real Presence of Christ Himself and surely you believe that Christ is to be adored and worshipped. So, where is your difficulty? I agree with you that Eucharistic adoration should not displace the Church’s public worship, including the Divine Office. And I agree with you that the Divine Office needs to be restored to its rightful place (though, as some have pointed out to you, this is already happening in many quarters). Nevertheless, I don’t see why one should pit one good thing against another. It seems especially unapostolic to pit the Office against the Eucharist as though there were some opposition between them.


  18. Apostolic Constitutions (compiled c 390) 7.423

    “But assemble yourselves everyday, morning and evening, singing psalms and praying in the Lord’s house”

    No mention of the eucharist. No where in Latin Christianity is mass said in the morning AND in the evening–twice a day. What is meant here? This is the Divine Office. The Apostolic Constitutions is just that–the consitution (politiea) of the Church. This is an order. And these are directives given for diocesan local churchs—not monasteries.

    St. Justin the Martyr, at 1.186 expressly states:

    “And on the day called Sunday all who live in cities or in country gather together to one place…

    He says “On Sunday”, making a specific day and he goes on to describe mass with the Eucharist. He doesn’t say “every day we meet”.

    The Didache again confirms St. Justin, 7.381

    “But every Lord’s Day, gather yourselves together and break bread.”

    I do not find any reference of “every day” and Eucharist mentioned. They gather once a week to break bread. They meet morning and evening to sing psalms and pray.

    Now, we were told at Vatican II that it WAS a standard procedure that the priest faced the people at the Eucharist. We were told up and down that this was a fact! Hegemon Boniface said the priest never faced the people. And about five years ago, Cardinal Ratzinger also concluded that this “facing the people in the early church” was a bogus lie. It never happened. So I take a grain of salt to this communion everyday in the early church.

    From the quotes above, the Divine Office is commanded and was a regular practice of the Cathedral Church. Furthermore, there are two very clear direct quotes that the Eucharist was celebrated on the Lord’s Day. They make a point of saying “The Lord’s Day”; they don’t say “We meet every day…”.

  19. The online Catholic encyclopaedia does have an article called Frequent communion.

    “In the early Church at Jerusalem the faithful received every day (Acts 2:46). Later on, however, we read that St. Paul remained at Troas for seven days, and it was only “on the first day of the week” that the faithful “assembled to break bread” (Acts 20:6-11; cf. 1 Corinthians 16:2). According to the “Didache” the breaking of bread took place on “the Lord’s day” (kata kyriaken, c. xiv). Pliny says that the Christians assembled “on a fixed day” (Ep. x); and St. Justin, “on the day called Sunday” (te tou heliou legomene hemera, Apol., I, lxvii, 3, 7). It is in Tertullian that we first read of the Liturgy being celebrated on any other day besides Sunday (De Orat., c. xix; De Corona, c. iii). Daily reception is mentioned by St. Cyprian (De Orat. Domin., c. xviii in P.L., IV, 531); St. Jerome (Ep. ad Damasum); St. John Chrysostom (Hom., iii in Eph.); St. Ambrose (in Ps. cxviii, viii, 26, 28 in P.L., XV, 1461, 1462); and the author of the “De Sacramentis” (V, iv, 25; P.L., XVI, 452).

    St. Augustine remarks that some churches did not have daily communion and others did.

    Now, the word, “Daily reception” is used. This is an important distinction. During Lent, the Orthodox Church does have a liturgy called “The Presanctified Liturgy” that is said on any day of the week; usually Wednesdays. The bread is consecrated on Sunday and then passed out during the week. My take is that “Daily reception” is this sort of thing. All the requirements of the use of the Eucharist is consecrated on Sundays and then passed out as needed during the weekdays. I have no objections to passing out the Eucharist during the week, because the DO is not hampered or obscured or neglected. Mass is the celebration of the community and a very solemn occasion. It is by right a “sacrifice” that must be accorded great solemnity, gravitas, and specialness. Sunday because it is the Lord’s day, requires the Lord’s Fast from midnight to reception and no work done on that day. The whole day is sanctified and the community gathered for the performance of the Eucharistic sacrifice.

    Daily mass was not a universal Church practice.

    I know the Catholic mindset. Once you say this is important, then all else goes out the window and this is the case for the DO. Once the Church excessively starts saying that only the mass is efficacious then the DO is dropped like a hot potato. As Hesoid says, “Observe due measure, for right timing is in all things the most important factor.” And the writer of Ecclesiastes says, “To all things there is a time, and season for every matter under heaven”. Due measure, proportion. As the liturgical year shows a rhythm, so there is a weekly rhythm and a daily rhythm. Every thing has a time and place. The early peoples were very conscious of the natural order and its rhythms. Rhythm is necessary.

    The Divine Office needs to be respected and it needs its place in the sun. Praising God, just on the merits of praising God in song, should have its glory as well. Proportion and due measure allow for the Fullness of Life, all aspects of Church are accomplished and done. There is room for all activity. That Church life is not reduced to “Just the Eucharist”. One has got to have diversity. During the Week day, the DO should have pride of place. After the DO is said in the morning, those that want reception of the Eucharist come up and recieve. But give the DO is proper due.

  20. this thread isn’t going anywhere. I posted a comment about Keefe’s book at your veniaminov blog,fide cogit actio.

  21. Is breathing every minute and eating every day, I wonder, subject to the same kind of strictures as the Eucharist, our breath and food in Christ?

  22. Elliot B.

    When looking at the Natural Order, there are several principles that can be deduced. One that all things are a composite of things; the regular combination of different elements and second, the unity of opposites which kind of meshes with the first. The basis of the Natural Order is Jesus Christ. And we can see these two principles in the person of Jesus Christ—i.e. Jesus Christ is fully God and Fully man.

    If Christ is a “combination of different elements” AND a “unity of opposites”—should not Christian theology match its progenitor, originator, foundation? Should not Christian theology also exhibit a “combination of different elements” and the “unity of opposites”?

    If everything is “Sola Eucharist”, where is the diversity? Can one eat the same thing all the time? Most people desire diversity in their meals. If God intended for monochromism, He would have invented a monochromatic world but He didn’t. God created a world where there is diversity; i.e. Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter; Night and Day, rich and poor. With the seasons, God created RHYTHM. Rhythm is a necessary human psychological need. That is why solitary confinement is punishment.

    Instead of mimicing God and following His Wisdom because we are ignorant or neglectful or badly trained of the Natural Law, we are causing dysfunctionality in the Church and in the Life of Christianity and deforming Christians.

    Christian liturgy must be a “combination of different elements” and must incorporate the unity of opposites for the wholeness of Truth and Beauty to exist. If these principles are not heeded dysfunctionality exists. One must have the normal and supernatural together; the unity of opposites. The Eucharist is the supernatural gift, but it must be conjoined with the normal everyday, i.e. The Divine Office. As I have laid out in this thread, bad theology is driving bad Christian practice. Bad theology, not guided by the light of Natural law, has destroyed the respect, diligence and performance of the DO. All things have limits.

    Secondly, in the over intellectualization of the Church, it seems to have been forgotten the emotional, spiritual (feeling kind) side of human beings. It says in several places that man is made of “Body, Soul, and Spirit”. The Greeks for ‘Spirit” have Thymos; the espirit de corps, or the elan vitale, or the morale. One can say, “Look at that spirited horse” meaning its liviliness.

    What is the DO for? So that the Christian people can sing their joy, to express their love in song.

    What do the angels do? What do the Cheribum and Seraphim do? Don’t they sing the glories of God? or do they take of the Eucharist? No. They sing. Did not God also impart upon Man, something animals can’t do, and that is Sing? When at the time of the new heavens and the new earth, are not the sacraments all gone? What remains? Our ability to sing.

    Is not worship the ability to sing the praises of God? Just like the Angels?

    And again, what does singing do? It gives spirit to the people. The people express their emotions, their spirit in song. They experience while singing—spirit. And it is this spiritual nature that God created us for. Expressing joy, and wonder and thanksgiving in song is just as important for good human health and psychological needs as the eucharist. Both are needed—not one to the exclusion of the other which OP seems to be doing.

    Theology can not be divorced from Philosophy. Theology like all the other sciences is a compartmentalized field. Its subject is strictly religion. In the words of Jacques Maritain, Philosophy is the queen of all sciences. Her rule is ALL knowledge and common sense. Theology can not be done without guidance by Philosophy and from what I gather from the OP, philosophy is sorely lacking. Just like Jesus Christ is Fully God and Fully man, a combination of different elements and the unity of opposites, Christian thought MUST ALSO be a combination of different elements and the unity of opposites; i.e. Natural Law and Holy Tradition; philosophy and Theology. The well rounded total view.

    To harp and make theology and Christian theology “Sola Eucharistia” is a grand mistake and engenders “Eucharistic idolatry”.

  23. And the Eucharist is God’s song of love to his people…coming among us, the flock he shepherds.

  24. “But give the DO is proper due.”

    Goodness. The DO’s proper due is not in a place above the Eucharist’s. The Book of Psalms, for example, is not equal to the person of Jesus Christ. Both are sacred. Both are holy. One is God.

    “A compliment to one is not an insult to another”–something to keep in mind. Adoring one thing is not ignoring another.

  25. Ms. Wheeler:

    Are you not aware that The Eucharist is Christ Himself?

    If you accept this (and unless, of course, you are non-Catholic), it is difficult for me to understand why you refuse to place such Significance on Christ.

    Giving Priority to Christ (especially in this manner), Frequent Worship & Reception of Him in the Eucharist are things a Christian should do.

  26. And Jesus said, “Where two or more are gathered together in My name, I will be there also”.

    Jesus Christ is at the DO as well as the Eucharist.

  27. JOHN 6: 51, 53-55
    51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, for the life of the world.
    53 Then Jesus said to them: Amen, amen, I say unto you: except you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you shall not have life in you.
    54 He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood hath everlasting life: and I will raise him up in the last day.
    55 For my flesh is meat indeed: and my blood is drink indeed.

  28. 1 Cor 11:26
    For as often as you shall eat this bread and drink the chalice, you shall shew the death of the Lord, until he come.

    1Cor 10:16
    The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?

  29. The saying of Jesus, “Where two or more are gathered together in My Name, I will be in the midst of them”, shoots a hole thru the thesis of Fr. Keefe. Every meeting of Christians, Christ is present, just like He is in the Eucharist. This passage seems to be forgotten in the work of Fr. Keefe.

    And now, what this thread demonstrates. We are replaying the Christological controversies of the 3rd and 4th centuries where some said Christ is only a Man or Christ is only a God. The orthodox position…Jesus Christ is Both which is called the Golden Mean.

    This thread replays the Christological controversy in another sphere that most people are not conversant with the Golden Mean. About epistemology, Socrates said, “Concept comes before knowledge” and it is clear that the Christian Church has lost sight and even the concept of the Golden Mean.

    The Christological controversy was settled in the Greek East and not at Rome. It was Hellenism that solved the problem. I said Christianity is a Greek religion. Why? For it was Greek thought that formed Christianity.

    The Golden Mean is inherent and integral to Greek thought; the idea of “The mean between the extremes”. It is very difficult and obscure but it was exactly this thought pattern that solved the Christological controversy for the Church; Jesus Christ is the Golden Mean.

    Apostolos Makrakis, an Orthodox theologian of the late 19th century, points out that the Christian formulation of the Trinity is the Golden Mean between Judiasm’s strict monotheism and the Gentile’s polytheism. The Trinity is the Golden Mean. If the Trinity is the Golden Mean, then Jesus Christ is the Golden Mean. And this is why the Jews could not accept Jesus but the Greeks did. See, they had the concept of it, not the Jews.

    And it seems that Roman Catholics, despite their copious degrees in philosophy, have forgotten this salient fact of reality; the Golden Mean.

    The friction I am receiving from the participants is because of their total incomphrension of the Golden Mean, how it works and that it is central to understanding reality. This is normal for a Greek, it is not normal for other people. These people have no clue on one of the most central principles of the Natural and Supernatural Order. Their minds are not set up. They see ONLY this way and no other. And the Catholic mindset is always directed to the Extreme. But Christianity is not a Roman religion; it is a Greek Religion. Roman culture of the Empire was Extreme. The Roman soldier was built on extreme obedience. Romaness is built on extremes. Not the Greek.

    The Christological controversies were settled in the Greek East because it was Greek, where Church Fathers grew up on Plato and Hellenism was throughout the Eastern Meditereannean. The Golden Mean, the mean between the extremes was a consious mindset. The friction that I witness is due to the lack of concepts of the Natural Order which comes by way of philosophy. Christianity can ONLY be seen thru Greek and that means Philosophy is needed for Christianity. True fully developed, well-rounded healthy Christianity needs to be protected, cared for and furthered by Greek Philosophy. The Golden Mean is not a Roman/Jewish idea or Concept. It is solely Greek. The roots of Christianity are Greek. Jesus Christ was incomprehensible to the Jew, Jewish thought drew a divide, chasm, between God and Man. They could not conceive of a bridge, the mean. When Jesus said He was God, the Jew disbelieved but the Greek believed.

    Unless one has been brought up and experienced in the Golden Mean it is hard to fathom. It is sophisticated. Neither extreme, but the mean. To have temperance of the mind and hold two unlike things together is difficult. But this is exactly what is being experienced here. I promote the mean and this seems incomprehensible to others.

  30. Erik von Ritter Kuenhelt-Leddihn, an Austrian Catholic aristocrat, wrote several books on European history and on Leftism itself. On page 191, of Liberty or Equality, he writes

    “As a result we find in Catholic countries a tendency towards violence which, coupled with the Catholic thirst for the absolute, sometimes takes the most extreme forms .”

    In describing a passage of Ramon de Valle-Inclan’s novel Los cruzados de la causa, he writes,

    “In this splendid piece of Spanish extremism we see an illustration of that Catholic tendency, so aptly described by Leon Bloy, to be or to become pelerins de l’absolu–“pilgrims of the absolute”. (pg 192)

    In the footnotes, Von Ritter Kuenhelt-Leddihn continues his investigations:

    “Jose Pemartin does not exaggerate when he says: “Hence we Spaniards have a right to be more Papist than the pope, and in fact have ben on many glorious occasions.” (#655, pg 334)

    The Spanish Church has greatly influenced Roman Catholicism throughout the centuries. Changes in practice in Spain, were adopted by the Latin Church at large. As one can see, Culture defines Politics and Religion as well. Von Ritter Kuenhelt-Leddihn then does a “contrast/compare” between Englishmen and Spaniards:

    “”To an Englishman, compromise savours of his so-much-revered fair play, and he could never support any action or subscribe to any opinion which suggested that half a loave was worse than no bread. His own national Church is the most ingenious of compromises.” This contrasts beautifully with the Spanish revolutionary song from 1821:
    “Death to whoever wants moderation,
    and long live, long live, long live extremism.””
    (#657, pg 334)

    Von Ritter Kuenhelt-Leddihn writes a whole chapter on “The Political Temper of Catholic Nations”. Culture drives Politics and in turn Culture drives Religion and hence theology as well.

    Catholics are driven for the search for the absolute. This is fine but within the absolute, there is the Golden Mean. Fr. Keefe’s thesis and the OP here are examples of that Catholic drive for extremism, of the absolute. Fr. Keefe is turning the Eucharist into an Absolute. Spanish influence on Catholicism has kind of deformed Christianity and driven it to extremes.

    There is a principle of philosophy, the Doric mode, “harmony between word and deed”. Well, that paradigm can be transferred also to politics and theology. How one thinks on politics will also be transferred into theology. How the Spanish thought on politics, this extremism, is then transferred into theology. There must be harmony. How one thinks in one field/sphere will be transferred to other fields/spheres as well! If I apply extremism to my politics, I will apply extremism to my theology. And vice a versa, If I apply extremism to my theology, I will apply extremism to my politics. Notice that the Spaniards are more “papist” than even the Pope. They’re fanatics. Being zealous is alright, but zealousness must be kept in its proper place.

    Culture and race are very important. Christian theology can not be based on extremism, on absolutism.

  31. Horace spoke of a principle which he was certain would save people from one kind of excess or another.

    He spoke of the Golden Mean.

    Horace praised the Man who sought, who desired the Golden Mean:

    “quisquis auream mediocritatem diligit”[?]

    The Golden Mean was the virtuous balance between excess.

    But the Cowardly substitute The Golden Mean — and it passes itself very frequently under fine sounding terms.

    — Just as those who would vaingloriously reduce any frequent worship, adoration & reception of Jesus under cover of Virtue when, on the contrary, it is in actuality Vice.

    For if The Eucharist is Christ, how can there be any such a thing as “Eucharistic Idolatry”?

    The very term alone reduces The Eucharist as nothing more than an abstract idea with no actual basis in reality; it not only completely dismisses Christ’s Real Presence — it turns on itself and blasphemously accuses The Eucharist as nothing more than an idol!

    This is Excess — not The Golden Mean.

    This is NOT Virtue, but VICE!

  32. And my question, Simply Philos, where is the place and room for the Divine Office in the Life of the Parish Church?

    My question is, Where is the Divine Office anywhere in the Cathedral Office of the Roman Catholic Church?

  33. Ms. Wheeler,

    As far as The Eucharist is concerned, you seem to have overlooked not only the fact that it is Jesus but also that it involves The Eucharistic Liturgy, which itself is an awesome prayer, even above anything the Divine Office can offer to God, which very purpose, by the way, is to praise God a custodia matutina usque ad nocte (please, forgive my Latin — still learning!).

    Your intentions are good; they just strike me as being misplaced.

    I, myself, observe the practice of the Horae; however, I believe that even what has been officially deemed and, consequently, promulgated by The Catholic Church herself as the Official Prayer of the Church is inferior in comparison to the Real Presence that is Christ in the Eucharist & The Sacrifice of The Mass which, to me, is the Ultimate Prayer pleasing to (more over, worthy of) God, let alone, none other can compare to.

    Mal 1:11:
    11 For from the rising of the sun even to the going down, my name is great among the Gentiles, and in every place there is sacrifice, and there is offered to my name a clean oblation: for my name is great among the Gentiles, saith the Lord of hosts.

  34. Mr. Simply philos, you have with your answer have given me perfect proof of what I am getting at in this thread. You have given me justification for every thing I have said.

    Secondly, Simply philos, you have not answered the question I posed, and nobody else seemed interested to comment,

    I asked,

    “where is the place and room for the Divine Office in the Life of the Parish Church?

    My question is, Where is the Divine Office anywhere in the Cathedral Office of the Roman Catholic Church?

    Simply philos answer:

    “that is Christ in the Eucharist & The Sacrifice of The Mass which, to me, is the Ultimate Prayer pleasing to (more over, worthy of) God, let alone, none other can compare to.”

    is talking around the question.

    Can someone please, please state in Black and White Clearly and simply, in true words, a simple state of fact of the place about the Divine Office in the Cathedral Office of the Catholic Church.

    Is not the Divine Office Holy Tradition? Are not the Apostolic Churches of the East all continue in practice of the Divine Office, why doesn’t the Catholic Church maintain Holy Tradition? Where in this Eucharistic based theology is the Divine Office?

    Or is the Divine Office of so little piddly consequence that we can heave it to the side of the road? Is the Divine Office consigned to the Dustbin of history?

  35. Ms. Wheeler,

    “Or is the Divine Office of so little piddly consequence that we can heave it to the side of the road? Is the Divine Office consigned to the Dustbin of history?”

    1. What makes you think that the Divine Office has been “consigned to the Dustbin of history” when the Clergy of the Church as well as several Catholics continue to practice it even today.

    2. You keep on missing the very point of the Divine Office: To Give Worship to God!

    For heaven’s sake, do you really believe that The Eucharist is Christ or not?

    That the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is Superior to anything on Earth or any Worship or Prayer we can Offer God?

    Mind you, that The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is far superior; it is amenesis — a partipation in the very Sacrifice of Our Lord & Saviour — that which is the only thing worthy enough to Offer to Our God.

    Among other things, you seem to have reduced noble practices meant to offer worship to Our Lord down to Pharisaical legalism.

  36. Have you Simply philos just arrived at this thread, have you read the whole thread? Because I have already answered those questions.

    Is this a neocon website? If one questions the justification of the Iraq War, one’s patriotism is questioned. I question the overemphasis of the Eucharist, promote the mean, and my faith is questioned. I don’t get it.

    The question is, “Where is the Divine Office in the PUBLIC practice of the Cathedral Church in Latin rite Christianity?”

  37. I don’t know what you mean by “Cathedral Church,” but the Divine Office in the PUBLIC practice of the Church is a little bit contradictory. Prayer can be public, and communal, sure. And the Divine Office is said both publicly, in communities, and privately, in one’s individual recitation.

    What I don’t understand is why this has to be a Divine Office vs Eucharist debate. Scripture over Christ? What?

  38. Archimandrite Robert Taft, S.J. writes,

    “The privatization of the office into a breviary-become-clerical-prayerbook is certainly not traditional, for traditionally the Liturgy of the Hours is something a group celebrates, not something an individual reads.” (emphasis in original except the bolding) Liturgy of the Hours, pg 362</blockquote.
    What Archimandrite Taft states is pretty obvious and proven throughout his book, it is a Public Act and not a Private one. So the mentality of my detractors here that the DO is perfectly alright as an individual excercise is absolutely False.

    He continues:

    “What is untraditional, therefore, is not the obligation of the office, but its clericalization. As with so much else in the history of the Church, what was once the property of the ENTIRE People of God has degenerated into a clerical residue, only reminiscent of what it was meant to be.” (emphsis in original except bolding and the capitalization of the word ‘entire’.) ibid

    Now, this expert on liturgy expressly states that the practice of the DO has Degenerated.


    Because of this Roman Catholic Attitude that Simply Philos has so brilliantly displayed; i.e.

    “I believe that even what has been officially deemed and, consequently, promulgated by The Catholic Church herself as the Official Prayer of the Church is inferior in comparison to the Real Presence that is Christ in the Eucharist & The Sacrifice of The Mass which, to me, is the Ultimate Prayer pleasing to (more over, worthy of) God, let alone, none other can compare to.”

    The overemphasis of the Eucharist has destroyed the liturgy of the Latin rite Church. The DO is NOT private prayer nor is it Individual prayer but Public, communal prayer of the Church. But since all things are inferior to the Eucharist, the DO has been consigned to the dustbin of history. This new “Sola Eucharstia” theology is a culmination of centuries of the transformation of Holy Tradition into a bastardized form that can no longer resembles the original apostolic deposit of faith and practice. The Life of the Church has been truncated into only the mass. And as the Church has been deformed by imperfect and faulty theology, it produces deformed and faulty Christians. It is harming the Christian witness.

    The proof is in the pudding. This theology of sola eucharstia has destroyed the Life of the Church.

    Furthermore, this paradigm touches on the importance of meaning. All meaning is absorbed by the Eucharist. If all meaning is absorbed by the Eucharist, then it takes and destroys all things around it.

    Case in point, the Divine Office. The Eucharist has been given so much meaning, that it has destroyed all respect to the Divine Office. It has sucked all meaning out of the Divine Office and that is why the Divine Office has disappeared from the practice and consciousness of Latin rite Christianity.

    This is BAD theology on part of the Church.

  39. I would ask the ever gregarious Mr. Wheeler, first, to cease making claims that the DO is gone in the Catholic Church (since, as I have already noted, that claim has been falsified by actual Catholics here), and, second, to read at least some substantive materials relating to Fr. Keefe’s work, preferably the entire work itself. The sound of an axe being ground to dust is deafening, and all the light perhaps produced is just being converted into heat.

    I would also like to make it clear that the reason people are challenging Wheeler’s faith is not because he has raised the issue of the Divine Office. The reason, actually, is because he is a functionally heretic, a paganized detractor from the dearest and most glorious Presence of the God on earth, and clearly confused on basic Catholic sacramental theology. It’s so forehead-slappingly obvious he just. doesn’t. get. the. point. If anything is more FUNDAMENTAL than the Eucharist, Catholic theology ceases not only to be Catholic but also to be theo-logy. The FUNDAMENTAL character of the Eucharist in no way equates to or suggests it is the EXHAUSTIVE character of the Church.

    Further, the also forehead-slappingly basic error of classifying “the Greeks” as some tertium quid between the Jews and the Gentiles is a dead giveaway that they have been reified into something almost magically pristine. The Greeks ARE Gentiles. Dr. Liccione’s diagnosis of Hellenophilic sectarianism is hardly amiss. Only a Hellenophile, a Spartan scholar no less, could fail to grasp the axiomatic clash that occurred between the patristic mind and the classical Greek worldview. Considering Wheeler’s obvious learning, the problem is not a failure to grasp that axiom of Church history, but a willful suppression of it.

    Wheeler declaims:

    “The Trinity is the Golden Mean. If the Trinity is the Golden Mean, then Jesus Christ is the Golden Mean. And this is why the Jews could not accept Jesus but the Greeks did. See, they had the concept of it, not the Jews.”

    This, in fact, is idolatry: the ‘transubstantiation’ (‘desubstantiation’?)of the Living Incarnate Lord into a timeless Greek principle of Reason.

    As such, I would alert/advise all other commenters that, frankly, Wheeler is a time-suck and just wants attention for promulgating the Gospel of the Mean. Please don’t feed the trolls. In that spirit, notice that I am only addressing his points for the benefit of other readers, but nor addressing him.

    “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” –– Gal. 3:28

    “For it has been reported to me by Chlo’e’s people that there is quarreling among you, my brethren. What I mean is that each one of you says, “I belong to Paul,” or “I belong to Apol’los,” or “I belong to Cephas,” or “I belong to Christ.” Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? …

    “For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the cleverness of the clever I will thwart.” Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.”

    Notice also how St. Paul dispenses with the Greeks’ fabled sense of religious PROPORTION and BALANCE, such healthy ‘diversity’ which allegedly prepared them for the Gospel better than any other kind of person (save Wheeler himself, of course):

    “Some also of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers met him. And some said, “What would this babbler say?” Others said, “He seems to be a preacher of foreign divinities” — because he preached Jesus and the resurrection. … So Paul, standing in the middle of the Are-op’agus, said: “Men of Athens, I perceive that in every way you are very religious. For as I passed along, and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription, `To an unknown god.’ What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you. The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in shrines made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all men life and breath and everything.” –– Acts 17:18, 22ff

  40. In this first chapter of The Knucklehead’s Guide to Covenantal Theology is this tidy paragraph:

    “To repeat one last time, Fr. Keefe’s work is one of theological science. In substance, then, it is equivalent to a work by St. Thomas Aquinas, or to any work by any Catholic theologian. Its sole goal is to make higher-quality mistakes than had previously been possible.

    It says right there that Keefe’s work is “””” to MAKE higher-quality mistakes”””. That is what the Freudian slip says.

    Now, one of the principles of the Academic World is to “Assume Good Faith”. We need to take this man’s word to heart. This is what the purpose of Fr. Keefe’s work, to make high-quality mistakes. We need to take them at their word.

  41. There’s not a “””””sigh””””” in the world big enough…

  42. Well, here is another insight:

    “This probably sounds like absolute nonsense. Nevertheless, Fr. Keefe means what he says. His argument is nonsense,…

    That writer acknowledges something very fundamental about Keefe’s work—it is so esoteric, it is meta esoteric and it is nonsense. When the Faith is wrapped up in Academicese and when Theology begins to be written into this—it is nonsense.

    Jacques Maritain writes a whole chapter on “Common sense”. Our theologians, and I don’t care, Eastern Orthodox or Catholic, are so out of touch in their Ivory towers, they are devoid of common sense. Your basic clergyman spends all his growing up years in Elementary and High School, moves into College and then in the seminary. They spend all their time in Academia.

    They don’t know the real world. Only with contact with the real world, the world of nature, does common sense arrive in the mind of man. All the intellectualization and the high-brow thinking is nonsense unless it is connected to Common Sense. Socrates recognized this when in the Republic, to be a philosopher, he must leave school, and live in the real world for twenty years and then come back for higher education. I doubt seriously anybody does this before labeling themselves a “philosopher” or a “theologian”.

    To everything in the cosmos is attached a cone of darkness. When Light shines on an object, it produces a shadow. Vegetable and Fruits are good for you and have nutrients. Did you know that these very same good stuff has “anti-nutrients”.

    Intellectualism has the same thing. The founders of philosophy had this to say:

    “And we are wise, because we are educated with too little learning to despise the laws, and with too severe a self-control to disobey them, and are brought up not to be too knowing in useless matters—such as knowledge which can give a specious criticism of an enemy’s plans in theory, but fails to assail them with equal success in practice… (Thucydides, Landmark edition, 1.84.3)

    Aristotle also realizes the dangers of too much “intellectualization”:

    “And even with the liberal sciences, although it is not illiberal to take part in some of them up to a point, to devote oneself to them too assiduously and carefully is liable to have the injurious results specified.” (Politics, Loeb, 1337b 10; pg 639)

    Common sense is an intuition of the world at large and just by reading this nonsense does one come across that there is absolutely no common sense evident. There is a reason God created the world and put us into it. Man is attached to reality for a purpose, we are both “body and soul”, material and spiritual. We live in Two worlds and it seems Fr. Keefe wants us to be divorced from the real world. Intellectualism/Academicism is all nonsense without first a foundation and an intuition of common sense.

  43. Thanks Simply philos, what I have observed her (and dabbled in) has actually explained a lot. I really appreciate the learning experience. 🙂

    As for Mr Wheeler good luck with your studies, and I hope you see God’s truth one day.

    Prayers to all of you here.


  44. In reply to Mr. Elliot Bee’s post of September 19th, 2008 at 1:19 am

    First off, St. Paul said we are to “Maintain the traditions that I have handed onto you”. The Divine Office is part of that tradition. No part of that tradition is Unimportant, some parts may be inferior, but none unimportant. Holy Tradition is the total package. Are you not reading my posts. Mr. Bee writes:

    “first, to cease making claims that the DO is gone in the Catholic Church (since, as I have already noted, that claim has been falsified by actual Catholics here),

    Archimandrite Taft does back me up on the DO when he says “It has degenerated”. Those are His words Not mine. I quote a scholarly book Mr. Bee. He says “degenerated” what part don’t you understand? I will take a liturgical expert who did write a book on the very subject over the comments written here. I would think that on a scholarly website you would do the same.

    I am told to “maintain the traditions”. What is the problem? The problem is that the RC is kind of slipping on this maintenance thing not me. I am not the problem. I am pointing out the problem and for some reason, people here have made me into the problem.

    On pagan ideas

    “Pagan” is a word to discredit and deconstruct the intellectual heritage and Greek inculturation that is the inherent makeup of Christianity. It is about sanitizing the Hellenistic character and contribution of the Greeks into Christianity.

    What is Philosophy? Philosophy meant originally, “Lover of Wisdom”.

    Jacques Maritain, the French Catholic Philosopher, writes on this very point in his book Intro to Philosophy; the Greeks coined the term because they knew they were NOT wise but only One above. Only God is wise and they were lovers of this Wisdom called the Logos.

    Logos is the reason guiding the order in nature.

    What did St. John out Jesus Christ as? The Logos. In Hellenistic times, that was the reason embedded in Nature. These pagans were actually observing and studying Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is the Logos. Why are you attacking the Greeks, Mr Bee?

    I think Mr. Bee that you are unaware that there is a dichotomy between Philosophy and just plain Sophia. Even Socrates and Plato condemned men’s sophia in the persons of Sophists. Socrates, Plato and Aristotle were not sophists but philosophers. There is a big distinction. Yet you make no distinction.

    Now, it says in the Book of Wisdom (Holy Scripture and the inspired word of God):

    “For by the greatness and beauty of the creatures proportionably the maker of them is seen.” Wis. 13.5

    We know somethings about God thru nature. By looking at nature we can somewhat know God. These are what these pagans were doing. Did NOT Jesus Christ say, “You shall know them by their fruit”? If the Cosmos is the Fruit of God, who are you to condemn the Greeks?

    St. Paul says, “What does Nature teach”. Nature does teach and this is what Philosophy is based on. It is based on the Wisdom embedded in the Natural Order.

    The Bible says:

    “For God loveth none but him that dwelleth with wisdom” Wis. 7.8

    Who dwelleth with wisdom? your pagan Greeks did. Socrates, Plato and Aristotle dwelt with Wisdom.

    And then it says,

    …but thou hast ordered all things in measure and number and weight” Wis. 11.20

    It says right there in Scripture, that God has ordered all things in measure. This is your Due Measure. Isn’t it amazing that without Divine Writ, the Greeks managed to say the same thing by only looking upon the cosmos? How strange! Or could it even be stranger that the Hebrew scribe borrowed that from the Greeks under inspiration of the Holy Spirit?

    God ordered all things by due measure. Nothing is without limits and that means Theology as well.

    Jesus Christ said, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life”. What is Truth but the Golden Mean between the deficiency called lying and the excess called exaggeration. And Jesus said another thing–“Be ye Perfect, as your heavenly Father is Perfect in heaven”.

    I ask you Mr. Bee, what are the necessary things for perfection? And isn’t Perfection akin to Beauty? And is not Beauty, Perfection and Truth all similar to some regards. The Poet Keats said,

    “Beauty is truth, truth beauty, that is all” “Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.”

    And as someone else noted

    “”there is a close association in mathematics between beauty and truth”.

    And what is one attribute of Beauty? The Golden Mean. Beauty exists in something well proportioned. When something is distorted, we call that ugly.

    The term for excellence in Greek is Arete; which we translate as Virtue. What is Virtue? The excellencies of a man. And where does Virtue lie? In the Golden Mean. This is not an invention of the Greeks but a discovery of a principle IN nature.

    Throughout nature is this Golden Mean. It is everywhere. How did it get there and why is it numerous? Because God put it there. And if God is perfect then what does God have? The Golden Mean. If God is Truth, if God is Beautiful, and God is Perfect, and the work of God, creation, is full of this principle, what does that tell you? That God has the Golden Mean.

    Perfectness does not lie in the extremes–ugliness does. Philosophically speaking, this theology which is totally extreme does not exhibit the Golden Mean. As Scripture says, God put all things in Measure. Christian theology must be the same.

    As Plutarch commented on the Doric Greek Mentality,

    “We are not in this world to give the laws, we are here in this world to obey the commands of the gods

    We are here to obey. To learn Obedience. The central feature of Christian theology is the disobedience of Adam. We are here to learn Obedience. This is what God Cares more about! And the flippant attitude towards the Natural law is not the attitude that God wants. God created the Golden Mean. We must be obedient to it, because death is in either the deficiencies or in the extremes. That is why the Catholic Church is in such Sorry shape that Fr. Keefe points out but it is NOT his dehistoricized cosmology that is the problem of the Church—The Problem of the Roman Catholic Church is that it lacks Proportion, Due Measure, the Golden Mean.

    That is the Problem. Jesus said, “Man lives by Every Word that proceeds out of the mouth of God” and the Cosmos proceeded out of the mouth of God, and the Church and Ivory towered academic clergymen have turned their back on “Due Measure”. What does Nature teach, Mr. Bee?

    Fr. Keefe’s theology is bad theology. It is thoroughly bad.

  45. p.s. elementary and high school have nothing to do with academia…trust me

  46. Dear Lucia:

    Thanks ;^)

    — but could you possibly be referring to eliottbee & not myself?

    At any rate,
    God bless you, too!

  47. Ooopsss… should’ve gave context to my above message:

    It was with regards to Ms. Lucia’s comments:

    “Thanks Simply philos, what I have observed her (and dabbled in) has actually explained a lot. I really appreciate the learning experience. “

  48. no, actually, Simply Philos, I was referring to you. Of course I appreciate and respect elliotbee, but I can’t comprehend what he writes–not because he is incomprehensible but because my knowledge is so tiny. I really appreciate your taking up the “fight” and explaining everything so plainly and simply. I am learning by observance, something very difficult for a real-life loudmouth like myself, so I really appreciate the simple words!

    (The timestamp is all messed up and the comments aren’t in the order I saw them, so it is a little out of context.)

    But in any case thank you very much.

  49. Let me explicate the Golden Mean in regards to the Eucharist.

    The Deficiency is in the Protestant and Atheist positions that the Eucharist is just a symbol; that Christ is not present in the Eucharist. This is the deficiency.

    The Excess is in the OP, to wit: “All theological principles and categories must submit to and be subsumed under this one triune matrix of actual, substantial, concrete, and free––because historical––communion in and through the μια σαρχ”. Excess is exaggeration. It is the Roman Catholic position.

    The Golden Mean: the consecrated host is the presence of Christ in it and it’s proper place is just a sacrament and it is consecrated on Sunday, the Lord’s Day and Church festivals. It is given due respect, and reverence. This is the Eastern Orthodox approach. Nothing too much, nothing too little.

    Where does the Truth lie? in the Golden Mean. The truth doesn’t lie with the Prots and the RC has exaggerated its position. The Eucharist must lie in Holy Tradition. What has been practiced everywhere, at all times, from the beginning. (The Socratic principle of consistency; central feature of the Socratic elanchos.) We must stay within the boundaries of Holy Tradition.

  50. Let me explicate the Golden Mean with regards to some others matters.

    The ideal mother is neither too pregnant nor too non-pregnant, but somewhere, just right, in between.

    The ideal hero is neither too alive nor too dead, but somewhere, just right, in between.

    The ideal sum is neither too correct nor too false, but somewhere, just right, in between.

    The ideal God is neither too holy nor too unholy, but somewhere, just right, in between.

    –– this message underwritten by the Goldilocks Theological Foundation

  51. The ideal lover is neither too straight nor too gay, but somewhere, just, in bi-tween.

    Cue the big sigh.

  52. I will get to your criticism in the future there Mr. Bee. You do bring up a good point. For right now, let me say that the Golden Mean is attached to certain situations.


    But let me go back to Adam. For human existence is wrapped up in Adam. The story of Adam is one of the central motifs of Christian theology.

    What is the story about?

    Adam is placed in the Garden of Eden. God tells Adam that he can eat of ALL the trees in the Garden EXCEPT One.

    This is very important, people. God Limited Adam. Knowing that Good is in the Golden Mean, God placed Adam in the Golden Mean. Adam could eat of everything EXCEPT One thing. One thing was Off-Limits.

    Adam was Limited.

    What did Adam fail at? Obeying Limits. He went beyond limits. He sinned.

    All things have boundaries and God gave Adam a Boundary which he as forbidden to pass. Adam did not care about boundaries.

    And what happened to Adam—Death came to him. Breaking the limits brings death. Our whole existence is a classroom. We are in School, learning how to live with limits. The World is a School! We are here to learn about the consequences of breaking limits.

    Knowing that giving Adam TOTAL freedom was DANGEROUS. Adam was given Measured freedom. Adam was given ONE limit, which obviously he couldn’t handle. There is another spiritual sense to this story, communion with God, but this is the Philosophical sense.

    God put limits on Man and man refuses to respect limits. By placing Man in this world, Man learns the Hard way that Limits serve a purpose. They are there for a reason. And Man must self-regulate himself in order to live.


    Now, I want to discuss another feature of the Eucharist and limits. Now, I mentioned above in this thread, that all things have a cone of darkness. Now, we also know that the Eucharist is a great sacrament. It is the highest of the Sacraments. What is prestige? It is intoxicating.

    I recognize people’s fidelity and great love of the Eucharist, especially amongst Catholics. They have a great love of it. Well, duhhh, the Eucharist IS intoxicating. Its great prestige, honor, and glorification are its cone of darkness. The Eucharist is very powerful.

    This is why it has to be severely limited. Because it destroys everything around it if it becomes UNlimited. Case in point, the DO and the distortion of the Fullness of the Faith and Life of Christianity. It is Powerful, that means it has to be MORE restricted.

    Alcohol serves as an example but a faraway example. Alcohol is good. It is also necessary for the Mass. But its effects are so intoxicating, that men abuse it. The Eucharist and its attraction is so intoxicating, that Men abuse it.

    The most beautiful things are Intoxicating. Beautiful Women are Intoxicating. Too much leads Men into sin. The most beautiful things have a Cone of Darkness. Their presence is Intoxicating and leads men to abuse them. What is Lord Acton’s premise, “Absolute Power corrupts and Absolute Powere corrupts absolutely”. This paradigm is also pointed out in the Odyssey of Homer in the story of the singing rocks (forget the name) that was so intoxicating that sailors were driven to their deaths on the rocks. Odysesius had to put wax in the ear of his sailors and him tied to the mast.

    Danger comes in the intoxication and men abuse it. Can the Eucharist be abused? Yes, by well-meaning people. They are intoxicated by the mystique and mystery of the Eucharist as we all should be—and it is that much dangerous. Because Man abuses it. Yes, the Eucharist is the supreme good, Yes, the Eucharist is a fantastic sacrament, Yes, the Eucharist is the Real presence of Jesus Christ and yes the Eucharist is Intoxicating and it can be so intoxicating that it brings destruction all around it.

    “Nothing too much”. Even the Eucharist can be “taken too much”.

    What makes something beautiful is its “well-proportionness”. Are Roman Catholic Christians well-proportioned, or are they distorted, leaning heavily to one side?

    God is immensely beautiful. God is so immensely beautiful that we would stare at him and we could not, can not take our eyes off of him.

    THIS IS WHY GOD HIDES HIMSELF FROM US. This is why God has forever throughout our history hidden himself. Notice that God ONLY showed his backside to Moses. Never the front.

    When man was ready, when Hellenism was everywhere, and the Jews became Hellenized, then God sent His Son to compete Revelation. That man schooled in limits can handle and understand his presence and not over exaggerate.

  53. I pointed out my hero and church educator Hegemon Boniface Luykx. Do you know where he was educated?

    University of Louvain, Belgium.

    I then quoted the work of Archimandrite Robert Taft S.J.

    Where did Archimandrite Robert Taft do his post-graduate work at?

    University of Louvain, Belgium.

    I know Father Boniface was a Latin priest and I am guessing that Robert Taft, with his English name and surname, was a Latin-rite Christian. Both of these moved to Eastern-rite Catholicism. I know for a fact that Father Boniface was heavily into the Divine Office. Do you see a connection between these two people?

    University of Louvain, Belgium and their love of the Divine Office.

  54. One must learn to control intoxication. Over-indulgence kills. Just like a man if he overindulges in food or alcohol harms himself, Over-indulgence of the sacraments also harms.

    Another word for over-indulgence is called Gluttony. Gluttony is one of the seven cardinal sins. Can there be over-indulgence in the spiritual life? Can there be over-indulgence in Christian life? Yes.

    As it is in the physical world, so it can be also in the spiritual world. It is the principle of macrocosm and microcosm. The same principle that apply in the microcosm apply to the Macrocosm.

    Over-indulgence is a Sin, in food and alcohol. Over-indulgence in the Sacraments is a grave fatal error that distorts the Life of the Church.

  55. 1 Cor 10:16
    The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?

    1 Cor 11:26-27
    For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes. Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.

    Therefore, in light of the Words of The Prophet Wheeler in his above comments, Paul was not the Saint we professed him to be (never mind, The New Testament is primarily comprised of his works) but a heretic who foolishly believed in The Eucharist as actually being the Body & Blood of Christ and promoted the Vice of Over-indulgence by encouraging frequent reception of it.

  56. Why was my post deleted? Too much truth?

  57. Too much truth?

    Just the contrary: Too Little.

  58. First, If you delete a post would you please post a reason. Is Common courtesy too much? Doesn’t good ethics propose such? Why should I be guessing? What rule did I break?

    But I think the “rule” I broke is because I criticized the Church. Is philosophy a partisan tool? Is one of the principles of Philosophy not to criticize the Church? in what book is that stated? Is Philosophy beholden to the See of Rome? I didn’t get the memo that stated that Rome is a God and that philosophy must pass RC muster. I thought Philosophy was a science, not a lapdog for Roman Catholicism. I thought Philosophy is based on Truth, or is philosophy to be centered around Rome? Is not philosophy an Independent Science?

    A writer with a moniker Takuan Seiyo writes an article on the Imbalance in Western Culture: Empire of Yin – Part 1: The Great Unbalancing where he writes:

    “It is difficult to deal with the dystopia of the West partly because we don’t have an accurate concept of its genesis.”

    And then he writes on what that problem is:

    “The West has careened dangerously out of balance, and its political and philosophical concepts have not been able to identify correctly what it is that’s out of balance.”

    What have I been talking about? The West is out of balance because the Roman Catholic Church is out of balance. Another word for the Golden Mean is Harmony. And has been explicated by me in this thread is that the Roman Catholic Church is based on extremism of every kind and has forgotten the principle of the Golden Mean; of harmony. The Roman Catholic Church is a central feature of Western Civilization and what happens in the Roman Catholic Church affects Western Civilization. When the Church is out-of-balance, Western Civilization is out of balance.

    This is what philosophy teaches; harmony, balance, the Golden Mean.

    Is this a philosophy blog, or a partisan website? Are not Roman Catholic philosophers called upon to apply the tenets and principles of Philosophy? Or is philosophy to be degraded into being some partisan lapdog for the See of Rome?

    Are we interested in healing what ails—or continuing down the road to perdition?

  59. Is Common courtesy too much?

    1. I didn’t delete your post.
    2. What is your definition of common courtesy?

    Is it such that as guest at the home of your host, you repay his kindness for his invitation to you at dialogue by inter alia rudely spitting at his face, engaging in malicious rants, and offending your host by hurling viscious & underhanded accusations?

  60. Simply Philos:

    Always remember: Don’t feed the neighborhood trolls! 😉


  61. Elliot B.,

    Submitting myself to Sister Humility — pray I shall.

    Thanks, dear sir: you remain ever the gentleman & scholar!

    God Bless.

  62. 1 Cor 11:26-27
    For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes. Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.

    Contrary to Simply Philos, “For as often” means “when one does this act”, or “everytime”, or “On every occasion”. “For as often” does NOT mean “Do it often”! It means everytime, one does this, these are the consequences.

    What Father Keefe is doing is committing a logical error.

    Aristotle writes:

    “Nor, similarly, is Love the cause of being; for in combining things into one it destroys everything else.” Metaphysics, Loeb, 1000b 10; pg 131.

    “For combining things into one—-It destroys everything else.” This is LOGIC. Logic is the basis of reasoning. God is Reason. God knows this. That is why nothing is based on One. The whole cosmos is based on a “mixture of things”.

    All the Sacraments of the Church were instituted SEPERATELY. How can one even take the Eucharist without the sacrament of Baptism? Or continue it without the Sacrament of Confession?

    In each Sacrament, we met Jesus Christ! Each one! The Real presence of Christ is in the Sacrament of Confession! The Eucharist did not create the sacrament of confession, JC did.

    The proof of Aristotle’s discovery is the marginalization of the DO in the Life of the Church. It has for all practical purposes disappeared. This is proof positive of the reality.

    The Eucharist is not the basis of Christian Doctrine–But all of Revelation and acts of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit is the basis of Christian Theology. It is erroneous to “combine all things into one”. This is logical error and Father Keefe commits this Logical error.

  63. This thread is closed. We’re just waiting on a moderator to close them officially.

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