The Church through History 354-1054 Augustine, Monasticism, and the Dark Ages Larry Fraher Augustine (354-430) Influences in Augustine’s Life – Plato: “Humans are inclined to seek the good.” The Pear Tree – Manicheaism “Star Wars of the 5th Century” Two Gods, 1 Good and 1 Evil. – Augustine’s Own Desires… Augustine The Pear Tree “There was a pear tree close to our own vineyard…Late one night…a group of young scoundrels, and I among them, went to shake and rob this tree. We carried off a huge load of pears, not to eat ourselves, but to dump out to the hogs, after barely tasting them ourselves. Doing this pleased us all the more because it was forbidden. Behold, now let my heart confess to thee what it was seeking there, when I was being gratuitously wanton, having no inducement to evil but the evil itself. It was foul and I loved it. I loved my own undoing. I loved my error – not that for which I erred but the error itself. A depraved soul…seeking nothing from the shameful deed but shame itself. …” (Confessions, 4.9) Augustine The first “Playboy to Priest” “To love and be loved was sweet to me, and all the more when I gained the enjoyment of the body of the person I loved. Thus I polluted the spring of friendship with the filth of concupiscence and I dimmed its luster with the slime of lust. Yet, foul and unclean as I was, I still craved, in excessive vanity, to be thought elegant and urbane. And I did fall precipitately into the love I was longing for.” Baptism of Augustine (Confessions, Ch. 3) A (False) Story There was a man, who was the CEO of Creamy Crisp Doughnut Company. Later in life and unmarried, he decides to become a priest in the Catholic Church. When the sexual abuse scandal rocked the church, he began a “ministry” to victims and their families, preaching that because of the lack of moral standing of the priests who have been convicted of abuse, the sacraments that were received at the hands of these priests were never valid because the priests themselves were immoral. This movement became known as the “Doughnutists”. How would you respond to this issue, or a person who might say something similar? The Donatists First Puritans – Only a person who is morally good and right can perform the sacraments – All Christians must be morally good and right Augustine Responds – Ex opere operatum! – In personae Christi Capitis – In personae Christi Corpus Ex Opere Operatum When you were baptized, you could not know the ‘faith’ of the one who baptized you. – Presumption to faith – Sacraments are Effected by: The will of Christ and the Church Desire of the Recipient – Form & Intention Prescribed by the Church Intent of the Church In Personae Christi Capitis Once ordained, the priest, when “confecting” the sacraments of the Paschal Mystery (Confirmation, Eucharist, Penance, Ordination, Anointing), acts in the Person of Christ the Head. (In Personae Christi Capitis) – Connection to the Church (Granting of Faculties) – Ordination (Apostolic Succession) – When the Church acts Sacramentally: CHRIST ACTS THROUGH THE CHURCH THE CHURCH ACTS IN THE GRACE OF BAPTISM – Cannot be divorced from, and only finds meaning within, the Church (In Personae Christi Corpus) Free Will Is sin a weakness of the will, or a natural disposition, toward self (concupiscence) with which we are born? If I, as an Individual, choose to follow Christ, remain strong and faithful in that following, then do I need Christ? Do I need Grace? Pelagianism Pelagius Taught: – Human freedom was sufficient. Grace, was for the most part, an unnecessary extra – The Human was not bound to a sinful pre-disposition. Could choose to act according to the good – Capacity, Volition and Action Capacity – The ability to do good in our nature bestowed upon us by God Volition – The ability to direct our action in life… Action – The ability to commit actions… For Pelagius, where does Grace come in? Dangers in Pelagianism Christology: dual natures are unnecessary. – In freedom, Jesus chooses all good. – As such, Adam’s sin has no effect on us. Selfcenteredness (original sin) is not pre-disposed in Human Nature. Rejection of the Divine Economy – Grace is unnecessary – In my person and freedom, I may choose good, without God’s assistance. – Role of Jesus? Augustine “In this system Pelagius posits and distinguishes three faculties, by which he says God’s commandments are fulfilled – capacity, volition, and action: meaning by capacity, that by which a man is able to be righteous; by volition that by which he wills to be righteous; by action, that by which he is actually righteous. The first of these, the capacity, he allows to have been bestowed on us by the Creator of our nature; it is not in our power and we possess it even against our will. The other two, however, the volition and the action, he asserts to be our own; and he assigns them so strictly as to contend that they proceed simply from ourselves.” On the Grace of Christ, Ch. 4. Augustine Original Sin “Whence it comes to pass that each man, being derived from a condemned stock, is first of all born of Adam evil and carnal, and becomes good and spiritual only afterwards when he is grafted into Christ by regeneration: so was it the human race as a whole.” City of God, 15.1 Doctrine of Depravity – Humanity is evil and carnal… (Luther and Calvin) Nature or Act? – Analogy of the wheel. Augustine “Now, what makes such evil possible is the fact that no created nature can be immutable. Every such nature is made, indeed, by God, the supreme and immutable Good who made all things good, but, by choosing to sin, such a nature brings evil upon itself. This very sinning, however, bears witness to the fact that the nature in itself, as it comes from the hand of God, is good.” –City of God, Book 22, Chapter 1 Augustine -- Conclusions Essential to Sacramental Understanding – In Personae Christi Capitis/Corpus – The Action of the Priest and Church Original Sin and Free Will – Capacity: We all have the capacity to do good, inherent in our nature – Volition: We certainly have the ability to direct our will, but that volition is tainted by the human condition of original sin – the propensity to selfishness. – Action: Because our volition is tainted by Original sin – our action is also tainted and often directed to our selves Historical Developments Fall of Rome – 410 – Collapse of the Roman Empire Christianity becomes ‘secularized’ – Begins to take on the politics of the world. Setting the Stage for the Rise of Monasticism – Antony “The Father of Christian Monasticim” Traditionally Aligned with “the Desert Fathers” Divorced self from the material possessions of the world to go to the desert and follow Christ. – Benedict of Nursia “The Father of Western Christian Monasticism” The ‘Roots of the Modern Western Civilization’ Antony “Now it was not six months after the death of his parents, and going according to custom into the Lord’s House, he communed with himself and reflected as he walked how the Apostles left all and followed the Savior…Pondering over these things he entered the church, and it happened the Gospel was being read, and he heard the Lord saying to the rich man, “If thou wouldest be perfect, go and sell that thou hast and give to the poor, and come follow Me and thou shalt have treasure in heaven.” -Athanasius, The Life of Antony Benedict of Nursia (480-560) Three Major Reforms for Monastic Life – Moderation – Ora et Labora (Prayer and Work) – Life in Common As People Flee the Busy-ness of the World, Monasticism Provides a new and different approach: – Escapism or Singlehearted Focus on Christ? – Community: essential to Christian Life Benedict Regarding Private/Personal Property “Above all, this evil practice must be uprooted and removed from the monastery. We mean that without an order from the abbot, no one may presume to give, receive or retain anything as his own, nothing at all – not a book, writing tablet or stylus – in short, not a single item, especially since monks may not have the free disposal even of their own bodies and wills.” -The Rule of Benedict, Chapter 33 Benedictine Life Stability – Choice for a ‘Home’ Life in Common – Different than Poverty – Seeking the Shared Gifts and Resources of the Community (Stewardship) Chastity – Obvious IOGD – In Omnibus Glorificateur Deus The Expansion of Islam To the Confusion of the Christian World, its politics and Theologies, Islam offered an easy “black and white”. – Strict Monotheism: Christ is not Divine… – Strict Morality – Equality Among Peoples After Muhammad's death, the followers split, only to re-unite in the effort to takeover the Christian World. – By 715 most of today’s Middle-East and all of Spain were under Muslim control Remnant of Arianism Barbarian Influence Analogy: American Catholicism in the Age of Immigration – Differing Cultures and Practices – Inculturation or Assimilation? – How the church was helped… Christian/Roman Response – Destruction – Transplantation – Incorporation Charlemagne Charlemagne Crowned Roman Emperor on Christmas Day 800. Establishes the Carolingian Era – Writing becomes uniform – Chant moves from basic to Gregorian – Established order in the Roman Empire Much of the ‘Gregorian Reforms’ can be attributed to Charlemagne – Reforms become centered in Monastic Communities The Great Schism Two World-views – Who is Christ? (Eastern) – What is Christ expecting of us? (Western) Politics – Constantinople or Rome? Role of successor or Role of Location? Where the Social Order is established, there the Church order ought be established as well – Eastern Argument for the Primacy of Constantinople – Charlemagne named as Holy Roman Emperor (800) Ability to rule over Church and State – Unifying against Constantinople – Thwarted by papal understanding The Great Schism Theology – Petrine Primacy First among equals or First among the apostles? – Early Traditions of Dispute Settlement – Iconoclasm Do away with Icons (Iconoclasts) Keep Images and Icons (Iconophiles) – Image and word are equal – Image informed by word is not to be put down. The Incarnation and Image The Great Schism Theology – Filioque East: Spirit proceeds from the Father West: Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son Becomes the “straw” that breaks the unity of the Church. The Great Schism Modern Desire for Unity… “The Church must breathe with both lungs.” -- JPII – Politics aside – Theologically Papal Primacy – Major Stumbling block – Schismatic Protests after Vatican I (Dutch Reform 1870s) Filioque – Not as much of an issue. – Both sides see and understand the other’s arguement Iconoclasm – Rediscovery of the power of image in a literal and literary world. The Monastic Influence (Gregorian Reform) Monasteries become centers of Learning and Culture – Early Monasteries fall under the local bishops. – Monastic Exemption Abbot vs. Bishop Papal Tax on Monastic Communities – Direct to Rome As Monastics are elevated to Bishops and Popes, Monastic rules become elevated in the church. – Through the Monastic Exemption, Abbots and superiors of religious communities become the ecclesiastical equals to bishops. Charlemagne’s Cultural Program – Rooted in centers of learning (monasteries) Other Issues Saints/Devotions – Who owns the saints? – Church or Patrons? – Who declares one a saint? The Politics of Emperors and Popes – Popes use emperors who use popes… Conclusions for the Dark Ages As the church becomes secularized and materialized, there arise people and movements of fidelity to the tradition. The discovery of faith and the conversion of immigrants and transitory peoples may keep the church alive. – The Spirit moves in newness of faith Theology and Politics were once a motive to disunity. – Could theology without politics be the pre-cursor to unity?