Wednesday, June 13, 2012

In Persona Christi and The Filioque Clause

Cui autem aliquid donastis, et ego: nam et ego quod donavi, si quid donavi, propter vos in persona Christi, ut non circumveniamur a satana: non enim ignoramus cogitationes eius.- II Corinthii 2:10-11, Latin Vulgate

ω δε τι χαριζεσθε και εγω και γαρ εγω ει τι κεχαρισμαι ω κεχαρισμαι δι υμας εν προσωπω χριστου
ινα μη πλεονεκτηθωμεν υπο του σατανα ου γαρ αυτου τα νοηματα αγνοουμεν - ΠΡΟΣ ΚΟΡΙΝΘΙΟΥΣ Β΄ 2:10-11, Stephanus Greek New Testament

And to whom you have pardoned any thing, I also. For, what I have pardoned, if I have pardoned any thing, for your sakes have I done it in the Person of Christ. That we be not overreached (overcome) by Satan. For we are not ignorant of his devices.- II Corinthians 2:10-11, Douay-Rheims


Dixit ergo eis iterum: Pax vobis. Sicut misit me Pater, et ego mitto vos. Hæc cum dixisset, insufflavit: et dixit eis: Accipite Spiritum sanctum: quorum remiseritis peccata, remittuntur eis: et quorum retinueritis, retenta sunt.- Joannes 20:21-23, Latin Vulgate

ειπεν ουν αυτοις ο ιησους παλιν ειρηνη υμιν καθως απεσταλκεν με ο πατηρ καγω πεμπω υμας
και τουτο ειπων ενεφυσησεν και λεγει αυτοις λαβετε πνευμα αγιον
αν τινων αφητε τας αμαρτιας αφιενται αυτοις αν τινων κρατητε κεκρατηνται - ΚΑΤΑ ΙΩΑΝΝΗΝ 20:21-23, Stephanus Greek New Testament

Once more Jesus said to them, Peace be upon you; I came upon an errand from My Father, and now I am sending you out in My turn. With that, He breathed on them, and said to them, Receive the Holy Spirit; when you forgive men's sins, they are forgiven, when you hold them bound, they are held bound.- The Gospel of St. John 20:21-23, Knox Bible


Et ostendit mihi fluvium aquæ vitæ, splendidum tamquam crystallum, procedentem de sede Dei et Agni.- Apocalypsis 22:1, Latin Vulgate

και εδειξεν μοι καθαρον ποταμον υδατος ζωης λαμπρον ως κρυσταλλον εκπορευομενον εκ του θρονου του θεου και του αρνιου - ΑΠΟΚΑΛΥΨΙΣ ΙΩΑΝΝΟΥ 22:1, Stephanus Greek New Testament

And he showed me a River of Water of Life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the (single, shared) Throne of (both) God and of the Lamb.- Apocalypse 22:1, Douay-Rheims



Sometimes, when I see the teachings of the Catholic Church revealed so plainly in Sacred Scripture, I ask myself, "Why do you not see these passages employed more frequently in the Fathers of the Church, or in contemporary apologetic works directed toward Protestantism or Eastern Orthodoxy?" It's possible I simply haven't run into the works of people using these arguments, but in any case, I thought I would bring these Scriptures out and use them to teach the Faith.

The second passage I included for the sake of reference to the first passage, which is where I found, for the first time, that the Priestly Function of acting 'In Persona Christi' is in fact a Biblical term, being used by St. Paul when speaking to the Presbyters he ordained in Corinth. In Second Corinthians, chapter 2, verse 10 St. Paul gives us one of the major Biblical passages that give support to the theology of the Church regarding the Sacrament of Confession. There he gives permission for the Presbyters to pass on, via his Priestly and Apostolic authority speaking in the Person of Christ, the forgiveness of sins, similar to how Priests are ordained within the Catholic Church to be an extension of the Priestly and Apostolic ministry of the Bishop in forgiving sins, offering the Sacrifice of the Mass, and distributing the other Sacraments. This is a perfect passage to share with Protestants as the Scriptural and Apostolic origin of Catholic theology, and it is also a perfect demonstration of the need for the Magisterium.

The Greek manuscript is somewhat dubious as to its meaning, and the orthodox and principle meaning was gleaned out in the Vulgate, which has been affirmed as free from all error in matters of Faith and Morals by the Church. If you are simply going to be a law to yourself and interpret the Scriptures as you please, you could translate the uncertain Greek text a number of different ways, which is why the King James Version (having been translated from the Hebrew and Greek by the Anglicans when they were largely Anglo-Catholic in attitude and perspective) remains orthodox in this verse and follows the principle meaning that is explicated in the Vulgate (that of forgiveness being imparted in the Person of Christ and with authority, and of St. Paul reinstating the sinful man back into the communion of the Church from his former state of excommunication), and other new, highly unorthodox translations, like the NIV and ESV, translate the passage as St. Paul speaking not in the authority given by Christ in John 20:21-23, but of invoking the presence of Christ in a sort of mutual decision with the Presbyters he appointed at Corinth.

In the third passage, we see one of the clearest, yet surprisingly, one of the least used passages within Sacred Scripture that teaches that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Person of the Father together with the Person of the Son, as from one single point of procession, as Latin theology holds. I could find literally nothing within the Haydock's Catholic Commentary on this passage that indicated anything regarding the Filioque, nor have I found it anywhere else.

We know from these passages...


Respondit Iesus, et dixit ei: Si scires donum Dei, et quis est, qui dicit tibi: Da mihi bibere: tu forsitan petisses ab eo, et dedisset tibi aquam vivam. Dicit ei mulier: Domine, neque in quo haurias habes, et puteus altus est: unde ergo habes aquam vivam? Numquid tu maior es patre nostro Iacob, qui dedit nobis puteum, et ipse ex eo bibit, et filii eius, et pecora eius? Respondit Iesus, et dixit ei: Omnis, qui bibit ex aqua hac, sitiet iterum: qui autem biberit ex aqua, quam ego dabo ei, non sitiet in æternum: sed aqua, quam ego dabo ei, fiet in eo fons aquæ salientis in vitam æternam.- Joannes 4:10-14, Latin Vulgate

απεκριθη ιησους και ειπεν αυτη ει ηδεις την δωρεαν του θεου και τις εστιν ο λεγων σοι δος μοι πιειν συ αν ητησας αυτον και εδωκεν αν σοι υδωρ ζων
λεγει αυτω η γυνη κυριε ουτε αντλημα εχεις και το φρεαρ εστιν βαθυ ποθεν ουν εχεις το υδωρ το ζων
μη συ μειζων ει του πατρος ημων ιακωβ ος εδωκεν ημιν το φρεαρ και αυτος εξ αυτου επιεν και οι υιοι αυτου και τα θρεμματα αυτου
απεκριθη ο ιησους και ειπεν αυτη πας ο πινων εκ του υδατος τουτου διψησει παλιν
ος δ αν πιη εκ του υδατος ου εγω δωσω αυτω ου μη διψηση εις τον αιωνα αλλα το υδωρ ο δωσω αυτω γενησεται εν αυτω πηγη υδατος αλλομενου εις ζωην αιωνιον - ΚΑΤΑ ΙΩΑΝΝΗΝ 4:10-14, Stephanus Greek New Testament

Jesus answered, and said to her: If thou didst know the Gift of God (according to St. Augustine, the Holy Spirit), and who He is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou perhaps wouldst have asked of Him, and He would have given thee Living Water (according to St. John the Evangelist, whose Gospel this is, the Holy Spirit). The woman saith to him: Sir, thou hast nothing wherein to draw, and the well is deep; from whence then hast thou living water? Art thou greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank thereof himself, and his children, and his cattle? Jesus answered, and said to her: Whosoever drinketh of this water, shall thirst again; but he that shall drink of the water that I will give him, shall not thirst for ever: But the Water that I will give him, shall become in him a Fountain of Water, springing up into Life Everlasting.- The Gospel of St. John 4:10-14, Douay-Rheims


In novissimo autem die magno festivitatis stabat Iesus, et clamabat, dicens: Si quis sitit, veniat ad me, et bibat. Qui credit in me, sicut dicit Scriptura, flumina de ventre eius fluent aquæ vivæ. Hoc autem dixit de Spiritu, quem accepturi erant credentes in eum: nondum enim erat Spiritus datus, quia Iesus nondum erat glorificatus.- Joannes 7:37-39, Latin Vulgate

εν δε τη εσχατη ημερα τη μεγαλη της εορτης ειστηκει ο ιησους και εκραξεν λεγων εαν τις διψα ερχεσθω προς με και πινετω
ο πιστευων εις εμε καθως ειπεν η γραφη ποταμοι εκ της κοιλιας αυτου ρευσουσιν υδατος ζωντος
τουτο δε ειπεν περι του πνευματος ου εμελλον λαμβανειν οι πιστευοντες εις αυτον ουπω γαρ ην πνευμα αγιον οτι ο ιησους ουδεπω εδοξασθη - ΚΑΤΑ ΙΩΑΝΝΗΝ 7:37-39

And on the last, and great day of the festivity, Jesus stood and cried, saying: If any man thirst, let him come to Me, and drink. He that believeth in Me, as the Scripture saith, Out of his belly (the Baptized soul, the innermost man) shall flow Rivers of Living Water. Now this He said of the (Holy) Spirit which they should receive, who believed in Him: for as yet the Spirit was not given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.- The Gospel of St. John 7:37-39, Douay-Rheims


...of Sacred Scripture, that the "Gift of God," "the Rivers of Living Water," is in fact the Holy Spirit, that Divine Person of God Whom we are sealed with at Confirmation and which from then on, if we let Him in and do not quench Him through mortal sin, venial sin, and neglecting to ask for His Presence, flows out of us from our soul in the communion of the Holy Spirit (cf. II Corinthians 13:13), comforting and strengthening both us, and those around us, and revealing the Person of Jesus Christ to our souls.

In Apocalypse 22:1, we are taught, in symbolic language, that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the "Throne" of the Father and the Son, into the City of God, which is the Blessed Virgin Mary, and us insofar as we are the Church through sharing in her relationship with God. Now, the Latin word for "Throne" used here is sede, which can be taken symbolically on its own right, but the Greek word used in the Stephanus New Testament is much more descriptive. The Greek word used for Throne is thronos, which has a very definite symbolic meaning. Thronos can mean either a literal Throne, such as a King would use, or it means, by implication, Power. The grammatical structure of Apocalypse 22:1, which comes out in both the Latin and Greek, is of one, singular Throne, shared by the Father and the Son. One Power, One Essence, One Nature is the symbolic import, i.e., the Son is consubstantial with the Father; they are of one, eternal Substance. What this passage of Scripture is teaching us is that the Holy Spirit proceeds eternally from the one Substance of the Father and the Son, as from one point of eternal procession, and it could not be more clear on that from both the Latin and the Greek.

I'll have another post like this looking at some other Catholic teachings in light of Sacred Scripture in a few days, perhaps gleaning some more meaning from some of these passages with regard to the Blessed Virgin Mary.

3 comments:

  1. I have to say, 2 Corinthians 2:10 lends no support to the RCC priest being in 'persona christi'.
    The word translated as "person" in the Douey Rheems and King James would be literally translated as 'face'. The proper translation is " in the presence of Christ', as all other Bible translations have done correctly... including the RSV Second Catholic Edition. The Edition most English speaking Catholic scholars embrace.

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    1. Very correct. Nestorios was later condemned for using this word in place of hypostasis (among other reasons) to describe the unity of the divine and human in Christ precisely because it means "mask" and not something stronger, more concrete.

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  2. The reason the Rev 22:1 verse doesn't work on the EO is because EO generally don't consider it as inspired as the other books of the Bible (hense why it's never read liturgically in the East and quotes from it in the Fathers to back up dogmatic points are sparse compared to bother books). Though it was mentioned by Athanasios's Pascal letter in the 360's I believe it was in the 7th century before it made it into the canon in the East.

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