Monday, February 15, 2016

Anathema, Anathema

As a boy, a child of the CofE I was fascinated by the Commination Service on the First Sunday of Lent. I hope the Ordinariate still use it.  "Cursed are the unmerciful, fornicators, and adulterers, covetous persons, idolaters, slanderers, drunkards, and extortioners", "Cursed is he who moves his neighbour's landmark", were words a ten year old thought it worth getting up for. My 'Amen' response to each 'accursed' was, I am sure, a little more hearted than to the rest of Prayer Book Anglicanism.
Commination mirrored the Orthodox First Sunday of Lent's (Feast of the Triumph of Orthodoxy) Litany of Anathemas (see below). It is perhaps significant that this tends generally only to be used at an Heirarchical Liturgy, that is when a Bishop is present.

There was some discussion on social media over Cardinal Nichol's words recent words to Catholic educators that it only takes a month to radicalise a child in a school, the reaction was basically, 'so why are we so unsuccessful in radicalising a child in Catholic schools over eleven or so years. The obvious answer is that negative values are easier to pass on than positive ones. It is easier to teach someone to hate rather than to love. 'Don't' is easier for a parent, or a state for that matter, to teach than 'do'.

There was a time when the First Sunday of Lent was a time for Catholic Bishops to write to condemn marriage to non-Catholics or not sending children to Catholic schools or failure to donate to a particular diocesan fund, or even to give a whole list of things that were prohibited.

In the world where everything is woolly, in a Church where we welcome sinners, there is perhaps even more need to set parameters, for bishops and priests to actually say what we anathematise, what we do not believe in. Today we might be inclined to anathematise destroyers of the environment or Mafiosi or people traffickers or the intolerant but then so does any other NGO.

A friend reposted this on social media, I like the joyful response - we should be joyful about our rejection of evil but of course nowadays the idea of the Triumph of Catholicism or Orthodoxy would itself be Anathema, Anathema!
To those who deny the existence of God, and assert that the world is self-existing, and that all things in it occur by chance, and not by the providence of God, Anathema! 
Deacon: To those who say that God is not spirit, but flesh; or that He is not just, merciful, wise and all-knowing, and utter similar blasphemies, Anathema!
To those who dare to say that the Son of God and also the Holy Spirit are not one in essence and of equal honor with the Father, and confess that the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit are not one God, Anathema!
To those who foolishly say that the coming of the Son of God into the world in the flesh, and His voluntary passion, death, and resurrection were not necessary for our salvation and the cleansing of sins, Anathema!
To those who reject the grace of redemption preached by the Gospel as the only means of our justification before God, Anathema!
To those who dare to say that the all-pure Virgin Mary was not virgin before giving birth, during birth-giving, and after her child-birth, Anathema!
To those who do not believe that the Holy Spirit inspired the prophets and apostles, and by them taught us the true way to eternal salvation, and confirmed this by miracles, and now dwells in the hearts of all true and faithful Christians, and teaches them in all truth, Anathema!
To those who reject the immortality of the soul, the end of time, the future judgement, and eternal reward for virtue and condemnation for sin, Anathema!
To those who reject all the holy mysteries held by the Church of Christ, Anathema!
To those who reject the Councils of the holy fathers and their traditions, which are agreeable to divine revelation and kept piously by the Orthodox Church, Anathema!
To those who mock and profane the holy images and relics which the holy Church receives as revelations of God's work and of those pleasing to Him, to inspire their beholders with piety, and to arouse them to follow these examples; and to those who say that they are idols, Anathema!
To those who dare to say and teach that our Lord Jesus Christ did not descend to earth, but only seemed to; or that He did not descend to the earth and become incarnate only once, but many times, and who likewise deny that the true Wisdom of the Father is His only-begotten Son, Anathema!
To the followers of the occult, spiritualists, wizards, and all who do not believe in the one God, but honor the demons; or who do not humbly give their lives over to God, but strive to learn the future through sorcery, Anathema!


Stephen Turton said...

Interesting. Perhaps also those who preach gender ideology and that gender is socially learnt ? and that no human is evil and all things are good, except intolerance ? What reaction would a bishop or cardinal get if he anathematized that ' that all sexual orientations are equal, and all those who assert them to be so ?'

Edwin said...

Quite right, Father, we should reintroduce the Commination Service from BCP in the Ordinariate. At Cuddesdon in the 50's we said it in the parish church, though were told that a local farmer had keeled over with a heart attack one year when they reached "Cursed be he that moveth his neighbour's landmark". Powerful, the commination service.

JARay said...

What a lovely list of Anathemas! It quite raises my spirits.

Stephen Turton said...

Anathema No.3 appears right on target with the Oneness Pentecostals(for whom Jesus's is not the Son of God) No.11 the evangelicals - but No.9 would paradoxically suprise them that we too believe salvation is by grace alone (except we must cooperate by good works which they, if strict, deny). On the secular side, I wonder what practical role anathema could play in a world that does not understand moral absolutes ? If you told a modern girl to be a 'good girl' the look of puzzlement you'd likely get wouldn't mean your advice had been rejected, but that it hadn't been understood.

Jeremiah Methuselah said...

Bravo Father Blake ! More please, lots more.
We need to be reminded what it means to commit to the One, True Roman Catholic Faith.

Pelerin said...

'Cursed be he that removeth his neighbour's landmark' resonated with me too as I woke up one morning recently and discovered someone had stolen a large pot I had put in the centre of my small front garden together with the plant I had so carefully cultivated in it!!

Anonymous said...

Bravo, Father Blake.

How do you post this truth AND keep your priestly faculties in this age? Pope John XXIII kicked off quite the game when he started the ball rolling on the rejection of condemnation and the unbridled approval of searching {and finding!!} "Common Ground" with all creeds, ideas, movements, thoughts, religions and -isms the world over, didn't he?

And now we are left with one half of the way to truth. All positive, without the negative. Much like restricting the Tour de France rider to a bike with one wheel...

What happened to the Catholic Church? I converted and what I find is utterly remarkable. Pope Benedict can and could say all he wants about continuity, but on the street, there just ain't much...

Thank you Father for reminding us. And thank Pope Benedict for Summorum Pontificum.

Tony V said...

I'm going to name my dog Anathema.

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