“Two Lungs”

23 06 2009


At special services in the pope’s chapel the gospel and epistle for the day were recited both in Latin and in Greek to remind all listeners that the two were parts of the same Catholic church and that the pope was lord of both; but to show the faded state of the Greek church, lights were dimmed and ritual dispensed with as the Greek was read, the lights returning to full glory when the Latin text was returned to once again.

-Jonathan Spence, from The Memory Palace of Matteo Ricci

Now that barely anyone knows Latin, I wonder what would be done in today’s papal chapel. So much for the two lung theory.



One response

26 06 2009
Death Bredon

Oh please!

At best, the “Latin Church” deserves a small corner of one lung. Oi! First, most of the “Latin Fathers” wrote, spoke, and prayed in Greek, were “Greek Minded” in their theology, and are properly accounted to the “dim” Greek lung (unless one engages in the byzantine intellectual dishonesty typical of Vatican). Second, once we realize that all of the distinctly Augustinian teachings of Augustine of Hippo (the only Latin speculative theologian of even passing notice) — who correctly chastised himself for his infelicity with Greek, the prevailing theological language of his day — are wild speculations and rank innovations that can’t even pass Cardinal Newman’s (wild, speculative, innovative) development of doctrine theory (not ironically abbreviated as “D ‘n’ D”) without massive special pleading and mind-boggling intellectual acrobatics, then we see that, say, Syriac, just by way of example, is a much more important SECONDARY theological language than Latin. Except that we Gemranic Latins (or their conquered serfs) don’t see it because much of the treasures of the Syriac Fathers are yet to be translated into Latin or Germanic, so “we” still have not received it, save for its few far-western scholars that can actually read Greek (the primary language of the New Testament Church) with true facility — the Syriac Father largely having been translated into Greek long, long ago.

As for being “dimm,” the Greek Church (a/k/a the Robust Lung that has survived Islamic conquest and Communist domination — despite the tacit approval, and sometimes active collaboration, of the Germanic-Latin “Lung”) is what keeps the Body crawling along while the Lord tarries. And, it was once upon a time recognized in even in Old Rome as the ONLY Church or as comprising both lungs of the Body. Indeed, Old Rome (1) had a Greek Mass (the Latin Mass being a late, vernacular condescension to the ever-growing ignorance and or sloth of the Germanic West); (2) prayed the Greek Creed (even when later translated to the vernacular) faithfully without Carolingian interpolation; (3) regarded the Greek Septuagint (not Jerome’s sloppy translation) as THE scripture of the Church; and finally (4) regarded Greek as THE primary theological language of the Church.

I’d say the only thing dimm in the medieval papal chaqpel was the ignorant hubris of the Cluniac-Carolingian Popes.

As for today, when the Pope does a service incorporating Greek and/or Syriac or any other Eastern vernacular, the lights stay up at all times (though, by rights, the lights should be dimmed for the Latin sections, which are only there from dimwit descendants of the barbarian Germanic tribes who are still too lazy (or stupid) to learn the primary tongue of their Faith) and the Creed is recited in Greek or in a faithful translation of the Greek (i.e., sans filioque). A good example of this was B16s enthronement, wherein he himself at least implicitly admitted which “lung” is “brighter” or at least the more authentically Christian by personally reciting the Creed without any kooky Karling-Latin interpolations.

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