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The Dead and the Living

The Dead and the Living

Postby deadwhitemale » 26 Feb 2009, 15:39

I found this interesting.

http://www.chass.utoronto.ca/emls/09-1/ristdead.html

Especially this part:

' For theological reasons, during 'the English Reformation' this changed. In Bowyer's words, the English church "formally severed diplomatic relations with the Other World, ceasing to invoke the aid of the saints in heaven, and ceasing to recognise its responsibility towards the souls of the dead in purgatory." [15] England's sixteenth-century journey from Catholicism, through Lutheranism to Calvinism - according to Nicholas Tyacke the characteristic theology of the English Church by 1600 [16] - destroyed the idea that the living and the dead were an inter-dependent community, Calvinism's doctrine of double predestination in particular rendering the idea of praying for the dead redundant.

Nor were such changes limited to theory: in the Prayer Book of 1549 - to be used by church-goers in their weekly attendance at service - congregations continued to speak to the dead directly, but in the Prayer Book of 1552 all communication between the living and the dead had disappeared. As Duffy puts it, "There is nothing that could even be mistaken for a prayer for the dead in the 1552 rite." [17] Though the Marian interval saw a brief reversal of such trends, in Philip Morgan's stark phrase, from 1552 "The dead, it seemed, must shift for themselves." [18]

To adapt Alan Sinfield's term, 1552 was a major 'faultline' of English Renaissance history. Prior to that point, the dead and the living officially inhabited the same community; after it the dead were officially 'beyond the grave.' This faultline is even seen reflected in the divided mentalities of individuals.

As late as 1642, Thomas Browne could write that in younger days he had been tempted by a heresy "which I did never positively maintain or practice, but have often wished ... had been consonant with truth, and not offensive to my religion, and that is the Prayer for the dead." Moreover, though he never "positively" practised such prayer, Browne adds that he could "scarce contain my prayers for a friend at the ringing of a bell," or even "behold a corpse without an orison for his soul." '


DWM
"It is when we try to grapple with another man's intimate need that we perceive how incomprehensible, wavering, and misty are the beings that share with us the sight of the stars and the warmth of the sun." -- Joseph Conrad, Lord Jim(1899?)
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Re: The Dead and the Living

Postby archenland_knight » 26 Feb 2009, 16:03

Image

...I'm just sayin ...
Romans 5:8 "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."
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Re: The Dead and the Living

Postby deadwhitemale » 26 Feb 2009, 17:22

archenland_knight wrote:Image

...I'm just sayin ...


That I'm opening a can of worms?

I'm interested because, though I am no Catholic, and am indeed a nominal Baptist, I have felt the same way and been moved by the same impulses as Thomas Browne, who

' As late as 1642 ... could write that in younger days he had been tempted by a heresy "which I did never positively maintain or practice, but have often wished ... had been consonant with truth, and not offensive to my religion, and that is the Prayer for the dead." Moreover, though he never "positively" practised such prayer, Browne adds that he could "scarce contain my prayers for a friend at the ringing of a bell," or even "behold a corpse without an orison for his soul." '

Except I actually did at least attempt (however imperfectly) to positively practice such prayer, in a Catholic church. Tipped the priest, lit candles, prayed myself and tried to mean it, the whole nine yards. Does that make me a Catholic? I doubt it. Just some kind of mixed up guy who doesn't know what he is or what he's doing, more likely.

You know what got me thinking about this time? Reading a grisly, ghoulish purported eye-witness account of the posthumous "execution" of Oliver Cromwell and some guys named Bradshaw and, let's see, Ireston, maybe. And that led me to an anecdote of (Holy RomanEmperor?) Charles V's refusal to desecrate the grave of Martin Luther, and saying he "warred on the living, not the dead."

And in general I'd say that's a good rule to go by. For my part I respect a valiant fallen foe, and see no reason to abuse his remains. Even in recent times this issue has arisen. Somewhere in Germany it was proposed by some local politician that the remains of a WW II German flying ace,named Major Nowatney, or something like that, be disinterred from the city cemetery and thrown in the town dump. That struck me as a pretty bad show all around, especially in this day and age. It was bad enough in the 1660s.

But if bringing this sort of thing up at all is going to cause hard feelings or strife, just forget I ever said anything, and consider the whole subject dropped.

DWM
"It is when we try to grapple with another man's intimate need that we perceive how incomprehensible, wavering, and misty are the beings that share with us the sight of the stars and the warmth of the sun." -- Joseph Conrad, Lord Jim(1899?)
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Re: The Dead and the Living

Postby Stanley Anderson » 26 Feb 2009, 17:48

Hey, you ain't seen nuthin' yet until you get to the big can of fatter and juicier worms that is opened by simply mentioning the words "Mediatrix" or "Co-Redemptrix". :smile:

--Stanley
…on a night of rain Frodo smelled a sweet fragrance on the air and heard the sound of singing that came over the water. And then it seemed to him that as in his dream in the house of Bombadil, the grey rain-curtain turned all to silver glass and was rolled back, and he beheld white shores and beyond them a fair green country under a swift sunrise.
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Re: The Dead and the Living

Postby rusmeister » 27 Feb 2009, 01:01

Duplicate post
Last edited by rusmeister on 30 Apr 2009, 01:53, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Dead and the Living

Postby rusmeister » 27 Feb 2009, 01:08

Stanley Anderson wrote:Hey, you ain't seen nuthin' yet until you get to the big can of fatter and juicier worms that is opened by simply mentioning the words "Mediatrix" or "Co-Redemptrix". :smile:

--Stanley

Yes, it's one of the relatively few (compared with Protestantism, anyway) things that Orthodoxy doesn't buy, although the general issue of how we see the dead and the living is close to the same.
For me the words of Christ that God is the God of the living, not the dead is the Scriptural proof. But the problem there is the authority of self that Protestants, in general, claim to interpret Scripture, rather than turning to an external Authority and asking what the correct understanding is.
I also think of Chesterton's reference to "the arrogant oligarchy that merely happens to be walking about". In Orthodoxy, and to my best understanding Catholicism, I can continue to love my deceased father and pray for mercy for him (even though I have no idea exactly what comfort that may provide - Orthodoxy is generally more agnostic and mystical on these accounts, I am assured that it does provide some. This contrasts sharply with the other view that to me basically says - "Oh well, he's dead. Game over for him. Let's get on with living!"
"Eh? Two views? There are a dozen views about everything until you know the answer. Then there's never more than one."
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