Thursday, 22 September 2011

Faith, reason, and imagination

The French poet Paul Claudel once wrote:
"The evil we have been suffering from for several centuries is less a split between Faith and Reason than between Faith and an Imagination become incapable of establishing an accord between the two parts of the universe, the visible and the invisible."
The quotation comes from an excellent article on Claudel by Michael Donley in the Temenos Academy Review for 2005 (p. 45). How might this thought be expanded? What is the role of the Imagination?

The imaginative faculty mediates between the sensory and the intellectual world in its own way just as the reasoning faculty does. But like all mediators it is ambiguous. It has two sides or faces, depending in this case on its relationship to the higher spiritual faculty. When the imagination faces "upwards" towards the archetypes of reality, assisted by the active imagination, it is capable of mediating and transmitting truth, as it does in the true visions received by prophets, and also in the works

Thursday, 1 September 2011

The new Missal translation

It has been called "the flawed product of a flawed process", and so it is. But then so was the previous one; flawed in different and perhaps more serious ways. The new English translation of the Roman Missal being introduced across the whole English-speaking world from 4th September is more archaic in style, perhaps more dignified, richer in scriptural reference, and certainly more faithful to the underlying Latin. But the action of the Mass is the same and hasn't changed.

We have been explaining the changes in Magnificat month by month. One of the most obvious is in the greeting at Mass. The Priest says, "The Lord be with you," and we no longer respond, "And also with you," but, "And with your spirit" (which is exactly what the Latin says: "Et cum spiritu tuo"). What does it mean? As Lawrence Lew explained in the June issue of Magnificat, the expression comes from Saint Paul (cf. Ga 6: 18; Ph 4: 23; 2 Tm 4: 22), and is linked with the greeting from Ruth 2: 4. the “spirit” refers to the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, specifically here with reference to the ordained who “performs the sacrifice in the power of the Holy Spirit”. In a sense, we are praying in charity that our priest might abide in the Spirit. A prayer always needed, and never more than today when priesthood is under such attack.

For Anthony Esolen's commentary for Magnificat on the poetry of the new translation, see Zenit or First Things.