Full Text for Rome and the Lutheran Liturgy (Text)

Concollaio Theological Montbly AUGUST 1951 ARCHIVE ConcoJZoia Theological Montbl~ Published by The Lutheran Church -Missouri Synod EDITED BY THE FACULTY OF CONCORDIA SEMINARY ST. LOUIS, Mo. Address aU communications to the Editcwial Commiltee in caf'e of the Managing Editof', F. E.Maye1', 801 De Mun Ave., St. Louis 5, Mo. EDITORIAL COMMITTEE PAUL M. BRETSCHER, RICHARD R. CAEMMERER, THEODORE HOYER, FREDERICK E. MAYER, LOUIS J. SIECK CONTENTS FOR AUGUST, 1951 THE CHURCH'S OPPORTUNITY ON STATE COLLEGE AND UNIVERSITY CAMPUS. Reuben W. Hahn MISSOURI SYNOD UNDERTAKES FOREIGN MISSIONS Herman H. Koppelmann THE ESSENTIALS OF EFFECTIVE PASTORAL COUNSELING Otto E. Sohn ROME AND THE LUTHERAN LITURGY. Irvin Arkin SERMON STUDY ON 2 CHRONICLES 1:7·12 BRIEF STUDIES THEOLOGICAL OBSERVER BOOK REVIEW PAGE 545 552 567 578 592 600 608 622 Mould, Elmer W. K.: Bible History Digest. -Hendriksen, William: Lectures 00 the Last Things. -Ryle, ]. C.: Ryle's Expository Thoughts 00 the Gospels.­McGee, J. Vernon: Exposition on the Book of Esther.-Various Reprints of Books of F. B. Meyer. CONCORDIA THEOLOGICAL MONTIiLY is published monthly by Concordia Publishing House, 3558 S. Jefferson Ave., St. Louis 18, Mo., to which all business correspondence is to be addressed. $3.00 per annum, anywhere in the world, payable in advance. Entered at the Post Office at St. Louis, Mo., as second-class matter. Acceptance for mailing at special rate of postage provided for in Section 1103, Act of October 3, 1917, authorized on July 5, 1918. .RINTED IN 11. II. •• Rome and the Lutheran Liturgy By IRVIN ARKIN AUTHOR'S NOTE. -The fundamental reason why this topic was chosen by the author is a rather deep-rooted curiosity of many Lutheran liturgiologists concerning Rome's views and reactions to Lutheran liturgics in general and the Lutheran Liturgical Movement in particular. This curiosity is whetted and agitated by the liturgical movement which is taking place presently in the Roman Church under the in­fluence of the German Benedictines and the Austrian Augustinians. Such names as Ellard, Reinhold, and Hellriegel immediately bring to mind the vast task these men are undertaking in America to restore meaning to the liturgy for the Roman laity. Also, the Lutheran liturgiologist cannot forget that in Rome today lie many of the same basic traditions which comprise his own liturgical thesaurus and background. Although he must differ radically in doc­trine from the Roman Church, he, nevertheless, is ever aware of the vast storehouse of liturgical tradition which is present in the Ro­man See. But a reason more immediate is an article which appeared in a recent Roman Catholic periodical in which its author tried to convey to his readers the impression that Lutheran liturgics are slowly bring­ing the Lutheran Church back to Rome.1 The desire was created, therefore, to know the general consensus of Roman Catholic thought on this matter. To our knowledge Rome has never issued a decretal or encyclical dealing with the Lutheran liturgy. Letters were therefore sent to various Roman Catholic seminaries, universities, abbeys, priories, mon­asteries, convents, and parishes, asking for honest reactions concerning this matter. The answers which were received were then culled, and the most clear and concise were set aside, excerpted, and organized. No authoritative statements are herewith quoted. None of the letters came with the Nihil Obstat of a diocesan reviewer or the Imprimatur of a bishop. However, the material gathered from these letters can, for all practical purposes, be presented as a consensus of contemporary Roman Catholic thought. It is with this thought borne in mind that the material is herewith reviewed. 578 ROME AND THE LUTHERAN LITURGY 579 In looking at the Lutheran Liturgical Revival as it manifests itself in this age of a Lutheran renaissance, the Roman Catholic Church studies it as one would, in a sense, examine a scien­tific specimen, applying to it the various rules and propositions within the realm of certain knowledge. In the very title itself, "Lutheran Liturgical Revival," there lies the cause for a bit of eyebrow lifting on the part of the Roman Church. For the point is maintained that an investigation ought to ensue on our part as to why there is need for this liturgical revival, or, "liturgical move­ment." 2 The purpose of such an investigation is obvious. For if one would place on the same plane adiaphora and inviolate dogma, the apparent discarding of certain adiaphoral practices would make the observer suspicious of the security and authority of the teach­ings of such a church body. To us such an investigation would prove less meaningful than it would to the Roman communion, for it is not our practice to place the arbitrary on the same level with the absolute, to equate ritual and dogma. Yet in view of the fact that such is their position regarding ritual and ceremony and in view of their teachings, it is understandable to the Lutheran liturgiologist why such a contention on their part is both natural and to be expected. I To comprehend to the fullest the Roman reaction to Lutheran liturgics, it is necessary first to investigate and attempt to under­stand the Roman viewpoint regarding this field of theology. The center of Roman Catholic worship is bound up tightly in the framework of liturgies, for the heart of their devotional acts is the Eucharist, the Lord's Supper, as presented by means of certain definite and distinct outward visible ceremonies. But to the Roman Catholic these ceremonies must not take on the characteristic of individuality or be assembled in accordance with the whim and will of the celebrant. For even as the truths they express are ob­jectively true, so, too, the ceremonies which express these truths must be assembled objectively and practiced uniformly. The ceremonies of the liturgy of Rome are marked by sacredness and universalit'j.3 The sacredness of liturgical services is necessary 580 ROME AND THE LUTHERAN LITURGY because the service is an act of the worshiper to his God, who is the all-holy objective of our devotion and adoration. The cere­monies require the mark of universality, says Rome, because God Himself is universal, is all embracing, and is the Author of the service of worship. This is His service; this is the service of His desire and command. Therefore the service must take on His mark of universality. And even as God never changes, but is always the same, so too must the liturgical practices of the Church be as stable as possible. "We may go further and say the Liturgy is the service of God. It is that service of worship which God desires and can demand as Lord, Creator, and Judge of mankind. The Lord, and not the servant, determines how this service must be rendered, what must be done, and when and where it is to be done." 4 In a sense, therefore, liturgies are the objective ceremonies wherein are represented and symbolized the objective truths of God. Liturgies are the visible aids whereby the dogmas of the Church, though clear in themselves, are made more discernible to the faithfu1.5 Also these ceremonies satisfy the desire of man to shower the Almighty with his love and adoration. It is the natural instinct of man to bestow gifts upon those whom he loves. So it is also in the manifestation of man's love and devotion to God. The objective independence and validity of ceremony relies com­pletely and totally, says Rome, on the objective reality and validity of the Sacraments therein expressed. To the Roman Church, in viewing and commenting on any Lutheran liturgical act, be it progressive or regressive, the underlying thought after which will be patterned their critique is the assumption that for ceremonies to be valid the Sacraments which they assist must be valid; other­wise you have merely an empty shell. And since Rome denies the validity of our Sacraments, it is not surprising to find their reaction to a Lutheran liturgy as being rather condescending in expression, but intolerant in opinion. II The relationship existing between man and liturgics was men­tioned. The opinion was presented that liturgics, comprising cere­mony and rite over the firm layer of truth, draws man by his ROME AND THE LUTHERAN LITURGY 581 senses to worship his Creator. This opinion is maintained by the Roman Church as a judgment based on an empirical investigation into the nature of man. Even in his daily living man takes re­course to rite and ceremony.6 In view of this fact it is but natural that the Church, which must be all things to all men, must take into consideration the drives and dynamics operative and inherent in man. The Roman Church thus finds it difficult to understand the why and wherefore of the general Protestant attitude in this respect.7 By this ability of man, his sensuously perceptive nature, he is instinctively drawn to beauty. And this trait in man, this appreciation of beauty, present in man by the very nature of man, enables him, Rome insists, to worship in beauty and truth. More­over, this love of beauty has both purpose and end. For the pur­pose of the love of bea,uty is to lead man to the end, the Beauty which is God.8 This aesthetical aid, which the liturgy is, needs a heart of stable truth, truth which has its roots in dogma. III Rome examines liturgy and dogma as correlatives in the light of her own dogmatic assertions. Dogma is that which is believed to be true. Dogma requires authority. Authority to the Roman Catholic requires Peter. Therefore, the fundamental trouble with Lutheran liturgics, according to Rome, is its source -"an act of wilful rebellion against authority." 9 Luther's rebellion negated Rome's certainty of sure knowledge and valid dogma. This pre­sents an insurmountable difficulty, since liturgy, in the "true" sense of the word, demands and necessitates a faith in the Real Presence, for "if there is no belief in the Real Presence of our Lord Jesus in the Holy Eucharist ... then the rites and ceremonies of the liturgy have lost their meaning and purpose of existence." 10 The assertion that liturgy as such demands faith in the Real Presence can, however, be misunderstood and therefore must be presented more definitely. For Rome it means the popish doc­trine of transubstantiation. Liturgy is the thread that binds us to history, and history demands historical universal faith, and this, says Rome, in turn demands belief in transubstantiation.11 To this 582 ROME AND THE LUTHERAN LITURGY one is forced to say "non sequitur." It is obvious that, in the view­point of the Roman See, ceremony and ritual are of little or no effect without the fundamental doctrine of transubstantiationP Any other theory or doctrine of the Real Presence is null and void, for the truth of the Sacraments is hinged to the concept, Rome says, of gratia i1'tfusa and not to the evangelistic concept of fidem con­firmans. Liturgy and dogma are joined together by the bar of truth, and one cannot rightly assert having the one without having also the other. One may have liturgy in specie sed non in veritate. Purity of liturgy demands and cannot rightly exist without purity of dogma. And purity of dogma, purity of teaching, requires an ab­solute authority by which the dogma may be retained in its pristine purity; the liturg