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Can the Relationship between Fact and Moral Norm, as indicated in Humanae Vitae be Further Explained?

Appendix I to footnote 218

'what is not assumed is not redeemed'

This appendix is justified on the basis that an argument from the Fathers is relative to the degree of their consensus concerning the interpretation of Scripture358.  While these texts are not explicitly commenting on the following Scripture, they are held by this student to be applicable to it: 'the Word became flesh and dwelt among us' (Jn 1: 14).  So it is at least necessary to cite a number of their statements, even if this is not an exhaustive list.  There is no discussion of their variations; and there is no attempt to discuss the relationship between their understanding of conception and ours.

From: The Faith of the Early Fathers, Vol 1.  Selected and translated by William A. Jurgens.  Collegeville, Minnesota: The Liturgical Press, 1979

ATHANASIUS, Saint.  Letter to Epictetus of Corinth (6):  'The incorporeal Word appropriated as His own the properties of the body.'

ATHANASIUS, Saint.  Letter to Epictetus of Corinth (7): 'the Savior having in truth become man, the salvation of the whole man was accomplished.'  Also: 'the body of the Lord was a true one - a true one, since it was the same as ours.'

CYRIL of Jerusalem, Saint.   Catechetical Lectures (4, 9): 'Neither did he pass through the Virgin as through a channel ... , but was truly made flesh of her, and was truly nourished with her milk ... , and did truly eat as we eat, and truly did drink as we drink.'

CYRIL of Jerusalem, Saint.  Catechetical Lectures (12, 1): 'Jesus the King, when about to become our Physician, girded Himself around with the apron of humanity; and He healed that which was sick.'

IRENAEUS, Saint.  Against Heresies (2, 22, 4): 'Therefore He passed through every age, becoming an infant for infants, sanctifying infants; a child for children, sanctifying those who are of that age, and at the same time becoming for them an example of piety, of righteousness, and of submission; a young man for youths, becoming an example for youths and sanctifying them for the Lord.  So also He became an old man for old men ...'359.

VICTORINUS, Marius.  Against Arius (3, 3): The whole man, therefore, was assumed, and having been assumed was also made free.  For in him all things were universal: universal flesh, and a universal soul.'

From: The Faith of the Early Fathers, Vol. 2.  Selected and translated by William A. Jurgens.  Collegeville, Minnesota: The Liturgical Press, 1979.

AMBROSE of Milan, Saint.  Letter of Ambrose to Sabinus, a Bishop (48, [al. 32], 5): 'Because He came, therefore, to save and redeem the whole man, it follows that He took upon Himself the whole man, and that His humanity was perfect.'

AMBROSE of Milan, Saint.  The Mystery of the Lord's Incarnation (5, 35): 'He is not one from the Father and another from the Virgin, but the same in one way from the Father and in a different way from the Virgin.  Generation is not prejudicial to generation, nor flesh to divinity ....'.

AMBROSE of Milan, Saint.  The Mystery of the Lord's Incarnation (6, 54): 'According to the condition of the body He was in the womb....'

BASIL the Great, Saint.  Letter of Basil to the People of Sozopolis in Pisidia (261, 2): 'For if that which is subject to Death were one thing and that which was assumed by the Lord were another, then neither would Death have stopped doing his own works nor would the suffering of the God-bearing flesh have become gain for us.'

GREGORY of Nazianz, Saint.  Letter of Gregory to Cledonius the Priest, Against Apollinaris (101): Christ was shaped ' both divinely and humanly, divinely because without man and humanly because in accord with the law of gestation ...'.

GREGORY of Nazianz, Saint.  Letter of Gregory to Cledonius the Priest, Against Apollinaris (10 ): 'That which was not assumed has not been healed; but that which is united to God, the same is saved.  If only half of Adam fell, then what is assumed and saved may also be only half; but if the whole of Adam fell, it must united to Him that is born, in order to be wholly saved.'

GREGORY of Nyssa, Saint.  Refutation of the Views of Apollinaris (55: Jaeger, pp. 225-226): The 'Godhead ... is prepared to raise up with Itself that which has fallen in accord with the law of human nature, so that while each part continues to exhibit its natural qualities, It heals the nature of bodies by the body, and the nature of souls by the soul.'

From: The Faith of the Early Fathers, Vol 3.  Selected and translated by William A. Jurgens.  Collegeville, Minnesota: The Liturgical Press, 1979.

AUGUSTINE of Hippo, Saint. &nbnsp;Christian Combat (22, 24): 'Our Lord Jesus Christ ... who came to liberate mankind, in which both males and females are destined to salvation, was not averse to males, for He took the form of a male, nor to females, for of a female He was born.'

CYRIL of Alexandria, Saint.  Against the Blasphemies of Nestorius (1, 1): 'For if He had not been born like us according to the flesh, if He had not communed on an equal basis in what pertains to us, He would not have absolved the nature of man from the crimes contracted in Adam.'

CYRIL of Alexandria, Saint.  Against Those Who do not Wish to Confess that the Holy Virgin is the Mother of God (4): Jesus 'came forth from her a man in all that could be externally discerned, while interiorly He was true God.'

DAMASCENE, John, Saint.  The Source of Knowledge (3, 3, 12): 'For the Holy Virgin did not bear mere man but true God ... not passing through her as through a channel, but homoousios with us, having taken flesh from her, though subsisting in Himself.'

FULGENCE of Ruspe, Saint.  Letter of Fulgence and Fourteen other African Bishops Exiled in Sardinia, to various of their Brethren (17, 5): 'If the Word of God had become flesh in the Virgin in such a way that He had not been of her ... then there would have been no sacrament of a Mediator ... for Christ the Son of God would not have united unconfusedly in Himself the full truth of the human and divine substances.'

FULGENCE of Ruspe, Saint.  Letter of Fulgence and Fourteen other African Bishops Exiled in Sardinia, to various of their Brethren (17, 11): 'God ... was made man to this end, that whatever He had created sound in man, this same creation God might make sound again, assuming it wholly into Himself.'

GREGORY I, Saint.  Letter of Pope Gregory I to Bishop Quirius and other Catholic Bishops of Georgia (Asiatic Iberia) (11, 52 [al. 67]): 'just as soon as the Word came into the womb, just then was the Word, the power of His own nature being preserved, made flesh.'

GREGORY I, Saint.  Moral Teachings Drawn from Job (18, 52, 85): Speaking of the incarnation, he says that 'in accord with the realities of both natures, the same Virgin would be both handmaid of the Lord and His Mother also....'

LEO I, Saint.  Sermons (68, 1): He says with respect to Christ: 'the nature of God and of man were so completely joined in him that the unity thereof could not be impaired by punishment nor disrupted by death.  For each substance remained with its own properties....'

LEPORIUS.  Document of Amendment (3): 'And thus, from the time when He took flesh, we say that all that was of God passed into the Man, and all that was of man came into God....'

VINCENT of Lerins, Saint.  The Notebooks (13, 19): Christ has 'Full humanity, I say, since, while He has both soul and flesh, it is true flesh, ours, from His mother, and a soul endowed with intelligence, possessing mind and reason.'

VINCENT of Lerins, Saint.  The Notebooks (13, 19): 'Man is united to God ... in the virginal conception itself.'

It is evident from the diverse expressions of these Fathers that whatever can be established as an actual bodily fact of our humanity, as integral to it as the development of the nervous system, then this is the true humanity that they understood Christ to assume.  Similarly, even if our understanding of things is naturally different to theirs, provided a stage of human growth can be demonstrated to be a true human stage of development (cf. Part III, Chapter 4, sections ii - iii of this dissertation), then what follows is what they understood, namely that Christ recapitulated the whole of human life and, therefore, sanctified each integral stage and fact of it.

358 The Council of Trent, Decree on Sacred Books and on Traditions to be Received (1507): 'no one dare to interpret the Scripture in a way contrary to the unanimous consensus of the Fathers ...' The Christian Faith in the Doctrinal Documents of the Catholic Church no. 215, p. 75.    Back
359 R. Conrad asks if Irenaeus' claims that Christ died at 50 invalidates his argument (4/07/01).  Reply: It would be different if Christ were to omit a stage of development which is foundational to human life and being, than to omit to live as long as others.  In the case of the former there is a problem with the full humanity of Christ, whereas in the case of the latter it is a question of the transmission of grace to us (cf. Gaudium et Spes no. 22).    Back

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