Monday, August 20, 2012

Christ the Borg

Bryan #106:

You said, “participation is not fusion”, and you have cavalierly sought to dismiss that, but there is far more to it than what you have said here, and the folks deserve to have a clarification:

Here’s the Ratzinger quotation again with my clarifying comments in brackets:

Through baptism, answers Paul, we are inserted into Christ and united with him as a single subject [i.e. the single Mystical Body of Christ of which He is the Head]; no longer many alongside one another [i.e. no longer a mere plurality], but “one only in Christ Jesus” (Gal 3:16; 26-29). Only Christ’s self-identification with us, only our fusion into unity with him [incorporation into His Mystical Body], makes us bearers of the promise (pg 33).

This is not an obliteration of the Creator-creature distinction, but an affirmation of our union with Christ — a union in which while we retain our created being, our individuality, our personality, our intellect, our consciousness, our will, etc., we are united to Christ and His family by incorporation into His Body and participation in His divine life.

Yes, Let’s take a further “clarifying” look at what Joseph Ratzinger genuinely means by “communion” and “fusion”:

Communion means that the seemingly uncrossable frontier of my “I” is left wide open and can be so because Jesus has first allowed himself to be opened completely, has taken us all into himself and has put himself totally into our hands. Hence, Communion [capital in original] means the fusion of existences. Just as in the taking of nourishment the body assimilates foreign matter to itself, and is thereby enabled to live, in the same way my “I” is “assimilated” to that of Jesus, it is made similar to him in an exchange that increasingly breaks through the lines of division. This same event takes place in the case of all who communicate; they are all assimilated to this “bread” and thus are made one among themselves--one body (36)

This is not a “one-time” thing that happens “at Communion”. This has eschatological aspects. Speaking of “the institution narrative”, he says:

…. it is the act of entering into that inner core which can no longer pass away. That is why the “preaching” of Christ’s death is more than mere words. [The prayer of ‘institution’] is a proclamation that bears the truth within it. In the words of Jesus, as we have seen, all the streams of the Old Testament—law and prophets—flow together into a new unity that could not have been foreseen. Those words that had simply been waiting for their real speaker, such as the song of the Suffering Servant, now become reality. We could go farther and say that ultimately this is where all the great streams of the history of religions meet together, for the most profound knowledge of the myths had been that of the world’s being built up on sacrifice, and in some sense, beneath shadowy forms that were often taught, it was being taught that, in the end, God himself must become a sacrifice so that love might prevail over hatred and lies. With its vision of the cosmic liturgy, in the midst which stands the Lamb who was sacrificed, the Apocalypse [book of Revelation] has presented the essential contents of the eucharistic sacrament in an impressive form that sets a standard for every local liturgy (from the essay “Eucharist and Mission” in “Pilgrim Fellowship of Faith”, pgs 110-111).

This “fusion” you are talking about becomes permanent. It is no matter that “we retain our created being, our individuality, our personality, our intellect, our consciousness, our will, etc” No one remains an individual in this vision of things. Everyone is “assimilated”.

In the first place, you owe me an apology here for suggesting that I am making some kind of “word/concept” fallacy.

Second, you owe the members of this board an apology for your abject dishonesty in suggesting that “participation is not fusion”, and trying to slough off the rest of all this.

This discussion has a lot of range beyond merely the word “fusion” – there is much more to this – including the notion that “the church is the ongoing incarnation of Christ”, and the whole range of ontological aspects of where “infusion” language leads.

Rome goes even further and incorporates its own hierarchical leadership structure into this ontological soup – the papacy as a permanent part of the “structure” of the body – and that is the tie in with some of these Green Baggins discussions.

You have turned on its head the notion that “we should not attribute to our opponents positions that they will not own”.

You, in fact, are denying Roman positions at this point, for the sake of sparing these folks the full impact of the Roman position so that you can set some sort of “foundational” point for it.

But the Roman self-infatuation, in its desires to perpetuate its grandiose claims about itself, effectively repeats the promise of Satan: “You will be like God.”

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