Friday, June 04, 2004

Roman Report...

Things are quiet here in Rome today, with the exception of the police helicopters flying overhead providing security for President Bush's visit. There's a strong police presence on the street, and many are staying away from the city centre to avoild being caught up in protests or police roadblocks. Today is also the anniversary of the liberation of Rome. (Some cynics suggest asking the Italians who was liberating who from whom?) In addition to European election posters, the city is plastered with a mixture of George Bush 'Wanted' posters and Forza Italia messages saying 'Welcome President Bush'. The excellent Giannelli presents these two cartoon commenting on Bush's mixed reception.
In today's paper we see Berlusconi urging Bush to 'keep looking right'. Yesteray's cartoon has the same protagonists, with Bush being warned, 'Watch out George! There aren't the Italians of 1944 any more, now there are the extremely dangerous pacifists!'
On a totally unrelated note, the Corriere della Sera also presents us with a picture of Louis XVII's heart in a glass urn. It is to be laid to rest with his body in the crypt of the church of Saint Denis.

Over at Pontifications, we have this excellent post about naming the Trinity Creator, Redeemer and Sanctifier. The whole issue of naming the persons of the Trinity is actually a fascinating area of Theology. Obviously, Father, Son and Holy Spirit are the privileged and proper names to use on the basis of scriptural authority, and there can be no excuse for abandoning these names for baptismal purposes. Pontificator's reasoning regarding why it's not correct to say 'Creator, Redeemer and Sanctifier' is:
All of the proposed substitutes for the Triune Name twist the apostolic faith. “Creator, Redeemer, Sanctifier,” for example, replaces the personal titles of the Triune Name with descriptions that are concurrently true for each Trinitarian person. In orthodox understanding, the Father creates/redeems/sanctifies by the Son through the Holy Spirit. “Creator, Redeemer, Sanctifier” is thus inherently modalistic.

This is fair enough, but isn't quite the full story. It is acceptable practise (within limits) due to the way in which God has acted in history to engage in appropriation of God's acts or qualities to one member of the Trinity or the other. Consequently, it is acceptable to refer to the Son as our Redeemer, even though we are well aware that any act of God is an act of all three persons.
However, this practise is not the same as properly 'naming' the Trinity, because it attributes properties in a manner which is reasonable, but not strictly correct. Furthermore, it views the Divine Persons as they 'appear' in relationship to us (i.e. from the point of view of the Economic Trinity) and not as they are 'in se', i.e. how they are with respect to each other in the Immanent Trinity. Consequently, the Father is Father with respect to the Son and the Son is Son with respect to the Father and the Father cannot be the Son and the Son cannot be the Father. However, the Holy Spirit causes difficulty here. I think it was St. Augustine that pointed out that the Holy Spirit's name is different - both the Father and the Son are Holy and both the Father and the Son are Spirit. Consequently, is the Holy Spirit the Third Person's 'proper' name? Well, there's no arguing with the baptismal formula given in the New Testament, but St. Augustine thought it helpful to refer to the Holy Spirit as 'Gift' and 'Love' as a proper (relational) titles within the Trinity, without suggesting any change to our normal Trinitaran formula.
I wonder if the fact that Holiness and Spiritual nature are shared by the Father and the Son casts any possible light on the Filioque controversy?

No comments: