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Candidates for the Episcopate, The Secrecy to be observed by those
asked for Information regarding

Canon Law, A Commission is established for the authentic Interpreta-
tion of the Canons of the new Code of

Certain Canons of the new Code of, to take effect immediately

Corrections to be Inserted in the Official Edition of the new Code of

The Teaching and Explanation of the new Code of
Catholic Truth Society of Ireland, The, is granted many Indulgences
' and Privileges

Confessors of Nuns, Interpretation of the Decree Cum de Sacrament-

alibus' regarding the

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Genuflection and Prayer before the Most Holy Sacrament, Extension
of Indulgences already granted to
Joseph Maria Pignatelli, Priest of the Society of Jesus, Decree intro-
ducing the Cause of Beatification and Canonization of the
Servant of God

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League of Daily Mass, The, in the Archdiocese of New York is enriched
with Indulgences and Privileges

Liturgical Gregorian Chant, Doubts regarding the

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73

Letter from the Sacred Congregation of the Propaganda to
the Irish Bishops in reference to the

Mexican Bishops, Letter from His Holiness Pope Benedict XV to the

Oriental Rite, The Faithful of the, may gain all Indulgences granted by

the Holy See

Partial Indulgence granted to those who Renew their Purpose of
resignedly accepting any kind of Death from the Hand of God

Peace Note of Benedict XV to the Rulers of the belligerent Nations,

The recent

Preaching of the Word of God, Encyclical Letter of the Holy Father

on the

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329

Rules for, in accordance with the Encyclical, prescribed by the
Sacred Consistorial Congregation

336

Primary Association of the Holy Cross canonically erected in the Sessorian
Basilica, Many Indulgences granted to the

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Spiritualistic Séances, Decree prohibiting Attendance at
Transference of the Episcopal See in the Diocese of Kearney, Grand
Island

'Tubular bells,' The instruments known as, may not be added to the

Organ for Liturgical use

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Unction of the Hands, Doubt regarding the, in the Ordination of a Priest
Will of a deceased Testator, Interpretation of the

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THE IRISH

ECCLESIASTICAL RECORD

SACRIFICE AND OBLATION

BY DOM B. STEUART, O.S.B.

Sacrifice and oblation Thou wouldst not,

come to do Thy will, O God,

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then said I: Behold, I in the which will we are sanctified by

the oblation of the body of Jesus Christ once.-Heb. x. 5-10.

AT the Reformation the Catholic doctrine of the Sacrifice of the Mass was abolished in order to enhance the completeness and all-sufficiency of the Sacrifice of the Crossobscured, so it was maintained, by that doctrine: The sacrifices of Masses, in which it was commonly said that the priest did offer Christ for the quick and dead, to have remission of pain or guilt, were blasphemous fables and dangerous deceits,' says the Book of Common Prayer.1

In modern days, the Sacrifice of the Cross itself, and the very idea of sacrifice, as hitherto understood, have been done away with-a logical outcome of the religious upheaval of the sixteenth century. The words of the Psalmist, a sacrifice to God is an afflicted spirit,' understood in the most exclusive sense, are taken as expressive of the true character of sacrifice. It is something altogether interior, without ritual or external forms. Sacrifice, like prayer, is an act of the soul. is an act of the soul. The sacrifices of the Old Law were fitting, in an age when religion was inseparable from ritual and ceremonial, and can only be regarded as concessions to a material-minded people and as belonging to a lower stage of religious development. The death of Jesus Christ upon the Cross, at first regarded in accordance with contemporary religious conceptions, as & sacrifice in the literal sense and as the fulfilment of all sacrificial ideas, is now seen to be so in a metaphorical sense alone. The death of Our Lord was, at most, the 1 Book of Common Prayer : Articles of Religion, Art. xxxi. FIFTH SERIES, VOL. X-JULY, 1917

supreme testimony to His teaching, the martyrdom suffered in its defence. Some would even consider it as an event unforeseen by Christ Himself.

Those who uphold such ideas are opposed in principle to all external worship. But there are others who do not go quite so far. They believe in external religion and admit that sacrifice has had its place therein, but they maintain that in the Sacrifice of the Cross all sacrifice is summed up and completed, that it is final and that there neither is nor can be any question of sacrifice in actual Christian worship, except in a purely spiritual or symbolical sense. Even the Sacrifice of the Cross was not a sacrifice in quite the same sense as those of the Old Law-in the sense that is generally understood in all religions previous to Christianity. It was rather the fulfilment of ideas but faintly foreshadowed by them. Ritual or ceremonial sacrifice, as practised in all ancient religions, is contrasted with the great moral oblation of obedience to the Will of God that was offered on the Cross Sacrifice and oblation Thou wouldst not... then said I Behold, I come to do Thy will, O God.'

These and similar attitudes of mind are, in reality, largely due to false or narrow conceptions of the nature of sacrifice. A certain definition, admittedly unworthy of spiritual religion, is accepted as correct, and it is then assumed that sacrifice thus defined can have no place in Christianity, but belongs to an earlier and lower stage of religious development, for the earlier is, according to such thinkers, necessarily the lower.

It must be admitted that the nature of sacrifice-its real significance-is no easy matter to explain. There are innumerable theories, few of which are really satisfactory, while some are altogether inadmissible. It would be useless to attempt to enumerate and discuss all these theories here, and it is, besides, a task that has already been undertaken over and over again. But it seems that, apart from the totem or 'communion' theory of Robertson Smith, no longer in great favour among students of religion, most of these theories agree in regarding sacrifice as essentially a gift or offering made by man to the deity he worships. The question is:

(1) How did the idea of presenting an offering to the deity arise?

(2) What is the real significance of such an act?

1 Cf. I. E. RECORD (Nov., 1915), Fifth Series, vol. vi. pp. 449, 'In Spirit and in Truth.'

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