Saturday, June 2, 2012

Michael Ramsey on the Age of the Fathers

“ . . . the importance of the age of the Fathers must not he misunderstood. It is important, not as a golden age nor as a model for imitation by Christians, but as an age when the whole gospel found expression in the life and liturgy of the one Body, with a balanced use of all the Church’s structure, and with a depth, breadth and unity which contrast strikingly with every subsequent epoch. In these early centuries, the Syrian, Greek and Roman Christians were in one fellowship, with a Eucharistic worship exhibiting a balance of all the elements of thanksgiving, commemoration, fellowship, sacrifice and mystery. The Church was world renouncing, first with its martyrs and later with its hermits; it was also world redeeming, with its baptism of Greek culture and humanism into the Faith. Amid all these varieties of type and temper, the Body was still one; and the doctrine of the mystical Body retained its inner depth and breadth, since the doctrine of redemption still controlled it. The close relation between the doctrines of the Body and of redemption is apparent in all the important teaching about the Church from St Paul to St Augustine, even though from an early date there appear differences of emphasis between East and West.” 

(The Gospel and the Catholic Church, pages 140-141)


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