An early and interesting examination of links between ancient Catholic rituals and the LDS temple was published by Marcus Wellnitz in “The Catholic Liturgy and the Mormon Temple,” BYU Studies, vol. 21, no. 1, 1981. There’s one passage that I’d like to use in something I’m writing, but his documentation is incomplete. I’m wondering if some of you with better access to university resources could help me look this up. He refers to a sixth century document, but doesn’t mention what it is and only refers to a modern book that seems hard to find. The book is Arthur McCormack, Christian Initiation, volume 50 in The Twentieth Century Encyclopedia of Catholicism (New York: Hawthorn Books, 1969). The citation is from page 50, though there may be material from pages 50 to 60 that I’d be interested in, if you have access to the book. Google Books and Amazon are no help in looking at content in this particular book.
Here is the excerpt from Wellnitz’s article that I am examining:
Since Christ (Christos) means anointed, Cyril suggests that we can all become little Christs by the ordinance of anointing. By this imitation the person is now also “a priest . . . and a prophet, . . . royal in nature,” as one theologian put it. 47 Oil is “the symbol of divine healing, the giving of strength and priestly power.” 48 “The body is washed so that the soul may be purified; the body is anointed so that the soul may be made holy,” wrote Tertullian. 49 He also associates it with the act of a ritual cleansing. 50 The oil is kept in special containers and is available to “cure, enlighten, pacify, and strengthen.” 51 A person may be anointed on thirty-six different places of the body in the Coptic rite. 52 Touching various parts of the infant immediately after the baptism and anointing is still a ceremony of the modern Catholic rite; the priest touches the ears and the mouth of the child with his thumb, saying: “The Lord Jesus made the deaf hear and the dumb speak. May he soon touch your ears to receive his word, and your mouth to proclaim his faith, and to praise the glory of God the Father.” 53 The same ordinance in the sixth century employed the following monologue:
I sign your forehead. . . . I sign your eyes so that they may see the glory of God. I sign your ears so that you may hear the voice of the Lord. I sign your nostrils so that you may breathe the fragrance of Christ. I sign your lips so that you may speak the words of life. I sign your heart so that you may believe in the Holy Trinity. I sign your shoulders so that you may bear the yoke of Christ’s service. . . . In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, so that you may live forever and ever [“Saeculum saeculorum”]. 54 [citing McCormack, Christian Initiation, 1969, p 50.]
If you can help me verify the McCormack reference and tell me what document McCormack is citing, please let me know. I’ve found some related sources from early Christian liturgy, but not one that speaks of signing or anointing the shoulders so that they may bear the yoke. If you know of that source or something similar, I’d be very grateful.
Update, Sept. 4:
Thanks to excellent help from kind readers, I’ve learned what McCormack was citing and found it on Google Books. So here is what I have so far:
Wellnitz cites Arthur McCormack, Christian Initiation, volume 50 in The Twentieth Century Encyclopedia of Catholicism (New York: Hawthorn Books, 1969), 50. McCormack, in turn, cites Pierre Paris, L’initiation chrétienne: leçons sur le baptême [Christian Initiation: Lessons on Baptism] (Paris: Beauchesne et Fils, 1944), 26-27; available on Google Books via http://tinyurl.com/jlinterp-1. Paris refers to a 6th century rite from the Gallican lands (pays gallican), or Gaul in France, from a source that is described as “le missel gothique”, the Gothic missal. The actual document he refers to is unclear. It may be the Missale Gothicum or other early Gallican liturgical documents discussed at “The Gallican Rite,” The Catholic Encyclopedia, NewAdvent.org, http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/06357a.htm. My ultimate goal is to track down the document that was the source for Pierre Paris. It may only be in Latin or some other language, perhaps. Versions of Gallican rite documents I’ve found so far don’t get into the details of the anointing/signing. Any leads?
24 thoughts on “Looking for Help with a Reference on Early Christian Initiation Rites”
There is a copy at my university library and I requested it, but it is in their deep storage facility so it'll take 2-3 days for my request to be processed. When I get it I'll let you know.
The Univ. of Utah's Library Catalog says it's on the shelf. I'll go get it. You want me to email you a scan?
The footnote is: "Quoted by P. Paris in L'initiation chretienne (Paris: Beauchesne et Fils, 1948), p.26."
I love detective work!
Sorry to appear like a stalker; but I found this intriguing enough that I had to follow up. The original work is available on Google books. It's actually on pages 26 and 27. McCormack's comments on this topic are pretty fascinating for about 4 pages and then is kind of flames out. If you'd like copies of the pages under consideration, let me know by email and I'll shoot them over to you–(two pages in French and four in English.)
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Thanks, Alma! Hurray, I found the book by Paris, now that you've solved the mystery of the reference. It's at http://tinyurl.com/paris-init
and yes, it's on pages 26-27. Perfect!
If you could send me an image of the relevant pages from McCormack also, that would be great. I'm at jeff at jefflindsay dot com. I hope I can buy you lunch or something when I'm in your area next! (E.g., I'm coming to Salt Lake in November for the AIChE Annual Meeting.)
Here's what I've got so far:
Wellnitz cites Arthur McCormack, Christian Initiation, volume 50 in The Twentieth Century Encyclopedia of Catholicism (New York: Hawthorn Books, 1969), 50. McCormack, in turn, cites Pierre Paris, L'initiation chrétienne: leçons sur le baptême [Christian Initiation: Lessons on Baptism] (Paris: Beauchesne et Fils, 1944), 26-27; available on Google Books via http://tinyurl.com/jlinterp-1. Paris refers to a 6th century rite from the Gallican lands (pays gallican), or Gaul in France, from a source that is described as "le missel gothique", the Gothic missal. The actual document he refers to is unclear. It may be the Missale Gothicum or other early Gallican liturgical documents discussed at "The Gallican Rite," The Catholic Encyclopedia, NewAdvent.org, http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/06357a.htm. My ultimate goal is to track down the document that was the source for Pierre Paris. It may only be in Latin or Gallican, perhaps. Any leads?
There is much in Catholic ritual that has corrupted temple rites.
Same with the coronation of England's monarchy. I watched the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II and saw many corrupted temple rites.
There is always a chance that it isn't corrupted temple rites you are seeing, but modified pagan rituals. As the Church spread into Western Europe and began converting the tribal peoples, it would adopt some aspects of pagan religion to make Christianity more palatable. That is how we got Christmas in December and also some of Christmas's customs and traditions. It is modified Christianized paganism. The Gauls were one such group of people. It is interesting to me that it is a Gallic Rite that Jeff is looking into. Why is this rite traced back into Gaul? It would have greater significance if the rite could be traced back to the original Christianity of Jerusalem. Not to Christianity in Western Europe.
Good comment! The rituals of baptism/washing, anointing, and applying sacred vestments do go back to early Christianity and early Judaism. But they also appear in many parts of the Near East and some related practices and symbols can be found, for example, in ancient Egypt. For Latter-day Saints, this is not surprising because we believe these practices go back to very ancient days, predating Solomon's temple, and may have diffused into many cultures. On the other hand, practices from neighboring cultures may have been adopted and Judaized/Christianized when the ritual made sense. It's a complex and constantly intriguing area.
The passage I'm after is similar to early rites in Rome and the Middle East, but the part relating the shoulders to the yoke of Christ is of particular interest to me, and I'm interested in understanding that issue more clearly.
Yes, paganism did mix with Christianity. It started in the days of the Apostles. Constantine is one of many who introduced and mixed pagan and Christian beliefs.
The English monarchy did not get the coronation ceremony from pagans.
People criticize LDS for the temple being secret.
The Greek Orthodox and Eastern Orthodox have an area that only priests are allowed to enter to perform rites and sacraments. They have a veil and call it the Holy of Holies. The general members are not allowed to witness what goes on. Yet no criticisms about keeping non worthy people out!
The European monarchies all started off as non-Christian tribes. The Franks, the Saxons, the Angles, the Vikings, the Goths, etc. From these "pagans" sprang the monarchies of Europe.
I would criticize the Orthodox churches as well, then. The veil was rent at the crucifixion. It was very symbolic. Hebrews clearly says that the need for mortal men entering into holy sanctuaries has now been fulfilled by Christ entering into Heaven to mediate on our behalf.
What is your take on the two veils in the temple? There was one separating the Holy place and another separating the Holy of Holies. Which one was rent in your reading?
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Kevin, just explain what you are talking about. I don't feel like playing "Gotcha!" today. You tell me which veil was rent. I haven't read the vast literature produced by Mormon apologists which reveals the myriad deep secrets that have been stolen from the Bible by those rascally Greeks and Catholics, and which, if we only believe Prophet Nibley, seem to have been so meticulously preserved by the Egyptians and Babylonian Mystery Rites, okay? I am just not in the mood today.
I spent my Mormon days (all 38X365 of them) studying the words and teachings of God's chosen mouthpieces, not the pseudo-intellectual ramblings of God's chosen thinktanks (FARMS, FAIR, and CES). So, I'll admit, my education is a little lacking.
But I did try a little at least. I went to my favorite anti-Mormon website, LDS.org, and typed in 'the veil was rent.' From the first thing that popped up, it seems to have been the veil into the Holy of Holies. But if that is wrong, I'd love to hear how someone with no spiritual authority has declared otherwise. So please fill me in.
I also found this: "With the Atonement accomplished, the veil of outward performances and ordinances was rent. SINCE THEN [emphasis added by me], man has been challenged not to rely only on outward performances and ordinances, but to use them to achieve the often painful transformations of the soul that those ordinances are meant to effect. (Alma 25:15–16.) These transformations are the only way man can extricate himself from the confining prison of the natural man and become an agent unto himself, acting freely to choose good over evil, rather than being acted upon. (2 Ne. 2:26.)"
Which is just claptrap. Anyone who has read Psalms 51 knows that without the broken heart and contrite spirit, even the outward rituals of the Mosaic Law were meaningless BEFORE the Crucifixion, not just SINCE the Crucifixion. Furthermore, that quote above uses a scripture from Alma to prove that SINCE the Crucifixion, the rituals are nothing without the broken heart and contrite spirit. One problem, though: wasn't Alma writing BEFORE the Crucifixion.
There is no integrity to this stuff. They just tell you what they want to tell you to make the church true and make you obey it. Sorry.
I'm sorry. That wasn't very friendly of me. Mormonism claims to be an ancient religion restored. It claims this "gospel" has been taught in all dispensations. But so much of the information that would make this claim verifiable has to be read between the lines, dug up out of pagan sources, and discovered in obscure alternative "translations" of words and expressions. This gets so tiresome after a while. Can't anything be obvious? Even Joseph said that we have imagined that God was God from all eternity, but nope…"I will refute that…" notion. God was actually once a man. Well, Joe,…why do you think we imagined such a thing! The Book of Momron ITSELF says that God was God from "all eternity."
It makes it all start to seem like some big conspiracy theory, or at least another installment in Nicholas Cages' National Treasure series.
Seriously… Peter said to not pay heed to cleverly-devised fables, for he was a witness of power of Christ himself. The convoluted roads one must walk! Mormonism seems like nothing more than a vast cleverly-devised fable! But this one keeps on changing! It changes right out from under you every step of the way. Everyone who has paid attention should feel like Luke Skywalker in RoTJ. "Ben! You told me Darth Vader killed my Father! Now Darth Vader is telling me he IS my father? What's up? Why did you lie to me?"
"I did say he killed your father, but I only meant it from a certain point of view…."
Forgive me, please, if I just can't keep up anymore. It is ridiculous.
No gotcha. Just wondering if you had info to share since you mentioned Hebrews which mentions the second veil and if you saw symbolism in which one was rent. I don't get to hear very often (if seldom) from an evangelical who has Mormon background. If you have references to the evangelical take on this scenario you've read and liked I would like to know. Slowly building my personal library (wish less was digital since I like to lend). Thanks.
No sorry needed. I get where you're coming from especially with the other threads getting a little heated. But maybe that isn't the right word. Anyway, the fact you come on a Mormon interest website with an outside perspective can put you on the edge when many are ready to jump the gun and attack. I hope I haven't made you feel that way and apologize if I have. I haven't posted on this site till recently but have been following for about a year. I definitely need to learn better to engage appropriately with my language so I am more transparent and not appear to have loaded questions.
If you're comparing Mormonism to Star Wars you may have answered why so many like to join the church and why I feel a desire now to go watch them again per your analogy. I'm joking of course… But not about watching them. I will get the family ready for December's release and hope these new ones are more on par with the originals. Everything I've seen gets me quietly excited they will be. Don't mean to hijack the thread and bring in the star wars nuts. If so I'm pointing the finger at EBU. 😉
No, I am sorry, Kevin. You have always been a class act guy in our previous discussions.
Star Wars…I wasted my childhood fully obsessed with those movies. I could've been a concert pianist. Instead,…I had an imagination thanks to George Lucas. It has been a long time since I've seen Star Wars. Maybe I should lighten up a bit, and go enjoy myself in a galaxy far, far away for awhile.
All the critics are full of claptrap. And getting more and more ridiculous.
And from the way they speak to LDS and about LDS non of them have any class.
And everythingbeforeus inadvertently showed that the LDS are right. Since Joseph Smith the church has taught that paganism and other corrupt teachings slowly crept into Christianity. Other religions mocked this belief. Now today it is fashionable for some religions to now teach this and present it as if their religion has always believed this, that it was just put on the back burner for a while. The Trinity is one such teaching that is pagan. Non LDS Biblical scholars acknowledge this. So now do a few other religions who, once again, teach this as if it was always their belief, which is not so.
The religion that ebu belongs to also has pagan teachings then. Every Christian religion can be traced back to Catholicism, except LDS because it is a restoration.
The English Monarchy believes they are directly descended from King David. So ebu you are wrong.