19 April 2008

Early Lutheran Admission to the Eucharist

Sigh. I hate getting older. I found the following HIGHLIGHTED in my edition of the Triglotta, and I, for the life of me, don't remember having read it before.

Johannes Bugenhagen, pastor to Blessed Martin Luther, worked hard at introducing the Reformation in many territories. Bente reports that in his preface to the Danish edition of Luther's Small Catechism in 1538, Bugenhagen wrote: "After this confession is made, also the little children of about eight years or less should be admitted to the table of Him who says, 'Suffer the little children to come unto Me.'" (Concordia Triglotta, p. 82)

Sehr interessant, nicht wahr?

Also of interest are Chemnitz' instructions in the Wölfenbüttel Church Order that have confirmations take place yearly, performed by the superintendent (not the local pastor) in his yearly visitation of the parish - a Lutheran left-over of the old Roman practice of only a bishop confirming.

16 comments:

Fr. Timothy D. May, S.S.P. said...

Von Schenk refers to the Danish practice of "children's" communion in his autobiography, "Lively Stone," on page 136. He also chose the age of 8.

Fr. Timothy D. May, S.S.P. said...

Also, von Schenk thought the passage in the agenda for Baptism ("Suffer the little children") should be used in reference to the Eucharist and Romans 6 should be used instead in the agenda for Baptism. (p. 133)

Scott Larkins said...

Fr. Timothy D. May?

What Bishop ordained you?

Scott Larkins said...

What's up with the Lutheran practice of teenage
Eucharist?.......Protestants?!?

ROME if you want to....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IWEfmCvu8R8

Susan said...

Eight or less?
That seems a weird way to put it. "Less" is pretty open-ended. Why wouldn't it say "eight or so" or "eight or older" or even "six or older"? "Eight or less" just seems odd.

William Weedon said...

Susan,

That struck me as a bit unusual as well. I'd like to see the original, but since I don't speak Danish, it probably wouldn't help!

The Rebellious Pastor's Wife said...

I appreciated the "or less." I found it kind of an unusual way to phrase it also....but maybe he was emphasizing that every child should be well-catechized in this and ready to come to the altar by the age of eight....and admitted earlier if they can already confess this..refusing to put an early limit on it?

wmc said...

Yes, "eight or less" is like saying "eight or so," without being legalistic about it.

Thank you for bringing this piece of historic data to light. It also helps inform what Luther meant about the seven year-old who knows what the church is in the Smalcald Articles.

Randy Asburry said...

Thank you very much for that quote! It's not properly highlighting in my copy, and may have to be used at a future (distant future?) date. :-)

Scott Larkins said...

Concerning the senseless and inane babble of recent blog entries.

Mia culpa! Mia culpa! Mia Maxima Culpa!

Scott Larkins said...

Let's try...

Mea Culpa. Mea Culpa. Mea Maxima Culpa!

Please note my new blogger pic. Appropriate, No?

Erich Heidenreich, DDS said...

My friend Dr. Ben Mayes has provided me with a reliable translation of Bugenhagen's Latin and gave me permission to share it publicly, attributed to him.

"The Church needs these gifts of the glorified Christ; from these it is edified, as the Apostle teaches so clearly there. When, I say, these things are so, I admonish and beseech you, my lords and brothers, that, striving for salvation and peace, you take care in the case of all pastors that they teach the catechism most diligently and demand from the common people its utterly simple words just as they are written here, first without exposition, in order that by this confession young children, too, might be admitted, even eight years of age or less, to the table of Him who says: “Let the little children come to Me,” etc. But without this confession let them not be admitted to that holy table, not even old. “For a boy of a hundred years shall die,” says Isaiah. Then, when they have the words well, let the exposition be required of them, which is short and pleasant for this [purpose], so that no one may have the excuse that they are more used to understanding other sermons." [Johannes Bugenhagen, Preface to the Danish edition of Luther's Small Catechism, 1583, translation by Benjamin T. G. Mayes, PhD]

Erich Heidenreich, DDS said...

In addition, I found an English translation of Bugenhagen's confirmation rite from his Brandenburg Church Order of 1540.

Erich Heidenreich, DDS said...

Important correction of a typo in my citation above: the date of the Danish Catechism was 1538, not 1583.

Erich Heidenreich, DDS said...

The original Latin can be viewed here.

Erich Heidenreich, DDS said...

As for the ages Bugenhagen was referring to, his Latin clearly refers to "very young children of even eight years old or less", not "eight or so" or "eight or older":

"parvuli [the very young] vel [even] octo annos nati [eight years of age] aut minores [or those of lesser age]"