Monday, October 31, 2016

Architectural Puzzling

I was singing at a wedding two weeks ago, and a delightful event it was! The Church was among the Farmland Villages (now more built up) somewhat North of Hometown Suburb, and must be at least a hundred years old. While its structure is mostly masonry, the ceiling and walls inside are finished with hard woods, so the whole space rings like a violin; and it was indeed a joy to sing in there!

Now, though being a Century Church, it has not entirely escaped the... excitments of the later half C., though to be sure it remains much better than many newer (and older!) buildings, and hasn't forgotten What It Is For... And One of the Strange Things about it was that graven on the Ambo were the words "Benedicere / Praedicare". Yes, that was all—I checked. For indeed this church began and actually remains in the care of the Dominican[s] (I only met one there)... And I knew there had once been a third infinitive there, which insisted on escaping me, and it took some time for me to get around to looking it up again.

The third — no! actually, the first infinitive of that trio is (as you can look up too!) Laudare. Now, why would that be cut out? Why would What That Church Is For be remembered in its form, but cut out of the Motto?

Of course, you all know from grammar that many verbs take objects. For a Dominican (or any other Catholic) the only proper object of "Laudare" is Divine; and that should, in fact, inform the principal sense of the other two verbs in the motto: "Laudare [Deum], Benedicere [Deum], Praedicare [Deum]". Yes, "praedicare" has also an indirect object ... ad albigenses (inter alia). More: while it is also part of the purpose of Dominicans, and indeed consonant with the motto ut benedicere fidelium, still the primary benedicere Deum can be forgotten if the keystone "Laudare" is omitted.

And that someone would make tangible that omission, by [not] carving it in wood on an Ambo to be seen by all the faithful, well, it puzzles me. It causes concern, if you will.


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