Page:Catholic Encyclopedia, volume 13.djvu/186

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ROMANS


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ROMANS


Europe, including Poland, in all countries colonized from Western Europe: America, Australia, etc., by Western (Latin) missionaries all over the world, in- cluding the Eastern lands where other Catholic rites also obtain. No one may change his rite without a legal authorization, which is not ejisily obtained. So the Western priest in Syria, Egypt, and so on uses his own Roman Rite, just as at home. On the same principle Catholics of Ei\stern rites in Western Europe, America, etc., keep their rites; so that rites now cross each other wherever such people live to- gether. The language of the Roman Rite is Latin ever>-where except that in some churches along the Western Adriatic coast it is said in Slavonic and on rare occasions in Greek at Rome (see Rites). In derived forms the Roman Rite is used in some few dioceses (Lyons) and by several religious orders (Bene- dictines, Carthusians, Carmelites, Dominicans). In these their fundamentally Roman character is ex- pressed by a compound name. They are the "Ritus Romano-Lugdunensis", "Romano-monasticus", and 80 on.

For further details and bibliography see Breviary; Canon OF THE Mass; Liturgy; Mass, Lititrgy of the; Rites.

Adrian Fortescue.

Romans, Epistle to the. — This subject will be treated under the follo^\-ing heads: I. The Roman Church and St. Paul; II. Character, Contents, and Arrangement of the Epistle; III. Authenticity; IV. Integrity; V. Date and Circumstances of Composi- tion; VI. Historical Importance; VII. Theological Contents: Faith and Works (Paul and James).

I. The Roman Church and St. Paul. — Among the Epistles of the New Testament which bear the name of the Apostle Paul, that written to the Roman Church occupies the finst place in the manuscripts which have come down to us, although in very early times the order was probably otherwise. The Epistle is intended to serve as an introduction to a community with which the author, though he has not founded it, desires to form connexions (i, 10-15; xv, 22-24, 28-29). For years his thoughts have been directed towards Rome (xv, 23). The Church there had not been re- cently established; but its faith had already become known everj'where (i, 8) and it is represented as a firmly established and comparatively old institution, which Paul regards with reverence, almo.st with awe. Con- cerning its foundation, unfortunately, the Epistle to the Romans gives us no information. To interpret this silence as decisive against its foundation by Peter is inafimissible. It cannot indeed be ascertained with complete certainty when Peter first came to Rome; there may have been Christians in the capital before any Apostle set foot there, but it is simply inconceiv- able that this Church should have attained to such firm faith and such a high standard of religious life without one of the prominent authorities of nascent Christianity having laifi its foundation and directed its growth. This Church did not owe its Faith solely to some unknown members of the primitive Christian community who chanced to come to Rome. Its Chris- tianity was, as the Kpistlr; tfUs us, free from the Law; this conviction Paul certainly shared with the majority of the community, and his wish is simply Ui de<.'p<;n this conviction. This condition is en- tirely incomprehensible if the Roman Church traced its origin only to some Jewish Christian of the com- munity in Jerusalem, for wc; know how far the fight for frwidom was from being crndrrd about a. d. 50. Nor can the founda,tion of th(! R4^)man Church be traced to the Gentile Christian Churches, who named Paul their Apf>8tle: their own establishment was Uk) rr^^mt, and Paul wouW have worded his Epistle otherwiw;, if the community addressfid were even rnediat/'ly indebtfid U> his ajKJst^jlate. The cf)mplet(' silence as U> St. PeU;r is most c-asily ex[)lained by sup- posing that he waa then absent from Rome; Paul may


well have been aware of this fact, for the community was not entirely foreign to him. An epistle like the present would hardly have been sent while the Prince of the Apostles was in Rome, and the reference to the ruler (xii, 8) would then be difficult to explain. Paul probably supposes that, during the months between the composition and the arrival of the Epistle, the com- munity would be more or less thrown on its own re- sources. This does not however indicate a want of organization in the Roman commimity; such organi- zation existed in every Church founded by Paul, and its existence in Rome can be demonstrated from this very Epistle.

The inquiry into the condition of the community is important for the understanding of the Epistle. Complete unanimity concerning the elements form- ing the community has not yet been attained. Baur and others (especially, at the present day, Theodore Zahn) regard the Roman community as chiefly Jewish Christian, pointing to vi, 15-17; vii, 1-6; viii, 15. But the great majority of exegetes incline to the opposite view, basing their contention, not only on individual texts, but also on the general character of the Epistle. At the very beginning Paul introduces him.self as the Apostle of the Gentiles. Assuredly, i, 5, cannot be applied to all mankind, for Paul cer- tainly wished to express something more than that the Romans belonged to the human race; in corroboration of this view we may point to i, 1.3, where the writer declares that he had long meditated coming to Rome that he might have some fruit there as among the other "Gentiles". He then continues: "To the Greeks and to the barbarians, to the wise and to the unwise, I am a debtor; so (as much as is in me) I am ready to preach the gospel to you also that are at Rome" (i, 14 sq.); he names himself the Apostle of the Gentiles (xi, 13), and cites his call to the apostolate of the Gentiles as the j ustification for his Epistle and his language (xv, 16-18). These considerations eliminate all doubt as to the extraction of the Roman Christians. The address and application in xi, 13 sqq., likewise presuppose a great majority of Gentile Christians, while vi, 1 sqq., shows an effort to familiarize the Gentile Christians with tlic dealings of God towards the Jews. The whole clKiractcr of the composition forces one to the conclusion that the Apostle supposes a Gentile majority in the Christian community, and that in Rome as elsewhere the statement about the fewness of the elect (from among the Jews) finds ap- pUcation (xi, 5-7; cf. xv, 4).

However, the Roman community was not without a Jewish Christian element, probably an important section. Such passages as iv, 1 (Abraham, our father according to the flesh); vii, i (I speak to them that know the law); vii, 4; viii, 2; 15, etc., can scarcely be explained otherwise than by supposing the existence of a Jewish Christian section of the community. On the other hand, it must be remembered that Paul was out and out a Jew, and that his whole train- ing accustomed him to adopt the standpoint of the Law — the more so as the revelation of the Old Testament is in the last instance the basis of the New Testament, and Paul regards Christianity as the heir of God's promises, as the true "Israel of God" (Gal., vi, 16). St. Paul often adopts this same standpoint in the ?4)istle to the Galatian.s — an Epistle un- doubtedly addresscid to Christians who are on the point of submitting to circumci.sion. Even if the Epistle U) the Romans repeatedly addresses (e. g., ii, 17 sqq.) Jews, we may deduce nothing from this fact concerning the composition of the community, since Paul is deal- ing, not with the Jewish Christians, but with the Jews still subj(!ct to the Law and not yet freed by the grace of Christ. The Apostle wishes to show the role and efficacy of the Law — what it cannot and should not — anfl what it was meant <,o effect.

II. CUAKACTER, CONTENTS, AND AkUANOEMENT OF