Rorate Caeli

"Spiritual reconciliation" and "Structural merger"

The "Compendium" of the Pope's 2007 Letter to China was released by the Holy See yesterday (PDF file). The very important matter of the structure of the Catholic Church in China, filled with important lessons for other areas of the universal Church, is once again discussed, with notes, particularly notes 2 and 6:

2. We can see that the Holy Father is talking about a spiritual reconciliation, which can and must take place now, even before a structural merger of official and unofficial Catholic communities takes place. As a matter of fact, the Holy Father seems to make a distinction between “a spiritual reconciliation” and “a structural merger”. He recognizes that the reconciliation is like a journey that “cannot be accomplished overnight” (6.6): however, he emphasizes that the steps to be taken on the way are necessary and urgent, and cannot therefore be postponed because - or on the pretext that - they are difficult since they require the overcoming of personal positions or views. Times and ways may vary according to local situations, but the commitment to reconciliation cannot be abandoned. This path of reconciliation, furthermore, cannot be limited to the spiritual realm of prayer alone but must also be expressed through practical steps of effective ecclesial communion (exchange of experiences, sharing of pastoral projects, common initiatives, etc.). Finally, it should not be forgotten that all without exception are invited to engage in these steps: Bishops, priests, religious and lay faithful. It is by means of practical steps that spiritual reconciliation, including visible reconciliation, will gradually occur, which will culminate one day in the complete structural unity of every diocesan community around its one Bishop and of every diocesan community with each other and with the universal Church. In this context, it is licit and fitting to encourage clergy and lay faithful to make gestures of forgiveness and reconciliation in this direction.
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6. With regard to participation in the Mass and in the other sacraments in an officially registered church, the Holy Father distinguishes two cases. If the Bishop or the priest celebrant is in communion with the Pope, the faithful “should not hesitate” to receive the sacraments from him. If, on the contrary, the Bishop or priest celebrant is not in communion with the Pope, the faithful “may” receive communion and the other sacraments from him on two conditions: when they do not succeed in finding legitimate Pastors “without grave inconvenience to themselves”, and yet they feel the need of the sacraments for their own spiritual good. In the second case, the final decision will be taken by the individual Catholic, taking into serious consideration the possibility indicated by the Holy Father.


Let us not forget that today, Feast of Our Lady Help of Christians, was the day established by the Holy Father for the whole Church to pray for the Church in China.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Now what implication does this have, I wonder, for those who repair to Society of St. Pius X chapels for the Sacraments? Rome is saying here that Patriotic Church clerics are "not in communion with the Pope". In contrast, Society clerics are said by Rome to be "not in full communion with the Pope". If we can repair to clerics who are not in communion with the Pope for *all* the Sacraments, can we not do so in the case of clerics who are said to be not in 'full' communion?

Oh, some will raise the matter of grave inconvenience here. Well, guess what? Impossibility and grave inconvenience, in ecclesiastical law, can be physical *or moral*. For example, if the way Fr. Feelgood celebrates Mass with pumpkins on the Altar causes one spiritual harm, one may find Feelgood's Masses to be gravely inconvenient or even morally impossible.

It may be that the Pope is getting ready to use the China situation to declare publicly at least that Society Masses fulfil the Sunday obligation. Rome has been saying so privately since 2002 and the secret is now well known, so it is no longer necessary to refuse to admit it. It could be admitted publicly while, at the same time, recommending against it.

P.K.T.P.

Mark said...

It may be that the Pope is getting ready to use the China situation to declare publicly at least that Society Masses fulfil the Sunday obligation. Rome has been saying so privately since 2002 and the secret is now well known, so it is no longer necessary to refuse to admit it. It could be admitted publicly while, at the same time, recommending against it.I was not aware that this was ever an issue among thinking people. Did not the Ecclesia Dei response to the 'Hawaii 5' settle that notion?

Anonymous said...

Mark,

No, the Hawaii Five resolution did not solve it. There were attempts by people like me to make such claims but they were answered negatively by Rome at the time. The usual line from Rome was that the outcome of this case cannot be applied to other cases, blah blah blah.

In 2002, the P.C.E.D. made a decison on the matter of fulfilling the Sunday obligation and asked the recipient of it not to publish it. He went right ahead and plastered it all over the Internet. Early in 2003, Una Voce America lodged a request for clarification and this also appeared everywhere. Since then, there have been other examples. I myself receieved such a letter from the P.C.E.D. but I have not quoted publicly from it, as they have cautioned that Rome cannot recommend attendance at Society Masses. I have tried to respect Msgr. Perl's request, even though I don't much like the man. It is a matter of being a good Catholic. By now, however, the news is well known; it is generally known. For example, it all appeared on Fr. Zuhlsdorf's site one fine day, and I have downloaded and printed several Perl's letters to this effect.

But until the P.C.E.D. admits publicly what it admits in private, most faithful will simply not believe that attendance at Society Masses fulfils the Sunday obligation. Letters from the Secretary of a Commission, not signed by its Prefect, and not declared or including in the A.A.S. will not convince the uncertain.

What is more interesting about this Patriotic Assn. case is that the Holy Father is not just talking about Mass. He is saying that one can receive *any* Sacrament from a schismatic priest who denies papal supremacy. How can this be? Penance, Marriage, and Confirmation require jurisdiction not only for liceity but even for validity. Priests of the Patriotic Assn. really cannot claim supplied jurisdiction because they openly deny papal supremacy. Anyway, they have never even invoked supplied jurisdiction.

Comments, anyone?

P.K.T.P.

Anonymous said...

Um, notice how the blog administrators are putting up more and more articles to divert attention away from this entry, which is more important than all the others combined?

I ask this: If the Sacraments requiring jurisdiction can be had (and not just their grace and virtue) from communist Patriotic Assn. priests, why cannot the same Sacraments not be had from the S.S.P.X?

The Patriotic Assn. is clearly schismatical and does not acknowledge papal jurisdiction over the Church in China. In contrast, the S.S.P.X, according to Rome, is disobedient but *not* in a state of schism, and it does acknowledge papal jurisdiction.

This is becoming maddening. It looks like a new legal misprinciple: what you want is what you get. If the law does not support your whim, you simply reinterpret it. To hell with justice. *WHERE* in the Code of Canons does it say that schismatics have jurisdiction to administer Penance, Confirmation, and Matrimony validy? And, no, the Eastern Orthodox are not to be cited, as their case is different in law and exception is made for them.

It looks as if the Pope is favouring communist schismatics over traditionalist faithful. This will also anger the underground Church, which has suffered so much for its allegiance to him.

Am I the only one here who sees this story as major? Is the Pope preparing to make a similar declaration for the S.S.P.X? Will he bring the Society in through the back door but claiming a spiritual communion sans a structural merger?

P.K.T.P.

Carlos Antonio Palad said...

"Um, notice how the blog administrators are putting up more and more articles to divert attention away from this entry, which is more important than all the others combined?"

Mr. Perkins, I'm surprised and dismayed by this. It is not a question of "diverting attention" but merely the fact that this blog also makes a point of posting on matters not being given much attention. Unfortunately, the blog is not formatted in the style of other websites where the most important news stories have more prominent placing.

The killings in Nepal, for example, was uploaded as a result of a certain request that this matter be brought to the attention of readers. Surely the killing of Catholics -- in the middle of Holy Mass! -- by idolatrous terrorists merits some attention as well?

It also happens that we recently decided in RC to mark the anniversaries of very old but still timely papal encyclicals and documents that have much to say to our generation -- and May 24 and 25were anniversaries of this sort.

As for the article about the Asian theologians on the Eucharist, it just goes to show that the rebellion of the liberals is alive and well -- and putting it on Rorate just might make a few more people aware of the craziness in the Asian church.

Besides, we assume that regular readers of this blog would have the intelligence to scroll down and look for news stories of importance. This blog is quite active, after all.

Carlos Antonio Palad said...

"Am I the only one here who sees this story as major? Is the Pope preparing to make a similar declaration for the S.S.P.X?"

The way New Catholic relates the story shows that we see it as MAJOR.

New Catholic said...

I really would have nothing to add to Mr. Palad's words. All readers are able to scroll down and find the posts which interest them most.

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. Palad:

Don't be so offended! I used a little overstatement to wake people up. Of course the killings in Nepal are important from a spiritual point of view, but you may notice that they are not much commented on. That's because, sadly, this sort of thing is no longer very surprising. Just consider Orissa.

Thank you for the new posting on the Compendium of the Church in China. I was worried that all the other articles you posted would distract people from this very crucial change on the part of the Pope. I feel that he may be establishing a parallel here to the S.S.P.X situation, although I am not suggesting that his focus is entirely on the S.S.P.X. On the contrary, he has worked assiduously to settle the siuation in China.

P.K.T.P.

Carlos Antonio Palad said...

"That's because, sadly, this sort of thing is no longer very surprising. Just consider Orissa."

Actually I'm getting a lot of please and requests to post about Orissa and the persecution in India in general. We cannot remain deaf to the cries of our brethren whose blood is being shed because of their belief in the Savior.

Carlos Antonio Palad said...

"lot of please"

that should be PLEAS

Carlos Antonio Palad said...

"Don't be so offended! I used a little overstatement to wake people up."

No, not offended at all. Just explaining.