Rorate Caeli

Modifications to the CIC:
appropriate distinction between diaconate and higher ministries;
other modifications regarding marriage

VATICAN CITY, 15 DEC 2009 (VIS) - Made public today was Benedict XVI's Motu Proprio, "Omnium in mentem" [in Italian]. The document is dated 26 October 2009 and contains two variations to the Code of Canon Law (CIC), variations which have long been the object of study by dicasteries of the Roman Curia and by national episcopal conferences.

The document published today contains five articles modifying canons 1008, 1009, 1086, 1117 and 1124. According to an explanatory note by Archbishop Francesco Coccopalmerio, president of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, these variations "concern two separate questions: adapting the text of the canons that define the ministerial function of deacons to the relative text in the Catechism of the Catholic church (1581), and suppressing a subordinate clause in three canons concerning marriage, which experience has shown to be inappropriate".

The variation to the text of canon 1008 will now limit itself to affirming that "those who receive the Sacrament of Orders are destined to serve the People of God with a new and specific title", while canon 1009 "will be given an additional third paragraph in which it is specified that the minister constituted into the Order of the episcopate or the priesthood receives the mission and power to act in the person of Christ the Head, while deacons receive the faculty to serve the People of God in the diaconates of the liturgy, of the Word and of charity".

Archbishop Coccopalmerio's note then goes on to explain that the other changes contained in the Motu Proprio all concern the elimination of the clause "actus formalis defectionis ab Ecclesia Catholica" contained in canons 1086 para. 1, 1117 and 1124. This clause, "following much study, was held to be unnecessary and inappropriate", he writes.

"From the time the Code of Canon Law came into effect in the year 1983 until the moment of the coming into effect of this Motu Proprio, Catholics who had abandoned the Catholic Church by means of a formal act were not obliged to follow the canonical form of celebration for the validity of marriage (canon 1117), nor were they bound by the impediment concerning marriage to the non- baptised (canon 1086 para. 1), nor did they suffer the prohibition on marrying non-Catholic Christians (canon 1124). The abovementioned clause contained in these three canons represented an exception ... to another more general norm of ecclesiastical legislation according to which all those baptised in the Catholic Church or received into her are bound to observe ecclesiastical laws (canon 11).

"With the coming into effect of the new Motu Proprio", Archbishop Coccopalmerio adds, "canon 11 of the Code of Canon Law reacquires its full force as concerns the contents of the canons thus modified, even in cases were there has been a formal abandonment. Hence, in order to regularise any unions that may have been made in the non-observance of these rules it will be necessary to have recourse, if possible, to the ordinary means Canon Law offers for such cases: dispensation from the impediment, sanation, etc".

Recess till end of December; relevant news may be posted at any moment.

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

Read the changes on marriage carefully. They have been crafted so as to enable Archbishop Hepworth and some of his TAC priests to cross the Tiber. Those who were once Catholic, defected, married, and then divorced and 'remarried' can now have declared null and void the first promise of marriage contracted after the defection (while the second one can be convalidated if it continues, as H.'s does). It removes an obstacle for a number of TAC priests, including Hepworth, and that's why it's coming now. As we write this, he is applying for an annulment of his first marriage (he's divorced and remarried): he has approached the Archbishop of Adelaide for this.

Of course, there are some other obstacles for Hepworth crossing as an active priest, such as his second marriage, contracted after he had been ordained priest in the Catholic Church. But I am expecting a number of general dispensations to be issued in the supplementary norms to come for the TAC--if they ever come. This is like watching molasses flow uphill during January.

P.K.T.P.

C. said...

"the Order of the episcopate or the priesthood receives the mission and power to act in the person of Christ the Head"

I fear this language will go right to the head of those clergy who think they have the right to ignore the Pope. What, precisely, does it mean?

Jordanes said...

On the contrary, it is very old and traditional Catholic language regarding the priesthood and episcopate.

The Catechism says:

*****

In the person of Christ the Head . . .

1548 In the ecclesial service of the ordained minister, it is Christ himself who is present to his Church as Head of his Body, Shepherd of his flock, high priest of the redemptive sacrifice, Teacher of Truth. This is what the Church means by saying that the priest, by virtue of the sacrament of Holy Orders, acts in persona Christi Capitis:23

It is the same priest, Christ Jesus, whose sacred person his minister truly represents. Now the minister, by reason of the sacerdotal consecration which he has received, is truly made like to the high priest and possesses the authority to act in the power and place of the person of Christ himself (virtute ac persona ipsius Christi).24

Christ is the source of all priesthood: the priest of the old law was a figure of Christ, and the priest of the new law acts in the person of Christ.25

****

Knight of Malta said...

I can see Rome eventually allowing married Priests again, with Traditional groups such as SSPX (reintegrated into the Church) still following the western Church structure for the last 1000 years or so.

Anonymous said...

Knight of Malta:

I don't think that the purpose of this legislation is to pave the way for a married priesthood. The Pope is trying to bring on board the existing TAC priests and future incoming Anglican priests. But future 'Anglicatholic' seminarians are another matter. The present dispositions give Rome space to control the number of married seminarists.


P.K.T.P.

Anonymous said...

Since Hepsworth was a Catholic priest who hadn't been laicized surely all of his marriages were surely invalid, so this new change isn't necessary for him (or anyone in his situation)?

The bigger reason for this change is surely the problem of defining what constituted formal defection, and the ridiculously restrictive ruling that had been in place. And more fundamentally, the de facto endorsement of the sin of defection.

Kate

Anonymous said...

Has anyone seen the recent idiotic statement of Bishop Peter Elliott, Auxiliary in some Australian diocese? He is a convert himself from Anglicanism and has been named by his fellow Catholic bishops to head the commission which will provide advice on the needed ordinariate(s) for Anglicatholics in Australia.

What he's saying is, My goodness, we mustn't rush this process; we must drag it out over several years. Let it be done at the appropriate juncture, in due course, when the spirit moves us, in the fullness of time. What we need is caution, temperance, careful consideration and, above all, that horrid term I hate so much, 'discernment'. I use it the old way: I discern that there is an elephant in this china shop, Charles, or I discern that somebody has just punched me in the face.

Elliott, at one point, does admit that it is **ROME** which is in charge of creating these ordinariates. For those who care to look at A.C., the Bishops' Conferences only have the role of being consulted in what pertains to them in the apostolic constitution, and that isn't much. We don't want this PAPAL INITIATIVE to be frustrated by these nasty little local 'discerners'.

Already, I sense the liberal bastards moving in to obstruct the Holy Father yet again. Consider S.P. It resulted in a sudden increase in Latin Masses over a period of eleven months, in most places, and over about two years, in Germany and a few other places (e.g. New Zealand). Now it has hit the wall. The local bishops have discovered how to obstruct it and that's what they are doing. A right of all priests? Only for those living in fantasyland. Try enforcing that when the local bishop CONTROLS PROMOTIONS AND TRANSFERS. Duh.

What is needed for S.P. is the universal diocese or apostolilc administration. As long as the local yokel bishops have a say, faithful traditional Catholics will have to pay.

In the case of the Anglican ordinariates, I can see local bishops throwing a spanner in the works for applying groups in the future. But the Pope needs to ensure that the TAC people get their ordinariates pronto. Once they are in place, most future incming Anglicans can simply join the existing ordinariates.

Let's hope that the C.D.F. keeps control of this at least until the TAC bodies are in the door. That means that we NEED THOSE supplementary norms for the TAC asap. Where the hell are they? Where is the C.D.F.'s reply to the TAC's letter of 2007?

P.K.T.P.

Anonymous said...

On some blogs, a very disturbing discussion has appeared.

Some say that an opening has been made for women deacons with the following passage in the motu proprio:

...canon 1009 "will be given an additional third paragraph in which it is specified that the minister constituted into the Order of the episcopate or the priesthood receives the mission and power to act in the person of Christ the Head, while deacons receive the faculty to serve the People of God in the diaconates of the liturgy, of the Word and of charity".

There is speculation this paragraph seems to confirm that perhaps women in the diaconate is now possible, since it makes the distinction of episcopate and priesthood (as acting in the person of Christ the Head), versus diaconate.

Can this interpretation be possible? If the Holy Father is attempting to open opportunities to the Orthodox, SSPX and the TAC, this would be a seriously HUGE conundrum.

But then I found this reference to a September 17, 2001 Notification released through the Vatican Information Service (on the Adoremus webiste http://www.adoremus.org/1001womendeacons.html):

Holy See issues Notification on women as ordained deacons

The Holy See issued a Notification on September 17 reaffirming that ordination of women is not possible, directing that programs aimed at preparing women for ordination to the diaconate be discontinued, and that bishops apply appropriate measures. ...

The Notification follows recent agitation from feminist individuals and organizations for the ordination of women deacons including a "Worldwide Ordination of Women" conference held in Dublin in July, attended by about 300.

The Notification was approved by Pope John Paul II on September 14 and issued by the Congregations for the Doctrine of the Faith, for Divine Worship and the Discipline of Sacraments and for Clergy, and signed by the respective prefects, Cardinals Joseph Ratzinger, Jorge Arturo Medina Estévez and Dario Castrillon Hoyos.

The text, as it appeared on Vatican Information Service, follows:

Notification
1. Our offices have received from several countries signs of courses that are being planned or underway, directly or indirectly aimed at the diaconal ordination of women. Thus are born hopes which are lacking a solid doctrinal foundation and which can generate pastoral disorientation.

2. Since [the Church] does not foresee such ordination, it is not licit to enact initiatives which, in some way, aim to prepare women candidates for diaconal ordination.

3. The authentic promotion of women in the Church, in conformity with the constant ecclesial Magisterium, with special reference to [the teaching] of His Holiness John Paul II, opens other ample prospectives of service and collaboration.

4. The undersigned Congregations within the sphere of their proper authority thus turn to the individual ordinaries, asking them to explain [this] to their own faithful and to apply diligently the above-mentioned directives.

Am I seriously over-reading this situation and being excessively panicky, or does anyone have more knowledge than I?

Fr. REF

Anonymous said...

P.K.T.P. wrote: " They have been crafted so as to enable Archbishop Hepworth and some of his TAC priests to cross the Tiber."

What about the principle lex retro non agit? They have married before this motu proprio will come into effect.

Gideon Ertner said...

"Am I seriously over-reading this situation and being excessively panicky"

Seems like you know the answer, Father.

Anonymous said...

"Am I seriously over-reading this situation and being excessively panicky, or does anyone have more knowledge than I?

Fr. REF"

No you're not, I was immediately asking myself the same question. Is it the first call for women deacons ?
The International Commission of Theology gave a neither-yes/nor no report some years ago, inconclusive.
In the Anglican Communion, the whole process of ordaining women began with the deaconesses so ...

Several "moderate" liberal Catholics have asked for such a step to be taken in the Church, in order to get priestesses, bishopesses and a popess next so ...
We could have a signal for a liberal move toward deaconesses, after the dreadful arch-liberal article 12 of the Complementary Norms.
I hope not.

Alsaticus

Jordanes said...

Am I seriously over-reading this situation and being excessively panicky, or does anyone have more knowledge than I?

I think you are.

The Catechism says:

****

The ordination of deacons - "in order to serve"

1569 "At a lower level of the hierarchy are to be found deacons, who receive the imposition of hands 'not unto the priesthood, but unto the ministry."'53 At an ordination to the diaconate only the bishop lays hands on the candidate, thus signifying the deacon's special attachment to the bishop in the tasks of his "diakonia."54

VI. WHO CAN RECEIVE THIS SACRAMENT?

1577 "Only a baptized man (vir) validly receives sacred ordination."66 The Lord Jesus chose men (viri) to form the college of the twelve apostles, and the apostles did the same when they chose collaborators to succeed them in their ministry.67 The college of bishops, with whom the priests are united in the priesthood, makes the college of the twelve an ever-present and ever-active reality until Christ's return. The Church recognizes herself to be bound by this choice made by the Lord himself. For this reason the ordination of women is not possible.68

****

This change in canon law brings the text of the canon into line with the wording found in the Catechism -- the same Catechism that says it is impossible for the Church to bestow valid diaconal ordination on a woman. If the Church were preparing to reject what Jesus says about the ordination of deacons, She wouldn't have just changed a canon that doesn't even address the issue of women's ordination: She would also have changed the Catechism, all relevant canons, and issued a major document purporting to explain why the Church is no longer going to accept what Jesus has declared regarding the impossibility of women's ordination.

It's just never going to happen. The Church does not have the ability to defect from the Faith.

Conchúr said...

The motu proprio acts to restore the dignity that the diaconal office holds in and of itself. It does not in any way, shape or form open the possibility of admitting women to Holy Orders. Any one who is propagating this falsehood is either a malicious troublemaker or a fool.

Anonymous said...

I am wondering how many times the 1983 Code of Canon Law has been revised? I am only aware of two instances: this one and "Ad Tuendam Fidem" in 1998.

Thanks for any information!

C. said...

Jordanes, I know the terminology is traditional, but it is vague. I think it is precisely the abusive overemphasis of "in persona Christi" which has led to the acquiescence of the faithful in such modern horrors as priestly sex abuse and liturgical abuse. Logically, if the priest is Christ, then the Pope is the priest's vicar.

In my opinion, the naked restatement of this traditional language, in an extrasacramental context, without any qualification to state that the hierarchy of obedience (to God, to Pope, to bishop, etc.) remains intact, is very dangerous. A priest can use the text of the new canon to convince the simple-minded that he has the authority to do whatever he wants.

Petrus Radii said...

It seems to me that the typically ambiguous, post-Vatican II language used to describe the differences between episcopal and priestly character on the one hand, and diaconal character on the other, imply a serious rift with traditional Catholic doctrine, and potentially even with defined dogma.

The description of the "finis" of the different degrees of the ONE Sacrament of Holy Order seems to imply not simply a difference in degree but a difference in character, as well. If this is so, the definition would violate the divinely revealed dogma that there are only seven Sacraments, since differing characters would mean that the diaconate is a separate Sacrament, consequently also violating the divinely revealed dogma that the Sacrament of Holy Order is ONE sacrament with three degrees, of which only the highest, the episcopacy, gives full expression to the priestly power of Jesus Christ.

It would also be possible to argue from the new text's vagueness that priests and bishops differ only through extent of jurisdiction, and not through a real difference in sacerdotal powers---a view which has been rejected by the Catholic Church.

Once again, the Newchurch has issued a statement which causes more confusion, instead of clearly upholding Catholic teaching.

Obviously, some neo-Catholic will rightly retort that the new statements must be read in the context of received Tradition. The problem is that words mean things, and the phrasing used here, at least in translation, appears to run in part counter to Sacred Tradition. Videmus quod dicitur in versione officiali Latina.

It is also rightly objected that the ambiguous (and hence uncatholic) phraseology of the present decree can be used or abused in such a way as to suggest that now women "could" be ordained as deaconesses. Those who say it could "never" happen are obviously too young to remember the Liturgical Revolution of the 1950's, 1960's, and beyond.

Reference to the modern Catechism of the Catholic Church is hardly definitive, since it is replete with ambiguities on any number of subjects. It initially contained the diabolical falsehood that some human beings are "born" as homosexuals.

To this day, the CCC, even in Latin, contains the *heresy* that the Catholic laity are the "leitourgos" ("offical minister") of the Holy Mass. That is a Lutheran heresy which runs contrary to the divinely revealed truth that only Jesus Christ is the "Leitourgos", and the "sacerdos", when he acts "in persona Christi".

Which leads to the further question: Since the new decree suggests that deacons do not act "in persona Christi capitis", how is it at all possible that they participate in one and the same Sacrament of Holy Order, although differing in degree and authority? The decree seems to depend not upon essentialist (i.e., Thomistic) philosophy and theology, but upon Modernist and functionalist errors and heresies.

Vae! Vae! Veritate supplantate!

Jordanes said...

Jordanes, I know the terminology is traditional, but it is vague.

Hence the need to listen to what the Church says her terminology means.

I think it is precisely the abusive overemphasis of "in persona Christi" which has led to the acquiescence of the faithful in such modern horrors as priestly sex abuse and liturgical abuse.

What's your suggested alternative? That the Church start telling the lie that priests and bishops DON'T act in the person of Christ the Head?

Logically, if the priest is Christ, then the Pope is the priest's vicar.

By the same "logic," the priest is the Pope's vicar.

In my opinion, the naked restatement of this traditional language, in an extrasacramental context,

It has not been restated in an extrasacramental context -- the text of the canon that refers to "in the person of Christ the Head" has not been changed.

without any qualification to state that the hierarchy of obedience (to God, to Pope, to bishop, etc.)

Well, except for all those other canons that mention the hierarchy of obedience . . . .

A priest can use the text of the new canon to convince the simple-minded that he has the authority to do whatever he wants.

Only if he convinces them not to read all the canons that mention that he does not have the authority to do whatever he wants . . . .

James Bremner said...

Could someone help me please. Can I attend a mass offered by SSPX priests and still be a Catholic in good standing? I am new to the Traditional Latin Mass and would like to go more often.
Thanks
James Bremner

Anonymous said...

Could someone help me please. Can I attend a mass offered by SSPX priests and still be a Catholic in good standing? I am new to the Traditional Latin Mass and would like to go more often.
Thanks
James Bremner"

The Holy See has continuously responded that any faithful can attend TLM offered in a SSPX chapel, provided you do not adhere to any schismatic mentality.

And by the way, you have many locations where TLM is offered by priests in full communion with the Holy See, whether diocesan priests, FSSP or ICR-SP priests for example.
You should read the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum by pope Benedict XVI (2007).
Have a look on the Una Voce website for the USA to find out the locations.

Alsaticus

Anonymous said...

Gideon -

Excessively panicky: yes. Frustrated: VERY.

Back when Ordinatio Sacerdotalis was promulgated, the idea of women in Sacred Orders was thought to be settled, once and for all.

But it did not escape the attention of the malicious that the diaconate was not mentioned. Almost immediately there was talk that 'since it is not explicitly mentioned, then silence implies possibility - at least for further study and discussion'.

And the infamous permission for 'altar' girls immediately after Ordinatio only fueled further speculation.

You understand as well as I do that Orders is of course limited to men. Period. It is a doctrine of the faith.

STILL - with Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, the ITC Report on the Diaconate mentioned by Alsaticus and now with this motu proprio, opportunities are not being taken to definitely close an 'a priori' non-existent loophole and shut-down any further chatter.

There are truly malicious people out there very capable of twisting and misinterpreting everything; they can get media attention very easily, and really propogate a lot of evil and doubt.

I agree with Jordanes and Conchur - women in the diaconate are not possible since it is a part of Sacred Orders.

And hardly conceivable under Benedict XVI, of all popes.

It is the Church's Magisterium to state the truth to believed, even the most obvious. That's the purpose of the Magisterium, and she has exercised it in the past.

But ongoing developments (with its lost opportunities for clarification) like in this motu proprio are being exploited.

Why a definitive statement of 'NO' is just not boldly stated is what's annoying, and troubling.

For God's sake: just say it, batten down all the hatches, once and for all.

Maybe others might feel the same way: Yes, I know the answer, but why do I keep feeling 'thrown under the bus'?

Fr. REF

Anonymous said...

"The Holy See has continuously responded that any faithful can attend TLM offered in a SSPX chapel, provided you do not adhere to any schismatic mentality"

That is, you don't see the SSPX as the only true Church and do not have an intention of schism.

Anonymous said...

"Can I attend a mass offered by SSPX priests and still be a Catholic in good standing? I am new to the Traditional Latin Mass and would like to go more often.
Thanks
James Bremner


Yes, of course. The SSPX is not in schism, and there are many statements of Cardinal Hoyos confirming that.

The SSPX priests' canonical situation concerns the priests, not the laity. Laymen do not incur any penalties, and they do not sin if they don't have an intention of schism, that is to separate from the Catholic Church.

Mar said...

In answer to C. who said: 'A priest can use the text of the new canon to convince the simple-minded that he has the authority to do whatever he wants.'

Jordanes said: 'Only if he convinces them not to read all the canons that mention that he does not have the authority to do whatever he wants . . . .'

No, the priest will have to do no convincing whatsoever for the simple-minded not to read 'all the canons'. They wouldn't do it anyway. That is precisely the point C. seems to be making. Heck, they won't even read the new canon. They will leave it all to the priest. He is in a position to quote and interpret any canon at will without any significant danger of legitimate contradiction.