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Who has the right to lodge a complaint when there is a liturgical abuse? To whom it should be addressed and how it should be dealt with?

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Should the laity be involved with helping to correct liturgical abuses, or should they simply leave this up to professional liturgists and pastors?

In order that a remedy may be applied to such abuses, “there is a pressing need for the biblical and liturgical formation of the people of God, both pastors and faithful,” so that the Church’s faith and discipline concerning the sacred liturgy may be accurately presented and understood. Where abuses persist, however, proceedings should be undertaken for safeguarding the spiritual patrimony and rights of the Church in accordance with the law, employing all legitimate means (RS 170; cf. VQA 15).

Who has the primary responsibility on the local level for dealing with liturgical abuses?

Since he must safeguard the unity of the universal Church, the bishop is bound to promote the discipline common to the entire Church and therefore to insist upon the observance of all ecclesiastical laws. He is to be watchful lest abuses encroach upon ecclesiastical discipline, especially as regards the ministry of the word, the celebration of the sacraments and sacramentals, the worship of God, and the veneration of the saints (RS 392).

What should happen when the local ordinary is notified that a significant liturgical abuse is taking place?

Whenever a local ordinary or the ordinary of a religious institute or of a society of apostolic life receives at least a plausible notice of a delict [“offense”] or abuse concerning the Most Holy Eucharist, let him carefully investigate, either personally or by means of another worthy cleric, concerning the facts and the circumstances as well as the imputability.

Delicts against the faith as well as graviora delicta [“more grave offenses”] committed in the celebration of the Eucharist and the other sacraments are to be referred without delay to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which “examines [them] and, if necessary, proceeds to the declaration or imposition of canonical sanctions according to the norm of common or proper law.”

Otherwise the ordinary should proceed according the norms of the sacred canons, imposing canonical penalties if necessary, and bearing in mind in particular that which is laid down by canon 1326.2 If the matter is serious [Latin, “grave”], let him inform the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments (RS 178–80; cf. PB 52).

What happens when Rome is notified of a liturgical abuse that is taking place?

Whenever the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments receives at least a plausible notice of a delict or an abuse concerning the Most Holy Eucharist, it informs the ordinary so that he may investigate the matter. When the matter turns out to be serious [Latin, “grave”], the ordinary should send to the same dicastery as quickly as possible a copy of the acts of the inquiry that has been undertaken, and where necessary, the penalty imposed (RS 181).

Do the faithful have the right to lodge complaints regarding liturgical abuses, and to whom should such complaints be addressed?

Any Catholic, whether priest or deacon or lay member of Christ’s faithful, has the right to lodge a complaint regarding a liturgical abuse to the diocesan bishop or the competent ordinary equivalent to him in law, or to the Apostolic See on account of the primacy of the Roman Pontiff. It is fitting, however, insofar as possible, that the report or complaint be submitted first to the diocesan bishop. This is naturally to be done in truth and charity (RS 184).

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What is the relationship between sacred Scripture and the working of the sacraments?

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Sacred Scripture and the sacraments

In discussing the importance of the liturgy for understanding the word of God, the Synod of Bishops highlighted the relationship between sacred Scripture and the working of the sacraments. There is great need for a deeper investigation of the relationship between word and sacrament in the Church’s pastoral activity and in theological reflection.[188] Certainly “the liturgy of the word is a decisive element in the celebration of each one of the sacraments of the Church”;[189] in pastoral practice, however, the faithful are not always conscious of this connection, nor do they appreciate the unity between gesture and word. It is “the task of priests and deacons, above all when they administer the sacraments, to explain the unity between word and sacrament in the ministry of the Church”.[190] The relationship between word and sacramental gesture is the liturgical expression of God’s activity in the history of salvation through the performative character of the word itself. In salvation history there is no separation between what God says and what he does. His word appears as alive and active (cf. Heb 4:12), as the Hebrew term dabar itself makes clear. In the liturgical action too, we encounter his word which accomplishes what it says. By educating the People of God to discover the performative character of God’s word in the liturgy, we will help them to recognize his activity in salvation history and in their individual lives.

[188] Cf. Benedict XVI, Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Sacramentum Caritatis (22 February 2007), 44-45: AAS 99 (2007) 139-141.
[189] Pontifical Biblical Commission, The Interpretation of the Bible in the Church (15 April 1993) IV, C, 1: Enchiridion Vaticanum 13, No. 3123.
[190] Ibid., III, B, 3: Enchiridion Vaticanum 13, No. 3056.

VERBUM DOMINI, Benedict XVI

The profound unity of word and Eucharist is grounded on what?

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The word of God and the Eucharist

What has been said in general about the relationship between the word and the sacraments takes on deeper meaning when we turn to the celebration of the Eucharist. The profound unity of word and Eucharist is grounded in the witness of Scripture (cf. Jn 6; Lk 24), attested to by the Fathers of the Church, and reaffirmed by the Second Vatican Council.[191] Here we think of Jesus’ discourse on the bread of life in the synagogue of Capernaum (cf. Jn 6:22-69), with its underlying comparison between Moses and Jesus, between the one who spoke face to face with God (cf. Ex 33:11) and the one who makes God known (cf. Jn 1:18). Jesus’ discourse on the bread speaks of the gift of God, which Moses obtained for his people with the manna in the desert, which is really the Torah, the life-giving word of God (cf. Ps 119; Pr 9:5). In his own person Jesus brings to fulfilment the ancient image: “The bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world” … “I am the bread of life” (Jn 6:33-35). Here “the law has become a person. When we encounter Jesus, we feed on the living God himself, so to speak; we truly eat ‘the bread from heaven’”.[192] In the discourse at Capernaum, John’s Prologue is brought to a deeper level. There God’s Logos became flesh, but here this flesh becomes “bread” given for the life of the world (cf. Jn 6:51), with an allusion to Jesus’ self-gift in the mystery of the cross, confirmed by the words about his blood being given as drink (cf. Jn 6:53). The mystery of the Eucharist reveals the true manna, the true bread of heaven: it is God’s Logos made flesh, who gave himself up for us in the paschal mystery.

Luke’s account of the disciples on the way to Emmaus enables us to reflect further on this link between the hearing of the word and the breaking of the bread (cf. Lk 24:13-35). Jesus approached the disciples on the day after the Sabbath, listened as they spoke of their dashed hopes, and, joining them on their journey, “interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself” (24:27). The two disciples began to look at the Scriptures in a new way in the company of this traveller who seemed so surprisingly familiar with their lives. What had taken place in those days no longer appeared to them as failure, but as fulfilment and a new beginning. And yet, apparently not even these words were enough for the two disciples. The Gospel of Luke relates that “their eyes were opened and they recognized him” (24:31) only when Jesus took the bread, said the blessing, broke it and gave it to them, whereas earlier “their eyes were kept from recognizing him” (24:16). The presence of Jesus, first with his words and then with the act of breaking bread, made it possible for the disciples to recognize him. Now they were able to appreciate in a new way all that they had previously experienced with him: “Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?” (24:32).

From these accounts it is clear that Scripture itself points us towards an appreciation of its own unbreakable bond with the Eucharist. “It can never be forgotten that the divine word, read and proclaimed by the Church, has as its one purpose the sacrifice of the new new covenant and the banquet of grace, that is, the Eucharist”.[193] Word and Eucharist are so deeply bound together that we cannot understand one without the other: the word of God sacramentally takes flesh in the event of the Eucharist. The Eucharist opens us to an understanding of Scripture, just as Scripture for its part illumines and explains the mystery of the Eucharist. Unless we acknowledge the Lord’s real presence in the Eucharist, our understanding of Scripture remains imperfect. For this reason “the Church has honoured the word of God and the Eucharistic mystery with the same reverence, although not with the same worship, and has always and everywhere insisted upon and sanctioned such honour. Moved by the example of her Founder, she has never ceased to celebrate his paschal mystery by coming together to read ‘in all the Scriptures the things concerning him’ (Lk 24:27) and to carry out the work of salvation through the celebration of the memorial of the Lord and through the sacraments”.[194]

[191] Cf. Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy Sacrosanctum Concilium, 48, 51, 56; Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation Dei Verbum, 21, 26; Decree on the Missionary Activity of the Church Ad Gentes, 6, 15; Decree on the Ministry and Life of Priests Presbyterorum Ordinis, 18; Decree on the Renewal of the Religious Life Perfectae Caritatis, 6. In the Church’s great Tradition we find significant expressions such as “Corpus Christi intelligitur etiam […] Scriptura Dei” (“God’s Scripture is also understood as the Body of Christ”): Waltramus, De Unitate Ecclesiae Conservanda, 1, 14, ed. W. Schwenkenbecher, Hanoverae, 1883, p. 33; “The flesh of the Lord is true food and his blood true drink; this is the true good that is reserved for us in this present life, to nourish ourselves with his flesh and drink his blood, not only in the Eucharist but also in reading sacred Scripture. Indeed, true food and true drink is the word of God which we derive from the Scriptures”: Saint Jerome, Commentarius in Ecclesiasten, III: PL 23, 1092A.
[192] J. Ratzinger (Benedict XVI), Jesus of Nazareth, New York, 2007, 268.
[193] Ordo Lectionum Missae, 10.
[194] Ibid.

VERBUM DOMINI, Benedict XVI

Question. Is it permissible, and/or is there any good reason for a confessor to ask the identity of a penitent when the confession is anonymous; that is, it is not “face to face”?

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Answer.

Answered by Father Edward McNamara, professor of liturgy at the Regina Apostolorum Pontifical Athenaeum.

Q: Is it permissible, and/or is there any good reason for a confessor to ask the identity of a penitent when the confession is anonymous; that is, it is not “face to face”? — L.L., Washington, D.C.

A: Anonymous confession, along with the confessional as we know it today, is generally attributed to an initiative of St. Charles Borromeo (1538-1584), the archbishop of Milan, Italy. Previously, the confessor would sit in a chair and the penitent, who usually was kneeling, was clearly visible to him.

In order to ensure modesty and discretion, Cardinal Borromeo mandated in 1564 that the confessionals in his diocese be closed on both sides with a grill between penitent and priest. Pope Paul V’s Roman Ritual adopted this provision, which helped spread its use, although it did not become a universal practice until the 17th century.

Anonymous confession remains the norm although current dispositions allow for the penitent who so desires to request face-to-face confession. And confessionals may be designed to allow for both options.

Although the penitent may request face-to-face confession, the priest is not obliged to accede to the request and may insist on the use of the grill.
If a penitent desires anonymity, the priest should respect this desire and in the vast majority of situations he should never have any need or right to inquire as to the identity of the penitent.

Even if the priest recognizes the penitent it is usually more prudent not to make personal references unless the penitent makes some form of self-identification or the circumstances warrant it, such as could be the case of a regular penitent well known to the priest.

More frequently there may be situations when, in order to determine the exact nature and gravity of the sin involved, the priest may make a general inquiry as to the penitent’s state in life, for example, if he or she is married, or a vowed religious, etc.

In some confessionals, where the penitent is almost invisible, it can happen that a priest may have to ask some detail of age, or even sex, in order to tailor his counsel to the penitent’s specific characteristics.

Some very grave sins, such as abortion, also might incur excommunication reserved to the bishop or in some special cases, such as the deliberate profanation of the Eucharist, to the Holy See.

In such cases the confessor may not be able to grant absolution immediately, or only on condition that the penitent requests the lifting of the canonical penalty within a month from the competent authority.

As most penitents would be unaware of how to go about this process, the priest may offer to help by contacting either the bishop or the Holy See as the case may be. This is always done without revealing any personal data or identifying circumstances (see Canon 1357).

If the penitent wishes to remain anonymous then he or she may make an appointment to return to confession to the same priest after a certain time in order to have the sanction formally lifted. But in some cases it may be necessary to reveal some personal data so that the priest can inform the penitent of the arrival of the proper authorization.

http://www.ewtn.com/library/liturgy/zlitur28.htm

Question. When will the Anointing of the Sick be appropriately administered?

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Answer.

Answered by Father Edward McNamara, professor of liturgy at the Regina Apostolorum university.

Q: My wife and I go to Mass on first Saturdays to this church where the normal priest offers confession, Mass and anointing of the sick. Now, the normal priest was not there, but our new priest stood in for the normal priest. When the Mass was over the priest said: “Before, I give the anointing of the sick, I want it to be known that I will give it only to those who are: sick, dying, have a serious illness, or in danger of losing their life. Too many people abuse this sacrament.” Was he right in making that statement? — J.C., Corpus Christi, Texas

A: I have no idea if the manner or tone of the priest’s statement was done with due pastoral tact. But he is correct as to the substance of the norms for administering the anointing of the sick.

Under present norms the sacrament may be administered “as soon as any one of the faithful begins to be in danger of death from sickness or old age, the fitting time for him to receive this sacrament has certainly already arrived” (Code of Canon Law 1004 §1).

The provisions of the ritual “for the anointing of the sick and their pastoral care,” issued by the Holy See, clarifies the conditions under which the sacrament may be received.

Regarding the judgment as to the seriousness of the illness the document states that: “It is sufficient to have a prudent or probable judgment about its seriousness. All anxiety about the matter should be put aside and, if necessary, the physician might be consulted.”
Also: “This sacrament can be repeated if the sick person had recovered after his previous reception of anointing. It can also be conferred again if, during the same illness, his dangerous condition becomes more serious.”

Major surgery is also a sufficient motivation for receiving the sacrament even if the condition is not in itself immediately life-threatening:

“Before a surgical section (popularly ‘operation’), holy anointing can be given to the sick person as often as the dangerous illness is the cause of this surgery.”

Here the Church distinguishes between an illness that might not of itself warrant reception of the sacrament, and the same illness preceding surgery. In the latter case, anointing becomes warranted.

With reference to the elderly: “Anointing can be conferred on the aged who are greatly weakened in strength, even though there is no sign of a dangerous illness.” In this case the anointing may be repeated periodically as old age progresses.

The sacrament can also be administered to sick children: “from the time they have reached the use of reason, so that they can be strengthened by this sacrament.” Consequently the motive for conferring the sacrament is not (though it may include) remission of their personal sins, but to obtain the strength they may need either for bearing their sufferings, or to overcome discouragement or, if it is God’s will, to be restored to health.

The sacrament may also be conferred on the unconscious if “as believers they would likely have asked for the holy anointing while they were in possession of their faculties.” Likewise, if a person is apparently dead but the priest “is in doubt whether the sick person is really dead, he can give him the sacrament conditionally.”

Therefore, although the Church’s dispositions allow for a generous administration of the anointing of the sick, the sacrament is ordered toward the gravely ill from a physical condition. It should not be administered generally and indiscriminately.

http://www.ewtn.com/library/liturgy/zlitur136.htm

Written by Erineus

January 29, 2012 at 12:01 pm