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August 31, 2018 Our Catholic Faith No Comments

Q. We Catholics are well aware of the Pauline Privilege and its source. What is the source of the Petrine Privilege? — J.S., Missouri.
A. For those Catholics who are not aware of the Pauline Privilege, which is based on St. Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians (7:12-15), it means that a marriage entered into by two unbaptized persons can be dissolved in favor of the faith of the party who has received Baptism and has married again. This is on the condition that the non-baptized party departs the marriage either by divorce, desertion, or by making life unbearable for the convert, and also that the baptized party did not give the other party just cause for departure, say, by committing adultery.
The Pauline Privilege cannot be applied if the non-baptized party is willing to be baptized or at least wishes to live in peace with the baptized spouse.
The Petrine Privilege, on the other hand, can only be invoked if one party is baptized. It refers to the power of the Pope to dissolve a marriage between a baptized person and an unbaptized person in favor of the faith of the Catholic party, allowing him or her to enter into a new marriage with another Catholic. The petitioning process begins on the diocesan level and is then sent to Rome, where it is handled by the Congregation for the Discipline of the Sacraments and Divine Worship. We are not sure of the source of the Petrine Privilege.

Q. Could you please tell me if the Entrance and Communion Antiphons can be omitted in celebrating the Mass properly? — H.F., via e-mail.
A. No, they cannot. According to the General Instruction of the Roman Missal, when the priest enters the church, “the Entrance Chant begins. Its purpose is to open the celebration, foster the unity of those who have been gathered, introduce their thoughts to the mystery of the liturgical time or festivity, and accompany the procession of the Priest and ministers” (n. 47).
If there is no singing when the priest enters, says the GIRM, “the antiphon given in the Missal is recited either by the faithful, or by some of them, or by a reader; otherwise, it is recited by the Priest himself, who may even adapt it as an introductory explanation” (Ibid.).
There is similar language regarding the Communion Antiphon. “While the Priest is receiving the Sacrament,” says the GIRM, “the Communion chant is begun, its purpose being to express the spiritual union of the communicants by means of the unity of their voices, to show gladness of heart, and to bring out more clearly the ‘communitarian’ character of the procession to receive the Eucharist. The singing is prolonged for as long as the Sacrament is being administered to the faithful” (n. 86).
If there is no singing, says the GIRM, “the antiphon given in the Missal may be recited either by the faithful, or by some of them, or by a reader; otherwise, it is recited by the Priest himself after he has received Communion and before he distributes Communion to the faithful” (n. 87).

Q. In the reading at Mass today from the Second Letter to the Corinthians, St. Paul says that “whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.” What did he mean by that? — T.M., Rhode Island.
A. St. Paul was saying that the happiness of Heaven will be proportioned according to the merits of each individual. Thus, one who has led a highly virtuous life on Earth will enjoy a higher place in Heaven, while one who led a mediocre spiritual life will enjoy the blessings of Heaven, but not to the same degree as a great saint.
Consider the analogy of two baseball players on the same World Series team. Both can enjoy the thrill of winning the World Series, but the player who batted .400 and hit five home runs will enjoy it more than the player who batted .200 and contributed little to winning the title.

Q. In her column on Pope St. Symmachus (498-514), Carole Breslin wrote in the July 19th Wanderer that a synod in Rome in 499 adopted a ruling that “any cleric trying to gain votes for a papal election during the lifetime of a Pope is deposed and excommunicated.” It seems clear that Cardinal McCarrick and the others involved in trying to get Francis elected Pope started their endeavors while Benedict XVI was still Pope. If the 499 ruling is still in effect, is it possible that McCarrick and the others who worked with him are excommunicated? — J.S., via e-mail.
A. We doubt if that local and limited 499 synod has any relevance to the Church today. However, there is a much more recent authoritative statement from the Magisterium that says the same thing. On February 22, 1996, Pope St. John Paul II issued an apostolic constitution entitled Universi Dominici Gregis that threatened excommunication of any cardinal who, “during the Pope’s lifetime and without having consulted him,” makes “plans concerning the election of his successor, or to promise votes, or to make decisions in this regard in private gatherings” (n. 79).
Declaring that he was following in the footsteps of his Predecessors St. Pius X, Pius XI, Pius XII, St. John XXIII, and Paul VI, each of whom was “responding to the needs of the particular historical moment” in an effort to carry out properly “the important and weighty duty of electing the Roman Pontiff,” the Holy Father said:
“The Cardinal electors shall further abstain from any form of pact, agreement, promise, or other commitment of any kind which could oblige them to give or deny their vote to a person or persons. If this were in fact done, even under oath, I decree that such a commitment shall be null and void and that no one shall be bound to observe it, and I hereby impose the penalty of excommunication latae sententiae upon those who violate this prohibition. It is not my intention, however, to forbid, during the period in which the See is vacant, the exchange of views concerning the election.
“I likewise forbid the Cardinals before the election to enter into any stipulations, committing themselves of common accord to a certain course of action should one of them be elevated to the Pontificate. These promises, too, should any in fact be made, even under oath, I also declare null and void” (nn. 81-82).
We don’t know whether John Paul was aware of any conspiracy to replace him with a Successor who was more “liberal” in matters of doctrine and morals, but we do know that such a conspiracy was in the works during the Pontificate of Benedict XVI. In an authorized 2015 biography of Godfried Cardinal Danneels of Belgium, Danneels admitted that he was part of a secret group formed in 1996 at first to undercut the influence of Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger as chief doctrinal adviser to Pope John Paul and later to prevent the election of Ratzinger as Pope Benedict.
The group, which met each year in the Swiss town of Sankt-Gallen, was referred to by Danneels as “the Mafia.” It included Cardinals Carlo Maria Martini and Achille Silvestrini of Italy, Walter Kasper and Karl Lehmann of Germany, Adriaan van Luyn of Holland, and Basil Hume of England.
The group’s favored candidate for Pope in 2005 was Jorge Cardinal Bergoglio of Argentina, but Cardinal Ratzinger prevailed in that conclave. Eight years later, however, after the resignation of Pope Benedict, Cardinal Bergoglio was elected and became Pope Francis.
Although he retired under a cloud in 2010 over his role in the cover-up of a child-abuse scandal, Danneels still has the ear of Pope Francis. That is not good in view of the Belgian cardinal’s history of support for laws legalizing abortion and same-sex unions. Yet he was one of the papal delegates chosen to attend the Synod on the Family in 2015.
It is also interesting to note that now-disgraced former cardinal Theodore McCarrick, who is facing credible allegations of sexual abuse of priests and former seminarians over many years, once boasted that he was asked by “a very interesting and influential Italian gentleman” to lobby for the election of Cardinal Bergoglio.
Speaking at Villanova University in October 2013, McCarrick did not identify the man, but indicated that, while he himself was beyond the voting age in 2013, he did urge other cardinals to vote for someone from Latin America. Whether McCarrick exaggerated his role in getting Cardinal Bergoglio elected, we don’t know, but with friends like McCarrick, Pope Francis doesn’t need any enemies.

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Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

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Catholic Replies

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