Sunday 28th May 2017

Home » Our Catholic Faith » Currently Reading:

Catholic Replies

August 22, 2014 Our Catholic Faith No Comments

Q. I saw a letter-to-the-editor recently that asked why, if a member of the Mafia is to be excommunicated for cooperating with murder, then why isn’t a member of any group that murders unborn children (or enables the killing, e.g., politicians who vote for abortion bills) also excommunicated? The editor made no comment, but how would you respond to this question? — R.A.C., Massachusetts.
A. First of all, it was Pope Francis who said in Italy on June 21 that members of the Mafia, because they are involved in “adoration of evil and contempt for the common good,” are “not in communion with God. They are ‘excommunicated’.” He said that their evil “must be fought, must be expelled. It must be told no.”
Second, canon 1398 of the Code of Canon Law says that “a person who procures a completed abortion incurs an automatic . . . excommunication.” In his 1995 encyclical Evangelium Vitae, Pope John Paul II said that “the excommunication affects all those who commit this crime with knowledge of the penalty attached and thus includes those accomplices without whose help the crime would not have been committed” (n. 62). This means the woman, the doctor, and family members, friends, and counselors who advised the abortion, provided that each of these persons knew the Church’s penalty for this crime, but went ahead with it anyway.
According to canons 1323 and 1324, excommunication would not be automatically incurred if a person was truly ignorant of the penalty attached to procuring an abortion, was under the age of 16, thought that the law only applied to the person having the abortion and not to her accomplices, acted out of serious fear about parental or societal reaction to the pregnancy, or erroneously believed that the abortion was necessary to preserve the mother’s life.
As for Catholic politicians who lobby and vote for abortion, they are not subject to automatic excommunication, according to the late moral theologian Msgr. William B. Smith. He said in the August/September 2000 issue of Homiletic & Pastoral Review that it may well be that the number of abortions performed would not have occurred without the votes of Catholic legislators, “but since it ‘may be’ so and is not patently clear causal participation in an actual abortion, then it seems to me that this is outside the scope of canon 1329 §2 and does not engage the penalty of excommunication.”
This does not mean that pro-abortion lawmakers are off the hook, the monsignor said, adding that “we must never forget that abortion is the direct killing of a moral innocent (i.e., morally, it’s murder). By every moral standard, every direct and deliberate act of that kind (murder) is an objective offense against the natural law and divine positive law, from which no one on this planet is exempt. By definition, this is grave scandal and incompatible with being a practicing Catholic. Those who promote, sustain, and expand abortion cannot disentangle themselves completely from this grave sin and objective injustice.”
We hope that Pope Francis will soon proclaim excommunication against those pro-abortion Catholics who are just as surely involved in “adoration of evil and contempt for the common good” as any member of the Mafia.

Q. Granted that subjective dispositions could make a difference, objectively speaking, does a priest give as much honor and glory to God and accrue as much benefit for the good of the Church when he concelebrates Mass as when he celebrates Mass individually? When I was in the seminary, the tremendous value and benefit accruing to the Church from each Mass was stressed.
I have often wondered if at least a partial explanation for the Church’s present difficulties isn’t simply due to the fact that with the widespread practice of concelebration there are fewer Masses being offered. It is my understanding that when ten priests concelebrate a Mass, that means that day there are nine fewer Masses offered.
The present practice seems to go beyond what Sacrosanctum Concilium [Vatican II’s Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy] envisioned. Canon 803 in the 1917 Code of Canon Law forbade concelebration except in the Ordination rite of priests and the consecration of bishops.
I know that canon 902 in the 1983 Code still gives every priest the right to offer Mass every day individually, but often peer pressure or lack of faculties make it difficult. There is a further development, at least in my opinion, among so many priests not considering daily celebration of Mass very important. That is possibly a different issue. — Name and State Withheld.
A. Taking your last point first, priests were not mandated to celebrate Mass daily by the 1917 Code of Canon Law, nor are they mandated to do so by the 1983 Code. However, it is “strongly recommended” that they say Mass every day. Here is canon 904 of the 1983 Code:
“Remembering that the work of redemption is continually accomplished in the mystery of the Eucharistic Sacrifice, priests are to celebrate frequently; indeed, daily celebration is strongly recommended since, even if the faithful cannot be present, it is the act of Christ and the Church in which priests fulfill their principal function.”
This canon is taken almost word for word from n. 13 of Vatican II’s Decree on the Ministry and Life of Priests (Presbyterorum Ordinis).
As for concelebrated Masses, the General Instruction of the Roman Missal says that they are a way “by which the unity of the Priesthood, of the Sacrifice, and also of the whole People of God is appropriately expressed” (n. 199). While once limited to priestly Ordinations and episcopal consecrations, the GIRM recommends that concelebration take place at the Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday; at Masses during councils, synods, and gatherings of bishops; at Conventual Masses and the principal Mass in churches and oratories; and at Masses where priests, either secular or religious, are gathered.
The same paragraph says that “every Priest, however, is allowed to celebrate the Eucharist individually, though not at the same time as a concelebration is taking place in the same church or oratory. However, on Holy Thursday, and for the Mass of the Easter Vigil, it is not permitted to celebrate Mass individually.”
On the question of whether a priest gives as much honor and glory to God when he concelebrates Mass as when he celebrates Mass individually, we don’t know the answer. Perhaps one of our readers could offer some insight into this question.

Q. Enclosed is some information on the “Prayer Wrap” in my parish, where the priest blesses a shawl that is then put over the shoulders of the person in need of physical or emotional healing. Are these shawls sacramentals once they have been blessed? — J.B.N., Texas.
A. According to the information sent to us, “the Prayer Wrap is a symbol of a faith-sharing community wrapping the individual who receives it in prayer, and they are sewn with love and given to those in need of comfort. The very threads become interwoven with pleas for healing on behalf of the recipient. The sewing volunteers will commit their time and talent as they fulfill their part in the construction of these fleece shoulder wraps.
“After the wraps are completed, they are blessed by a priest or a deacon. These beautiful acts truly transform the fabric into a ‘Prayer Wrap,’ which brings comfort to the suffering and peace to the fearful. When a recipient sees and touches these wraps, they know they are not alone, that they are lifted in healing prayer and there are those who do care about them.”
Sacramentals are certain rites or objects, such as blessings, exorcisms, scapulars, medals, or holy water, which are used to win God’s help by reason of our own devotion plus the prayers of the Church on our behalf. Unlike the sacraments, which confer grace directly, sacramentals give grace by virtue of the devotion of the person using them, and also by virtue of the official prayers and intercession of the Church. They have the power to obtain pardon for venial sins, to obtain health of body and mind and material blessings, and to give special protection against the Devil.
Since priests and deacons have the authority to bless objects, we would say that once these Prayer Wraps are blessed, they would qualify as sacramentals.

Share Button

2017 The Wanderer Printing Co.

Trump Is Pushed and Pulled on Climate Change, A Year After Pledging to Cancel Paris Deal

(CNSNews.com) – Exactly one year after pledging in a speech to “cancel” the Paris climate agreement, President Trump will attend a Group of Seven summit Friday in Sicily where he’s expected to come under sustained pressure from his counterparts to…Continue Reading

St. Louis archbishop resists law requiring Catholics to hire abortion activists: ‘We will not comply’

LOUIS, Missouri, May 24, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of St. Louis, led by the Most Reverend Robert J. Carlson, has drawn a line in the sand for the protection of innocent human life. In February, the city…Continue Reading

Planned Parenthood Closing Multiple Abortion Clinics in Iowa After State Defunds It

The abortion chain Planned Parenthood announced plans Thursday to close four Iowa clinics as a result of a new state law that defunds it. At the end of June, Planned Parenthood facilities in Burlington, Keokuk and Sioux City, Iowa will…Continue Reading

Graduates walk out on Pence at Notre Dame commencement

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — Dozens of graduates and family members silently stood and walked out Sunday as Vice President Mike Pence began his address at Notre Dame’s commencement ceremony. Pence, the former governor of Indiana, was invited to speak…Continue Reading

Trump nominates Callista Gingrich for ambassador to the Vatican

President Trump has nominated Callista Gingrich, the wife of former Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.), as ambassador to the Holy See, the White House announced Friday. The nomination comes just five days before Trump is set to meet with Pope Francis…Continue Reading

The murder case of Blessed Oscar Romero has been reopened

San Salvador, El Salvador, May 19, 2017 / 01:14 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- A nearly 40 year-old murder case was reopened this week to properly prosecute the suspected killer behind the Salvadorian archbishop’s martyrdom. Because of an amnesty law that prohibited…Continue Reading

Notre Dame Protest of Pence Twists Catholic Social Teaching

This Sunday, vice president Mike Pence will return to his home state of Indiana to deliver the commencement address at the University of Notre Dame. For the third time in several years, the school’s graduation ceremony will be plagued by…Continue Reading

Planned Parenthood is Ditching the Failed “Pro-Choice” Label. Here’s Why

The “pro-choice” label has not been working out so well for the abortion chain Planned Parenthood. The labels pro-choice and pro-life have been used for decades to help identify people’s positions on abortion, but young adults seem to be moving…Continue Reading

Bishop Conley: The Pro-Choice Political Dictatorship of Relativism

In 2005, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who would soon be elected Pope Benedict XVI, preached that “we are building a dictatorship of relativism that does not recognize anything as definitive and whose ultimate goal consists solely of one’s own ego and…Continue Reading

These Republicans Voted Against the Bill to Defund the Planned Parenthood Abortion Biz

Republicans in the House of Representatives yesterday voted for a Reconciliation bill that would defund the Planned Parenthood abortion business. This was the second attempt to get enough votes on the reconciliation bill that would not only defund the nation’s…Continue Reading

Cecile Richards Comes Unglued After House Defunds Planned Parenthood: Republicans Hate Women

Planned Parenthood abortion business president Cecile Richards it’s not happy that the House of Representatives voted yesterday to defund Planned Parenthood. The main response of the CEO of the nation’s biggest abortion conglomerate can be summed up in three words:…Continue Reading

Despite pro-life provisions, healthcare bill raises serious concerns

Vatican City, May 4, 2017 / 05:27 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- The House passed a repeal of the Affordable Care Act and a replacement health care bill on Thursday, but one bishop warned that the new bill poses serious problems for…Continue Reading

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for 150 years in our weekly print edition.


  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to su
bscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
 
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 150 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.
 
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

Enter Comments Below

This Weeks Comments And Letters . . .

Culture Of Life 101 . . . “An Introduction To The Problem Of Euthanasia”

By BRIAN CLOWES Part 2 (Editor’s Note: Brian Clowes has been director of research and training at Human Life International since 1995. For an electronic copy of chapter 23 of The Facts of Life, a 150-page treatise on all of the aspects of euthanasia, e-mail him at bclowes@hli.org.) + + + We have covered the definitions of the varieties of…Continue Reading

Today . . .

US bishop says Trump budget at odds with Catholic, American ideals

Louisville, Ky., May 26, 2017 / 05:22 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- The former head of the US bishops decried President Trump’s budget plan, claiming its cuts to social services conflict with both the Catholic faith and American principles. “Whether through Social Security, Medicaid, food stamps or foreign aid, our nation has recognized that our worth is judged by how we treat the most vulnerable among us,” Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky said in a May…Continue Reading

Cardinal Müller on Amoris Laetitia, Paul Ehrlich, Antonio Spadaro and the Three Dismissed Priests

muller

Yesterday, 25 May, the Catholic channel EWTN aired an interview of Raymond Arroyo’s The World Over which was conducted a week ago with Cardinal Gerhard Müller, the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF). In this interview – which was conducted in English – the German cardinal touches upon several important matters which are of interest to the larger Catholic world. When Raymond Arroyo asks Cardinal Müller about the post-synodal exhortation…Continue Reading

‘Comfortable’ Catholics are ‘unwilling’ to see dangers facing Church: Scholar

ROME, May 23, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — Too many Catholics are caught up in a “comfortable” Catholicism that makes them unwilling, and even unable, to see the “grave problems” currently besetting the Church, said a renowned theologian and one of the world’s top Catholic experts on the Church Fathers. “Most Catholics seem to live their life on a sort of comfortable zone, just the way that a lot of bishops live in a sort of safety-first…Continue Reading

Catholic bishops denounce a Trump budget championed by Mulvaney – a lifelong Catholic

On the day that President Donald Trump met with Pope Francis in Rome, a top administration official defended a proposed budget that America’s Catholic bishops have strongly criticized for hurting the poor. The Trump administration official in the hot seat: budget chief Mick Mulvaney, a lifelong Catholic who grew up in Charlotte. Speaking Wednesday to the House Budget Committee, Mulvaney called Trump’s budget plan a “moral” document that puts “taxpayers first.” And he defended the…Continue Reading

Pope Francis Receives US President Donald J. Trump

Pope Francis received President of the United States of America, Donald Trump, today, May 24, 2017, at about 8:30 a.m. in the Apostolic Palace, before Francis’ weekly General Audience in St. Peter’s Square. The meeting was broadcasted by Vatican Television and can be watched via this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YVCm1-toVFg According to a statement released by the Holy See Press Office, the discussions, which lasted about 30 minutes, were cordial.

Serious Hitchcock Errors… Mean That Book Must Be Corrected

By DEXTER DUGGAN PHOENIX — I loved to read St. Louis, Mo., historian James Hitchcock’s opinion column some decades ago in the National Catholic Register, when I also wrote for that paper. I was pleased, of course, when he occasionally referred favorably to something I’d written. In his August 30, 1981, Register column, Hitchcock cited…Continue Reading

The Blessed Virgin And St. Joseph… A Marriage Truly Made In Heaven

By JAMES MONTI For several centuries there was on the liturgical calendars of several religious orders a feast day that few know of today — Desponsatio beatae Mariae Virginis — the Espousal of the Blessed Virgin Mary, a celebration of the marriage of Our Lady to St. Joseph. Although the Sacred Scriptures recount scarcely more…Continue Reading

A New Birth Control Commission?

By JOHN F. KIPPLEY (Editor’s Note: At this point, reports about a possible new birth control commission are unconfirmed. This commentary first appeared on http://nfpandmore.org/wordpress/.) + + + The week of May 13th started wonderfully with widespread efforts to honor the Blessed Virgin Mary as Our Lady of Fatima. The work week was quickly dimmed,…Continue Reading

Wanda Poltawska… The Stubborn Insistence On Being Human

By DONALD DeMARCO The city was Toledo, Ohio. The year was 1990. The venue was the dining room in a private home. The audience consisted of several pro-life people, including myself. The speaker was Wanda Poltawska who was relating a series of events in her life that we were most privileged to hear. In 1962,…Continue Reading

A Movie Review… “Outcasts” And True Social Justice

By REY FLORES “A bold example of social justice in action” — Follow the cameras of Grassroots Films, the Award-Winning producers of The Human Experience and Child 31, on an unexpected journey across the globe. Travel to the prisons of Central America, walk the dark city streets of London, New York, and Ireland’s most treacherous…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

Our Savior And Redeemer… The Redemption

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM Part 9 In his book Crossing the Threshold of Hope, Pope John Paul II made a few interesting statements about Islam, which I quote in the following two paragraphs: “Whoever knows the Old and New Testaments, and then reads the Koran, clearly sees the process by which it completely reduces Divine Revelation. It is impossible…Continue Reading

Penance As A Laborious Kind Of Baptism

By DON FIER Sin, its dire consequences, and man’s continual need for conversion are realities that are often dismissed or even outrightly denied in modern secularized societies enamored, as they are, with materialistic pursuits. As noted last week, recent Roman Pontiffs, beginning with Pope Pius XII in 1946, cite as an underlying reason for this troubling phenomenon a “loss of…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Editor’s Note: In his parish bulletin recently, Fr. George Rutler of the Church of St. Michael in New York City recalled the famous words of the great jazz singer Al Jolson: “You ain’t heard nothing yet” and compared them with the words of Jesus: “I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now” (John…Continue Reading

Discover God’s Gifts And His Will

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Pentecost Sunday (YR A) Readings: Acts 2:1-11 1 Cor. 12:3b-7, 12-13 John 20:19-23 In the first reading today we hear about the Holy Spirit descending upon the apostles as they were gathered in prayer. The event was marked by some extraordinary phenomena: the noise like a driving wind filling the house and the tongues of fire.…Continue Reading

The Canonization Mass For Jacinta And Francisco . . . Pope Francis Says: “Dear Pilgrims, We Have A Mother”

(Editor’s Note: Pope Francis on May 13 canonized Jacinta and Francesco Marto, as the highlight of his May 12-13 Apostolic Pilgrimage to Fatima. Below is the Vatican translation of the Pope’s homily during the Mass, as provided by ZENIT News Agency. (It is followed by the text of Pietro Cardinal Parolin’s homily at the vigil. Earlier at the vigil, the…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Peter Sanz And Companions

By CAROLE BRESLIN In 1748, the Viceroy of Peking with great frustration asked, “What are we to do with these men? Their lives are certainly irreproachable. . . . Their jailers and their families become their disciples and embrace their religion. To prolong this state is only to give them the opportunity of increasing the number of Christians.” Thus Peter…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… Pope St. Celestine V

By CAROLE BRESLIN After the death of Pope St. John Paul II, faithful Catholics rejoiced at the election of Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger as the next Vicar of Christ. The German prelate took the name of Benedict XVI for two reasons: in memory of Pope Benedict XV who led the Church during the turbulent times of World War I, seeking peace…Continue Reading