Thursday, 2 April 2015

Why should they listen to us?

The letter in support of our priests (which, if you have not yet signed, you should sign at once) ends with the sentence: 'We pray, and expect, that our hierarchy will represent us, and the Church’s unwavering teaching, at the Synod this autumn.'

That raises the question: why should the bishops who attend the Synod represent us? A bishop is not sent as a delegate of the laity. He is not elected as a political representative.

But the answer lies in the second clause of that sentence: 'and the Church's unwavering teaching.' We have no right to be represented at the Synod because of who we are, or how many we are. However, if we understand the notion of Sensus fidei correctly, it means that when united with the constant teaching of the Church, the laity share in the genuine prophetic office of Christ Himself (see Lumen Gentium §35, and CCC §904).

It is that which we wish to have represented at the Synod; indeed which we 'pray and expect' to be represented. How could we not?

Our responsibility here is also enshrined in Canon Law, which states that the laity 'have the right and even at times a duty to manifest to the sacred pastors their opinion on matters which pertain to the good of the Church...' (see CIC can. 212 §3 and CCC §907).

Can anyone doubt that now is just such a time, when we have a duty to manifest our opinion?

I believe that it is, and that this letter should only be the first occasion of our doing so. Which raises another question: what next?  Answers in the comms box, please!

(And if you haven't yet signed the letter, which is different from the petition, do so now. And vice versa.)


On the side of the angels said...

Let's not deny the hidden enthymeme in all this:
"we know what you're up to - and your attempts to deliberately defy God's commands and ignore the fundamental moral theology in Church doctrine - the only valid motivation to any pastoral action - to permit the impossible - i.e. for those in a state of ongoing continual mortal sin to receive the sacraments - will never have the support of the faithful"

Ben Trovato said...

From a priest, by email:

Canon Law also states that all who take part in the synod of Bishops are bound to make a profession of faith - which includes both the ordinary and the extrordinary magisterium (Canon 833)

As any half-educated cleric should know, the Council of Trent declared infallibly that Christian marriage is indissoluble:

“If anyone says that the Church is in error for having taught and for still teaching that…the marriage bond cannot be dissolved…and that neither of the two, not even the innocent one who has given no cause for infidelity, can contract another marriage during the lifetime of the other…Anathema sit.” (1)

The Council of Trent also declared infallibly that if you have committed a mortal sin, you must go to confession before you can receive Holy Communion again.

“Those whose conscience is burdened with mortal sin, no matter how contrite they may think they are, first must necessarily make a sacramental confession…If anyone presumes to teach, or preach, or obstinately maintain, or defend in public disputation the opposite of this, he shall by the very fact be excommunicated.” (2)

Therefore (even if he has not already excommunicated himself) Cardinal Kasper risks committing perjury by taking part in the Synod.

But as I suspect that he seemingly considers adultery to be a trivial matter, so too he is unlikely to be very worried about perjury.

(1) Council of Trent 24th Session:Doctrine on the Sacrament of Matrimony – November 11,1563 – Canon 7: ( Denzinger 1807 )

(2) Council of Trent 13th Session: Doctrine on the Most Holy Eucharist - October 11, 1551 - Canon 11 (Denzinger 1661)