Find Us Online

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Communicatio in sacris - IV - Don't shoot the messenger!

This series of posts on
Communicatio in sacris
with heretics and schismatics
(literally: communicatio in sacris - sharing in sacred things)
grew from blog comments condemning Pope Benedict XVI
for sharing in sacred things at Westminster Abbey.

Again and again the condemnation
of such a kind of
Communicatio in sacris
reaches such a degree of condemnation
by traditionalists
-faithful and priests alike-

that it is said to be against the Divine Law of God Himself.

The question arises:
Is that true?
It either is or is not true.
We must find the facts and work with them.

We all have strict opinions on this matter
of Communicatio in sacris

but we have to base our opinions on the facts.
Failure to do so discredits our traditional cause.

Without the facts....
shooting in the dark...

uninformed judgments...

Who wants to remember the days

when traditionalists 'discovered the truth'

by comparing the different photos of Paul VI's ears and nose?
Let us work with the facts.
Don't shoot the messenger.

Pope Benedict XIV
(A Pope universally considered to have been
a great authority in Canon Law.)

We have a further clarification to hand:

The judgment
on Communicatio in sacris
given by Pope Benedict XIV
in the 24 February, 1752,

session of the Holy Office
was precisely:

"Communicationem in divinis cum haereticis non posse nec debere tam facile ac tam generaliter pronuntiari in omni penitus circumstantia de iure vetitam."

Which is to say:

Communicatio in divinis with heretics cannot and should not be so readily and so generally pronounced forbidden in absolutely every circumstance."

The reference for the quote is:
De Martinis, luris Pontificii de Propaganda Fide, Pars II (Rome, 1909), p. 324.

That judgment sets out the strictest limitation of prohibition against Communicatio in sacris among heretics. The legitimacy of the matter depends on the judgment of the Pope.

Whatever opinion we each may have,
we must accept this fact and go with it.
Shooting the messenger will change nothing.

"Communicationem in divinis cum haereticis non posse nec debere tam facile ac tam generaliter pronuntiari in omni penitus circumstantia de iure vetitam."

Benedict XIV 24 February, 1752.
Communicatio in divinis with heretics cannot and should not be so readily and so generally pronounced forbidden in absolutely every circumstance.


Anonymous said...

"Who wants to remember the days
when traditionalists 'discovered the truth'
by comparing the different photos of Paul VI's ears and nose?"

What an absolute insult to traditionals! How low can anyone sink? Talk about shooting messengers!

With all due respect, Father, there was a time when I would have come to you for advice about returning to the church, however, after reading all of the exchanges over the past few days as well as the current one, you have solidified me where I am "outside" the church. The very fact that a Catholic has to go to such lengths to square this circle, tells me all I need to know.


K Gurries said...

Dear Father, this question seems very closely related to the general question of Ecumenism. Sometimes we tend to assume "rupture" before even considering the possibility of "continuity". I decided to post on my blog something from Bishop Ketteler on the theme of Ecumenism here:

Perhaps some of your readers will find this interesting as it helps us to see continuity in principles from one century to the next on yet another hotly debated topic (ecumenism).

John said...

Interesting. This is something on which I need to do some research.

Sancte Michael Archangele, defende nos in proelio.

Jack said...

In John 10, Jesus said that the good shepherd goes after the wandering sheep.

Isn't this EXACTLY what His Holiness did at Westminster Abbey?

And it worth pointing out that this service was neither Vespers of the Roman Rite (in either form) or Anglican Evening Prayer (aka Evensong?

On a particular site that tries to be more Catholic than the Pope, they took His Holiness to task for actually shaking hands and being nice to a female CofE minister. What did they want him to do? Spit in her face?

Anne B said...

When one looks at the great Movement whose works are currently unfolding - and I refer to 40 Days for Life - one sees Protestants and Catholics working, praying (each in their own tradition) and fasting together for an end to Abortion. One has to say that to cling to Peter, in this case Pope Benedict XIV's, teaching, which is Food from the Hand of Christ Himself, is to "worship in Spirit and in Truth".
In the United States of America more than 50,000,000 children have been killed in the womb since 1973. In Australia 100,00 babies are aborted annually and this genocide is funded by the Government through "Medicare". 40 Days for Life has spread rapidly, and thousands are, together, praying, fasting and witnessing to God's creative power and His sole authority over Life and Death.
The Founder of the Movement, David Bereit, is a Protestant. The Co-Founder, Shawn Carney, is a Catholic. Each of these young fathers is obviously passionately in love with God and with his fellow-man.
No wonder Our Lord Jesus Christ wanted Pope Benedict XIV (and other popes) to pave the way for such a work.
Judge for yourself. Go to:

Jerry Kramer said...

As an Anglican (Benedictine), I appreciate your charity and thoughtfulness. This was an expression of the unity for which our Lord prayed. You are a blessed witness in a fractured, broken world, thank you. Pray for me as i for you daily.

Rev. (Canon) Jerry Kramer, OSB

davidforster said...

Your sharing of this information is much appreciated, and sheds an important insight into this matter. The exceptions to the rule become a prudential matter, about which one can disagree, but the fact that exceptions can be made seems to be established as a fact, by reference to the highest authorities.

There is a differnce of course, between allowing for exceptions to a rule, and abolishing the rule entirely.

These exceptions also do not apply to the rites and ceremonies of non-Christian religions. Presumably that isn't so much 'Communicatio in Sacris' as 'Communicatio in idolatria et falsis religionibus'.

Samuel J. Howard said...

This clarifying series has been very helpful.

Anonymous said...


Jerry Kramer said...

"By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another." (John 13:35)

Anonymous said...

Dear Anonymous (Anna), with all due respect, you seem to be overreacting. Father Michael is not trying to insult traditionalists: He is one himself! And yes there have been several photographs of Paul VI doing the rounds on the internet that are especially popular with sedevacantists implying that there was a double or an impostor who took his place. All Fr. Michael is doing is bringing up examples from the past to show that there was toleration of communicatio in sacris. This does not mean that he is a great fan of it or that he suddenly wants to pray with Rowan Williams! What he is trying to show is that traditionalists shouldn't be so quick to criticize the Pope when other Popes in the past have tolerated Communicatio in Sacris.You have said that you would have sought his advice to return to the church and in the very same line you say that you are happy to remain "outside it"! Sounds like a bit of a knee jerk reaction to me. Read the posts again. All you are being provided with are the facts.

Anonymous said...

This is not an isolated incident. And I am very weary of trying to rationalize what the pope says and/or does continually or, if we cannot do so, we "focus on the positive" and stick our heads in the sand about the rest.

As for the Paul VI double, that was started by the devotees of Bayside/Veronica Leuken not by the sedevacantists as Joseph claims.

I have read the posts - all of them. My "knee jerk reaction" stands.


Andy said...


If you are admittedly "outside" the Church, why does it matter to you who Catholics pray with?

wheat4paradise said...

So where do you go from here, Anna? Protestantism? Orthodoxy? Atheism? The grass isn't greener in any of those fields, I can assure you. What is it, truly, that keeps you outside the Church? Does it really come down to your dissatisfaction over complex theological debates? That sounds like a cop-out to me.

the least said...

Dear Anna,

I found your "stick our heads in the sand" comment a bit ironic. Atheists look on Catholics and others as if we have our heads in the sand and cannot observe "the evidence" around us. No I am not accusing you of being being atheist nor of lacking faith in God but you appear to cast with a similar skepticism the faith we hold in the Catholic Church as led by her rightful pontiff. While you may be weary of rationalizing things, I believe we have much to thank God for, for people such as Father Michael Mary who love souls and that none might be lost do not tire in discussing these things, knee-jerk reactions notwithstanding :)

If I managed to offend you in any way by this remark I apologize as no offence was intended.

Anonymous said...

I've heard all of the arguments, thank you. And, no, I am not offended.


Joseph said...

Anna, No man or Pope for that matter is perfect. But sometimes it is better to "rationalize", "focus on the positive" and give the benefit of the doubt to the pope rather than to commit a rash judgment and accuse the Pope of sinful communicatio in sacris when there have been examples in the past of popes allowing this for a missionary reason.

Oliver said...

After sensing that the SSPX is circling for the kill as your members drift away and seeing that the conciliar church prefers your demise to a 'regularised' reminder of a spent religion, your only hope I fear is to declare complete independence from apostate Rome and build a constituency of traditionalists in exile. There are those who want neither Rome nor Econe and need a body of committed priests staying true to the faith.

wheat4paradise said...

Oliver, you really don't understand Fr. Michael Mary at all. There is a word for your "committed priests staying true to the faith" while severing themselves from Rome. That word is schism. They are true to the faith in appearance only. In truth, they have lost their reason and left the faith.

BiggusHeaddus said...

I'm sorry but my sensus catholicus is buzzing with warning about this. Something is not right - what's not right is that even if some Popes of the past have, in principle, allowed communicatio in sacris in specific cases they themselves have not partook. This is very important for the reason of the example it would give. Given today's climate I feel it's highly scandalous for the Pope to do these meetings because we already live in an age of religious indifference and the other Bishops follow the example of the Pope. The funny thing is communicatio in sacris is one of the only examples of the Pope that the liberal Bishops will follow. They will not follow the Holy Father's example concerning the liturgy, reception of communion etc. but they will have no issue with sharing in the sacred of non-Catholics! Why is this? The religious indifference we're experiencing today is unbelievable! We have Bishops burning incense to false gods! We have our very own Fatima shrine desecrated! I'm sorry, but even if you can pull up a case here or there - those were more healthy times! Now is not the time for this in my opinion. When you're sick you don't go out into the cold barefoot!

I'm sorry but I don't see where these articles are going? Is it leading up to a defense of Assissi? Is it to justify the kissing of the Koran? Do we all worship the same God but in different ways?

My spidey senses are tingling on this one...

the least said...

Dear Anna,

Arguments, while useful for a purpose, can only take us so far and of themselves cannot satisfy.

May you see the Face of Our Lord

Transalpine Redemptorists said...

Biggus Headdus:

These posts are offering information that perhaps several of us have not heard before. For that reason alone, anybody who is interested in the question will welcome what they have to say.

I would be happy if this information was spread about so that it could be part of the internet conversation on t his topic of Communicatio in sacris.

What could come from these posts? Perhaps very little, but also, perhaps they could help moderate some extreme views.

That would please me greatly.

It would be pleasing to hear people speak their views based on a knowledge of the historical facts and what the Popes have done in centuries past.

This would precisely NOT mean that this information justifies the fever of Communicatio in sacris that we have witnessed.

I would like to see a return to the former strict discipline of the Church; leaving the exceptions to be decided directly by the Pope and the Holy See, as they were in former times.

I would also like these posts to contribute to bringing to a halt the vilification of the Pope for doing something that it is clearly within his competence alone to decide about.

I reflect upon the fact that we are all in the Barque of Peter crossing very rough seas; the Pope alone is directing the course of the ship. I rejcet the temptation to mutiny and take the wheel from his hands.

Since we believe in prayer it is better to pray for him to receive the lights that he needs to steer the course. That alone is the way we can help him. Causing mutiny and discord among our fellow travellers is a form of bad behaviour; bad mouthing the Captain is a form of rowing against him.

I hope we will accept the former history and pray for a measured return to traditional Communicatio in sacris for extraordinary cases.

I would like people to know that there really was a pre-Vatican II history of Communicatio in sacris and exceptions were indeed made in order to bring non-Catholic Christians into the Church and help those souls suffering persecution for the faith.

Thus, as a member of the Church, like Benedict XIV of old, I cannot give Communicatio in sacris among Christian non-Catholics a blanket condemnation based on the present historical abuses that we have seen, experienced and suffered.

But I can offer prayers Pro Papa; also I can help other disquietened Catholics to moderate blind zeal and speak within Catholic bounds as faithful sons of the Church.

Ograd said...

Biggus Headus,
I don’t think one should be concerned so much by the “scandalous” examples of the Pope. Is it that he is inciting you to turn religious indiferentist, or you are concerned for others? I am not an indifferentist, for example, nor are the Transalpines, and yet we fully approve of what the Pope is doing. After all, no individual Catholic, except a Pope, and even he only ex cathedra, may insist that his appropriation of a particular aspect of the Catholic Faith objectively reflects the Faith of the Church of which he believes to be a member. We are all exposed to various influences which have their effect on our way of grasping the Faith, and that is exactly the reason why the Lord has set up the teaching and pastoral authority. Particularly those among us who consider themselves traditionalists should beware setting up the “Catholic” counterpart to the “sola scriptura”. I mean: “sola traditio”, in the sense of usurping the right of interpreting tradition in our own way and believing that interpretation to be authentic.

Kudos to the Transalpine Redemptorists. Their offering of less known, and possibly even suppressed (so that the “less enlightened” might not be “disturbed” by the truth) information is more than welcome. And there is probably more of it yet to be discovered. I remember having read in (now) Bishop Kallistos’ account of the Ottomans’ siege of Constantinople that in those last days of the tragedy the Orthodox and the Catholics gathered together in Hagia Sophia for a common prayer (T. Ware: The Orthodox Church, 1975, p 81). Who among us, if on a death bed in a Greek hospital with no access to a Catholic priest, would refuse Our Lord from an Orthodox priest and depart to face Him whom he had just refused to receive because it would have been “contrary to the divine law” ?

Anonymous said...

Transalpine Redemptorists: keep up the good work. More people are with you than against you, even if we aren't venting spleens on the blogosphere.

The sad fact is, most self-proclaimed traditionalists wouldn't recognize a volume of Migne if it hit them in the head, and get all their information from blogs, pamphlets and forums at Angel Queen (feel free to delete this part)

I am sure that you will eventually be regularized. Big bureaucracies work slowly.

Anne B said...

Objectively speaking, we must all desire "that they may be one", as Christ Himself prayed.
He founded but one Church.
Throughout the ages, man in his weakness, egotism or sheer mistakenness has often fallen into error. The descendants and disciples of those who remained in error have a long, often hard road back to the Truth.
Meanwhile, we are to "love one another", even when we disagree.
The Church's Mission is Jesus Christ's, to seek out and find those who have lost their way - often through no fault of their own.
It is providential that at this time we are rejoicing in the Beatification of Cardinal John Henry Newman. He walked a long, hard and often lonely road to come to the Fullness of Truth. He would surely be the first one to urge us to listen patiently, weigh all up in the light of the Holy Spirit and pray with perseverance to know just what God is asking of each of us right here, right now. Would it not be, first of all, to bend the knee - or preferably both knees - and bow the head and humbly pray that all may return to the Truth of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church?
And, finally, why have we not introduced into this debate the One who formed the Apostles when they hid, bereft, in the Upper Room, waiting for the promised Advocate who would bring to mind everything the Lord had taught them? She who led them in that first Novena?
These are the words of St. Maximilian Mary Kolbe from a Conference given in the Hall of the Immaculate, Basilica of the Twelve Apostles, Rome, 11th February, 1937:
"Let us seek to penetrate the plan of God: The Immaculate, united to Her divine Son by ties of blood, is associated with Him in the mystery of salvation, in the struggle against evil, in the triumph of good; the new Adam, the new Eve, together in grace, together in suffering, together in glory, on Calvary as in heaven, always united, today as well as yesterday in the attacks of infidels.
Against whom do the forces of evil and error rage? Against Christ, Our Lady and the Pope. Let us confide in the Immaculate, let us place ourselves truly in Her hands and She will continue to win the battles of God, as at Lepanto, as at Vienna. The Immaculate is She who in Her unbounded love destroys all the heresies in the whole world."

  © Blogger templates The Professional Template by 2008

Back to TOP  

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...