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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Communicatio in sacris

In response to the 'comment box' criticism of
shared Vespers in Westminster
as an act of Communicatio in sacris
I have found the following:

Pope Benedict XIV
(31 March 1675 – 3 May 1758)
Benedict XIV is best known to history as a student and a scholar.

258 years ago, in 1752,
Pope Benedict XIV concluded that communicatio in sacris
with schismatics and heretics
is not always contrary to the divine law:
for example in a marriage between a Catholic and a Non-Catholic.

How many critical readers
would castigate their own or their parents' mixed marriage
which was also an act of communicatio in sacris?
And of greater importance than shared Vespers at Westminster,
since marriage is the confection of one of the seven Sacraments.

It bears thinking about.

As traditional Catholics we have not always been exposed
to all the facts.


Theoketos said...

Further, the stole the Holy Father used belonged to Pope Leo XIII. Leo declared Anglican orders invalid. I am sure that it was no accident that he wore that stole.

Pope Benedict walked into that Abbey, declared himself the successor of St. Peter and they applauded him for it. Our Holy Father is the Pope of Christian Unity.

Anonymous said...

As traditional Catholics we have not always been exposed
to all the facts.


As the King's Advisor [nearly] said in The Lord of the Rings, "A just point, my Liege!"

The whole issue is one of tactics, so long as ecumenism is understood as means to heal ancient bitterness to bring the descendants of heretics – who, by Canon Law (1324 if my memory serves me) are not heretics themselves – back into the Fold.

K Gurries said...

I much depends of what the Church intends by "communicatio in sacris". This is still prohibited according to canon law (c. 1365). However, this seems to include only very specific cases as indicated by Can. 908:

Can. 908 Catholic priests are forbidden to concelebrate the Eucharist with priests or ministers of Churches or ecclesial communities which do not have full communion with the Catholic Church.

In other words, canon law does not prohibit every form of common prayer with non-Catholics. Is this a post-Vatican II novelty? It seems not since the "ecumencial norms" given by Pope Pius XII (1949 instruction of the Holy Office) allowed for prayer in common:

"Although in all these meetings and conferences any communication whatsoever in worship must be avoided, yet the recitation in common of the Lord's Prayer or of some prayer approved by the Catholic Church, is not forbidden for opening or closing the said meetings."

Here the prohibited "communication in worship" -- but allowing for other prayer in common -- seems consistent with the current disciplinary norms (c. 844, 908, 1365).

Filius Redemptoris said...

Thank you for your post dear Father! +

Betting On Sports said...


Anonymous said...

This is a very interesting subject for traditional Catholics and one that needs to be aired. I never knew that a mixed marriage amounted to 'communicatio in sacris' but it makes sense that it is.

Anonymous said...

Yes, but was this not a Vespers service? Is the Divine Office no longer the Liturgy of the Church? As such, its not really fair to pretend that this is "merely" common prayer with false religions. It is performing the Church's liturgical function with false religions and laymen whoe dress-up as bishops.

Anonymous said...

"For where there are two or three gathered together in My Name, there am I in the midst of them" Matt 18:20

Bravo Father Michael Mary! Thank you for this post. I believe Jesus was there too!

Looking forward to seeing you again one day soon I hope
Kate G ChCh

PS Thank you all for your prayers during this post earthquake time in Christchurch.

Anonymous said...

In which document pope Benedict XIV concluded that communicatio in sacris with schismatics and heretics is not always contrary to the divine law?

In the documents I've found on the internet, he speaks against these unions. He mentions very exceptional cases in which matrimony is not also valid, but licit after dispensation for grave reasons.

Ancilla said...

Sharing VESPERS is fine, but the MASS isn't as we can't take communion in a Protestant/Anglican mass.

Transalpine Redemptorists said...


Good. Thank you. We are happy to note that not everything is on the Internet yet.

Still that is the date and the Pope who reached that conclusion.

We have to look at these things without a bias for defending our own preferences and to look for the Catholic answer.

It is interesting isn't it that even though the Church did not approve of mixed marriages per se yet it still openly recognised that they were an example of where communicatio in sacris could be tollerated and that it was not against the divine law.

We have to accept the principle; once that is accepted we can move on.

If that principle is rejected we are having a dialogue with the deaf.

The Church has never been thrilled about mixed marriages; who could be? But life goes on and the Church, in granting dispensations, asks for the minimum and out of necessity does what it can for the souls of her children because..... "Prima Lex Salus Animarum" (The First Law Is the Salvation of Souls).... we've heard that one before in tradition, surely.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for your answer.

I fail to see the analogy between the mixed marriage's issue and communicatio in sacris under other circumstances. Moral theology forbids communicatio in sacris at all but a few cases (in which dispensation is granted. However, it states very clearly that in other cases, it is not permited.

(I'm sorry for my English...)

Friend said...

Father Michael, you're clever and smooth, but not very good at answering questions or recognising the truth... anymore.

You gave me not one absolute, clear, straight answer in response! Just like the documents of Vatican II which you now embrace wholeheartedly, you have become very ambiguous.

I told you that I love and obey the Pope and yet - perhaps to please Ecclesia Dei or your local ordinary who still have given you and your community nothing - you tell me to "trust and love" but can't or won't say anything more.

You've proven my point, Father. Thank you.

Transalpine Redemptorists said...

Dear "Friend"

Did you not see that I have begun to answer your questions by opening this second post?

You call me "clever and smooth" (as in 'fox & oil', no doubt).

You can mistrust me "Friend" but I opened this point because I thought your question deserved a reply. Don't pour scorn on me for taking you seriously and trying to answer your complex question.

This question is not easy for anyone.

I've made a beginning, but if you didn't ever want me to answer, then that's fine too; it may help another soul who is also looking for answers to the same question of 'communicatio in sacris'.

You say you love the Holy Father; I think it is clear that you ALSO mistrust him: -similar to the way you sign yourself "Friend" to me whom you treat to 'clever and smooth'.

Let us pass on. Pray for me please and I will remember you in my prayers. I will also continue to explore this point of 'communicatio in sacris'.

wheat4paradise said...


You say that you love and obey the Pope. Do you, really? The Pope asks that you embrace the Second Vatican Council, despite its ambiguities and other problems (which he himself acknowledges). Why do you not obey him on the basis of filial love and trust? Is he asking you to sin? Do you think that this good Father would offer you a snake instead of bread?

Anonymous said...

Father, I believe you are exploring this point of 'communicatio in sacris' in vain...and you will continue to explore as you need to justify your mistake...

The least said...

Thank you, Dear Father, for this post and particularly the longer comment you made regarding this issue in the previous post which I found (and continue to find) the source of much reflection.

Jack said...

\\Yes, but was this not a Vespers service? \\


Actually, it was neither Vespers in the Roman Rite (either form) or Anglican Evening Prayer (Evensong).

I noticed that His Holiness was NOT vested as he would be for Vespers, but merely "robed in state", with mozetta and stole.

And I also noticed that his address was merely basic B-flat catechesis. Hmmmm.....

Draw your own conclusions.

Anonymous said...

I'm so very sad! Even the great Transalpine Redemptorists are beginning to fall. Our Lord warned the faithful that even the elect would be fooled.

O Blessed Mother, please, please pray for your abandoned orphans ...

Inkstain said...

Dear Anonymous (Sept 28),

A prayer is never wasted but, with respect, perhaps you should reconsider your own views in this. Rather than feel that the FSSR who you evidently feel much affection for, have "begun to fall" and Popes such as Benedict XIV and Pius X have made such an apparently egregious error, maybe the underpinnings of your own views might need some reassessment.

Pax Vobiscum

Anonymous said...

Dear Anonymous (September 28)No doubt you are also saddened by the fall of Saint Pius X and Pope Urban V and Pope Benedict XIV. Saint Pius X is a canonized saint and therefore one of the elect. Yep I bet he was fooled too.


Anonymous said...

You deserve little sympathy as look what your deal with Rome has got you.

Inkstain said...

Anon (Oct 4)

I pray that your will receive more sympathy from Our Lord, than you in your "justice" give to these good Brothers and Fathers.

Anonymous said...

Give these chaps a break. Anyone who wants to brave the bleak cold of the North of Britain, shared no doubt with a radar station and seals and stuck with a dismal Latin liturgy deserves our support. Ther RC church is a very broad church and can accomadate trads and pops as Cardinal heenan once said. Those who like th old liturgy will no doubt repair to Stronsay. The best Latin liturgy in London is to be found at such places as Farm Street, Spanish Place and Westminster Cathedral every Sunday. Solemn mass with a choir and good servers is uplifting whatever the use. Actually, in Oxford, they often perform the Sarum rite- none of these Tridentine trendy innovations!! David

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