Skip to comments.After decades of disinterest, suddenly two Canon 1405 cases?
Posted on 04/24/2008 10:11:49 AM PDT by NYer
is that anything like getting fired for being dumb?
It comes closer to getting fired for hanging the boss in effigy on the town square.
So what does “expelling from the clerical state” mean? If he’s removed from office, he’s no longer a bishop but he’s still a priest and can perform priestly duties, but if he’s “expelled,” he’s a layperson? Is this like a double secret excommunication?
"Expelled from the clerical state" means that, while he retains the charism of Holy Orders (which cannot be removed), he can't licitly exercise any clerical ministry in ordinary circumstances.
("in ordinary circumstances" -- even an ex-priest or ex-bishop "expelled from the clerical state" could hear the confession of a person in danger of death and validly absolve them. That would be an extraordinary circumstance.)
So Abp. Milingo (the Moonie) was excommunicated but not expelled from the clerical state?
OK, that makes sense. So how does excommunication fit in there—that’s a complete expulsion from the Catholic Church, right? Can’t take Communion, go to confession, anything?
(Sorry for all the questions...I’m Presbyterian but this is very interesting to me.)
"Formally repents" means that stops committing the crime and makes his repentance known to a cleric competent to remove the excommunication. (May be a priest, bishop, or the Pope, depending on the offense.)
I would think that a cleric who is excommunicated is de facto "removed from the clerical state" but would be automatically reinstated if he repented. Someone formally removed from the clerical state, though, would not be automatically reinstated, nor usually reinstated at all.
“I would think that a cleric who is excommunicated is de facto ‘removed from the clerical state’ but would be automatically reinstated if he repented.”
I don't think that's exactly the case. Archbishop Lefebvre was excommunicated, but remained a cleric, albeit unable to legitimately exercise any actions tied to his clerical state. He was still an archbishop, still a member of the hierarchy of the Church, even though he couldn't exercise any of the authority thereof.
On the other hand, someone dismissed from the clerical state is no longer part of the hierarchy of the Church.
The net effect, while excommunicated, seems the same, and the distinction may be without a difference. But I think that the distinction remains.
And when the Trinitarians taught me, they DID call me “the Little Jesuit.” ;-)
That’s basically what I was trying to say. Thanks for adding some clarity.
The crux of the matter is whether it is possible to reduce a bishop to the lay state. Most authorities believe it is not.
The only thing the Pope can do in this situation is remove the bishop from his diocese and his activity, because nobody, including a bishop, can licitly continue this without the ultimate permission of Rome.
However, in terms of the sacrament, he still remains a bishop, just as you and I still remain baptized Christians (with the mark on the soul) no matter what we do, even if we wish to renounce it. Renouncing it is simply not possible, because it has effected an ontological change. There have been leftist idiots in Spain who have sued the Church (and won!) to get the parish to remove their baptismal record. But the bad news is that, record or no, it still happened, and things will not go well for them on Judgment Day.
Therein lies the problem.
I don't know why a bishop couldn't be reduced to the lay state.
The ontological mark on the soul of a deacon or priest is just as permanent as that on the soul of a bishop. Reduction to the lay state has nothing to do with this ontological reality.
To be reduced to the lay state is merely to be dismissed from the hierarchy of the Church.
The bishop receives the fullness of the priesthood, and that’s why he can ordain priests and other priests cannot.
This may be something that the Church can control - for example, when I was a kid, only bishops could confirm, but then it was announced that priests could confirm. So I’m not sure how far the delegation goes.
But a bishop and a priest are on two different levels. Being made an “un-cardinal,” if such could be done, would be dismissal from the heirarchy, because “cardinal” is essentially a title and can be removed. But being a bishop is something entirely different, and this is the problem in trying to get rid of them.
Why do you think there are questions over Anglican orders? If somebody - some dissident follower of Henry VIII - wanted to ordain somebody, he could and probably did. So in that case, the question is about the licitness. However, Rome has already decided that Anglican orders are not valid, so perhaps this gives us an idea of what might happen.
Basically, I think the Pope’s fear is that bishops will leave and start ordaining priests and consecrating other bishops.
As I said, the charism of Holy Orders cannot be removed from the soul. However, that is as true of the priesthood or diaconate as it is of the episcopacy.
Expulsion from the clerical state merely means that the person cannot licitly function as a cleric in any capacity.
“The bishop receives the fullness of the priesthood, and thats why he can ordain priests and other priests cannot.”
I understand that.
“But a bishop and a priest are on two different levels.”
“Being made an ‘un-cardinal,’ if such could be done, would be dismissal from the heirarchy, because ‘cardinal’ is essentially a title and can be removed.”
That's true, too.
“But being a bishop is something entirely different, and this is the problem in trying to get rid of them.”
But this is similar to the problem with priests. Each is changed ontologically with the reception of orders, whether only priestly, or episcopal.
Whether one is laicizing a priest or a bishop, the ontological nature of Holy Orders remains. The priest remains a priest and the bishop remains a bishop.
The clerical state, however, is merely the fact of being part of the hierarchy of the Church. A priest is part of the hierarchy, as is a bishop. A priest can be removed from the hierarchy. No effect on the nature of the mark on his soul as a result of being ordained, but by being removed from the clerical state, he is no longer part of the hierarchy. Why not a bishop?
There may be some other argument to be made, but I don't think it's because of the ontological change made by the reception of Holy Orders, as all three, deacon, priest, and bishop all are changed ontologically, and that change is permanent and eternal.
“Why do you think there are questions over Anglican orders?”
There aren't really any questions concerning Anglican orders, generally. They're invalid.
And that's because under the protestantizers, the Anglicans no longer intended to do what the Church does, which is to ordain men who in part can offer the sacrifice of the Mass and sacramentally hear confessions and grant absolution.
“If somebody - some dissident follower of Henry VIII - wanted to ordain somebody, he could and probably did. So in that case, the question is about the licitness.”
No, the Church teaches that Anglican orders were not a matter of licitness but of validity.
“Basically, I think the Popes fear is that bishops will leave and start ordaining priests and consecrating other bishops.”
Yes, but that's a prudential question. It's not a question of whether or not a bishop CAN be laicized, only a question of whether it's a good idea, or not.
And not laicizing Archbishop Lefebvre certainly didn't stop HIM from illicitly consecrating bishops.
I'd like to see a better reason put forth why bishops can't be laicized than what's been presented so far.
Frankly, I'm not sure it's ever been done. Do you know of any cases where a bishop has been laicized? This alone would be enough to stop the Pope from doing anything to them.
However, he could remove them from their sees, and I sure wish he would. But there is always the question of whether they would then set up their own church, which wouldn't surprise me in the least; and in that case, their heresy would be perpetuated.
Here is an article at Catholic Encyclopedia that, towards the end, discusses degradation from the clerical state:
Here's the money quote:
“LOSS OF CLERICAL PRIVILEGES
“Although the sacramental character received in Sacred orders may not be obliterated, yet even the higher orders of clergy may be degraded from their dignity and reduced to what is technically called lay communion.”
I wouldn't say that this is dispositive, but I offer it as additional support to the concept that bishops may be degraded to the lay state.
A priest has functions delegated by his bishop (and this is Apostolic in its foundations) and they can be withdrawn. The question is whether a bishop, once he has the “fullness of the priesthood,” can ever have his functions withdrawn.
It was a problem among the Orthodox, notoriously prone to splintering, because then bishops would set out on their own, find a kindred spirit, and consecrate other bishops (it took two or possibly even 3 in the Orthodox churches) and then suddenly you’d have another church. Bad priests are a problem, but they’re not as much of a problem as bad bishops, and I think the Pope is trying to work this out.
BTW, if we were serious about the “pedophilia problem,” we’d look at the dioceses that had the biggest problems ....and then look at their bishops. Because that’s where the rot came from.
“Frankly, I'm not sure it's ever been done. Do you know of any cases where a bishop has been laicized?”
I really don't know.
I'm merely following the path of speculation as to whether or not it can be done.
A little googling comes up with this article:
Here's the money quote:
“However, after the Decian persecution, many clergy were seeking readmittance, including some born and/or ordained in schism.(2) Given their numbers, geographic spread and leadership positions, the old methods were inadequate and the practices of the Novatianists, ‘no reentry’ or ‘reentry by rebaptism’, were being marginalized. The common answer for the laity was admission after a protracted penance.(3) In general, readmitted clergy were reduced to the lay state.(4)
“The problem was not the readmission of clergy per se, but the anomalous state of the bishop during and after penance. There are two ways to understand this situation. One is a focus on form and the other on function. In terms of form, the member of the clergy had already received a ritual gesture of the presence of the Spirit in ordination. Would the repetition of the gesture in penance give the lie to the first administration and somehow retroactively proclaim it invalid?(5) With regard to function, the bishop was supposed to be the minister of reconciliation. However, as a penitent, he was himself in a liminal state, and therefore unable to minister to others. In fact, a bishop who was doing penance would have been able to exercise very few episcopal duties, certainly not liturgical ones.(6) An occasional alternative was the exclusion of the bishop from penance, leaving his judgment to God, but the usual practice was degradation. The degraded cleric would not do penance; degradation was considered penance enough.(7)”
According to this article, during the whole Donatist mess, bishops were sometimes degraded to the lay state.
Don't ask me to vouch for this assertion. ;-)
As well, I have bouncing around in the very recesses of the back of my mind snippets of quotations from degradation ceremonies that once were used, and I do vaguely recall degradation rites that specifically applied to bishops.
But that's dependent on my feeble memory.
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