Skip to comments.New papal decree clarifies role of deacons and result of defections on marriage
Posted on 12/15/2009 3:47:50 PM PST by NYer
.- This morning the Vatican published a Motu Proprio from Pope Benedict called Omnium in Mentem and dated October 26. According to J.D. Flynn, a canon lawyer for the Archdiocese of Denver, the new document clarifies the nature of a deacon's orders and the impact of defections from Catholicism on the validity of a marriage.
Omnium in Mentum, roughly translated as Everything in Mind, deals with two unrelated topics, a fact that caused Flynn to observe that it's probably easier to publish one Motu Propio than two.
Writing in an explanatory note for the Motu Proprio, Archbishop Francesco Coccopalmerio, president of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, commented on the modified canons (1008, 1009, 1086, 1117 and 1124). These variations, he said, "concern two separate questions: adapting the text of the canons that define the ministerial function of deacons and suppressing a subordinate clause in three canons concerning marriage, which experience has shown to be inappropriate."
The first issue addressed by the Motu Propio is the role of the diaconate.
Part of the current canon describes sacred orders as participating in the headship of Christ, Flynn explained. The Motu Proprio clarifies that priests and bishops participate in the headship of Christ 'in persona Christi,' whereas deacons serve the Church, the people of God, through the ministry, services, or 'diaconias' of liturgy, word, and charity. Thus, Flynn said, the document emphasizes that there is a clear distinction between the diaconate and the presbyterate.
The distinction is between the deacon who acts in imago Dei and the priest who acts 'in persona Christi,' Flynn explained.
What this means in layman's terms is that we see the diaconate as a unique ministry unto itself and not simply a step along the way to the priesthood, he added.
The second item considered by the Motu Propio is an obscure clause regarding a dispensation in canon law.
The reason for this allowance under the 1983 Code of Canon Law was to attempt to support the institution of marriage, even for Catholics who had renounced the Faith, Flynn said. Catholics who defect from the faith, or formally renounce it, must do so by writing a letter to their bishop stating their defection.
The only consequence of a defection prior to Omnium in Mentem was that the defector would subsequently be able to get married validly without observing canonical form, noted Flynn. This would mean that a defecting Catholic could validly be married in a civil ceremony, for example, without a dispensation.
This Motu Proprio eliminates the impact of defections on marriage and requires that defectors follow canonical form for marriage, he stated.
Stressing that this idea that you can defect from the church by formal act for the purposes of marital validity has always been a sort of anomaly to our theology, Flynn explained that the document abolished the anomaly.
He also noted that, in the United States, we get very, very few defections by formal act.
What this really is, is an affirmation of our theology. Theologically we understand that what makes us Catholic is our Baptism or our reception in to the Church. Whether we want to be Catholic is not germane to the question of whether we are Catholic. Whether we follow the teachings of the Church or not is not germane to the question of whether or not we are Catholic. The thing that the church says is that all Catholics are bound to the teachings of the Catholic Church.
Thus, at the theological level, the document establishes that the Church does not participate in a congregational ecclesiology, said Flynn. Our ecclesiology is sacramental.
can you explain what this means in plain English?
never mind English, I doubdt they can explain it in latin..
(2) It says that, if a person leaves the Catholic church and subsequently contracts marriage in a non-Catholic ceremony, the church considers the marriage to be invalid.
This is incredible.. the church wants former Catholics to follow canon law regarding remarriage in a CIVIL ceremony... They say that former catholics are subject to canon law because they were baptized as an infant without their consent ??
Ohh please give me a break.. does the church need the money it makes doing annulments or something??
Canon 1008 used to say:
Can. 1008 By divine institution, the sacrament of orders establishes some among the Christian faithful as sacred ministers through an indelible character which marks them. They are consecrated and designated, each according to his grade, to nourish the people of God, fufilling in the person of Christ the Head the functions of teaching, sanctifying, and governing.
Canon 1008 now says:
"By the Sacrament of Orders by divine institution some among the faithful, through the indelible character with which they are marked, consisting of sacred ministers, that is those who are consecrated and to serve, each in its degree, with new and unique way The people of God. "
In Italian, Con il sacramento dellordine per divina istituzione alcuni tra i fedeli, mediante il carattere indelebile con il quale vengono segnati, sono costituiti ministri sacri; coloro cioè che sono consacrati e destinati a servire, ciascuno nel suo grado, con nuovo e peculiare titolo, il popolo di Dio.
Canon 1009 says:
Can. 1009 §1. The orders are the episcopate, the presbyterate, and the diaconate.
§2. They are conferred by the imposition of hands and the consecratory prayer which the liturgical books prescribe for the individual grades.
There is now added onto it a third point:
§3. "Those who are made in the order of the episcopate or priesthood receive their mission and the ability to act in the person of Christ the Head, but the deacons are empowered to serve the people of God in the diaconate of the liturgy of the word and of charity" .
In Italian, Coloro che sono costituiti nellordine dellepiscopato o del presbiterato ricevono la missione e la facoltà di agire nella persona di Cristo Capo, i diaconi invece vengono abilitati a servire il popolo di Dio nella diaconia della liturgia, della parola e della carità.
Comment: this draws a clear distinction among the orders of Deacons, Presbyteriate, and Episcopate. Doctrinally, there is nothing new...but this sets the Diaconate as a different type of order than the other two.
Canon 1086 §1 used to say:
Can. 1086 §1. A marriage between two persons, one of whom has been baptized in the Catholic Church or received into it and has not defected from it by a formal act and the other of whom is not baptized, is invalid.
It now says:
Can. 1086 §1. A marriage between two persons, one of whom has been baptized in the Catholic Church or received into it and the other of whom is not baptized, is invalid.
Canon 1117 used to say:
Can. 1117 The form established above must be observed if at least one of the parties contracting marriage was baptized in the Catholic Church or received into it and has not defected from it by a formal act, without prejudice to the prescripts of ⇒ can. 1127, §2.
It now says:
Can. 1117 The form established above must be observed if at least one of the parties contracting marriage was baptized in the Catholic Church or received into it, without prejudice to the prescripts of ⇒ can. 1127, §2.
Canon 1124 used to say:
Can. 1124 Without express permission of the competent authority, a marriage is prohibited between two baptized persons of whom one is baptized in the Catholic Church or received into it after baptism and has not defected from it by a formal act and the other of whom is enrolled in a Church or ecclesial community not in full communion with the Catholic Church.
It now says:
Can. 1124 Without express permission of the competent authority, a marriage is prohibited between two baptized persons of whom one is baptized in the Catholic Church or received into it after baptism and the other of whom is enrolled in a Church or ecclesial community not in full communion with the Catholic Church.
Comment: It removed the legal concept of formal defection from the Church from marriage qualifications. According to the text of the Motu Proprio, it was saying that the concept of a formal defection from the Church was difficult in practice to set up, as the concept itself was not a valid one from Canon Law. In addition, the concept in there could encourage one to go apostate if they were located in a area with few Catholics, while, on the other hand, it could make things more difficult to come back and bring the spouse back at the same time. My note: it sort of makes sense, as if a person has defected from the Church, that person is not going to follow Canon Law one way or the other, anyway.
Hopefully that makes it as clear as mud now.
Sarah Palin's marriage, for example...
That's what it says.
It speaks to the role Marriage plays within Natural Law. Just as the Church recognizes any baptism given in the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit; the Church also claims a role over Marriage. As a result, the Church will speak to the validity or invalidity of ANY marriage. For example, if a Catholic leaves the Church, divorces, and then remarries in another denomination or sect, the Church states the marriage is invalid due to the divorced status of the individual.
My reading would say that as long as Mr. Palin was baptized using “The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit” it would be a valid marriage.
Going forward, yes.
As to whether it's retroactive, I'll have to defer on that one. (My guess is not.)
I doubt it would make any difference to Ms. Palin anyway, unless she got a divorce and wanted to marry a Catholic, in which case (if the law were retroactive), it would make it much easier for her.
I think what is at issue is the status of the church performing the marriage (if the Palins were married in a church service rather than by a judge), regardless of Todd Palin’s baptism (I assume he was baptized). But they are saying the marriage is “prohibited” which isn’t quite the same as saying that it is invalid.
Yeah, reading the subsequent canons recognized the issue. The Church views membership as something that is not easily tossed-off, as a result, for its members it has oversight. But as I think someone else said, if they left the Church, they probably don’t care what the Church says after all.
No. If they later on UN-defected, then they would have to regularize their marriage. Otherwise, what do they care that the church thinks their marriage is invalid?
Remarriage? Civil ceremony?
Catholics are required to "obey the Catholic form" in marriage for validity ("Catholic form" == a Catholic rite witnessed by a Catholic cleric), or get a "dispensation of form" from the bishop. The law previously exempted persons who had left the church from that requirement; now, it doesn't.
Ohh please give me a break.. does the church need the money it makes doing annulments or something??
If they do, they just made a big mistake.
You see, going forward, this means that a person who leaves the church, contracts marriage outside the church, then divorces, then wants to remarry to a Catholic, can get an annulment on the basis of "invalid form".
Which, compared to a normal annulment, is trivial, fast, and (I would expect) cheaper. (Faster I know for a fact.)
I'm pretty sure it is in this case.
("Prohibited" is slightly odd terminology, though.)
It would be invalid due to a defect in form.
Can. 1108 §1. Only those marriages are valid which are contracted before the local ordinary, pastor, or a priest or deacon delegated by either of them, who assist, and before two witnesses according to the rules expressed in the following canons and without prejudice to the exceptions mentioned in cann. ⇒ 144, ⇒ 1112, §1, ⇒ 1116, and ⇒ 1127, §§1-2.
Bottom line is that it would have to be convalidated, in the event that she wanted to come back to the Church. This, of course, assumes that Sarah did not receive a dispensation from her local pastor or ordinary, per Canon 1118.
It's just as easy as saying, 'I quit'...
But not to God. God really wants to hold onto His own and thus the Church wants to maintain that openness. I know you don’t believe that, but that is what the Church believes and why it wants to keep the channels of grace open for us.
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