Monday, July 15, 2013

I just noticed this bas-relief plaque on the index page for the Documents of Vatican Council II.


The figure on the left is that of Giovanni (John) XXIII. On the right is that of Paolo (Paul) VI. The former convened the council in 1962 and presided over it until his death in 1963. His successor, Paul VI, reconvened the Council, presiding until its completion in 1965. 
In the middle of the plaque is a patriarch of the Eastern Church flanked by two other bishops; I assume that none of the three is identified.
I have no further rationale for this post other than finding the plaque to be very intriguing.

Monday, July 1, 2013

July message to our elderly parishioners


Dear Praise Ministers,
July is upon us, the month of high temperatures and, sometimes thunderstorms and monsoons, as moisture from the Gulf of Mexico streams north to meet cold fronts from the north and west.
The beginning of July is also the time of celebration by our country of one more year of freedom, as first proclaimed in the Declaration of Independence. The second paragraph of the Declaration begins with:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
As Catholic Christians and American citizens, we are grateful that these words of Thomas Jefferson were endorsed along with the rest of the Declaration in Philadelphia 237 years ago by those courageous men – including one extraordinary Catholic, Charles Carroll of Maryland.
In the subsequent years Catholics have prospered in this most unusual country. Despite periods of discrimination and even persecutions, the Faith of Our Fathers has blossomed.
However, we now appear to be entering a new period of persecution, as there are those in power in our country who wish to force Catholics and other Christians to undertake actions that are contrary to their faith and conscience. Prayer is needed. If you agree, offer your prayers to Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Heavenly Father, in the power of the Holy Spirit for:
(1)    freedom of religion in our own country and around the world,
(2)    protection of the unborn, the elderly, and the disabled
(3)    conversion of political leaders to realize their obligation to protect all of their citizens, from conception to natural death
(4)    protection of our service men and women around the world
(5)    strength and courage for all Catholics and Christians to exercise all of their God-given rights.
Can you pray an Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory be for each of these intentions?

May the Lord bless you always.

Deacon Rex Pilger

Director of Business and Adult Formation.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

First Papal Homily

I feel as though the Church has been loaded onto the passenger seat of a Harley and the cyclist has accelerated as soon as the bungee cords snapped all of us aboard.

http://www.news.va/en/news/pope-francis-1st-homily-full-text  

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

ConCon commentary: It's simply logical

The two reproduced letters in the immediately preceding posts (here and here with reference source texts inserted) deal in part with the question whether married deacons and their wives are obligated to sexual continence, according to canon 277 of the Code of Canon Law, and invite some commentary. (The letters, especially the second, also address related questions for which answers there is very little dispute.)

Perhaps the concise, definitive statement relative to the controversy is provided in the first letter of (now Cardinal) Archbishop Coccopalmario (with the Canon Law Society of America, CLSA, unofficial translation):
Permanent deacons who are married prior to ordination do not have the obligation of celibacy (and therefore of continence) during the marriage. 
In this statement there is more than a hint of logic: celibacy implies continence, which is inherent in Canon 277.

In the second letter, Cardinal Coccopalmerio, in the name of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts of which he is president, notes an additional subtle, but important logical consequence:
In can. 277, § 1 CIC, the requirement of perfect and perpetual continence is inseparably linked to the obligation of celibacy to which all clerics, in principle, are bound. 
I believe that the logical interpretation of the canon intuited by many after publication of the 1983 Code (including Rex Pilger, i.e., me, as a deacon candidate in the mid-1980s), and which I asserted years later in a letter to Homiletic and Pastoral Review (and expanded upon in subsequent blog posts, linked via this post), is affirmed by the simple statements of Cardinal Coccopalermio and the Pontifical Council.

Second Letter

As referred to in the previous post, below is the second letter from (now Cardinal) Archbishop Francesco Coccopalmerio with inclusion of sources, indented and in a smaller font; there was an apparent error in transcription of the original letter; another source was consulted for the missing text (delineated by curly brackets), which also references additional sources (included). The insertion of referenced sources in the text facilitates study of this letter.

Canon 277 §1
Married Permanent Deacons and Observance of Perfect and Perpetual Continence

The President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, at the request of the USCCB Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations and the Committee on Canonical Affairs and Church Governance, sought a clarification from the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts on the observance of diaconal continence by married deacons in the Latin Catholic Church. The observation of the President and Secretary of the Pontifical Council, which were formulated in consultation with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, clarify that married permanent deacons are not bound to observe perfect and perpetual continence, as long as their marriage lasts. The Pontifical Council’s response follows.

PONTIFICIUM CONSILIUM DE LEGUM TEXTIBUS
December 17, 2011
Proto 13095 / 2011
Your Excellency:
I refer to your letter of April 8, 2011 in which Your Excellency has requested this Pontifical Council to clarify whether married permanent deacons, so long as their marriage lasts, are bound to observe the perfect and perpetual continence indicated by can. 277, § 1 CIC. The question was raised because some have expressed the opinion that permanent deacons are also bound to the obligation which the said canon imposes on clerics in general.
Canon 277 §1. Clerics are obliged to observe perfect and perpetual continence for the sake of the kingdom of heaven and therefore are bound to celibacy which is a special gift of God by which sacred ministers can adhere more easily to Christ with an undivided heart and are able to dedicate themselves more freely to the service of God and humanity.
It should be noted that often the canonical discipline on a given topic is not inferred from the wording of a single legal precept, but rather from the whole set of existing regulation on the matter in the law of the Church, always in harmony with what has been stated by the Church’s Magisterium. This is what can. 17 CIC prescribes.
Canon 17 Ecclesiastical laws must be understood in accord with the proper meaning of the words considered in their text and context.  If the meaning remains doubtful and obscure, recourse must be made to parallel places, if there are such, to the purpose and circumstances of the law, and to the mind of the legislator.
With regard specifically to the question above, after consultation with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and having made the necessary studies, this Pontifical Council offers the following observations.
1. In can. 277, § 1 CIC, the requirement of perfect and perpetual continence is inseparably linked to the obligation of celibacy to which all clerics, in principle, are bound.
Also, can. 1037 CIC requires that unmarried candidates for the permanent diaconate must assume the obligation of celibacy prior to ordination. Furthermore, can. 1087 CIC establishes an impediment to marriage for those in sacred orders. For this reason, permanent deacons who are widowers cannot marry, unless being dispensed, and therefore are bound to observe perfect and perpetual continence.
Canon 1037 An unmarried candidate for the permanent diaconate and a candidate for the presbyterate are not to be admitted to the order of diaconate unless they have assumed the obligation of celibacy in the prescribed rite publicly before God and the Church or have made perpetual vows in a religious institute. 
Canon 1087 Those in sacred orders invalidly attempt marriage.  
Canon 288 The prescripts of cann. 284, 285, §§3 and 4, 286, and 287, §2 do not bind permanent deacons unless particular law establishes otherwise.  
Canon 284 Clerics are to wear suitable ecclesiastical garb according to the norms issued by the conference of bishops and according to legitimate local customs.  
Canon 285 §3. Clerics are forbidden to assume public offices which entail a participation in the exercise of civil power. §4. Without the permission of their ordinary, they are not to take on the management of goods belonging to lay persons or secular offices which entail an obligation of rendering accounts.  They are prohibited from giving surety even with their own goods without consultation with their proper ordinary.  They also are to refrain from signing promissory notes, namely, those through which they assume an obligation to make payment on demand.  
Canon 286 Clerics are prohibited from conducting business or trade personally or through others, for their own advantage or that of others, except with the permission of legitimate ecclesiastical authority.  
Canon 287 §2. They are not to have an active part in political parties and in governing labor unions unless, in the judgment of competent ecclesiastical authority, the protection of the rights of the Church or the promotion of the common good requires it.
The particular discipline of these two last canons, 1037 and 1087 CIC, applicable to certain situations of permanent deacons, explains on the one hand why can. 288 CIC did not exempt in a general way “all” permanent deacons from the obligation of continence established by the can. 277 § 1 CIC; and on the other hand how it is evident from all these norms that the canon wanted to exempt married permanent deacons from such obligation of continence so long as their marriage lasts. 
2. Indeed, can. 1031 § 2 CIC admits married men to the clerical state in the particular case of permanent deacons, but states nothing about a hypothetical obligation to observe perfect and perpetual continence, as the Legislator would indicate if such an obligation were to be established. 
Canon 1031 §2. A candidate for the permanent diaconate who is not married is not to be admitted to the diaconate until after completing at least the twenty-fifth year of age; one who is married, not until after completing at least the thirty-fifth year of age and with the consent of his wife.
Ultimately, the fact that in order for a married man to be admitted to the Order of the diaconate, the consent of his wife is required (cfr. Can. 1031, § 2 CIC) implies that an explicit consent would have been required for reasons of justice if the condition of permanent deacon had entailed the obligation of perfect and perpetual continence (cfr. Can. 1055 CIC).
Canon 1055 §1. The matrimonial covenant, by which a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership of the whole of life and which is ordered by its nature to the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring, has been raised by Christ the Lord to the dignity of a sacrament between the baptized.
3. Naturally, this canonical discipline does not state anything apart from what the Church’s Magisterium has already affirmed in this regard. In fact, the Dogmatic Constitution Lumen gentium, n. 29 (§ 2), and other successive normative documents of the Holy See, appear to take for granted that married permanent deacons live their marriage in the ordinary way (cfr., above all, CONGREGATIO DE INSTITUTIONE CATHOLICA Ratio fundamentalis institutionis diaconorum permanentium, Instituto diaconorum of February 22, 1998 (nn. 36-38, 62-63, 68); 
BASIC NORMS FOR THE FORMATION OF PERMANENT DEACONS (BNFPD): 36. “On the basis of Church law, confirmed by the same Ecumenical Council, young men called to the diaconate are obliged to observe the law of celibacy”. (40: Paul VI, Ap. Lett. Sacrum diaconatus ordinem, II, 4: l.c., p. 699. Cf Ecum. Council Vat. II, Dogm. Const. Lumen gentium, 29.) This is a particularly appropriate law for the sacred ministry, to which those who have received the charism freely submit.
The permanent diaconate, lived in celibacy, gives to the ministry a certain unique emphasis. In fact, the sacramental identification with Christ is placed in the context of the undivided heart, that is within the context of a nuptial, exclusive, permanent and total choice of the unique and greatest Love; service of the Church can count on a total availability; the proclamation of the Kingdom is supported by the courageous witness of those who have left even those things most dear to them for the sake of the Kingdom. 
b) Married
BNFPD 37. “In the case of married men, care should be taken that only those are promoted to the diaconate who have lived as married men for a number of years and have shown themselves to be capable of running their own homes, and whose wives and children lead a truly Christian life and have good reputations”. (41: Paul VI, Ap. Lett. Sacrum diaconatus ordinem, III, 13: l.c., p. 700.)
Moreover. In addition to stability of family life, married candidates cannot be admitted unless “their wives not only consent, but also have the Christian moral character and attributes which will neither hinder their husbands' ministry nor be out of keeping with it”. (42: Ibidem, III, 11: l.c., p. 700. Cf C.I.C., cans. 1031, § 2; 1050, 3o.)
c) Widowers
BNFPD 38. “Those who have received the order of deacon, even those who are older, may not, in accordance with traditional Church discipline, enter into marriage”. (43: Cf. Second Vatican Council, Decree Christus Dominus, n. 15; Paul VI Apostolic Letter Sacrum Diaconatus Ordinem, 23; l.c., 702.The same principle applies to deacons who have been widowed.(44: The Circular Letter, Prot. n. 26397 of 6 June 1997, of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments envisages that one only of the following conditions be sufficient for obtaining dispensation from the impediment found in can. 1087: the great and proven usefulness of the ministry of the deacon to the diocese to which he belongs; that he has children of such a tender age as to be in need of motherly care; that he has parents or parents in law who are elderly and in need of care.) They are called to give proof of human and spiritual soundness in their state of life.)
Moreover, a precondition for accepting widowed candidates is that they have already provided, or have shown that they are capable of providing adequately for, the human and Christian upbringing of their children.  
BNFPD 62. Having received the request of the ordinand, the Bishop (or competent Major Superior) will evaluate his suitability by means of a diligent scrutiny. First of all he will examine the certificate which the director of formation is obliged to present to him “concerning the qualities required in the candidate for the reception of the order, namely sound doctrine, genuine piety, good moral behaviour, fitness for the exercise of the ministry; likewise, after proper investigation, a certificate of the candidate's state of physical and psychological health”.(66: C.I.C., can. 1051, 1o.) “The diocesan Bishop or Major Superior may, in order properly to complete the investigation, use other means which, taking into account the circumstances of time and place, may seem useful, such as testimonial letters, public notices or other sources of information”.(67: C.I.C., can. 1051, 1o.)
After having verified the suitability of a candidate and having been assured that he is aware of the new obligations which he is assuming, (68: Cf  C.I.C.,  can. 1028. For the obligations which ordinands assume with the diaconate, see canons 273-289. In addition, for married deacons, there is the impediment to contracting new marriages (cf can. 1087). the Bishop or competent Major Superior will promote him to the order of the diaconate.
BNFPD 63. Before ordination, unmarried candidates must assume publicly, in the prescribed rite, the obligation of celibacy; (69: Cf  C.I.C., can. 1037; Paul VI, Ap. Lett. Ad pascendum, VI: l.c., p. 539.candidates belonging to an institute of consecrated life or a society of apostolic life who have taken perpetual vows or other form of definitive commitment in the institute or society are also obliged to this. (70: Cf Pontificale Romanum – De Ordinatione Episcopi, Presbyterorum et Diaconorum, n. 177: ed. cit., p. 101.) All candidates are bound personally, before ordination, to make a profession of faith and an oath of fidelity, according to the formulae approved by the Apostolic See, in the presence of the Ordinary of the place or his delegate.(71: Cf C.I.C., can. 833, 6o; Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Professio fidei et Iusiurandum fidelitatis in suscipiendo officio nomine Ecclesiae exercendo: AAS 81 (1989), pp. 104-106; 1169.)
BNFPD 68. At the root of the capacity to relate to others is affective maturity, which must be attained with a wide margin of certainty in both celibate and married candidates. Such a maturity presupposes in both types of candidate the discovery of the centrality of love in their own lives and the victorious struggle against their own selfishness. In reality, as Pope John Paul II wrote in the Encyclical Redemptor hominis, “man cannot live without love. He remains a being that is incomprehensible for himself, his life is senseless, if love is not revealed to him, if he does not encounter love, if he does not experience it and make it his own, if he does not participate intimately in it”.(80: Idem, Encycl. Lett. Redemptor hominis (4 March 1979), 10: AAS 71 (1979), p. 274.) As the Pope explains in Pastores dabo vobis, this is a love which involves all the aspects of the person, physical, psychological and spiritual and which therefore demands full dominion over his sexuality, which must become truly and fully personal. (81: Cf Idem, Ap. Exhort. Familiaris consortio (22 November 1981): AAS 74 (1982), pp. 81-191)
For celibate candidates, to live love means offering the totality of one's being, of one's energies and readiness, to Christ and the Church. It is a demanding vocation, which must take into account the inclinations of affectivity and the pressures of instinct and which therefore requires renunciation, vigilance, prayer and fidelity to a precise rule of life. A decisive assistance can come from the presence of true friends, who represent a precious help and a providential support in living out one's own vocation.(82: Cf ibidem: l.c., pp. 734-735.) 
For married candidates, to live love means offering themselves to their spouses in a reciprocal belonging, in a total, faithful and indissoluble union, in the likeness of Christ's love for his Church; at the same time it means welcoming children, loving them, educating them and showing forth to the whole Church and society the communion of the family. Today, this vocation is being hard tested by the worrying degradation of certain fundamental values and the exaltation of hedonism and a false conception of liberty. To be lived out in all its fullness, the vocation to family must be nourished by prayer, the liturgy and a daily offering of self.(83: Cf Idem, Ap. Exhort. Familiaris consortio (22 November 1981): AAS 74 (1982), pp. 81-191.) 
{CONGREGATIO PRO CLERICIS, Directorium pro ministerio et vita diaconorum permanentium, Diaconatus originem of February 22, 1998 (nn. 7, 27, 33, 45, 50, 59-62, and particularly n. 61).} 
{DIRECTORY FOR THE MINISTRY AND LIFE OF PERMANENT DEACONS (DMLPD): 7. The Diaconate brings with it a series of rights and duties as foreseen by canons 273-283 of the Code of Canon Law with regard to clerics in general and deacons in particular. 
DMLPD 27. The deacon will be aware that the Church is missionary (103: Second Vatican Council, Decree Ad Gentes, 2a.) by her very nature, both because her origin is in the missions of the Son and the Holy Spirit, according to the eternal plan of the Father and because she has received an explicit mandate from the risen Lord to preach the Gospel to all creation and to baptize those who believe (cf. Mk 16, 15-16; Mt 28:19). Deacons are ministers of the Church and thus, although incardinated into a particular Church, they are not exempt from the missionary obligation of the universal Church. Hence they should always remain open to the missio ad gentes to the extent that their professional or — if married — family obligations permit. (104: CIC, canons 784, 786)
The deacon's ministry of service is linked with the missionary dimension of the Church: the missionary efforts of the deacon will embrace the ministry of the word, the liturgy, and works of charity which, in their turn, are carried into daily life. Mission includes witness to Christ in a secular profession or occupation.
DMLPD 33. The pastoral care of families, for which the bishop is primarily responsible, may be entrusted to deacons. In supporting families in their difficulties and sufferings, (130: Cf. John Paul II, Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris Consortio, 73: AAS 74 (22 November, 1982), pp. 107-171.) this responsibility will extend from moral and liturgical questions to difficulties of a social and personal nature, and can be exercised at diocesan or, subject to the authority of the parish priest, local level in promoting the catechesis of Christian marriage, the personal preparation of future spouses, the fruitful celebration of marriage and help offered to couples after marriage. (131: Cf. CIC, canon 1063.)
Married deacons can be of much assistance in promoting the Gospel value of conjugal love, the virtues which protect it and the practice of parenthood which can truly be regarded as responsible, from a human and Christian point of view. 
Where deacons have been duly delegated by the parish priest or the local Ordinary, they may assist at the celebration of marriages extra Missam and pronounce the nuptial blessing in the name of the Church. (132:Cf. Second Vatican Council, Constitution Lumen Gentium 29; CIC, canon 1108, §§ 1-2; Ordo Celebrandi Matrimonii, ed. typica altera 1991, 24.) They may also be given general delegation, in accordance with the prescribed conditions, (133: Cf. Second Vatican Council, Constitution Lumen Gentium 29; CIC, canon 1108, §§ 1-2; Ordo Celebrandi Matrimonii, ed. typica altera 1991, 24.) which may only be subdelegated, however, in the manner specified by the Code of Canon Law. (134: Cf. ibidem, canon 137, §§ 3-4.)
DMLPD 45. Hence, the deacon should accept with gratitude the invitation to follow Christ the Servant and devote himself to it throughout the diverse circumstances of life. The character received in ordination conforms to Christ to whom the deacon should adhere ever more closely. 
Sanctification is a duty binding all the faithful. (181: CIC, canon 210) For the deacon it has a further basis in the special consecration received. (182: (cf. 1 Tit 3; 8-18 and 12-13): Second Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution Lumen Gentium, 41; Cf. also Paul VI, Apostolic Letter Sacrum Diaconatus Ordinem, VI, 25: l.c., 702.) It includes the practice of the Christian virtues and the various evangelical precepts and counsels according to one's own state of life. The deacon is called to live a holy life because he has been sanctified by the Holy Spirit in the sacraments of Baptism and Holy Orders and has been constituted by the same Spirit a minister of Christ's Church to serve and sanctify mankind. (183: CIC, canon 276, § 1)
For deacons the call to holiness means “following Jesus by an attitude of humble service which finds expression not only in works of charity but also in imbuing and forming thoughts and actions”. (184: John Paul II, Catechesis at the General Audience of 20 October 1993, n. 2: Insegnamenti, XVI, 2 (1993), p. 1054.) When “their ministry is consistent with this spirit (deacons) clearly highlight that quality which best shows the face of Christ: service (185: John Paul II, Catechesis at the General Audience of 20 October 1993, n. 1. Insegnamenti, XVI, 2 (1993), p. 1054.) which makes one not only 'servants of God' but also servants of God in our own brethren”. (186: John Paul II, Catechesis at the General Audience of 20 October 1993, n. 1: Insegnamenti, XVI, 2 (1993), p. 1054.)
DMLPD 50. The aforementioned points of reference emphasize the primacy of the spiritual life. The deacon, mindful that the diaconia of Christ surpasses all natural capacities, should continually commit himself in conscience and in freedom to His invitation: “Remain in me and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit unless it remain in the vine, so also with you unless you remain in me” (John 15:4). 
Following Christ in the diaconate is an attractive but difficult undertaking. While it brings satisfaction and rewards, it can also be open to the difficulties and trials experienced by the followers of the Lord Jesus Christ. In order to live this ministry to the full, deacons must know Christ intimately so that He may shoulder the burdens of their ministry. They must give priority to the spiritual life and live their diaconia with generosity. They should organize their ministry and their professional and, when married, family obligations, so as to grow in their commitment to the person and mission of Christ the Servant.59. In contrast with the requirement for the priesthood, not only celibate men, in the first place and widowers, may be admitted to the permanent Diaconate but also men who live in the Sacrament of Matrimony. (217: Cf. Second Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution Lumen Gentium, 29b. )
DMLPD 60. With gratitude, the Church recognises the gift of celibacy which God gives to some of her members and, in different ways, both in the East and West, she has linked it to the ordained ministry with which it is always particularly consonant. (218: Second Vatican Council, Decree Presbyterorum Ordinis, 16; cf. CIC, canon 247, § 1; canon 277, § 1, canon 1037.) The Church is conscious that this gift, accepted and lived for the sake of the Kingdom of God (cf. Mt 19:12), directs the whole person of the deacon towards Christ who devoted Himself in chastity to the service of the Father so as to bring man to the fullness of the Kingdom. Loving God and serving the brethren by this complete choice, so far from impeding the personal development of deacons, fosters man's true perfection which is found in charity. In celibate life, indeed, love becomes a sign of total and undivided consecration to Christ and of greater freedom to serve God and man. (219: Cf. CIC, canon 277, § 1; Second Vatican Council, Decree Optatam Totius, 10.) The choice of celibacy is not an expression of contempt for marriage nor of flight from reality but a special way of serving man and the world.
Contemporary man, very often submerged in the ephemeral, is particularly sensitive to those who are a living witness of the eternal. Hence, deacons should be especially careful to give witness to their brothers and sisters by their fidelity to the celibate life the better to move them to seek those values consonant with man's transcendent vocation. “Celibacy 'for the sake of the Kingdom' is not only an eschatological sign. It also has a great social significance in contemporary life for service to the People of God”. (220: John Paul II, Letter to Priests on Holy Thursday, 8 April 1979, 8: AAS 71 (1979), p. 408.In order to conserve this special gift of God throughout life for the benefit of the entire Church, deacons should not depend excessively on their own resources, but should be faithful to the spiritual life and the duties of their ministry in a spirit of prudence and vigilance, remembering that “the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak” (Mt 26:41).
They should be particularly careful in their relationships with others lest familiarity create difficulties for continence or give rise to scandal. (221: John Paul II, Letter to Priests on Holy Thursday, 8 April 1979, 8: AAS 71 (1979), p. 408.)
They must finally be aware that in contemporary society, it is necessary to exercise careful discernment when using the means of social communications. 
DMLPD 61. The Sacrament of Matrimony sanctifies conjugal love and constitutes it a sign of the love with which Christ gives himself to the Church (cf. Eph. 5:25). It is a gift from God and should be a source of nourishment for the spiritual life of those deacons who are married. Since family life and professional responsibilities must necessarily reduce the amount of time which married deacons can dedicate to the ministry, it will be necessary to integrate these various elements in a unitary fashion, especially by means of shared prayer. In marriage, love becomes an interpersonal giving of self, a mutual fidelity, a source of new life, a support in times of joy and sorrow: in short, love becomes service. When lived in faith, this family service is for the rest of the faithful an example of the love of Christ. The married deacon must use it as a stimulus of his diaconia in the Church.Married deacons should feel especially obliged to give clear witness to the sanctity of marriage and the family. The more they grow in mutual love, the greater their dedication to their children and the more significant their example for the Christian community. “The nurturing and deepening of mutual, sacrificial love between husband and wife constitutes perhaps the most significant involvement of a deacon's wife in her husband's public ministry in the Church”. (222: John Paul II, Allocution to the permanent deacons of the U.S.A. in Detroit (19 September 1987), n. 5: Insegnamenti, X, 3 (1987), p. 658.) This love grows thanks to chastity which flourishes, even in the exercise of paternal responsibilities, by respect for spouses and the practice of a certain continence. This virtue fosters a mutual self-giving which soon becomes evident in ministry. It eschews possessive behaviour, undue pursuit of professional success and the incapacity to programme time. Instead, it promotes authentic interpersonal relationships, OIC, and the capacity to see everything in its proper perspective.
Special care should be taken to ensure that the families of deacons be made aware of the demands of the diaconal ministry. The spouses of married deacons, who must give their consent to their husband's decision to seek ordination to the diaconate, (223: Cf. CIC, canon 1031, § 2.) should be assisted to play their role with joy and discretion. They should esteem all that concerns the Church, especially the duties assigned to their husbands. For this reason it is opportune that they should be kept duly informed of their husbands' activities in order to arrive at an harmonious balance between family, professional and ecclesial responsibilities. In the children of married deacons, where such is possible, an appreciation of their father's ministry can also be fostered. They in turn should be involved in the apostolate and give coherent witness in their lives.
In conclusion, the families of married deacons, as with all Christian families, are called to participate actively and responsibly in the Church's mission in the contemporary world. “In particular the deacon and his wife must be a living example of fidelity and indissolubility in Christian marriage before a world which is in dire need of such signs. By facing in a spirit of faith the challenges of married life and the demands of daily living, they strengthen the family life not only of the Church community but of the whole of society. They also show how the obligations of family life, work and ministry can be harmonized in the service of the Church's mission. Deacons and their wives and children can be a great encouragement to others who are working to promote family life”. (224: John Paul II, Allocution to the permanent deacons of the USA in Detroit, 19 September 1987, n. 5; Insegnamenti, X, 3 (1987), pp. 658-659.)
DMLPD 62. It is necessary to reflect on the situation of the deacon following the death of his wife. This is a particular moment in life which calls for faith and Christian hope. The loss of a spouse should not destroy dedication to the rearing of children nor lead to hopelessness. While this period of life is difficult, it is also an opportunity for interior purification and an impetus for growth in charity and service to one's children and to all the members of the Church. It is a call to grow in hope since faithful discharge of the ministry is a way of reaching Christ and those in the Father's glory who are dear to us.
It must be recognised, however, that the loss of a spouse gives rise to a new situation in a family which profoundly influences personal relationships and in many instances can give rise to economic difficulties. With great charity, therefore, widowed deacons should be helped to discern and accept their new personal circumstances and to persevere in providing for their children and the new needs of their families.In particular, the widowed deacon should be supported in living perfect and perpetual continence. (225: Cf. CIC, canon 277, § 1.) He should be helped to understand the profound ecclesial reasons which preclude his remarriage (cf. 1 Tim 3:12), in accordance with the constant discipline of the Church in the East and West. (226: Paul VI, Apostolic Letter Sacrum Diaconatus Ordinem, III, 16: l.c., 701: Apostolic Letter Ad Pascendum, VI: l.c., 539; CIC, canon 1087. Provision is made for possible exceptions to this discipline in the circular letter of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, N. 26397, of 6 June 1997, n. 8.) This can be achieved through an intensification of one's dedication to others for the love of God in the ministry. In such cases the fraternal assistance of other ministers, of the faithful and of the bishop can be most comforting to widowed deacons.
With regard to the widows of deacons, care should be taken, where possible, by the clergy and the faithful to ensure that they are never neglected and that their needs are provided for.}
2. Requirements related to the candidate's state of life
a) Unmarried

In conclusion, the current canonical discipline does not require married permanent deacons, as long as their marriage lasts, to observe the obligation of perfect and perpetual continence established by can. 277, § 1 CIC for clerics in general.
I hope that these clarifications, briefly presented in this letter, may be helpful to Your Excellency in indicating what the content of the canonical discipline is at this point.
While remaining at your disposal for any further clarifications, I take this opportunity to extend to you and the members of your Conference my sentiments of personal esteem and prayerful best wishes for a Blessed Christmas and a fruitful New Year.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
+ Francesco Coccopalmerio
President
+ Juan Ignacio Arrieta
Secretary

Most Reverend TIMOTHY M.DOLAN, D.D.
Archbishop of New York
President, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
3211 Fourth Street NE Washington, DC 20017-1194
U.S.A.


The end of continence confusion?

One hopes that a particularly noisy controversy is finally coming to rest, courtesy of two brief letters of resolution from the President of the President of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, (now Cardinal) Archbishop Francesco Coccopalmerio.
The letters are reproduced in this post and the next, with permission, from the Canon Law Society's journal, Roman Replies and CLSA Advisory Opinions, 2011 and 2012. The text of each is supplemented with the text of cited canons and other sources, indented and in a smaller font. The insertion of referenced sources in the text facilitates study of this letter. 
A subsequent post will provide comments on these developments.

The first letter:
From Roman Replies and CLSA Advisory Opinions, 2011

CANON 227 [sic. 277]
OBLIGATION OF CELIBACY AND PERMANENT DEACONS

A dubium was proposed to the Pontifical Council of Legislative Texts regarding the obligation of "perfect and perpetual continence" in accord with canon 277 for a married permanent deacon. An unofficial English translation follows the original response of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts.

(Unofficial Translation)
Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts
(Città del Vaticano, 4 marzo 2011, N. 12959/2011)
Dear Sir,
We have received a fax of your kind letter of February 20th, 2011. In it you proposed a dubium with this reasoning: "However an issue has arisen where an aspirant to the Permanent Deaconate [sic.] who is a married man has declared he will not practice 'perfect and perpetual continence' in accordance with Canon 277. He says he has been told that men in the diocese have been given a general dispensation from this requirement."
Canon 277 §1. Clerics are obliged to observe perfect and perpetual continence for the sake of the kingdom of heaven and therefore are bound to celibacy which is a special gift of God by which sacred ministers can adhere more easily to Christ with an undivided heart and are able to dedicate themselves more freely to the service of God and humanity.
In regard to this matter I am happy to offer the following clarifications:
The obligation of celibacy applies to all clerics, including permanent deacons who are not married prior to ordination (cf. c. 1037).
Canon 1037 An unmarried candidate for the permanent diaconate and a candidate for the presbyterate are not to be admitted to the order of diaconate unless they have assumed the obligation of celibacy in the prescribed rite publicly before God and the Church or have made perpetual vows in a religious institute.
Permanent deacons who are married prior to ordination do not have the obligation of celibacy (and therefore of continence) during the marriage. They have the obligation of celibacy in case of widowhood (cf. c. 1037).
This is why canon 277 is not included in the list in canon 288.
Canon 288 The prescripts of cann. 284, 285, §§3 and 4, 286, and 287, §2 do not bind permanent deacons unless particular law establishes otherwise.
Canon 284 Clerics are to wear suitable ecclesiastical garb according to the norms issued by the conference of bishops and according to legitimate local customs.
Canon 285  §3. Clerics are forbidden to assume public offices which entail a participation in the exercise of civil power. §4. Without the permission of their ordinary, they are not to take on the management of goods belonging to lay persons or secular offices which entail an obligation of rendering accounts.  They are prohibited from giving surety even with their own goods without consultation with their proper ordinary.  They also are to refrain from signing promissory notes, namely, those through which they assume an obligation to make payment on demand.
Canon 286 Clerics are prohibited from conducting business or trade personally or through others, for their own advantage or that of others, except with the permission of legitimate ecclesiastical authority.
Canon 287 §1. Most especially, clerics are always to foster the peace and harmony based on justice which are to be observed among people. §2. They are not to have an active part in political parties and in governing labor unions unless, in the judgment of competent ecclesiastical authority, the protection of the rights of the Church or the promotion of the common good requires it..
Finally, the dispensation from the impediment of canon 1087 does not apply to the diocesan bishop. He can, instead, given the case in question, transmit the request for a dispensation to the Holy See. The dispensation can be requested only of the Holy See by a permanent married deacon who has been widowed and will be eventually granted only if the petitioner admits one of three reasons:
the great and proven usefulness of the deacon's ministry to the diocese to which he is attached; the presence of children of a tender age requiring maternal care; the presence of elderly parents or in-laws requiring assistance (cf. Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, Circular Letter of June 6th, 1997).
Canon . 1087 Those in sacred orders invalidly attempt marriage.
From Directory for the Ministry and Life of Permanent Deacons, 1998, #44: The Circular Letter, Prot. n. 26397 of 6 June 1997, of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments envisages that one only of the following conditions be sufficient for obtaining dispensation from the impediment found in can. 1087: the great and proven usefulness of the ministry of the deacon to the diocese to which he belongs; that he has children of such a tender age as to be in need of motherly care; that he has parents or parents in law who are elderly and in need of care.
(Signed)
Francesco Coccopalmerio
President



Saturday, October 20, 2012

Obamacare Wielded as Anti Religion “Cultural Bulldozer”

From National Review Online:
Some might dismiss these employers’ concerns because birth control is hardly controversial outside of orthodox religious circles. But these birth control cases are stalking horses for far more intrusive violations of religious liberty to come, e.g., requiring businesses to provide free abortions to their employees. Consider the Democratic party’s 2012 platform:
The Democratic party strongly and unequivocally supports Roe v. Wade and a woman’s right to make decisions regarding her pregnancy, including a safe and legal abortion, regardless of ability to pay. [Emphasis added.]
If Democrats regain the control of Congress and the presidency they enjoyed in 2009 and 2010, look for the Affordable Care Act to be amended consistent with their platform. After that, it won’t take long for HHS to promulgate a free abortion rule along lines similar to the free birth control mandate.