Sunday, November 18, 2007

Canon 915

Just a little reminder of what the "rules" are with the 2008 election smack talk heating up.

The Code of Canon Law is not 'Puritanism.' The canonical laws are indeed the Church’s Sacred Discipline and are binding on Catholics who reject these laws and know they are rejecting the Church.

All diocesan priests and deacons are ecclesiastically bound to obey the canonical notification (c.915). Canon 915 places the responsibility on the minister - 'ne admittantur' - who, in some canonists' opinion, could be punished according to canon 1389 §2, should he unlawfully administer the sacrament with the consequent danger of scandal for the rest of the faithful. In addition, canon 1339 prescribes the possibility of punishing any person who causes grave scandal by any violation of a divine or ecclesiastical law.

And what is Canon 915? In brief:

Canon 915 is a 'sacramental law' that talks about the Eucharist and how not to suffer scandal; it is not a penal law. There are four parts to canon 915 that must be satisfied: 1) The sin must be obstinate; 2) the person in question must persist in the sin; 3) the person in question must be a 'manifest' (that is 'public') sinner; and, 4) it must be a grave sin. When all requirements are met, the Bishop, bound by canon 915 to protect the integrity of the Eucharist, must give the public notification to his priests and deacons not to allow sacrilegious Communions, and to not cause scandal to the people. The Bishop here is not putting 'sanction' on the persons in question; they have, in fact, fallen under the canon 915 sacramental prohibition themselves.

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