March 2013

Ed Peters Discusses Disregard for Law in Washing Women’s Feet

USA Today

Catholic World Report

UK Telegraph, included kissing foot of a young Muslim woman

Full Content of Pope’s Holy Thursday Foot-washing Mass

New: Vatican’s Comments on Pope Francis Washing Women’s Feet

Jimmy Akin’s Comments here.

Fr. Longnecker’s comments

Fr. Z’s comments

AP’s Pope’s Foot-washing Final Blow for Traditionalists

New: Dr. Ed Peter’s Additional comments following up on the opinion below.

Ed Peters, Canon Lawyer writes,

Popes, Like Dads, Don’t Have a Choice in the Matter

Pope and dads set examples whether they want to or not. If I have dessert despite not having finished my supper, my kids do not experience that family rule as something presumably oriented to their welfare, but rather, as imposition to be borne until they, too, are old enough to make and break the rules. Now, none will dispute that Pope Francis has, by washing the feet of women at his Holy Thursday Mass, set an example. The question is, what kind of example has he set?

As a matter of substance, I have long questioned the cogency of arguments that the Mandatum rite should be limited to adult males (a point lost on Michael Sean Winters in his recent nutty over a Mandatum-related post by Fr. Z that linked to my writings on the subject). But I have never doubted that liturgical law expressly limits participation in that rite to adult males, and I have consistently called on Catholics, clerics and laity alike, to observe this pontifically-promulgated law in service to the unity (dare I say, the catholicity) of liturgy (c. 837). Pope Francis’ action today renders these arguments moot. Not wrong, mind. Moot.

By disregarding his own law in this matter, Francis violates, of course, no divine directive, nor does he—to anticipate an obvious question—achieve the abrogation of a law which, as it happens, I would not mind seeing abrogated. What he does do, I fear, is set a questionable example at Supper time.

We’re not talking here about, say, eschewing papal apartments or limousines or fancy footwear. None of those matters were the objects of law, let alone of laws that bind countless others. (Personally, I find Francis’ actions in these areas inspiring although, granted, I do not have to deal with complications for others being caused by the pope’s simplicity).

Rather, re: the Mandatum rite, we’re talking about a clear, unambiguous, reasonable (if not entirely compelling or suitable) liturgical provision, compliance with which has cost many faithful pastors undeserved ill-will from many quarters, and contempt for which has served mostly as a ‘sacrament of disregard’ for Roman rules on a variety of other matters. Today, whether he wanted to, or not, Francis set the Catholic world an example, about solidarity with outcasts, certainly, and about regard for liturgy.

A final thought: we live in antinomian times. One of the odd things about antinomianism (a condition that, by the way, does not always imply ill-will in its adherents though it usually implies a lack of understanding on their part) is that antinomianism makes reform of law not easier but harder: why bother undertaking the necessary but difficult reform of law when it’s easier simply to ignore it?

It’s a question with reverberations well beyond those of a foot-washing rite.


A primer on Church teaching regarding ‘same-sex marriage’

by Dr. Edward Peters

(Steve Ray’s note: With the Supreme Court of the United States hearing the California case now, this is very much in the top of the news and could be a decision that has profound and lasting effects – like Row v. Wade.

No matter which way the US Supreme Court rules in the “gay marriage” cases before it the international debate over the definition of marriage will continue because that debate is, at root, about matters beyond a civil court’s competence, things like the nature of human beings and the fundamental good of society. Because we Catholics are and will surely remain major participants in such a debate we should be clear among ourselves as to what our Church teaches in this area. I offer as a primer (I stress, primer) toward such better understanding my position on following points.

1. The Catholic Church teaches, though its ordinary magisterium and with infallible certainty, that marriage exists only between one man and one woman. CDF, “Considerations” (2003) passim; CCC 1601-1608; CCEO (1990) 776; 1983 CIC 1055 § 1; Rite of Marriage (1969) n. 2; Vatican II, Gaudium et spes (1965) 48; Pius XI, Casti connubii (1930) 6, 20, 23; Leo XIII, Arcanum (1880) 5, 24; Matthew XIX: 4-6; and Genesis II: 21-24. There is no evidence of ecclesiastical authority ever supporting any other definition of marriage.

1. Note. It is possible that this teaching is proposed as an object of belief (credenda, per Canon 750 § 1, doubt or denial of which assertion would be heresy under Canon 751 and thus sanctionable under Canon 1364 § 1); at a minimum, however, the Church proposes the man-woman assertion as necessarily to be held (tenenda) in order “to safeguard reverently and to expound faithfully the same deposit of faith” (Canon 750 § 2), rendering those who “obstinately reject” the assertion liable to “a just penalty” if, having been duly admonished, they refuse to retract (Canon 1371, 2º).

2. The Catholic Church has the right and duty “always and everywhere to announce moral principles, even about the social order, and to render judgment concerning any human affairs insofar as the fundamental rights of the human person or the salvation of souls requires it.” 1983 CIC 747 § 2; CCC 2246.

3. Catholics who promote “same-sex marriage” act contrary to Canon 209 § 1 and should not approach for holy Communion per Canon 916. Depending on the facts of the case, they also risk having holy Communion withheld from them under Canon 915, being rebuked under Canon 1339 § 2, and/or being sanctioned under Canon 1369 for gravely injuring good morals.

3. Note. The situation of Catholic politicians lending support to “same-sex marriage” is to be assessed as above, with special attention being paid to the heightened responsibility that civil servants have to protect the common good. CDF, “Considerations” (2003) 10; CCC 2235-2237, 2244; 1983 CIC 1326 § 1, 2.

4. The Catholic Church would regard any attempt by persons of the same sex to marry, regardless of their religious affiliation or lack thereof, as null. CCC 1603; 1983 CIC 1055 § 1.

5. Catholics who attempt a “same-sex marriage” act contrary to Canon 209 § 1 and should not approach for holy Communion per Canon 916. Depending on the facts of the case, they also risk having holy Communion withheld from them under Canon 915, being rebuked under Canon 1339 § 2, and/or being sanctioned under Canon 1379 for simulation of a sacrament. Morevoer, Catholics who assist others toward attempting a “same-sex marriage” cooperate in the bad act of those others, which cooperation is liable to moral assessment in accord with the usual principles applicable to cooperation with evil and, under certain facts, according to the canonical principles applying to cooperation in crime per Canon 1329 and/or scandal per Canon 1339 § 2, etc.

5. Note. Catholics who have attempted a “same-sex marriage” or who have assisted another toward a “same-sex marriage” can be reconciled morally under the usual conditions by sacramental Confession (Canon 959) or by a ‘perfect act of contrition’ per CCC 1452; they can be reconciled canonically, if necessary, in accord with applicable law.


Questions I Answered on Catholic Answers Live

by Steve Ray on March 26, 2013

Below are the questions I answered today on Catholic Answers Live. The topic of the show was Open Line Q & A for Non-Catholics. It was a delightful time.

Click HERE on-line listening and HERE for the podcast and for more information.

Questions I Anwered:

1) I am a Baptist coming into the Catholic Church. What can I do to deepen my faith as I enter the Church?
2) A Protestant wanted to know what to do if he was interested in learning more about the Mass but his Evangelical wife was not interested.
3)  My parents are Catholic, I am baptist. I am very confused. My heart says Catholic but I don’t know what to believe?
4) A Non-denominational woman asks why abusive priests are not stripped of their priesthood.
5) A Baptist has decided to become Catholic but wants to know how to tell her father-in-law who is a Baptist minister.
6) A Non-denominational asks why the Catholic churches are so ornate. Jesus was simple and would not have liked all the gold and ornate churches since he just preached on a hillside.
7) What about the eclipse of the sun at the crucifixion of Christ?


Pope Meets Pope Emeritus – a First in Catholic History

March 26, 2013

At this link, there are the first videos of the historic meeting. The first shows the helicopter landing and the first embarce of the two men: (The first embrace of Pope Francis and Emeritus Pope Benedict, shortly after noon today in the Vatican Gardens at Castel Gandolfo, about 20 miles outside of Rome. Pope [...]

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Annual Lenten Foot-fight: Women’s Feet Washed on Holy Thursday

March 26, 2013

The Annual Lenten Foot-fight by Dr. Edward Peters “The annual Lenten foot-fight is almost upon us. Again. “May I suggest that discussion of this matter begin with what canon and liturgical law actually say (and don’t say) about the Mandatum rite, and that serious attention be given, if not this year then next, to eliminating [...]

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Primer on the Mass

March 25, 2013

A while ago I sat with a Protestant friend who came to Mass with me. To help him understand what was going on I wrote this short Primer on the Mass for him in advance. The Mass can be very confusing, even intimidating I wanted to make sure he understood how the Mass was tied [...]

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A Nice Article Written about My Recent Day of Talks with the Michigan Catholic Young Adult Conference

March 25, 2013

You can read the review entitled Raising Rebels HERE or click on the image below.

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A Protestant Minister Writes: “I am Joining the Catholic Church!”

March 25, 2013

“Today I was enrolled in the Rite of Election to come into full communion with the Catholic Church. For many of you this may come as no surprise for others it might be something of a shock. It was not a decision I entered into lightly, after all as a protestant minister this decision amounts to essentially walking away from my career up [...]

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What is “Organized Religion”?

March 22, 2013

Hey Steve: while I was on a business trip I had a good conversation with my friends, one who is agnostic and the other an Evangelical.  Both of them agreed they didn’t believe in “organized religion”.  From your Protestant background is there a specific meaning to that term or is it just another way to [...]

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Blast from the Past: Wow, Time Sure Changes Us!

March 22, 2013

I was just told about this picture on FaceBook. The picture was taken shortly after I had first become a Catholic in 1994. One witness says this picture was taken in 1997. Time sure changes us :-) This “Gang of Four” spoke at an apologetics conference in Dearborn Michigan sponsored by Thy Faith Inc. (Gary [...]

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Pelosi and Biden and Communion in Rome

March 20, 2013

Nancy Pelosi will not change on her own, by Canon Lawyer Dr. Edward Peters > (L’Osservatore Romano/AP) Pope Francis meets U.S. Vice President Joe Biden and his wife Jill, after his installation Mass at the Vatican on March 19, 2013. Communion time in St. Peter’s is, for the vast majority of lay persons (not heads [...]

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Dominican Sisters Witness through Bible Game Show Appearance

March 17, 2013

By Hillary Senour Team Sisters of Mary with Jeff Foxworthy on The American Bible Challenge. Courtesy Grace Hill Media. Santa Monica, Calif., Mar 17, 2013 / 04:03 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Three religious sisters are participating in a unique evangelization effort by competing on a Bible trivia game show in hopes of supporting their community. “This [...]

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How to Criticize a Pope who is Squeaky Clean with Integrity

March 15, 2013

When nothing else will work, accuse a Catholic prelate of NSO by Dr. Edward Peters The mainstream media is in panic over Pope Francis. The new pope is solidly opposed to everything big media wants (contraception, abortion, ‘same-sex marriage’, etc.), but it can’t simply write him off as an out-of-touch academic (Benedict) or as a [...]

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Al Kresta’s Excellent Review of our New Pope

March 14, 2013

Al Kresta, CEO Ave Maria Communications March 14, 2013 You know you are in the presence of greatness when your only reservation about someone is his age. We have a new pope and, the worst thing that observant Catholics can say about him, is that he is a bit older than they had hoped. Pope [...]

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Interesting Video of Cardinal Dolan Talking about Pope Francis

March 14, 2013

Excellent and informative interview about yesterday’s precedings, the election and about Pope Francis. Lots of good footage too! Click here to watch the video (you will have to endure a 30 second gas commercial :-(

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First Words of our New Pope

March 13, 2013

VATICAN CITY, March 13, 2013 ( – Here is a translation of the brief greeting Pope Francis gave from the central balcony of St. Peter’s Square following his election as the Successor of St. Peter. * * * Brothers and sisters, good evening! You know that the duty of the Conclave was to give a [...]

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