Liturgy & Priesthood

Heretic for Desiring Women’s Ordination?

by Steve Ray on October 31, 2014

Since, you asked, Walter, no, you are not a heretic, but…

by Dr. Edward Peters

Walter Sandell. … “I wonder if I’m a heretic for believing in, and supporting, the ordination of women. I would be a hypocrite if I kept silent about this issue …”

I don’t know (and it doesn’t matter) who
“Walter Sandell” is, but his pointed-yet-polite question (posted in a combox following Mary Ann Walsh’s recent unfocused essay in America) deserves a pointed-yet-polite (and of course, accurate) answer, so here it is: No, Walter, you are not a heretic for “believing in, and supporting, the ordination of women” but you do seem opposed to the teaching of the Church. That’s bad, to be sure, but it’s a different kind of bad.

In order to be a “heretic” one must, among other things, obstinately deny or doubt “some truth which is to be believed by divine and Catholic faith” (c. 751). Such truths are understood as being “contained in the word of God”, and as “divinely revealed”, and as pertaining “to the one deposit of faith” (c. 750 § 1). The point to grasp, though, is that heresy and the consequences of heresy (chiefly excommunication per c. 1364) arise only in the context of matters proposed for belief.

But the Church’s refusal to extend priestly ordination to women is not, at least not according to the flagship document dealing with this question, John Paul II ap. lit. Ordinatio sacerdotalis (1994), proposed as requiring that Catholics accord belief (credenda) to the assertion that “the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women”, but rather, as requiring that Catholics definitively hold (tenenda) that the Church has no such authority. The difference is important.

That the Church can impose for definitive adherence by the faithful some assertions that do not demand belief does not imply that some truths are “less true” than others, but rather, that some truths, though not revealed by God, are nevertheless so important for the support of revealed truths that they, too, must be able to be known and proclaimed with certainty. This notion of a “hierarchy of truths” is reflected in Canon 750—a norm that is just the tip of a magisterial iceberg—but, fascinating as exploring that might be, to answer Walter’s specific question about whether he is a heretic, one need only realize that the assertion in Ordinatio does not require belief and so its rejection cannot be “heresy”.

That said, though Walter would ‘walk’ on a heresy charge, he seems to reject a proposition that is “to be held definitively” and therefore he seems “opposed to the doctrine of the Catholic Church.” Thus, assuming satisfaction of some other canonical elements of the crime, Walter seems at risk of committing a delict punishable under Canon 1371, 1° not with excommunication, I grant, but still by a “just penalty”. Even in age in which one cannot imagine ecclesiastical authority taking action against him for having published his opposition to Church teaching in this area, Walter should reconsider his opposition to that teaching, and, at the very least, refrain from proclaiming it publicly.

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Catholic World News - August 01, 2014

The Vatican said that some widespread practices—such as lengthy interludes in which the priest leaves the altar and/or the faithful leave their pews; the introduction of a “song of peace;” and the exchange of congratulations or condolences on special occasions—are inappropriate during the Eucharistic liturgy. These practices, the Vatican’s liturgical office said, create confusion in the liturgical assembly just prior to Communion.”The Vatican Congregation for Divine Worship has asked the world’s bishops to “moderate excesses” in the Sign of Peace exchanged during Mass.

The Vatican instruction was contained in a letter to the world’s episcopal conferences, signed on June 8 by Cardinal Antonio Canizares Llovera, the prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, and Archbishop Arthur Roche, the congregation’s secretary. The content of the letter became public on July 31.

The Vatican document said that after some discussion, which began at the 2005 meeting of the Synod of Bishops, the decision was reached to retain the sign of peace in its current place during the Mass. But the document called upon bishops to instruct the faithful in the proper understanding of the rite, saying:

If the faithful do not understand and do not show, in their ritual gestures, the true significance of the rite of peace, they are weakened in the Christian concept of peace, and their fruitful participation in the Eucharist is negatively affected.

Following the 2005 Synod meeting, which was dedicated to discussion of the Eucharist, Pope Benedict XVI wrote in his apostolic exhortation Sacramentum Caritatis that the bishops had discussed the Sign of Peace, and “the appropriateness of greater restraint in this gesture, which can be exaggerated and cause a certain distraction in the assembly just before the reception of Communion.” The new note from the Congregation for Divine Worship follows up on on that discussion.

The Congregation reminded bishops that the exchange of peace is optional, and at times may be inappropriate; it should not be carried out “mechanistically.” The document recommended that national bishops’ conferences consider different ways of making the Sign of Peace, to avoid “familiar or worldly gestures of greeting.”

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I hope the Vatican some day stops the practice of holding hands at the Our Father. I find it very distracting. My wife and I just fold our hands, close our eyes and hope for the best. Once a nun tapped me and said, “Come on.” The look in her eye said, “Are you one of them?” Even though I held her hands to avoid a scandal I will still refuse to ever do a liturgical dance :-)

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Should Priests Wear their Collars?

by Steve Ray on June 14, 2014

Msgr. Dolan always wears his clerical collar. In fact, when he was interviewed by CBC Television’s Evan Solomon last year during the height of "The Da Vinci Code" movie controversy, he showed his empty closet, bare except for a few black shirts and slacks off the sparely furnished bedroom bed at his residence in Montreal.

He said the clerical garb signals to others, "I exist for you. How can I serve you?"

"It pays to advertise," he said, smiling. He often has people coming up to him, asking for prayer. He now makes a practice of going to the train station or the airport at least an hour early so people can approach them. "If priests are invisible, that shuts down," he said.

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Fride sm.jpgOur priest, Fr. Ed Fride of Christ the King in Ann Arbor MI (picture to right), tells this story which he vows is true. While wearing his collar (which he always does) in a restaurant he began to eat his peas. He heard God's inner voice saying, "Eat your carrots first!" He set down his peas and ate the carrots.

Instantly a woman at a nearby table burst into tears. He got up and went to her. "Can I assist you in any way?" She responded, "You already did; you ate your carrots first."

"Yes," he said "I did." She responded, "I had decided this would be my last meal. I was going to kill myself today. But since you were their with your collar I gave God one more chance. I told him that if He cared at all for me, to make you eat your carrots first."

She is alive today thanks to a priest who witnesses for Jesus everywhere he goes because of his priestly garb. Thanks to all the priests who are such witnesses to Jesus and his love without even saying a word.

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Mega-church Mania: One Mom’s Observations (she’s a good writer) and Observations from the Early Church

June 2, 2014

Mr. Ray, My eldest daughter invited me to my grandson’s ‘dedication’ at her new place of worship.  Worship? Sorry. Her new place of…..well, the giant Olympic-sized structure that, after being directed in by police/traffic officers, upon entering, reminded me of a mall.  Oh and by the way, I didn’t witness any worship. My 1st thoughts were…”Wow! [...]

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Mass with 2 Protestants and 1 Crucifix

May 8, 2014

A while ago we went to Mass with two Protestants.  As we walked in the door — there it was, as big as life — a CRUCIFIX with the Body of Our Lord hanging over the altar.  I knew what the Protestants were thinking — I used to think the same – ”CATHOLICS ARE WRONG, JESUS IS [...]

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What Does God See When He Opens His Eyes?

March 8, 2014

Recently we went to Mass with two Protestants.  As we walked in the door — there it was, as big as life — a CRUCIFIX with the Body of Our Lord hanging over the altar. I knew what the Protestants were thinking — I used to think the same – ”CATHOLICS ARE WRONG, JESUS IS NO LONGER [...]

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Mass with the Local Christians in Jerusalem

January 26, 2014

Wonder what it is like to join the local Christians for Sunday morning Mass in the Holy Land? Well, now you will know. As is our pleasurable habit, Janet and I arrive a little ahead of our pilgrimage group to make sure everything is set and ready for their arrival.  Today we joined the local [...]

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Humbling Message for Me from a New Priest

September 20, 2013

Dear Steve, Just a note to thank you for your apostolate and message boards. I first saw you at the very first Fullness of Truth Conference in Houston Texas, with Alex Jones, Scott Hahn, Tim Staples, ect. This conference was the crossroads where I had to face the Truth that Holy Mother Church was who, [...]

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Mysterious Priest Performs Miracle at Site of Mercedes Crash

August 8, 2013

by Rajah Maples, Posted: 08.06.2013 at 11:15 PM, Updated: 08.07.2013 at 4:30 PM CENTER, MO. – Rescue workers want to thank a higher power for coming to the rescue early Sunday morning. Emergency crews spent an hour and a half trying to extricate a 19-year-old Quincy woman trapped in her in crushed car on Missouri [...]

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Why Can’t Catholics Celebrate Mass where the First Mass was Celebrated – in the Upper Room?

July 18, 2013

Deputy Foreign Minister Zeev Elkin dismisses reports that Israel is planning to hand over control of the Tomb of King David to the Vatican. By Shimon Cohen, First Publish: 7/18/2013, 5:15 AM  See Steve Ray’s comments at the end of the article Deputy Foreign Minister Zeev Elkin (Likud) on Wednesday dismissed recent reports that Israel is planning [...]

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Canon Lawyer Ed Peters Comments on Vatican Press Offices Unfortunate Comments about Disregard for Liturgical Law with Foot-washing

April 1, 2013

UPDATE 4/6/13 Ed Peters Responds to a critic Ed Peters Discusses Disregard for Liturgical Law in Washing Women’s Feet and Unhelpful Response from the Vatican Press Office. http://wp.me/p25nov-AP The background to this controversy is the antinomianism that prevails today. The Church is passing through a period in which the relationship between ecclesiastical law and the [...]

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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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If Only Our Eyes Could See

March 24, 2013

Wouldn’t it be amazing to see what the angels see. We are so limited in the mortal bodies.

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“Sunday Mornings in Ancient Times” or “Why I Teared up Last Sunday”

February 3, 2013

Tears welled up in my eyes — again — at Mass last Sunday. It was not always so. As a former Baptist I used to think the Catholic Mass was a sacrilege and an abomination. How could anyone worship a piece of bread? Really! However, last Sunday I was overcome with emotion while sitting in [...]

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Sign in a Mumbai Sacristy

November 16, 2012

Maybe this applies to those attending mass too, you think?

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