(Rome) On Wednesday Pope Francis celebrated a liturgy for the 1,000 Missionaries of Mercy during the Ash Wednesday. They will go out into the world with the power of being able to forgive those grave sins whose forgiveness is reserved only to the.
Canon 1367: Whoever throws away the consecrated sacrament or for a sacrilegious purpose, steals them or keeps them, incurs latae sententiae excommunication reserved to thethe Holy See: a cleric, moreover, must be subject to a further punishment, the dismissal from the clerical state is not excluded.
Canon 1370.1: A person who uses physical force against the Roman Pontiff incurs a latae sententiae excommunication reserved to the Apostolic See; if the offender is a cleric, another penalty, not excluding dismissal from the clerical state, may be added according to the gravity of the crime..
Canon 1378.1: A priest who acts against the prescription of Can. 977 incurs a latae sententiae excommunication reserved to the Apostolic See..
Canon 977: The absolution of an accomplice in a sin against the sixth commandment of the Decalogue is invalid except in danger of death..
Canon 1382: A bishop who consecrates someone without pontifical mandate to bishop, as well as he who receives the consecration from him, excommunication reserved incurs a latae sententiae reserved by the Holy See.
Canon 1388.1: A confessor who violates the seal of confession directly incurs latae sententiae excommunication reserved to the Holy See; but he who violates it only indirectly, he shall be punished according to the gravity of the offense.
Pope Benedict XVI. added with the Motu proprio Norma nonnullas of 22 February, 2013 another crime. The excommunication is latae sententiae, reserved by the Holy See, to anyone who breaks the secrecy of the conclave.
In addition, there are other offenses, of which the individual priest can not absolve, but only the Holy See or the diocesan bishop. This includes the crime of abortion.
Whoever commits any of these offenses, is automatically excommunicated. He himself is excluded by the fact from communion with the Church and is not admitted to the sacraments. That is, he may not even go to confession. If he does so, then the priest must deny him absolution and refer him to the bishop or the Pope. Would the priest nevertheless grant him absolution, this would be null and void.
In order to obtain the possibility of absolution from sin, excommunication must be set aside previously.This can in some cases be accomplished by the competent diocesan bishop, in other cases, only the Pope.
Now Pope Francis with the Missionaries of Charity has issued an authorization to more than a thousand priests around the world, during the Holy Year of Mercy to annul these excommunications, as a condition for re-admission to confession and thus to reconciliation with the Church.
What happens to the seven illicitly consecrated bishops in China?
The Vatican expert Sandro Magister points to a very special case in which the matter may "not be so simple"... "at least for a sin". It involves illicit episcopal ordinations, which were carried out in the PRC.To control the Catholic Church, the communist regime has created a Catholic organization obedient to the regime called the Patriotic Association. The CP has demanded that the bishops and priests renounce Rome and are required to pledge their loyalty to the regime, while loyalty to the Pope and the Church is persecuted as "subservience to a foreign power."
The Beijing government, therefore, officially determines who are bishops in mainland China. Although these appointments are not recognized by Rome, the regime allows the episcopal ordinations , mostly bishops of the regime, while bishops loyal to Rome are forced to participate.
Currently, there are at least seven such bishops who were ordained without papal permission. They have undertaken more illicit ordinations. Anyone who participates in such an illicit ordination is automatically excommunicated.
Zhan Silu, bishop of Mindong (Fujian), consecrated in 2000
Ma Yinglin, Bishop of Kunming (Yunnan) and President of the Chinese Bishops' Council, the variant of the Episcopal Conference loyal to the regime, consecrated in 2006
Liu Xinhong, Bishop of Wuhu (Anhui), consecrated in 2006
Guo Jincai, Bishop of Chengde (Hebei), consecrated 2010
Lei Shiyin, Bishop of Leshan (Sichuan), consecrated in 2011
Huang Bingzhang, Bishop of Shantou (Guangdong), consecrated in 2011
Yue Fusheng, Bishop of Harbin (Heilongjiang), consecrated in 2012
Among the more than 1,000 Missionaries of Mercy there is only one Chinese officially notified: Father Luigi Bonalumi from Hong Kong of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions (PIME). However, he only speaks the Cantonese spoken mainly in southern China, not Mandarin. Cantonese is only spoken by about six percent of Chinese. He will also, according to the official statement, exercise his authority only in the Diocese of Hong Kong.
Lifting of the excommunication of illicit episcopal ordinations remains reserved to the pope
On February 9 Curial Archbishop Rino Fisichella, President of the Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization and coordinator of the Holy Year has given the Missionaries of Charity written instructions. They show that they can forgive all sins mentioned in the Pope's name, except one: the forgiveness of an illicit episcopal ordination remains exclusively reserved for the Pope in the Holy Year.
Father Bernardo Cervellera, PIME, the chief of the press portal AsiaNews , has recalled how such cases have proceeded so far. The Holy See demanded of excommunicated bishops that they send a letter to the Pope, setting out their situation, including an admission of guilt by recognizing the responsibility of any wrongdoing, and asking for forgiveness.
Then the Holy See asks of the bishops, to make a public gesture and ask the faithful for forgiveness for the scandal they have caused them.
Dilemma of visible reconciliation
This was particularly true for those bishops who were more or less forced to take part in illicit episcopal ordinations. More problematic is the reintegration of illicitly consecrated bishops themselves. It is difficult to say they have been forced to episcopal dignity.
They are also exposed at a reconciliation with Rome to an even higher probability of reprisals and persecution. Quitting the Patriotic Association is a mandatory step and is understood by the Communist Party as an attack on their authority. The Beijing regime would, as it has so often accused the Vatican in the past, of "interference in internal affairs".
For the situation of such a bishop in the Patriotic Association, the faithful have had reason to doubt the sincerity of his reconciliation.
The Holy Year of Mercy should probably have initially no effect on the painful question of episcopal ordinations in the People's Republic of China. Pope Francis attempted a " rapprochment" of a different kind a few days ago by offering flowers to the Beijing regime and excluded the question of episcopal appointments, the Underground Church, the persecution of Christians and human rights. Reactions from Beijing are not yet known.
Text: Giuseppe Nardi
Image: Vatican.va/OR (Screenshot)
(Rome) A remarried divorcee went to confession before Christmas, but the confessor refused him absolution. The incident occurred in the southern Italian city of Bari in the cathedral which is dedicated to St. Nicholas of Myra. The daily La Gazzetta del Mezzogiorno printed a letter on 30 December from the man who described his "disappointment" and demanded the "mercy from Pope Francis" that had been denied him in the "Holy Year of Mercy". Because as the divorced and remarried insisted, "absolution is given to all who confess." A misunderstanding?
Such a requirement, which presupposes an automatism, was an "absurd claim" says the well-known theologian and liturgist, Msgr. Nicola Bux. "The priest is not a notary." On January 3, the same newspaper published an interview with Msgr. Bux, who is a priest of the Archdiocese of Bari. The Consultor of Roman dicasteries is the author of numerous internationally acclaimed books. His most recent monograph is entitled: "How to go to the Holy Mass, without losing faith," which has been translated into five languages.
Nicola Bux: "The priest is at the same time judge and psychiatrist. To "absolve", to "free" and means in concrete terms, to break the penitent from his binding to sin. The priest, and not the believer, is to evaluate whether the conditions are met to grant the absolution or not.
Repentance is not enough?
Nicola Bux: The true repentance requires a commitment of the believer to release the connection. In the Gospel Jesus Christ says: go and sin no more. He does not say: Go and continue what suits you.
The priest saw the conditions of which you speak were not met?
Nicola Bux: Obviously. No absolution can be expected when there is no firm intention not to sin again.
And the Holy Year of Mercy is called into question.
Nicola Bux: These rules recently led to quite a misunderstanding. The rules have not changed, and the priests have to stick to the traditional teaching, all, as well as all judges must abide by the law in the same way without exception. Why do we expect that this concept of course applies to the court, but to be knocked down in the Church?
It is clear is which side Don Bux is on.
Nicola Bux: I am of course on the side of Jesus Christ. No one on this earth has the authority to change the rules of his Church. Therefore, the Synod has produced a final document that absolutely nothing changes in terms of the Eucharist and the divorced and remarried.
But many think that Pope Francis intends to change course.
Nicola Bux: Another big misunderstanding. Cardinal Müller, the prefect of the CDF, and thus the guardian of the Catholic faith has said it very clearly: "The doctrine of the Church is not a man-made theory. The Magisterium of the Pope and the bishops is not above the Word of God."
According to the letter from our reader, the priest considers him an even bigger sinner because he went to Communion, although he is divorced and remarried.
Nicola Bux: And for that we should place the guilt to the priest? It is Jesus Christ who proclaimed the indissolubility of marriage in the Gospel. And St. Paul warns against receiving the sacrament unworthily. How can one demand access to the Eucharist if he has left the community and bond with and formed a bond with another woman? That is a contradiction in terms. And even more contradictions become visible in the letter.
What do you mean by that?
Nicola Bux: Above all, the starting point. The reader referred to himself on the one hand as a "devout Catholic," but at the same time as a divorced and remarried, who betrays the indissolubility of the marriage bond. Then he speaks literally of a "whim" that had driven him after 12 years, once again in the confessional. Catholics are obliged to report to confession at least once a year. So we have to do it with a typical example of a "homegrown Christianity." If I define what is Catholic, and if so, Church and faith would suit my needs. A phenomenon against which Benedict XVI. had warned emphatically.
One last question: Is not the Holy Door of the Cathedral a separate, special penitential?
Nicola Bux: This also needs clarity: Sin pulls like a crime, here a better understanding helps to make a comparison with the criminal law, guilt and punishment. Confession brings the repentant sinner absolution from guilt, but not of the punishment that is to be served in the afterlife on a supernatural level. That is the moment when the Holy Year comes into play, which makes it possible as a special way to wipe out the penalties, comparable to a complete or partial remission. The gates of mercy in the Church are and will always be open. But on the usual terms. And the priests know that they do not give in and not allow themselves to be intimidated by the prevailing opinions.
Introduction / translation: Giuseppe Nardi Image: Mil / Arcidiocesi di Bari (screenshots)