Catholic Tradition Newsletter 479: Confirmation, Twentieth Sunday, Holy Rosary, Family

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Vol 11 Issue 40 ~ Editor: Rev. Fr. Courtney Edward Krier
October 6, 2018 ~ Saint Bruno, opn!

1. What is the Sacrament of Confirmation
2. Twentieth Sunday after Pentecost
3. Most Holy Rosary
4. Family and Marriage
5. Articles and notices

Dear Reader:

Our Lady gave the Rosary to Saint Dominic as a weapon against the powers of darkness. 150 Psalms of David, the Psalter (Breviary) the clergy pray, is joined by the 150 Hail Marys the laity pray. The Apostles’ Creed, the Our Father and the Glory be are added as prayers the Church has always prayed

—providing a prayer life that joins all Catholics united in common daily prayer. Meditation on the Life, Death and Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ help make the faithful mindful of the chief mysteries of the faith: the Incarnation, the Redemption, and Resurrection. The acceptance that Mary gave us the Rosary and that she asked again at Lourdes and Fatima for all to pray the Rosary provides the Catholic belief that God does hear our prayers and that Mary has a place of intercessory power with her divine Son Jesus Christ. During the month of October let all Catholics pray the Rosary: the Joyful Mysteries on Monday and Thursday, the Sorrowful on Tuesday and Friday, the Glorious on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday. October 7 commemorates the victory of Catholics over the pagan Mohammedans in the Battle of Lepanto, when Pope Saint Pius V asked all Catholics to pray the Rosary so Christendom would not see the Crescent flying over its cities in Europe nor hear the calls to a false god while the bells of Churches are silenced in the call to the worship of the true God. Today the Catholic faith in Europe declines as the Mohammedans fill the void—thanks to Vatican II.

As always, enjoy the readings and commentaries provided for your benefit. —The Editor



by Rev. Courtney Edward Krier

1917 Code of Canon Law Concerning Confirmation


On Confirmation

If one observed all the notations and instructions of the Magisterium of the Church, it would be noted that Holy Mother Church demands the bishop follows the Pontifical, showing that the rite for the administration of Confirmation in the Latin Church has been set since immemorial times. Uncontroverted except for the claim by the Oriental Schismatic Church claiming priests have the power to confirm and the use of sacred Chrism to be consecrated only by a bishop, the Church has had no necessity to explain in detail the Sacrament of Confirmation. This fact is also set forth in the Ecclesiastical Laws found in the Code of Canon Law as follows:

Canon 780

The Sacrament of confirmation must be conferred by the imposition of hands together with anointing by chrism on the forehead and with the words prescribed in the pontifical books approved by the Church.

Canon 781

§ 1. The chrism that is to be used in the sacrament of confirmation must be consecrated by the bishop even if the sacrament, by law or apostolic indult, is being administered by a priest.

§ 2. Anointing is not to be made by an instrument, but by the very hand of the minister duly imposed on the forehead of the one to be confirmed.

The Canon Law Digest, II, p. 185, reminds priests who receive apostolic faculties that they are not to receive their sacred oils from schismatic bishops according to AAS 27-11, Section II: Canon 781. (The Instruction adds these words: It is never lawful to administer Confirmation without chrism, nor to receive the chrism from heretical or schismatical Bishops.)


On the minister of confirmation9

Canon 782

§ 1. The ordinary minister of confirmation is only a Bishop.

§ 2. The extraordinary minister is a priest to whom the faculty has been granted, either by common law or special indult of the Apostolic See.

§ 3. Besides Cardinals of the H. R. C. according to Canon 239, § 1, n. 23, Abbots or Prelates of no one and Apostolic Vicars and Prefects enjoy this faculty by law, although they cannot act validly except within the limits of their territory and for so long as they hold their posts.

§ 4. Priests of the Latin rite who have this faculty in virtue of an indult confer confirmation validly only on the faithful of their own rite, unless it is expressly provided otherwise in the indult.

§ 5. It is nefarious for priests of the oriental rites who enjoy the privilege or faculty of confirming infants of their own rite at the time of their baptism to administer [confirmation] to Latin rite infants.

The following was issued by the Sacred Congregation of the Sacraments on May 20, 1934 (AAS 27-11.)

Instruction on Confirmation When Administered by a Simple Priest by Delegation of the Holy See


1. Various reasons make it opportune at this time to issue a new Instruction containing the complete modern discipline of the Sacrament of Confirmation, especially when it is administered by a simple priest.

The present Instruction accordingly supersedes two previous ones; namely, first, an Instruction issued in 1888 by the Sacred Congregation of the Inquisition, which the Code had rendered for the most part obsolete, and secondly a more recent Instruction which was contained in the Appendix of the Editio Typica of the Roman Ritual, of 1925, but which also now requires some amendment.

The present Instruction is issued after the unanimous approval of the Sacred Congregation of the Holy Office, both as regards the necessity of a new Instruction, and the competency of the Sacred Congregation of the Sacraments to issue the same. Changes contained in this Instruction relating to the minister of the Sacrament and the age of the subjects, were approved by His Holiness on 31 Dec., 1928.

2. Canon 782 declares that the ordinary minister of this Sacrament is a Bishop only, the extraordinary minister, a priest who has the faculty either by common law or by special indult of the Holy See. Those who have it by common law are (besides Cardinals, according to canon 239, § 1, n. 23) Abbots or Prelates nullius, Vicars and Prefects Apostolic, even though they have not the episcopal character; but if they have not the episcopal character they can validly use the power only during their tenure of the office and within their territory.

Because of the scarcity of Bishops in some parts of Latin America, the Church has been as it were compelled to grant the power to simple priests in certain extraordinary cases. As far as possible the Church has always seen to it that priests receiving this faculty should be ecclesiastical dignitaries. [1 See the Motu proprio, Inter multiplices, of Pius X, 21 Feb., 1905, Gasparri, Codicis Juris Canonici Fontes, Vol. III, p. 633; and the Constitution, Ad incrementum, of Pius XI, 15 Aug., 1934, AAS 26-497.]

It was in full accordance with this practice that His Holiness, Pius XI, on 30 Apr., 1929, granted to the Ordinaries, priests, and faithful of Latin America, for ten years, privileges and faculties expressed in the following words:

“Ordinaries of places can depute, for administering the Sacrament of Confirmation, priests who, as far as possible, shall be men already raised to some ecclesiastical dignity, but never simple priests residing in the places where the Sacrament of Confirmation is to be administered; observing the new Instruction of the Sacred Congregation of the Sacraments regarding a simple priest administering the Sacrament of Confirmation by delegation of the Holy See.”

In granting to simple priests, in certain extraordinary cases, the indult to administer Confirmation, this Sacred Congregation has always seen to it that, as far as possible, the priests so chosen should be raised to the dignity of Prothonotaries Apostolic.

A reply of the Sacred Congregation of the Sacraments, in Namurcen. et aliarum, of 25 Jan., 1924, is to be noted. The question asked was:

“Whether the practice of deputing for the administration of the Sacrament of Confirmation priests who have not the episcopal character, is for the future to be confined to the limits hitherto established, or is it rather, for grave and urgent reasons, to be extended also to other countries, even in Europe, in particular cases.”

And the reply:

“In the affirmative to the first part; in the negative to the second; et ad mentem. The mind of the Sacred Congregation is that no change is to be made in the discipline of the Church which this Sacred Congregation has hitherto observed and which it has forbidden to be changed, making only some exceptions for certain countries in South America, where the common law cannot be observed owing to extraordinary circumstances. A simple priest is indeed the extraordinary minister of the Sacrament of Confirmation by deputation of the Holy See. If petitions of this kind are received from other countries, let the Sacred Congregation urge the petitioning Bishops to apply to the Holy See to obtain an Auxiliary or Coadjutor Bishop, or ask help, for the administration of the Sacrament, of the Bishops of neighboring dioceses.” This reply was confirmed by His Holiness in the audience of 26 Jan., 1924.

3. Two other questions, since the promulgation of the Code, referred to the age of subjects for Confirmation.

(The Sacred Congregation here quotes the text of the two replies; namely, that of 16 June, 1931, by the Code Commission, [1 See CANON LAW DIGEST, Vol. 1, p. 348] and that of 30 June, 1932, by the Sacred Congregation of the Sacraments, [2 See CANON LAW DIGEST, Vol. 1, p. 348] and adds the following commentary upon the latter):

If therefore there is question of a child so seriously ill that he may be said to be in danger of death, not only is it not forbidden to administer Confirmation to him before the age of seven, but it is advisable to do so, so that upon leaving this life he may, according to the doctrine of Saint Thomas, [III, q. 73, art. 8, ad 4.] have greater glory in heaven. According to the approved opinion of several theologians, [4 Benedict XIV, De Synodo Dioecesana, Lib. VII, Cap. X, nn, 5, 6, 7.] in addition to the custom already mentioned, there may also be other legitimate reasons for anticipating the seventh year in the administration of this Sacrament, especially when it is foreseen that the Bishop or the priest who has the faculty of administering it will be absent for a long time, or when there is some other necessity or just and serious reason.


(The second section of the Instruction, which is entitled, “The Discipline Introduced by the Code as Regards the Administration of Confirmation by a Simple Priest,” consists of the quotation, almost verbatim, of the following canons: 732, 734, 766, 780, 781, 782, 784, 785, 786, 787, 788, 789, 790, 791, 793, 794, 795, 796, 797, 798, 799, 800, 1079. The only language of this part of the Instruction which is not already contained expressly in the canons themselves, is the following, which we quote verbatim from the Instruction, under the caption of the canons respectively referred to):

Canon 781. (The Instruction adds these words): It is never lawful to administer Confirmation without chrism, nor to receive the chrism from heretical or schismatical Bishops.

Canon 786. (The Instruction adds the following explanation of the words, sufficienter instructus, of the canon): Sufficiently instructed; that is, according to his capacity, upon the nature, dignity, effects, of the Sacrament, and the requisite dispositions for its worthy reception. (The Instruction then adds): According to an ancient practice in the Church, those who are to receive Confirmation should be fasting; and it would therefore be desirable that such a custom should be observed even now.

Canons 786, 796. (To these two canons especially may be referred the following language of the Instruction): Those who are to be confirmed must not present themselves for this Sacrament with dirty face or hair uncombed; but they should be dressed, as should also the sponsors, simply and modestly. Women who are to receive the Sacrament or to act as sponsors must not come into the church decked in vain ornaments or with painted faces, but with all modesty and reverence.


(The third section of the Instruction is entitled: Rite to be Observed by a Simple Priest Conferring the Sacrament of Confirmation. It consists of the rubrics and text of the rite, which may be read either in the official commentary, Acta Apostolicae Sedis, Vol. 27, page 19, or in new editions of the Roman Ritual.)

This Instruction was approved and confirmed in the audience of 7 May, 1934, by His Holiness, Pius XI, who also ordered that it be published.

AAS 27-11; S. C. Sacr., Instruction, 20 May, 1934.

Periodica, 24-29; Irish Ecclesiastical Record, 1935-661 (Browne); Clergy Review, 10-63 (Bentley); Apollinaris, 1935-41 (Zerba).

Opening a more liberal granting to priests to administer Confirmation brought about a question as to who can and cannot grant that permission to Confirm and who can and cannot administer Confirmation. The general principle, in the beginning, was only the Ordinary can grant permission to those only who were pastors of a parish. This excluded a large portion of Catholics, both because of the absence of an ordinary as also institutions outside parochial control as clarified in the following. The first decision dealt with the concessions to the Mexican Church during the persecution of the Church under the Mexican Government. In a Consistory of the Sacred Congregation on 28 April 1939 (AAS 31-224), it denied the Vicar General could depute for the administration of confirmation, without mandate of Ordinary. On December 30, 1946, the Sacred Congregation of the Sacraments gave this response regarding Chaplains of Institutions who were exempted from parochial jurisdiction having the faculty to confirm in danger of death:

The Sacred Congregation of the Sacraments was asked by a certain Ordinary:

Question. Here we have four institutions which are exempted from all parochial jurisdiction—the large city hospital, the home for the aged poor, the provincial hospital for the insane, and a sanitarium for consumptives—which are commonly called internal parishes or chaplaincies with the care of souls.

The priests or religious who are assigned to the care of the inmates have the complete care of souls, so that they can baptize, assist at marriages, perform funeral services, and are bound to keep parish registers, etc.; they lack only the obligation of applying the Mass pro populo or according to the intention of the Ordinary.

The diocesan Synod has the following provision in this connection: “The pastoral authority and charge of every chaplain with the care of souls is confined to the buildings which are directly used for the purpose of the pious institution, and includes only those faithful who stay there day and night as patients or servants or in the performance of some other office. Consequently, whenever the seat of some pious institution is transferred to another locality, or when the building is enlarged or diminished, without of course changing the purpose of the institution, the privilege of exemption also undergoes the same changes as do the seat or buildings themselves.”

Such therefore being their juridical position, it is asked whether these chaplains can be counted among the priests mentioned in the Decree, section I, n. 1, c: “to whom the full care of souls with all the rights and duties of pastors has been entrusted in an exclusive and stable manner in a definite territory with a determinate church.”

The reason for doubting is that they have not all the parochial obligations, as for example, that of applying the Mass pro populo. Nevertheless they are immediately subject to the Bishop and are removable at his will.

Reply. The reply of the S. C. of the Sacraments, 30 Dec., 1946, n. 8263, was: The chaplains of the four institutions mentioned, since they do not fulfill the conditions expressly and exclusively laid down in the decree of this Sacred Congregation, Spiritus Sancti munera, 14 Sept., 1946, section I, n. 1, c, have not the power to confirm.

(Private); S. C. Sacr., 30 Dec., 1946. Translated, with the permission of the author, from Zerba, Commentarius in Decretum “Spiritus Sancti munera,” p. 54. Monsignor Zerba adds the comment that an exempt territory such as this is not territorium proprium.                                        (To be continued)


Dr. Pius Parsch

The Church’s Year of Grace (1958)


By the rivers of Babylon, there did we sit and weep

The virtue of hope is the theme of today’s liturgy. The negative aspect of the virtue, however. receives greater consideration because the setting of the liturgical drama is the Babylonian exile. Since life on earth is a life of exile from the heavenly fatherland, man ought feel himself a foreigner in this world (Off.); he ought bear his earthly exile in the spirit of penance (Intr.) and put each moment of time to good advantage (“redeeming the time”—Epist.) by atoning for sin (Coll., Secr.) and by living virtuously (Intr., Epist., Comm.). Especially ought he cherish a sacred longing for his eternal home (Grad., Off., Comm.). The key text is the Offertory; in it we give full vent to our homesickness for heaven: “By the rivers of Babylon, there did we sit and weep as we remembered Sion.”

1. Holy Mass (Omnia quae). No Sunday Mass throughout the whole of the Church’s Harvest Season is so overflowing with deep sentiments of longing for heaven welling up from the hearts of those suffering in exile. As a forlorn child the soul enters into the house of God; she recognizes, as did the three young men in Babylon’s fiery furnace, that she has merited her sufferings through sin (let us bear all the misfortunes of life in the spirit of penance); yet she dedicates herself unreservedly to her heavenly country, which she sees symbolized in the sanctuary. The entrance of the priestly ministers clothed in stainless vestments is to her a symbol of life immaculately lived: “Blessed are the undefiled in the way” (Intr.).

Similar thoughts are expressed in the Collect; we pray for pardon and peace, but on this particular occasion it is a prayer especially for earthly peace in order that God “may be served with a tranquil mind.” The Epistle depicts the reticent spirit of the virtuous Christian toward things of the world. As a stranger he “walks circumspectly,” making good use of his time for it is precious; with it he is enabled to buy eternity. Our days are filled with so many spiritual possibilities, and we utilize them so badly! It is not a question of multiplying works, but rather of being permeated with the transforming energy of grace. Our days should be filled with life and action flowing from the fullness of God.

“The days are evil.” This is true perhaps now more than ever. St. Paul speaks of a twofold “intoxication.” We are not to permit ourselves to be overcome by wine or other earthly pleasures, but we are to be inebriated with the Holy Spirit. Of this intoxication he continues: “Let psalms and hymns and spiritual canticles resound at your gatherings, let the song of thanksgiving fill your heart.” The Apostle is thinking of a community blessed charismatically. “Be subject one to another in the fear of Christ.” Well does St. Paul know how to tear us loose from the worldly, to make us feel as strangers in its environment.

The Gradual is a moving song of longing for our heavenly fatherland and its pledge, the holy Eucharist. Particularly beautiful is the Alleluia verse. My heart is ready to receive the Lord at His Second Coming; already I am striking at the strings, eager to sing the eternal Easter hymn, Alleluia! Against the exile background the Gospel story brings a fuller message. Our principal duty is to regain health for our sick soul; we should beg it from our Savior with as much confidence as did the royal official in the Gospel. “O come down before my soul has died! Now in the holy Sacrifice I call unto Thee, O Lord, come down to me that my soul may be healed; at Thy Second Advent (my death) come down into this valley of tears that my soul and body may be healed and quickened!” At the sacred time of consecration, Christ truly comes down, bringing anew to my soul the graces of redemption. It is He, the very One who some day will come down “to judge the living and the dead.”…

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