Catholic Tradition Newsletter 480: Confirmation, Twenty-first Sunday, Saint Callistus, Family

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Vol 11 Issue 41 ~ Editor: Rev. Fr. Courtney Edward Krie4
October 13, 2018 ~ Our Lady of Fatima, intercede for us!

1. What is the Sacrament of Confirmation
2. Twenty-first Sunday after Pentecost
3. Pope Saint Callistus
4. Family and Marriage
5. Articles and notices

Dear Reader:

101 years ago, Our Lady appeared to 3 children in a little village named Fatima, in Portugal. The message She brought to us becomes more important than ever as we see the forces of evil pervading our world.

We see it in the rejection of faith in the true God. We see it in the ensnaring and enslaving of countless humans into lives of sin, which means choosing to live not according to the Commandments of God, but to the urges of self-gratification.Our Lady, as the Mother of Christ, intercedes with her Son to grant to us the graces needed for salvation; however, God still requires us to cooperate with those graces. Unfortunately, society is permeated with sensuality and the desire for self-gratification, exhibited by the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. It seems that all sales pitches are designed to appeal to the concupiscences and to diabolically conquer human nature, weak as it is and unsupported by grace, and bring its fall. The failure to practice virtue further weakens the desire to resist; and, all too soon, the vices become normalized and are no longer seen as sinful but just as a part of one’s life.

A faithful Catholic, appears radical when dressing modestly, avoiding obscene conversations, expressing oneself in becoming words, not gossiping, not addicted to media or gaming or other vices. When a faithful Catholic looks about, it appears that everyone is either living with someone without benefit of marriage or divorced, dependent on contraceptives, anti-depressants or other psychotic drugs or alcohol in order to be happy. This even applies to youth. A faithful Catholic thinks that this behavior is not normal, but the sad truth is that in the world today, the bell curve indicates that “normal” is now somewhere between mildly depraved and extremely depraved. The abnormal are now those living a moral life. Our Lady of Fatima in speaking to faithful Catholics warned that they needed to turn to prayer and sacrifice if they wanted to achieve everlasting life in Heaven rather than eternal suffering in Hell. And everyone, even children knew that those going to Hell were not going there because they were notorious criminals, but because they, in participating in the sins of the world had rejected God.

Why did Mary ask for first Saturdays to be days of reparation? Just as Saint Margaret Mary was asked by Our Lord in the eighteenth century (the Church will celebrate her feast on October 17) to make reparation for the sins committed on first Fridays, it is because: if one is making reparation for immodesty, one is reminded to be modest; if one is making reparation for blasphemy, one will not blaspheme; if one is making reparation for the neglect of those not going to Mass on Sunday, one will attend Mass on Sunday, etc. It would take a hardened sinner not to be moved by grace while participating in the practice of First Fridays and First Saturdays and not direct their lives so as to stop offending God directly. As we commemorate the anniversary of Our Lady of the Rosary, the Lady of Fatima, may each of us, if not able to join the faithful in Church in the holy hours, benediction and Mass of reparation at least spend time at the home shrine in order to make acts of reparation and be filled with the spirit to atone for the sins of the world and resolve not to participate in those sins.

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

By December 18, 1947, Pius XII gave all ordinaries in the Missions faculties to give all priests under them the faculty to confirm in danger of death

Confirmation in Danger of Death (S. C. Prop. Fid., Decree, 18 Dec., 1947) AAS 40-41.

This Decree, entitled “De confirmatione administranda iis, qui ex gravi morbo in periculo mortis sunt constituti,” is as follows:

Since the enactment by the Sacred Congregation of the Sacraments of the Decree “Spiritus Sancti munera,” of 14 September, 1946 (AAS 38-349), this Sacred Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith has received many petitions from Ordinaries of missions asking for the same or still wider faculties.

His Holiness by Divine Providence Pope Pius XII, in the audience of the 18th of this month, at the instance of the undersigned Cardinal Prefect, deigned to receive these petitions favorably.

Accordingly His Holiness granted to all local Ordinaries who depend on this Sacred Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith, without prejudice to other indults which they already have in this matter, the power by Apostolic indult (can. 782, § 2) to give to all priests who are subject to them and have the care of souls, the faculty to administer Sacred Confirmation validly to the faithful, whether adults or infants, who are within the territorial boundaries of the mission and are in danger of death; and to administer it licitly in the place of residence of the Bishop, provided there is no Bishop present in that place who is not lawfully prevented from attending; always observing the formula prescribed by the Roman Ritual.

His Holiness ordered that the present decree be prepared and published.

Given at Rome, from the Sacred Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith, the 18th day of December, 1947.

AAS 40-41; S. C. Prop. Fid., Decree, 18 Dec., 1947.

Cf. Il Monitore Ecclesiastico, 1948, p. 92. The anonymous commentator calls attention to the fact that the text, in contrast to the title, does not require that the danger of death be occasioned by illness.

The faculty from a bishop extends to Catholics outside the Latin rite—but within the diocese:

Confirmation: Administered by Latin Priests to Orientals

(S. C. Eccl. Or., Decree, 1 May, 1948) AAS 40-422.

A Decree, entitled De Sacramento Confirmationis administrando etiam fidelibus Orientalium rituum a presbyteris Latini ritus, qui hoc indulto gaudeant pro fidelibus sui ritus, is as follows:

Since, according to canon 782, § 4, of the Code of Canon Law, a priest of the Latin rite who has by indult the faculty to confer the Sacrament of Confirmation, can validly confer it only on the faithful of his own rite “unless the indult expressly provides otherwise”; and since, after the first and second terrible world wars, many of the faithful of Oriental rites remain dispersed in countries of the Latin rite, where they are cared for by priests of the Latin rite and grow up in the practice of that rite, so that often they think they belong to it or do not know to which rite they belong—the conferring of this Sacrament of Confirmation was not infrequently exposed to the danger of invalidity, especially in certain countries where the same local Ordinaries grant the above-mentioned indult to priests who have the care of souls.

And of course this danger was increased after the issuance of the Decree of the Sacred Congregation of the Sacraments, De Confirmatione administranda iis qui, ex gravi morbo, in mortis periculo sunt constituti, on the 14th of September, 1946.

Wherefore, this Sacred Congregation for the Oriental Church, by agreement with the Sacred Congregation of the Sacraments, in order to provide for the spiritual welfare of the faithful of the Oriental rites who are living outside their own territory and under the jurisdiction of Ordinaries of the Latin rite, and also in order to provide for due reverence toward the Sacraments, deemed it necessary to petition His Holiness Pius XII that, whenever priests of the Latin rite in virtue of a lawful indult can validly and licitly administer the Sacrament of Confirmation to the faithful of their own rite, they can also administer it—provided it is clear that it was not already conferred, according to the usual practice, immediately after Baptism—to the faithful of the Oriental rites of whom they have the spiritual charge according to the Apostolic Constitution, Orientalium dignitas, of 30 November, 1894, art. 9, which provided: “every Oriental who is staying outside his patriarchal territory shall be under the administration of the Latin clergy.”

As is evident, the same is true whenever the Sacrament of Confirmation can be administered as provided in the abovementioned Decree of the Sacred Congregation of the Sacraments.

This petition was humbly presented to the Supreme Pontiff by the undersigned Cardinal Secretary of this Sacred Congregation for the Oriental Church in the Audience of 28 February, 1948; and His Holiness graciously deigned to approve it, and ordered that it be made public by this Decree.

Given at Rome, from the Sacred Congregation for the Oriental Church, 1 May, 1948.

(AAS 40-422; S. C. Eccl. Or., Decree, 1 May, 1948.)

The continued growth and extension of faculties can be seen in the following rescripts and declarations:

Maternity Hospitals and Orphanages: Confirmation of Children in Danger of Death (S. C. Sacr., 18 Nov., 1948) Private.

A Rescript of the S. C. of the Sacraments (N. 5869/48):

The Archbishops and Bishops of the United States of North America, prostrate at the feet of Your Holiness, humbly ask a derogation from the Decree, Spiritus Sancti munera, issued by the S. C. of the Sacraments on the 14th of September, 1946, [1 AAS, 38, p. 349; Canon Law Digest, 3, p. 303.] so that, in the so-called maternity hospitals for parturient women and in the orphanages of their dioceses, the sacrament of Confirmation may be validly and licitly administered by the Chaplains of those institutions to the children who are received there and who are in the circumstances mentioned in the said Decree.

In the Audience of 25 October, 1948, His Holiness Pius XII, upon receiving a report on this matter from the undersigned Pro-Prefect of this Sacred Congregation, graciously deigned to grant petition, on condition however that the sacrament of Confirmation, in the circumstances mentioned in the said Decree, be ministered to the children in question by the Chaplain who is regularly assigned to the institutions mentioned, and in case more than one Chaplain is so assigned to the same institution, that it be done by the first Chaplain, to the complete exclusion of the others.

The Chaplain, however, may use this faculty only if the Bishop the Diocese cannot be had or is prevented from administering Confirmation himself, and if there is no other Bishop, even a merely titular one, in communion with the Apostolic See, who could without grave inconvenience take his place. Likewise, if the pastor of the place, in the same circumstances, cannot be had or is prevented from administering this sacrament himself. In the absence of the Chaplain, or in case it is impossible for him to confirm personally, no one else, other than the Bishop or local pastor, can validly administer this sacrament. Observing, for the rest, the terms and clauses of the said Decree. All things to the contrary notwithstanding.

The present grant to be in effect for one year from the date of this Rescript.

(Private); S. C. Sacr., 18 Nov., 1948 (N. 5869/48); The Jurist, 1949, p. 261; published with the permission of His Excellency, the Most Reverend Apostolic Delegate.

NOTE: This Rescript was renewed for one year on 6 Feb., 1950, by the same Sacred Congregation (N. 9219/49). Cf. The Jurist, 1950, P. 214. It was renewed again for three years by Rescript N. 458/51, pursuant to the Audience of 22 Jan., 1951, with an “Advertatur” by the S. C. in these terms: “Ordinaries are to see to it that the renewal of the indult be applied for on time: otherwise, if Confirmation was administered in the interval between the expiration of the indult and its renewal, the sacrament would be invalid.” Cf. The Jurist, 1951, 312, 313. It was renewed again for another period of three years, the same S. C., on 21 Jan., 1954. Cf. The Jurist, 1954, p. 208, n, 26. This faculty was again renewed on 19 Dec., 1956 (N. 6872/56) for three years to be computed from the date of renewal.

The whole matter of the extraordinary minister of Confirmation treated in an article under that title by the Very Reverend Jo A. M. Quigley, in The Jurist, 14 (1954) 194.

Confirmation in Danger of Death: Missionaries of Emigrants Have Power (S. C. Consist., 7 Oct., 1953) 45-758.

A Declaration by the Sacred Consistorial Congregation:

To prevent doubts regarding the duties of Missionaries of Emigrants, which are treated of in Chapter IV of the Apostolic Constitution, Exsul Familia, [1 AAS 44-649; CANON LAW DIGEST, 3, p. 93.] and to set up a uniform method action, the Sacred Consistorial Congregation declares:

I. Concerning the Administration of the Sacrament of Confirmation

Missionaries of Emigrants to whom, in accordance with nn. 34-40 of the Apostolic Constitution, Exsul Familia, local Ordinaries have committed the care of souls in their diocese, have the power to administer the sacrament of Confirmation to their subjects who are at the point of death (in articulo mortis), according to the Decree of the Sacred Congregation of the Sacraments, Spiritus Sancti munera, of 14 Sept., 1946. [3 AAS 38-349; CANON LAW DIGEST, 3, p. 303.]

His Holiness, Pope Pius XII, deigned to ratify this declaration in the Audience of 31 August, 1953.

(AAS 45-758; S. C. Consist., Declaration, 7 October, 1953.)                                   (To be continued)


Dr. Pius Parsch

The Church’s Year of Grace (1958)


Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us

Now during holy Church’s Harvest Season the liturgy manifests the most unlike moods, motives, and admonitions. Last Sunday’s Mass was lyrical in character; holy longing and deep desire for our heavenly fatherland filled our hearts; life on earth was but the Exile repeated. Today, however, action receives the principal emphasis; warfare against the foes of salvation, patience in daily life, loving forgiveness are the demands laid upon us. Out of last Sunday’s homesickness for heaven there has developed a sense of fear and anxiety concerning our state of soul on the day of judgment. Again this Sunday we see Christ in His Second Advent, but today He comes as King, merciful and generous in His forgiveness, yet strict and impartial in His judgments. If we would want to formulate a theme for today’s Mass, it would be: Christian life in the light of the Second Advent.

1. Text Analysis. The formulary is a mosaic of rich and glowing colors if viewed in its totality; how the various units harmonize is less clear. The two Readings may be related to the theme of the parousia, and in fact are so understood by the liturgy. From another point of view both Lessons place emphasis on life and action, conflict and loving forgiveness. Neither do the chants possess the unifying theme or scheme which we so often find, viz., from a cry for succour in the Introit to a thanksgiving prayer for redemption in the Postcommunion. The tone, to be sure, is serious rather than joyous. The Orations are not of one mold. Whether the three pictures, that of the armored soldier, the generous and just king, and patient Job have been grouped together intentionally can neither be proven nor disproven. References to God as King (Intr., Grad., Gosp.) and to human activity (Epist., Allel., Gosp., Off.) are found throughout the Mass.

With true Christian courage today’s Mass confronts life and meets death face to face. As a result we are given instructions on how to live and directions on how to prepare for a holy death. No, we are not to flee life or escape its harsh realities; rather to utilize life’s every potentiality, for death will make its appearance soon enough. Such teaching is really no new revelation to the children of God, e.g., that life is a violent struggle, that we must be fully equipped at the divine arsenal, that we must practice loving forgiveness, that patience and resignation to God’s holy will is the supreme sacrifice to be made.

The points regarding death stressed in the present formulary are the following. Perfect resignation to God is the best preparation for death (Intr.); God is the Lord of life, and the thread of life is snapped only according to His good designs. The Epistle takes cognizance of the evil day (death) and would have us ready. The opening lines of Psalm 89, used at the Gradual, strike the awesome contrast between the eternal God and mortal man. With the Alleluia we joyously make our exodus from the Egypt of earthly life to the promised land of heaven. The Gospel summons us to the Last Judgment when God exacts a strict accounting; we look about for an able defendant and can find such in our acts of mercy and pardon while on earth. Patient Job directs our eyes toward death a last time, Job, whom Satan tested and whom God proved faithful. In the face of death the “food of immortality” becomes doubly precious. Had you suspected that a Mass formulary could serve so excellently as a meditation on death?

2. Holy Mass (In voluntate). An air of unusual seriousness envelops the Mass. Surrounded by manifold enemies, facing the harvest time of imminent judgment, the soul approaches the sanctuary. In the apse of the church it sees enthroned the all-wise Judge, Christ the King of the world; all creation is assembled before Him. He is the Creator of all, has full title to obedience and fidelity. In this setting we raise our voices in the well-known psalm, “Blessed are the undefiled in the way” (118). The Collect implores God’s help: “Protect Your household, Lord; may it be freed from all adversities and through good works devoted to Your Name.” Already allusion is made to the two ideas prominent in the Readings, conflict and acts of brotherly love.

The Epistle takes us to the final day of the Church on earth, “the evil day,” the day of death and of the Second Coming. The Church shows us the foe, the devil, and equips us with a complete set of armor, i.e., sash (truth), breastplate (justice), shoes (preparedness), shield (faith), helmet (salvation), sword (the word of God). She shows us Christian life as a battle, especially with reference to the “evil day.” The Gradual re-echoes the Epistle, for the eternal God is our refuge in battle. The Alleluia verse is parousia-centered; at home in the promised land of heaven, far distant from the servitude of earthly life, resounds an eternal alleluia.

According to the Gospel (Matt. 18:24-35), the Second Advent of Christ is the great day when all accounts must be balanced. God is kingly in forgiving; He is prepared to pardon sin here on earth, yet under the one condition that we also show love and merciful forgiveness. Loving-forgiveness on our part is the only title to a merciful judgment; on the other hand, severe punishment awaits him who lacks these traits. Those generous words of pardon which Jesus, my King, once uttered when dying upon the Cross are being repeated today in the holy sacraments. He forgives me my colossal debt—my return gift must be love of neighbor.

An exceptional Offertory tells the story of Job’s patience as an illustration of the Epistle. Job the patient, a type of the Church (and of me as an individual Christian), epitomizes the battle of life; the child of God is a stepchild upon earth “whom Satan seeks that he may tempt.” No good fortunes are in store for earth’s aliens; suffering, one of God’s great graces, keeps us strangers to the world. May this life so full of bitterness be our offering at the holy Sacrifice today. The Secret gives expression to the two aims of sacrifice, propitiation and sanctification. The formulary comes to its gloomiest mood in the Communion chant; seemingly we ask God to hasten judgment upon our persecutors; it is not easy to see why such a text was chosen here. The closing Prayer embodies a petition common after holy Communion; in part it has found its way into the Ordinary of the Mass.

3. Divine Office. Again the two greater antiphons repeat salient ideas from the parable: “The lord said to his servant: Pay your debt. But his fellow-servant fell down and pleaded: Give me an extension of time, and I will make full payment to you.” What a tremendous debt we owe God! “You wicked servant, I canceled your complete debt because you pleaded with me; should you not have shown leniency to your partner, even as I showed pity to you? Alleluia.” Our “gift in exchange” is love of neighbor. In his usual sober style St. Jerome (d. 420) comments upon the parable:

“The Syrians and especially the inhabitants of Palestine are accustomed to clothe their speech with parables in order that what cannot be remembered by one hearing will be more easily retained by means of pictures and concrete representations. Accordingly our Lord gave His commandment to Peter in the story of a king and of a servant who, owing his sovereign ten thousand talents, pleaded for cancelation of the debt; the first among the apostles should thereby learn to forgive his fellow servants their lesser indebtedness. For if that king and lord so easily canceled a debt of ten thousand talents for a servant, should not they who are debtors themselves much more readily remit the lesser grievances of their fellow debtors?

“To clarify this, here is an example. If one of us committed adultery, homicide, or sacrilege—which would be a greater debt than ten thousand talents—it would be forgiven if he implored pardon, provided that he also forgave the lesser faults of his associates. But if we should show ourselves irreconcilable over an insult or continued to live in a spirit of discord because of some bitter word, would we not in all justice deserve to be cast into prison? And according to the precedent set by our action, would it not be just that our crime should not be pardoned? ‘So also My heavenly Father will do to you if you do not each forgive your brothers from your hearts.’

“What a fearsome sentence I God’s judgment is bent and shaped according to human dispositions! If we do not forgive our neighbors their petty offenses, neither will our great offenses be forgiven by God. And because persons say: I have nothing against him; he has God as judge; it does not concern me what he does; I simply will ignore him – the Lord put point to His words by declaring the emptiness of all feigned forgiveness: ‘If you do not each forgive your brothers from your hearts.’ ”

4. Three Meditations upon the Sunday. A. The King, the Soldier, and Job. One could illustrate today’s holy Mass by a three-paneled picture or triptych; in its center stands the divine Judge at His Second Advent (Gospel), on the one side the Christian soldier armed for the evil day (Epistle), and on the other patient Job (Offertory). Christian life is analyzed in the light of the Second Coming with special reference to (1) forgiveness of one’s neighbor; (2) conflict in temptation; (3) patience in suffering.

1) Before us in the middle panel we see the eternal Judge. An impressive parable gives the details. Our Judge is all-merciful, though at the same time all-just. At a word He pardons the immense debt of our sins, while we are reluctant to pardon the small offenses of our fellow men! Upon hearing the parable you become indignant and consider it proper that the unmerciful servant be duly punished. Yet that servant is none other than you! The moral: I must show loving forgiveness if I wish to be treated leniently when I am judged. Christ has anchored this lesson in the Lord’s Prayer, “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” (Every Mass is a fulfillment of this parable; in the holy Sacrifice God pardons our colossal debt of sin, while…

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