Catholic Tradition Newsletter 481: Confirmation, Twenty-second Sunday, Saint Ursula, Family

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Vol 11 Issue 42 ~ Editor: Rev. Fr. Courtney Edward Krier
October 20, 2018 ~ Saint John Cantius, opn!

1. What is the Sacrament of Confirmation
2. Twenty-second Sunday after Pentecost
3. Saint Ursula & Companions
4. Family and Marriage
5. Articles and notices

Dear Reader:

In understanding Creation, one must admire the wisdom of God Who saw fit to make all things admirably. The closest star to earth is the Sun.

In saying God made all things it is not necessarily understood that He fashioned it with material hands; rather, that He willed it and it is. So, from studying astronomy and astrophysics, we know that stars were formed by an amalgamation of matter and energy that coalesced to form stars, explode and form planets, asteroids and comets. But God made the stars in the true sense that He knew them and willed them and so one reads in Genesis:

And God made two great lights: a greater light to rule the day; and a lesser light to rule the night: and the stars. And he set them in the firmament of heaven to shine upon the earth. And to rule the day and the night, and to divide the light and the darkness. And God saw that it was good. (Gen. 1:16-18)

Nor does God neglect His creation, knowing all things and ordering all things to the end that He created them. Though God wills that we be happy, it is true we cannot find perfect happiness in this life because of the sin of Adam and Eve and because true happiness is possessing that which we desire and that which we desire is God for Whom we were made. These simple Catechetical truths are necessary for us to ponder especially when we are surrounded by promises to make us happy or we expect to be happy and find ourselves suffering. This earthly life is a test of our love for God with the condition of our human nature left to itself. We are on this earth to know, love and serve God so we can be with Him in the next. In serving Him we must observe all His Commandments and we must believe all His teachings, or we do not fully love Him nor completely believe in Him who said: Be ye hot or cold, for the lukewarm I will begin to vomit out of my mouth (cf. Apoc. 3:16). From the greatest Commandment to the least Commandment, God’s will is to be accomplished by us and though us, He Who keeps all things in existence for His greater honor and glory.

Is it selfish for God to create us for His own purpose? Well, we make things for our own use and even use things we did not make. Though we may want to feel independent of God, we are totally dependent on Him. Though we may not want to feel subject to God because we can seemingly act without Him, we are subject to Him and can act only because He wills it. If an architect draws the plans of a house however marvelous, the plans have no use unless the architect uses them to build the house. So we, unless we let God use us, are useless—though we may believe we are great of ourselves. The plans, unused, are thrown in the paper bin to be burned. The plans used, are placed in the archives forever. May we be used by God.

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

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WHAT IS THE SACRAMENT OF CONFIRMATION?

by Rev. Courtney Edward Krier

1917 Code of Canon Law Concerning Confirmation

TITLE 2

WHAT IS THE SACRAMENT OF CONFIRMATION?

by Rev. Courtney Edward Krier

1917 Code of Canon Law Concerning Confirmation

TITLE 2

On Confirmation

The practice of giving priests the faculties to confirm became general with the decree of the Sacred Congregation of the Sacraments of July 1, 1957:

Confirmation in Danger of Death: Annual Report No Longer Required (S. C. Sacr., Decree, 1 July, 1957) AAS 49-943.

This Decree of the S. C. of the Sacraments is as follows:

It was prescribed by the Decree “Spiritus Sancti munera,” which was entitled “De confirmatione administranda iis, qui ex gravi morbo in mortis periculo sunt constituti,” of 14 Sept., 1946, 1. 9, [4 AAS 38-349; CANON LAW DIGEST, 3, p. 303.] that local Ordinaries were to send a report every year to this Sacred Congregation on the number of persons confirmed and the manner in which the extraordinary ministers in their respective dioceses had proceeded in performing so important a function.

Now that ten years have passed since that Decree was issued, this S. C. has decided, facto verbo cum SS.mo, to relieve the Ordinaries of the obligation to send this report, from the end of the year 1957 and for the future, since it is sufficiently clear from the reports received during these ten years that the sacrament of Confirmation was properly administered with careful observance of the provisions of the Decree.

The local Ordinaries should, however, continue to take special care that in their respective dioceses the extraordinary ministers of this sacrament confer it adroitly and earnestly, so that Confirmation be not exposed to the danger of nullity nor to disrespect or irreverence.

In case any abuse occurs, let them, as far as may be necessary, have recourse to this Sacred Congregation in order that it may be suppressed without delay.

Given at Rome, from the office of this Sacred Congregation, 1 July, 1957.

(AAS 49-943; S. C. Sacr., 1 July, 1957.)

Finally, regarding Confirmation administered when one is in imminent danger of death, the Holy Office gave the necessary words and form of the Sacrament allowed in the administration to be limited to just the sacramental form.

The following reply of the Holy Office (Prot. N. 71/58) was sent on April 10, 1958, to the Most Reverend Bernard Joseph Flanagan, Bishop of Norwich, Connecticut:

Exc.me ac Rev.me Domine,

Huic Supremae S. Congregationi propositum fuit ab Excellentia Tua Rev.ma sequens DUBIUM:

“Utrum in casu verae necessitatis in Confirmatione administranda a simplici Sacerdote iis qui ex gravi morbo in mortis periculo constituti sunt, licite et valide adhiberi possit formula brevissima:

N. Signo te signo Cru + cis (quod dum dicit, imposita manu dextera super caput confirmandi, producit pollice signum crucis in fronte illius, deinde prosequitur) et confirmo te chrismate salutis. In Nomine Pa+ tris et Fi+ lii et Spiritus + Sancti. Amen.”

Ad praecedens Dubium Sanctum Officium respondit: Affirmative.

Quae dum Tecum communico, quo par est obsequio, me profiteor

Excellentiae Tuae Rev.mae

Addictissimum

G. Card. Pizzardo

(Private); Holy Office, 10 Apr., 1958. Thanks to the Most Reverend Bishop of Norwich and the Reverend Henry J. Dziadosz, J.C.D., who kindly sent us a copy of the original Rescript for publication in the CANON LAW DIGEST.

Canon 783

§ 1. A Bishop in his own diocese legitimately administers this sacrament even to outsiders, unless there is an express prohibition from their own Ordinary.

§ 2. In another diocese [a Bishop] requires the permission of the local Ordinary, at least reasonably presumed, unless it concerns his own subjects whom he will confirm privately without a crosier and miter.

Canon 784

A priest also, who has an apostolic indult for a local privilege, confirms even outsiders in his designated territory, unless they are expressly prohibited from this by their own Ordinary.

Canon 785

§ 1. A Bishop is bound by the obligation of conferring this sacrament on his subjects who rightly and reasonably petition it, especially at the time of his diocesan visit.

§ 2. A priest is bound by the same obligation, having an apostolic privilege, [to confirm] those on whose behalf the favor was granted.

§ 3. An Ordinary, impeded by legitimate cause or lacking the power of confirming, must, insofar as possible, see that this sacrament is administered to his subjects at least every five years.

§ 4. If [ the Ordinary] gravely neglects to administer the sacrament of confirmation either himself or through another, the prescription of Canon 274, n.4 is followed.

                                    (To be continued)

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Dr. Pius Parsch

The Church’s Year of Grace (1958)

TWENTY-SECOND SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST

Render to God the things that are God’s

Calmly, serenely the Church beholds the approaching “day of Christ” and entreats us to view our earthly life in the light of the parousia. The best preparation for that day of judgment (Epist.) is the perfect accomplishment of the duties of one’s state of life, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” On the day of Christ we must appear holy and without offense, heavily laden with the ripened fruit of a virtuous life. To this end the Mass of the Catechumens presents in fine progression a wide range of practical moral principles: fatherly solicitude toward inferiors (according to the example of St. Paul; Epistle); brotherly love toward equals (Gradual); obedience to the commandments, and a full oblation of one’s entire soul to God (Gospel).

1. Text Analysis. As on previous Sundays, the Mass structure lacks logical unity; nevertheless a spirit of preparation for the last days may very easily be sensed throughout. It would be difficult to harmonize the two Readings as to thought content, neither do the chants possess a unifying theme; from a spirit of deep seriousness they rise to a happier mood but the finale again is one of earnest petition. Thus the formulary is another mosaic which offers the faithful scope for thought and meditation; yet it is sufficiently clearly indicated that the principal stress is on preparation for the parousia.

I would like to cull out three Biblical texts that seem to link the whole formulary together. “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s. . . . The good work that He has begun God will continue to perfect until the day of Jesus Christ. . . . Behold, how good and how lovely it is when brothers live harmoniously together.” These quotations proffer very practical guidance on community life and the duties of one’s state; about them one senses the aurora of the parousia as they approach earthly problems sub specie aeternitatis.

Thus today’s liturgy accomplishes a double purpose: it readies us for death while capitalizing on life. “I die daily—I live daily.” With eyes directed toward the Last Judgment we pray: If You would keep our sins in mind, Lord, who would be saved? With a similar outlook Mother Church tells us: He who has begun the good work (of sanctification in baptism) in you will bring it to perfection in the day of Jesus Christ. And then, without changing her gaze, she warns: We must be pure and immaculate on the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of justice.

With eyes directed toward life here on earth the Church seeks to make our charity grow richer and richer in knowledge and spiritual sensitivity. With eyes directed toward life here on earth the Church desires that we live together in harmony as brothers. With direct reference toward life here on earth Christ gives us a basic moral principle: Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s. Thus Mother Church educates her children how to die and how to live. Recall the example of St. Martin “who neither feared death nor did he hesitate to live on and work for his brethren.”

2. Holy Mass (Si iniquitates). With souls sincerely contrite and penitent we enter the sanctuary in anticipation of the Last Judgment. Loaded down by sin, from the depths of our earthly exile we cry to the Lord for forgiveness (Intr.). (Let us begin praying Psalm 129 in its entirety; it expresses well the soul’s deepest emotions, particularly those of repentance and longing for the Second Advent.) Rising from trusting and devout hearts the Collect does not petition a definite or particular good but is like a golden paten upon which we place our needs for the day and for the ensuing week; on this occasion it is the faithful performance of the duties of our state of life and progress in holiness.

In the Epistle (the letter to the Philippians is St. Paul’s most personal and intimate) the great Apostle of souls speaks to the community nearest his heart; we easily sense his sympathy, love, and tenderness. His primary concern is that the good works of his spiritual children be perfected before the “day of Christ.” Even as they, we should resemble fruit-laden trees, abounding in acts of charity. Remember, it is the Church, a solicitous and tender Mother, who is speaking these words to us. In battle with the world and the powers of hell, the Christian finds true solace in the communion of saints. The Gradual sings of this blessed lot. Through the Sunday Sacrifice I see a parish united, a happy family, a religious community. The Alleluia verse is redolent with Christian hope, a virtue rare in our days.

The Gospel treats of the coin of tribute. Perhaps no other scene so well shows our Lord’s divine majesty before cunning adversaries. And what does Christ wish to tell us by those memorable words concerning the tribute, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s”? The same lesson as taught by the Epistle: Christian, fulfill your duties upon earth! Those duties are twofold, duties toward God and duties toward men. Such is the import of the two tables of the Law. Just as Christ’s commandment of love embraces love of God and love of neighbor, and just as it does not contradict but perfects the Mosaic Law, so also this declaration further clarifies man’s twofold duty. God conceals Himself behind your superior and sanctions his commands. In this manner the two Readings present one course of conduct; in face of the day of Christ be active, faithful to all obligations.

The Offertory, the prayer of Queen Esther in dire need, implores a “well-ordered speech” in the presence of the king. We may pray for fitting words in the presence of our King, Christ Jesus. Mother Church teaches us these words in the liturgy. Expressing the serious character of the Mass, the Secret pleads for forgiveness of sin and for protection against all evils. Likewise the Communion chant is a piercing cry of a soul in need; the holy Eucharist is a type of judgment, now Christ comes as Friend, then He will come as Judge. The Postcommunion witnesses to the truth that holy Mass is celebrated in memory of the “Lord. Thus do two thought-threads run through the Mass text; one is negative: “I will fear the day of judgment because of personal sin”; the other positive: “I will lead an upright Christian life in order to be numbered among the just.”

3. Divine Office. The greater antiphons place us in the midst of the Gospel scene: “Master, we know that You speak the truth and teach the way of God in all sincerity, alleluia” (Ben. Ant.). In the Gospel the pharisees had spoken these words hypocritically, but we use them sincerely in professing our faith in Jesus our Teacher. It is another instance of how the words of holy Scripture take on a different meaning in the liturgy. “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s” (Magn. Ant.). This memorable passage will serve us during the coming week as an ejaculatory prayer.

4. Meditation upon the Sunday. A. The Gospel. Let us broaden our Understanding of the Gospel. The incident occurred during the last days of our Savior’s earthly life. He was standing in the temple. The Jews pressed about Him on every side, asking ensnaring questions in order to obtain grounds for indicting Him; of these the most malicious and dangerous was that recorded in today’s Gospel. First they flatter Him: “Master, we know You speak and teach truth; we know, too, that You never regard the person of men or seek the friendship of men, even though they be ever so influential and wealthy. Tell us now, what do You think: May we Jews pay taxes to a Gentile emperor?”

We may ask, where in so simple a question does the malice lie? To answer this we must consider the political conditions of the Jewish people at the time. Centuries earlier the Israelites were under the direct rule of God. Yahweh was their King. Later on they chose a king who, nevertheless, held office only through God’s favor. At no time, however, were they happy when under the domination of a foreign king or emperor. They would consider such a situation an insult to God Himself. But now at the time of Christ, Caesar had extended Rome’s mighty sway over all Syria, including Judea; taxes and tribute were exacted from the Jews in spite of bitter resentment. Moreover, the political context became more complicated as it absorbed and distorted Messianic hopes. The Messiah whom the Jews were awaiting was a mighty king destined to shake off the yoke of foreign rule and make their own nation supreme. See the malice in the question?

The pharisees had wanted to say: You call Yourself the Messiah. How then can You justify it that we, God’s own free people, have to pay taxes to the Gentiles? The Romans too were on the alert; they knew that the Jews were bearing their yoke with gnashing teeth. Accordingly they crushed with blood every attempt at defiance. The question asked by the pharisees was a two-edged sword. If Jesus replied, “Certainly you must pay tribute,” He would have lost all standing with the people. And if He said, “Of course you need not pay; the Messiah will make you free,” it likewise would have been very pleasing to the pharisees, for they had awaited such an answer. Immediately they would have accused Him before Pilate, and Jesus would have been put to death for high treason. The whole affair was so subtly planned, so wrought with danger.

Let us admire Jesus in His divine composure. The flattery of His enemies makes no impression upon Him; He sees through all their intrigues and deceits. Then He utters words so weighty that their depths can never be sounded. Having no money in His sash, He asks to be shown a current Roman coin. Upon it was the image of Emperor Tiberius and a Latin inscription. Jesus says: “Look at the stamp; whose profile is it?” They replied: “Caesar’s.” With that they had answered their own question. They had accepted the coin from Caesar. The image and the inscription testified that Caesar was the true ruler in the locality. Whoever would take Caesar’s coins was also obliged to give Caesar tribute. So Christ concluded very pointedly: “Pay to Caesar the obligations you have toward Caesar.”

What did Jesus wish to imply further by these words? All men are to render to accepted authority what is theirs by right, that is, obedience to their decrees. Such authority may be vested in a dictator or in a president, his title makes little difference. It must not be forgotten, however, that God too has rights and those rights must be respected. Our Savior’s opponents withdrew in dismay upon hearing this answer so incomprehensible in its depths, so overpowering in its simplicity.

Much lies hidden in these few words of Christ. In the first place, Jesus says: Man is the child of two worlds, one is of earth, visible; the other is of heaven, invisible. He must adapt himself to both. As child of God and citizen of God’s kingdom his first duties are to his highest Lord. May one then conclude that Christians need not bother about worldly affairs, since they are exalted so highly? No! Just because you are a citizen of God’s kingdom, you also have duties to fulfill toward your earthly superiors. You are a member of a family, of a parish, of a body politic, and therefore God has laid upon you obligations toward parents and toward civil authority.

These obligations are not at variance with each other. The Christian must also be an upright citizen, an upright administrator, an upright employee in a factory or business. Obedience to human authority is not service toward mere men, it is true service toward God. The Christian says: You are substituting for God. God has given you power and authority; because of that and only because of that do I respect you; I honor in you the ruling power of God but only to that degree in which it has been given you. If you order anything against the divine will, you no longer are God’s delegate; then do I listen to God.

Our Savior included all this, even though it is not explicitly stated. You should be good citizens of the state and you must be good citizens of the kingdom of God. “Render to God the things that are God’s.” What are “the things of God”? All, all that you have and are; yes, everything is from God and for God. Retain nothing, therefore, for yourself. Body and soul, intellect and will, heart and mind belong to Him; dedicate all to His service. Again we are face to face with the primary commandment of God’s kingdom, “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven!”

B. The Epistle. The Lessons from Sunday Mass should be our guide for the entire week. The Epistle ordinarily instructs us in practical Christian living, while the Gospel confers sacramental grace. Today’s Epistle expresses perfectly the spirit of the Church’s Harvest Season; tw…