More news from Tony Palmer’s funeral

Steve Long, a Catch the Fire pastor, attended Bishop Tony Palmer’s funeral in Bath earlier this month and has this report on his Facebook page:

Wonderful celebration of Tony Palmer’s life yesterday in Bath, UK. Bruno Ierullo and I were invited to sit with the bishops and arch-bishops. Most of them knew us or had been to the revival meetings. Fr. David, the priest who led the meeting is a wonderful Holy Spirit pastor who has also visited our Toronto church.

The Bath Vineyard led a glorious time of worship, Tony’s son and daughter each gave a speech as did his sister. The highlite for me was Tony’s wife Emi reading a message from Pope Francis.

Couple interesting things. Fr. David told the crowd that Pope Francis has been calling Emi every day to pray with her. Also the Pope gave permission for Fr David to serve other faith leaders communion, however the local bishop refused. So he blessed us instead!

That is very kind and attentive of the Pope to call the widowed Emiliana Palmer every day to pray with her.  However, did he say all faith leaders could receive communion?

Okay, my canon law inclined readers, can the Pope give a dispensation to non-Catholics to receive communion without their being Catholics?    

 

Emi will be releasing the Pope’s message at a later time. Heading home now!

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22 Responses to More news from Tony Palmer’s funeral

  1. EPMS says:

    Local bishops can allow non-Catholics to receive communion in Catholic churches under certain circumstances; this has been discussed before on this blog, I believe.

    • Rev22:17 says:

      EPMS,

      You wrote: Local bishops can allow non-Catholics to receive communion in Catholic churches under certain circumstances; this has been discussed before on this blog, I believe.

      Yes, and the same is true of sacramental reconciliation and the sacrament of the sick.

      The conditions, however, are very specific.

      >> 1. The individual must not have access to ministers of his or her own communion for physical or moral reasons. (In this situation, it would be utterly unconscionable to deny a sacrament to an individual who would derive spiritual benefit therefrom.)

      >> 2. The individual must understand the respective sacrament in a manner that’s consistent with Catholic theology. (This is presumed if the person requesting a sacrament is member of any of the churches of the Orthodox Communion, the Polish National Catholic Church (PNCC), or most if not all of the ancient oriental churches.)

      >> 3. There must be no danger of scandal. (Infuriating hard-core Traditionalists does not constitute “scandal” in this context.)

      And as you correctly point out, this decision is normally reserved to the diocesan bishop or other ordinary, though the bishop or other ordinary can delegate it even to all clergy, and even to laity delegated as extraordinary ministers of holy communion, if he so chooses.

      Note that the Codex Juris Canonici (Code of Canon Law) also permits members of the Catholic Church who do not have access to Catholic ministers to request the same sacraments from a minister of any church that possess valid apostolic succession, and thus valid sacraments. This faculty does include the clergy of the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) as well as the clergy of the churches under the second requirement above.

      Norm.

  2. Tim S. says:

    Sure, why not? It’s not like tradition means anything anymore. If 2,000-year old Christian communities can be displaced from their native land, why can’t protestants receive the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ?

  3. EPMS says:

    Actually the circumstances under which permission can be granted are spelled out; it is not a whimsical gesture. And comparing this to the martyrdom currently going on in the Middle East is bizarre.

  4. Rev22:17 says:

    Deborah,

    From your quotation: Also the Pope gave permission for Fr David to serve other faith leaders communion, however the local bishop refused. So he blessed us instead!

    I believe the blessing to be the better solution in this situation.

    You asked: However, did he say all faith leaders could receive communion?

    I don’t know. I also don’t know what actually was said, or what communication or miscommunication transpired before the funeral.

    You asked: Okay, my canon law inclined readers, can the Pope give a dispensation to non-Catholics to receive communion without their being Catholics?

    Yes. The pope, as keeper of the “keys to the Kingdom” that Jesus entrusted to Peter, has absolute authority to abrogate, derogate from, dispense, or otherwise modify ecclesial law at any time. The only constraint is that such modifications cannot deviate or dispense from divine law.

    Norm.

    • Foolishness says:

      So, the Pope could just dispense with all the ecclesial laws around Holy Communion and allow anyone to receive, and all this stuff about divorced and remarried Catholics etc. would just vanish?

      • William Tighe says:

        I suppose so, on Norm’s premises, which constitute a hyper-papalism so extreme as to make the alleged statement of Pius IX, “La tradizione son’io,” the only truly fundamental Catholic doctrine.

      • Rev22:17 says:

        Deborah,

        You said: So, the Pope could just dispense with all the ecclesial laws around Holy Communion and allow anyone to receive, and all this stuff about divorced and remarried Catholics etc. would just vanish?

        That’s awfully simplistic.

        >> The first relevant question is the dividing line between ecclesial law and divine law. The indissolubility of a valid marriage, for example, is a matter of divine law, and thus is not open to negotiation or change.

        >> The second relevant question is the pope’s duty as a pastor. The scriptures are quite clear that those who partake of holy communion unworthily heap divine judgement upon themselves. A pastor cannot allow his flock to inflict such self-injury.

        So while it’s theoretically possible for the pope to grant such an indult in a particular case, the circumstances under which any pope would do so would have to reach a very high bar.

        I have said before, and now say again, that I believe the discussions to which the pope has opened the door to discussion pertain to how best to deal with the situation that currently exists in the churches of the Orthodox Communion, with an eye toward possible reconciliation. I do not foresee a major change in practice within the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church.

        Norm.

  5. EPMS says:

    I do not wish to pre-empt Norm’s elaboration, which will be much more informed from the perspective of canon law. I just want to reiterate that if a diocesan bishop can lawfully give permission for a non-Catholic to receive communion we can scarcely think that the Pope cannot.

  6. William Tighe says:

    I have been trying without success to find a quotation from Benedict XVI in which he stated (early on in his pontificate, IIRC) that the primary function of the pope, or of the papacy, was to serve as “guardian of the Tradition of the Church.” Can anyone assist me in locating it? It seems to be accurate, historically speaking. Cf. Fr. Hunwicke’s excellent post:

    http://liturgicalnotes.blogspot.com/2014/05/remora-what-exactly-is-pope.html

    • Rev22:17 says:

      Professor Tighe,

      You wrote: I have been trying without success to find a quotation from Benedict XVI in which he stated (early on in his pontificate, IIRC) that the primary function of the pope, or of the papacy, was to serve as “guardian of the Tradition of the Church.” Can anyone assist me in locating it?

      I don’t know in what speech or document the pope emeritus might have made such a statement, but I don’t disagree with it. In fact, this is the function of the entire magisterium and the primary mission of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

      That said, the primary error of Traditionalism is that of confusing practice of the generation before us, properly called “custom” and given due place in Canons 23-28 of the Codex Juris Canonici (Code of Canon Law) with the source of revelation called “tradition” as explained in great detail in the dogmatic constitution Dei verbum. Theological doctrine cannot change, though it can further develop, but practices established by ecclesiastical law or by custom can, and must, adapt to circumstances of place and time, including the evolution of social culture, if they are to be effective from a pastoral perspective, while remaining rooted in, and thus within the bounds established by, theological doctrine. Here, the Second Vatican Council’s twin pillars of “ressourcement” (going back to the source) and “agiournamento” (bringing up to date) as the foundation of its reforms are instructive.

      Norm.

      • William Tighe says:

        This is not the quotation for which I am looking, but it runs along similar lines:

        “In the West there was, of course, another factor. With his Petrine authority, the pope more and more clearly took over responsibility for liturgical legislation, thus providing a juridical authority for the continuing formation of the liturgy. The more vigorously the primacy was displayed, the more the question came up about the extent and limits of this authority, which, of course, as such had never been considered. After the Second Vatican Council, the impression arose that the pope really could do anything in liturgical matters, especially if he were acting on the mandate of an ecumenical council. Eventually, the idea of the givenness of the liturgy, the fact that one cannot do with it what one will, faded from the public consciousness of the West. In fact, the first Vatican Council had in no way defined the pope as an absolute monarch. On the contrary, it presented him as the guarantor of obedience to the revealed Word. The pope’s authority is bound to the Tradition of faith, and that also applies to the liturgy. It is not “manufactured” by the authorities. Even the pope can only be a humble servant of its lawful development and abiding integrity and identity.”

        *The Spirit of the Liturgy,* pp. 165-166.

      • Rev22:17 says:

        Professor Tighe,

        From your quotation: The pope’s authority is bound to the Tradition of faith, and that also applies to the liturgy. It is not “manufactured” by the authorities. Even the pope can only be a humble servant of its lawful development and abiding integrity and identity.

        Yes, of course.

        But the stubborn fact remains that the magisterium of the church, of which the pope is the visible head, has always been and always will be the authentic arbiter of what constitutes tradition verses custom and thus what is and what is not amenable to change. Catholic understanding of the our Lord’s assurance that Satan will not prevail against the Church entails the dogma that the Holy Spirit is in control of the decisions by the magisterium and thus protects the magisterium from doctrinal error; that is, error in safeguarding the true body of tradition. This leaves no room to claim that the magisterium has instituted reforms that are contrary to tradition and still remain within the corpus of the Catholic Church.

        Here, I’m reminded of a quotation, the source of which I don’t recall: “Sure, we can conduct a fair election — but if I get to count the ballots, what are you going to do about it?” In the Catholic Church, it’s the pope, and he alone, who ultimately gets to count the ballots of the magisterium. We then have the option to embrace a decision when the pope promulgates it or to sever communion, at least de facto if not de jure. There is no “in between.”

        Norm.

  7. EPMS says:

    Is every tradition part of Tradition with a capital T? If so, the Pope becomes some kind of museum curator. If not, he has to make distinctions between the essential and the inessential, which means that his definition of Tradition and yours or mine might differ.

    • Rev22:17 says:

      EPMS,

      You asked: Is every tradition part of Tradition with a capital T?

      The distinction that you are trying to draw here appears, more precisely, to be the distinction between custom (prevailing practice) and tradition (source of revelation complementary to scripture). The prevailing practice of the generation before us is NOT properly called “tradition” in the theological sense of that term.

      It is true that tradition live in, and gets handed from generation to generation through, various customs. However, that does not exclude the possibility that the same tradition can live in, and be handed on through, different customs in different places, times, and cultures. Note that the Byzantine Rite, the Chaldean Rite, the Armenian Rite, the Coptic Rite, the Mozarabic Rite, and the Ambrosian rite, by way of examples, embody and hand on the same corpus of tradition as the Roman Rite in spite of customs that differ considerably from those of the Roman Rite and from those of one another.

      Norm.

  8. Tim S. says:

    Letting anyone receive communion is the reason Satanists are getting ahold of consecrated wafers to be desecrated in their black masses.

    This is just poor stewardship.

  9. richardchonak says:

    In 1998 the bishops conference of England and Wales, together with the conferences for Scotland and Ireland, issued a document on the Eucharist which prescribes norms about administering the Eucharist to non-Catholic Christians.
    http://www.iec2012.ie/downloads/One_Bread_One_Body.pdf
    (pages 27-29)

    The norms allow for a non-Catholic spouse at the celebration of a mixed marriage to receive the Eucharist. Also, similar permission may be granted at similar unique occasions of family significance, such as a First Communion of a child, or at a death.

    However, the document says that “it is not envisaged” that this permission granted to a non-Catholic spouse be extended to relatives and other guests not in communion with the Church.

    The Church’s discipline on this matter emphasizes that such permissions are granted on an individual basis.

    • William Tighe says:

      This is just stupid, of course; how do we know that the “non-Catholic spouse” espouses anything like a Catholic belief about the Eucharist?

      • Fr Gerard says:

        Well, in preparing the couple for marriage, one has the opportunity to ascertain the views of the non-Catholic.
        In my 23 years as a priest, this has happened on only one occasion, which was one month ago. The lady is a member of the C of E, has attended the Catholic Church with her fiancė for a long time, teaches in a Catholic school and has a long- stated hope to join the Catholic Church that has been frustrated by the holy but scattered-brained priest she had approached. Now she is resident in my parish, she will have the opportunity to follow her path of Faith.
        Not that hard professor.

    • Rev22:17 says:

      richardchonak,

      You wrote: The norms allow for a non-Catholic spouse at the celebration of a mixed marriage to receive the Eucharist. Also, similar permission may be granted at similar unique occasions of family significance, such as a First Communion of a child, or at a death.

      I have not seen this condition cited as potential “grave spiritual need” that would justify admission of a non-Catholic communion to the sacraments of communion, reconciliation, and/or anointing of the sick anywhere else, but it certainly is within the competence of the episcopal conferences of England and Wales, Scotland, and Ireland to promulgate this norm within their own territory.

      That said, your summary seems to imply a carte blanche for any Protestant Christian who is marrying a member of the Catholic Church to receive communion at the wedding or who is present at a “similar unique occasion” in the life of a family member, but the document itself states otherwise quite explicitly. The document clearly reinforces the usual requirements for admission of a non-Catholic Christian to sacramental communion in the Catholic Church (1) that the individual have an understanding of the sacrament that’s consistent with Catholic theology thereof, (2) that the individual ask for the sacrament on his or her own, (3) be properly disposed still apply, and (4) that the individual that there be no danger of grave scandal still apply. Also, the document reinforces the norm that each such case requires explicit permission reserved to the diocesan bishop or another individual to whom the bishop has delegated authority to grant that permission.

      Norm.

  10. EPMS says:

    Bishops can also give permission for those who cannot receIve in a church of their own denomination to receive in a Catholic church, for example Anglicans living in most places in Europe. ACCC members who have moved to places without an ACCC parish have also successfully petitioned for this permission.

    • Rev22:17 says:

      EPMS,

      You wrote: Bishops can also give permission for those who cannot receIve in a church of their own denomination to receive in a Catholic church, for example Anglicans living in most places in Europe. ACCC members who have moved to places without an ACCC parish have also successfully petitioned for this permission.

      It’s true that bishops can grant this permission, but the requirements for doing so are quite explicit:

      >> (1) The person must freely ask for admission to the sacrament out of serious spiritual need,

      >> (2) There must be a situation in which access to a minister of the person’s own denomination is physically or morally impossible,

      >> (3) The person must understand the sacrament in a manner that is consistent with the Catholic theology thereof, and

      >> (4) There must be no danger of scandal.

      The third condition is presumed if the person belongs to a denomination that has valid orders and sacraments, including the churches of the Orthodox Communion, the ancient oriental churches, and the churches of the Union of Scranton (the Polish National Catholic Church and the Nordic Catholic Church). The examples that you cite — Anglicans living in most places in Europe and members of the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada (ACCC) who move to a location where the ACCC does not have a presence — typically would meet these requirements.

      Norm.

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