See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains. - James 5:7

Friday, March 23, 2012

"Scriptor" responds to the Dr. Peters-Fr. Guarnizo ... correction?

Indeed, a broader perspective.

New Catholic at Rorate Caeli once again offers a great service to the discussion on the Washington Eucharistic debate by printing a letter from another canonist, Scriptor*.  Read the entire post here.  I appreciated the following very much, as it applies to the 'moral intuitions' of the ordinary Catholic layman, not infrequently dismissed as irrelevant by the 'professionals'.  I reprint that portion here:

A Broader Perspective
Peters can also, no doubt unintentionally, sometimes write as if canonists are the only people who should have anything to say on this issue. Are there not other specialists whose respective expertise would be helpful? What might a Scripture scholar, for example, have to say about this issue? We often quote I Cor 11:27-29 when talking about the divine obligation undergirding canon 916. But the Church has also traditionally cited Mt 7:6, “Give not what is holy to the dogs”, when talking about the divine obligation undergirding c. 915 (cf. Didache 9). Is Mt 7:6 Eucharistic? Does it have a sacrificial subtext to it? (cf. Ex 29:37; Lev 2:3) Who are the dogs? (cf. Rev 22:15; Deut 23:18) Maybe the canonists can learn from the Scripture scholars? 
Also what might a moral theologian have to say about the little known fact that the good name of the occult sinner is actually not a proportionate reason for the minister of communion to materially participate in the sinner’s sacrilegious communion but that the minister is only morally justified in materially participating in such a sacrilege in light of the possible negative effects a refusal might have on the community? How might the perspective of the common good adjust our antecedent considerations that we bring to bear on reading and applying the Church’s law in the case of c. 915? Also, if the sinner who presents himself for communion has the right to his good name, what happens when the sinner in question thinks his sin should be made public? Is it even meaningful to talk about protecting the good name of the active and open homosexual? What reputation is there left for the Church to protect at this point and how might this affect our application of c. 915? These are all questions moralists could fruitfully explore and canonists benefit from. 
What about the non-specialist? Has he nothing to contribute to this discussion? Many good Catholics just defer to the opinion of the experts and that is often reasonable, but there are also a lot of other good Catholics who think Fr. Guarnizo acted rightly. Are the moral intuitions of these faithful meaningless? Might it not be reasonable to see if we can’t find a way of reading the Church’s law that converges with the sensus fidelium? While our moral intuitions can often be wrong and we absolutely need the guidance of the experts, it can in fact happen that the common sense of the man in the pew discerns the issue at hand more accurately than the learned scholar. In any event, it is only by appealing to this broader array of perspectives and listening to all voices that the canonist can avoid mistakes.  - Rorate Caeli

*Scriptor is a pseudonymn, the original letter can be found on New Theological Movement.  Dr. Peters responded there, saying:
Hi. You'll understand that I can't reply to every post about this topic, and anonymous posts get less attention from me than others. (Why on earth would an obviously intelligent writer going after a named individual post anonymously on this? Anyway.) I will say that my view has NEVER been that prior warning is required in all cases for c. 915. I don't appreciate being linked with that view. - Dr. Peters


  1. You should include a new tag, Terry: Pray for canon lawyers

  2. I agree with LarryD, that should have been the new tag for that.

    Puerto Azul

  3. I know very little accurate information on this matter and even less about Canon Law and a Bishop's prerogative. The only difference between myself and many other bloggers (present company and those referred to in this post not intentionally maligned) is that acknowledgement of my ignorance keeps me from bothering to posting on my blog about many issues.


Please comment with charity and avoid ad hominem attacks. I exercise the right to delete comments I find inappropriate. If you use your real name there is a better chance your comment will stay put.