Friday, September 28, 2012

Dr. Peters on Archbishop Myers Letter on Marriage

I think he likes it.

Dr. Peters offers a 'canonical gloss' on the letter - especially regarding the section dealing with the  statement that those who dissent from Church teaching should refrain from receiving Holy Communion.  Dr. Peters:
If anyone wants canonical trappings to be appended to these lines, they would be easy enough to supply: Catholics are required in all things to maintain communion with the Church (c. 209); denial or obstinate doubt regarding teachings requiring the assent of faith is heresy (cc. 750-751); rejection of doctrines embraced by Canon 750-752 is an ecclesiastical crime (cc. 1364, 1371); and so on. But Myers did not recite these kinds of technical considerations in a letter aimed more at conversion than at compliance.

Instead Myers has issued, in effect, a pastoral admonishment to observe Canon 916 of the Code of Canon Law. Canon 916 directs would-be recipients of holy Communion who are not in interior communion with the Church to refrain from receiving holy Communion. Indeed, not only is Myers not invoking penal canon law here, he is not even invoking Canon 915, a sacramental disciplinary norm that—among other differences between it and Canon 916—applies to ministers, not recipients.  
Basically, Myers is reminding Catholics that responsibility for worthy participation in the holy Communion begins with individual Catholics. Hopefully, people will read Myers’ letter with the same degree of care with which he wrote it and will recognize the spiritual seriousness of dissenting from Church teaching on the nature of marriage, leading them in turn to avoid actions that would make them ineligible for holy Communion.  - In the Light of the Law

I think that is very helpful.  I'm also deeply impressed with the Archbishop's pastoral letter, it seems to me he covers every aspect of the issues surrounding marriage in our time.  I will be re-reading the letter more closely and prayerfully.  The text of the letter can be found here.  I'll refer to it more often in future posts.

1 comment:

  1. Yes, I've no doubt that this letter will get lots of air time.


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