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A Primer on Canon 915

2/5/2004 - 11:30 AM PST

(Page 2 of 4)

Director of Office of Justice and Peace told this writer:

"We have the so-called 'Blue Book’, which lists politicians in the State of Wisconsin but the book doesn't list religious denomination.  We have no exact count how many Catholic politicians there are in the diocese.  In the case of the politicians with whom His Excellency corresponded, he had letters from the lay faithful, asking him to address such-and-such politician, who was Catholic and pro-abortion.  The Bishop was responding to scandal among the faithful." 

This confirms just how imperative it is for the laity to write letters and to send ‘denunciation packages’ to their Bishops in protest to these scandalous so-called Catholic pro-abortion legislators.

To help you do this, Chuck Wilson, Executive director of St. Joseph Foundation, San Antonio, TX , an independent apostolate comprised of canonical lawyers and advisors, have prepared a ‘generic denunciation package.’  It is available free of charge, with no obligation on your part, to anyone who wishes to denounce a politician to his bishop, who has the power to do something. 

It would be up to the individual person (cosigners are also encouraged) to collect the evidence, but the simple package makes that preparation easier.  Contact Chuck Wilson to email you your ‘generic denunciation package’ at:  CWilson@St-Joseph-Foundation.org

Most everyone in La Crosse is waiting to see how the new Bishop, still unnamed, will uphold the notification.  I spoke to La Crosse's Chancellor, Mr. Benedict T. Nguyen about this. 

"The new Bishop will understand the notification was given in response to the specific scandalous situations that existed in the diocese.  If a new Bishop coming in says that these conditions have not been met, he would cause great confusion," said Nguyen.

Archbishop Burke further clarified, "If there was a contradiction in this 'notification' with the next Bishop of La Crosse, the people certainly could go to Rome for clarification."

The Code of Canon Law is not 'Puritanism.'  The canonical laws are indeed the Church’s Sacred Discipline and are binding on Catholics who reject these laws and know they are rejecting the Church.

All diocesan priests and deacons are ecclesiastically bound to obey the canonical notification (c.915).  Canon 915 places the responsibility on the minister - 'ne admittantur' - who, in some canonists' opinion, could be punished according to canon 1389 §2, should he unlawfully administer the sacrament with the consequent danger of scandal for the rest of the faithful.  In addition, canon 1339 prescribes the possibility of punishing any person who causes grave scandal by any violation of a divine or ecclesiastical law.

The Code of Canon Law (CIC), or "Codex Iuris Canonici" has always been in effect.  It was codified in l917 and contained 2,414 canons.  It was revised in l983 by Pope John Paul II and contains 1,752 canons.

Canon 915 is promulgated within CIC, Book IV, "The Sanctifying Office of the Church," within Title III, "The Blessed Eucharist," within Chapter I, "The Celebration of the Eucharist," within Article 2, "Participation in the Blessed Eucharist."  Neither this canon 915 nor Bishop Burke's 'notification' applies to the reception of the other Sacraments.

Cases considered in this canon 915 also include: 1] any interdict or excommunication ferendæ sententiæ (one inflicted by the superior); 2] the same penalties latæ sententiæ (inflicted by the perpetrator on himself...by his very act); 3] grave manifest sin, obstinately maintained, which could be the case of the estimated 500 Catholic pro-abortion politicians in the U.S.

Divorced and remarried Catholics also fall under this canon 915.  As some canonists point out, citing Pope John Paul II, regarding canon 915:  "In the case of the above 3], attention must be paid to the clear discipline of the church in cases of Catholics who: a) prefer to contract a merely civil marriage and who reject or at least defer the religious marriage; b) divorced persons who have remarried.  In the first case, the pastors of the Church will, regrettably, not be able to admit them to the sacraments; and in the second case, the Church reaffirms its practice of not admitting them to Eucharistic communion from the fact that their state and condition of life objectively contradict that union of love between Christ and the Church, which is signified and effected by the Eucharist" (JPII, Ap.Exhort. FC nos. 82, 84; AAS nos. 74, l83, l85; TPS n. 27 [1982] § 71, 73; PCLT: HCDCRC).

The revised l997 CCC also addressed divorced and remarried Catholics, saying they may receive the Eucharist if, 'they have repented for ...

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