Page 6, 13th September 1957

13th September 1957
Page 6
Page 6, 13th September 1957 — HERE'S THE ANSWER

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Some Anglican services are largely translations from the Divine Office. Is it a mortal sin to attend such services as an "expression of charity," recognising that some elements of Catholicism have survived in the heretical and schismatic communions ?

OHARITY" is a difficult word to interpret in the question as it is asked. A passive or merely material presence at non-Catholic services is tolerated on account of the requirements of civil duty, or honour. or other good reason; non-Catholic weddings and funerals are examples of this.

The general teaching is that the approval of the Bishop is to be obtained in case of uncertainty; but some Bishops, as they have a perfect right to do in their own dioceses. require that their own special permission be obtained in each case. The local parish priest, who will know the mind of the Bishop of the diocese, may always be consulted.

Charity, that is, the positive expression of goodwill towards others, is not in itself a sufficiently grave reason for passive or material presence at heretical or schismatical services. The question of how much, or how little, of the original Christian and Catholic service is retained, in the original liturgical language or in a translation, does not affect the point either way.

"A Catholic who felt impelled by charity to attend such services" would have a badly formed conscience. unless the occasions fell within the defined cases above. If, after the matter had been referred to the proper authority, in the first instance the parish priest, and then to higher authority, and the Catholic remained obdurate and rebellious in his self-willed exercise of "charity" he might well be "refused the sacraments." But this, surely, is to carry the speculation beyond any useful point.

Surely the proper Feast of the Blessed Sacrament is Holy Thursday, when Our Lord actually instituted the Sacrament of His Body and Blood and the Sacrifice of the New Law. CERTAINLY Holy Thursday is the anniversary of the institution of the Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Our Lord, and is specially commem orated as such. Nevertheless other liturgical observances, particularly the Stripping of the Altars and the reservation of the Blessed Sacrament on a side altar have tended to obscure this aspect of the Thuesday in Holy Week.

The special Feast of Corpus Christi. on the Thursday following Trinity Sunday. was established by Pope Urban IV in the year 1264. The Office of the Feast is specially notable for its being composed by St. Thomas Aquinas. The Sequence of the Mass. ' Lauda Sion." is one of the greatest Latin hymns ever composed. yet it contains the most clear exposition of the actual doctrine of the Blessed Sacrament to be found anywhere in poetry or prose. Incidentally the English version in the Latin-English Missal edited by Father J. O'Connell and H. P. R. Finberg reaches greater heights in poetry than can normally be expected.

The Feast, which has been adopted by most Eastern Catholic Rites, is observed with a procession of the Blessed Sacrament which must take place on the Feast itself. or at the latest on the following Sunday. "Corpus Christi " is. a holiday of Obligation in Great Britain and Ireland.

It is objected that the effect of Genesis HI. 16 is to make woman the inferior to man,

and to give man domination over women. What answer for a world of equal rights,

equal pay etc. ?

TE first point to be made is that God in Genesis III. 16 is not regulating the relationship between man and woman, or in the horrid modern phrase " the sexes," but that between man and his wife, which is a very different matter: "and thou shalt be under thy husband's power and he shall have dominion over thee."

This teaching of revelation is consistent throughout the Old and New Testament. The family is obviously the first social unit, and by far the most important social Unit; it is vital that for the attain

ment of its natural and primar} ends it should be a stable unit.

It is for this reason that the Christian and Catholic philosopher argues that divorce is forbidden by the natural law, as well as by the law of the Church. For the same reason it is aigued that marriage is a natural hierarchical society, not a committee of equals; where hierarchical means that there is a natural descent of power and authority.

If this were not so, then in the event af a difference of opinion and wills as between man and wife the criterion of whose will should ultimately (all reasonable exchange of views and arguments assumed) prevail, would rest on some external or adventitious factor, such as who had the most money, did the most work, was most intelligent, learned, wise, experienced or merely brute force.

Neither of the " equals " would admit the right of a third person to pass judgement against him (or her); the clash would remain unresolved; and there would be another case for the divorce courts of " incompatibility of temperaments."

Happily, in successful marriages, agreement is easily reached through real love and mutual understanding. That is the ideal.

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