As a " Catholic Herald " reporter, I recently had to attend the celebration of Mass et the Greet church in London. During the ceremony I remained quietly seated In the visitors' gallery. Was this the right -thing to do. or should I have stood, knell, lite., with the rest of the congregation?
Active participation in non-Catholic services is forbidden to all Catholics. Passive
participation (i.e., mere presence at these
services) may be tolerated on three conditions: that there is serious reason for being present, that there is no danger of scandal or perversion, and that such attendance at 'non-Catholic services has not been explicitly forbidden by the ecclesiastical authorities. In your ease, these conditions seem to have been verified. The question then arises whether standing, kneeling, etc., with the congregation does or does not constitute active participation in the service. • There it a sound opinion, which bus the support of such an authority as Fr. A. Vermeersoh, Si., that actions such as courtesy requires, such as taking off one's hat, standing or kneeling with the congregation, and so on, may be performed so long as there is no danger of giving scandal, because they do not in themselves imply active participation in the ceremony, and will readily be understood as mere signs of ordinary politeness : if we ourselves were to see a Proteetapt friend at a Catholic ceremony behaving himself like the others present, we would not jump to the conclusion that be had become a Catholic. At the same time, since this is a concession for the sake of courtesy, we must add that, if courtesy does not require them (e.g., if one is sitting apart from the rest of the congregation) such actions should not be performed.
There es, however, an exception to this. Sirme the Mass said by art Orthodox priest is a true Mass, Christ becomes truly present at tha consecration. Now we always owe outward as well as inward reverence to the Blessed Sacrament, and therefore, if one is present at an Orthodox Mass, one ought to make some outward sign of reverence at least at the consecration. The same consideration would apply to genuflecting when entering or leaving the church, if the Blessed Sacrament is reserved there. Apart front this, it would be a good general rule to sit or stand quietly 'during a non-Catholic service, unless such an attitude were likely to cause offence to those present: in that case it would be permissible to act outwardly along with them.
Does a soul gain more from a Requiem Mans than he would front the proper Mass of the day offered for his repose? (G. H.) Votive Masses deviate from the Office of the day and so may he celebrated only for a reasonable motive and on certain days. They are offered for special intentions and according to liturgical formulas directed to the obtaining of these intentions. So the Votive Mass, in regard to the special intention, possesses a great impetratory power on the part of the Church, greater than the ordinary Mass of the day. The sante may be said of Requiem Masses. Their whole rite is to implore for the suffering souls comfort, relief, and shortening of their pains, and does not admit any Collect for the tieing. So St. Thomas says that as regards the sacrifice offered, any Mass equally benefits the souls of the departed, but as regards the prayers, the soul gains more from the Mass in which the prayers arc determined to this end, i.e., for the departed. From this follows the answer to your other query—is it wrong to think it unsuitable when the Church's Feasts are interrupted by a Requiem Mass—namely, that we may prefer to have the Mass of the 'tease but in view of the benefit that a soul receives from a Requiem Mass, it might be considered more •charitable to put aside our private feelings and join with the Church in supplication to God for the souls of the faithful departed.
What are the obligations regarding Masses for the Holy Souls? (Convert.) You say that you have given a Mass stipend each week of Lent for the Holy Souls arid that so far not one Mass has been said. You must remember that as regards stipend Masses, the priest has a very grave obligation to say them or to see that they are said; therefore, do not conclude too hastily that they have not been said: it is not the custom in some churches td read out the intentions for which Masses are offered. It may have bappened, too, that the priest had already so many stipend Masses that he could not for some time fit in the Masses for the Holy Souls, as he may only say one stipend Mass per day. And it is quite possible that. owing to his having too many Masses to say, he has sent them away to some other priest to be said. In any case, you may rest assured that they will be said.
In a copy of the Oxford Dictionary, T11021i6M is described as " a doctrine of St. Thomas Aquinas, who maintained predestination and efficacious grace and denied the Immaculate Conception." If the latter is correct, how is it to be reconciled with Catholic teaching?
(V. E. A. B.)
First of all we must say that this is an extremely poor definition of Thomism. The Catholic Encyclopaedic Dictionary says:— " The fundamental principle of Thomism is the distinction between fact and potency. By the application of this principle to every section of philosophy and theology St. Thomas built up a system remarkable for its perfect harmony and solidarity of thought." But we must note that the essence of Thomism is to be sought in its principles rather than in particular doctrines ; certainly the denial of the Immaculate Conception is not essential to it, or the Church would not tell us in her Code of Canon Law: "In the study of rational philosophy and theology and in the instruction of students, professors should follow entirely the method. doctrine and principles of the Angelic Doctor " (i.e., St. Thomas).
It is true that St. Thomas, St. Bonaventure, and other great medieval theologians denied the Immaculate Conception as it was
understood in their day. This does not make them heretics, because the doctrine was not defined by the Church until 1854, and whether they would have denied it in the terms in which it was actually defined is very doubtful.
Can you give reasons why Thomas a Kemple has not been raised to the altars of the Church? Has any process ever been instituted in his case? (W. A. N.) hi your letter you quote the " Imitation of Christ " as a reason for the beatification of Thomas a tempts. But this is not an adequate reason. For one thing, it has never been quite certain that a Kempis wrote it. For a long time it was attributed to Gerson, the famous chancellor of the university of Paris, and at the present day there are scholars who hold that the true author of the " Imitation " was Gerard de Groote, the founder of the Brethren of Common Life, of whom Thomas was one. The value and popularity of the " Imitation " would not have great weight, therefore, in the promotion of Thomas's cause.
As a matter of fact, an enquiry into his sanctity was set on foot by Maximilian Hendrik, Prince-Bishop of Cologne, towards the end of the seventeenth century, and it appears that the documents he collected have since been lost.
Is the Requiem Mass of ancient met (G. H.) Yes. We have no evidence before 150 e.o., but about that time there existed the idea, at least in the East, of celebrating the Eucharist in the region of a grave, e.g., for a holy person who had died. In the third century Tertullian makes mention of annual Masses for the dead, and of the anniversary Mass. There is also certain evidence in St. Cyprian, who died about 257 A.D. Later on we have Possidius, who tells us that St. Augustine was buried with the oblation of the " sacrifice to God " for the commendation of his body to the ground. And Eusebius describes the funeral of Constantine " they honoured him with the service of the Eucharist." In the eighth century pacts were made between monasteries to offer Masses for deceased members.
Why are babies that die shortly after being baptised said to be " angels" any more than " saints "? (H. fl-M.) Babies who die after baptism can only be called angels in a metaphorical sense: they arc not really angels: because angel" are pure spirits, whereas the souls of babies like the souls of all men, retain after death a special relation to their bodies, and will be reunited with them on the Last Day. Babies are sometimes called " cherubs "
or little angels " on account of their innocence, but this is not, stritely speaking, a correct expression,
Did Henoch and Elias die? (E. T4
No, there was no separation of body and soul. They still have their mortal bodice. Theologians hold that they will return at the Last Day and die then. The Apocalypse xi, 3-7 is usually thought to refer to them. Since they did not die they cannot be in Heaven, but are preserved in happiness, perhaps in Limbo, until the Last Judg ment. Malachy in his prophecy suggests that God preserved them alive in order to entrust them at the end of time with a glosions mission.
How many were present at the first Pen. tecost? (E. T.) You question a statement in the " Quiz " that there were 120 at the first Pentecost. Now after the Ascension there were 120 in the Upper Room at the election of Matthias (Acts i, 15.) When the Holy Ghost came down he reads (Acts ii, 1), " they west an together in one place," The ward "they" here is taken as referring to the same people mentioned in i, 15, i.e., 120, and possibly other Christians as well. There is no evidence' to support your view that only the Apostles received the Holy Ghost at this time, and certainly such a view is not necessary to prove the Apostolic succession.
Is Gad alone Holy?—(A. H. G.).
It is true that we say in the Gloria " for thou alone art holy," and that we also say " Holy Mary," but this does not involve a contradiction. God is the only being whose nature it is to exist, and His perfections are infinite, We ear, say that He is holiness itself. He alone is holy of Ilis very nature. But holiness as a virtue denotes union with God. Grace, on which it is based, unites man to God by allowing him to share in the divine life, and only mortal sin can destroy that union. Since Our Lady, of all creatures, had the closest union with God, we may well call her Holy Mary.
Can you recommend a Catholic Home for retired gentlemen?—(F. 0. W.).
It is true, as you say, that ladies seem to be well catered for in this respect, but gentlemen are not entirely neglected. The Aleutian Brothers have homes for retired gentlemen at Twyford Abbey (evacuated for the duration to Llysdulas, Dulas, Anglesey, North Wales): St. Mary's Home, Itiloston, Manchester 10; Stillington Hall, Stillington, York. The Brother Superior at any of these houses will be glad to give full details.
Would it he good or ridiculous to leave instructions that Masses said for one's soul after death should he the Proper masses of the day? (G. H.) Since there is a Proper Mass for the day, even when the rubrics permit a Mass of Requiem, there is no reeson why one should not direct that Masses for one's soul should be the Proper of the day and not a Requiem Mass. It would be, however, just as well to keep in mind what we have said already about Requiem Masses, namely, that it is held that they possess a greater impetratory power on the part of the Church than the ordinary Mass of the day. Since, then, the soul cff the departed gains more from such a Mass, it would be wiser riot to exclude Requiem Masses entirely.