Do new heads of pontifical council augur new guidance?

Do new heads of pontifical council augur new guidance?

Pope Benedict has overhauled the leadership of the Pontifical Council for the Interpretation of Legislative Texts, receiving the retirement of Cardinal Julian Herranz and appointing a new president, vice-president, and secretary. This is an unusual move, changing all the top leadership positions at once, as is elevating the vice-president from bishop to archbishop even as the president is an archbishop.

I wonder if this will have any effect on this previous ruling regarding Canon 915 (“Those who are excommunicated or interdicted after the imposition or declaration of the penalty and others who obstinately persist in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to Holy Communion.”):

The discernment of cases in which the faithful who find themselves in the described condition are to be excluded from Eucharistic Communion is the responsibility of the Priest who is responsible for the community. They are to give precise instructions to the deacon or to any extraordinary minister regarding the mode of acting in concrete situations.

4. Bearing in mind the nature of the above-cited norm (cfr. n. 1), no ecclesiastical authority may dispense the minister of Holy Communion from this obligation in any case, nor may he emanate directives that contradict it.

In other words, it is the responsibility of each pastor, not that of the bishop or anyone else, so if you’re a pastor and you have someone in your parish for whom Canon 915 might apply, you should be aware of your responsibility. Anyway, I wonder if the new heads of the council will be issuing any new guidance on this, considering the many and varied ways the US bishops have interpreted their own responsibilities under Canon 915.

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  • I wonder if this means we might get that overdue document about the liturgy soon—the one from the synod of bishops?  Is this prep?

  • Should an extraordinary minister of Holy Communion follow the instructions of his Priest, even if he disagrees (for example, if a notorious pro-abortion politician is in attendance)?

  • Maybe that brave deacon in Buffalo who denounced the babykilling-supporting Congressman at Mass had read the document above, and the pastor and the bishop hadn’t.

  • This will cause for a lot of fireworks, if any one priest is bold enough to enforce it.

    A question for priests:  What takes precedent?
    1.  Your bishops proclamation?
    2.  Unambiguous guidance from the HOLY SEE?

    Now a footnote, and commentary:
    I can think of the guidance on Freemasonry, where JPII and Card Ratz said that the local ordinary lacks the competence to rule on membership.  This seems pretty unambiguous:  You cannot be a Freemason and receive communion.  I wonder if any above guidance will be ignored like this has been.

  • Just random musing on my part, but does anyone think the elevation of the vice-president (as archbishop) signals or portends the elevation of the president to cardinal?

  • Since the retiring head of the council is a cardinal, I think that’s a safe bet.

    The more interesting question is whether this means that there will be a consistory soon and I think the answer to that is yes.

  • I think one benefit of having these judgments come “closer to home” is that unless you’re at least an extraordinary minister, you don’t have to worry about it! And if there’s a staring-us-in-the-face abuse of 915, we can discuss it with our pastor without fearing that we’re jumping over our pastor’s head and poking our noses in our bishop’s particular business. The revision sounds better, already. It wouldn’t if I couldn’t trust my pastor, but that’s another topic altogether. I pray not to have that problem! I pray for all who do!

  • I think there’s some confusion. The quoted interpretation I put above is not new. This guidance has been in place for years. What I’m saying is that maybe there will be new guidance coming soon.

  • Ooops. My confusion. Nothing like reinterpreting the data to fit in with what I have heard some of the bishops say.That happens almost automatically. That’s sort of scary, especially when combined with the habit of reading too quickly!
    Of course the misinterpretation defends against the need for the questionm “Then how come Most Rev. X stated that…?” Or “Then why does Fr Z…?” Never mind. Forget I asked. Yikes.