Images de page
[ocr errors]

will it can be restricted, recalled, or taken away altogether.' Vermeersch, in his explanation of 'peculium,' gives an example which resembles very closely the custom under discussion. The notion of "peculium," he declares, is present in money, even though it may be deposited with a Superior, which one can use for procuring those things of which one has need in the matter of goods, dress, bedroom furniture and the like.' He had previously declared that the 'peculium' was imperfect, if its use was dependent on the will of the Superior."

Is this custom abrogated by the new Code of Canon Law? We are of opinion that the canons referred to by our correspondent are not sufficient for its abolition. Canon 593, which states that religious are bound to order their lives in accordance with the rules and constitutions of their Institute, does not of itself oblige them to observe each individual rule and constitution. It has reference merely to the general tenor of their lives. Even though the purpose of the canon were to impose an obligation in regard to individual rules and constitutions, it could be very reasonably interpreted as applying only to those which were still in force, not to those which had been abrogated by custom or in any other way.

Neither is the custom, we think, in conflict with Canon 594, § 2. Clearly in this canon there is question only of goods and money which become the property of the Institute; whereas in the custom under consideration each individual sister retains the ownership of the presents that are made to her. Canon 580, § 3, 1-2, it may be pointed out, implies that religious with simple vows, apart from any regulation to the contrary in their Institute, become the owners of property given personally to them.

Though the custom may be reconciled with the two canons just discussed, yet there is another with which we believe it to be out of harmony, viz., Canon 594, § 1, which requires all religious to observe accurately the common life. That there is question in this section of the perfectly common life, with which 'imperfect peculium' is incompatible, is evident from the words accurate. . . . etiam in iis quae ad victum, ad vestitum et ad supellextilem pertinent. This conclusion is confirmed by the fact that when canonists and ecclesiastical legislators use the expression 'common life' (vita communis) without the qualification of 'perfect' or 'imperfect,' they mean by it the perfectly common life.*

Even though this custom were centennial or immemorial, it could scarcely be retained; for it is clear from what is stated in the query that there are no circumstances of place or person which would render its

1 Prael. Juris Reg., tom. i. Q. 274.

2 De Relv. Inst. et Personis, tom. i. n. 276.

3 Op. cit. n. 274: Est juris imperfecti, si facultas disponendi semper a Superiore circumscribi aut auferri possit.'

4 Cf. Vermeersch, op. cit. n. 281; Piat, op. cit. n. 276; Benedict XIV, De Syn. Dioec., Leo XIII, c. 12, n. 18 et seq.; Declaratio Pii IX, 1st Oct., 1852; Const. Pasturalis Off. Innoc. XII, Cum nihil vitae monasticae confomius, et magis ad conservandum paupertatis religiosae spiritum necessarium, quam vita communis; ordinamus talem vitam in omnibus omnino Monasteriis instituendam ubi non est, omnesque redditus in communi reponendos.'

abolition imprudent. All the data supplied, however, go to show that the custom is not of this kind, and that consequently it is abrogated unconditionally.

As regards the procedure to be followed by the Rev. Mother, if the custom has been abrogated unconditionally-the information given in the query, as we have just stated, goes to show that it has-then there is no need for her to refer the matter to the Ordinary. Were the custom, however, centennial or immemorial, her proper course would be to submit the case to the Ordinary, and let him decide as to the prudence or the contrary of the abolition.

[ocr errors]

In determining the extent of a Rev. Mother's power to make gifts from the Community money, the only canon which gives us any assistance is 537. It is not permitted,' this canon states' to make gifts out of the goods of a House, Province, or Institute, unless by way of almsgiving, or for some other just cause, and with the consent of the Superior and in conformity with the constitutions.' When the constitutions, as in the case contemplated, say nothing as to the amount of these gifts, the Superior must be guided in this matter by other considerations. The principal of these, it seems to us, are the financial condition of the House, Province, or Institute and the nature of the cause on account of which the present is made. Manifestly, therefore, it is impossible for us to lay down any general rule on the point. There can be no doubt, however, that if the financial position of a Community were strong, and the cause were serious, a Rev. Mother's power would extend to several pounds.


REV. DEAR SIR,-I. I am writing to ask if you will kindly solve a difficulty in the interpretation of Canon 1245, § 1. This canon seems to declare that a Parish Priest has the right of dispensing a peregrinus who comes to him in his own parish. Now I am anxious to know whether this dispensation holds still, on the return of the peregrinus a few hours later to his own parish, or whether it ceases on his leaving the parish of the parochus who granted it?

II. Secondly, what exactly is a 'peregrinus'?-Would a man come under this heading who left his own parish for a few hours and went to the neighbouring parish to get a dispensation from fasting which his own parish priest refused to give him? If so, surely the Code seems to be rather subversive of the authority of Parish Priests.


I. The dispensation certainly holds: departure from the territory of the Superior who has granted it is not now, and never has been, one of the causes on account of which a personal dispensation ceases.

II. As there is no indication to the contrary, peregrinus has its ordinary signification as defined in Canon 91. In the circumstances mentioned by our correspondent, the man would certainly be a peregrinus, and the parish priest of the place could validly and lawfully dispense him. Of course it is

1 Cf. Canon 5.

expressly prescribed that there should be a just cause for the dispensation; and this prevents the regulation from being in any way subversive of the authority of the proper parish priest. Should the latter, when a just cause for it exists, refuse a dispensation, he would be acting most arbitrarily.




A recent decision of the Sacred Penitentiary regarding the indulgences of the Litany of Loreto emphasizes two or three abuses in the chanting of the Litany to which we think attention should be directed. The decision was published in the January number of Acta Apos. Sedis and appeared in the February issue of the I. E. RECORD (p. 153). A reference to the decree indicates that the Sacred Congregation had before it three distinct abuses, viz.: (1) omitting the second Kyrie Eleison at the beginning; (2) inserting the ora pro nobis only after every third invocation; (3) chanting the Agnus Dei only once at the end; and the question proposed for an authoritative decision was whether, adverting to Canon 934 of the Codex, the indulgences of the Litany were gained by such methods of recitation. In several canons the Codex deals explicitly with the conditions necessary for gaining indulgences. On the part of the recipient, besides the state of grace (Can. 925, § 1) and the intention of gaining the indulgences (Can. 925, § 2), there is required the fulfilment of the prescribed works— 'statuto tempore ac debito modo'-and if, as in this instance, the indulgences are granted for the recitation of a certain prayer 'they are entirely lost by any addition, subtraction or interpolation '-' penitus cessant ob quamlibet additionem, detractionem vel interpolationem (Can. 934 § 2). Moralists might be inclined to argue that the omissions mentioned in this decree are of a trivial nature, and, taken singly or collectively, could hardly be regarded as sufficiently grave to interfere with the substantial integrity of the prayer, but the wording of the Canon-' ob quamlibet detractionem '-admits of no such distinction, and the authoritative answer of the Sacred Congregation places the matter beyond the region of discussion. The indulgences are forfeited by such methods of recitation and the Holy Father orders that abuses of the kind are to be corrected wherever they exist. In order to gain the indulgences therefore, the Litany, as every other indulgenced prayer, should be said or chanted in its entirety, without omission, addition or interpolation. The Kyrie, Christe, Kyrie, are to be recited at the beginning, the ora pro nobis is to follow each invocation in the body of the Litany,1 the Agnus Dei, with its proper endings, is to be repeated three times. In the Raccolta (p. 275), which contains the official list of indulgences, the Litany begins with the

1 The custom-peculiar to some of the old books-of joining three invocations and then reciting the ora pro nobis three times is not in accordance with Can. 934 in the opinion of the Ephem. Liturg. (Jan., 1920, p. 8)—' quia tum detractionem, tum interpolationem causat.'

Kyrie and ends with the Agnus Dei, so that the usual prayer at the beginning -Sub tuum praesidium -and the Versicle, Response and Prayer at the end, are not essential to the gaining of the indulgences. These Indulgences are 1: (a) 300 days each time the Litany is devoutly recited with contrite heart; (b) a plenary indulgence on the five great feasts of the Blessed Virgin, viz., the Immaculate Conception (8th Dec.), the Nativity (8th Sept.), the Annunciation (25th March), the Purification (2nd Feb.), and the Assumption (15th August), to all who shall recite the Litany every day and shall on any of those feasts approach the Sacraments, visit a Church or Public Oratory and pray there for the Pope's intentions.

The carrying out of this instruction will demand an effort from the heads of choirs in this country as well as in other parts of the Church, chiefly owing to the popularity of the abuses to which the decree refers. The most popular tunes of the Litany have stereotyped the defects and it will take some time and trouble to eradicate them. The settings of the Litany which have had the greatest vogue in our schools and churches err either by omission, addition, or repetition, and teachers and choir-masters will need to have their attention called to the inaccuracies of such compositions. Either they will have to be abandoned altogether, and new settings substituted for them, or arranged so as to conform to the requirements of the decree. The singing of the ora pro nobis after each invocation in the body of the Litany should cause little difficulty. Inserted in place of one of the three invocations hitherto grouped together, it will not necessitate any change in the old melody. In the Kyrie and the Agnus Dei, the liturgical rendition of which will cause the greatest difficulty, the only solution we are confident in recommending is a return to the plain Gregorian chant. In the official choir books there are two beautiful Gregorian settings of the Litany, which, apart from their antiquity and their strictly liturgical character, deserve on their own merits a greater popularity than they have hitherto received. These melodies reflect the beauty, dignity and devotion of genuine Church music, and their more general adoption would, we are sure, be an edifying and welcome change from the jiggy anaemic profanities which pass for Litany tunes in some of our popular choir manuals.

[ocr errors]

A few points of general interest in connexion with the Litany of the Blessed Virgin may here be noted.

(1) It is styled the Litany of Loreto in this decree, as in all previous official documents, because of its association with the Holy House of Loreto, near Ancona, where every Saturday from time immemorial it is sung with great solemnity. There is a consensus of opinion amongst spiritual writers on its beauty and excellence as a prayer of intercession, and the Holy See has time and again extolled its merits and lent it the weight of its approval, but its origin and development into its present form are matters upon which authorities express widely different views. Some tell us that

1 Decr. S.I.C., Sept. 30, 1817.


2 Some maintain that the oldest Marian Litany is an Irish form given in the 'Leabhar Breac.' O'Curry attributes it to the middle of the eighth century. It was published a few years ago with English translation in Father Toal's Tóruideaċt air Lorg Críosta.'


nothing is definitely known of its origin and history, others believe it to date from Apostolic times, others again trace it back to the translation of the Holy House (1294). The most recent and best informed opinion 1 assigns its origin to the end of the 15th or beginning of the 16th century. It was definitely approved by the Church in 1587.

(2) Without the authority of the Holy See, it is forbidden to change or add anything to the Litany. A few invocations have been inserted or added in recent times, but the additions have in each instance been made by formal decree. The latest 3-Regina Pacis-has been added by the present Pope for the term of the war, but, unlike previous additions, the consent of the Ordinary is needed for its public recitation.

(3) We have said that the recitation of the Versicle, Response and Prayer are not necessary for the gaining of the indulgences. In the Roman Ritual, however, they are given with the Litany and should, we think, be added whenever the Litany is publicly recited as part of a liturgical function, e.g., the October Devotions. It should be also noted that the Versicle, Response and Prayer vary according to the different times of the year. In a decree dated Dec. 7th, 1900, it is stated, 'versiculus autem, responsorium et oratio post dictas litanias mutari possunt pro temporis diversitate'; but in the latest edition of the Ritual the rubric seems to leave no option in the matter, 'Pro temporis diversitate. . . . mutantur.' The proper Versicle, Response and Prayer of the Litany coincide with those of the Greater Antiphons of the Blessed Virgin, as appointed in the Breviary to the different seasons, with one exception, viz., the time from Purification to Easter, which in the Breviary has a special Versicle, Response and Prayer, but in the Litany is the same as from Pentecost to Advent.

(4) The additions Christe audi nos, Christe exaudi nos, Pater et Ave, after the Agnus Dei, which we sometimes notice in authorized prayer books, are not proper to the Litany of Loreto and should not be joined to it.5

(5) The indulgences of the Litany, like other indulgenced prayers, may be gained by its recitation in the vernacular provided the version is a faithful one and has been approved as such by the Ordinary. It may be recited privately or alternately with others or followed mentally while others recite it,' but a private mental recitation does not suffice for the gaining of the indulgences. In this connexion we might remark that many approved vernacular versions are now out of date, for they lack the invocation' Mother of Good Council,' and give as the Prayer 'Pour

1 See Cath. Encyclopedia, Litany,' by Angelo de Santi.

2 S.R.C., August 2, 1631; April 3, 1821; August 5, 1839.

3 Decr. S.R.C., November 16, 1915.

4 See Appendix of Roman Ritual (1913).

'Litaniae Lauretanae concludendae sunt uti in Appendice Ritualis Romani, omissis Christe audi nos,' etc.-Decr. S.R.C., December 1, 1900.

6 Can. 934, § 2.

7 Can. 934, § 3.

8 Can. 934, § 1: 'Mentalis tantum oratio non sufficit.'

« PrécédentContinuer »