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Lastly, there is the regulation about Black Fastsanother special law or custom of ours. The reasons already given in connexion with the vigils will, if valid at all, operate in favour of the use of eggs and white-meats at the principal meal, and at all meals in case of those exempt by labour or under twenty-one years of age. Will they apply also at the lighter meals of those over twenty-one and not exempt by labour? That depends on whether the prohibition was imposed merely by the law of abstinence, or by the law of fast modified by approved local custom. If by the law of abstinence alone, the prohibition, we think, disappears for the reasons already stated. If by the law of fast, the solution would be different. But, apart from abstinence, was there a custom operating in the line of fast on those days? We think it may very well be doubted. The custom, it would seem to us, was the ordinary custom on fast days rendered more strict by the law of abstinence. If so, the prohibition would disappear as before; if not, the other concession granted to our Bishops on the 31st July, 1912, in regard to allowing a little milk in tea, coffee and cocoa, might still be found useful. But, whichever view be correct, we may take it for granted that Black Fast days will soon be a matter of the past.

Two regulations as to age complete the legislation. 'Abstinence' affects everyone over seven years of age-the old rule; 'fast' all who have completed their twentyfirst year, but not their fifty-ninth-new only in the sense of formally ratifying an opinion previously probable.

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A statement was published pretty freely some weeks ago2 that the 8th of December, Corpus Christi and St. Joseph's day are to be holidays of obligation in Ireland for the future. It would be correct if the first section of Canon 1247 stood by itself. But it does not. There is another section which is not expressly mentioned as coming into force at once, but must do so from the very nature of the case. It states that if in any place (' sicubi ') any of the feasts mentioned have been abolished.. ., no innovation is to be introduced without consultation with the Holy See' (c. 1247, §3). The meaning is not quite clear. The abolition question is certainly verified if there has been 'local 1 See I. E. RECORD (Sept., 1912), Fourth Series, vol. xxxii. pp. 309, 310. 2 This was written early in October; printing troubles have delayed its publication.

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abolition. The feasts of St. Joseph and of the Immaculate Conception-abolished in Ireland by Popes Benedict XIV (1755) and Pius VI (1778)-will, therefore, not be holidays of obligation for us, unless in the rather unlikely supposition that the Bishops make special representations in their favour to the Holy See.

But the feast of Corpus Christi is on a different footing. It has been abolished by a 'general' law. Does that 'general' abolition bring it under the section just quoted? The point may perhaps be debated. But the indications are in favour of a negative reply. The term 'sicubi' would be rather a strange one to employ in connexion with a feast abolished everywhere.' Its conditional character seems out of harmony with the absolute and general abolition of the 2nd and 24th of July, 1911.1

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On the other hand, it may be urged that a feast abolished ' everywhere' is a fortiori abolished in any particular locality.' And, on the supposition (which, for anything we know personally, may be correct) that Corpus Christi has been retained in some quarters even after the Motu proprio and decree of 1911, the general abolition' theory becomes somewhat more tenable. Finally, it might be claimed that the tendency in recent times has been altogether against increasing the number of holidays of obligation, and that the intention of the legislator may well have been to prevent the legislation of 1911 (passed after mature deliberation' and after consultation with the editors of the Code, but modified within four weeks) from being modified again in its practical import, without cause shown and to the mild amazement of everyone concerned.


Balancing the reasons on both sides, however, and taking into account all the circumstances of the case, it would seem more probable that Corpus Christi will for the future be a permanent holiday of obligation in Ireland, though the other view is not without its probability.


Canon 859, § 2, effects no change whatever in our Irish Canon Law. By combining the Indults of Popes Paul V

1 For the Motu proprio of Pope Pius X and the decree of the Congregation of Rites, see the I. E. RECORD (Sept., 1911), Fourth Series, vol. xxx. pp. 328-331. 2 The reasons for that tendency are given in the preamble to the Motu proprio of 1911. See I. E. RECORD, ibid.

I. E. RECORD, ibid.

See I. E. RECORD, October, 1917, pp. 343-4.


and Pius IX,1 our Bishops may extend the period for fulfilling the Paschal precept to Ash Wednesday on one side, and to the 6th of July on the other. They are not obliged, however, to use the privilege, and may curtail the period (outside the central fortnight) to any extent they deem advisable in the spiritual interests of their dioceses.2 But, whether they restrict it or not, the new canon does not affect them. The positive enactment adds nothing to their powers; and the negative section, on the score of its being opposed to the Indults mentioned, imposes no restriction.

But there is another section which, though technically not coming into force at once, will, if the people so please, modify the law even in the coming Paschal period. After next Pentecost Sunday they are to be exhorted, but will not be obliged, to fulfil the precept in their own parishes: their strict obligation is confined to informing their parish priest (859, § 3). This latter prescription, we may remark by the way, would appear to urge only when the people have not the parish priest's permission (presumed at least) for receiving Paschal Communion in an outside parish-else the canon, so far from conferring a favour, as it is obviously intended to do, would in a great variety of cases impose a new inconvenience instead. Be that as it may, we may take it for granted that none of the Bishops will terminate the period on or before Pentecost Sunday. Absolutely speaking, therefore, in the coming Paschal period the faithful may receive Paschal Communion after the 19th of May, and so fulfil the precept outside their parish.


The closed periods used to extend from the beginning of Advent till the Epiphany and from Ash Wednesday till Low Sunday. After next Pentecost Sunday, they will terminate with Christmas Day and Easter Sunday, respectively. The prohibition of the general law was restricted to the nuptial blessing and festivities.' Even that has been relaxed. By virtue of the concession that comes into force

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1 See Appendix to Maynooth Statutes (1900), p. 56.

2 At a recent meeting (held since the above was written, and in connexion with which most of our readers will probably have received a circular before these lines are published), the Bishops fixed Trinity Sunday as the latest date. The Northern Bishops had already done so (Syn. Prov. Armac. Acta et Decr., c. 50, p. 26). It was also decided that Corpus Christi should be restored provisionally.

at once (1108, §3), the former may be allowed by the Ordinary for reasonable cause: and the prohibition against the latter gives place to the rather elastic regulation that the faithful are to be told to confine their rejoicings within the bounds of due moderation.

The change in Ireland will, after next Pentecost, be more extensive. The law at present is that marriage itself is forbidden during the periods mentioned. Canon 1108 declares that 'marriage can be contracted at any time of the year,"1 and canon 1041 reprobates any custom introducing an impediment opposed to the Code. The Irish regulation, therefore, will disappear, whether we regard it as a 'law' or as a custom' in the former hypothesis, in virtue of canon 6 combined with canon 1108; in the latter, in virtue of canon 1041 combined with the same.

The state of things during the coming Advent and Lent will, therefore, be this. The Irish prohibition against marriage itself may be removed by the exercise of the Bishop's own powers the prohibition against the nuptial blessing also, if he finds he has reasonable cause. In subsequent years, the regulation against the marriage itself will disappear automatically.

In each and every one of the four departments, the dominant spirit, it will be noticed, is one of indulgence. Practically every step taken is in the direction of liberty. That gives us additional confidence in recommending, as we did in the beginning, a decision in favour of freedom whenever the law itself offers no decided opposition.


1 The term 'potest,' we think, covers liceity' as well as validity.' The following section mentions the only things forbidden. The marriage itself is not one of them.





THE new Code of Canon Law has at last made its appearAll who are interested in this subject will give it a warm welcome: the busy missionary, especially, will greet it with unmixed pleasure. The authentic texts of Canon Law have hitherto been contained-I might almost say buried-in a great variety of collections, from the Decree of Gratian and the Decretals to the latest volumes of the Acta Apostolicae Sedis. To consult them was a mighty labour, even for the special student for the ordinary priest it was a practical impossibility. The vast majority, therefore, had to receive their law, second-hand, from the text-book; it was only the favoured few who were able to reach the original sources, and these only with an infinity of trouble. To the thinking mind the commentary, however useful in itself, must ever appear a very unworthy substitute for the text. The evil is aggravated when, as not unfrequently happened in the case of Canon Law, authors are but imperfectly acquainted with the wording of the laws upon which they profess to comment.

The want of a systematized collection of laws, such as the present Code presents us with, has long been felt in the Church. Since the Decretals, the last serious attempt at codification, the volume of ecclesiastical laws has been ever on the increase. The Popes who intervened between the period of the Decretals and the Council of Trent displayed no inconsiderable activity in this direction. The extent of the Tridentine legislation may be judged from the fact that it introduced modifications in nearly every department of Church discipline. By the establishment of the Roman Congregations in the period subsequent to Trent the legislative organs were multiplied, and there was a consequent multiplication of laws. The result

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