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Attendance in Choir.-Two replies on the subject—both dated 24th November, 1918, and intended for Rome and Iviza, respectively-deal with clerical arrangements unknown in this country. Though important in themselves, they are of no practical importance for us. So we omit them.



Of the Roman replies recently sent to His Eminence Cardinal Logue, 1 the fourth falls within our department. It deals with the absolution of extern penitents.

In answer to several correspondents we had to discuss the problem in an earlier issue.2 As the conclusion arrived at was the same as the official reply now given, we may be pardoned for confining ourselves to a brief résumé of previous remarks,

In pre-Code times there were three theories as to the source from which jurisdiction over peregrini was derived. Some-e.g., Lehmkuhl, Noldin, Gury-said it came from the extern Bishop; others-e.g., Aertnys—that it came from the Bishop of the confessor; a third class-e.g., St. Alphonsus and Génicot—that nothing less than delegation from the Pope would explain the facts. Combining these views with certain general principles, and passing on from theory to practice :

1° The majority of theologians admitted that the extern penitent could be absolved, unless the sin confessed was reserved in both dioceses ;

2o. A small minority—including Noldin and Tanquerey-went fur. ther. They claimed that absolution might be given, even when the sin was reserved in both dioceses.

Against the second view the arguments seemed decisive: 1', it was based on a false analogy between local law and local reservation : 2°, from what source would jurisdiction come ? Not from either bishop, ex hypothesi : and, if from Rome, it would be restricted by the local reservations : 3°, the condemnation of the view was implied in the Decree of the Holy Office (13th July, 1916), which stated, among other things, that ' from sins reserved in any diocese, penitents may be absolved in another diocese in which the sins are not reserved.'

Had the Code modified that teaching? Apparently not. For, 1°, the words of the Decree and those of the Code were too much alike to justify the suggestion that they taught different principles : 2°, the Code subjects peregrini to the local Bishop to a greater extent than before : 3°, as regards sacramental absolution, especially, it states definitely (874, § 1) that jurisdiction comes from the local Bishop : 4°, in other canons (say 319 and 401) it clearly implies that the reservations of the local Bishop are decisive.

1 For the text see below, p. 330.
2 I. E. RECORD, April, 1919, Filth Series, vol. xiii. pp. 324-31.

On that basis, and especially on the strength of Canon 874, we favoured the opinion:

1°, that the minority view would have to be discarded,

2°, that even the majority view was too liberal. The truth would seem to be that, according to the Code, local confessors were powerless when the sin was reserved in the diocese of confession-whether reserved in the penitent's diocese or not.

Certain objections were considered :

1°. The claim that, according to Canon 881, jurisdiction comes from the law itself, not from the local Bishop.

2°. The fact that Canon 900 guarantees freedom when the penitent has left the territory of the reserver.'

3o. A series of arguments in favour of the milder view, put forward in the little manual recently published by Father Arregui.

In reply to which, respectively, we suggested :

1°. That, even if that view of Canon 881 be correct, the Papa delegation must still be modified by the local reservations.

2°. That a penitent who confesses a sin reserved in both dioceses has not fulfilled the condition prescribed in Canon 900.

3.° That Father Arregui's arguments-to which we tried also to give direct replies—were well known to the Holy Office when it clearly suggested the opposite conclusion in its Decree of July, 1916.

We have no guarantee that all, or any, of our arguments are correct. They must be taken on their merits, if they have any. But for the conclusion arrived at—and that is the main concern for those engaged in missionary work-we have official confirmation in the reply of the Commission for interpreting the Code :

[Query] No. 4°. Is a peregrinus bound by the reservations of the place in which he is ?

[Reply] To No. 4°, Yes. 1

The reservations imposed by the extern Bishop are not to be taken account of, 1°, because the penitent has left that Superior's territory (900), 2°, because the confessor's jurisdiction comes from his own Bishop But those imposed by the local Bishop must be taken account of, 1°, because the penitent has not left that Superior's territory ; 2°, because, again, the confessor's jurisdiction comes from his own Bishop, 3°, because [we may now add] Rome has so decided.

So that, for the future, the rule for confessors is— Treat extern peni. tents exactly as you treat those of your own diocese.

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1 See below, p. 330.


SOME RECENT DECISIONS AND DECREES We desire to call attention to some Decisions and Decrees of the Holy See which have been recently published in the Acta Apostolicae Sedis.

A. The nature of quasi-parishes or missions in certain dioceses after the

promulgation of the Code of Canon Law. The new legislation on parishes and parish priests has attracted a considerable amount of attention. This has been especially the case in places like England, Scotland, and the United States, in which a hierarchy has long been in existence but in which hitherto there have been no canonically erected parishes. There has been considerable doubt in those countries as to the precise change which the Code effected in this department. That parishes should come into existence as the result of the new legislation was, we think, almost universally conceded. Whether, how

. ever, they did so automatically, as a result of the provisions of the Code itself; or whether, in addition, some action on the part of the Bishop was necessary for their establishment, was a point upon which agreement was by no means so general. The difficulty arose in connexion with the interpretation of Canon 216, which declared that the territory of every diocese should be divided into distinct territorial parts, to each of which should be assigned its own distinct church and people and its own special pastor ; and that the parts of dioceses thus divided were parishes. The question at issue was whether the divisions of dioceses already in existence sufficed, or whether the Bishop should intervene, and, by a special decree, either ratify or modify these divisions.

In the May issue of the I. E. RECORD, in our first article on Parish Priests,' we gave expression to our opinion on this matter in the following terms:

In countries in which a hierarchy was established, but in which there were no canonically erected parishes, this section, taken in conjunction with Canon 216, as we have already remarked, caused considerable excitement after the publication of the Code. In our opinion these canons did not convert ipso facto the existing divisions of territory into parishes ; to effect this a special act on the part of the Bishops concerned was required. Nor was it necessary in the new erections to adopt the boundaries of the old divisions, or to change all the removable missions into removable parishes, and all the irremovable missions into irremovable parishes; in fact, if the spirit of the new legislation were followed, most of the new foundations would be irremovable.

An authoritative declaration on this point, and on one or two others in close connexion with it, has just been issued by the Consistorial

Congregation; and, we may add, the paragraph just referred to is in full conformity with it. Those who wish to read the declaration in the original, will find it in the September issue of the Acta Apostolicae Sedis. We shall give a free rendering of its dispositive part :

I. From Canon 216 of the Code of Canon Law, it is certain that the parts of dioceses as above, to which a special pastor for the care of souls is assigned, in future should be regarded as parishes and be called by that name; the name of quasi-parishes and missions being reserved for the parts into which Vicariates and Prefectures are divided.

II. For the constitution of parishes a decree of the Ordinary is required, by which are determined the boundaries of the territory, the seat of the parish, and the endowment both for the upkeep of religious worship and for the maintenance of the priest ; it is not necessary, however, that the rector should be irremovable; nay, more, if there are just causes, it can be declared in the decree of erection itself that he is movable, in accordance with Canons 1411, § 4, 454, § 3, and 1438.

III. But if the fact that the number of the faithful is small or fluctuating, or that a sufficient endowment is completely wanting, renders it inadvisable to erect certain churches into parishes; such churches are to be regarded as subsidiary or auxiliary within the boundaries of some parish, in the territory of, and in dependence upon, which they will remain until they become fit to obtain the status of parishes themselves.

IV. In constituting the dowry of parishes that are to be erected, the regulations which are made in the Code, in Canons 1409, 1410, and 1415, $ 3, should be kept in mind,

V. Furthermore, when canonical erections as above have taken place, the rector of the parish, whether parish priest or vicar oeconome, is bound by the obligation of applying the Mass pro populo ; from this obligation rectors of auxiliary or subsidiary churches are exempt. But if, indeed, the obligation is found to be too severe, recourse should be had to the Holy See to have it lessened.

The first section of this declaration does not need any comment; it is quite clear from the Code itself that the divisions of dioceses, even of those in which hitherto canonically erected parishes did not exist, are in future to be regarded as parishes, and to be called by that name : personally, we have never heard that point seriously questioned.

It is the second section that settles the main difficulty which arose in this connexion. It is clear from it that, in such countries as England, Scotland, and the United States, the existing divisions of dioceses did not become parishes automatically ; but that, in addition, a formal decree of erection on the part of the Ordinary was also required. Consequently, rectors of missions in these places did not become participators in the rights, nor subject to the obligations, of parish priests, until the Ordinary had intervened in this way. Once the necessity of the formal decree of erection is admitted, the other points touched upon in this section follow as a matter of course,

Before passing away from this section, it may be interesting to note


that the Congregation of the Council, in the early portion of the present year, 1 gave a decision in a particular case which seems to contradict the principle here put forward. In the diocese of Wratislav, prior to the publication of the Code, in addition to parishes in the strict sense of the term, there were also, in places in which the Catholic population was very sparse, certain divisions of territory which were looked upon in the same light as stations or missions in missionary countries. It would seem, too, that the rectors of these divisions, just as rectors in missionary countries, were not considered to be bound by the obligation of the Mass pro populo. Much controversy seems to have arisen as to the position of affairs after the new legislation had made its appearance ; and, hence, the Bishop submitted the whole matter to the Holy See for an authoritative decision. The Congregation of the Council, without any reference whatever to the need of a decree of erection, held that these divisions were parishes, and that their rectors were bound by the Mass pro populo. It may, indeed, have been that these divisions were really parishes before the Code was promulgated; and, of course, in that hypothesis there would be no contradiction between the two Congregations. It must be confessed, however, that the whole statement of the case seems to imply the contrary. We need scarcely say that, if the contradiction exists, in our opinion it is the Consistorial which has correctly interpreted Canon 216. Anyhow, it is the declaration of the Consistorial Congregation alone that has to be taken into consideration in England and similarly situated countries; the other decision binds merely in the diocese for which it was given.

In regard to the fourth section, it may be well to draw attention again to the fact that, in accordance with Canon 1410, either the certain and voluntary offerings of the faithful, or stole fees, or, of course, a combination of both, may constitute the endowment of a parish ; and in most of the countries affected by this declaration, these are the principal sources from which endowment must be sought. In this connexion it may be remarked that it does not by any means follow from the erection of a parish that its pastor acquires a right to all the offerings of the faithful, whether made at the church doors, during Mass, or on other occasions, for his own personal maintenance. Sometimes it is the right of the donors themselves to determine the destination of these offerings; and, when such is the case, their intention should be strictly carried out. Sometimes, however, legislation requires offerings to be made on certain occasions, and specifies their purpose independently of the intention of the donors. Here, again, the terms of the law should be faithfully adhered to. It is a matter for the Ordinaries, therefore, keeping these points in mind, to determine in the decrees of erection how far the offerings are to go towards the maintenance of the pastor.

1 Vide Acta Ap. Sedis, February, 1910, p. 46.
2 Cf. C. 1507, C. 1536, Const. Rom. Pontifices, Leonis XIII, 1881.

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