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of their functions-it is unnecessary to detail the manner in which this appointment was to be made. In these circumstances the Apostolic Delegate for the United States asked for a solution of the following questions:

(1) Whether the particular dispositions of the Plenary Council of Baltimore in regard to nominating the Administrator of a diocese during its vacancy, still continue; or are they abrogated by the new Code? 'And, in so far as the answer to the first part is in the negative, (2) Whether the prescription of Canon 427 is to be observed?

The Commission appointed to interpret the Code replied on the 24th November, 1918:

To the 1st, in the negative to the first part; in the affirmative to the second.

To the 2nd, in the affirmative, and ad mentem.'

The mens is this: 'In so far as special circumstances at this precise moment prevent the application of Canon 427 in that region, the Consistorial Congregation is to give opportune instructions, to be observed for a time, the right of the Bishops to nominate an Administrator for the diocese after their death being altogether taken away.'

Our most Holy Father approved and confirmed the resolution of the Codex Commission.

On the report, however, of the Cardinal Secretary of the Consistorial Congregation, and in view of the peculiar circumstances which prevail in the churches of the United States of America, His Holiness decreed that in dioceses in which there are not, at least, five or six diocesan Consultors-without prejudice to the prohibition of the Commissionthe Archbishop or senior Bishop of the ecclesiastical province can, with the approval of the Apostolic Delegate, provide for the nomination of a diocesan Administrator during the vacancy of the see.

This state of things is to continue for three years, provided that in the meantime the Consultors have not been increased to the number indicated above.

Although this is a decision for a particular country, still it is clear from it that, per se, in a diocese in which there is no Cathedral Chapter, the election of a Vicar-Capitular or diocesan Administrator during the vacancy of the episcopal see is the function of the diocesan Consultors. In view of the peculiar circumstances prevailing in the United States special provision is made for dioceses in which there are not at least five diocesan Consultors, But, without a special act of the Holy See, it is by no means lawful to transfer this provision to dioceses in other countries in which similar conditions exist. Hence, even though the diocesan Consultors in any diocese in this country are less than five in number, they will still retain the right of appointing the Vicar-Capitular or diocesan Administrator during the vacancy of the see, unless some special regulation to the contrary is made by the Holy See.





REV. DEAR SIR,-Father Augustine, O.S.B., in vol. ii. page 591, of his commentary on the new Code, states that notwithstanding the drastic decree of April 25, 1918, it is probable that the faculty of consecrating the Holy Oils, 'cum sacerdotibus quos potuerint habere' (Form. I, art. 12), remains with the American Bishops. Now, as the Irish Bishops had the faculty of consecrating 'cum quinque saltem sacerdotibus' (Form. VI, art. 28), in Father Augustine's view that faculty still survives. Your opinion would be at present very opportune.


Regarding the number of ministers required for the blessing of the Holy Oils, the Pontifical lays down: 'Parant se etiam ministri Pontificis, et ultra illos duodecim Presbyteri, septem Diaconi, septem Subdiaconi, Acolythi, et alii necessarii, omnes vestibus albi coloris Ordini suo congruentibus.' Athough the presence of these ministers is not necessary for the validity of the blessing, the Church, for centuries past, has always insisted that they should be present, if at all possible. The twelve priests are described by the Pontifical as 'assistentes Pontifici, tamquam ejus testes, et ministerii sacri Chrismatis cooperatores,' and the deacons and subdeacons as 'ministri et inspectores.' Naturally enough, the blessing of the Holy Oils is regarded as one of the most solemn functions of the ecclesiastical year. 'Inter varia Officia,' says Catalani,'' quae celebrari in Ecclesia quotannis solent, nullum profecto videtur solemniori ministrorum apparatu peragi, quam ipsum benedictionis oleorum et chrismatis feria v Coenae Domini celebrari solitum.'

According to the present discipline, the full ceremonial must be carried out, unless a dispensation has been obtained. Witness the following answer of the Congregation of Rites2:

Q. An ex Decretis hactenus a Sacra Rituum Congregationi editis circa consecrationem Olsorum sanctorum intelligendum sit quod non solum ob penuriam 12 Presbyterorum sed etiam ob penuriam 7 Diaconorum et 7 Subdiaconorum requiratur dispensatio?

R. Affirmative; seu imploranda est dispensatio a Sancta Sede toties quoties occurrat defectus tum Presbyterorum tum Ministrorum in casu consecrationis Oleorum sanctorum.

To come now to our correspondent's query, we are informed and convinced that the Irish faculty has been abolished by the decree of April, 1918. Father Augustine's statement concerning the corresponding American formula is that 'the first part of the faculty, concerning the number of priests, probably remains. It is a pity that no hint is given 1 Pontificalis, Pars Tertia, Tit. iv. 3.

2 Decr. Auth. n. 3359;

of any reason for this opinion. Nor can we see any valid one, if, as we suppose, the American Formula I was on the same footing as the Irish Formula VI. One cause assigned in the preamble to the Decree withdrawing former indults is this: supervacanea esse videntur.' If this were the only ground one might urge that, so far as the particular indult in question is concerned, it is by no means 'supervacaneum ' now any more than it was in the past, since the Code gives no power to dispense in this matter. But the preamble goes further: 'His itaque de causis, necnon ad discrimina in canonica disciplina tollenda majoremque unitatem in Ecclesia inducendam, Ssmus. D. N. Benedictus Pp. XV. . . ea quae sequuntur statuit et sanxit.'

The revocation of faculties is made in these terms 'In universis . . . diocesibus juri communi obnoxiis, facultates omnes pro foro externo Ordinariis concessae, quaeque in Formulis et Brevi . . . continentur, a die 18 maii hujus anni cessabunt, neque amplius in usu esse poterunt.' Certain exceptions are made by the decree; but the faculty to bless the Holy Oils with only a small number of priests is certainly not one of them. It may be necessary or desirable to have the faculty restored, generally or in particular dioceses. As far as it depended on the Formula VI it has been completely abolished, if words retain their ordinary meaning.

A war measure' on this subject was introduced by the Congregation of Rites in the year 1916. It provides that 'Archiepiscopi et Episcopi intra fines nationum belligerantium, tum hoc anno, tum durante clericorum defectu proveniente ex hoc bello, consecrationem sanctorum Oleorum conficere valeant eo presbyterorum et sacrorum ministrorum numero, qui pro loci rerumque adjunctis reperiri poterit; dummodo tamen minor non sit ternario numero ex quolibet gradu, cum facultate deficientibus subdiaconis substituendi acolythos.' This decree is interesting as providing for a minimum of nine, who are to assist at the blessing of the Oils, and allowing acolytes, if necessary, to supply the place of subdeacons in this function. But we think that it has no practical bearing as far as this country is concerned. It was manifestly intended for countries where the deficiency arose because clerics were called up for military service: Quum . . . sacerdotes et sacri ministri ... utpote militiae addicti et obstricti ita deficiant, ut pauci tantum sacrae caeremoniae interesse possint.' Hence, in Ireland, at any rate, the liturgical law, as laid down in the Pontifical and enforced by various decrees, must be observed, as far as it may be possible to do so. The only alternative is to obtain a special dispensation. It is scarcely necessary to point out that in this, as in other functions, priests may act as deacons and subdeacons.


REV. DEAR SIR,-Would you kindly explain Canon 821 of the new Code? Though the meaning is pretty plain, doubts have arisen on the following points :

(a) Section 8: Is any Papal indult required by convents to have

midnight Mass? Is the Ordinary's permission to be asked for, and received? Has the fact that a convent has been having Mass for years back anything to say to the question?

(b) May the priest who says midnight Mass say three Masses consecutively without a break, so that, beginning his first Mass just after midnight, his third Mass is ended about 1.30 a.m.? Or, having said his first Mass at midnight must he await the dawn before beginning his second? What is the meaning of the words tres rituales Missas'?

An answer in the I. E. RECORD will oblige.


(a) The third section of this canon is practically a repetition of the decree on the same subject issued by the Holy Office in the year 1907. Its meaning is plain enough. Midnight Mass may be celebrated in any religious or pious house in which the Blessed Sacrament is allowed to be kept habitually. Permission to keep the Blessed Sacrament in a convent oratory may be granted by the Ordinary. Once this has been granted the right to have a midnight Mass is derived from the general law. No further permission, papal or episcopal, is required.

(b) The priest may say his three Masses without a break. The word 'rituales' refers to the sanction given by the liturgical laws for three Masses on this occasion.


REV. DEAR SIR,-Many, I think, will be grateful for information in your pages as to whether a stole for confession requires to be blessed, and, if so, by what form and by whom? It is strange that all the likely books seem to avoid giving information on the point. You will, I am sure, be able to refer to some positive decisions bearing on the matter. Thanking you beforehand.


As far as we are aware, there is no positive decision on the point. It is agreed, however, that the stole used by a priest in any ecclesiastical function should be blessed. Van der Stappen says: Stolam quamcumque quae usuvenit sive pro Missa, sive pro quacumque ecclesiastica functione, sive sacerdotalis sit, sive diaconalis, benedictam esse debere omnes auctores docent.' Should a Bishop give the blessing, he may use the form Benedictio sacerdotalium indumentorum in genere or the Benedictio specialis cujuslibet indumenti, as found in the Pontifical. A priest is not allowed to use the latter form, although if he did use it the blessing is valid. He must, therefore, follow the first of these formulae, which is given in the Missal and Ritual. The blessing is to be recited exactly as it is given, without any change of number.

Those who are authorized to give this blessing are enumerated in the Code, to which we would refer our correspondent. The canon is too lengthy to quote.

1 Codex. Can. 1265, § 1, 2°.

2 Vol. iii. Q. 148, 1o.

3 S.C.R. Decr. n. 3524, ad ii. Van der Stappen, loco. cit. Others, however, hold that the singular should be used. Cf. Appeltern, De Amicis. * n. 1304.

4 Ibid.


REV. DEAR SIR,-The priest who conducts the exercises of a mission or retreat is empowered to give the Papal blessing at its conclusion. The Ritual presupposes that the versicles and prayer be said at the foot of the altar, and that the blessing be given with a crucifix from the predella on the Epistle side. It most frequently happens on such occasions that immediately before the Papal blessing the priest is in the pulpit and has to return to it immediately after. There is inconvenience, sometimes very considerable, owing to the position of the pulpit, in his passing to and fro from pulpit to altar, and it is calculated to excite admiratio. Might not the blessing, then, be always given from the pulpit at the conclusion of a mission or retreat?


We would point out to our correspondent that the formula given in the Ritual is intended to be used on certain solemn feasts-statis diebus —and that, therefore, the rubrics there prescribed are not to be taken as binding when the blessing is given at the close of a mission or retreat. 'Le rite prescrit aux religieux,' says Beringer,1 ́par Benoît XIV (viz., that given in the Ritual) . . . ne se rapporte pas, il est vrai, à la bénédiction donnée après les missions, les retraites, etc., mais seulement à la bénédiction papale solennelle qui se donne à deux grandes fêtes de l'année; toutefois il est le plus convenable, même dans les cas mentionnés. . . . Ce rite peut donc servir de règle, surtout lorsque rien de spécial n'est prescrit pour cette bénédiction.' As a matter of fact, no mention is made of the crucifix in the Ritual; whereas, in the faculties to impart the blessing after missions and retreats, the crucifix is usually ordered to be used. We may conclude, then, that in such cases it is quite lawful to give the blessing from the pulpit, especially if there is any inconvenience in proceeding to the altar.


Just as we were about to send these notes to the printers we received a document which may be of interest to some of our readers. A query was sent from the diocese of Kildare regarding the subject of the heading given above. It was pointed out to the S. C. R. that the solemn ceremonies cannot be carried out in oratoriis Sororum Religiosarum' on account of want of ministers. 'Adest tamen,' the statement proceeded, in aliquot (paucis) oratoriis hujusmodi consuetudo immemorialis Officia haec juxta Memoriale Rituum celebrandi.' The query was: an liceat consuetudinem istam retinere?' The following is the reply:

Et Sacra Rituum Congregatio, audito specialis Commissionis suffragio, praepositae questioni ita respondendum censuit. Ubi adest consuetudo immemorialis haec continuari potest. Pro Ecclesiis seu Oratoriis quae ejusmodi consuetudinem non habent, detur Rescriptum gratiae Rmo Dño Episcopo seu Ordinario Kildaren. et Leighlinen, juxta formulam typis impressam et praxim; servatis de cetero servandis. Contrariis non obstantibus quibuscunque. Die 31 Januarii 1919. T. O'DOHERTY.

1 Vol. i. p. 435 (Edit. 1905).

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