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obligation. If the reasons are valid at all, they exempt him from the Office from March till September-and would exempt him for life, if the 'summer-time' were extended, as it might be, to the whole year. For he may put off the Office till 11 p.m. (Greenwich) and then declare himself free on the ground that, 1°, the obligation ceases at 12 (summertime), 2°, no one is obliged to use the Greenwich-time privilege. A system that leads to this result is interesting as a curiosity, but can hardly claim a hearing in the forum of conscience.
2o. The extent of commutation-faculties depends on the words of the concession and, to some degree, on approved local interpretation. Sometimes they are very liberal; in America, for instance, many priests are allowed to substitute a short prayer for Matins and Lauds on any day on which their confessional duties keep them engaged for five hours, 1 Perhaps something of the kind holds in 'Capellanus'' diocese. The description he gives is too vague for satisfactory discussion. But we are not inclined to think very highly of two hours' recreation' as a 'legitimate impediment.'
3°. The 'gravius impedimentum' has been interpreted in the past in the light of the 'infirmitas,' and taken to involve some kind of physical incapacity. The best authorities expressly exclude travellers' from the benefit of the exception clause. But that need cause no trouble. There is no necessity to say the prayer immediately after the Office; the traveller will reach his destination sometime, and then he can fulfil the condition without inconveniencing himself or others.
M. J. O'DONNELL.
PARISH PRIESTS' OBLIGATIONS IN REGARD TO ATTENDANCE AT FUNERALS AND THE CARE OF THE SICK
REV. DEAR SIR,-Kindly enlighten me on the following points, in your next issue of the 1. E. RECORD:
I. A parish priest has recently made a rule in his parish-though not in force in the diocese-that the remains of deceased persons are to be taken to the church before burial. This rule was not published, and is only made known to the friends of deceased when they go to the parish priest to make arrangements for funeral service. If the remains are not taken to the church, owing to such short notice, is the parish priest justified in not attending funeral service, and preventing his curates from doing so?
II. In above case, does said parish priest come under censure in not asking the prayers of congregation for the deceased, when notice of deceased's death was handed in, and placed on the altar, as is customary? The curate of said parish priest requested the prayers of the congregation for said deceased, in another church of same parish, as also did two parish priests of adjoining parishes.
1 Sabetti-Barrett, Compendium, n. 583. * Maurel, Indulgences, p. 118.
III. Are the representatives of said deceased justified in withholding dues, till reparation of scandal is made?
IV. A parish priest was called on three times, on same day, his curate being absent from parish, to administer the Last Sacraments to a dying person. Each time his housekeeper announced that he was not in, although messenger saw him in his sitting-room. When messenger inquired for nearest telegraph office, to wire for a priest, the parish priest came out and told messenger to go to a priest, recently ordained, in the neighbourhood, and he would give him faculties. Was such conduct justifiable? Should parish priest have attended case himself? Thanking you for enlightenment on above.
T. P. B.
I. The Code has confirmed the old legislation which required that, as a general rule, deceased persons should be taken to the church before burial. Thus, Canon 1215 states that 'unless a grave cause prevents it, the dead bodies of the faithful should be transferred, before they are buried, from the place in which they are to the church, where the funeral service, that is, the whole series of exsequial rites which are described in the liturgical books, is to be performed.' In many places in this country, however, local custom has modified the general law: the transference of deceased persons to the church before burial is a purely optional proceeding. Wherever a centenary or immemorial custom of this nature exists, the Ordinary may still allow its continuance, if he deems its removal inadvisable on account of the peculiar circumstances of the locality."
In the diocese with which our correspondent is concerned, there is evidently a custom against the obligatory transference of deceased persons to the church before burial; and if it is centenary or immemorial—the fact that it is still continued in the diocese generally is an indication that it is subordinate superiors, such as parish priests, have no right to impose any binding rule in the matter, until the Ordinary first takes action; though, of course, they may use their influence to have the funeral service carried out in accordance with the general regulations. If the custom, however, is an ordinary one, it is abolished by Canon 1215; and a parish priest is quite within his rights in insisting upon the observance of the general law.
It is clear from what has been said, that if the custom was centenary or immemorial-and presumably it was-the parish priest was not justified in refusing to attend the funeral; the friends of the deceased were quite within their rights in not bringing the body of the deceased to the church. Neither was his action lawful, even though the custom was an ordinary one and, consequently, abolished by the new legislation,
1 Rituale Romanum, Exequiarum Ordo: Constituto tempore, quo corpus ad ecclesiam deferendum est, convocetur Clerus, et alii qui funeri interesse debent, et in parochialem, vel in aliam ecclesiam, juxta loci consuetudinem, ordine conveniant.'
2 Canon 5 Codicis: 'Aliae, quae quidem centenariae sint et immemorabiles, tolerari poterunt, si Ordinarii pro locorum et personarum adjunctis existiment eas prudenter submoveri non posse.'
if there was a grave reason for not bringing the body to the church; and the shortness of the notice given, the continuance of the custom in the rest of the diocese, and the prejudice which exists in certain localities against transferring the bodies of deceased persons to the church before burial might constitute such a reason. If no grave cause existed, then, looking at the matter in the abstract, we think that the parish priest was justified in not attending his action was, not a refusal to give Christian burial to the deceased, but rather a refusal to give him a mutilated form of it. The concrete circumstances might, however, render his abstention imprudent and even unlawful. The full funeral service is clearly not required by Canon 1215 in all possible circumstances. We think, therefore, that a parish priest should not insist upon it, if his doing so would stir up widespread enmity against himself, and thereby interfere with the fruitfulness of his ministry.
II. The parish priest was not justified in refusing to ask the prayers of the congregation for the deceased. Even though his relatives acted wrongly in preventing the deceased from being brought to the church, that was no reason for depriving him of this privilege. The parish priest, however, did not incur any censuré, nor was he, we think, guilty of grave sin, apart, of course, from scandal or any similar circumstance which may have been present.
III. The representatives of deceased are not justified in refusing to pay dues; they cannot take the law into their own hands, and themselves inflict punishment on the parish priest. If they wish to obtain redress, they should lodge a complaint with the Bishop.
IV. The parish priest himself should certainly have attended the sick person it is on him, not on his curate, that the obligation of exercising the pastoral charge primarily rests. Canonists, in dealing with the residence to which a parish priest is bound, insist very strongly on its being active and laborious: mere material presence in the parish, they maintain, does not of itself suffice. St. Alphonsus is quite clear on this point. Hence,' he states, 'doctors commonly say . . . that a parish priest is not regarded as residing, if he does not himself discharge the more important duties, namely, the preaching of the divine word, the administration of the sacraments, etc.' 1 Benedict XIV, on this subject, writes thus: 'It must be noted here that it is by no means sufficient, in order that a person may fulfil the law of residence which the Council of Trent and the Supreme Pontiffs commend so much and impose, if he is present merely in body, yet spends his time in idleness, or takes upon himself only the lighter duties, and commits the rest to delegates. this, however, is certain that such slothful parish priests are guilty of a deadly crime and should be punished by their superior in accordance with the gravity of their guilt.' 2
Now, one of the most important of the pastoral duties is the care of the sick; and, consequently, a parish priest who neglects it, or has it discharged entirely by others, does not live up to the idea of that laborious residence so much insisted upon by ecclesiastical writers.
1 Th. Mor., lib. iv. n. 127.
2 Inst. 17, n. 6.
But there is even more specific teaching on this matter. The Code,1 the Roman Ritual, and the Maynooth Synod, all lay the strongest emphasis on a parish priest's obligation to assist the sick. As the prescriptions of the Maynooth Fathers are very explicit, and bear directly upon the case under consideration, we shall quote them :
A parish priest should always have before his mind that the care of the sick is one of his principal duties. If they are in danger of death, he should fortify them without delay with the sacraments of the Church, and provide for their frequent visitation, even by lay people. When asked he should not refuse to visit the sick frequently, and even when not asked he should, either himself or through another priest, visit them frequently or at least once a week, frequently administer to them the Sacred Viaticum and, where it is possible, assist them when dying.
From what has been said, it is evident that the parish priest's refusal to administer the Last Sacraments to the sick person would not be justified without some excusing cause, even though his curate were present in the parish. In the latter's absence, his conduct was much more reprehensible still.
Before concluding, to avoid all misunderstanding, we desire to say -though it should be hardly necessary to do so that we take no responsibility for the statements made in this query. Our correspondent has evidently a concrete case or cases before his mind, but whether he has given the facts correctly is quite another question. Our reply must be understood to apply merely to the case or cases as submitted to us.
ADMINISTRATORS OF CATHEDRAL PARISHES IN ENGLAND AND THE MASS PRO POPULO'
REV. DEAR SIR,-Some few months ago you decided that the administrator of a cathedral in England, where he controls and administers the funds as if it were an ordinary parish, is bound to say the Masses pro populo, because he is to all intents and purposes a parish priest. May I ask if his parish could be made inamovibilis? I have an idea that the priest in charge of a cathedral parish could not be made ‘irremovable.' If this is so, could he be regarded as a parish priest and enjoy ordinary faculties as a parish priest? If he could not then it would seem that he is really not a parish priest, and not obliged to say the Missa pro populo.
A closer study of the Code has only helped to confirm us in the opinion that an administrator of a cathedral, or rather of a cathedral parish, in England is bound by the obligation of the Mass pro populo. The exist ence of the administrator indicates that the parish is a mensal one; and, in Canon 1423, § 2, the episcopal mensa is enumerated amongst the moral personalities to which parishes may be united. Now, Canon 471, § 1,
1 Canon 468.
2 De Visitatione et Cura Infirmorum.
3 Statute 287.
prescribes that, in a parish united to a moral person, a vicar should be appointed to discharge all the pastoral duties; and the last section of this same canon declares that such a vicar has all the rights and duties of a parish priest.
A vicar or administrator of this kind, in accordance with Canon 471, § 8, may be removed by the Ordinary in the same way as a parish priest; and, consequently, he may be either removable or irremovable. But, so far as the Mass pro populo is concerned, it does not matter what the nature of his tenure is. The law makes no distinction in this matter between removable and irremovable parish priests and vicars; and, consequently, we must conclude that the former as well as the latter are bound by this obligation.
The faculties, too, of a removable parish priest and a removable vicar are ordinary. Ordinary jurisdiction is defined to be that which is attached by law to an office (c. 197). The tenure by which a person holds an office does not, therefore, affect the nature of his faculties. Even though he is removable at will, the faculties which are attached to the office by law, and which he acquires through the office, are ordinary.
IN COMMON ERROR AND POSITIVE AND PROBABLE DOUBT THE CHURCH SUPPLIES JURISDICTION
REV. DEAR SIR,-Father Augustine, commenting on Canon 209, seems to hold that the Church does not supply jurisdiction in common error, unless there is in addition a 'coloured title'; in other words, it seems to be his opinion that the stricter, rather than the more liberal, view on this matter has been confirmed by the new legislation. regard to doubtful jurisdiction, he holds that the opinion favouring the existence of the jurisdiction must be more probable than the opposite one, in order that the Church may supply. Are these views well founded?
An answer in the pages of the I. E. RECORD would much oblige.
The passage in which Father Augustine gives expression to these views is the following:
Canon 209 provides for the common good and public security as well as for the tranquillity of conscience by re-affirming the well-known principle that the Church supplies the necessary jurisdiction when a common error or a positive doubt arises. Of course, the common error, to have this effect, must be accompanied by a titulus coloratus or an apparent title to the office one exercises. An intruder has no such claim. But if an Ordinary or confessor were commonly but erroneously supposed to have the necessary faculties, the Church would supply the defect of real jurisdiction. The same effect is produced by a positive and probable doubt, i.e., one which for certain reasons and circumstances inclines more to one side than to the other, in this case more to the side of the power being vested in the person whose court is sought.1
1 Commentary, vol. ii. p. 190.