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continues) for a period of about six years to allay all doubts and to cover any possible omissions.

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At times he has had fears, lest, through delaying as above described or through possible omissions, there might be something in the nature of reincidentia.' In the past, however, he looked into the questionmore than once, he believes-but each time made the mistake of thinking that penances imposed because of censures were on a par with those imposed in certain cases when a dispensation for marriage is granted— the non-fulfilment of which does not interfere with the validity.

These same fears have asserted themselves lately, and Caius, thinking that he had settled the question, but with some dread lest he might be mistaken, determined to look up the question again. Mostly through forgetfulness, but also possibly through negligence, this was not done. Then Caius accidentally came across Canon 2254 of the new Code, which gave rise to his present trouble. I may add that Caius ad evitandam scandalum et infamiam' obtained abso ution from an ordinary confessor, and applied within the month to Rome. Rome, amongst other conditions, told the confessor to impose a penance gravis et longa.'

May I ask, then, whether this is a case of reincidentia,' or whether I am right in telling Caius that it is not? He would seem to have fulfilled the penance substantially-especially in view of its being imposed for so long a term.

It is open to doubt whether the confessor confined the penance so rigidly to the week, so that if not said within that time, it would entail such consequences. Lastly, though there may be negligence-possibly serious there seems to be no sign of contumacy. For although Caius had such fears as above described, he was in ignorance, and, moreover, shows his goodwill in continuing the penance when he has reason to believe that the period during which it was imposed has passed.

S. L.

'Caius' would not re-incur the censure, even though he never said a single one of the rosaries prescribed. He would, of course, be guilty of a grave sin by failing to discharge a grave penance imposed for grave sins committed. But that is a different matter. 'Reincidence' is the penalty, not for omitting the penance, but for failing to have recourse to Rome within the month, or for refusing to accept the instructions received. Caius' discharged this second obligation faithfully his fears, therefore, about the return of the censure are absolutely groundless.1

Nor need Canon 2254 of the Code have given him cause for alarm. Even though it had introduced a change in this matter, it would have had no retrospective effect: the change would have been all a matter of mere theory for 'Caius.' In Canon 2226, § 2, for example, he will find it stated that though a subsequent penal law abrogates a previous one, still, if a crime has already been committed at the time the subsequent law is passed, the law to be applied is the law that favours the delinquent most.' Or, if he wants to rest his case on a broader basis, he

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1 Cf. Irish Theological Quarterly (Dr. M'Kenna), July, 1907, p. 362: 'Should the penitent duly return and accept the injunctions of the Superior, deliberate neglect in subsequently carrying out these instructions, while, of course, gravely sinful, does not involve the censure.'

has Canon 10 to fall back on: 'laws regard the future, not the past, unless they contain a special provision to the opposite.'

But, as a matter of fact, it has introduced no change at all bearing on 'Caius'' difficulties. The only section that could affect him is the first. It reads:

In the more urgent cases, if, that is, censures latae sententiae cannot be complied with externally without danger of grave scandal or loss of reputation, or if it be a hardship for the penitent to remain in the state of grave sin during the period required to have the Superior make provision for his case, then any confessor may absolve from them, no matter how reserved, in the sacramental forum. The confessor, however, must impose on the penitent an obligation of having recourse, under pain of re-incurring the censure, within a month-by letter and through the confessor (if that can be done without serious inconvenience) and without mentioning the name to the Penitentiary, or to the Bishop or other Superior to whom faculties have been granted, and [the further and consequent obligation] of abiding by the instructions received.

There is nothing in that to trouble Caius.' The Canon crystallizes the essential points of the decisions given in connexion with the famous enactment of 1886, and reproduces the very words in which they were expressed. There is no need to abandon any liberal interpretation that was tolerated under the old régime.

Perhaps it was the statement in the third section that roused 'Caius' suspicion. It tells us:

If in any abnormal case this recourse be morally impossible, then the confessor himself-apart from the case in which there is question of the absolution of the censure specified in Canon 2367, § 1-can grant an absolution without imposing the obligation mentioned above. He must, however, enjoin what the law requires, and impose a suitable penance and satisfaction for the censure, on the condition that the penitent, unless he discharges the penance and makes satisfaction within a suitable period to be fixed by the confessor, will fall into the censure again.


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But that is not 'Caius'' case. The confessor was not obliged to take the case into his own hands and deal with it on abnormal lines. Caius ' followed the ordinary course: he required none of the protection that this section would have given him: neither need he have any fear of its concluding words-which, we admit, do impose in the exceptional case the very régime he dreads. But, above and beyond all, he will note that this section is an addition to the old law, and, as we said above, is not retrospective.

'S. L.,' we think, will advise 'Caius' to trouble no more about the matter. The penance already discharged is enough, in all conscience. We do not presume to question the previous confessor's judgment, but his interpretation of a penance 'gravis et longa' would seem not to

1 They are given in full in the Appendix to the Maynooth Statutes (1900), pp. 113-124.

The general obligations affecting a penitent.

have erred on the side of leniency. We may contrast it with the view of a well-balanced theologian:

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Agrave penance is one the weight of which so affects the guilty man that he is thereby made to feel and know the gravity of his offence. On the authority of St. Alphonsus (vi. 1143) we should have such a penance if there were imposed for a period of six months a weekly fast, three rosaries a week, or frequent confession (once a month at least)... A 'long' penance is one that continues each week for a whole year.

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There are Ordinaries who assign the degrees of penance as follows. For 'salutary' penance they impose the recitation of five Paters and Aves five times a day; for grave' penance, the same, with the Acts of Faith, Hope, and Charity, daily for four weeks; for 'grave and protracted '1 the same, for eight weeks.2

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Selections like these may give 'S. L.' greater courage in dealing with the situation.


REV. DEAR SIR,-When I read the I. E. RECORD of February 1918, I took special note of a statement you make on page 116, as I am rather interested (at present) in the question of Ecclesiastical burial. Regarding the Precept of Paschal Communion, you write: 'It only remains to say that the 'ferendae sententiae' punishments directed against those who violate the precept fall out in theory [italics are mine] as they have long since fallen out in practice.' I have no intention at present to controvert the general statement you make, and only wish respectfully to draw your attention to the two following points:

1o. In Canon 859, § 1, where the old precept is re-stated, reference at the foot of the page is made by Cardinal Gasparri to the Rituale Rom., tit. iv. c. 3, De Communione Paschali, n. 1, 4. There, as you know, is given the Constit. Concilii Lateran., 1215, which includes the penalty alioquin . . . moriens Christiana careat sepultura.' This is not deleted in the Editio Typica of 1913, and yet we may presume that those responsible for this new edition must have been well aware of what was going to be put in the Codex Juris Canonici anent this matter.

2o. In Canon 1240, § 1, where the different classes that are to be denied ecclesiastical burial are given, we find No. 6, 'alii peccatores pu lici et manifesti.' Then reference is made below regarding Suicides, 16 May, 1866; Oddfellows, 10 May, 1898; those civilly married to an infidel, 6 July, 1898; and finally, there is a special reference to Rituale Rom., tit. iv. c. 3, De Communione Paschali, n. 1, and again tit. vi. c. 2, Quibus non licet dare Eccles. Sepulturam, n. 2-6.

As I said at the beginning, I have no wish to dispute the accuracy of your statement; but I must say I find it rather difficult to reconcile it with the two references I have quoted-both of which are supplied by Cardinal Gasparri himself.

As regards the practice, of course that is a different question altogether. There will be very little, if any, difference of opinion amongst the clergy on that point.

1 'Diuturna '-a stronger term than 'longa.'

2 Marc, Inst. Mor. Alph., ii. 2055.

G. C.

'G. C.' raises a very interesting point in regard to the interpretation of the new Code. His suggestions are based on what some people term the 'notes' in Cardinal Gasparri's edition-the 'notes,' however, as our readers know, being merely references to previous laws on the matters dealt with in the Canons to which they are attached. When we wrote the article to which he refers-about a year ago—the annotated edition was not available. Our interpretation was based exclusively on the Code itself, as then known to the public.

In the Code itself there was, and is, no mention of a special penalty, latae or ferendae sententiae, in connexion with those who violate the Paschal precept. There are several references to 'public sinners': under that head the offenders in question might take their stand-but in company with a host of others, of whom the Code makes no specific mention, and in connexion with whom it would be incorrect to say that there are any special penalties decreed. Dealing, therefore, with 'G. C.'s' delinquents as such, we had no choice but to say that, even in theory, the old penalties had disappeared. For we read that as regards penalties, of which no mention is made in the Code-whether they be spiritual or temporal, medicinal or (as they are termed) vindicatory, latae or ferendae sententiae-they are to be looked upon as abrogated' (6, 5°).

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That does not mean, of course, that malefactors, who have been fortunate enough to escape mention in the Code, must be allowed to go unpunished. The regulations on 'public sinners' may be invoked any day by a Bishop who finds a delinquent notorious enough to call for inclusion in the group. National, Provincial and diocesan laws may make the punishment more definite still; and the Code will say nothing to the opposite. But, after all, that would not have justified us in selecting a special class of public sinners-say public usurers or thieves or drunkards or rapacious captains of industry-and in claiming that there was in the Code a special punishment, even ferendae sententiae, directed against them. And so of those who violated the Paschal precept.

Even with Gasparri's 'notes' to guide us, we see no reason for expressing our views in more rigorous language. The notes, important as they are, are no portion of the Code. If the opposite is ever defined, it will mark a sad development in Canon Law: all the chaotic legislation of the past will sweep over us again, and the Code will be only a straw on the waters. But the contingency is too remote to give us any anxiety. In the sources referred to in the 'notes' there are documents out of harmony with the new legislation: there are many in complete contradiction: only a few can be said to be in thorough agreement. The object in giving the references is to direct attention to the laws that we must keep in mind when we apply the rules of interpretation given in the first six Canons. We had them all already, but the 'notes' help us to recall them. That is all.

The reference attached to Canon 859 docs involve the decree of the Council of Lateran. But, obviously, the decree is not to be taken as giving the meaning of the Canon: else we should have to debar (these men) from entrance into the Church during life '—and no one now dreams

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of treating them so harshly. The reference gives us a view of the stringent Church legislation and policy in the past: when that is done, its lesson is conveyed and its work is finished.

The citations attached to Canon 1240 look, at first sight, more menacing. So perhaps we may be allowed to give the Canon in full:

The following are to be deprived of ecclesiastical burial, unless, before death, they have given some signs of repentance:

1o. Notorious apostates from the Christian faith, and those who are well known to be members of an heretical or schismatical sect or of the Masonic sect or other societies of the same description;

2o. Those under excommunication or interdict, when a condemnatory

or declaratory sentence has been passed;

3°. Those who have deliberately committed suicide;

4°. Those who die in a duel or of a wound received in one;

5°. Those who have given orders to have their bodies cremated; 6°. Other public and open sinners.

Some may be inclined to think that the enumeration of the first five classes is superfluous: would the designation 'public and open sinners' not cover them all? It would. But the purpose is clear. The five most offending classes are selected for special mention, and a special penalty, ferendae sententiae, is directed against them. No other class has been marked off for special treatment. So the violator of the Paschal precept is lost in the general mass of sinful humanity: and it would be unfair to dispel the shadow that the Code has mercifully thrown over him.

'G. C.'s' references are quite correct. The men he mentions are all there and many more besides. Of all those mentioned, five are selected for an evil eminence. What of the others? Where the law makes no distinction, neither should we.' The law makes all of them one, and we may leave them so. None of them, as such, is threatened with a special penalty. But, if they make themselves specially prominent, they are reminded, in n. 6o, that the resources of canonical punishment are not exhausted.

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So our conclusion is the same as before. The reference to the Editio typica (1913) does not excite us very much: we have had to refer already to a case in which those responsible for this new edition' would seem not to have been well aware of what was going to be put in the Codex Juris Canonici.' We are glad to see that 'G. C.'s' theoretical difficulties are to have no effect on practice. It is pleasant to know that, however we differ about the proper method of summing up the facts as disclosed in the Code, we agree on the only point that is likely to be of much interest to missionary priests.

1 See I. E. RECORD (April, 1918), Fifth Series, vol. xi. p. 293.

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