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REV. DEAR SIR,-X had a domicile in my parish for thirty years. He has just given it up, is now paying visits to friends in various dioceses, and intends taking up permanent residence in a neighbouring diccese after a few weeks. In the meantime he wishes to be married to a parishioner of mine. Is he to be treated as a 'vagus,' and am I obliged to apply to the Bishop for permission to assist at the marriage? I am assured by our local theologians that I am, but I must say the whole thing seems very unreasonable. I know this man well, and am as sure as anyone can be that there is no impediment. What light can the Bishop throw on the matter, and why should he be troubled with it? If the man had been married last month, I could have proceeded without anyone's permission. What has happened since to make these extreme precautions necessary?
We sympathize with 'Parochus.' We do not know whether anything may have happened since to make these extreme precautions necessary'; but it does seem strange that he should have to go to all this trouble in regard to a man whom he has known nearly all his life, or that he should be obliged to ask for guidance when he is the best possible guide himself. And, in his favour, it must be remembered that the Council of Trent, when it prescribed an appeal to the Bishop in the case of 'vagi,' had in mind those who wander about without any fixed residence the 'habitual vagi,' not the accidental' and 'temporary vagus' of our correspondent."
The only question is whether the Ne Temere and the Code have extended the regulation. And, technically speaking at all events, it would really look as if they had. If 'Parochus'' friends want to give him trouble, they will, we have no doubt, let him hear an amount on the following points:
1o. Canon 1032 makes no distinction between 'habitual' and 'temporary vagi.' And the old principle, Ubi lex non distinguit, etc., is still a maxim of interpretation.
2o. The same Canon reproduces almost word for word art. v. § 4, of the Ne Temere. Now, the Congregation of the Sacraments, when consulted about that passage, replied that 'under the name of vagi in art. v, § 4, are to be understood all those, and only those, who have nowhere, by reason of either domicile or month's residence, a parish priest or Ordinary of their own.' 4 In view of the modification introduced by Canon 1097, § 1, 2°, the important words now would run domicile or quasi-domicile or month's residence.' But that will give 'Parochus no consolation. His friend has no quasi-domicile, any more than he has a domicile or month's residence.
3. Canon 1097 lays down the rules for lawful assistance at a marriage.
It provides for those who have a domicile, quasi-domicile, or month's residence, and for the vagi' as well. If the temporary' wanderers are not included in the latter class, where are they? Is there no arrangement at all made for them?
4°. If we look for a definition to the only Canon that professes to give one-Canon 91-matters are still worse. There a 'vagus' is defined as a man who has no domicile or quasi-domicile anywhere.'
But those technicalities may, we think, easily be pressed too far. If adhered to strictly, they will lead to conclusions that the legislator surely cannot have intended. 'Parochus' may, for instance, ask his friends whether they would assist, without asking for the Bishop's permission, at the marriage of a lady who has resided for a month in their parish without acquiring a domicile or quasi-domicile. They will probably resent the implication that they cannot. And, very justly, they will point to Canon 1097, § 1, 2°, which gives them full authorization, and to the reply, already quoted, which proves that the lady is not a 'vaga.' But if they do, they forget Canon 91, which certainly rules. against them, and which is cited in the very canon (1032) which prescribes an appeal to the Bishop.
That is how the matter stands. If a disputant wants to be troublesome, he can raise doubt and endless difficulties. But, when we find that strict insistence on the letter of the law leads to such a strange conclusion as that suggested in the last paragraph, we begin to grow suspicious of the whole process. Technically, it may be contended that 'Parochus is bound to get the Bishop's permission. Practically, in view of previous laws and of the apparent purpose of the whole regulation, we cannot, until we get a decision to that effect, bring ourselves to believe that there is any serious obligation.1
M. J. O'DONNELL.
1 If the prospective bridegroom intended remaining in the diocese, the new regulations on diocesan' domicile would meet the difficulty.
THE OBLIGATION OF PREACHING ON SUNDAYS AND
REV. DEAR SIR,-Canon 1348 of the new Code says that the faithful are to be earnestly exhorted to attend sermons frequently. This naturally implies that the sermons themselves must be frequent. Now, the writer knows places where there is no sermon at any of the Masses for at least three Summer months. Of course, there are evening devotions, on holidays as well as Sundays, and confraternity meetings during the week-on all of which occasions there is a sermon. But, I submit, this arrangement provides sermons only for those who least need them. Of those who attend Sunday night devotions, the vast majority are confraternity men and women; and even when zealous priests have got a large percentage of the faithful into the parish confraternities, you will not see that large percentage' at the weekly confraternity meeting. As a consequence, for three or four months very many never hear a sermon, because they attend the only service which is obligatory-the Mass.
As far as strict law goes, leaving aside exhortation, perhaps there can be no objection to the above. Statute 299 of the Maynooth Synod (1900), it is true, entirely reprobates the practice of omitting, in Summertime, the Sunday sermon, but it does not reprobate omissions at Mass. However, I am inclined to condemn the above arrangement.
(1) In the statutes of an Irish diocese, under the heading 'Decreta et monita miscellanea,' I read: Singuli sacerdotes hujusce diocesis tam coadjutores quam parochi . singulis diebus dominicis et festis, gregem sibi creditam verbis salutaribus fascant.' It were hard to keep this injunction in the case stated (only one Sunday sermon-at the evening devotions) if the parish had more than one priest. Perhaps the injunction implies that each priest should preach at the devotions, and thus have a competition in preaching as well as long devotions?
(2) Again, the same statutes in Instructiones pro concionatoribus' say: Moneant (praedicatores) populum, ut frequenter ad suas parochias, saltem diebus Dominiciis et festis majoribus, accedat, ibique verbum Dei audiat, etc.' But it is an utter impossibility for as many to hear the Word of God as hear Mass, owing to lack of accommodation-on Sunday night you cannot pack as many into the church as were there at four or five Masses in the forenoon. Besides, as stated already, many will not come to the devotions, because there is no obligation to do so. (3) Maynooth Statute No. 295 seems to be opposed.
(4) It fits in badly with the Encyclical Letter Acerbo nimis of 15th April, 1905, and with the modifications of that Encyclical which were sanctioned by the Irish Bishops. In the modifications of the sixth section the Bishops, inter alia, say that where there are evening devotions, there should be a sermon in the morning and a catechetical instruction in the evening, or vice versa (I. E. RECORD, December, 1905, p. 563).
Rightly or wrongly, I have got it into my head that, as a rule, to every Mass of obligation there should be a bit of a sermon attached. A
reply at your earliest convenience, in the I. E. RECORD, would oblige others as well as
The purpose of this query is to find out whether, and in how far, it is obligatory to have sermons at Masses celebrated in parochial churches for the accommodation of the faithful on Sundays and holidays of obligation. The Code deals with this matter in Canon 1344, § 1. ‘On Sundays and other feasts of obligation during the year,' this section states, it is the duty of every parish priest to make known the word of God to the faithful by means of the customary homily, especially during the Mass which the majority of people usually attend.' If this canon were to be interpreted by itself without reference to the pre-existing legislation, it might be possible to maintain that, so far as strict law is concerned, the obligation here imposed would be fulfilled, even if the sermon or homily were given outside of Mass, for example, at evening devotions. In view of the old discipline, however, it is certain that the comparison instituted by the word praesertim, especially, is between the principal and other Masses, not between it and any other function whatever. The Council of Trent, Sess. XXII, c. 8,1 and Sess. XXIV, c. 7, de Ref., made it clear that the customary homily to which this canon refers should be given during Mass. The Encyclical Acerbo nimis, in which our late Holy Father, Pope Pius X, so clearly defined the discipline on catechetical instruction, takes this point for granted. Parish priests and others having the care of souls,' it states, 'besides the customary homily on the Gospel, which should be given in the parochial Mass on all feast days, should also instruct the faithful in catechism, etc.' 3
From what has been said it is evident that, whilst a parish priest is bound to preach during Mass on Sundays and holidays, he is not obliged, either personally or through a substitute, to do so at all the parochial Masses. Perfect compliance with this obligation demands only a sermon at the Mass usually attended by the majority of the faithful, and its substantial fulfilment will be attained even by one given at any of the parochial Masses. It is even provided that the Ordinary may permit the omission of the sermon altogether on the more solemn feasts, and for a just cause, on some Sundays also (C. 1844, § 3).
That, so far as general law is concerned, there is no strict obligation to have a sermon at all parochial Masses is indicated also in Canon 1345.
1' Quamobrem mandat sancta synodus pastoribus et singulis curam animarum gerentibus, ut frequenter inter missarum celebrationem vel per se vel per alios ex iis, quae in missa leguntur, aliquid exponant, atque inter cetera sanctissimi hujus sacrificii mysterium aliquod declarent, diebus praesertim dominicis et festis.'
2' Necnon ut inter missarum solemnia aut divinorum celebrationem sacra eloquia et salutis monita eadem vernacula lingua singulis diebus festivis vel solemnibus explanent.'
3 'Parochi universi ceterisque animarum curam gerentes, praeter consuetam homiliam de Evangelio, quae festis diebus omnibus in parochiali Sacro est habenda, etc.'
'It is desirable,' this canon states, 'that there should be a brief explanation of the Gospel or some part of Christian Doctrine in Masses which are celebrated in presence of the faithful in all churches and public oratories on feast days of obligation; and should the local Ordinary command this and make suitable regulations for its fulfilment, not only secular priests but also religious, even those who are exempt, are bound by this law in their own churches.' In Ireland we have a local regulation of this nature. The Maynooth Synod, n. 295, commands those having the cure of souls, in addition to the sermon at the principal Mass, to read in the vernacular the Gospel of the day, and to give an instruction of at least five minutes' duration at all public Masses on Sundays and holidays, unless the Bishop otherwise disposes on account of the special circumstances of any parish.1
Although our correspondent speaks expressly only of sermons, we gather from his letter that he intends to include in his query catechetical instructions also. Now, the obligation of giving catechetical instruction to adults, though allied to is yet distinct from that of preaching. It is dealt with in Canon 1332. On Sundays and other feasts of precept,' it is stated, 'at that hour which, in his judgment, is most suitable for the attendance of the people, the parish priest should besides explain the catechism to the adult faithful in language suited to their intelligence.' In addition, therefore, to the obligation of the homily or sermon on Sundays and holidays, there is also the further one of the catechetical instruction—the very position which obtained after the publication of the Acerbo nimis in 1905. Now, it will be remembered that the Irish Bishops received special faculties from the Holy See to make accidental changes in regard to the time and manner in which the regulations contained in the Encyclical were to be fulfilled. In accordance with the general principle enunciated in Canon 4, these powers, in so far as they are necessary, still continue; and, consequently also the modifications which have been made in virtue of them. In regard to the particular point with which we are concerned-preaching to and catechising adults -the regulation of the Irish hierarchy is the following: 'VI. As to the sixth point, the giving of catechetical instruction to adults, a programme indicating the subjects of instruction will be issued by each Bishop. This, as directed in the Encyclical, will be so arranged as to provide a complete course of catechetical instruction extending over not more than four or five years.'
As regards the time at which the Catechetical Instruction is to be given, the following arrangement is to be followed: In churches in which there are evening devotions on Sundays, the ordinary sermon being preached at Mass, the Catechetical Instruction is to be given in the
1' Praecipimus ut diebus Dominicis et festivis omnes qui curam animarum habent, praeter concionem quae in Missa principali fieri debet, intra celebrationem omnium omnino Missarum publicarum Evangelium diei occurrentis, lingua vernacula . . . distincte legant, atque per breve tempus, saltem per duodecimam partem horae, populum in lege Domini erudiant, nisi ob circumstantias alicujus paroeciae Episcopus aliter disponat.'
* Vide Appendix to Maynooth Statutes, p. 230.