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 Confession in Danger of Death 
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New post Confession in Danger of Death
John Lane wrote:
In this they are no different from a Greek Orthodox priest who is approached by a Catholic in danger of death. His absolution would be valid by supplied jurisdiction. The Greek doesn't have, and cannot have, habitual jurisdiction, but he can, in specific circumstances, act validly when the Church supplies jurisdiction for that act in those circumstances..



Dear John,

Not to derail your post, but in the case of the Greek Orthodox priest, don't you mean that he can act validly and *licitly* and this can only be done when in *eminent* danger of death?

Lance


Mon Aug 20, 2012 9:24 am
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New post Re: Successors of the Apostles - Jurisdiction
Lance,

For a valid absolution, the priest must possess jurisdiction. The Sacrament of Penance and Matrimony are unique among the sacraments in regard to jurisdiction. Whereas the others sacraments would typically only be illicit if the priest does not possess jurisdiction, Penance and Matimony would be both invalid and illicit if the priest does not possess jurisdiction.

Quote:
"The Sacrament of Penance is, moreover, in its dispensation essentially judicial. The minister of the Sacrament is judge over the soul; hence he must have in addition to Holy Orders the power of spiritual jurisdiction (potestas jurisdictionis).
Thus for a valid absolution there are required both potestas ordinis and potestas jurisdictionis." (pp.279-280)
Theory and Practice of the Confessional, Schieler and Heuser, 1905
http://books.google.com/books?id=jDQQAQAAIAAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=absolution+jurisdiction+valid&source=bl&ots=ULW0THO85v&sig=hXdqosa-HpI4oiwtikwVaW-pZPw&hl=en&sa=X&ei=5XoyUMfOMMOayQGgj4GYDQ&ved=0CEIQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=jurisdiction%20valid&f=false


Also, the danger of death does not need to be imminent

Quote:
“The code does not specify imminent death, but merely danger of death. It does not matter from what source the danger of death arises - sickness, wounds, impending serious operation, call of a soldier to war, etc.” (p.491)

A Practical Commentary on the Code of Canon Law. Woywod, Stanislaus, O.F.M. Ed. Smith, Callistus, O.F.M., J.C.L. New York: Joseph F. Wagner, Inc. 1948


Mon Aug 20, 2012 6:30 pm
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New post Re: Successors of the Apostles - Jurisdiction
Joe Cupertino wrote:
For a valid absolution, the priest must possess jurisdiction.

Isn't the point that, in danger of death, the priest (without proper jurisdiction) doesn't ever actually possess jurisdiction; but it is supplied by the Church for that very specific act?


Mon Aug 20, 2012 7:39 pm
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New post Re: Successors of the Apostles - Jurisdiction
Robert Bastaja wrote:
Joe Cupertino wrote:
For a valid absolution, the priest must possess jurisdiction.

Isn't the point that, in danger of death, the priest (without proper jurisdiction) doesn't ever actually possess jurisdiction; but it is supplied by the Church for that very specific act?

Robert,

For absolution in danger of death, a priest that had no jurisdiction would possess jurisdiction for that act, since it would be indirectly delegated to him by law (delegate a jure), particularly c.882.

The following passage is from: Bouscaren, T. Lincoln, S.J., and Ellis, Adam, S.J. Canon Law: A Text and
Commentary
. Milwaukee: The Bruce Publishing Company, 1946.

Quote:
“The law itself may grant the jurisdiction in certain circumstances as canon 882 grants to all priests jurisdiction to absolve from all sins and censures in danger of death. This is called jurisdiction delegated by law.” (p.134)


The next passages are from: Kelly, James P., J.C.D. The Jurisdiction of the Confessor: According to the
Code of Canon Law.
New York: Benzinger Brothers, 1929

Quote:
“This jurisdiction, which the Code grants in these extraordinary circumstances, when it is not annexed to an office in the strict sense of the term, seems best called delegated by law (delegate a jure); for the office of confessor is not an ecclesiastical office in the strict sense, and in some cases jurisdiction is granted by the Code to priests who do not hold even the office of confessor. Therefore this jurisdiction cannot be said to be ordinary. Nor can it be said to be delegated ab homine, since it is not granted immediately and personally by a superior to an individual.” (p.85)

“Anyone who has been validly ordained a priest, and thereby possesses the power of orders, receives from this canon [c.882] the necessary power of jurisdiction for granting absolution from any sin or censure as long as the penitent is in danger of death. Therefore, anyone possessed of the sacramental character of priestly orders, be he apostate, heretic, or schismatic, degraded or reduced to the lay state, laboring under an irregularity, excommunication, suspension, or personal interdict, or merely one who has no jurisdiction to hear confessions, or no jurisdiction in this particular place, grants valid absolution to any penitent who is in danger of death.” (pp.92-93)


Mon Aug 20, 2012 8:45 pm
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New post Re: Successors of the Apostles - Jurisdiction
Hi Joe,

Joe Cupertino wrote:
Lance,

For a valid absolution, the priest must possess jurisdiction. The Sacrament of Penance and Matrimony are unique among the sacraments in regard to jurisdiction. Whereas the others sacraments would typically only be illicit if the priest does not possess jurisdiction, Penance and Matimony would be both invalid and illicit if the priest does not possess jurisdiction.

Quote:
"The Sacrament of Penance is, moreover, in its dispensation essentially judicial. The minister of the Sacrament is judge over the soul; hence he must have in addition to Holy Orders the power of spiritual jurisdiction (potestas jurisdictionis).
Thus for a valid absolution there are required both potestas ordinis and potestas jurisdictionis." (pp.279-280)
Theory and Practice of the Confessional, Schieler and Heuser, 1905
http://books.google.com/books?id=jDQQAQAAIAAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=absolution+jurisdiction+valid&source=bl&ots=ULW0THO85v&sig=hXdqosa-HpI4oiwtikwVaW-pZPw&hl=en&sa=X&ei=5XoyUMfOMMOayQGgj4GYDQ&ved=0CEIQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=jurisdiction%20valid&f=false


I agree with the above however, there are cases in which a priest can validly (assuming he has ordinary or supplied jurisdiction) but illicitly confer absolution.

Also, the danger of death does not need to be imminent

Quote:
“The code does not specify imminent death, but merely danger of death. It does not matter from what source the danger of death arises - sickness, wounds, impending serious operation, call of a soldier to war, etc.” (p.491)

A Practical Commentary on the Code of Canon Law. Woywod, Stanislaus, O.F.M. Ed. Smith, Callistus, O.F.M., J.C.L. New York: Joseph F. Wagner, Inc. 1948


I disagree with your assessment of this. It seems to me that this pertains only to a Catholic priest without ordinary jurisdiction. It does not appertain to a schismatic priest. As far as I can see, a Catholic may only have recourse to a validly ordained schismatic priest when he/she is in imminent danger of death (not just danger of death) with no risk of scandal because Canon 1258 bans communicatio in sacris. See Fr. Kelly at the end of page 93.


Mon Aug 20, 2012 9:40 pm
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New post Re: Successors of the Apostles - Jurisdiction
Lance Tardugno wrote:
Hi Joe,

I disagree with your assessment of this. It seems to me that this pertains only to a Catholic priest without ordinary jurisdiction. It does not appertain to a schismatic priest. As far as I can see, a Catholic may only have recourse to a validly ordained schismatic priest when he/she is in imminent danger of death (not just danger of death) with no risk of scandal because Canon 1258 bans communicatio in sacris. See Fr. Kelly at the end of page 93.


Yes, that may be true. This is left unsettled in my mind. However, a few questions come to mind here. They might be a little redundant.

If in danger of death a person could not have recourse to a schismatic priest because of the sin of communicatio in sacris, what reason do we have to believe that a person could have recourse to this priest in an imminent danger of death?

If the sin of communicatio in sacris is always incurred by someone having recourse to a schismatic priest for sacraments, why is it not incurred in an imminent danger of death?

If communicatio in sacris is not always incurred by someone having recourse to a schismatic priest for sacraments, what sources tell us that that this sin is not incurred in a case of an imminent danger of death, but that the sin is incurred in a case of a non-imminent danger of death?

I'm open to drawing the line at an imminent danger of death for receiving absolution from a schismatic, but have not seen any sources that have made that particular distinction. To me it would seem that either a person can receive absolution from a schismatic in a non-imminent danger of death or a person can never receive absolution from a schismatic at all.


Tue Aug 21, 2012 12:03 am
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New post Re: Successors of the Apostles - Jurisdiction
Joe Cupertino wrote:
Lance Tardugno wrote:
Hi Joe,

I disagree with your assessment of this. It seems to me that this pertains only to a Catholic priest without ordinary jurisdiction. It does not appertain to a schismatic priest. As far as I can see, a Catholic may only have recourse to a validly ordained schismatic priest when he/she is in imminent danger of death (not just danger of death) with no risk of scandal because Canon 1258 bans communicatio in sacris. See Fr. Kelly at the end of page 93.


Yes, that may be true. This is left unsettled in my mind. However, a few questions come to mind here. They might be a little redundant.

If in danger of death a person could not have recourse to a schismatic priest because of the sin of communicatio in sacris, what reason do we have to believe that a person could have recourse to this priest in an imminent danger of death?

If the sin of communicatio in sacris is always incurred by someone having recourse to a schismatic priest for sacraments, why is it not incurred in an imminent danger of death?

If communicatio in sacris is not always incurred by someone having recourse to a schismatic priest for sacraments, what sources tell us that that this sin is not incurred in a case of an imminent danger of death, but that the sin is incurred in a case of a non-imminent danger of death?

I'm open to drawing the line at an imminent danger of death for receiving absolution from a schismatic, but have not seen any sources that have made that particular distinction. To me it would seem that either a person can receive absolution from a schismatic in a non-imminent danger of death or a person can never receive absolution from a schismatic at all.


What Fr. Kelly says on page 93 I think explains what seems to you as an apparent contradiction. He says: "Unless necessity urges, and another cannot be obtained, or it would be too difficult or repugnant for the penitent to confess to him who can be obtained, it is gravely illicit for a penitent to confess to an apostate, heretic, or schismatic priest even in danger of death, for this is communication in divinis with a heretic. But if true necessity exists, even this can be permitted as the lesser of two evils, as long as the prescriptions of the natural law regarding the danger of perversion and scandal are fulfilled"

I believe the key here is: "but if true necessity exists, even this can be permitted as the lesser of two evils, as long as the prescriptions of the natural law regarding the danger of perversion and scandal are fulfilled". Notice also he says: "unless necessity urges". Now the only thing they could be "necessity", in my mind, is the imminent danger of death.

One more thing to take note of, he says that: "It is gravely illicit for a penitent to confess to an apostate". Father Kelly uses the word illicit but does not say that the sacrament is invalid.


Tue Aug 21, 2012 12:33 am
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New post Re: Successors of the Apostles - Jurisdiction
Lance Tardugno wrote:

What Fr. Kelly says on page 93 I think explains what seems to you as an apparent contradiction. He says: "Unless necessity urges, and another cannot be obtained, or it would be too difficult or repugnant for the penitent to confess to him who can be obtained, it is gravely illicit for a penitent to confess to an apostate, heretic, or schismatic priest even in danger of death, for this is communication in divinis with a heretic. But if true necessity exists, even this can be permitted as the lesser of two evils, as long as the prescriptions of the natural law regarding the danger of perversion and scandal are fulfilled"

I believe the key here is: "but if true necessity exists, even this can be permitted as the lesser of two evils, as long as the prescriptions of the natural law regarding the danger of perversion and scandal are fulfilled". Notice also he says: "unless necessity urges". Now the only thing they could be "necessity", in my mind, is the imminent danger of death.

One more thing to take note of, he says that: "It is gravely illicit for a penitent to confess to an apostate". Father Kelly uses the word illicit but does not say that the sacrament is invalid.



Lance,

It's my understanding that, when taken in context, the passage you cited is discussing the situation in which both an approved priest and unapproved priest are available. The paragraph prior to it says that when an approved priest is available, it would still be both valid and licit to receive absolution from a non-apostate, non-heretical, non-schismatic, unapproved priest; though a light sin would be committed by the priest. This is then followed by the paragraph you cited, which discusses the same situation, that is when both an approved priest and unapproved priest are available; but in this passage the unapproved priest under consideration is an apostate, heretic, or schismatic.

Quote:
“In view of the wide scope given by the wording of this canon, it is the teaching of canonists and theologians that the absolution granted by any of the above-mentioned priests, except an apostate, heretic or schismatic, will also be licit even in the presence of an approved priest. Of course the approved priest should be preferred if there is no reason for the penitent being absolved by the unapproved priest, especially if he is laboring under penalty. But if for any reason the penitent should prefer the unapproved priest, it is valid and licit for him to absolve. It is difficult to imagine a case in which an unapproved priest would absolve in the presence of an approved priest without any reason for so acting; but if such were the case, he would seem to commit a light sin, at any rate, by violating the order of preference demanded by natural equity.

Unless Necessity urges, and another cannot be obtained, or it would be too difficult or repugnant for the penitent to confess to him who can be obtained, it is gravely illicit for a penitent to confess to an apostate, heretic, or schismatic priest even in danger of death, for this is communication in divinis with a heretic. But if true necessity exists, even this can be permitted as the lesser of two evils, as long as the prescriptions of the natural law regarding the danger of perversion and scandal are fulfilled.” (Kelly.93-94)


The last paragraph, from what I can tell, seems to be continuing the particular topic of the first paragraph in discussing the situation in which an approved priest can be obtained, as opposed to the entirely different scenario of when an approved priest cannot be obtained. It seems that when an approved priest can be obtained it is the choice to confess to an apostate, heretic, or schismatic priest that makes the confession gravely illicit and an act of communicatio in sacris. The last sentence of the paragraph, from my understanding, goes on to say that if some true necessity exists, it is even permitted to confess to an apostate, heretic, or schismatic, even when another approved priest can be obtained.

It seems that paragraph #1 discusses confession in danger of death when there is an approved priest available, along with a Catholic, but unapproved priest; and paragraph #2 discusses confession in danger of death when there is an approved priest available, along with a non-Catholic, unapproved priest. Both involve a situation in which an approved priest can be obtained.


Tue Aug 21, 2012 2:21 am
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New post Re: Successors of the Apostles - Jurisdiction
Joe Cupertino wrote:
Robert Bastaja wrote:
Joe Cupertino wrote:
For a valid absolution, the priest must possess jurisdiction.

Isn't the point that, in danger of death, the priest (without proper jurisdiction) doesn't ever actually possess jurisdiction; but it is supplied by the Church for that very specific act?

Robert,

For absolution in danger of death, a priest that had no jurisdiction would possess jurisdiction for that act, since it would be indirectly delegated to him by law (delegate a jure), particularly c.882.

The following passage is from: Bouscaren, T. Lincoln, S.J., and Ellis, Adam, S.J. Canon Law: A Text and
Commentary
. Milwaukee: The Bruce Publishing Company, 1946.

Quote:
“The law itself may grant the jurisdiction in certain circumstances as canon 882 grants to all priests jurisdiction to absolve from all sins and censures in danger of death. This is called jurisdiction delegated by law.” (p.134)


The next passages are from: Kelly, James P., J.C.D. The Jurisdiction of the Confessor: According to the
Code of Canon Law.
New York: Benzinger Brothers, 1929

Quote:
“This jurisdiction, which the Code grants in these extraordinary circumstances, when it is not annexed to an office in the strict sense of the term, seems best called delegated by law (delegate a jure); for the office of confessor is not an ecclesiastical office in the strict sense, and in some cases jurisdiction is granted by the Code to priests who do not hold even the office of confessor. Therefore this jurisdiction cannot be said to be ordinary. Nor can it be said to be delegated ab homine, since it is not granted immediately and personally by a superior to an individual.” (p.85)

“Anyone who has been validly ordained a priest, and thereby possesses the power of orders, receives from this canon [c.882] the necessary power of jurisdiction for granting absolution from any sin or censure as long as the penitent is in danger of death. Therefore, anyone possessed of the sacramental character of priestly orders, be he apostate, heretic, or schismatic, degraded or reduced to the lay state, laboring under an irregularity, excommunication, suspension, or personal interdict, or merely one who has no jurisdiction to hear confessions, or no jurisdiction in this particular place, grants valid absolution to any penitent who is in danger of death.” (pp.92-93)


Yes, except the question is when one approaches a priest who clearly does not have jurisdiction. When one approaches him, one knows he is not a regular confessor, yet due to the situation, he may be approached. The law explicitly provides for this situation. You may approach a priest without jurisdiction, within the conditions contained in the law, and receive valid absolution. He has jurisdiction only because of that very specific act and only for that specific act.

The situation of a traditional priest, who regularily absolves penitents who are usually not in danger of death is not explicitly provided for in the law as far as I can see. This is where we assume the Church supplies the jurisdiction for those specific acts. In either case, the cleric in question does not have any jurisdiction independent of the specific acts.


Tue Aug 21, 2012 5:51 pm
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New post Re: Successors of the Apostles - Jurisdiction
Robert Bastaja wrote:
Yes, except the question is when one approaches a priest who clearly does not have jurisdiction. When one approaches him, one knows he is not a regular confessor, yet due to the situation, he may be approached. The law explicitly provides for this situation. You may approach a priest without jurisdiction, within the conditions contained in the law, and receive valid absolution. He has jurisdiction only because of that very specific act and only for that specific act.

The situation of a traditional priest, who regularily absolves penitents who are usually not in danger of death is not explicitly provided for in the law as far as I can see. This is where we assume the Church supplies the jurisdiction for those specific acts. In either case, the cleric in question does not have any jurisdiction independent of the specific acts.


Yes, the situation today is unique and not explicitly mentioned in the the law. I believe the Church would allow certain acts to take place in our circumstances today without jurisdiction, when it is only required for licitness, via epikiea and other similiar principles, such as intrinsic cessation. Since these principles don't actually give a person any power, I am only slightly of the opinion that we could assume the Church supplies jurisdiction for acts apart from being supplied by the law. There is a lot I don't know, but everything I've come across basically equates supplied jurisdiction and extraordinary jurisdiction to that jurisdiction that is delegated by law for a specific act. For instance, from my understanding of what I've read, it seems that the jurisdiction supplied by the Church according to canon 209 is actually jurisdiction coming from canon 209. In other words, canon 209 is not just a statement that the Church will somehow supply jurisdiction under certain conditions, but it is the actual law that is granting jurisdiction under those conditions. I've yet to come across any sources (or I have and didn't take note of it at the time) that truly say that jurisdiction can be given in any other way other than ab homine or a jure. I still think that it could be supplied without a specific person or law granting it, but I've just had a hard time finding a source that clearly backs that up. This is all mostly important in regards to confession, since jurisdiction is needed for validity, whereas epikeia or intrinsic cessation could permit Holy Communion without there existing any jurisdiction.

I believe absolution by a traditional priest in our times is almost always under the conditions of canon 882.

First, consider that danger of death can arise by an extrinsic cause, not just an intrinsic one, and then consider the wide range of cases the canonists and Church include as danger of death.

Quote:
“It is not necessary that the danger of death arise from an intrinsic cause, such as a disease, or a wound, or old age, but it suffices even if the danger arise from an extrinsic cause, such as war, a surgical operation, an aeroplane journey, etc. The Sacred Penitentiary declared on March 18, 1912, and on May 29, 1915, that soldiers mobilized for war were to be considered in danger of death even though they were not to be sent into battle immediately.” (Kelly, 92)

“The code does not specify imminent death, but merely danger of death. It does not matter from what source the danger of death arises - sickness, wounds, impending serious operation, call of a soldier to war, etc.” (Woywod and Smith, 491)

“The danger of death may arise from any cause whatsoever. It may arise from an intrinsic cause, such as disease, wound, old age, etc.; it may be brought about by an extrinsic cause, such as war, surgical operation, difficult journey, sentence of judge, etc. A norm for judging when the danger of death may be said to be present will be found in the declaration of the Sacred Penitentiary of March 18, 192, and May 29, 1915. This declaration was to the effect that soldiers mobilized for war were to be looked upon as in danger of death without further question whether they were to be sent into battle immediately.” (p.94) - Hyland, Francis Edward, J.C.L. Excommunication: It’s Nature, Historical
Development, and Effects. Washington, D.C.: The Catholic University of America Press, 1928.


“It is indifferent whether the danger of death is due to a subjective cause (sickness) or to an exterior one (serious danger of infection, impending battle, difficult birth, dangerous operation or perilous sea-voyage). Note here the declaration of the S. Penitentiary of March 18, 1912, according to which mobilized soldiers are ipso facto to be put on the same plane with person who are in danger of death.”
(p.10) - Simon, J., O.S.M. Faculties of Pastors and Confessors for Absolution and
Dispensation: According to the Code of Canon Law. New York: Joseph F. Wagner, Inc., 1922.


“What has been said above concerning the administration of absolution in articulo mortis stands good also for its administration in quolibet gravi periculo mortis. For the two situations are generally considered as identical; moreover, the Ritual says: "When danger of death threatens;" besides there is a divine precept to confess when there is danger of death also, and thus there arises a case of necessity.
A grave periculum mortis is considered to exist: (1) In a dangerous illness; (2) in times of plague; (3) at a difficult birth; (4) before a very difficult surgical operation; (5) in battle, or shortly before it; (6) before a very dangerous sea voyage, etc.” (pp.306-307) - Schieler, Caspar E., D.D. Theory and Practice of the Confessional: A Guide in the Administration of the Sacrament of Penance. Ed. Heuser, H. J., D.D., 2nd Ed. New York: Benzinger Brothers, 1905.


It's clear that “in danger of death” is a situation, not necessarily a medical condition. It is also clear that this situation is not restricted to a certain amount of time. There are no time constraints for a difficult journey or times of plague for instance, and a soldier mobilizing for war may not go into battle for days, months, or years; if he ever goes into battle at all. A common thread among all of these examples is that the situation constituting a danger of death is one in which there is a danger of dying before being able to approach an approved priest. Under the extraordinary circumstances of today, the faithful are in a situation in which it is impossible to approach a priest who would normally be in possession of jurisdiction. It is a situation in which all of the faithful are continuously in danger of dying before being able to even find such a priest to absolve them. In light of the commentaries and wide range of circumstances given by the canonists, I believe a person can prudently judge such a situation as constituting a danger of death and jurisdiction would be granted by canon 882.

If there is a doubt as to whether the extraordinary circumstances of today are in fact the circumstances required for canon 882 to grant jurisdiction, then a doubt of fact exists. If there is a doubt as to whether canon 882 is being properly interpreted, then a doubt of laws exists. As explained by Fr. Kelly, when a doubt of law or fact, arises a person does not need to hesitate and can form a certain conscience that the absolution will be valid and licit, since the jurisdiction will be supplied in virtue of canon 209, in case it wasn’t actually provided by canon 882.

Quote:
“Doubt may concern either the law or the fact. It is a doubt of law when, for example, authors disagree as to the correct interpretation of the law; and it is a doubt of fact when, for example, it is not certain that the circumstances required by the law are present in a particular case.
Before the promulgation of the Code, many canonists denied that the Church would supply jurisdiction in cases in which the doubt was one of fact. And even when the doubt was one of law, they demanded that the opinion be supported by public probability before the Church would supply jurisdiction. This was called probable jurisdiction, while in the case of a doubt of fact, it was called doubtful jurisdiction.
The Code abolishes these distinctions and states that the Church will supply jurisdiction in cases of doubt of law and doubt of fact as long as the doubt is positive and probable. Therefore, whenever a confessor doubts that he possesses jurisdiction, whether his doubt is a grave reason for thinking that he does possess jurisdiction, he may use Canon 209 as a reflex principle to form a certain conscience and proceed to absolve validly and licitly without any misgivings, for the Church will supply the deficient jurisdiction if it is really deficient.
All are agreed that in positive and probable doubt of law no cause whatsoever is required for the licit use of the supplied jurisdiction. But in positive and probable doubt of fact, some require at least a slight cause in order to absolve licitly in this circumstance. This is rightly denied, however, since the sacrament is not exposed to the danger of nullity, nor is the priest forcing the Church to supply jurisdiction against her will, for this concession is granted for the benefit of the priest as well as for the good of the faithful. At any rate, some slight cause will almost always be present, so that a priest with a positive doubt either of law or of fact need not hesitate to grant absolution in virtue of Canon 209.” (Kelly, 143-144)

“If the priest doubts whether or not danger of death is present, he may validly and licitly absolve from any sin or censure as long as he can judge that the danger of death (not necessarily death itself) is a least probable, for if danger of death is not really present, the Church will supply jurisdiction in virtue of Canon 209. Likewise, if the confessor falsely judges that the danger of death was present when it really was not, there is no need for alarm, for the absolution was certainly valid, and, if given in good faith, also licit, in virtue of the same canon.” (Kelly, 92)


Tue Aug 21, 2012 9:04 pm
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New post Re: Successors of the Apostles - Jurisdiction
I have told anyone who would listen to me that Canon Law is the kindest set of laws that have ever been promulgated by anyone. One of the main purposes of Canon Law is to save souls. In my opinion, it does that very well.

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Tue Aug 21, 2012 9:45 pm
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New post Re: Successors of the Apostles - Jurisdiction
Ken Gordon wrote:
I have told anyone who would listen to me that Canon Law is the kindest set of laws that have ever been promulgated by anyone. One of the main purposes of Canon Law is to save souls. In my opinion, it does that very well.

I agree.


Tue Aug 21, 2012 10:26 pm
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New post Re: Confession in Danger of Death
Hi All,

What a great discussion. I think that this topic deserves its own thread. This will make it easy to reference if this subject comes up again, as all of the sources presented were good and thoroughly cover the question.

Ken, I agree with you that the Code is charitable and the laws are given to help us save our souls rather than hinder us.

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Tue Aug 21, 2012 11:38 pm
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New post Re: Successors of the Apostles - Jurisdiction
Joe Cupertino wrote:
I believe absolution by a traditional priest in our times is almost always under the conditions of canon 882.

...
It's clear that “in danger of death” is a situation, not necessarily a medical condition. It is also clear that this situation is not restricted to a certain amount of time. There are no time constraints for a difficult journey or times of plague for instance, and a soldier mobilizing for war may not go into battle for days, months, or years; if he ever goes into battle at all. A common thread among all of these examples is that the situation constituting a danger of death is one in which there is a danger of dying before being able to approach an approved priest. Under the extraordinary circumstances of today, the faithful are in a situation in which it is impossible to approach a priest who would normally be in possession of jurisdiction. It is a situation in which all of the faithful are continuously in danger of dying before being able to even find such a priest to absolve them. In light of the commentaries and wide range of circumstances given by the canonists, I believe a person can prudently judge such a situation as constituting a danger of death and jurisdiction would be granted by canon 882.

If there is a doubt as to whether the extraordinary circumstances of today are in fact the circumstances required for canon 882 to grant jurisdiction, then a doubt of fact exists. If there is a doubt as to whether canon 882 is being properly interpreted, then a doubt of laws exists. As explained by Fr. Kelly, when a doubt of law or fact, arises a person does not need to hesitate and can form a certain conscience that the absolution will be valid and licit, since the jurisdiction will be supplied in virtue of canon 209, in case it wasn’t actually provided by canon 882.


Great summary, Joe. I came to the same conclusions.

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Wed Aug 22, 2012 2:17 am
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New post Re: Confession in Danger of Death
Here is something from St. Thomas that I thought was interesting and supports the idea that a valid confession could be carried out in a case of necessity even if there weren’t laws in the Code, as there are, that grant the jurisdiction. I think the most significant part of this article, relative to today’s situation with traditional priests, is in St. Thomas’ reply to objection 2. I’ll give my reasons why I think it's significant following the quote.

*I rearranged this, so that each reply follows each objection.

Quote:
Summa Theologica > Supplement > Question 8. The minister of confession. Article 2. Whether it is ever lawful to confess to another than a priest?

On the contrary, is the authority of the text (Sent. iv, D, 17).

I answer that, Just as Baptism is a necessary sacrament, so is Penance. And Baptism, through being a necessary sacrament has a twofold minister: one whose duty it is to baptize, in virtue of his office, viz. the priest, and another, to whom the conferring of Baptism is committed, in a case of necessity. In like manner the minister of Penance, to whom, in virtue of his office, confession should be made, is a priest; but in a case of necessity even a layman may take the place of a priest, and hear a person's confession.

Objection 1. It would seem that it is never lawful to confess to another than a priest. For confession is a sacramental accusation, as appears from the definition given above (Question 7, Article 1). But the dispensing of a sacrament belongs to none but the minister of a sacrament. Since then the proper minister of Penance is a priest, it seems that confession should be made to no one else.

Reply to Objection 1. In the sacrament of Penance there is not only something on the part of the minister, viz. the absolution and imposition of satisfaction, but also something on the part of the recipient, which is also essential to the sacrament, viz. contrition and confession. Now satisfaction originates from the minister in so far as he enjoins it, and from the penitent who fulfills it; and, for the fulness of the sacrament, both these things should concur when possible. But when there is reason for urgency, the penitent should fulfill his own part, by being contrite and confessing to whom he can; and although this person cannot perfect the sacrament, so as to fulfill the part of the priest by giving absolution, yet this defect is supplied by the High Priest. Nevertheless confession made to a layman, through lack of a priest, is quasi-sacramental, although it is not a perfect sacrament, on account of the absence of the part which belongs to the priest.

Objection 2. Further, in every court of justice confession is ordained to the sentence. Now in a disputed case the sentence is void if pronounced by another than the proper judge; so that confession should be made to none but a judge. But, in the court of conscience, the judge is none but a priest, who has the power of binding and loosing. Therefore confession should be made to no one else.

Reply to Objection 2. Although a layman is not the judge of the person who confesses to him, yet, on account of the urgency, he does take the place of a judge over him, absolutely speaking, in so far as the penitent submits to him, through lack of a priest.

Objection 3. Further, in the case of Baptism, since anyone can baptize, if a layman has baptized, even without necessity, the Baptism should not be repeated by a priest. But if anyone confess to a layman in a case of necessity, he is bound to repeat his confession to a priest, when the cause for urgency has passed. Therefore confession should not be made to a layman in a case of necessity.

Reply to Objection 3. By means of the sacraments man must needs be reconciled not only to God, but also to the Church. Now he cannot be reconciled to the Church, unless the hallowing of the Church reach him. In Baptism the hallowing of the Church reaches a man through the element itself applied externally, which is sanctified by "the word of life" (Ephesians 5:26), by whomsoever it is conferred: and so when once a man has been baptized, no matter by whom, he must not be baptized again. On the other hand, in Penance the hallowing of the Church reaches man by the minister alone, because in that sacrament there is no bodily element applied externally, through the hallowing of which grace may be conferred. Consequently although the man who, in a case of necessity, has confessed to a layman, has received forgiveness from God, for the reason that he fulfilled, so far as he could, the purpose which he conceived in accordance with God's command, he is not yet reconciled to the Church, so as to be admitted to the sacraments, unless he first be absolved by a priest, even as he who has received the Baptism of desire, is not admitted to the Eucharist. Wherefore he must confess again to a priest, as soon as there is one at hand, and the more so since, as stated above (ad 1), the sacrament of Penance was not perfected, and so it needs yet to be perfected, in order that by receiving the sacrament, the penitent may receive a more plentiful effect, and that he may fulfill the commandment about receiving the sacrament of Penance.
http://www.newadvent.org/summa/5008.htm#article2


According to Shieler and Heuser, in Theory and Practice of the Confessional, “The minister of the Sacrament is judge over the soul; hence he must have in addition to Holy Orders the power of spiritual jurisdiction.” So, for the sacrament of Penance to be valid, the minister must possess the power to judge the penitent (jurisdiction) and possess the power of Holy Orders. St. Thomas teaches that, in a case of necessity, “confession made to a layman, through lack of a priest, is quasi-sacramental, although it is not a perfect sacrament, on account of the absence of the part which belongs to the priest.” What is the part, which belongs to the priest that, that the laymen lacks in this case? In reply to objection 2, St. Thomas says that the laymen can take the place of a judge, in so far as a penitent submits to him, through lack of a priest. So, if a laymen can take the place of a judge, the part belonging to the priest that he would lack would be the power of Holy Orders.

If circumstances exist where a layman can take the place of a judge over the penitent, in so far as the penitent submits to him; then certainly circumstances exist when a priest, simply lacking jurisdiction, can take the place of a judge over a penitent, in so far as the penitent submits to him. Unlike the laymen, the priest in these circumstances also has the power of Holy Orders and could, therefore, perfect the sacrament, validly absolving the penitent.

It seems that, if this is true, it is true even if there were no codified laws granting jurisdiction in this case. The question, then, is whether this would be an instance in which the Church is supplying jurisdiction without its source being an office, person, or law; or whether this would be an instance in which the Sacrament of Penance is validly administered without jurisdiction.


Fri Aug 24, 2012 8:32 pm
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New post Re: Confession in Danger of Death
Very, very interesting, Joe. I am amazed, pleased, and consoled.

I remember watching a movie many years ago, a "Western". In this movie, a Mexican bandit, obviously a Catholic, was going to be hung for some crime or another. He asked for a bit of time to confess his sins to a friend of his so that this friend could "take his sins" to the nearest priest, who was several day's ride away. The two went off apart from the group a very short distance so they couldn't be heard to do this. The friend obviously listened very carefully to what the outlaw was telling him, and nodded every so often as if to say, "Yes. I'll be certain to remember this one."

Then they parted. The first outlaw was hung, and his friend rode off in the direction of the priest without looking back.

I was young at the the time, and asked my Mother if this was possible. I didn't see anything wrong with it, but my Mother told me that she didn't think it was true. After all, it was just a movie.

I thought of that incident often over the years, and have always thought it would be a humble and good thing for such a man to do. To me, such an action exhibits true humility and real sorrow for sins.

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Kenneth G. Gordon


Sat Aug 25, 2012 5:05 am
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