Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Answers from an all-star seminarian!

Pat: “When are Catholics not buried in consecrated soil?”

Seminarian, Jim: In the Code of Canon Law, Number 1184, certain people are to be deprived of ecclesiastical funeral rites:
1) notorious apostates, heretics, and schismatics;
2) persons who had chosen the cremation of their own bodies for reasons opposed to the Christian faith; and
3) other manifest sinners for whom ecclesiastical funeral rites cannot be granted without public scandal of the faithful.

Canon 1184 then goes on to state that, if some doubt should arise, the local ordinary is to be consulted, and his judgment followed.

If the Catholic cannot be buried in a Catholic cemetery or in a Catholic section of a civil cemetery, there is a rite for the proper blessing of an individual grave.
Anon: "Since the time of Robert Drinan, SJ, when JPII issued a directive barring Roman Catholic priests from holding an elected office, - Just wondering if that directive also applies to permanent deacons?"

Jim: In the Code of Canon Law, Canon 285, §3, “Clerics are forbidden to assume public offices which entail a participation in the exercise of civil power.” Canon 288 states that “Permanent deacons are not bound by the prescriptions of canon 285, §3, [among other canons listed], unless particular law determines otherwise.” In other words, permanent deacons could hold elected office with the consent of the bishop.

Pope John Paul II, in his general audience topic, “Priests Do Not Have a Political Mission” from July 28, 1993, stated that Jesus “never wanted to be involved in a political movement, and fled from every attempt to draw him into earthly questions and affairs (cf. Jn 6:15). The kingdom he came to establish does not belong to this world (cf. Jn 18:36). For this reason he said to those who wanted him to take a stand regarding the civil power: "Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God" (Mt 22:21). He never promised the Jewish nation, to which he belonged and which he loved, the political liberation that many expected from the Messiah. Jesus stated that he came as the Son of God to offer humanity, enslaved by sin, spiritual liberation and a calling to the kingdom of God (cf. Jn 8:34-36). He said that he came not to be served, but to serve (cf. Mt 20:28). He said that his followers, especially the apostles, should not think of earthly power and dominion over nations as do the rulers of this world. Instead, they should be the humble servants of all (cf. Mt 20:20-28), like their "Teacher and Master" (Jn 13:13-14).”

The Catechism, at number 1570, states that deacons, through ordination, are marked “with an imprint (“character”) which cannot be removed and which configures them to Christ, who made himself the “deacon” or servant of all.” It would seem that this configuration to the servanthood of Christ would make holding a public office more difficult, if not particularly forbidden. But this is where the judgment of the local bishop would provide the most appropriate guidance as to the propriety of this kind of service.


At 7:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To be clear, cremation is allowed as long as the remains are buried in holy ground and the body is present at the funeral.


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