Friday, May 08, 2009

Things that sound LEGAL for Catholics but ARE NOT

This is a short list of things many Catholic believe are permitted by the Church, but in fact are not. The following list is by no means exhaustive, and really only scratches the surface. Later, I will post an opposite article which lists things which sound illegal but in fact are legal.

Homily by a nun or layperson
Canon law permits only a priest to say the homily at Mass. Even during a funeral, laypeople cannot speaking after the Gospel reading. Priests are required to have a homily on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation, but not on other days, although it is recommended.

Extraordinary ministers of Communion at any Mass
Extraordinary minsters are meant to be just that - extraordinary. Communion should usually only be given out by priests. If a situation arrises where others MUST help, then this is allowed, but extraordinary ministers of communion should not be a regular part of every Mass. Even if there is a chronic situation of too many communicants, this does not allow for the use of extraordinary ministers. Their use is reserved for unforeseen circumstances. Also, they are to be called "extraordinary ministers of communion", not Eucharistic ministers. The only real Eucharistic Ministers are priests and bishops.

Participating in non-Catholic worship
Catholics are obliged to participate in Mass every Sunday and Holy Day of Obligation unless there is a serious reason why they cannot. Catholics are not permitted to attend a non-Catholic worship service in place of their Sunday obligation. Normally Catholics should not attend non-Catholic worship, unless for an extraordinary reason such as a wedding or funeral. In a marriage with a non-Christian or non-Catholic, participation is allowed, but it cannot involve consent, such as receiving non-Catholic communion. The best way to explain it is to say the Catholic can "observe". Also, this does not remove the necessity to attend Catholic Mass on the required days.

Having ashes of the dead scattered
Cremation is only legal as long as it is not done to deny the resurrection of the body. If cremation is performed, the cremains must be buried or placed in a mausoleum. The cremains cannot be kept in a home or scattered over a area, they must be kept together.

Non-Catholic receiving communion
Non-Catholic and non-Christian people cannot receive communion at a Catholic Mass. Many are uncomfortable with this teaching, but it makes sense. Communion, as the name implies, means a community of believers. We are united with Christ. We believe the Church is the Bride of Christ and fully united with him. We also believe the Church is a visible organization, namely the Catholic Church. Therefore in order to receive communion, we must be in full communion with the Church, which is Christ's Bride and our Mother. If someone refuses to be a member of the Church through whom Christ's grace is communicated, they are refusing to be in communion, and therefore cannot partake in this sign of union, communion and thanksgiving. Of course, we believe the Eucharist is the real body, blood, soul, and divinity of Jesus Christ.

Worshiping Mary or the Saints
Catholics are interdicted from worshiping Mary or the saints. Adoration and worship are reserved to God alone. We can venerate or praise saints. In Latin terms, latria is the adoration or worship owed to God alone, whereas dulia is given to saints, and hyperdulia, a greater form of dulia, is given to the greatest of God's creatures, Mary.

Using Contraception in Marriage
Contraception is always gravely wrong in Catholic teaching. This is because it violates the natural law and makes an act unnatural. Many object by saying natural family planning is the same thing, but it's not. In the case of contraception, the means is intrinsically wrong, but with natural family planning it is not, because with NFP, we are cooperating with God's plan for creation, whereas with contraception, we are contriving against it. A good example if eating ice cream with its end of gaining weight. It would be licit or ok for someone to understand their physiology and metabolism and discover that they can eat ice cream in the morning and burn the calories throughout the day so as to avoid weight gain, as opposed to eating at night and gain weight. But it would be morally wrong for someone to eat ice cream at night then just before going to bed cause themselves to throw up so they wouldn't gain weight. They both achieve the same end, but the means are different. One cooperates with God's plan, the other contrives against it.

1 comment:

  1. True. I had a debate on the Communion with some people who belong to the "We
    > are the church"-movement (in Sweden they call themselves Katolsk Vision -
    > Catholic Vision). They are demanding all Christians should be allowed to
    > recieve Communion in our churches, which of course is impossible since
    > catholics and protestants don't see it the same way. Do you know that some
    > protestant churches (at least here in Sweden) actually store the bread in a
    > pantry with cookies and stuff?! I know about at least two parishes that do
    > that - so how they can even imagine we woule share the same view on
    > COmmunion is beyond me!