Changing canon law, pope brings Latin and Eastern practices closer

 — September 15, 201615 septembre 2016

Pope Francis attends a meeting with the patriarchs and major archbishops of the Eastern Catholic churches in Syria, Iraq and and other parts of the Middle East in 2013. Photo: CNS/L'Osservatore Romano
Pope Francis attends a meeting with the patriarchs and major archbishops of the Eastern Catholic churches in Syria, Iraq and and other parts of the Middle East in 2013. Photo: CNS/L’Osservatore Romano
By Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service

In a change to church law, Latin-rite Catholic deacons may not preside at a wedding when one or both of the new spouses are members of an Eastern Catholic church.

The new rule is one of the changes to 11 canons in the Latin-rite Code of Canon law that Pope Francis approved in order to harmonize the laws of the Latin and Eastern Catholic churches on several issues involving the sacraments of baptism and marriage.

After more than 15 years of study and worldwide consultation, the conflicting rules were resolved by adopting the Eastern code’s formulations for the Latin church as well, said Bishop Juan Ignacio Arrieta, secretary of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts.

The bishop spoke to journalists Sept. 15 after the publication of an apostolic letter published “motu proprio” (on his own initiative) in which Pope Francis ordered the changes to the Latin Code of Canon Law, the 1983 text governing the majority of the world’s Catholics.

In the Eastern Catholic and Orthodox traditions, the blessing of a priest is necessary for the validity of a marriage. In the Latin-rite church, a deacon can preside over the sacrament. The new law specifies, “Only a priest can validly assist at the matrimony of two Eastern parties or between a Latin and Eastern Catholic or non-Catholic,” meaning a member of an Orthodox Church.

Bishop Arrieta said that in most cases the changes made by Pope Francis involve rules for situations that the Latin code never envisioned, but that the Code of Canons of the Eastern Catholic Churches, published in 1990, did. With the large number of Eastern Christians — both Catholic and Orthodox — who have migrated to predominantly Latin territories since 1989, Latin-rite pastors need guidance, he said.

The changes regard practices for ministering not only to Eastern-rite Catholics, but also to members of the Orthodox churches when a priest of their church is not available, Bishop Arrieta said. Such ministry was foreseen in the canons of the Eastern Catholic churches, which often minister in places with a strong Orthodox presence.

“The Eastern code had a greater sensitivity in its ecumenical aspects,” the bishop said. For example, one of the Eastern canons adopted for the Latin church says that when an Orthodox priest is not available, a Catholic priest can baptize a baby whose parents are members of an Orthodox Church and plan to raise the child Orthodox.

In such a situation, Bishop Arrieta said, the baptism would not be recorded in the Catholic parish’s baptismal registry; the parents would receive a formal certificate and would register their child’s baptism later at an Orthodox parish.

The additions to the Latin Code of Canon Law also specify that Latin-rite bishops may give priests “the faculties to bless the marriage of Christian faithful from an Eastern church not in full communion with the Catholic Church if they spontaneously request it.”

The changes to the Latin code also decree that a Latin-Eastern couple are free to decide in which church to enroll their child; if they cannot agree, the child becomes a member of the father’s church. If both parents are Eastern Catholics, even if the baby is baptized in a Latin-rite parish, the baptismal registry must note that the child is an Eastern Catholic and specify the church to which it belongs.

The Eastern Catholic churches include, among others, the Ukrainian, Ruthenian, Melkite, Romanian, Maronite, Armenian, Chaldean, Syriac, Syro-Malankara and Syro-Malabar churches.

The Latin and Eastern codes “respect, as they must, different juridical traditions, although obviously they give the same response to essential questions regarding the faith of the church,” Bishop Arrieta wrote in an article for the Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano.

Conflicting rules in the two codes were evident from the time of the publication of the Eastern canons, he said. And as more Eastern Catholics migrated to predominantly Latin Catholic lands, a need to clarify the practical matters involving baptism and marriage became clear.

The changes approved by Pope Francis, Bishop Arrieta wrote, “respond to a desire to facilitate the pastoral care of the faithful especially in the so-called diaspora where thousands of Eastern Christians who have left their homelands live amidst a Latin majority.”

Posted: September 15, 2016 • Permanent link: https://ecumenism.net/?p=9520
Categories: CNSIn this article: canon law, Eastern churches, Francis, marriage
Transmis : 15 septembre 2016 • Lien permanente : https://ecumenism.net/?p=9520
Catégorie : CNSDans cet article : canon law, Eastern churches, Francis, marriage

Alberta-NWT Catholic bishops issue guidelines for pastoral care of those who are divorced and remarried, and those considering euthanasia or assisted suicide

 — September 14, 201614 septembre 2016

The Catholic Bishops of Alberta and the Northwest TerritoriesThe Roman Catholic Bishops of Alberta and the Northwest Territories have issued some new guidance for priests, deacons, and pastoral workers in caring for individuals and families in difficult contemporary situations. One document aims to answer the call of Pope Francis in his Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia, particularly to assist priests in their duty to accompany those Catholics who are divorced and remarried without having received a decree of nullity. The other follows the legalization in Canada of assisted suicide and euthanasia (“Medical Assistance In Dying”), and focuses on spiritual and sacramental considerations in caring for individuals and families who may be considering death by these means. “The ultimate aim of these guidelines is to help the faithful understand the beautiful teachings of the Church on sacramental marriage, the dignity of the human person, and the inviolable sanctity of human life,” said Archbishop Richard Smith of Edmonton, who serves as president of the Alberta-NWT Bishops. “We know that many Catholics, often due to the messages they receive through the secular culture, have come to some serious misunderstandings around life and family issues,” he said.
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Reconciling the radical reformation

 — July 22, 201622 juillet 2016

At the Mennonite World Conference Assembly in 2009, MWC President Danisa Ndlovu embraces Ishmael Noko, general secretary of the Lutheran World Federation. Photo: Lowell BrownThe reconciliation process between the Lutheran World Federation and Mennonite World Conference has created fertile ground for collaboration. A report summarizing the LWFMWC action of reconciling with Mennonites over the condemnations in the Augsburg Confession aims to help LWF churches, pastors, seminaries and congregations to “implement the LWF commitment to teach differently about Anabaptists, especially to how they are described in the Augsburg Confession.”

“The seeds of reconciliation sown more than 30 years ago, which flowered at the service of reconciliation in Stuttgart in 2010, are now truly bearing fruit,” says John D. Roth, MWC representative on the LWF Task Force and contributor to the document. “Mennonite and Lutheran pastors and church leaders will find lots of ideas for how they might engage each other at the local level.”
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Russian Orthodox Church calls boycotted Crete council ‘an important event’

 — July 22, 201622 juillet 2016

Orthodox leaders applaud June 24 during the Great and Holy Council of the Orthodox Church on the Greek island of Crete. Although the Moscow Patriarchate boycotted the event it called the council 'an important event.' Photo: Dimitrios Panagos, Greek American News Photo Agency

The Russian Orthodox Church, whose boycott of a major summit of Orthodox Christian leaders in Crete last month threatened to slow down efforts to promote greater unity, has declared the meeting “an important event in the history of the conciliar process.”

The church’s synod, in its official reaction to the June 20-26 Holy and Great Council, also said the meeting could not be called “pan-Orthodox” because four of the 14 independent Orthodox member churches did not attend.

The Moscow Patriarchate, which represents between half and two-thirds of the world’s 300 million Orthodox, has been disputing the summit’s pan-Orthodox character since announcing its boycott in early June. Officials at the council said Russia’s Patriarch Kirill could not come to Crete because archconservatives in his ranks opposed it.

But the synod took a more positive approach by calling the session “an important event” and asking its theological commission to study the six documents the council approved and report back on its findings.
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Anglicans and Mennonites enter ecumenical dialogue

 — July 18, 201618 juillet 2016

Willard Metzger, executive director of Mennonite Church Canada, addresses members of the Anglican Church of Canada's General Synod 2016. Photo: Art BabychFor the first time in its history, the Anglican Church of Canada will enter into a bilateral ecumenical dialogue with Mennonite Church Canada (MC-Canada) following a motion passed at General Synod, July 12.

The motion’s mover, Bruce Myers, coadjutor bishop of the diocese of Quebec and former coordinator of ecumenical relations for the national church, explained that as the Anglican church’s relationship to mainstream society changes, it could benefit from talking to a church that has always had a fraught relationship with the mainstream.

“Mennonites have often existed as a church on the margins, both historically and in the contemporary Canadian context,” he noted. “As the Anglican Church of Canada enters a new stage of its life, some of us have been asking if there is something we can learn from our Mennonite sisters and brothers, about living faithfully as disciples of Jesus on the margins of society.”

Myers said the bilateral dialogue would be based on a new approach to ecumenism based not on an attempt to minimize differences, but to receive it as a “gift.”

This “receptive ecumenism” is a way for churches to learn from the differences in each other’s theology and lived experience, without feeling the need to push toward reunion or a full communion relationship.
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Mennonite Church decisions at Assembly 2016

 — July 12, 201612 juillet 2016

Mennonite Church CanadaAssembly 2016 held in Saskatoon from July 6-10 may become known as a watershed year by delegates in attendance.

By turns intense and emotional, joyful and worshipful, the gathered made significant decisions that will impact the Mennonite Church Canada body of Christ for years to come.

On Thursday evening, delegates voted in favour of repudiating the Doctrine of Discovery – a settler teaching that has marginalized and taken rights away from indigenous people for centuries. While much education on the Doctrine of Discovery has already begun among congregations, much more is required.

On Saturday morning, 85% of delegates voted in favour of the Being a Faithful Church (BFC) recommendation to create space and test alternative understandings to traditional beliefs on committed same-sex relationships. Congregations who are asked to bless same sex marriages will now be given space to do so, even as the national family of faith continues testing to see if such discernment is a nudging of the Spirit of God.
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U.S. churches to Russia: We’re not leaving

 — July 12, 201612 juillet 2016

Saint Basil's Cathedral in Moscow, Russia, 2007. Photo: Bart Slingerland, Wikimedia CommonsSeveral American-based religious denominations remain defiant in the face of new laws that would ban them from proselytizing in Russia.

The so-called “Yarovaya laws” make it illegal to preach, proselytize or hand out religious materials outside of specially designated places. The laws also give the Russian government wide scope to monitor and record electronic messages and phone calls.

The package of laws, billed as anti-terrorism measures, were passed by the Russian Duma, or parliament, on June 24, and signed by Russian president Vladimir Putin on July 7.

The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, a bipartisan government panel which makes policy recommendations, condemned the new laws.

“These deeply flawed anti-terrorism measures will buttress the Russian government’s war against human rights and religious freedom,” Thomas J. Reese, a Jesuit priest and chair of the commission said after the measures were passed. “They will make it easier for Russian authorities to repress religious communities, stifle peaceful dissent, and detain and imprison people.”
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