The musings and meandering thoughts of a crotchety old man as he observes life in the world and in a small, rural town in South East Nebraska. My Pledge-Nulla dies sine linea-Not a day with out a line.
27 March 2020
Wherein a Seriously Annoyed Fr. Z Rants
Did any of these false 'shepherds' even study sacramental theology or canon law? It certainly doesn't seem so! From Fr Z's Blog
I am disturbed to serious anger when I have a sense that bishops are giving priority to the worldly over the spiritual in this time of pandemic, as if they are functionaries of the CDC rather successors of the Apostles.
For the most part, I think bishops and priests are good men. They are, however, men of their own epoch, not another. We live in a radically secularized world now, where there is little sense of the transcendent. This is the result of the relentless onslaught of the world, the flesh and the Devil, ratcheting up by orders of magnitude over the last decades. Also ratcheting down has been the sense of the sacred, because of the stripping of sacred worship and catechesis of the sense of the sacred, the transcendent. I suspect that many priests and bishops are really immanentists. They are, deep down modernists. That is, they reduce the supernatural to the natural at every turn. I don’t like that idea, but, right now, I think we have evidence that it’s true.
Also, many of these otherwise good men are getting really bad advice. Instead of giving priority to the transcendent and spiritual, some around them are mired in the material and temporal. I’ll bet that lawyers and insurance company reps are calling the shots in some places.
Are the temporal concerns important? OF COURSE THEY ARE! But when they shove out the sacred and the spiritual, they are the realm of the Prince of this world, the Enemy of the soul.
And those who promote such an attitude are the agents of the Enemy in doing so, witting or unwitting.
How comes this rant, today?
I had a note from a priest friend saying that, in his diocese:
The Sacrament of Reconciliation is to be suspended except for those in danger of death. All other means of providing the Sacrament should cease. In particular the practice being observed of “stational penance” via automobile “drive throughs,” etc., is not an appropriate celebration of the sacrament and should be discontinued. [Put your coffee cup down…] The necessary human interaction crucial to the celebration of the sacrament is impeded through the lack of full proximity and the ability to offer counsel and direction is hampered by the distance between the confessor and the penitent.”
That is entirely rubbish. There is NOTHING WRONG with “drive through”, make-shift confessionals. That B as in B and S as in S about “proximity” probably comes from the gooey sentimentality of those priests who want to put their hands on people during their confessions, which is both unnecessary for the sacrament, a little creepy, and more than a little an invitation to a lawsuit. A priest can validly absolve from quite a distance. He surely can, if the penitent is just a few, or even, say, 10 feet away. We’ve been over this.
“Necessary human interaction”, properly understood (that is, not as this diocese put it) means that the penitent can confess sins (the matter) in a way that reasonably maintains the secrecy of the content confessed, and the priest can impart absolution (the form). Matter and form.
Another thing: “ability to offer counsel and direction is hampered by the distance”. Again, this is sentimentality. It has nothing to do with the valid administration of the sacrament. Making a confession is not the equivalent of spiritual direction. When a priest can give a good insight or answer a question, that’s great. But this is not the time for restricting the sacraments that can otherwise easily be administered without danger of contagion.
I suspect that whoever wrote this B as in B, S as in S, gives long rambling “advice” to penitents, who are otherwise itching to get on with it. A pox on priests who ramble! If we don’t want penitents to ramble, neither should we!
This is rubbish. I find this appalling.
Masses in open areas around the property of our churches are also discouraged as they cannot guarantee adequate distancing and protections of the members of the assembly.
This is a judgment call, of course. But I think it is far too restrictive. What’s “adequate” distancing? What “protections” do their have to be outside? Good grief.
And then there is this.
In the current state of the pandemic, the celebration of the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick [don’t pick up that coffee cup yet!] cannot be fully administered as a gloved hand cannot administer the anointing.
Whoever wrote this needs a remedial course in the Sacrament of Anointing.
“cannot be fully administered as a gloved hand cannot administer the anointing”…?!?
First of all, a sacrament is either administered or it isn’t. It isn’t either “partially” or “fully” administered. You don’t get part of a sacrament, so fully is pointless. It’s like saying “very unique”. It’s either unique or it isn’t. A woman is either pregnant or she’s not. You are either validly anointed or you are not.
Also, more importantly, a priest or bishop can anoint with a gloved hand!
The anointing can be done with an instrument, such as a cotton swab, or a tong or forceps that pinch the cotton ball with the Oil of the Infirm. If that is possible, then so is anointing with the thumb in a nitrile glove! The glove is an instrument, a tool. As a cotton used for the oil should be disposed of properly, and anything used to clean the instrument as well, so too a glove.
WHY IS THIS HARD?
The manual of moral theology by Sabbetti-Barrett even has a point on this:
“in casu necessitatis, v. gr., tempore pestis, posse diversas unctiones fieri, mediante penicillo, quia in hoc sacramento nulla requiritur impositio manuum sicut in Confirmatione;”
I’ll translate for the sake of the folks in that chancery… keep in mind that a penicillum is “a brush/stylus, a small sponge” and also that different places on the body are anointed in the traditional rite – hence:
“In the case of necessity, that is, in time of disease, the different anointings can be done using in instrument, because in this sacrament imposition of hands is not required, as it is in Confirmation;”
The madness doesn’t stop there.
And in another diocese, I’m told that the bishop gave permission to have a nurse apply the oil, do the anointing, while the priest gives the form from the doorway.
NO! NO! NO!
The priest has to do it! He can use a swab or tongs, even a long one, and a glove, but he has to do it. Neither can a one person pour the water at baptism while another says the Trinitarian formula. NO! In Prümmer we read concerning the minister of the sacrament:
Si plures sacerdotes hoc sacramentum administrant taliter, ut alli faciant unctiones et alii pronunient formam, sacramentum videtur esse invalidum, quia requiritur, ut idem minister applicet materiam et pronuniet formam.
For that chancery…
If many priests administer this sacrament in that way [it is a discussion of several priests giving the sacrament at the same time], in such a way that some do the anointings and others pronounce the form [of the sacrament], the sacrament is considered to be invalid, because it is required that the same minister [of the sacrament] apply the material [the oil] and pronounce the form.
The one and same priest has to do both! Apply the oil and say the words.
And what just came out of Newark, as of 25 March?
The Sacrament of Reconciliation is suspended until further notice with the exception of an extreme emergency.
All churches and adoration chapels must be closed and locked until further notice. Private prayer in any parish building must be discontinued until further notice.
Good heavens! It’s like a war… not on the virus, but on the people of God!
A week or so ago, in a live sermon for Sunday Mass (also on YouTube) I mentioned that when the Lord miraculous fed the 5000, he had seen the sick in the multitude and he had compassion on them. He didn’t send them away even though the Apostles were urging Him to.
This time, their successors are in charge, and getting their way.
Please, dear readers, get down on your knees and pray for these bishops of ours. Pray for fortitude for priests, who have to endure this stuff.