Wednesday, February 13, 2013

A " HEALING MASS" ONCE MORE RE-VISITED"

SACRED SCRIPTURE NEEDS TO BE READ CAREFULLY

A "HEALING MASS" ONCE MORE RE-VISITED

Our Commenter "Catherine" has returned to the lists. As I cannot
contact her directly, I shall adopt the same procedure of publicly
addressing her comments. She says:

"
Only someone with the authority to decide whether the teaching of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (1992)or the Code of Canon Law (1983)has primacy can really sort this out.

The Catechism is something every believer is supposed to read, the Code of Canon law is juridical and given to guide the ordained in their ministry.

Over and over again when referring to the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick, the Catechism places James 4:14 in the footnotes. It says 'If one of you is ill, he should send for the elders of the church, and they must anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord, and pray over him.' Note that the Apostle James says 'sick' and not 'dying'.

I can see how over the centuries it could have been inconvenient for the ordained to go and visit all of their sick, and how easy it would be to tell people, 'only call me if it is serious', and then, 'only call me if they are about to die'. But St James, taught by Jesus, tells us to seek this anointing when we are sick, and it is my conjecture that my response to your blogpost is closer to that Apostolic intention. 

There was good reason why the Church changed the name of this sacrament from Extreme Unction to the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick, and there is sufficient reason to hope that the next revision of the Code of Canon Law will take into account the teachings in the Catechism. "


CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH NEEDS TO BE READ CAREFULLY

Once again her comment is politely framed and seems to present a reasonable case when quickly read. However we are bound to say that it is founded on two errors. Both are serious.

Firstly, she seeks to set up a conflict between the Catechism of the Catholic Church and the Canon Law,  which conflict she believes can only be resolved by "someone with authority -  as if the Catholic Church speaks with a divided tongue.

Secondly, she misreads the Catechism of the Catholic Church in several ways. It is this mis- reading which creates the conflict Catherine imagines above.

Let us take a look at the second point first, thus simplifying the
resolution of the first. Catherine refers to James 4:14 as being "Over and over again “referred to in the footnotes when the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick is mentioned.

 Actually 4:14 is NOT mentioned and what seems to have been intended was James 5 : 14-15 which is referred to 5 times , in footnotes 123,125,133,134 and 137.

Footnote 123 - establishes the Catechism quote at CCC 1510:

“However the apostolic Church has its own rite for the sick, attested to by Saint James: "Is any one of you sick? Let him call for the elders (presbyters)of the Church and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer of faith will save the sick man, and the Lord will raise him up; and if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven."(ftn 123)Tradition has recognized in this rite one of the seven sacraments.(ftn 124)"

Clearly the Letter of Saint James envisages sickness unto death - "and the Lord will raise him up" it does not speak of a cure, but of resurrection unto Eternal Life.

Footnote 125 - this relates a small print "observation of an apologetic nature , or supplementary doctrinal explanation(s)"(CCC Prologue V No.20) to the same quote to establish the Apostolic origin of the Sacrament.

Footnote 133 - this uses the quote to explain confining the administration of the Sacrament to "Priests of the Church".

Footnote 134 - this uses the quote to verify that the Priests administering the Sacrament "lay hands on the sick; they pray over them in the faith of the Church".

Footnote 137 - this uses the quote to establish that the Sacrament has the power to forgive sins.

To sum up on this point, Catherine has misread the passage from Sacred Scripture , and has not examined why it is footnoted in the Catechism. Not one of the Footnote references bears out the point she hoped to make.

Her mis-reading of the Scripture not only creates that error but leads on to the consequential errors in her last two paragraphs.

But in her haste to grasp the hoped for benefits her mis- reading of the Scripture quotation she discovered in CCC 1510 and consequent mis-use of the Footnotes, Catherine has overlooked the preceding and, perhaps inconvenient for her proposition, CCC 1509 :

““Heal the sick!” (ftn 121) The Church has received this charge from the Lord and strives to carry it out by taking care of the sick as well as accompanying them with her prayer of intercession. She believes in the life - giving presence of Christ, the physician of souls and bodies. This presence is particularly active through the sacraments, and in an altogether special way through the Eucharist, the bread that gives eternal life and that Saint Paul suggests is connected with bodily health. (ftn.122)"

Even earlier in the Catechism we see the affirmation, speaking of Jesus' miraculous healings during his life on Earth, “But He did not heal all the sick. His healings were signs of the coming of the Kingdom of God. They announced a more radical healing: the victory over sin and death through His Passover."(CCC 1505)

THE CODE OF CANON LAW NEEDS TO BE READ CAREFULLY
THE THREE VOLUMES ARE RELATED IN THE CONSISTENT GIFT OF,
EXPLANATION OF, AND IMPLEMENTATION OF THE CATHOLIC FAITH


Now, we may return to the first point which endeavours to set up a conflict between The Canon Law and The Catechism of the Catholic Church. As we expect, there is none - because the proposed interpretation of the Catechism is ill founded.

In any case, in striving to justify this false proposition, Catherine has been willing to set aside the Tradition of the Church, the Teaching of the Magisterium and of the Council- all of which would have been necessary to accept her CCC/ Canon Law proposal. This is a breathtaking measure which ought surely have warned her that what she so badly wants to see , cannot be - and is not so.

We cannot re-fashion the Sacraments instituted by Christ and defined by His holy Church ("Whatsoever you shall bind upon Earth shall be bound also in Heaven") to suit or own compassionate standards, even more so whilst ignoring the other Sacrament - the Eucharist- made available to all daily , for that very purpose. We need to be aware of and keep in mind, the great armoury of Sacraments which the Divine Wisdom has left us.

 And it is unworthy of us to seek what the Lord did not choose to provide.

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