From the June issue of Homiletic and Pastoral Review
Should the obedient priest be surprised if the pattern of accommodating delinquency continues?
Obedient Catholic Priests Take Another Hit
By Michael P. Orsi
There are times when only a vulgar expression seems to convey what a person feels. Of course, knowing that a high-quality journal like Homiletic & Pastoral Review would never permit its pages to be degraded, I will refrain from offending anyone’s sensibilities.
What, you may ask, stirs my intense feelings of frustration?
I recently read an article on the funeral of Brother Roger Schutz, the founder of Taize, an ecumenical Christian community of about 90 brothers representing virtually every denomination. A champion of Christian reconciliation and interfaith sharing, Brother Roger was stabbed to death during a worship service—a shocking development, to be sure. But that outrageous act aside, let me tell you, polite reader, what specifically has me so agitated.
Brother Roger “pursued many ecumenical dreams in his long life,” the New York Times reported, “but in death one of them came true: At a Eucharistic service celebrated by a Roman Catholic cardinal for Brother Roger, a Swiss Protestant, communion wafers were given to the faithful indiscriminately, regardless of denomination[italics mine].” The Times went on to note that the Mass was celebrated byCardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Vatican’s Council for the Unity of Christians, and was attended by Jean Marie Cardinal Lustiger, retired Archbishop of Paris. [NYT, 8/24/05 p. A5]
For almost 30 years, I have tried to defend the disciplines of the Church, especially in matters liturgical. I have been particularly scrupulous in my attentiveness to the Church’s Eucharistic practices. According to the 1983 Code of Canon Law [c.844], those who are not in full communion with the Church are exempt from receiving Holy Communion. The one exception for inter-communion is noted in c.844.4, which pertains to those who are in danger of death or some other grave necessity and who cannot approach a minister of their own denomination. The Code lists the following strict provisions in order for persons in such a situation to be eligible for the sacraments (i.e. Penance, Anointing of the Sick, the Eucharist): first, non-Catholics must ask for them of their own accord; second, the person requesting them must manifest belief in the sacraments consistent with the faith of the Catholic Church; and third, the individual must be properly disposed.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) elaborates on the [continue reading....]
This is one journal worth subscribing. As you can see, they only release one, maybe two, articles per month online. I can't put my issue down once I get it as it is just full of solid Catholic teaching from solid Catholic priests.
Fr. Orsi took on Andrew Sullivan in the New York Times with this letter to the editor in October of 2003.
To the Editor:
Andrew Sullivan's Oct. 19 Op-Ed article inherently advises that
morality may be negotiated on a quid-pro-quo basis (''Losing a Church, Keeping
While no reasonable person can condone the negligence of some Catholic
bishops for having allowed predatory priests to continue in the ministry, it
would be equally irresponsible for the church to be silent about those actions
that it believes to be disordered and detrimental to the human soul.
The traditional axiom ''two wrongs don't make a right'' should
expose this moving essay as logically flawed.
(Rev.) MICHAEL P. ORSI Ann Arbor,
Mich., Oct. 20, 2003 The writer is a research fellow in law and religion, Ave
Maria School of Law.
Here are more samples of Fr. Orsi's writings to bookmark for later:
The Real Reason for the Vocation Crisis - Rev. Michael P. Orsi
Pastoral Issues in Cohabitation
With the inculturation of Catholicism into the American mainstream, does an accommodation for cohabitation already exist in the Catholic Church?
About Rev Michael P. Orsi
Reverend Michael P. Orsi, a priest of the Diocese of Camden, N.J., is the author of four books and many articles. He has served as Assistant Chancellor and Director of the Family Life Bureau. Fr. Orsi has a Ph.D. in education from the Fordham University. He is presently serving as Chaplain and Research Fellow in Law and Religion at Ave Maria School of Law, Ann Arbor, Mich. His last article in HPR appeared in March 2006.