QUAERITUR: Eucharistic fast before TLM – how long?

I got a question via e-mail: 

Hi Father.

At the end of Mass today in Christ the King Chapel at Franciscan, the EF Mass taking place this Sunday was announced – however, we were told that if we were going to attend, we would have to fast for three hours.  I have attended many Masses in the extraordinary form in the past few months – here at St. Peter’s in Steubenville and in Chicago – but I have never heard this before.  Please clarify!

What you were told was wrong.

The Church’s legislation asks that we fast for 1 hour before the reception of Holy Communion.  That is, one hour before Communion, not one hour before the beginning of Mass.

That said, I am always pleased to hear that people might want to fast a little longer.  But they don’t have to.

Summorum Pontificum did not resurrect all the old laws, now superceded by today’s legislation. 

The length of time for fasting is given in the 1983 Code of Canon Law.  That is the law in force, even for those who prefer the TLM.

The same thing goes for other issues, such as the obligation under law that women wear chapel veils.  I really like it when women wear chapel veils.  I think they should.  But women are no longer obliged by canon law to do so.  Summorum Pontificum did not revive the old Code that obliged women to wear chapel veils.

The same can be said for reception of Holy Communion.  Where it is permitted by conferences of bishops and not forbidden by bishops, people may receive on the tongue or in the hand (sadly).  I don’t think they should receive in the hand.  I don’t like it when they do.  But the present law gives them the right to do so in most places.

Summorum Pontificum applies to the use of the 1962 Missale Romanum and not other things which fall under the present legislation.

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  1. Timothy James says:

    Just another lame attempt to make the EF seem less appealing to the general public. You’ve got to give the announcer a break for coming up with something so lame, I mean, by now the Bishops have used up all of the real tricky attempts to restrict the EF, now blatant lying is the only trick left.

  2. Jonathan Bennett says:

    Of course there is nothing stopping anyone from adhering to the old fasting laws of three hours, or the even older laws of fasting from midnight.

  3. Jennifer says:

    Now I’m really confused. I’ve been told that the requirement of a chapel veil was never actually lifted. Was that not true?

  4. Anthony says:

    Its also not illegal to abstain from helping the elderly across the street, but its still a nice thing to do. I’ll continue to fast from midnight.

  5. Matt Q says:

    Father Z wrote:

    “Summorum Pontificum applies to the use of the 1962 Missale Romanum and not other things which fall under the present legislation.”


    Das true, das true. :-)

    It comes down to this, all of the old practices could be followed for personal aesthetics and edification. If fact it may be more meaningful to practice the old ways by intentionally desiring to do them because they are done willingly and thus evolve into a pious habit rather than as a mere legal imperative.

    FYI, I read the New Code of Canon Law, and it states abstaining from meat every Friday is still in effect. I didn’t see anything saying only Fridays during Lent. Father Z… ??

  6. John says:

    My very rudimentary understanding of canon law also (like Jennifer) leads me to think that the obligation for women to cover their heads is in fact still in force. It was required by the 1917 code and was simply unaddressed in the 1983 code. Is it not true that a previous law remains in force unless specifically altered?

  7. Matt Q says:

    John wrote:

    “Is it not true that a previous law remains in force unless specifically altered?”


    Not really. As I understand this, unless the Code specifically says Yes or No, Must or Must Not, then it is choice to do or not. Since chapel veils are not mentioned in the new Code, its non-reference moots the practice because it is not addressed in either case. Had the new Code specially wanted the practice to continue, it would have been mentioned.

  8. John says:

    I have in mind canons 20 and 21 from the 1983 code:

    Can. 20 A later law abrogates, or derogates from, an earlier law if it states so expressly, is directly contrary to it, or completely reorders the entire matter of the earlier law. A universal law, however, in no way derogates from a particular or special law unless the law expressly provides otherwise.

    Can. 21 In a case of doubt, the revocation of a pre-existing law is not presumed, but later laws must be related to the earlier ones and, insofar as possible, must be harmonized with them.

    I’m not aware of any later law concerning the covering of women’s heads that expressly abrogates or derogates from the earlier law; nor of any current law that is directly contrary to it; but I’ll admit I’m not sure what it means to have the subject matter entirely reordered. Certainly this (can. 20) at least makes the issue doubtful in which case can. 21 tells us to presume that the obligation is still in force.

    Is there something important that I’m missing here? As I said, my knowledge of canon law is quite rudimentary. Thank you!

  9. B. says:

    I think it’s a stupid idea to discuss the head covering from a CIC point of view. Surely the bible has a higher authority than the CIC?
    It possibly was a stupid idea to put it into the CIC in the first place. It hasn’t been in the CIC for 1900 years and everyone did it. Men are still required to uncover their head in Church, and it’s not in the CIC, either (has it been in the 1917 code?).

  10. soubirous says:

    “But the present law gives them the right to do so in most places”.

    I understand that Catholics in good standing have an universal right to receive Holy Communion on the tongue. In many places they also have permission to receive in the hand. A right and a permission are not the same thing. A permission can be withdrawn; not so a right.

  11. JCL says:

    John: You don’t need to go as far into the Code as canons 20/21. Canon 6 states “When this Code takes force, the following are abrogated [i.e. completly revoked]: 1) The Code of Canon Law promulgated in 1917” as well as various other laws, especially those contrary to the current ones. Therefore anything in the 1917 Code taht is not in the 1983 Code is NOT in force and has been repealed.

  12. AnAnonymousSeminarian says:

    Fr. Z,

    Although all three of those particular obligations are no longer obligations, since all three of them provide a benefit to the Faithful, would it still be laudable for a priest to encourage them for those attending the EF? For that matter, for a priest to encourage them for Catholics attending the OF as well?

  13. Jeff says:

    From my understanding, since the issuance of the MP some of these are disputed points, and merely looking at the relevant canons from the 1983 CIC is not sufficient. While the CIC is universal, exceptions to, and modifications to the law in specific circumstances apply. Certainly the celebration of Sacraments according to the liturgical books in force in 1962 is a case in point. There is essentially a 40 year gap in legislation which has not foreseen the use of the 1962 Missal as a regular part of Church life, as a result existing legislation envisions only the use of the later liturgical books. Personally I think it would be unwise to apply later laws to earlier liturgical books.

    The St. Joseph Foundation in their newsletter Christifidelis has a very interesting article on
    this very question. While not authoritative the opinions of two of their canonists are included and they are very interesting. Here is the link to the entire article. I include two parts of the article that illustrate that certain provisions of the 1917 CIC might again be inforce in relations the celebration of the EF. Please read the entire article to see the quotes in their contexts. I merely provide them since they are on point.


    From consulting canonist Philip Gray:

    “[T]he Motu Proprio Ecclesia Dei required use of the 1962 edition of the Roman Missal. The rubrics of this edition would most likely correspond with liturgical laws in force at that time, and in fact, would presuppose them. Thus, while those liturgical laws may have been abrogated, the Motu Proprio would re-establish their application insofar as they relate to the 1962 Missale Romanum.”

    From Vice President and Member of our Board of Directors, Duane Galles:

    “The first rule of interpretation, according to canon 17, is to look at the language of the text itself. This is doubtless because to most people other than deconstructionists one is presumed to mean what he says. If one looks to the text, it seems to say that it aims to provide permission for a wide celebration of the Mass according to the 1962 Missal as an extraordinary form. The common sense meaning of this would seem to be that the Mass would be celebrated according to the liturgical laws in force in 1962. If the pope had intended the Mass to be celebrated “according to the 1962 Missal, except as updated by liturgical law since then,“ one would have expected him to have said so.Canon 17 further says that if doubt remains, look to the mind of the legislator. This is now the third attempt by the legislator to permit a wide access to the 1962 Missal. In his Letter to the Bishops on the Occasion of the Publication of SP, the Holy Father urged them “to make every effort to enable for all those who truly desire unity to remain in that unity or to attain it anew.” These folks want the 1962 Missal pure and without admixture. It seems clear that it was the intention of the pope to give them what they wanted. There seems no reason, therefore, following this rule of interpretation to have resort to further analysis.”

  14. JCL says:

    A priest could certainly highlight these traditional practices. He could encourage them. What is more, the priest and his parishioners could actuallt decide that they wanted to be bound by them and so seek to establish a custom (after 30 years this would gain force of law for that parish). Now in an OF parish this might not be practical, there would always be those who objected and a change in priest could easily interupt the custom; however in an EF parish many women would already be wearing them and so it would be relativly easy to introduce this custom. Veils are praeter legem and so slightly different from extended fasting which would be contra legem and less easy to enforce.

  15. Jeff says:

    Matt Q:

    In circumstances provided by law, Episcopal Conferences are given the authority to approve modifications to the universal in their territories. When it comes to penitential practices on Fridays, most Conferences have made changes. This is also the case for Holy Days of Obligation. The changes must be confirmed by the Holy See before they are put into effect.

  16. Templar says:

    FYI, I read the New Code of Canon Law, and it states abstaining from meat every Friday is still in effect. I didn’t see anything saying only Fridays during Lent. Father Z… ??

    Comment by Matt Q — 28 March 2008 @ 12:16 am

    That is correct Matt. The 1983 Canon stipulates that all Catholics who have completed their 14th year should abstain from meat on Fridays (not just during Lent) or engage in some other meaningful form of penance. The last part is where the confusion lay. People interpreted it as “I don’t have to abstain anymore” and ignored the part about another form of penance. I discovered this “truth” myself about 8 months ago and quickly concluded that what Catholics need if Freedom FROM Choice, not Freedom OF Choice. It seems to be just another case of trying to make Catholicism easier, and more palatable, instead of accepting that it’s hard, and you have to earn it.

  17. Kradcliffe says:

    This reminds me of something I was thinking about last week… I saw something about a booklet of *traditional* indulgences. I guess for people who like to know how many days’ penance they do for reciting a prayer. Anyway, I gather that some indulgences have actually been changed. Something that was indulgenced in 1940 may not be indulgenced any longer. What is the point of insisting on the “traditional” indulgences? Doesn’t the Church get to say what is and isn’t indulgenced? Insisting that the old indulgence is better doesn’t really mean anything.

  18. Eric says:

    I agree with some of the comments above; I was recently at a TLM which, due to a special occasion, included many people who did not regularly attend or perhaps had never even been to a celebration of the Extraordinary Form. Before Mass started, one of the priests addressed everyone and instructed that Holy Communion was to be received kneeling and on the tongue as that is the practice in the TLM. This is definitely an option and probably the best way for ensuring that older traditions/ practices are kept. At that Mass, the priest very kindly explained how Communion was to be received and it came across as a simple instruction; however, it also was a very non-negotiable directive, and everyone who was able complied and received Communion kneeling and on the tongue. The same could be done elsewhere and with certain other traditions/practices.

  19. Bailey Walker says:

    With regard to Friday abstinence, please note that the Canon which stipulates Friday abstinence also gives Conferences of Bishops the authority to modify this obligation. Here is the URL for the relevant document for the United States which was promulgated by “Pastoral Statement” on November 18, 1966: http://www.usccb.org/lent/Penance_and_Abstinence.pdf

    The entire document is worth a careful read. Here’s the interesting bit:

    24. Among the works of voluntary self-denial and personal penance which we especially commend to our people for the future observance of Friday, even though we hereby terminate the traditional law of abstinence binding under pain of sin, as the sole prescribed means of observing Friday, we give first place to abstinence from flesh meat. We do so in the hope that the Catholic community willordinarily continue to abstain from meat by free choice as formerly we did in obedience to Church law.

    I think we all know how this has worked out in practice. For me the worst is not the “option” to do some other penance on Fridays. Rather it is the complete ignorance of Friday as a day of any penitential observance whatsoever. How sad.

  20. Liam says:

    Of course, today is one of two Fridays of the year that is guaranteed not to be a day of penitential observance (Easter Friday and Sacred Heart).

  21. Susanna says:

    I am contacting the liturgy committee at Franciscan about this. Hopefully they will change the announcement and alleviate confusion.

    Please pray that many students come on Sunday so that we can continue to have the extraordinary form on campus.

  22. Jordan Potter says:

    Kradcliffe said: What is the point of insisting on the “traditional” indulgences? Doesn’t the Church get to say what is and isn’t indulgenced? Insisting that the old indulgence is better doesn’t really mean anything.

    Yep. There’s no such thing as “traditional indulgences.” Only what is currently indulgenced counts as an indulgence. Of course one may follow the traditional devotions that formerly were indulgenced, but one must not delude one’s self into thinking that he actually is meriting any remission of temporal punishment in the terms described in a book of “traditional indulgences.”

  23. With respect I submit that it might be better to say that someone is “in error” or holds an “erroneous” position with regard to a law or disipline of the Church rather than to say the person is “wrong”. In this way one better distinguishes between the goodness of the human person and the wrong information that person might hold without appearing to make a judgment as to that person’s culpability. The words we choose to use must always be selected with a view toward communion and reconciliation so that Christ is present in our discussions and our desire to spread the truth and beauty of Church teaching.

  24. Carolina Geo says:

    Personally, I think that the one-hour fasting rule is one of the silliest things I’ve ever heard of. Seriously, the one-hour rule means fasting for one hour before Communion, not before Mass. Sheesh, during the Easter vigil, that means you could have a cookout on the Easter fire and finish dessert during the readings and still be OK. Of course, I think the fasting-from-midnight rule is a bit problematic as well, especially if Mass is only offered at 1pm or on Sunday evenings, as is often the case with the traditional Mass. As a side note, I understand the reasons for the Eucharistic fast, but it also seems odd to fast on a feast day!

    The three-hour fast seems to me to be a good length of time, albeit a bit subjective as well depending on the length of the Mass.

    But here’s my question: Aside from it being extremely tacky (no pun intended) and socially coarse, does chewing gum during Mass violate the Eucharistic fast? Does the fast have to do with swallowing the morsel, or does it have to do with chewing and deriving the flavor from the morsel? Just curious.

  25. gsk says:

    As a convert, I’ve had to sort out this chapel veil thing and decided for several reasons that it was not necessary to wear one any longer. I cannot think of a just reason why it’s honourable for a woman to cover her head but not a man (Believe me, I’m no feminist. I just addressed the international congress in Rome on Mulieris Dignitatem.) I understand the complementarity of the sexes (as well as we can, this side of the veil) but haven’t seen an argument that works. The letter of Saint Paul isn’t authoritative on that because his intention was a particular abuse in a particular place.

    If it’s a sign of virtue, then I can see why Fr Z would like to see it. But I’m more inclinded to think it’s an indication of an older piety that he can recognise as bearing a “code,” then that’s a cultural construct in which I don’t want to take part.

  26. With respect I submit that it might be more desirable to say that someone is “in error” or “holds an erroneous position” with regard to Church law or disipline rather than to say such a person is “wrong”. In this way one better distinguishes between the goodness of the human person and the error such a person may hold withut at the same time appearing to make a judgment as to such a person’s culpability. In this way Christ is always present in our discussions and in our efforts to spread the goodness and beauty of Church teaching.

  27. AnAnonymousSeminarian: would it still be laudable for a priest to encourage them for those attending the EF? For that matter, for a priest to encourage them for Catholics attending the OF as well?

    Did you read my entry, friend?

  28. If St. Paul were evangelizing today I suspect he might write a letter about covering shoulders, decolletage, ankles, feet, painted nails, and belly buttons and perhaps would not mention hair at all…

    Witness a recent incident of a scheduled EMHC coming to church with bare shoulders and plunging neckline. This person waited until AFTER serving as an EMHC to put a sweater on before going home…

  29. Tim Ferguson says:

    With respect, HA, I think you’re wrong. Words do mean things, and yes, charity should have a prominence in our discourse, yet I think we can tenderfoot our way into a position where we’re truly saying nothing. If someone is wrong, he’s wrong. He’s in error. He’s incorrect. He’s spoken an untruth. That imputes no ill will, nor casts aspersion on his character or intelligence. It’s a simple statement of fact.

    The person who told Fr. Z’s correspondent that a three hour fast was required is wrong.

    The comments by the eminent canonists of the St. Joseph Foundation are definitely worth a read. They are well-thought out comments by very intelligent and well-read gentlemen. There are indeed some ambiguities as to how some post-1962 legislation can and should affect celebrations of the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite. I would posit that the communion fast is not one of those ambiguities. It is not even specifically a liturgical law. It is a simple disciplinary law. Yes, a longer fast would certainly be a virtuous act (if done with the proper intention), and may even be advisable, and encouraged from the pulpit. It is simply not mandated as law for Latin Catholics at the current time.

    It might also be worthwhile to note that Catholics who are ascribed to Churches other than the Latin Church must observe their own Church’s law on the Eucharistic Fast (CCEO, c. 707). Thus, a Maronite attending a Latin Rite Mass follows his own Church’s law on fasting, as does a Copt or Ukrainian Catholic. Similarly, Latin Catholics follow our law (one hour fast) when participating in the celebration of another rite (while being sensitive and avoiding scandal – if the Ruthenian Liturgy is going to be three hours long, it would be incredibly bad form to pack a ham sandwich and nibble during the homily…)

  30. Simon Platt says:

    Dear Father,

    I read this post hastily first time round and thought that it referred to an ICKSP chapel. And I thought that very odd. So I read it again more carefully and realised that it actually refers to a university chaplaincy where, presumably, the traditional mass has recently been restored. Perhaps you could add a note to make this explicit for hasty and confused readers, especially those from overseas?

    Of course, there is no requirement at all to fast before assisting at mass. I don’t think any of the other comments have included this point (except that, as always, I have skipped the long ones).

  31. Raymundus says:

    “Custom” is not established in merely thirty years. Canon Law speaks of “centenary” custom, which means that the custom is either (a) at least 100 years old or (b) the oldest living member of the parish remembers the custom as always existing.

    The “thirty years” rule was popularized by communities like St. Joan of Arc in Minneapolis, who appeal to a thirty-year “custom” so that they can continue to disobey liturgical law.

  32. Tim F: a Maronite attending a Latin Rite Mass follows his own Church’s law on fasting, as does a Copt or Ukrainian Catholic.

    Yes, that’s right! I hadn’t considered that before.

  33. W says:

    Of course, there is no requirement at all to fast before assisting at mass.

    Yes, that is also what I found odd. The original claim is that one must fast three hours to attend.

    One Catholic I know did ask me if I thought it was a mortal sin to not receive Holy Communion at Mass, but I guess I expected most Catholics to better know the difference between Mass and Communion.

  34. Tim Ferguson says:

    Actually, Raymundus, custom can be established, according to canonists from as early as the 12th century (Gratian) by the second repetition of an act.

    Custom does not gain legal force until after 30 uninterrupted years, according to both the 1917 Code and the current Codes in force (in both the East and West).

  35. JCL says:

    Raymundus: customs which are contrary to the law or which go beyond the law obtain force of law after thirty years – canon 26 is perfectly clear on that. A cenentery custom is only required if the law contains a clause prohibiting future customs (I believe that there is no canon in the Code with this restriction, but it is found in Redemptionis Sacramentum, n.65 (lay homilies), 96 (blest bread), and no doubt possibly in other places as well). Under the 1917 Code this was 40 years. We remember that the time is reset everytime a new law appears (so most liturgical customs were reset in 2000 when the 3rd edition of the Roamn Missal and its General Instruction came into force)

  36. Hello Tim,

    I see we are in agreement that a person could be described as “being in error” when they are wrong.

  37. Hello Tim,

    I see we are in agreement that a person could be described as “being in error” when they are wrong…With my own propensity for sinfulness I prefer to use the most gentle language when correcting other sinners.

  38. avecrux says:

    As the person who submitted the question, I thank you, Father, for the clarification. Susanna, I think it is a very good idea to contact the liturgy committee as this was in the “official” announcements (read off of a piece of paper) at the end of Mass, and therefore will be announced again today three times and twice again on Saturday – and even three more times before Mass in the extraordinary form on Sunday afternoon.
    Given that the announcement was made to a group of students attending daily Mass, I believe it was assumed that the students would realize that the fast would be for those who intended to receive the Eucharist.

  39. I wish to add only that with my own propensity for sinfulness I prefer to use the most gentle language when correcting other sinners.

  40. EDG says:

    gsk –
    I agree with you on the chapel veil issue. I do recall that, law or no, the use of a head covering was fading out in some places (New York, for example) as women stopped wearing hats in general. Having seen things like a Kleenex or a dollar bill pinned to the hair of women who felt they had to do SOMETHING to indicate their awareness of the practice, I can say that it added nothing in the way of respect or devotion to their mass attendance.

    One of my great fears with the reintroduction of the old form is that there are some people who see all these things on the same level – veiled women suddenly becoming the determiner of orthodoxy – and will attempt to reimpose what were simply cultural practices and thereby scuttle or at least seriously bog down the entire project of restoring the rite.

  41. Haurietis: I wish to add only that with my own propensity for sinfulness I prefer to use the most gentle language when correcting other sinners.

    For pity’s sake! This is a fluctus in simpulo if ever there was one.

    No one is saying that the person who said it took 3 hours sinned!

    Okay… this is now a RABBIT HOLE.

  42. gsk says:

    Thank you, EDG. You added even more clarity. A small group of us were just presented to the Pope in February, and some were asking whether we should cover our heads. I thought, goodness, if I don’t cover my head for God, why would I cover my head for a man — Vicar of Christ though he be. I felt it would be pretentious, given my ambivalence about the very meaning of it. One can say that I’m simply an “ugly American” (which would be wrong on both counts :-) but it was a matter of principle. I did wear black.

  43. Carolina Geo says:

    “Actually, Raymundus, custom can be established, according to canonists from as early as the 12th century (Gratian) by the second repetition of an act.”

    That’s why the Novus Ordo will never become a custom: it’s never celebrated the same way twice!! :-)

  44. Christopher Sarsfield says:

    Wherever I attend Mass, I try to do what is the custom of the place. For example in one parish I attended regularly the vast majority of the congregation knelt from the Sanctus to the reception of communion during High Mass. Something I have never witnessed in any other parish, and to be hones something I dislike, but when in Rome… If all the women are wearing veils, I would think it would be a good act of humility to do likewise. However, whenever a person attends Mass at a private chapel, they must follow the directives of the superior. They have every right to insist on a dress code for their guests. Unlike a parish, a Catholic does not have a right to attend Mass at a private chapel. One monastery that has the TLM (approved by the Bishop) insists that on monastery grounds there are to be no shorts, tank tops, women can not wear pants, and women must cover their heads in the chapel. Some women have attempted to violate the dress code, insisting that Church does not require this. It is unfortunate that feminism has crept into the spirit of otherwise good Catholics, even without their recognizing it as such. I single out women, because all the men that have come in shorts and were made aware of the rule accepted it without question, but for some reason certain women insist on making this a hill on which they wish to die.

  45. Luke says:

    With respect, Fr.Z, Timothy James in fact made that absurd claim in the first comment when he asserted that this mistaken announcement was an example of those who oppose the EF being reduced to “blatant lying”.

    So I guess I can see how Haurietis got the impression that the priest who gave the announcement was being unjustly attacked, though certainly not in your post.


  46. D. S. says:

    Thanks to the posters.

    To custom-question: I think JCL is perfectly right. (Referring to canonical law he is right, to updating I am not sure.)

    And to the fasting question: Yes, obligation by written law is only 1 hour (so actual CIC). Even in the SSPX-chaples I have attended Mass they tell the people, that obligation is only 1 our (but better to fast 3 ours). Same at the great SSPX-Chartres-Pilgrimage – telling: 1 hour. Heard it myselfe.

    (So also proof that the SSPX recognizes – in general – the new CIC)

  47. elizabeth mckernan says:

    I have noticed that every so often the subject of what you term in the US as ‘chapel veils’ surfaces.

    Mine had lain in a drawer for many years until last year when I brought it out to wear at three TLMs attended in London. Forty years ago I would have put on my mantilla (as we called them in GB) in the porch before entering the church. However on these occasions I waited until I saw other women veiled before doing so myself.

    I think our preference for chapel veils and sadness at their disappearance is all about feelings. I felt different as soon as I put in on but failed to work out why. I felt far more focussed on prayer and the actions of the Priests. Strangely wearing a woolly hat in winter never generated the same feeling so it was not about actually covering the head.

    Whilst attending an outdoor Mass in Lourdes last year, with the temperature approaching 38 degrees, the reason became apparent. I had put a dark cardigan over my head and shoulders as I felt the hot sun burning my face and neck. This acted like blinkers shutting me off from any distractions round about. My concentration was completely focussed on the altar just as it used to be wearing a mantilla. Finally the ‘vertical’ had replaced the ‘horizontal.’

    No I do not have the courage ‘to be different’ and wear a mantilla at a Novus Ordo and I do yearn to wear one especially when I attend Exposition to focus my concentration on the Blessed Sacrament. Perhaps it is wrong to want to shut others out in this way?

  48. gsk says:

    Oh Lordy, Christopher! Don’t even wander into the “women wearing pants” conundrum. Even the most ardent anti-feminists can work up a lather on that one. Would you be sweet and docile if the owner of the private chapel sidled over to you to mention that tweeds or polyester were were forbidden? Sure, the house makes the rules, but we cannot justify them all.

  49. a catechist says:

    Being veiled for Mass has a certain appeal, but keeping a veil on while wrangling my small children would be just another distraction. I’m not old enough to remember how this was handled when it was a normal custom, but I think requiring it now or making it some sort of unofficial test of orthodoxy (just as lots of children are often gratuitously mentioned) would be an unjustified burden on mothers with kids still in the grabby stage.

  50. Joe says:

    Bring back the fast fropm midnight, veils, and men wearing suits to Mass.

    Do you believe or not believe ? That is the question ?!?!

  51. Christopher Mandzok says:

    I think that John, above, is on point, and I have not read anything with a valid, contradictory point.

    The laws were never properly abrogated, and part of the problem – from laymen through our bishops – is that Catholic hierarchy wishes to ignore the fact. Just ignore it, and in thirty years, it will have gone away.

    If the modernist leaders had the guts to follow their modernistic ways, they would stand up and shout from the bell tower that these old, foreign, decrepit ways must end. Luckily for traditionalist (or whatever your term), modernist are not as strong as St. Stephen and have little desire to be martyrs of their cause.

    Templer was also on point. What Catholics need, particular in these days, is “Freedom from Choice, Not Freedom of Choice.” I wish that I had thought of the line.

  52. elizabeth mckernan says:

    In reply to ‘catechist’ I do not remember ever having a problem when my little ones were at the grabbing stage. Yes they may have made a grab for my mantilla in the same way as they would to my spectacles or my handbag but the word ‘No’ with a stern face (always followed by a smile) used to be sufficient!

  53. Tom McKenna says:

    Good post and comments… my only quibble would be that by the express terms of Ecclesia Dei there is to be no admixture of rites; to my knowledge, Summorum Pontificum did not alter this principle. Therefore, since the mode of receiving holy communion at the traditional rite is on the tongue (indeed, if one had put their hands out at communion in ages past, the priest would have truly been shocked); the particular law enunciated in ED would trump the universal “indult” which appears to grant a permission to take communion in the hand. Hence, in my view, a celebrant would correctly refuse to permit the practice at a traditional rite Mass.

  54. JCL says:

    I’m sorry Christopher – whether or not we think that a certain custom is a good one or not aside, all the laws is the 1917 Code were “properly” abrogated in 1983 with canon 6.

  55. D. S. says:

    So, see above, You are right rev. F. Z. in the fasting-question.

    But, rev. F., I have to contradict You in the question of allowness of giving Hl. COmmunion onto the hand:

    Even by positiv (eccl.) law it is forbidden (!!) to give COmmunion onto the hand. Read REDEMPT. SACRAMENTUM. no 92 writes:

    “… If there is a risk of profanation, then Holy Communion should not be given in the hand to the faithful.[179]” (see link on Your own site.)

    So as there is a risk – recently declared by M. Rev. Bf. Athanasius Schneider and A. Malcolm Ranjith Patabendige Don, as You posted – it is not only allowed to reject giving onto the hands, but forbidden!!

    at least if a priest comes to this conclusion and because he as the minister of the SAcrament is responsible for It, he is allowed to reject, but even more: he is commanded to reject giving Most Blessed Sacrament onto the hand.

    From Germany
    in CHo per Mam

  56. D.S.: I have to contradict You in the question of allowness of giving Hl. COmmunion onto the hand

    I don’t think you have sufficient juridical grounds to contradict me.

    First, in those places where the Church (sadly) gives permission for Communion in the hand people have the right to receive in the hand. 

    However, the additional factor is there must not be risk of profanation. 

    One can argue that there is always risk of profanation when distributing in the hand.  But then there is also risk of profanation in distributing on the tongue too!  The risk is greatly increased when giving Communion in the hand, of course.  There is no doubt of that.

    But it is absurd to argue that something in Redemptionis Sacramentum which clearly states that people have the right to receive in the hand also means that it is forbideen to give them Communion in the hand.

    Also, you have not correctly interpreted what Archbp. Ranjith says in the preface to Bp. Schneider’s book.  He has not said that Communion in the hand is forbidden.  He is calling for a re-evaluation of the practice.  Moreover, his preface is not an official document of the Congregation.

    I am not a fan, to say the least, of this practice which in my opinion should be abolished as soon as possible, but for the time being the Church’s laws give people rights in this regard.  At the same time, the Church also gives priests the ability to determine if there is risk of profanation.  In making that determination, they must be reasonable.

  57. Richard T says:

    Surely the fasting was only ever for those receiving communion, not for everyone “attending” Mass?

    Is this your questioner’s error, or the priest’s?

    This modern assumption that everyone present automatically receives is one of the things that weakens the traditional Catholic understanding of the Mass as sacrifice, and pushes us towards a protestant mindset of a community meal.

  58. Lee says:

    Man, from the fifty-two comments thus far it is abundantly clear to me that the Holy Father would be performing an incredible service to the Church if he would, just to take one example of the many controverted issues here, declare (in proper canonical form, of course), “No mantillas!” or “Mantillas!”

    How much discussion, angst, ink and electrons this would save! I am trying to bring myself up to speed with the Church’s direction on liturgy, but I have to say the extremely detailed and absurdly well-informed discussions I have encountered on this and similar forums re birettas, maniples, mantillas, fiddlebacked vestments, stipulations of Canon Law and the like verges on the truly scandalous. It is, of course, the diametric opposite of the liturgical sloppiness, infidelity and carelessness in many NO parishes, but it isn’t altogether clear to me that it represents a real improvement. It is merely maddening in its own way, and probably counter-evangelical in its own way.

    I remember hearing a pentecostal pastor say at one time that one characteristic of a church that is not preaching the gospel to the lost is that the congregation is very, very pre-occupied with picking the fleas out of one another’s hair. About half the above comments fit the bill, fratres.

    Of course, in the interests of “sentire con ecclesia” I want to understand where Pope Benedict and the Church are going liturgically, and will continue to follow the forum, but can anyone point me to a Catholic blog where they might enthusiastically treat of issues such as how to bring your entire apartment complex into the Church? My understanding is that the Latin rite is brief compared to others precisely to allow us more time to evangelize. It seems to me, however, that nobody, but nobody in the Church is equipping us to do that- or knows how to equip us to do that, for that matter. Che peccato!

  59. Brian C. says:

    Tim F. wrote:

    Custom does not gain legal force until after 30 uninterrupted years, according to both the 1917 Code and the current Codes in force (in both the East and West).

    At the risk of asking a stupid question: the Holy Father still has the authority to reprobate a custom that’s been “30-year-customized”, doesn’t he? The comments about Holy Communion in the hand, etc., make me wonder–and my blood would chill if it were possible for “practices contrary to the law” to gain a “veto-proof” solidity simply due to 30 years of inactivity by the Vatican (perhaps due to inefficient communication, etc.)…

    In Christ,

  60. Memphis Aggie says:


    Why are you saddened by reception in the hand? Didn’t the Apostles receive that way? I think I can guess why, but I’d rather read your reasoning than infer it.

  61. Matt Q says:

    Jeff wrote:

    “In circumstances provided by law, Episcopal Conferences are given the authority to approve modifications to the universal in their territories. When it comes to penitential practices on Fridays, most Conferences have made changes. This is also the case for Holy Days of Obligation. The changes must be confirmed by the Holy See before they are put into effect.”


    Thanks, Jeff. Been there, done that. ;-)

    By the way, speaking of rules, where are the Clarifications to the Motu Proprio? It’s after Easter. Father Z, can you drop a nice little note to the Pope…

  62. Jason L. Keener says:

    The highly regarded Catholic philosopher Dr. Alice von Hildebrand wrote this recently about chapel veils:

    “Prior to Vatican II, women entering church wore a veil, whereas men took off their hats. Feminists interpreted this as a clear sign of discrimination. Now, women go bareheaded like men. By allowing this change, according to feminists, the Church is “slowly” trying to correct her ill-treatment of the female sex. But once again, a profound symbolism has been eliminated. Not only are we now disregarding a recommendation of Saint Paul, but we no longer understand its deep meaning. Because Mary, the Woman par excellence, was privileged to carry the Savior of the World in her sacred womb, and sacredness calls for veiling, women wearing a veil were reminded that their bodies have the very same structure as the Theotokos (or God-Bearer, Mary). Mary has given life to the Savior; women are also “mothers of life,” and this implies a unique closeness between them and the One who is the Life of the world. To be veiled indicated clearly the sacredness of the female body, and once again, this sublime message has been lost.”—Latin Mass Magazine Advent/Christmas 2007

  63. thetimman says:

    The requirement of woment covering their heads in Church is still binding due to immemorial custom. I suggest anyone interested read Jacob Michael’s very insightful and detailed article at http://www.lumengentleman.com. To simply say the 1917 Code was generally abrogated does not exhaust the issue.

  64. thetimman says:

    The requirement that women wear head coverings in Church is still binding due to immemorial custom. To simply say the 1917 Code was generally abrogated does not exhaust the issue. To anyone interested, I recommend Jacob Michael’s indepth article on this at http://www.lumengentleman.com

  65. thetimman says:

    Sorry for the double post, my computer was acting up. However, the web address I linked above is incorrect– should be:


  66. Maureen says:

    Jimmy Akin says you’re wrong about headcoverings and custom. Briefly, he says “custom” has a legal meaning, and headcoverings weren’t covered by it.


    Anyway, mantillas weren’t really an immemorial custom, in the non-legal sense, anywhere but Spain, Italy, and their colonies (or descendants of members of such colonies). I watched one of those old Family Rosary TV shows last night. Was there anyone wearing a veil in that? Only a religious sister! Were women wearing perfectly
    nice little hats that went with their outfits? Yes! Were little girls wearing chapel veils? No! Were they wearing ordinary school uniform beanies? Yes!

    Mantillas are not the only kind of headcovering there is. I have no problem with people
    wearing them, but they reek of beehives and the early sixties, when women decided they hated
    hats. They do not breathe tradition to most ethnic groups in this country.

    Maureen, whose ancestors on the one side mostly wore scarves and shawls over their head,
    and on the other side mostly wore hats.

  67. a catechist says:

    I’d like to second Memphis Aggie–have you posted previously your objections to receiving in the hand? I wouldn’t want to guess. I’ve always been careful to wash my hands well & use some sort of pleasant lotion before Mass out of reverence–‘though lately I’ve usually received on the tongue because I’m holding a squirmy kid. I certainly don’t think my own reverence is different either way. I concerns me a lot more to see the hasty & slopppy signs of the cross many people make, which certainly isn’t limited to in-the-hand folks.

  68. Different says:

    Headcovering became part of canon law in 1917. As such it ceased being ruled by rules for customs (if it ever was). As a law, when the entire code of 1917 was abrogated in 1983, then so was the headcovering law. In fact even in 1976, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith stated:

    “But it must be noted that these ordinances, probably inspired by the customs of the period, concern scarcely more than disciplinary practices of minor importance, such as the obligation imposed upon women to wear a veil on the head (1 Cor 11:2-6); such requirements no longer have a normative value.”

    So, even in 1976 it was regarded as not normative.

    It seems that men and women sat together throughout the 40’s and 50’s in direct violation of canon law. Was that immoral? Or was it a disciplinary practice of “minor importance”?

  69. John Paul says:

    In case anyone is still on this topic, I was wondering how and where does
    one draw the line on “practices” that have become the “norm” that were not
    present in the TLM. If one can expect that they could still receive in the
    hand at a TLM, could they also think they should receive under both kinds?
    Or expect to see Extraordinary Ministers? Or receive standing, just because
    all of these are the “norm” now in our diocese? It seems like a slippery
    slope. Where do you draw the line?

  70. JCL says:

    thetimman: the article you quote also ignores canon 6 (mentioned by me above). Its not going to go away just by ignoring it. Everything in the 1917 Code that was not of natural/divine law and that was not “re-adopted” in the 1983 Code or elsewhere in canon law was revoked by c.6. The article also suggests that veils are centential customs and so thereby saved. A custom is an unwritten law and therefore a custom ceases when it becomes a written law. I don’t have access right now to the appropriate sources (Gasparri’s Fontes) to see where the requirment for covered heads became a written law but it is obvious that at the very least it became a written law in 1917 when it was included in the Code and at that point ceased to be a custom therefore it can no longer be appealed to as an immemorial/centential custom. The article finally uses the anology of masonic sects, but the analogy is a false one. Masonic sects were banned in the 1917 Code specifically, they are banned in the 1983 Code generically and the CDF declaration was a simple declaration that the more generic canon also covers the more specific (in a syllogism: Associations against the Church are to be punished, masons are against the Church, therefore masons are to be punished). Sorry but veils simply are no longer compulsary. We are free to wear veils; we are free to argue in their favour; we are free to petition our bishop or the Holy See on the issue; we are not free to impose them on others.

  71. Mary Jane says:

    Somehow chapel veils are often seen as the way to “separate sheep from goats” in certain circles, a way to recognize insiders. Once upon a time women’s heads were covered all the time – hats, veils, shawls, you name it. If the issue is covering one’s head, why does it have to be some particular style that doesn’t mesh with the clothing most of us (very respectably dressed) wear to Mass?

    When I’m at a EF Mass, I generally have a scarf around my neck in case someone comes up and fusses at me. I think it would be more profitable if they spent their time being grateful that they have the EF available to them. Many of us are still extremely limited in our access to this rite and the last thing we need to feel is some level of scrutiny from the “regulars.”

    End of minor hissy fit.

  72. gsk says:

    Thank you, Maureen. Methinks that we are straining at gnats here, while ignoring the camels. A vast number if not the majority of women of child-bearing age in the pews are contracepting. Sexual license is rampant, theology of the body is not understood by most, divorce and remarriage is the same as other communions, Mass attendance is not taken seriously, families are in disarray, etc. To even think that mandating chapel veils (and suits for men) would be anything other than laughable is to be delusional. There is so much to do in order to win the hearts and minds of women, so that they understand their inherent dignity but beginning with frivolous accidents (which have no meaning to them other than a sense of playing “dress up”) would be to lose any possibility of serious discussion about more important matters. Veiling may come later — much later — after motherhood has won its rightful esteem and families are recognised as the domestic churches they are, but not before. Thus, if one woman says, “a ha! I get it!” and dons a veil, bully for her. But she cannot then cast her aspersions on the rest of her unwashed pew-mates as “less holy.”

  73. W says:

    This is not an argument for or against head covering, just an observation. The abandonment of head covering is not just a completed action that belongs to the past. It is happening right now in Korea.

    Korean Catholic women have maintained the mantilla as a near-universal custom to the present day. In the last few years, many younger women have stopped covering their heads while most of the older women still do.

    It is perhaps instructive to note that this abandonment of the mantilla comes at exactly the same time as many Korean dioceses have ordered the removal of kneelers, EMHCs have multiplied and catechism of the young has disintegrated.

  74. JCL, you quoted accurately from the Canon, now the question is its legitimacy. Can the old laws be legitimately abrogated by such a swooping statement? My understanding of the abrogation of old laws by a new canon is that the old laws that are to be abrogated must be explicitly mentioned. Thus, the new canon must make directly mention, for example, mantillas then it must directly, explicitly abrogate their use.

    I find it similar to the plight of Archbishop Lefervre. Was he properly, validly excommunicated? If the proper format was not followed to excommunicate him, then all the modernist jumping up and down while claiming that he was excommunicated does not amount to a hill of beans.

    If the old laws were not properly disposed of – and that goes to the heart of Canon 6 – then they are still in force. So, the next question remains: can the new canon wipe away the old laws with such a generic statement? Must the new canon directly, explicitly mention the laws that are being abrogated? What is does tradition have to say about this?

  75. Hoka2_99 says:

    When the fasting rule was twelve hours I think people only received Communion if they attended a very early Mass: 7 am, 8 am. I recently attended a Tridentine Mass at midday and was telling a fellow parishioner, who rounded on me asking if I had received Communion. I knew “where he was coming from”, as they say. So, I replied that I had indeed and not only that, I had bought a small KitKat at the back of the Anglican church near the car park [having driven 8 miles to get to the town],as I was feeling my blood sugar level dip. I’d had breakfast at about 8 am. I think I’m over the fasting age limit at 64 – not sure about that. Anyway, I was honest with him and said, which would Our Lord have preferred – that I was able to pay attention throughout the Mass and receive Communion reverently, or keel over and cause a major disturbance?
    I don’t wear a mantilla either AND, though I’m definitely a woman, I wear trousers for warmth – I wasn’t told to leave the church.
    By the way – in SSPX churches women may not enter unless they are wearing a skirt and a mantilla. I think that’s plain daft – anyway they are schismatics, so the question doesn’t arise in my book.

  76. Sue Sims says:

    Oh! I’m over from England and staying with a family who live near Steubenville, and whose oldest daughter (they have eight children) is at Franciscan. Can anyone there tell us what time the EF Mass is? FUS’s chapel website doesn’t have any reference to it.

  77. avecrux says:

    Sue –
    The Mass will be at 4PM in Christ the King Chapel this Sunday.

  78. D. S. says:

    laudetur JS CHS!

    To veils & customs – esp. to Ch.Mandzok and JCL:

    Though I am in favour of covering women´s heads inside the church [and also do think, that Archbf. Lefebvre is in fact not excommunicated, but that is an other diskussion], You, Ch. Mandzok, seem to be, sorry, wrong in Your argumentation and JCL seems to be perfectly right.

    C. 6 is clear. Well, Your objection was, if such a c. can be legitimated by tradition or not. But you can find analogies in tradition, so f.e. c. 22 CIC/1917, that says that if a law “totam de integro ordinet legis prioris materiam” the prior law is abrogated. So in analogy you can say the new CIC abrogates the old one.
    There seems to be no problem from tradition.

    And JCL stressed an important point: written law does not fall in the category of custom. So even the head-covering is, I think, a 1950 year old custom (or law), it is wrong to argue canonistically with custom and need of explicit mentioning.

    But then – as I posted before, elswhere – by cit c. 22 resp. 20 (in the new CIC) also the introduction of the NOM abrogated the VO (old form). I spoke about this problem with the German canonist Prof. G. May – as I also posted before, read my recent comments – and he confirmed it; it would be that clear, he said, that he can´t understand the Pope says the opposite now.

    He is like me against the NOM and has always and only celebrated the VO but he argues that the only way to do so is to state that the NO or the introduction of it was an unjust law and therefor is not binding (and therefor not abrogating the VO – cf. his booklet about the New and the Old Mass, ed. UNA VOCE).
    That was also the main argument of Archbf. Lefebv. and the SSPX. Beeing an unjust law. So no law-positivistic argumentation but arguing against the formal law as beeing invalid or better not binding, beeing null and void by beeing unjust. The only possible argumentation.

    Even if the Pope now says that the VO would never have been abrogted (while seeing the NO as a binding law) it is, again sorry, just wrong. It is no question of custom and therefor it is abrogated without mentioning it explicitly by the introduction of the NO, accordign to c. 20. And the Intention to do so of the law giver was also that clear. Remember – you all folks seem to forget this – that you needed a special indult and till 1984 there was nearly no indult.

    greatings from germany

  79. o.h. says:

    To my Catholic sisters–

    Please forgive me if I’m misreading some of you, but I can’t help the impression that, if you were to sit next to me at Mass while I was wearing my mantilla, you’d be sure I was judging you as somehow unworthy for not wearing you. In fact, the fear of disapproval by other women who’d think I was judging them for being insufficiently traditional kept me from wearing one for years, though I’ve long wanted to. It took turning 40 to make me stop caring what other people might be thinking about what I wore at Mass. If only I’d stopped caring what other people thought about my clothes about 27 years ago, I would have had a much happier youth.

    I promise you, many of us who are wearing veils/mantillas aren’t in the least bothered that other people aren’t. (I can only speak for my veil-wearing friends, of course; but we’ve all discussed this issue.) If you promise not to be bothered that we are–or assume we’re making a statement of some kind, or are ignorant of the hat-wearing tradition in the U.S., or whatever–we’ll all be much happier, less defensive (speaking here for myself) and less self-conscious. And by the way, I do agree that it would be disastrous for head covering to be mandated.

    It’s been a long time since Vatican II; I think my little cotton lace veil is too fragile to support all the weight some insist on piling onto it. That goes for both “sides” of this issue.

  80. Sharon says:

    (I apologize for posting this comment on the wrong thread)

    I started wearing a chapel veil five years ago at the NO Mass during Lent. I viewed it as a form of penance. I hate to be the center of attention, yet there I was at daily Mass and Sundays in the front row with my veil. My husband and I choose to sit in the front so that the children could pay better attention, but wearing the veil and sitting in the front set me up as a person claiming to be “holier than thou.” A Korean woman made the suggestion to me, kindly, and I decided to do it.

    Since then, I have read various articles on the wearing of the veil and what it all comes down to for me is that I have no doubt the Blessed Mother, our model, would wear a veil. My seven year old became completely fascinated with the beautiful Korean woman (with whom we are now friends) and she has worn a veil for a couple of years now. She seems to have found a closeness to Our Lady. Our family has been blessed with the institution of a Traditional Rite community and now my other daughter, a very ornery one who is about to turn four, has recently been wearing a veil to both the NO (where we attend daily Mass) and the Traditional Mass. I don’t wear a dress to daily Mass and feel quite awkward wearing a veil with jeans, but I give it to Mother Mary. The First Lady and her daughter Barbara wore veils in the presence of the Pope (we have a picture). I was impressed with their respect.

    You can’t force an idea on women today. An examination of conscience for any inkling of pride (in the decision to wear or not wear a veil) may be a consideration.

  81. Fr W says:

    though it is not in the rubrics, is not Communion on the tongue part of the liturgical protocol for the Extraordinary form?

    Keeping one’s fingers together after the consecration is not in the rubrics, but it is certainly part of the Mass. Is not Communion on the tongue part of the Mass? If so, it is governed by the Liturgical Law, not Canon Law?

  82. JCL says:

    Christopher: If we don’t believe that canon 6 has actually validly revoked the 1917 Code then where do we stop? How do we decide what canons to follow?

    Even if for arguments sake we accepted your contention that canon 6 did not legitimately revoke the canon on covered heads, and we accepted that this was a reasonable canonical opinion, there are also many other canonical opinions that state that canon 6 “does what it says on the box” (indeed almost every qualified canonist would say this). This would mean that we would have a situation where the law is doubtful (some qualified people say one thing, others say the opposite). In this situation c. 14 would come into play, which states that where a “dubium iuris” exists (as it would here) the law does not oblige.

  83. Ottaviani says:

    Mgr. Ignacio Barrerio wrote for the Latin Mass Magazine editorial in November 2007, saying:

    First, in the Motu Propio we do not have a revival of a previous rite which had been derogated, but to the contrary, due to the explicit legally binding declaration contained in Article 1 of this law, we have the very strong affirmation that the Missal of 1962 had never been abrogated. As a consequence, all the norms that regulate the way in which it should be used, are now in force. The contrary opinion is not reasonable because it would mean that the Missal would be in existence without the necessary support of all the norms that regulate its use; it is tantamount to affirming that this Missal exists in a legal vacuum. It is abhorrent to any sane legal interpretation of any law to postulate that something should live in a legal vacuum.

    Second, we have to consider the basic principle of legal interpretation that states that whoever wishes the principal also desires what is accessory. So if the Supreme Legislator of the Church has decreed that the Missal of 1962 has never been derogated, he is also stating explicitly that all the norms that regulated that Missal were not derogated either. It is evident that the normative corpus that regulates the use of this Missal is an integral accessory to the Missal.

    Third, this law like any other law of the Church has to be interpreted in accordance with the hermeneutic of continuity; in accordance with this interpretative criterion, it is evident that the laws that accompanied the Missal of 1962 at its promulgation, should guide its way now in the present. To propose that it is legally possible to have female altar servers or to give Communion in the hand when using the Missal of 1962 would be a clear case of the hermeneutic of discontinuity which, as I stated earlier, the Holy Father denounced in his address to the Roman Curia.

    Thought this might help…

  84. D. S. says:

    Rev. F. Z.,

    Yes, if RED. SAKR. states the alowness/right to conceive H.Communion in the hands then it seems to be not the intention to forbid it in the next sentence (if interpretated in the sense, that there is always risk of profanation).
    But on the other hand there must be an intention, it can not mean nothing. So if You object that there is always risk of profanation, then it would be superfluous to mention it here only in the context of giving H. Communion in the hands.

    So 1. it seems to be that in Rome they feel also a little unconfortable with this modern praxis (like H.E. Msgr. Ranjith stressed now), adn thererfor, in this paradox situation (modern form seeing as not a good one, but still allowed) they give such paradox or unclear advises. I do see that it is not that unambigous (I am not stupid or dense).

    But 2. perhaps Rome tries to make advances here to those priests, that have a real problem with giving the H. Communion in the hands and can´t do it with a clear conscience. So they state that it is generally allowed (not to affront the bishops or bishop-conferences) but they leave those priests a door open [we say so in German] who think the risk is to big and want to reject giving H. Communion on the hands, so that they do have an argument against theire bishops and can rely on no 92 of RS.

    So 3. this was my main point: it leaves open the possibility for a priest to say: I come to the conclusion that the risk is to big/high, a can´t give H. Com. in the hands – and this priest is then legitimatet to do so because of RS no. 9.2.

    As You put it, “the Church also gives priests the ability to determine if there is risk of profanation. In making that determination, they must be reasonable.” – that was my main point: the priest is reasonable, if he comes to the conclusion that there is a big risk, then he can rely on no.92 and reject giving!

    And, as I stated, the words must mean sth. (senseful), the words “if there is a risk of profanation” can claerly not only mean the general risk in every case, even in giving Com. on the tongue, but can only be interpretated as “if there is a great/big/high risk – if the risk is to high – ” other interpretation would be realy stupid and nonsense, becaus if only referred to the general risk, then contribution/distribution of the H. Sacrament would be totaly forbidden -absurd.
    Or if interpretated in the sense that the general risk by giving It in hte hands is mentioned, then it would be a a total /absolut prohibition of giving Com. in the hands – , well, then I would be satisfied, but You say: that is also nonsense, contradicts the sentence before. Well, yes, but perahps it is this contradiction, this paradoxy, because of the reasons i mentioned just now (in 2.).

    But well, if it must be an other interpretation it does again support my goal.
    This other interpreation then must be, as I said, “high risk” or “obvious high risk”.
    And then, as You admitted, because there is “obviously high risk” (as You put it:
    “The risk is greatly increased when giving Communion in the hand, of course. There is no doubt of that.”) then I conclude it is forbidden.

    But, I repeat, my main point is that the text supports the priest to come to such a conclusion and then reject giving Com. in the hands. And I think my 2. point is important.

    4. And last: You got my reference to Msgr. Ranjith totaly wrong.
    I did not state what You affirmed. Please read it again and you will see

    Yours respectfully
    in CHo per Mam

  85. D.S. People have the right, alas, to receive Communion in the hand. Under normal, reasonable circumstances it cannot be denied them.

    You are arguing about nothing.

    If the Holy See considered that every time Communion in the hand was requested there was too great a risk of profanation, then the Holy See wouldn’t legislate that people have the right to receive in the hand.

  86. thetimman says:

    JCL, thanks for the comments. I would like to see your source for the proposition that a custom ceases being a custom when it is codified before I concede the point. And on the question of canon 6 just negating all of the 1917 Code not specifically superceded, you may want to ask Archbishop Burke, himself a fine canonist who cites a provision of the 1917 Code in his decree of excommunication of Father Bozek. You can find it on my blog in the archives– it occurred in March 2008 and the text is there.

    Maureen, no offense to Jimmy Akin, he is a great apologist, but not a canon lawyer himself. He may rely upon Dr. Peters, but his argument is not persuasive and not nearly dispositive of the points raised by Jacob Michael for instance. All he does is simply discount it.

    Of course veiling is a beautiful custom, and of course we should try to persuade fellow Catholics with patience and charity, but in the end, covering the head in Church is binding for women.

  87. Alessandro says:

    Father, I would like to point out that

    1) Reception of Holy Communion into the hand is not allowed in the Missal of 1962 as it is explicitly commanded how to administer Holy Communion in the rubrics of the Missal, which bind the celebrant. Also, no Extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist are allowed, for the same reason.

    2) The veil is no longer obliged by Canon Law, but it is still morally binding as a law because of it being an immemorial custom, and because the new Code did not explicitly abolish it; it omits any mentioning of it. http://www.lumengentleman.com/content.asp?id=220

    So I do not think a priest could turn a communicant away for not wearing the veil, but the veil is still morally binding as a law as per immemorial custom.

    I would also advise you to first consult Canon Lawyers and the rubrics prescribed in the 1962 Missal, before posting on these issues.

  88. JCL says:

    Thetimman: unfortuantely due to my Sunday duties I’ve been a bit busy to reply. Hold in there!

    As an aside, the argument from custom is a temporary one. We have currently reached 25 years since the 1983 Code, that means that its still five years before a custom can be formed. When that time comes the contrary custom of not veiling will end any oustanding obligation (legal, moral, customary, whatever). [Although I hasten to point out again that I don’t think that there is any current obligation anyway].

  89. Alessandro: 1) Reception of Holy Communion into the hand is not allowed in the Missal of 1962 as it is explicitly commanded how to administer Holy Communion in the rubrics of the Missal, which bind the celebrant. Also, no Extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist are allowed, for the same reason.

    “Explicitly commanded how…” … okay… I’ll bite. Please cite the words in the 1962 Missale Romanum which describe the precise method of distributing Holy Communion to the faithful.

    2) The veil is no longer obliged by Canon Law, but it is still morally binding as a law because of it being an immemorial custom, and because the new Code did not explicitly abolish it; it omits any mentioning of it. http://www.lumengentleman.com/content.asp?id=220

    A moral obligation is not a juridical obligation.

    I would also advise you to first consult Canon Lawyers and the rubrics prescribed in the 1962 Missal, before posting on these issues.

    And I would advise you not to be snotty to the owners of blogs where you would like to be able to post, especially when you are probably wrong!


  90. JCL says:

    Thetimman: I’ll try and deal with the 1917 Code issue here. I’ll hopefully address the custom issue in another comment so that this one is not too long.

    On your blog I found the following within a decree of Archbishop Burke, I presume that this is what you refer to (although if there is another citation it is probably analogous): “contrary to Divine Law and the sacred canons (cf. cann. 1290; and 1333, s. 4; Codex Iuris Canonici Pio-Benedictinus, cann. 727-729; and Decree of the Holy Office, 2 March 1679, n. 45 [DS, n. 2145])”

    Firstly we ask what Archbishop Burke was doing here: he was invalidating any financial deals entered into by Fr Bozek beacuse these represent simony, which is contrary to divine law. Unlike the 1917 Code, the 1983 Code does not cover simony in such great detail. (why this is would need to be answered by someone more learned in this field than I).

    He first quotes two canons of the 1983 Code. The first states that contracts made by the Church are canonically valid if civilly valid, UNLESS these contracts are contrary to divine law or canon law. The second canon states that when a priest is suspended (as I presume this priest has been although I don’t knw much about this case) he must make financial restitution for any monies he received. This therefore is the exception in canon law to the first canon he cites.

    This would be sufficient to justidy his actions but to underline what he wishes to do the Archbishop then cites the, more-detailed, canons of the old Code. These are not in force as canon law (although at least one of them declares itself to be of divine law, which means that it is universally valid regardless of whether it actually appears in a Code). They do though help define what simony is. Earlier in this comment-thread we discussed the issue of Masonry, and how the new Code is more generic than the old, but that the newer generic canons contain implictly what the older ones conatined explicitly. We cannot though find a canon in the new Code which implictly or generically requires hats in church.

    (Whilst I bow before Archbishop Burke as a canonist, it appears from this decree that his English is not always the clearest and, at least in our UK English, the usage “Reverend Bozek” is never allowed. “Reverend” is used like “the Honourable” hence “Reverend Father Bozek” or “Reverend Marek Bozek” just like “the Honourable Judge Smith” or the “honourable Mr Smith” never the “the Honourable Smith”).

  91. Emilio III says:


    “Reverend Bozek” is unfortunately the current US Catholic usage. I assume that it was due to “Rev.” being originally used as a Latin abbreviation (therefore without the article) but expanded as if it were English.

  92. JCL says:


    Does custom cease when it an identical law is created?

    Above we mentioned canon 6 of the 1983 Code, now though we turn to canon 5. Canon 5 revokes (barring various exceptions) contrary customs and retains customs that are “beyond the law “(praeter legem). Now, if for arguments sake we grant that covered heads was a custom as well as a law, it was not a cutsom contrary to the law or beyond the law, hence it must be a custom “according to the law” (secundum legem).

    Mendonca (CLSGBI p.21) defines a custom as a “common or constant mode of action adopted by a community”. Here we are of course dealing with “custom” as a canonical concept, not in a generic way. If a custom is, technically speaking, something adopted by a community then ipso facto something prescribed by a law cannot also be a custom. A custom “secundum legem” is not a real custom at all (cf. Huels [CLSA p.86]). For a custom to have force of law it has to be adopted with the intention that it be binding. If something is already binding, how can the community adopt it with that specific intention?

    Moreover, Huels explicitly states that when a law approves a custom “that would make the custom a law, …rather than … a custom”. (CLSA p.87 f.171).

    I am sure that there are others who can offer a deeper justification, unfortuantely the resources available to me here and now limit me to this.

    CLSGBI: The Canon Law – Letter and Spirit, Canon Law Society of Great Britain and Ireland, London, 1995
    CLSA: New Commentary on the Code of Canon Law, Canon Law SOciety of America, New York, 2000)

  93. JCL says:

    Emilio III: how true that we are divided by a common language!

  94. Louis E. says:

    Is it more correct to say people have “the right” to receive communion in the hand,or that they currently enjoy revocable “permission”?

  95. shana sfo says:

    And while some are arguing the details, I wanted to say that Sue (who had inquired about the time in a previous post) her husband, Paul, one of my young daughters and I attended this gorgeous Holy Mass today and thought it absolutely beautiful! It was a Missa Cantata (according to Sue who knows these things) and it really was breathtaking for my young daughter and I, who had never before been to a Mass in the Extraordinary Form.

    I am very grateful to the University for providing this!

  96. Clara says:

    I can assure the first poster that the announcement came not from any malicious intent but from an honest mistake–I don’t work with the chapel offices, but many of my friends do, and they really have simply been trying to prepare everyone properly. It’s my impression that they’ve been rather meticulous with the preparations, actually–I sang with the schola today at the Mass and everything was beautifully prepared, including with kneelers built for the purpose of creating an altar rail. I have full faith in our chapel offices now and am positive that it was simply a misunderstanding.

    As for chapel veils–boy, do I wish it were more widespread, but I think the Church has bigger fish to fry.

  97. Wow, ninety-six comments and resolution seems as far off as it was on Friday.

  98. C.M. says:

    Wow, ninety-six comments and resolution seems as far off as it was on Friday.

    The pastor has ordered a 3-hour Eucharistic fast before a particular Mass. Only if voluntarily following the fast would be subjectively and situationally immoral, would the question of legality and lawful authority even enter in. The fast can normally be followed out of obedience to the pastor of souls.

    Because there is a reasonable doubt of law and the legislator’s intent–this being an extraliturgical canon–nobody is strictly bound. But those who wish to not follow the older fast should beware lest there be any danger of scandal.

  99. D.S. says:

    Rev. F. Z.!

    I´m not convinced that I am “arguing about nothing”.

    Well, try a summary:

    possible interpretations of mentioned “risk of profanation”:

    1. Very general risk of profanation in every case: We both agree that would be nonsense/absurde – and also we have a textual argument: this risk is only mentioned in the context of givng M. Bl. Sakrament in the hands. So

    2. General risk of giving in the hands; well, I agree, the sentence before does not correspond with such a intrpretation . But:
    It also does not contradict such a interpretation. (well, I know, You will say now: come on, that is finickines or not honest…. – so, ok., but my point comes now:)

    3. So persuambly the interpretation must be not the general risk (2.) but a special one under special circumstances. Well, but even if this was the inteniton of the law-givers, it is not that clear, it is not specified, it is not said, what degree of risk or what circumstances are mentioned or better: thought about (because not mentioned!). And the words itselfe do not speak about “high-decree risk” or somthing like that, but only “if there is a risk”. So that is open to many interpretations or better: it dapends on non legal premises, f. e. experience of such risks.

    So even though the law givers do think of a very special high-decree risk it is open by the text under what circumsatces such a risk is there.

    So even if the law givvers subjectivly would state it is only under very specail circumsatnces an other priest can come to the conlusion by his or other´s experience, that hand-Communion itself or nearla n all cases has this high-risk.

    And then he can rely on RED. SAKR. (92). Why close this door?
    With what authoritiy do You rebut /disallow the priest this experience and then the logical conclusion.

    Well, as a syllogism, it is an conditional one – and you can argue and have different opiniions how to liquidate the “if”.So:

    (i) “if there is a risk of prfanation…” – that is in the law, no. 92
    (ii) concrete experince: when there is in fact (if-liquidation)

    (iii) “then you shuld not give”

    So (i) and (iii) is in the law – (ii) not. Well, you can argue as you did, but it is perfectly unclear or better: does not proviede any other interpretation or better: not interpretation but other experience. If you have other experience and see in (nearly) every case of Hand-Communion a (high) risk, then you can rely on no. 92. So (ii) is a matter of fact or experience, not of the law.

    Well, I also do not like this subjactivistic new canons. and laws -but they are there.


  100. D.S. says:

    (Sorry for some misspelling in my last comment. But it is late in the evening in Germany and I was at an internet-caffee and did not have much time. Sorry. And sorry for my English…)

  101. thetimman says:

    JCL, thanks for the replies. I, too, will get to them when I can. I am actually contemplating a post on my blog on this subject, and I would also not object to a dialog there if this site’s post gets too chronologically buried to easily continue.

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