Sunday, 31 March 2013
2041 The precepts of the Church are set in the context of a moral life bound to and nourished by liturgical life. The obligatory character of these positive laws decreed by the pastoral authorities is meant to guarantee to the faithful the very necessary minimum in the spirit of prayer and moral effort, in the growth in love of God and neighbor:
2042 The first precept ("You shall attend Mass on Sundays and holy days of obligation and rest from servile labor") requires the faithful to sanctify the day commemorating the Resurrection of the Lord as well as the principal liturgical feasts honoring the mysteries of the Lord, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and the saints; in the first place, by participating in the Eucharistic celebration, in which the Christian community is gathered, and by resting from those works and activities which could impede such a sanctification of these days.82
The second precept ("You shall confess your sins at least once a year") ensures preparation for the Eucharist by the reception of the sacrament of reconciliation, which continues Baptism's work of conversion and forgiveness.83
The third precept ("You shall receive the sacrament of the Eucharist at least during the Easter season") guarantees as a minimum the reception of the Lord's Body and Blood in connection with the Paschal feasts, the origin and center of the Christian liturgy.84
2043 The fourth precept ("You shall observe the days of fasting and abstinence established by the Church") ensures the times of ascesis and penance which prepare us for the liturgical feasts and help us acquire mastery over our instincts and freedom of heart.85
The fifth precept ("You shall help to provide for the needs of the Church") means that the faithful are obliged to assist with the material needs of the Church, each according to his own ability.86
The faithful also have the duty of providing for the material needs of the Church, each according to his own abilities.87
2032 The Church, the "pillar and bulwark of the truth," "has received this solemn command of Christ from the apostles to announce the saving truth."74 "To the Church belongs the right always and everywhere to announce moral principles, including those pertaining to the social order, and to make judgments on any human affairs to the extent that they are required by the fundamental rights of the human person or the salvation of souls."75
2033 The Magisterium of the Pastors of the Church in moral matters is ordinarily exercised in catechesis and preaching, with the help of the works of theologians and spiritual authors. Thus from generation to generation, under the aegis and vigilance of the pastors, the "deposit" of Christian moral teaching has been handed on, a deposit composed of a characteristic body of rules, commandments, and virtues proceeding from faith in Christ and animated by charity. Alongside the Creed and the Our Father, the basis for this catechesis has traditionally been the Decalogue which sets out the principles of moral life valid for all men.
2034 The Roman Pontiff and the bishops are "authentic teachers, that is, teachers endowed with the authority of Christ, who preach the faith to the people entrusted to them, the faith to be believed and put into practice."76 The ordinary and universal Magisterium of the Pope and the bishops in communion with him teach the faithful the truth to believe, the charity to practice, the beatitude to hope for.
2035 The supreme degree of participation in the authority of Christ is ensured by the charism of infallibility. This infallibility extends as far as does the deposit of divine Revelation; it also extends to all those elements of doctrine, including morals, without which the saving truths of the faith cannot be preserved, explained, or observed.77
2036 The authority of the Magisterium extends also to the specific precepts of the natural law, because their observance, demanded by the Creator, is necessary for salvation. In recalling the prescriptions of the natural law, the Magisterium of the Church exercises an essential part of its prophetic office of proclaiming to men what they truly are and reminding them of what they should be before God.78
2037 The law of God entrusted to the Church is taught to the faithful as the way of life and truth. The faithful therefore have the right to be instructed in the divine saving precepts that purify judgment and, with grace, heal wounded human reason.79 They have the duty of observing the constitutions and decrees conveyed by the legitimate authority of the Church. Even if they concern disciplinary matters, these determinations call for docility in charity.
2038 In the work of teaching and applying Christian morality, the Church needs the dedication of pastors, the knowledge of theologians, and the contribution of all Christians and men of good will. Faith and the practice of the Gospel provide each person with an experience of life "in Christ," who enlightens him and makes him able to evaluate the divine and human realities according to the Spirit of God.80 Thus the Holy Spirit can use the humblest to enlighten the learned and those in the highest positions.
2039 Ministries should be exercised in a spirit of fraternal service and dedication to the Church, in the name of the Lord.81 At the same time the conscience of each person should avoid confining itself to individualistic considerations in its moral judgments of the person's own acts. As far as possible conscience should take account of the good of all, as expressed in the moral law, natural and revealed, and consequently in the law of the Church and in the authoritative teaching of the Magisterium on moral questions. Personal conscience and reason should not be set in opposition to the moral law or the Magisterium of the Church.
2040 Thus a true filial spirit toward the Church can develop among Christians. It is the normal flowering of the baptismal grace which has begotten us in the womb of the Church and made us members of the Body of Christ. In her motherly care, the Church grants us the mercy of God which prevails over all our sins and is especially at work in the sacrament of reconciliation. With a mother's foresight, she also lavishes on us day after day in her liturgy the nourishment of the Word and Eucharist of the Lord.
Firstly, we are not under vows of obedience as are religious and orders of priests, or secular priests. We do not make vows of obedience to an abbot or mother as laity.
Secondly, we are adults, not children in the faith and, therefore have a duty to form our consciences in line with the mind of the Church.
Thirdly, we owe respect to all members of the hierarchy.
However, as to being obedient, we are obedient in Faith and Morals, to the doctrines and dogmas which come from the Chair of Peter. Contraception falls under this category. We are also obedient to statements from the USCCB or the other country or national conferences of bishops if they are in keeping with the Teaching Magisterium of the Church, such as statements on abortion or marriage. So far, so good.
We must be obedient to the Laws of the Church regarding holy days of obligation, fast and abstinence days, financially supporting the Church and so on. See the list below.
A recent example would be the re-institution of the Friday fast in Great Britain. We laity are bound by that reaffirmation of no meat on Friday.
As adults, we must learn the Faith and keep our Baptismal promises. We must evangelize, as Christ told us to do.
Those are duties.
Following the rules of the Church are part of our duty as well. Many people do not know these. We laity are bound by these.
These are listed in the CCC. Here is a list of those from an earlier catechism. It is a convenient list of the same rules.
The chief commandments, or laws, of the Church are these six:
- To assist at Mass on all Sundays and holy days of obligation.
- To fast and to abstain on the days appointed.
- To confess our sins at least once a year.
- To receive Holy Communion during the Easter time.
- To contribute to the support of the Church.
- To observe the laws of the Church concerning marriage. (this includes raising the children and educating them as Catholics)
But, we have another duty to learn what is the Truth and hold to that as explained and defined not only in Scripture, but by Mother Church. We cannot be disobedient to the Creed, or to doctrines, for example. This includes Canon Law which applies to the laity (as some Canons apply only to priests, for example).
We do not owe obedience in actions of the Pope or cardinals or bishops or priests which are not in keeping with the teaching of the Church. For example, we do not have to agree with Assisi, 1986, nor go to like services. We can respectfully discuss such events as WYD.
As long as conversations are based on rational discourse and not feeling, people may make comments here on all topics. I expect adult-level comments. And, I demand respectful ones. Most commentators have been excellent.
As laity, we have a bit more freedom to discuss things than the clergy. But, all discussions are in keeping with the above knowledge.
To be continued....
It is cold and dark in London, but the chapel at Tyburn is still ablaze with candles and decorated with yellow mums.
The nuns sang beautifully, and the Jesuit priest who has been saying the Triduum sang the Exultet in Latin. We also sang the Gloria, Sanctus and Agnus Dei in Latin, as well as the Regina Coeli at the end of Holy Mass.
A salve to my Latin starved soul...
God bless you all this Easter. I have one quotation from the Mother Foundress of the Tyburn nuns, the Congregation of the Adorers of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus of Montmarte.
"Upheld by humility and obedience, maintained in recollection by the law of silence, finally guided by the Church herself to those regions inaccessible to man alone, the soul simply and entirely faithful to the Rule of St. Benedict will arrive at those summits of the unitive life where w see the Saints established in peace."
In on long sentence, Mother Adele describes the journey to perfection.