Why is This Method of Baptizing Invalid?

Q: A family member was recently baptized in a non-emergency manner, but the priest only said the words of baptism (form), while a layperson concurrently only poured the water (matter). Was the baptism valid? –Steve Continue reading

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Holydays of Obligation, Part II

Q1:  It seems like this year [2019] the solemnity of the Immaculate Conception is transferred to December 9, Monday.  So, we have a kind of double obligation.  (I know that in some countries bishops lift the obligation in such cases, but not in my country.)

But on December 8 I’m going to attend the Traditional Latin Mass, where, according to the 1962 rubrics, the feast of the Immaculate Conception outranks the 2nd Sunday of Advent and stays on December 8.  December 9 is then a feria.  What are my obligations in this case? –Maksim

Q2: I am canonically Roman Catholic, but regularly attend a Ruthenian Catholic parish church.  I originally thought that I would have to still conform to the Roman Code of Canon Law, but the pastor of my church told me that if I wanted to be byzantine rite, I have to only follow the directives of the Eastern Code of Canon Law and the Ruthenian Bishop and that I can’t try to do both.  Is this true?  I’ve been following his instructions for the past 3 years but reading some articles, I’ve seen it suggested that I am still bound to obey the Latin Code of Canon law and am supposed to attend liturgy on Roman days of obligation.  I am genuinely confused on how I am supposed to proceed in both of these matters. –Colin Continue reading

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How Can A Priest’s Ministry Be Illicit?

Q:  I am a seminarian, and recently heard a priest tell a story of when he was a catechist, prior to seminary, and had to do a communion service. He had expected a priest to show up and start Mass (he didn’t think he’d have to finish the service, basically), but that didn’t happen. So he ‘panicked’ and went through the Missal as if he were saying Mass. This was a weekday Mass and the people didn’t seem to think he was a priest, but several of ‘his friends’ did come up for ‘communion.’  He never told anyone while in seminary.  He does not seem to be aware of the problem.

Did I just overhear a canonical impediment?  Is this priest validly ordained?  Because if not that seems like it would need to be addressed.  Immediately.  But I want to make sure I am not jumping the gun. –Greg Continue reading

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Can the Bishop Refuse to Ordain Me Because I’m Too Old?

Q: I’m interested in becoming a permanent deacon, but the director of the program in my diocese says the upper age limit, which I have passed, is set by canon law.  He wrote to me, “The upper age limit for entering our formation process is 61.  By Canon Law, deacon candidates must be no older than 65 at the time of ordination.”  So the bishop won’t ordain me.

I thought that this was a guideline set by the Episcopal Conference, and that the local bishop could overrule it if he wished….  Can you help me understand the situation better? –John Continue reading

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Confession and General Absolution (Repost)

Reposting this piece is unfortunately becoming a Christmas tradition, since reports continue to surface of abuses of the Sacrament of Penance during this busy season.  For that reason it may be worthwhile to read it once again.   A very happy and holy Christmas to all!

Q: Last year, I visited my relatives at Christmas time, and we all went to their parish to a communal penance service before Christmas. There were probably almost a hundred people there, and only one priest. He didn’t hear each person’s confession, as we expected. Instead, he stood near the altar, said some prayers, and blessed all of us. Then he told us we were absolved of our sins, and that was it. Was that priest wrong to do what he did? Did God really forgive us our sins?  –Robert Continue reading

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