Friday, September 2, 2011

Ecclesiae de Mysterio - On Certain Questions Regarding the Collaboration of the Non-Ordained Faithful in the Sacred Ministry of Priest - Part 12

Article 9
The Apostolate to the Sick
§ 1. In this area, the non-ordained faithful can often provide valuable collaboration. (102) Innumerable works of charity to the sick are constantly provided by the non-ordained faithful either individually or through community apostolates. These constitute an important Christian presence to sick and suffering of the greatest importance. The non-ordained faithful particularly assist the sick by being with them in difficult moments, encouraging them to receive the Sacraments of Penance and the Anointing of the Sick, by helping them to have the disposition to make a good individual confession as well as to prepare them to receive the Anointing of the Sick. In using sacramentals, the non-ordained faithful should ensure that these are in no way regarded as sacraments whose administration is proper and exclusive to the Bishop and to the priest. Since they are not priests, in no instance may the non-ordained perform anointings either with the Oil of the Sick or ony other oil.

§ 2. With regard to the administration of this sacrament, ecclesiastical legislation reiterates the theologically certain doctrine and the age old usage of the Church (103) which regards the priest as its only valid minister. (104) This norm is completely coherent with the theological mystery signified and realized by means of priestly service.
It must also be affirmed that the reservation of the ministry of Anointing to the priest is related to the connection of this sacrament to the forgiveness of sin and the worthy reception of the Holy Eucharist. No other person may act as ordinary or extraordinary minister of the sacrament since such constitutes simulation of the sacrament. (105)

Article 10
Assistance at Marriages
§ 1. The possibility of delegating the non-ordained faithful to assist at marriages may prove necessary in special circumstances where there is a grave shortage of sacred ministers.
This possibility, however, is subject to the verification of three conditions. The diocesan Bishop, may concede this delegation only in cases where there are no priests or deacons available and after he shall have obtained for his own diocese a favourable votum from the Conference of Bishops and the necessary permission of the Holy See. (106)
§ 2. In such cases, the canonical norms concerning the validity of delegation, (107) the suitability, capacity and attitude of the non-ordained faithful must be observed. (108)
§ 3. With the exception of an extraordinary case due to the absolute absence of both Priests and Deacons who can assist at marriages provided for in Canon 1112 of the Code of Canon Law, no ordained minister may authorize the non-ordained faithful for such assistance. Neither may an ordained minister authorize the non-ordained faithful to ask or receive matrimonial consent according to the norm of Canon 1108 § 2.

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