Orientalium Ecclesiarum 26

Just in case you were wondering, Vatican II did not authorize what is calls “common participation,” which I think we can take to mean open Communion:

Common participation in worship (communicatio in sacris) which harms the unity of the Church or involves formal acceptance of error or the danger of aberration in the faith, of scandal and indifferentism, is forbidden by divine law.(S. Basilius M., Epistula canonica ad Amphilochium, PG. 32, 669 B.)

But there is a pastoral escape clause:

On the other hand, pastoral experience shows clearly that, as regards our Eastern brethren, there should be taken into consideration the different cases of individuals, where neither the unity of the Church is hurt nor are verified the dangers that must be avoided, but where the needs of the salvation of souls and their spiritual good are impelling motives.

This clause exists not only for Eastern Catholics and Orthodox, but for those sisters and brothers of the Reformation as well. And this is right, because inattentiveness to the spiritual needs of Christians would be an even greater scandal. Hence, the “mild policy” of this section and the following three.

For that reason the Catholic Church has always adopted and now adopts rather a mild policy, offering to all the means of salvation and an example of charity among Christians, through participation in the sacraments and in other sacred functions and things. With this in mind, “lest because of the harshness of our judgment we be an obstacle to those seeking salvation” (Haec doctrina valet etiam in Ecclesiis seiunctis.) and in order more and more to promote union with the Eastern Churches separated from us, the Sacred Council lays down the following policy.

And we’ll get to that policy in the following posts. Meanwhile, any comments?


About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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