Monday, 7 February 2011

"Is it ecumenism, or is it sacrilege?"

James Preece has highlighted the scandalous situation of a Methodist minister being given a Sacred Chalice, which had been used at the Papal Mass in Glasgow.
This is described as a "Papal gift to Methodist minister" on the Middlesborough Diocesan website where a "Jane Cook, Adult Formation Adviser for the Middlesbrough Diocese" opines that "It seems to me to be an extraordinarily beautiful and sacred object, and the giving of it to be a generous and heartfelt ecumenical gesture."
James, on the other hand, asks a simple, highly pertinent question "Is this ecumenism, or is it sacrilege?"

Well, the Catechism of the Catholic Church defines sacrilege thus:
2120 Sacrilege consists in profaning or treating unworthily the sacraments and other liturgical actions, as well as persons, things, or places consecrated to God. Sacrilege is a grave sin especially when committed against the Eucharist, for in this sacrament the true Body of Christ is made substantially present for us.
A Chalice is a Sacred Vessel because it contained the Precious Blood of Christ. Chalices should be blessed (and until recently, they were not just blessed but consecrated), although this doesn't always happen. Once a chalice has become a "Sacred Vessel" it is forbidden to use it for any other purpose--even if it wasn't blessed. For reference, see the new Book of Blessings, number 1360. Sacred Vessels are permanently designated for sacred use--which means they can't be later put to some other use. Using such a Sacred Vessel in a Protestant service could NEVER be designated as 'Sacred use'. The Code of Canon Law is clear:
Can. 1171 Sacred objects, which are designated for divine worship by dedication or blessing, are to be treated reverently and are not to be employed for profane or inappropriate use even if they are owned by private persons.
However, the fault does NOT lie with the Methodist minister, Mr. Humble, who is acting in good faith and clearly does not intend any sacrilege. He would appear to be wholly blameless in this affair.
But what of those responsible for handing over this Sacred Vessel to such 'inappropriate use'? Perhaps we should consult the Code of Canon Law......
Can. 1376 A person who profanes a movable or immovable sacred object is to be punished with a just penalty.

1 comment:

David said...

The farce continues! Go to James Preece's site:
and see the furore over the diocese faking the photo! You couldn't make it up! The incompetence, the needless lies, the shame of it all!

The Church in this country is in a dire state!