4200 ECUMENICAL GUIDELINES FOR THE ARCHDIOCESE OF SAN FRANCISCO #
4210 INTRODUCTION #
In 1962, the Second Vatican Council was called both to renew the Roman Catholic Church and to seek ways to restore unity among the Christian Churches. In declaring these objectives, relationships between the Roman Catholic Church and other faith communities have been irreversibly changed. As a result, new and exciting ecumenical initiatives are being made daily.
To maintain the momentum of these initiatives, the Secretariat for Promoting Christian Unity urges that they “be adapted to local needs.” However, needs differ from region to region, and whenever adaptation is required, it must always remain “in harmony with the bonds of Catholic Communion.”‘
The Secretariat points out that, although “the quest for a structural local unity is a challenge,” at the same time, the need “for a qualitative unity in the confession of a sound and complete faith” is equally a challenge. This means that “ecumenical initiatives should be true expressions of the life of the local Church, and not simply the work of individuals.” In other words, all such initiatives should have the guidance of the bishop and his diocesan Ecumenical Commission. It is important, then, that each diocesan Ecumenical Commission consider all initiatives “with discernment and sympathy, and where appropriate offer encouragement and support.”.4
Ecumenism, according to the Secretariat, is not only “a movement of the Spirit,” but it is also “an integral part of the renewal of the Church.”3 This means that the promotion of ecumenism should be the constant concern of the whole Church, both for faithful and clergy alike, who are urged by the Second Vatican Council not only to “esteem the truly Christian endowments found in other faith communities,” but also to learn “their history, their spiritual and liturgical life, their religious psychology and cultural background.”4
For Catholics to move in this direction, they should realize that a change in attitude is necessary. This change must involve an interior conversion because there can be no ecumenism without interior conversion. Indeed, the Council has admitted that certain deficiencies in moral conduct, in Church discipline and even in the formulation,- of Church teaching (to be carefully distinguished from the deposit of faith itself) have been and continue to be problems. Wherever such problems do exist, they “should be set right at the opportune moment and in the proper way.”5 For this reason, the Council teaches that “the soul of the whole ecumenical movement” consists in a change of heart, holiness of life and public and private prayer for the unity of Christians. All three of these facets in the work for Christian unity merit the name “spiritual ecumenism.”6
The information presented in these Ecumenical Guidelines becomes operative when spiritual ecumenism is taken seriously. To keep this information up to date, material from the new Code of Canon Law (November, 1983) has been included. For example, the section on sacramental worship, in particular, contains new canonical directives which replace earlier Catholic documents concerning these matters.
Guidelines for interreligious affairs (non-Christians) will be provided at a later time.
4220 GENERAL PRINCIPLES #
The following theological considerations represent major principles upon which Archdiocesan ecumenical policies are based and out of which ecumenical activity in the Archdiocese flows:
The recognition that all Christians already possess a fundamental unity by their faith in the mystery of Christ and their incorporation into Him through Baptism.
The awareness that within the Church unity in essentials can be preserved alongside a proper freedom in the various forms of spiritual life and discipline, in the variety of liturgical rites and even in the theological elaborations of revealed truth.?
The conviction that doctrinal agreement on the core truths of Christianity is prior and essential to any structural union. This means that dialogue between the Churches is one of the major commitments of the Archdiocese in promoting the ecumenical movement.
The recovery of emphasis upon the local Church where both the clergy and the laity at the grass roots level are asked to consider the urgency for ecumenical understanding and commitment.
The term “ecumenical movement” refers strictly to the work of healing the divisions caused among the Christian Ecclesial Communities.
4230 ECUMENICAL ACTIVITIES #
4231 Some Practical Initiatives #
Clergy, and in a special way, pastors in the Archdiocese are principally responsible for fostering prayer for Christian unity. Ecumenical activities in parishes, schools and other institutions, agencies/departments of the Archdiocese should be reported to the Office for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs which seeks to know about these activities and to facilitate them if necessary.
When considering covenanting or affiliating their parishes with non-Catholic churches or federations, pastors should first consult with the Office for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs.
Prayers for Christian Unity should be included frequently in the Mass and in other prayer services such as Bible services, Lenten devotions, novenas, etc. The Prayer of the Faithful during the Mass is an excellent opportunity to offer prayer for unity among Christians.
The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity (January 18-25) is an important time to promote public prayer for Christian Unity in every parish and Archdiocesan related institution. Other joint prayer services with local Christian churches are especially encouraged, such as during the seasons of Advent and Lent; and on the holy days of Good Friday and Easter Sunday when all Christians share the sorrows and joys of our Savior Jesus Christ; the days from Ascension to Pentecost, which commemorate the community at Jerusalem waiting and praying for the coming of the Holy Spirit to confirm their unity and their universal mission;9 to offer public intercession to our Father in heaven, like Thanksgiving Day; annual ecumenical celebrations, like World Day of Prayer (first Friday of March), Fellowship Day (first Friday of May), World Community Day (first Friday of November).
Joint ecumenical prayer services can be held in Protestant, Catholic or Orthodox churches as well as in any suitable, dignified location. The format for joint ecumenical prayer services in respect to hymns, prayers and garb should be discussed beforehand by the ‘participants.10 All joint ecumenical services occurring within the Archdiocese should be clearly announced as such, and they ought to be so recognized by all the participants.
Clergy, religious and laity are encouraged to cooperate with other Christian groups in common Bible study, in the various Communications Media, and in medical/food relief agencies. The clergy and the religious of the Archdiocese should seriously consider membership in local Clergy Associations; the laity should also consider membership in ecumenical groups like the Bay Area Lutheran/Anglican/Roman Catholic MARC) Consortium.
Catholic and interdenominational chrismatic groups constitute a powerful ecumenical force. They should be supported and encouraged since they foster a unique experience for prayer and work in Christian unity.
4232 Sacramental Worship #
4232.1 General Guidelines
Catholics may attend the Divine Liturgy in an Orthodox Church if they have good reasons, such as the demands of public office, blood relationship or friendship, a desire to be better informed, etc. See paragraph 9, section 4232.3, Holy Eucharist. Those Catholics who occasionally attend an Orthodox worship service on a Sunday or a holy day of obligation are not bound to assist at Mass in a Catholic Churchll. Catholics may attend other Christian worship services with reasons as noted above. In such cases, Catholics are free to unite with the congregation in sitting, standing, kneeling and even in taking part in prayers, responses and hymns.12 However, attendance at such worship services does not substitute for the usual Sunday Mass obligation.
Persons from other Christian communities should be made welcome at our worship services. If they are members of the clergy, they should be given places of honor and their presence acknowledged. They can be invited into the sanctuary, and they can enter and leave in procession. The presence of a non-Catholic minister in the sanctuary during Mass should not imply participation in concelebration.
Invitations to Catholic services should avoid any suggestion of proselytizing.
If the separated brethren have no place in which to carry out their religious rites properly and with dignity, the local Ordinary may allow them the use of a Catholic building, cemetery or church.13
Whenever baptized members of Christian churches are not permitted to receive the sacraments in another Christian church because of a host church’s regulations,’ they are asked to accept this painful experience not only as a sign of the evil of Christian disunity, but also as a strong reminder to pray and work to overcome the scandal of division.
Worship in common (the sharing of sacraments) is not to be considered as a means to be used indiscriminately for the restoration of unity among Christians. There are two main principles upon which the practice of such common worship depends: first, the unity of the Church which ought to be expressed; second, the sharing in means of grace.14
The Church’s discipline of communicatio in sacris, worship in common, is set forth in the New Code of Canon Law. The sacraments of penance, Eucharist and anointing of the sick can now be shared by Catholics and other Christians under certain circumstances.
Catholics can receive these sacraments from non-Catholic ministers provided that all four of the following conditions are met:
necessity or true spiritual utility, no danger of error or indifferentism, physical or moral impossibility of receiving the sacraments from a Catholic minister, assurance that the sacraments in the non-Catholic church are valid (Canon 844, #2)
The Orthodox may receive the sacraments of penance, Eucharist and anointing of the sick from Catholic ministers when they spontaneously ask for the sacraments and are rightly disposed. This
privilege can be extended to members of other churches if the Holy See so judges. (Canon 844, #3)
Other baptized non-Catholics may also receive these sacraments under six conditions:
they cannot approach their own ministers, they spontaneously request the sacrament, they are rightly disposed of, they manifest Catholic faith regarding these sacraments, they are in danger of death, or if there is another grave necessity in the judgment of either the diocesan bishop or the episcopal conference. (Canon 844, #4). General norms of the above cases can be given by the bishop or episcopal conference, but only after appropriate ecumenical consultation. (Canon 844, #5)15 For additional information, please contact the Office for Ecumenical and Inter-religious Affairs.
The Roman Catholic Church recognizes the validity of baptism given in most Christian churches. Indeed, there cane be no doubt cast upon the validity of baptism as conferred among separated Eastern Christians. However, if a doubt concerning the validity of baptism by another Christian church does arise, the following points should be kept in mind:
ministers must observe the regulations of their Church concerning matter and form, a minister’s insufficient faith never of itself makes baptism invalid, the baptizing minister is presumed to have sufficient intention.16 If there is a doubt whether one has been baptized or whether baptism was validly conferred and the doubt remains after serious investigation, baptism is to be conferred conditionally. (Canon 869, #1)
Those baptized in a non-Catholic ecclesial community are not to be baptized conditionally unless, after an examination of the matter and form of words used in the conferral of baptism and after a consideration of the intention of an adult baptized person and of the minister of the baptism, a serious reason for doubting the validity, of the baptism is present. (Canon 869, #2)
If the conferral or the validity of the baptism remains doubtful, baptism is not to be conferred until the doctrine of the sacrament of baptism is explained to the person, if an adult, and the reasons for the doubtful validity of the baptism have been explained to the adult recipient, or in the case of an infant, to the parents. (Canon 869, #3)
Ordinarily, a baptismal certificate or testimony from a reliable witness is sufficient to verify validity.
A baptized person who belongs to a non-Catholic ecclesial community may not be permitted to act as a sponsor at the Rite of Christian Initiation. However, a baptized non-Catholic person may act as a witness to the baptism but only together with a Catholic Sponsor. (Canon 874, #2)
In comparable circumstances, Catholics, because of ties of blood or friendship, can also act as witnesses at a baptismal cecqmony held in a non-Catholic ecclesial community.u./
The term “convert” properly refers to a person who comes from unbelief to Christian belief, and this term is not proper for baptized Christians seeking full membership in the Catholic Church. The Rite of Reception of Baptized Christians into Full Communion with the Catholic Church is to be kept entirely distinct from the catechumenate of Christian initiation.
The reception rite should be a welcoming celebration for a new member into the local parish community. This rite should be part of a Eucharistic celebration with members of the local parish community present. The names of those received into full communion should be recorded in a special book with the date and place of baptism also noted.
4232.3 Holy Eucharist
Catholics may not receive Holy Communion at the Eucharistic services of other Christian churches that have a policy of “open communion.” “Open communion” is a general policy that is followed by a local Christian church in inviting all who are present at a communion service to receive the bread and wine offered. Neither the Catholic Church nor the Orthodox Churches follow a policy of “open communion.”
Catholics should show some consideration for non-Catholics who attend Eucharistic liturgies by gracefully announcing in a printed program or from the altar that a policy of “open communion” is not followed in the Catholic Church. Lack of such an announcement might leave guests in a potentially embarrassing situation.
“Open communion” is different from “intercommunion.” “Intercommunion” is a policy of reciprocal and mutual sharing in the Eucharist by separated Christian churches which have preserved the substance of the Eucharist, the Sacrament of Orders and Apostolic Succession.
The admission of baptized non-Catholics to receive Holy Communion in a Catholic Eucharistic service is governed by principles explained in Canon 844. See paragraphs 9, 10, 11, section 4232.1, General Guidelines.
-If a baptized non-Catholic is unable to have
-recourse to a minister of his own church for a significant time, permission must be sought from the Archbishop or his delegate to allow this person to receive Holy Communion. The Chairman of the Commission for Ecumenism and Interreligious Affairs has been delegated by the Archbishop to deal with such a permission. The individual parish priest is not to make this decision on his own.
It is forbidden for Catholic priests to
concelebrate the Eucharist with priests or ministers of churches or ecciesial communities which are not in full communion with the Catholic Church. (Canon 908)
Non-Catholics are not to act as a Scripture reader or to preach during the celebration of the Eucharist. The same is to be said of a Catholic at the celebration of the Lord’s Supper or at the principal liturgical service of the Word celebrated by Christians who are separated from us.21
Exceptions to the above paragraph may be given by the local Ordinary, or by his delegate, the Chairman of the Commission for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs, due to personal ties of friendship between the persons involved, or to the prominence of the visiting reader or speaker. If a non-Catholic is invited to preach during Mass, it is recommended that he/she do so before the last blessing.
The Christian Churches of the East, although separated from the Roman Catholic Church, possess true sacraments, above all – by apostolic succession – the priesthood and the Eucharist. Given suitable circumstances and the approval of the competent authorities, worship in common is not merely possible, but it is encouraged.22 See paragraph 1, section 4232.1, General Guidelines.
Not all Eastern Rite Christians are Orthodox. Some are in full communion with Rome. Still others are outside the Orthodox tradition, such as the Church of Ethiopia, The Assyrian (Nestorian) Church, and the Syrian Jacobite (Monophysite) Church.
The Catholic Church, in principle, permits “intercommunion” between Catholics and Orthodox.
See paragraphs 1, 8 and 9, section 4232.1, General Guidelines, and paragraph 3, section 4232.3, Holy Eucharist. However, Orthodox Church authorities oppose sacramental sharing in every way. One
document, Orthodox Ecumenical Guidelines (1974), declares that “unity in the faith and the active life of the community is a necessary precondition to sharing in the sacraments of the Orthodox Church.”
4232.4 Penance and the Anointing of the Sick
The admission of baptized non-Catholics to receive the sacraments of penance and the anointing of the sick is governed by principles explained ih Canon 844. See paragraphs 7 and 11, section 4232.1, General Guidelines.
4232.5 Holy Orders
Priests should not participate actively in the ordination ceremony of other Christian communions. The sign of imposing hands is the Church’s act of commissioning, and participation in that sign is not appropriate.
Ministers of other Christian communities should also not be invited to take an active role in the conferral of Sacred Orders in the Catholic Church. They may certainly be invited to attend the ceremony on the basis of relationship, friendship or courtesy, and they should be given a place of honor.
The Catholic Church tries in every way to see that Catholics are joined in marriage with Catholics only. However, if a Catholic wishes to marry a non-Catholic, he or she must first receive permission to marry from competent authority in the Church. (Canon 1124)
The permission for mixed marriage alone or the permission for mixed marriage with a dispensation from Disparity of Cult ad cautelam should be requested from the Department of the Tribunal and Canonical Affairs.24
Priests are urged to exercise a special pastoral care for couples who are considering marriages as well as for others who have already entered into such marriages. Whenever possible, each priest should work closely with the pastor of the non-Catholic party in preparing the couple for a Christian married life together.
Leaders of both Catholic and non-Catholic communities are personally responsible that couples in mixed marriages are given proper encouragement and ongoing support. A feeling of openness and confidence between the clergy of both churches is encouraged.
Couples considering mixed marriages should seriously weigh the results of their differing religious convictions and the influence of those convictions on each other’s new life. They should make an effort to discuss the reasons why differences exist between their individual traditions. Such an effort can lead not only to greater honesty and charity in their married life, but also to an understanding concerning what is practically needed to attain unity and harmony among the many faiths in the world.
After the marriage preparation program has been completed (see the Archdiocesan policy effective January 1, 1981), the Catholic party will be asked to reaffirm his or her continuous, active faith, to promise to respect the conscience of the other party in the marriage and to promise to do everything possible to see that the children of the marriage are baptized and educated in the Catholic faith. The non-Catholic must be informed of the promises and responsibility of the Catholic. (Canon 1125, #1-2)
No written statement of promise is required of the non-Catholic who wishes to marry a Catholic..
The priest should stress the positive aspect of what the couple shares in the life of grace such as the many splendid gifts of the Holy Spirit. He should encourage each party to continue to follow and to practice his or her faith, to search out those things that lead to unity and religious harmony and to avoid indifference toward religious commitment so that the distinctive values of one or both are not lost.
The love, sharing and loyalty of such a marriage may reach out and have a healing effect that can cross the barriers of a divided Christianity as well as remind us of the mystery of Christ’s abiding love for His Church, a love that continually seeks to reconcile.
A Catholic may be dispensed from the obligation of having his or her marriage witnessed by a priest or deacon and two other witnesses. In this case, the Catholic party is dispensed from the Catholic form of marriage. The reasons for seeking such a dispensation through the local pastor could be:
to achieve family harmony or to avoid family alienation,
to secure parental agreement to the marriage,
to recognize claims of relationship or friendship with the minister who will officiate,
to permit the marriage in a particular church which has special importance for the non-Catholic, for example where generations of the family have been married, or where the spouse has been active in the life and programsof that church, or for other good reasons.
Requests for dispensation from canonical form should be presented to the Ordinary through the Department of Tribunal and Canonical Affairs at least two weeks prior to the scheduled marriage.
A marriage contracted with a dispensation from the canonical form should be recorded in the parish of the Catholic party. The church of baptism should also be notified so the approariate notation can be added to the baptismal record.6
The rite of the wedding should be the official rite -of the church in which the wedding is celebrated.
It is forbidden to have another religious
celebration of the same marriage to express or renew matrimonial consent; it is likewise forbidden to have a religious celebration in which a Catholic and a non-Catholic minister, assisting together but following their respective rituals, ask for the consent of the parties. (Canon 1127, #3)
In the rite of marriage outside of Mass, the minister of another Christian community can be invited to invoke blessings, to read the Holy Scriptures and to express his sentiments of good will, congratulations and best wishes.27
Ordinarily in the rite of marriage within Mass, the readings from Holy Scriptures would not be read by
the non-Catholic minister.28 For exceptions see paragraph 8, section 4232.3, Holy Eucharist.
However, the non-Catholic minister can be invited to give additional blessings or words of greeting and exhortation.
Ordinarily in the rite of marriage within Mass, the non-Catholic party is not given Holy Communion. For exceptions see paragraphs 9 and 10, section 4232.1, General Guidelines.
If a Catholic party contracts marriage with a non-Catholic of an Eastern Rite, the canonical form of celebration is to be observed only for liceity. For validity, however, the presence of a sacred minister is required along with the observance of the other requirements of law. (Canon 1127, #1)
The priest of the Catholic party should try to be present at the wedding ceremony, but he should be aware that the Orthodox will not usually permit him to take any active part in the ceremony except perhaps to give a blessing or an exhortation.
4232.7 Funerals and Christian Burial
In the prudent judgment of the local Ordinary, ecclesiastical funeral rites can be granted to baptized members of some non-Catholic churches or ecclesial communities unless it is evidently contrary to their will and provided their own minister is unavailable. (Canon 1183, #3)
Funeral rites refer not only to wake and burial services, but also to graveside prayers and blessings.
A public Mass for members of a non-Catholic church or ecclesial community may be celebrated when expressly requested by the family, friends or subjects of the deceased out of a genuine religious motive and when no scandal to the faithful is present. However, the name of the deceased non-Catholic person is not to be commemorated in the Eucharistic prayer since this presupposes full communion with the Catholic Church.32
Everyone (Catholic or non-Catholic), unless prohibited by law, is permitted to choose a cemetery for burial. (Canon 1180, #2)
In those situations in which a Catholic is to be buried in a non-Catholic cemetery, a priest or a deacon should conduct the committal service. He should bless the individual grave, and he should follow the usual ritual for the burial of a Catholic.
Since the family unit is preserved even in death, non-Catholics may be buried in a Catholic cemetery with their family members.
4233 Education for Christian Unity #
Pastors should invite ecumenically minded clergy and lay persons of other Christian traditions to explain the briefs and practices of their traditions to Roman Catholic groups.
Parishes should have an ecumenical staff responsible for educating and sensitizing the parish to the ecumenical movement and for planning appropriate religious and social activities with neighboring Christian parishes.
The parish ecumenical staff should be coordinated with the Archdiocesan Office for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs, which is available not only to provide advice and information, but also to speak at parish functions, RCIA meetings as well as various parish guilds and clubs.
Catholic grade schools and high schools should inculcate ecumenical awareness and sensitivity as a normal part of the religion curriculum through carefully chosen projects involving students of other Christian traditions. The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity should be especially emphasized each year from January 18 to 25.
Catholic institutions of higher learning within the Archdiocese (colleges and seminaries) should not only provide opportunities for courses in the traditions of other Christian churches, but they should also encourage involvement in ecumenical experiences.
Those involved in catechetical formation on all levels should also seek to inform young people and adults about the:- traditions of other Christian churches as well as to involve them in appropriate ecumenical projects.
A unique collection of major statements by Vatican Council II, by the Secretariat for Promoting Christian Unity, and by three Roman Pontiffs – Paul VI, John Paul I and John Paul II; also a brief historical sketch of the activities of the Secretariat for Promoting Christian Unity (SPCU) since its origin as a preparatory conciliar body in 1960.
The following documents from Doing the Truth in Charity are used in these Guidelines:
The Decree on Ecumenism (Unitatis Redintegratio), Vatican II, November 21, 1964, pp. 17-32.
A Directory Concerning Ecumenical Matters, Part One, SPCU, May 14, 1967, pp. 41-57.
Implementation of Pope Paul VI’s Apostolic Letter of March 13, 1970 on Mixed Marriage, National Conference of Catholic Bishops in Washington, D.C., January 1, 1971, pp. 144-147.
The Rite of Reception of Baptized Christians into Full Communion with the Catholic Church, Congregation for Divine Worship, January 6, 1972, pp. 149-157.
Ecumenical Collaboration at the Regional, National and Local Levels, SPCU, February 22, 1975, pp. 89-114.
A Decree of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on Celebration of the Eucharist for Deceased non-Catholic Christians, June 11, 1976, pp. 129-130.
The following documents, issued by SPCU, can also be found in Doing the Truth in Charity:
A Directory Concerning Ecumenical Matters: Part Two, Ecumenism in Higher Education, April 16, 1970, pp. 59-73.
August 15, 1970, pp. 75-83.
Cases When Other Christians May be Admitted to Eucharistic Communion in the Catholic Church, June 1, 1972, pp. 122- 126.
A Clarification of the June 1, 1972 Instruction, October 17, 1973, pp. 126-128.
Growth in Agreement: Ecumenical Documents II, edited by Harding Meyer and Lucas Vischer, Paulist Press, New York and the World Council of Churches, Geneva, 1984.
An important collection of reports and agreed statements resulting from official bilateral talks between churches on a world level. Nearly all these dialogues focus upon consensus in doctrinal matters.
Six Hundred Ecumenical Consultations, edited by A.J. van der Bent, World Council of Churches, Geneva, 1983.
A valuable reference work with summaries and bibliographical information from the various offices of the World Council of Churches.
Pope John Paul II: Addresses and Homilies on Ecumenism, 19781980, edited by John B. Sheerin and John F. Hotchkin, United States Catholic Conference, Washington, D.C., 1981.
The first-two–year record of Pope John Paul II showing his strong commitment and priority for ecumenism.