1432 K Sat 15 Jun 2002
I have been reading the documents approved by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). I find some of the requirements confusing.
For example, from the Norms:
How do you "relieve" a cardinal, bishop, priest, deacon, instituted lector or acolyte of "any ecclesiastical ministry or function"? Who does it? By what process or authority? The wording suggests this can be done before an investigation even commences. A cardinal, priest and lector continue to have duties under Canon Law and liturgical law. I don't see how they can be relieved of them, except by the Tribunal process.
In 9B the Norms seem to agree with me on this:
So are they proposing a "new law" to say the existing law must be followed? I find it confusing to say "canon law must be considered". Does this mean in the USA you will not have to follow canon law, just "consider" it?
I think 9C also has problems:
So it will be wrong for someone who has publicly been ordained as a priest, is known to the world as a priest, who is in fact a priest, to "present himself publicly as a priest". It seems like nonsense to me. What does he do on Sunday? He is required to attend Mass like everyone else in the Church. As a priest he has a particular role. This says he cannot do this publicly.
These Norms are awaiting the recognitio of the Apostolic See. Hopefully the Vatican will be able to clarify these issues and provide a better set of laws for the USA.
The issue of preventing someone from carrying out their ministry or liturgical role is mainly what my Tribunal case was about, with regard to my ministry as an instituted lector.
Copyright J.R. Lilburne, 15 June 2002. Link added 6 November 2002.
Other sites, the documents of the USCCB approved 14 June: