Baptized child takes the sui juris church of his dad?


#1

That's my understanding, please correct me if I'm wrong.

But it would indicate that a lot of people might not be the member of the church they think they belong to.

If someone's grandparents were Byzantine Catholic, moved to America in 1900, and then moved to an area in America where they were no BC's and raised their children Latin, or perhaps their children married Latin wives and they chose to belong to a Latin parish, these children and grandchildren might all be BC, but not even realize it.


#2

Yes. Exactly.

By default (unless some other arrangements are made) a child automatically becomes a member of the Church sui iuris of the father (unless the father is not Catholic, in which case it’s the Church of the mother).

And again, yes. No matter how far back it goes, membership is determined through the father’s line.

I realize that this can cause some confusion. Do we go back a full thousand years? Frankly, yes. That’s what the law says.

Participating in the “non-canonical” choice of Church sui iuris never changes things, no matter how many generations it has been practiced.


#3

Uh…I’m of the Latin rite because I was baptized in that rite and attend a Latin rite church, not merely because my parents were of the Latin rite.
If I had grown up to attend a Byzantine rite church I would be Byzantine.
In that case I would have checked to see whether being baptized in the Byzantine rite was needful, or whether my baptism in the Latin church was also valid by Byzantine standards.

A child may be considered to belong to the church of his parents; but the adult gets to make his own choice.

ETA @ Fr David: What of the adult who changes Churches?


#4

No. That’s not how the law works.

Membership in a Church sui iuris is defined by the law; and the law says that membership is determined by the church of the father.

Being baptised or attending any particular church or rite does not confer membership. Canon Law is very clear on that point.

I can cite the canon if you need, but my copy of the Eastern Code is not handy, and I’d have to look online. Trust me on this. If you don’t, I can cite it when I have time, or maybe someone else can do so.

A child may be considered to belong to the church of his parents; but the adult gets to make his own choice.

Both yes and no. An adult can make a choice, but membership itself is not conferred unless and until that adult follows the proper formal procedure to actually change membership.

ETA @ Fr David: What of the adult who changes Churches?

That depends on what you mean by the question.

An adult can change where he chooses to worship at any given moment. Anyone is free to attend any Catholic Divine Liturgy, Mass, or whatever else he chooses.

However, in order to change actual formal membership in a Church sui iuris, there is a procedure which must be followed. Very recently, Pope Francis made some changes to make such a move rather easy.

Changing is easy, but one still must follow the formal procedure.


#5

Here is what the Latin Code says.

The Eastern Code says the same (again, I can cite it IF necessary)

Can. 111 §1. Through the reception of baptism, the child of parents who belong to the Latin Church is enrolled in it, or, if one or the other does not belong to it, both parents have chosen by mutual agreement to have the offspring baptized in the Latin Church. If there is no mutual agreement, however, the child is enrolled in the ritual Church to which the father belongs.

§2. Anyone to be baptized who has completed the fourteenth year of age can freely choose to be baptized in the Latin Church or in another ritual Church sui iuris; in that case, the person belongs to the Church which he or she has chosen.

Can. 112 §1. After the reception of baptism, the following are enrolled in another ritual Church sui iuris:

1/ a person who has obtained permission from the Apostolic See;
[n.b. this is somewhat outdated, because under the revised laws of HH Francis, obtaining such permission is extremely easy and doesn't involve direct communication]

2/ a spouse who, at the time of or during marriage, has declared that he or she is transferring to the ritual Church sui iuris of the other spouse; when the marriage has ended, however, the person can freely return to the Latin Church;

3/ before the completion of the fourteenth year of age, the children of those mentioned in nn. 1 and 2 as well as, in a mixed marriage, the children of the Catholic party who has legitimately transferred to another ritual Church; on completion of their fourteenth year, however, they can return to the Latin Church.

§2. The practice, however prolonged, of receiving the sacraments according to the rite of another ritual Church sui iuris does not entail enrollment in that Church.


#6

Father is right


#7

@ FrDavid: I think I misunderstood the original question. Your answer helped clarify it for me. Thank you. :)


#8

I think it was possible that my dad's grandparents & great grandparents who immigrated from Slovenia could have been Eastern Catholics but at this point I have no solid proof. But the area they got work in had no Eastern Catholic churches so they simply started to attend a Latin rite parish. Going forward, the children born here were baptized and raised Latin rite then their descendants etc. I have several friends of middle eastern descent who were raised Maronite or similar but now are Latin rite due to no nearby Maronite (or other Eastern Catholic church nearby).


#9

What the law says is that it does not matter how long a person or family might be attending one Church sui iuris or another. Even if it lasts for generations.

Attending a given Church or parish does not confer membership.

I know that some people find that difficult, but that’s the reality.

It doesn’t matter if a family is attending the Latin Rite parish for 6 or 7 generations. If ones paternal ancestry goes back to an Eastern Catholic Church, then that person is still canonically Eastern Catholic–in whatever specific Church the line traces back.

The same applies if the paternal line traces to the Latin Church.

The obvious question is “how far do I go back?” The answer is that there is no limit in the law. In theory, if one could trace his ancestry back a full thousand years then that would be the Church of membership.

In the United States, the way this usually manifests itself is that a family came from some predominately Eastern Catholic country but have been attending the local Latin parishes for generations (sometimes a century or more), often because there was no local Eastern parish. If the paternal line goes back to an Eastern Church, then that person is canonically Eastern Catholic.

Lest I get all kinds of responses like “how can you say that?” or “don’t tell me I am not such-and-such” remember: I did not write the two Codes of Canon Law. I am merely explaining what they say.

Personal note: I’ll be heading South for a few days and won’t be back on CAF to respond for a while.


#10

Just know that a person can change membership from one Church sui iuris to another. This is possible, and under the changes recently made by HH Francis, this is very easy.

However, unless the change is done with the formal process (the last step is to record the change in the person’s baptismal record) then that person is still a member of the Church that applies by paternal ancestry.

I detected some concern in your earlier post about changing. No worry. If one wants to change, that’s perfectly acceptable and relatively easy.


#11

Is there any way for someone unsure of their rite to validate it? Certainly in some cases it may be easier, but if it's six or seven or more generations back... Can a formal transfer be requested if there is uncertainty?


#12

[quote="Wesrock, post:11, topic:441447"]
Is there any way for someone unsure of their rite to validate it? Certainly in some cases it may be easier, but if it's six or seven or more generations back...

[/quote]

Please refer to FrDavid96's previous [post=14597667]post[/post].

[quote="Wesrock, post:11, topic:441447"]
Can a formal transfer be requested if there is uncertainty?

[/quote]

No. That would amount to a "conditional transfer" for which there is no provision.


#13

I did see the prior post. I am perfectly fine with the idea that it doesn’t matter how many generations it goes back. I didn’t see any way to make sure the situation is “normalized” if a person is unable to determine what rite they should be, though. I mean due to lack of information about their ancestors, not because they don’t know the law.


#14

The law itself says that there is no time limit.

In the U.S., this is what we do in practice:

We go back as far as possible with regard to actual baptismal records then we look to the country of origin. Remember, we don't need the entire ancestry, just the paternal line. If the great (times 7 or 8 or whatever) grandfather came from a predominately Eastern Church country/region, then we more or less assume that he was Eastern and a member of whatever Church would apply. Most people actually can arrive at an answer.

In practice, once we know the country of origin (again, most people do know) we don't try to go back further than that.

Let's say that I know that my great-great-grandfather was from Egypt, born in the 1820s and I know that my family has always been Christian. Once we arrived in the U.S. we have practiced as Romans. I would be canonically a Coptic, and in practice, we wouldn't go back any further. However, if I somehow learned that his father was actually a spice merchant from India who settled in Egypt in 1815, that would make me canonically Malabar (I learn that his native village are all Malabars).

I cannot see any Church authority wanting to go back that far--not without some truly unusual reason, one that I cannot even imagine as a matter of fiction. However, if I provided the documents and wanted my Roman baptismal record to be changed to reflect that I am actually Malabar I would be entirely right in doing so.


#15

Thank you for this reply. This could get tricky in countries where East and West meet and intermingle. Places such as Slovakia, Hungary, and Western Ukraine, and even parts of Southern Italy are examples of places where it might be difficult to determine for sure. Unless the memory was kept alive in the family, such knowledge could easily be lost. Of course, in many places where the Eastern Catholic Churches were suppressed by Communism, this knowledge was most definitely kept alive by the families. It is interesting to know that there is no time limit, although I don’t suppose it really comes up all that often.


#16

In practice, could this not affect the validity of nearly every marriage conducted without a priest present, in places where Easterners have, had, or might be living?


#17

Frankly, yes.


#18

Father, correct me if I am wrong, but the law also says that should a person come back to the Catholic Church, he is to join the Sui Juris church of his Father's lineage, or from the defected time.

Now my family has been in the US South for well over 300 years, we have a direct line that says that we were protestant the whole time. Furthermore, majority of our research in family lineage has lead us back to the Middle East, in which case we would have been Orthodox or maybe even Eastern Catholic. Based off this information, and the Code of Canon Law, the defection would have taken place from a non-Roman Church, yet I was baptized, confirmed and received first communion in the Roman Church in 2011. While the sacraments themselves cannot be voided, or considered null because both the Orthodox and Catholic churches are considered to have valid sacraments, does this mean that ritually speaking since my defect took place, on the Father's side, from an Eastern rite (no matter the case that it was over 300 years ago) that I should technically have been in the Byzantine Rite Sui Juris, not the Roman rite?

This is going off the basic premise that we follow the Code of Canon Law, as the Roman Ordinaries do every time I try to bring members into my Byzantine rite, declaring they defected from a Roman rite ancestor and therefore are of the Roman rite. Just a question, curious for the answer.


#19

[quote="Adam_Cook, post:18, topic:441447"]
Father, correct me if I am wrong, but the law also says that should a person come back to the Catholic Church, he is to join the Sui Juris church of his Father's lineage, or from the defected time.

[/quote]

Yes, that's right.

Now my family has been in the US South for well over 300 years, we have a direct line that says that we were protestant the whole time. Furthermore, majority of our research in family lineage has lead us back to the Middle East, in which case we would have been Orthodox or maybe even Eastern Catholic. Based off this information, and the Code of Canon Law, the defection would have taken place from a non-Roman Church, yet I was baptized, confirmed and received first communion in the Roman Church in 2011. While the sacraments themselves cannot be voided, or considered null because both the Orthodox and Catholic churches are considered to have valid sacraments, does this mean that ritually speaking since my defect took place, on the Father's side, from an Eastern rite (no matter the case that it was over 300 years ago) that I should technically have been in the Byzantine Rite Sui Juris, not the Roman rite?

This is going off the basic premise that we follow the Code of Canon Law, as the Roman Ordinaries do every time I try to bring members into my Byzantine rite, declaring they defected from a Roman rite ancestor and therefore are of the Roman rite. Just a question, curious for the answer.

One thing I don't understand about the question: Did the ancestor (paternal line) leave the Latin Church or one of the Eastern Churches? You say both things, so I don't know which actually applies. Or are you saying that the Latin clergy are the ones saying that the ancestor left the Latin Church, but you disagree?

In any case, if you can actually go back 300 years and document that this ancestor was indeed an Eastern Catholic or Orthodox (and sometimes, that's just a matter of geography ,country or village, or sometimes family name, but not always) you would be right to claim canonical status in the corresponding Catholic Church sui iuris.

Some things to note:

[LIST]
*]If those family members are not-yet-Catholic, you don't need to prove anything to the Latin ordinaries. You only need to prove that to the Eastern Catholic pastor. He then knows that he's in the right by baptizing or receiving them, and he can note in the register that they are canonically members of that Church.

*]If those family members are Catholic now, and this is a question of making notes in baptismal registers that the members are Eastern rather than Latin, then that might involve the Latin ordinaries. If you are encountering obstacles there, my suggestion is to communicate with the Eastern Eparchy's canonical vicar. He certainly knows the law and an explanation from him on his official letterhead will carry considerably more credibility than "I read it on the internet." The point is that he can help you resolve this.

]Caution: You say that you know your ancestor was from the Middle East. If you're going to invoke canon law here, you need to have your all your facts. It's one thing to say "likely Eastern Catholic or Orthodox" even if that's extremely likely. But if you try to invoke the canons, that's not enough. You would have to go deeper than that and be certain of the specific Church sui iuris. For example, if the ancestor was Melkite, then you have no claim to membership in the Ruthenian Church. If he was Maronite, you have no claim to membership in the Mekite Church. Etc. etc. The point is that you might need to do a little more research---I don't know.
One cannot claim simply "Eastern Catholic" membership. One can only claim membership in a specific Church *sui iuris
.

*]If this is a matter of family members who were baptised and raised as Latin Catholics, but who now want to become Byzantine it might prove easier to do a formal transfer rather than invoke the canons (unnecessary, yes, but still easier). HH Francis has made transferring Churches rather easy. Again, I'll say that if you encounter obstacles, contact the judicial vicar for the Byzantine eparchy.

[/LIST]


#20

Father David,

How far back can one go to do this? For example, my family is Malankara Syriac Catholic today, at some point historically we were Malankara and/or Syriac Orthodox, before that Syro-Malabar, before that Church of the East. Could affinity to the Chaldean-Assyrian Church or Patriarchal Syriac Catholic Church be claimed by my grandchildren?


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