Denying someone Confirmation and Marriage


#1

Pax CAF members!

I had an interesting question posed to our University Catholic club Facebook page that read:

"I was thinking about something today. Can a priest deny someone confirmation because they don't agree with the church on moral issues (ie. abortion, same-sex marriage etc.)? If so, couldn't he also refuse to marry a couple because they disagree with the Church's teaching on contraception?"

Many different people commenting offering their two cents, but something that made a lot of sense was a response that read:

"Canons 843ff. speak of proper preparation and "disposition". That said, since the local bishop is the minister of confirmation (and able to delegate others) the decision seems to rest with him. And in marriage, since the couple, themselves, are the actual ministers of the sacrament and the priest only a witness, it seems he could refuse to witness their marriage (then they'd have to find another approved person as witness in addition to two other witnesses.) But, again, he'll have to answer to his bishop, since the buck stops with the bishop."

I was wondering what you all thought about this??
Thanks :)

Sincerely in Christ through Mary,
iProfess


#2

The Church reserves to itself the right to determine what is required for valid and licit celebration of the sacraments.

Can. 843 §1 Sacred ministers may not deny the sacraments to those who opportunely ask for them, are properly disposed and are not prohibited by law from receiving them.

CIC Canons 841, 837,838.

[size=2]Can. 841 Since the sacraments are the same throughout the universal Church, and belong to the divine deposit of faith, only the supreme authority in the Church can approve or define what is needed for their validity. It belongs to the same authority, or to another competent authority in accordance with can. 838 §§3 and 4, to determine what is required for their lawful celebration, administration and reception and for the order to be observed in their celebration.

Can. 837 §1 Liturgical actions are not private but are celebrations of the Church itself as the 'sacrament of unity', that is, the holy people united and ordered under the Bishops. Accordingly, they concern the whole body of the Church, making it known and influencing it. They affect individual members of the Church in ways that vary according to orders, role and actual participation.

§2 Since liturgical matters by their very nature call for a community celebration, they are, as far as possible, to be celebrated in the presence of Christ's faithful and with their active participation.

Can. 838 §1 The ordering and guidance of the sacred liturgy depends solely upon the authority of the Church, namely, that of the Apostolic See and, as provided by law, that of the diocesan Bishop.

§2 It is the prerogative of the Apostolic See to regulate the sacred liturgy of the universal Church, to publish liturgical books and review their vernacular translations, and to be watchful that liturgical regulations are everywhere faithfully observed.

§3 It pertains to Episcopal Conferences to prepare vernacular translations of liturgical books, with appropriate adaptations as allowed by the books themselves and, with the prior review of the Holy See, to publish these translations.

§4 Within the limits of his competence, it belongs to the diocesan Bishop to lay down for the Church entrusted to his care, liturgical regulations which are binding on all.

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#3

At about the time that my wife and I were married, one of her co-workers was incensed that the Priest who married us had refused to marry the co-worker's daughter and her fiance. They went elsewhere and were married, but have been divorced now for over 20 years. This is only an anecdote, but the principle holds true.


#4

Of course they should. Membership in the Church requires adherence to certain rules.


#5

I agree with po18, I've known at least one couple who had a priest refuse to marry them because they were cohabitating. They were able to go to another priest in a different parish that agreed to marry them. At my former parish the priest would often throw up red flags if he found couples were living together and would refuse to marry them and urge them to live apart for the remainder of the engagement.

I have not been involved with the confirmation side of things as much but have only heard once where a nun recommended in all her years that a kid not be confirmed. I think the priest went along with it and he wasn't refused because he had a philosophical disagreement with the Church but because he was basically doing the classes to make the grandmother happy and the rest of his life reflected a thorough unchurched upbringing etc. etc.

So yes it does happen, these are of course anecdotes and I have no hard numbers, but if I can think of a few examples then I'm sure there are a lot more out there too.

ChadS


#6

Pax!

When I was researching this, I came across this interesting article that sheds some light on the question that was posed:

catholicvote.org/discuss/index.php?p=38708

Basically it is about a young man who was denied Confirmation because he was not in accord with the church on gay marriage.

Sincerely in Christ through Mary,
iProfess


#7

As Confirmation is to complete Baptismal grace in us as adults and strengthen the Holy Spirit we first received at Baptism and we know that Baptismal vows include rejecting satan and all his works and all his empty promises I would have to agree that certain circumstances would negate a persons ability to be confirmed. The young man who was not in agreement with the church view on gay marriage woudl be appropriate. I think the boy who doing teh classes to make the granny happy should have not been denied the sacrament though. The sacraments are not something we earn rather they are gifts we receive. Confirmation is given to strengthen the baptized that they may be more perfectly bound to the church, and in the case of the boy that too me seemed an error to deny him the sacrament. He was baptized and received communion afterall and even if he told the nun he was only doing it for his granny, the Holy Spirit would be just what he needed at that time in his life. Being denied the sacrament, did he fall away from the church?

ed


#8

[quote="Ed_Normile, post:7, topic:305411"]
As Confirmation is to complete Baptismal grace in us as adults and strengthen the Holy Spirit we first received at Baptism and we know that Baptismal vows include rejecting satan and all his works and all his empty promises I would have to agree that certain circumstances would negate a persons ability to be confirmed. The young man who was not in agreement with the church view on gay marriage woudl be appropriate. I think the boy who doing teh classes to make the granny happy should have not been denied the sacrament though. The sacraments are not something we earn rather they are gifts we receive. Confirmation is given to strengthen the baptized that they may be more perfectly bound to the church, and in the case of the boy that too me seemed an error to deny him the sacrament. He was baptized and received communion afterall and even if he told the nun he was only doing it for his granny, the Holy Spirit would be just what he needed at that time in his life. Being denied the sacrament, did he fall away from the church?

ed

[/quote]

Confirmation gives an increase in grace to those that have grace (unlike baptism or penance). If a sinful public state is manifest, it is a scandal, so the priests must take care not to mislead the faithful. Therefore the canon law allows for disposition as a criteria.


#9

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