Category: Theology

Fulfilled in Your Hearing

by John Hall

For even the most adroit of readers, the Scriptural texts that constitute the Bible can be complex and difficult to understand, not only in terms of content and meaning, but also with respect to their origin and purpose. The Bible has, for almost all of its history, been simultaneously a perennial object of study for scholars and a means of devotion and prayer for even the most simple and uneducated of believers. No other piece of writing in history has ever garnered such a great following from such a broad spectrum of readership. It is perhaps for this reason that the range of ideas about the role of Scripture in the life of Christianity and individual Christians is so diverse.

It is a widely circulated truth that exposure to the texts of the Bible is, for many Roman Catholics, almost exclusively limited to the public readings that occur during the Mass on Sundays. Catholics are somewhat notorious among the wider group of Christians for their lack of familiarity with the Bible. Admittedly, the attitude behind this phenomenon in Catholics is not exactly laudable, but is it entirely false? Is there perhaps some element of truth behind many Catholics’ exclusively liturgical experience of Scripture?

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Sacraments and Faculties

by Daniel Quinan

Can a laicized priest administer the sacraments validly? This question will serve as a stimulus to the following investigation. Of course a laicized priest might administer the sacraments illicitly, if the law has forbidden him from doing so for some reason – but this is certainly not the same as suggesting that the law could render his sacraments invalid. Indeed, I suspect that many (if not most) people would naturally assume that (given valid matter, form, and intention) sacraments administered by an ordained priest will always be valid, even if they are not always licit. And this is not an unreasonable assumption; nor, as we will see, is it a very wrong assumption. After all, if the man is a validly ordained presbyter, and ordination cannot be undone, then it follows that he must retain the power of orders, and therefore (in principle) he cannot fail to have the ability to transubstantiate bread and wine, hear sacramental confessions, and the like.

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