Another great post by Dr. Ed Peters:
There is a line of thought emerging in regard to the Cuomo-Communion controversy that runs as follows: “Okay, maybe Peters has a point about the canon law of this case, but c’mon, questions about individual reception of holy Communion are really matters of pastoral practice.”
You know, as if canon law and pastoral practice were two entirely different things.
Let’s think about this.
Certainly, there are many canons in the Code that scarcely impact pastoral practice. It’s difficult (not impossible, just difficult) to see a pastoral application for, say, Canon 141 on priority among successive delegees, or for Canon 707 on residence options for a retired religious bishop, or for Canon 1601 on a judge’s discretion over time limits for filing briefs in tribunal cases. No one seriously argues that the faithful are bound to recall such canons in daily life or at least to think about them during the Communion rite.
But, while many canons do not have immediate pastoral relevance, many other canons do have obvious pastoral implications, and surely the canons on the reception and administration of holy Communion count among them. Indeed, the whole purpose of Canons 915 and 916 is to direct concrete pastoral practice!
Canons 915 and 916 boast aged, even ancient, nay apostolic, roots, and both norms are illuminated by copious and consistent canonical commentary reflecting many centuries’ worth of . . . . . what? . . . . . pastoral practice. In other words, one cannot discuss Canons 915 and 916 without discussing pastoral practice at the same time. The two disciplines are inextricably related. And not because I say so, but because they are.
Do read the entire post. And don't miss Dr. Peters' response, in an endnote, about "the just-plain-dumbest accusations of hypocrisy" made against him.
• In appreciation of Dr. Ed Peters (March 1, 2011)