Tuesday, September 24, 2002

Canon law! Yippee!
I'm a canon law junkie. Today in class we got into a discussion about a situation where a priest is invalidly ordained because of some impediment, then goes on to minister for 20 years. What about all the sacraments he's celebrated? I gave my opinion in class, which turned out to be close to the truth. I then asked one of our wonderful Milwaukee canonists, Zabrina Decker, about the situation. She affirmed that the sacraments would be invalid and that it would cause a great deal of havoc. She then turned to the principle that the Church supplies (ecclesia supplet) from Canon 144. It MIGHT apply in this case, depending on the details. Then she pointed out that the usual answer to questions of canon law is "It depends" because one must know every single detail before rendering a judgment.

The canon reads:
Can. 144 §1 In common error, whether of fact or of law, and in positive and probable doubt, whether of law or of fact, the Church supplies executive power of governance for both the external and the internal forum.

§2 The same norm applies to the faculties mentioned in cann. 883, 966, and 1111 §1.

By the way, on Miss Decker,
CLSA Selects 1999 Scholarship Awardee

The CLSA extends warm congratulations to Ms. Zabrina Decker, recipient of the 1999 Canon Law Society of America scholarship. This year's recipient is a 1988 graduate of Mundelein College, Chicago, with a B.A. in Religious Studies and a 1990 graduate of Loyola University, Chicago, with a master’s degree in Religious Education. Since the fall of 1997, Zabrina has worked full-time as a procurator-advocate in the metropolitan tribunal of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. She entered the JCL program at the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC, in the summer 1999 semester.

I'm always willing to publicize the good work of our canonists.

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