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non-ordained faithful document QUESTION from lynn agnello September 18, 2000 Hello,
Are we required at parish level to follow what is written in the INSTRUCTION ON CERTAIN QUESTIONS REGARDING THE COLLABORATION OF THE NON-ORDAINED FAITHFUL IN THE SACRED MINISTRY OF PRIEST? Even if our Bishop is quiet about the document?
If our Bishop does not promulgate the new GIRM are we still obligated to follow all the instructions? It was suggested to me that we could pick and choose what we wanted if the Bishop did not specifically enforce the GIRM.
Can the Bishop permit exceptions to be made regarding these documents? Thank you for your time and dedication.
Sincerely, Lynn Agnello
ANSWER by Mr. John Miskell on September 19, 2000 Dear Lynn,
All Catholics, including bishops, priests, deacons, and religious are bound to obey the directives of competent ecclesiastical authority. The documents you cite; Instruction on Certain Questions Regarding the Collaboration of the Non-Ordained Faithful in the Sacred Ministry of the Priest and the General Instruction of the Roman Missal are authoritative and binding on the Universal Church. Bishops and parishes cannot play pick and choose with, or simply ignore these documents. Unfortunately we are painfully aware that this is exactly what is happening in some places.
The Instruction gives us the following insights;
The scope of this present document is simply to provide a clear, authoritative response to the many pressing requests which have come to our Dicasteries from Bishops, Priests and Laity seeking clarification in the light of specific cases of new forms of pastoral activity of the non-ordained on both parochial and diocesan levels. These matters cause the grave pastoral responsibility of many to be recalled. This is especially true of Bishops whose task it is to promote and ensure observance of the universal discipline of the Church (1) founded on certain doctrinal principles already clearly enunciated by the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council and by the Pontifical Magisterium thereafter. . The footnote cites Canon 392 of the Code of Canon Law which reads;
Can. 392 §1 Since the Bishop must defend the unity of the universal Church, he is bound to foster the discipline which is common to the whole Church, and so press for the observance of all ecclesiastical laws. §2 He is to ensure that abuses do not creep into ecclesiastical discipline, especially concerning the ministry of the word, the celebration of the sacraments and sacramentals, the worship of God and the cult of the saints, and the administration of goods.
I hope this helps.
John Miskell
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