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By Diogenes (articles ) | Nov 29, 2005

In reporting on the DDD, the BBC picks up on a point made last week by John Allen, viz., that the Instruction might not be promulgated in forma specifica, providing a possible out to those for whom the teaching causes problems.

Canon law experts note that [the guidelines] were not issued in forma specifica, meaning the Pope has not officially invested it with his personal authority, according to the National Catholic Reporter. That might mean there is room for further interpretation or revision.
Your Uncle Di wrote the kind of person conventionally identified as "a highly placed Vatican official" to ask if the BBC got it right in saying that the Instruction was not issued in forma specifica. Here is his reply:

That is true -- but the reason is important: "Instructions" do not normally promulgate new legislation (which would require the forma specifica approval of the Pope). Instructions rather provide greater specification to the way that the existing discipline of the Church is to be understood. That is what we have here: a restatement in more precise terms of the centuries old discipline of the Church.

As this document breaks no new ground legislatively, no forma specifica approval is warranted. In converse fashion, one may likewise conclude that the notions of the likes of [a prominent Log Cabin Dominican] are not only ruled out by this document, his ideas were never a part of authentic Catholic discipline (note esp., the letter of Card. Medina footnoted in this Instruction).

Artillerymen look for "secondary detonations" (explosions caused, e.g., by the opponents' ammo or fuel dump going up in flames) as evidence that they've hit their target. Based on who's detonating after this Instruction -- and who's not -- we can conclude its authors aimed it very well indeed.

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Show 3 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: Fr. William - Nov. 30, 2005 7:32 PM ET USA

    Sadly, I will be watching, Diogenes, for the bishops and cardinals who purposefully attempt to confuse the people by "interpreting" this instruction that is already so clear. One might even begin to predict which bishops/cardinals will "interpret" the instruction (disobediently & traitorously because they are "gay" or "gay-friendly") and which ones will simply receive the instruction and enforce it (obediently & faithfully because the love the Church). Saint Andrew, apostle, pray for us!

  • Posted by: Vincit omnia amor - Nov. 29, 2005 5:28 PM ET USA

    Diogenes, We're gonna have to keep reminding those who are detonating that: "no forma specifica approval is warranted" and that this instruction is nothing new. (not that they'll listen though)

  • Posted by: Pseudodionysius - Nov. 29, 2005 11:28 AM ET USA

    Saints behold us. Did you read that? "Never a part of authentic Catholic discipline". Cue the Fr Radcliffe, OP comment box crack about him "taking the discipline" v St Dominic.

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