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Communicatio in sacris -- taking part in sacred things.

We read so much of this, and this is the best, if not the highest degree of, condemnation made by traditionalists when one enters a non Catholic place and (supposedly) takes part in the services, prayers, signing, etc.  True.  However, not so in many cases.  Benedict 16 has been accused of going into Synagogues, Mosques, Temples, etc.  We readily say he is in heresy or committing a schismatic act.  Is he praying with them, or what?  Is he selling the faith?  The following are citations:

Quote:Communicatio in sacris among heretics and schismatics is something that has ben permitted in the past by the authority of the Popes.

It should be noted that the only reasons for permitting it were either to help souls to come into the Church or to protect them in times of persecution.


In 1244 Pope Innocent IV permitted the Dominican missionaries among the (Non-Catholic) Jacobites and Nestorians to share with them “in verbis, officio et cibo” (literally in words, offices and food; better english: in speech, in offices, in meals).

In 1245 he gave the same permission to Franciscan Missionaries.  From the context it is obvious that the words
“in officio” is are equivalent to “in sacris” (in sacred things).

The following Popes, Nicholas IV (1288), John XXII (1316-34), and Benedict XII (1334-42) gave the missionaries
the same permission many times as can be verified in the books of the  Sources of the Codification of Oriental Canon Law  published by the Vatican in 1943.


This series of posts on Communicatio in sacris with heretics and schismatics (literally: communicatio in sacris - sharing in sacred things)  grew from blog comments condemning Pope Benedict XVI for sharing in sacred things at Westminster Abbey.


Again and again the condemnation of such a kind of Communicatio in sacris reaches such a degree of condemnation by traditionalists  -faithful and priests alike- that it is said to be against the Divine Law of God Himself.

The question arises: Is that true? It either is or is not true.  We must find the facts and work with them.

We all have strict opinions on this matter of Communicatio in sacris  but we have to base our opinions on the facts.  Failure to do so discredits our traditional cause.  Without the facts....
shooting in the dark...  uninformed judgments...

Pope Benedict XIV  (A Pope universally considered to have been a great authority in Canon Law.)

We have a further clarification to hand:  The judgment on Communicatio in sacris given by Pope Benedict XIV
in the 24 February, 1752,  session of the Holy Office was precisely:

"Communicationem in divinis cum haereticis non posse nec debere tam facile ac tam generaliter pronuntiari in omni penitus circumstantia de iure vetitam."

["Communicatio in divinis with heretics cannot and should not be so readily and so generally pronounced forbidden in absolutely every circumstance."]

The reference for the quote is:  De Martinis, luris Pontificii de Propaganda Fide, Pars II (Rome, 1909), p. 324.

That judgment sets out the strictest limitation of prohibition against Communicatio in sacris among heretics. The legitimacy of the matter depends on the judgment of the Pope.

Whatever opinion we each may have, we must accept this fact and go with it.  Shooting the messenger will change nothing.

"Communicationem in divinis cum haereticis non posse nec debere tam facile ac tam generaliter pronuntiari in omni penitus circumstantia de iure vetitam."

Benedict XIV 24 February, 1752.  "Communicatio in divinis with heretics cannot and should not be so readily and so generally pronounced forbidden in absolutely every circumstance."

St. Pius X, The Pope of Anti-modernism.

We have the following from the Servant of God, Andrew Szeptycki:

This document permits the saintly Archbishop and his priests to dispense the laity
from the Church law forbidding Communicatio in sacris
with the Orthodox.

It was given by Pope St. Pius X in his own hand.

Rome 17.02.1908

Most Blessed Father!
Andrew Szeptycki, Metropolitan of Halycz, Metropolitan of Kiev and Administrator of all Russia at the foot of
His Holiness most humbly asks that faculties may be conceded to himself and also to confessors in communion (capable of being communicated) for dispensing secular faithful from the law which forbids communicatio in sacris with the Orthodox as many times as they will judge it in conscience to be opportune.

Our Most Holy Father Pope Pius X deigned to sign with his own hand this document written by me
with the words "May be tolerated".