| Year 2009 Canonical Studies
(Jos De cuyper S.J)
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In this paper I deal chiefly with what was formerly called Communication in Sacris. Previous to Vatican Council II the approach in the field of ecumenical sharing was very negative, to the extent of forbidding all sharing in the worship of other Christian Churches and denominations. Subsequent to the Decree on Ecumenism, this attitude has been inverted into one that is very positive.

Before entering into our main subject, which will be first a brief exposition of c.844 with which we are rather familiar, and then dealing with some concrete situations from years of experience, we should look at c.670 of the Oriental Code. I quote § 1: :For a just cause Catholics can attend the liturgical worship of other Christians and take part in the same, observing those things which, by reason of the degree of communion with the Catholic Church, are established by the eparchial bishop or by a supreme authority.” The principle laid down here appears to me to be equally applicable to the Latin Church. No doubt for Orientals come in the first place the separated Oriental Churches which are in substantial doctrinal unity and have a valid priesthood. Yet the formulation has a wider application and does not exclude sharing with churches of the reformation. Over the years now after the Council forms of sharing have been on the increase.

The Directory on Ecumenism of 1993 lists general principles in nos. 102 & ff. It distinguishes:

1. Prayer in Common, which is recommended (n.109) chiefly for the restoration of Christian Unity. It should be conducted in agreement with the authorities of other participating churches/denominations, usually at the local level. In his encyclical of 1993, ‘Ut unum Sint’ Pope John Paul forcefully insists on the need and fruitfulness (nos.21-27)., of this form of common prayer.

2. Non Sacramental Liturgical Worship: This includes participation in the official Liturgical Prayer of a church, e.g. Evensong in the CSI/CNI, and their participation in our Prayer of the Office. In this too the Directory is very broad (nos.117-118). I was pleasantly surprised when called to preach on the Fest of Our Lady’s Nativity in the CNI at Ranchi, and saw them celebrating solemn Vespers in our way.

3. Sharing in Sacramental Worship: Traditionally called ‘Communicatio in Sacris’, is regulated in this canon 670 § 1 of the Oriental Code: “observing those

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