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A complete Manual of Canon Law

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A complete Manual of Canon Law

by Oswald J. Reichel, Volume I ‘The Sacraments’, John Hodges, London 1896.

Women cannot be ordained

Page 14. To obtain the grace of a sacrament three things are requisite in the receiver. (1) He must have the intention to receive the particular sacrament, because grace is given to no one unwilling to receive it , (2) He must be generally capable of receiving it, i. e., he must be baptised before he can receive any other sacrament, and must be a man and not a woman before he can be ordained (63), And he must be morally qualified to receive it.

(63). Apost. Const. III, 6: We do not permit our women to teach in the Church (1 Cor. XIV. 34). Ibid. III. 9: The blessed Virgin was not employed to baptize Christ, but John the Baptist. Egbert’s Excerpt. 87 to v. 740; Hobart p. 149: If a mere layman . . . be instituted and inducted [to a benefice] this is not a mere nullity, but he is a parson de facto . . . and his insufficiency must receive examination, but the incapacity of a woman appears in itself. Gratian I. Dist. XIII. C. 25.

A woman may not normally baptize

Page 43. A layman baptizing without necessity exposes himself to excommunication and is disqualified for orders . Baptism by a woman was formerly forbidden (108). Nevertheless, such baptism is held to be valid in the Western Church so far as to cleanse from sin, if it cannot be avoided (l09), and even baptism administered by a heretic, a pagan, or a Jew, provided it is given with the intention to baptize and the form of the Church is observed .

(108). Epiph. Haer. 49; Stat. EGG1. Ant. A.D. 505, Can. 100, apt Gratian III. Dist. IV. C. 20: Let not a woman presume to baptize. Apost. Const. III. 9: If baptism were to be administered by women certainly our Lord would have been baptized by his own mother and not by John. Cof£ Innocent III. in Decret. Lib. v. Tit. XXXVIII. G. 10.

(109). Auctor incert. apt Gratian Caus. xxx. QU. III. G. IV.; Concil. Westminster, A.D. 1200. Can. 3; Const. 33 Edmund, A.D. 1236; Const. 3 Peckam, A.D. 1281.

A woman may not touch the corporal

Page 99. The corporal was formerly of large size and covered the whole altar and is forbidden to be touched by a woman (117)

117. Concil. Autissiodor. AD 578, Can. 37: Let not a woman put forth her hand to the Lord's table-cloth (ad pallam Dominicam). Cap. 6, Theodulf, A.D. 994.

Women may not receive communion during their monthly periods

Page 126. (Communion is forbidden to) women at certain periods (267).

(267). Theodori Poenit. I. XIV. 17, in H. & S. III. 188: Mulieres autem menstruale tempore non intrent in ecclesiam neque communicent, nec sanctimoniales nec laicae. Should they presume so to do, let them fast three weeks. According to Innocent III. in Decret. Lib. III. Tit. XLVII., this was not the Roman rule.

Women should receive communion in their hand on a ‘housel-towel’ or on the tongue

Page 129. Women are forbidden to receive into the naked hand, but should either receive upon a white linen cloth, called a Housel-towel (284) or the Lord’s napkin, or else have the Eucharist placed directly in their mouth (285).

(284). Concil. Autissiodor. A.D. 578, Can. 36, apt Labbe Vl. 645: A woman may not receive the Eucharist in her naked hand. Caesarius Arelat Serm 252 de Temp. (al. 229), Migne XXXIX. 2168: Men, when they are about to approach the altar, wash their hands, and all women display pure white linen cloths (linteamina), on which to receive the Lord’s Body. Martene Lib. I. C. 4, art. 10, mentions these. Concil. Autissiodor. Can 42, requires every woman when she communicates to have dominicalem suum [se. fanonem]. This Baronius and Mabillon explain to be the Lord’s napkin or the Housel-towel, also Duchesne 214; others suppose it to be a veil. It may be included among the linteamina mentioned Const. 5 Reynolds, A,D. 1322. According to the Guardian 287, Feb. 18, 1891, Housel-towels continued to be used in St. Mary’s, Oxford, in Newman’s time, and were disposed of by him in 1859.

(285). Concil. Rothomag. A.D. 650, Can. 2.

Women should be veiled when receiving communion

Page 129. It was formerly the practice for the assisting presbyters at a solemn Eucharist, after receiving the Lord’s Body, to place their hands upon the north part of the altar and to partake simultaneously, and for deacons afterwards to do likewise at the south part of the altar . All are directed to approach with reverence and holy fear as to the Body of their King , women being veiled as becomes their sex (288), and those who offer to partake in both kinds.

(288). Apost. Const. n. 57: Let the women approach with their heads covered as becomes the order of women. Ambros. ap Gratian, Caus. XXXIII. Qu. v. c. 19, requires women always to be veiled in Church, because of the bishop, who represents Christ. Theodori Poenit. II. VII. 3, in H. & S. III. 196: Women may receive the sacrifice under a black veil.

Women’s confessions are to be heard in a conspicuous place

Page 153. A confession should always be received in some public place, and a woman’s confession in some conspicuous part of the Church, outside the Lenten veil (95).

(95). Const. 3 Sudbury. A.D.1378.

The ordination of a woman would be null and void.

Pages 235-236.The outward qualifications which are held to be ordinarily necessary to show the existence of a Divine call include (1) being a man and not a woman; (2) having received already the sacrament of baptism in its entirety ; (3) being free from any physical defect which would incapacitate for the exercise of order; (4) holding the right faith and being of approved life; (5) having adequate learning ; and (6) having a proper title. But since there are cases in which there is unmistakably a Divine call although one or more of these outward qualifications are absent, the Church reserves to herself in most cases a dispensing power, subject nevertheless to many safeguards.

Two classes of persons are without the elementary qualification for receiving order, viz., women and unbaptized persons. The ordination of a woman is a mere nullity, women being forbidden even to come near the altar at service time (256).

(256). 1 Cor. XIV. 34; 1 Tim. II. 12: In Phrygia and among the Montanists women appear to have exercised diaconal functions. Iren. I. 13; Hippol. VI, 34. The synod which condemned Paul of Samosata, A.D. 265, enumerates among his offences that “ he prepared women to sing in the midst of the Church, which one might shudder to hear.” Isidor. de Offic. II. 18, 11: Women are excluded from all degrees and offices of order. They may neither speak nor teach in Church, nor touch nor offer. Concil. Rothomag. A.D. 650, apt Gratian III. Dist. II. C. 29: It has come to our knowledge that some priests so lightly esteem the holy mysteries that they intrust the holy Body of the Lord to a layman or a woman to carry to the sick, and commit that which is most holy to those who are forbidden to enter the holy place or to approach the altar. The synod altogether forbids the repetition of such presumption in future. Theodori Poenit. II. VII. A.D, 673, in Eaddan & Stubbs III, 196: Women may not cover the altar with the corporal, nor place the oblations or the cup on the altar, nor stand amongst the ordained in Chureh.... A woman may not give penance to any one. Concil. Paris VI. A.D, 829, apt Gratian Caus. xx. Qu. II. e. 3 forbids an abbess to veil a widow. Pseudo-Isidor. A,D, 843, ibid. I. Dist. XXIII. C. 95: The Apostolic See is informed that with you conseerated women or minikins touch the sacred vessels or sacred altar-cloths, and earry incense about the altar, all of which things. as every wise man knows, ought to be reproved and rebuked. We, therefore, by the authority of the Holy See, order that these practices be exterminated as quickly as possible. Egbert’s Excerpt, A.D. 740; Edgar’s Law 44, A.D. 960: That no woman come near the altar while mass is celebrating. Cap. 6 Theodulf, A.D. 994: Coneil. Lat. II. A.D. 1139, apt Gratian Caus. XVIII. Qu. II. C. 25, forbids eonseerated women to sing in the choir of any church with canons or monks. Innocent III. A.D. 1210, in Decret. Lib. v. Tit. XXXVIII. e. 10: We hear that in the diocese of Burgos and elsewhere abbesses bless their own nuns, hear their confessions, and, reading the Gospels, presume publicly to preach.... This we forhid for the future, for although the Blessed Virgin was more worthy and excellent than all the apostles, yet to these and not to her Christ committed the keys of the kingdom of heaven. Lynd. 283, 133; Hobart. 149. See Sacraments, § 17; and Baptism, note 108; the Eucharist, note 117.

No woman to live in the house of an unmarried clergyman

To avoid scandal, women are not allowed to dwell under the roof of the unmarried clergy, except a mother, a sister, an aunt, or some other person above suspicion (113).

(113). Ramsay, The Church under the Roman Empire, has shown that in Asia Minor women held an advanced position, very different from their position elsewhere. Yet in this locality the synod which condemned Paul of Samosata, A.D. 270 (in Euseb VII. 30), charges him with having employed women to sing, and adds: It was a duty to avoid at least the suspicion growing out of the introduction of adopted sisters. Concil. Nic. Can. 3 apt Gratian I. Dist. XXXII. e. 16: The great synod strictly forbids bishops, presbyters, deacons, and all clerks to retain any woman in their houses, but only a mother, sister, aunt, or other person above suspicion. Concil. Carthag. III. A.D. 397, apt Gratian I. Dist. LXXXI. e. 27; Siricius, A.D. 385, Ibid. I. Dist. l:xxx. e. 31; Gelasius, Ibid. I. Dist. LXXXI. e. 23 - 25; Syn. VII. A.D, 787, Ibid. e. 26; Can. 5 Elfric, A.D. 957; Concil. Ilerd. A.D. 523, Can. 15, directs clergy familiar with strange women who, after two warnings, neglect amendment, to be deprived so long as they continue in vice, but to be restored after correction.

Women may not be singers in Church

Pages 317-318. In the Eastern and the Gallican Church, singers continued as an order distinct from that of readers, their duties being to sing the canticles, processional anthem, offertory anthem, and the responses. Singers were, however, not ordained by a bishop, but only admitted to office by a presbyter without any solemn investiture, and their office was not included among the probationary degrees for the presbyterate, doubtless because they were chosen for their voices rather than their merits. On this ground they were forbidden at Rome to discharge any of the deacon’s duties. The school of singers, which is often mentioned at Rome after the seventh century, is really the school of readers, who combined the singer’s duty of singing parts of the service with the reader’s surviving duty of singing the Psalms. Women and girls are not allowed to act as singers in Church (294).

(294). The synod which condemned Paul of Samosata, in 265 A.D., stated as one of the charges against him in Euseb VII.30, that he employed women as singers. Concil. Turon. II. A.D 551, Can. 4, forbids lay persons (including women) within the chancel. Concil. Autissiodor. A.D. 578, Can. 9, forbids girls to sing in Church. See Order, § 44; The Sacraments, §17.

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