Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Ultimate Anathema Post

Anathemas Part I- What is anathema and is it still around
Anathemas Part II- But this guy says that they really are still around
Anathemas Part III- In which the canons of Trent are actually discussed, instead of the anathemas

Now Paul has directed me to Turretinfan, who says this:

Today I encountered the following comment: "Anathemas were done away with under the most recent Code of Canon Law." It's not the first time I've seen this claim. The problem is this: I have the most recent Code of Canon Law and it doesn't (that I can find) even mention anathemas. I suppose that some folks in Roman Catholicism think this silence means that anathemas have been done away. That seems like as weak an argument as the argument that prayer veils are no longer required because of the silence regarding them. I wonder whether there is anything more to the argument than that. Any ideas anyone?

I'm aware of Mr. Akin's argument as follows:

Yet the penalty was used so seldom that it was removed from the 1983 Code of Canon Law. This means that today the penalty of anathema does not exist in Church law. The new Code provided that, "When this Code goes into effect, the following are abrogated: 1º the Code of Canon Law promulgated in 1917 . . . 3º any universal or particular penal laws whatsoever issued by the Apostolic See, unless they are contained in this Code" (CIC [1983] 6 §1). The penalty of anathema was not renewed in the new Code, and thus it was abrogated when the Code went into effect on January 1, 1983.
The problems with that type of argument are:

1) Where was anathema mentioned in the 1917 Code? I've perused that code and couldn't find it. Perhaps I overlooked something?

2) A penalty and a penal law are not the same thing.

If that's all Mr. Akin has, his argument seems exceptionally weak.

Anathemas are mentioned in canon 2257 of the 1917 Code of Canon Law. Unfortunately, not available online in English.

Can 2257 §1. Excommunicatio est censura qua quis excluditur a communione fidelium cum effectibus qui in canonibus, qui sequuntur, enumerantur, quique separari nequeunt.
§2. Dicitur quoque anathema, praesertim si cum sollemnitatibus infligatur quae in Pontificali Romano describuntur.

At any rate, you know what? I'm not a canon lawyer. I'm a stay at home, mother of four with an incredible non-sleeping baby. This is my night job. I have no idea if anathemas are still around or not. My question is, does it matter?

First, suppose anathema is still an option. It still needs a formal ceremony and lots of paperwork. When the Catholic Church excommunicates someone, it is a big deal. Usually there are news stories involved such as this or this.

I haven't seen any big anathema stories, so I'm guessing that if it is still an option, it isn't one which is used. The first story I linked to says that excommunication is the severest form of punishment, so I still feel that Jimmy Akin is right, and anathemas are no longer around. Clearly, none of you has been formally anathematized.

Second, suppose that not only are the anathemas still around, but the ones in Trent are in force, and DO apply to any non-Catholic who happens to pick up a copy of the canons of the Council of Trent. What does that mean?

The canons define what the Catholic Church believes. If you do not believe that you are anathema, or excommunicated. It means that you are out of communion, or not a part of the church. You do not agree with our statement of faith, therefore you are not a member. I don't see how that is a problem unless you are wanting to be calling yourself a Catholic while not holding to the tenets of the faith.

Is the offense that excommunication/anathema is intended as a warning that you are in danger of hell? Excommunication is a Biblical form of church discipline practiced by other faiths.

Galatians 1:8-9 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.

1 Cor 16:22 (explicit in KJV) If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema Maranatha.

Yes, we believe that the Catholic Church has the fullness of Truth. You, our separated brethren, have some aspects of the Truth, and we respect you for that. But I fail to see why you are so offended that we think you are wrong when you spend such a long time in the comments section trying to prove that . . . we are wrong and in danger of hell.

For an exhaustive look at anathemas, try over at Dave Armstrong's blog.

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Paul said...

Thanks for all your hard work. I will look this over carefully.

Elena said...

I'm in awe and wonder Kelly!! Good job for all your hard work!

Kelly said...

Okay guys, I'm not sure it's all that great, but it will give us a place for further discussion of anathemas and excommunication.

Paul said...

Turretinfan has posted an English translation of the Latin document as well as a coment here:

Elena said...

I read fan's posting. He doesn't really answer the question - "so what?"

As Kelly asked- why does it matter since ya'll don't agree with Catholic teaching anyway?

Kelly said...

My reply there:

So, you are a baptized Catholic who has formally been excommunicated and you would prefer to tell people that you are under anathema because it is snazzier or what?

Again, I don't get the point you are trying to make.

Now off to pick up a child, make lunch, naptime, etc.

Elena said...

Well I'll be fascinated by his answer and Paul's. Why does it matter?

I also don't get Jennie's "concern" that Catholics don't get the Protestant doctrine of sola fide. Again s long as they have faith, what does she care?

Kelly said...

Another cross post:

The result is that Vatican II calls us "separated brethren" and Trent (and others) call us "anathema."

If you are speaking of the anathemas in a general sense, I would say that the Trent and VII views are one and the same.

You are out of communion, or separated. What would happen if the anathema were in place? You would not be able to receive the sacraments. You should not receive the Eucharist if you went to Mass. That is no different today than it was then.

If you are speaking of the formal anathema, against an individual reformer, then I have no idea if they are still in place. I would assume it would be big news like this if it had been lifted:

If changing the canon law pertaining to anathema has taken place due to the new canon law, then it would not be a change in the Catholic moral doctrine, but a change in discipline, such as allowing priests to marry. It is not Tradition, but tradition.

Maybe you could ask this guy: