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Author Topic: Canon Law Digest: Acta Apostolicae Sedis 15-152: What is Not to be Praised  (Read 7290 times)
Shin
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« on: July 08, 2010, 04:22:25 PM »

I'm going to post some excerpts from the Acta Apostolicae Sedis from time to time, so people can see the spirit behind Canon Law. Although Canon Law has changed, the reference point for understanding it is still both the earlier more complete law, and the even earlier codes from Gratian, etc. But history aside.. the moral law behind most of canon law, that can't change, and so there're good lessons to be learned.   Cheesy


Books, Etc. Contrary to Catholic Doctrine, Not to be Praised (AAS 15-152)

The Holy Office issued the following Monitum to Ordinaries of places:

It not infrequently happens that in daily papers or magazines, writers even among those commonly regarded as good Catholics praise, extol, approve certain books, writings, pictures, sculptures, and other such works of literature and art, which are contrary to Catholic doctrine and the Christian spirit, and even sometimes expressly condemned by the Holy See.

It will easily be seen what grave scandal to the faithful and what harm to faith and morals may be done if the shepherds of souls allow such things to pass unnoticed and uncorrected. Lest this should occur, the Sacred Congregation of the Holy Office, with the approval of His Holiness, Pius XI, deems it opportune to admonish the Ordinaries of places that if they find any writers of this sort among their subjects, and especially among the clergy, secular or regular, the do not fail to take action either by themselves or through the Council of Vigilance, and to take such measures in their regard as they may judge more effective in the Lord.

AAS 15-152; Holy Office, Monitum, 15 Mar, 1923
Periodica, 12-33.

From 'The Canon Law Digest'
Officially Published Documents Affecting the Code of Canon Law
1917-1933
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« Reply #1 on: July 08, 2010, 04:24:08 PM »

From here we see the moral principle of care we have to take that we do not praise that which is unChristian in spirit, and unCatholic in doctrine whatever works of art they may be. The reason for this being I suppose the scandal it gives, by misleading others to thinking that which is unChristian in spirit or unCatholic in doctrine is morally acceptable.

There's more than one followup on this. Which is really good guidance.

And I must add, part of the natural law I believe, because we can automatically realize this on our own.  Cheesy
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« Reply #2 on: July 08, 2010, 04:40:07 PM »

Hmm... That brings to mind what happened at mass a few months ago when the priest as a way of popularising himself with the young (in my opinion), Said that he loved Lady Gaga and would be going to her concert in belfast and be cheering her on right at the front of the stage.. Now I dodn't know much about lady Gaga so I went on you tube to have a look and what I found was not good to say the least.. I recently wrote him a letter concerning another matter of rubrics that he was not observing during mass and as yet have recieved no reply.. What is one meant to do?
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« Reply #3 on: July 08, 2010, 04:57:26 PM »

Quote
Hmm... That brings to mind what happened at mass a few months ago when the priest as a way of popularising himself with the young (in my opinion), Said that he loved Lady Gaga and would be going to her concert in belfast and be cheering her on right at the front of the stage..

Shocking behaviour! Sad
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« Reply #4 on: July 08, 2010, 04:58:13 PM »

Instruction of the Holy Office on Sensual and Sensual-Mystic Literature -- AAS 19-186

An Instruction of the Holy Office to Archbishops, Bishops, and other Ordinaries of places on sensual and sensual-mystic literature, it is as follows:

Among the most terrible of the evils which in our age are utterly undermining the moral teaching of Christ, and doing so much harm to the souls redeemed by His precious blood, a prominent place belongs to that type of literature which exploits sensuality and lust, or even a certain lascivious mysticism. To this class belong especially certain romances, fanciful tales, plays, and comedies -- types of literature of which our age is remarkably prolific, and which are daily being produced in increasing quantities.

Such works of literary art, which exert so great an influence upon many persons, especially among young people, if only they kept within the bounds of decency, which certainly are not too narrow, would be able not only to afford innocent pleasure, but even to elevate the morals of the reader.

But the fact is, alas, that this abundance of books which combine a frivolous fascination with immorality, is the cause of a very great loss of souls. For many of these writers dept immodesties in flaming imagery; relate the most obscene details, sometimes guardedly, sometimes openly and shamelessly, without the least regard for the requirements of modesty; they describe the worst carnal vices with subtle analysis, and adorn them with all the brilliancy and allurements of style, to such a degree that nothing in the field of morals is left inviolate. It is easy to see how harmful all this is, especially to young people, in whom the fire of youth makes chastity more difficult. These books, often small in size, are sold at low prices in bookstores, on the streets, and squares of cities, at railroad stations; they come very quickly into everybody's hands, and bring great and often fateful dangers to Catholic families. For it is well know that writing of this sort violently excites the imagination, wildly inflames the passions, and drags the heart into the mire of impurity.

There is a kind of love story worse than the rest, being written by authors who, to their shame, do not hesitate to give to their sensuality the appearance of rectitude by blending it with sacred things. Into their stories of impure love they weave a sort of piety toward God and a very false religious mysticism; as if the faith could be consistent with the neglect, or rather the impudent denial of a right moral standard; or the virtue of religion be found associated with immorality! On the contrary the teaching of the Church is that no one can attain eternal life, no matter how firmly he may believe the truths of revelation, unless he keeps the commandments of God; for one who professes faith in Christ and does not follow the footsteps of Christ is not deserving even of the name of Christian. "Faith without works is dead" (James ii, 26). And our Savor warns us: "Not everyone that saith to Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the Kingdom of Heaven: but he that doth the will of My Father who is in heaven, he shall enter into the Kingdom of Heaven" (Matt. vii, 21).

Let no one make these excuses: that many of those books have a truly admirable brilliance and elegance of style; that they are remarkable for inculcating a psychology in accord with modern discoveries; that the lascivious bodily pleasures are reprobated as much as they are represented in their true light as most foul, or are sometimes shown to be connected to qualms of conscience, or in as much as it is shown how often the basest pleasures give way at last to the sorrow of a sort of repentance. For neither elegance of style nor medical or philosophic lore -- if indeed these things are to be found in that sort of writing -- nor the intention of the authors, whatever it may be, can prevent the readers, who owing to the corruption of nature are usually very weak and much inclined to impurity, from being gradually enmeshed int he allurements of those unclean pages, from becoming depraved in mind and heart, and finally from throwing away the reins that curb their passions, falling into all kinds of sins, and at times, grown weary of a life full of squalor, even committing suicide.

It is not to be wondered at that the world, which seeks its own even to the contempt of God, should be delighted with such books and should spread them; but it is very deplorable that writers who call themselves Christian should give their time and talent to such deadly literature. Can one who contradicts the ethical principles of the Gospel, yet be a follower of the Blessed Jesus who commanded all men to crucify the flesh with its vices and concupiscences? "If any man shall come after Me," said He, "let him deny himself and take up his cross, and follow Me" (Matt. xvi, 24).

And we find some writers who have gone to such lengths of boldness and impudence as to propagate in their books those very vices which the Apostle forbade to be so much as mentioned by Christians. "But fornication, and all uncleaness . . . let it not so much as be named among you, as becometh saints" (Eph. v, 3.) O that such men might learn at last that they cannot serve two masters, God and lust, religion and impurity! "He that is not with Me is against Me," said the Lord Jesus (Matt. xii, 30), and certainly those writers are not with Christ, who by their filthy descriptions poison morality, which is the true basis of civil and domestic society.

In consideration, therefore, of the deluge of filthy literature which is pouring in a rising flood upon practically all nations, this Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Holy Office, which is intrusted with the guardianship of faith and morals, does by apostolic authority and in the name of His Holiness, by Divine Providence, Pope Pius XI, command all Ordinaries of places to strive by all means in their power to remedy so great and so urgent an evil.

Certainly it is the part of those who have been placed by the Holy Ghost to rule the Church of God to exercise an alert and diligent watchfulness over everything that is printed and published in their dioceses. Everyone knows that the books which nowadays are current all over the world are too numerous to be all examined by the Holy See. Hence, Pius X, of happy memories declared in the Motu proprio, Sacrorum Antistitum: "Whatever books are current in your dioceses of such a nature as to be harmful to the readers, make earnest efforts to get rid of them, even by solemn proscription. For although the Holy See is making every effort to get rid of such books, they have already grown so numerous that it is scarcely possible to examine them all. And so the remedy often comes too late, after the evil through long delays has grown inveterate."

And yet the greater part of those volumes and booklets, although most pernicious, cannot be condemned by a special censure of this Supreme Congregation. Hence, the Ordinaries, according to c. 1397, #4, must either by themselves or through the Council of Vigilance, which the same Supreme Pontiff established by his Encyclical, Pascendi dominici gregis, constantly and earnestly strive to fulfill this most important duty; and they should not fail to denounce those books, as occasion offers, in their diocesan papers, as condemned and extremely harmful.

Moreover, as everyone knows, the Church has already provided by general law that all books which are tainted with immorality, and which of set purpose or openly attack the integrity of morals, be regarded as forbidden just as if they had actually been placed on the Index of forbidden books. It follows that persons who without due permission read a book that is undoubtedly salacious, even though it is not condemned by name by the ecclesiastical authorities, commit a mortal sin. And since in this most important matter false and disastrous opinions are current among the faithful, Ordinaries of places must see to it that especially pastors and their assistants give attention to this matter and give the needed instruction to the people.

Besides, the Ordinaries must not fail to declare openly according to the needs of their respective dioceses, what books by name are forbidden by the law itself. And if they think that they can more effectively or speedily protect the faithful from any particular book by condemning it by special decree, they must by all means make use of this power, just as the Holy See commonly does when grave reasons require it, according to c. 1395, #1: "The right and duty of forbidding books for grave cause belongs not only to the supreme ecclesiastical authority for the universal Church, but also to particular Councils and Ordinaries of places, for their subjects."

Finally, this Supreme Sacred Congregation orders all Archbishops, Bishops, and other Ordinaries of places, on the occasion of their diocesan report, to make known to the Holy See, what measures they have taken and put into execution against lascivious books.

AAS 19-186; Holy Office, Instruction, 3 May, 1927
Periodica, 16-20

From 'The Canon Law Digest'
Officially Published Documents Affecting the Code of Canon Law
1917-1933

Next follows paragraphs of examples of condemned books, which I shall not retype here, but which contain books about St. Therese, Padre Pio, Shakespeare, etc. given as examples.

« Last Edit: July 08, 2010, 05:07:31 PM by Shin » Logged

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« Reply #5 on: July 08, 2010, 05:15:25 PM »

Whew. Let me start quoting now with bolding and etc.

Very worth reading all the above entirely folks, it's not dry, it's moving!

Among the most terrible of the evils which in our age are utterly undermining the moral teaching of Christ,

'most terrible evils'. Not to be taken lightly folks!

romances, fanciful tales, plays, and comedies

if only they kept within the bounds of decency, which certainly are not too narrow, would be able not only to afford innocent pleasure, but even to elevate the morals of the reader.

Ah, if only!

a frivolous fascination with immorality,


I think many people haven't processed what this is, so it bears thinking about more than a little. Are people not often entertained by the sight of evil? The unusual passions involved? This I think is part of the key.

excites the imagination, wildly inflames the passions,

Those of us who have read, 'Introduction to the Science of Mental Health' or various saints' works on the interior life, understand that the devils can and do manipulate the imagination of men directly, and they know what is going on within it. Visual, auditory, all that is in the imagination, they can work with spiritual 'hands on' so to speak.

Well, to move along.

do not hesitate to give to their sensuality the appearance of rectitude by blending it with sacred things

In other words, because the overall tale may seem moral, then some will excuse what it does to the passions and imagination, the rest of the content. I.E. just because there's a morally good ending, where there's repentance, or wicked coming to a wicked end, etc. well, there are so many meanings to the above, but this is what happens basically.

On the contrary the teaching of the Church is that no one can attain eternal life, no matter how firmly he may believe the truths of revelation, unless he keeps the commandments of God; for one who professes faith in Christ and does not follow the footsteps of Christ is not deserving even of the name of Christian.

The Holy Office points out wolves where they are directly, and uncloaks the false cover of Christianity.

Now let's hear the excuses more deeply:

Let no one make these excuses: that many of those books have a truly admirable brilliance and elegance of style; that they are remarkable for inculcating a psychology in accord with modern discoveries; that the lascivious bodily pleasures are reprobated as much as they are represented in their true light as most foul, or are sometimes shown to be connected to qualms of conscience, or in as much as it is shown how often the basest pleasures give way at last to the sorrow of a sort of repentance. For neither elegance of style nor medical or philosophic lore -- if indeed these things are to be found in that sort of writing -- nor the intention of the authors, whatever it may be, can prevent he readers, who owing to the corruption of nature are usually very weak and much inclined to impurity, from being gradually enmeshed int he allurements of those unclean pages, from becoming depraved in mind and heart, and finally from throwing away the reins that curb their passions, falling into all kinds of sins, and at times, grown weary of a life full of squalor, even committing suicide.


The eventual end of degeneration and love of the passions and material -- I am thinking of today's 'troubled teens' all the more and contrasting them in my mind with those who live a healthy, clean, self controlled life, not driven by passions. The sadness and drivenness of the one, the freedom and holiness of the other, how much discipline and love of what is clean is needed in these times and all.

"But fornication, and all uncleaness . . . let it not so much as be named among you, as becometh saints" (Eph. v, 3.)

This is one of my favorite verses.. I wish we could not even have to speak of it in defying it, but it could entirely absent from our lives.

command all Ordinaries of places to strive by all means in their power to remedy so great and so urgent an evil.

It is so obviously a moral imperative that the flock be guarded against being subsumed in the torrent of immoral media!

"And so the remedy often comes too late, after the evil through long delays has grown inveterate."

And yet this sad story.

the Church has already provided by general law that all books which are tainted with immorality, and which of set purpose or openly attack the integrity of morals, be regarded as forbidden just as if they had actually been placed on the Index of forbidden books. It follows that persons who without due permission read a book that is undoubtedly salacious, even though it is not condemned by name by the ecclesiastical authorities, commit a mortal sin.

I am reminded that we have a book about the Index in Saints' Books and I do not think I am misremembering when I say that the book emphasized that though the Index no longer continued the moral law behind it, forbidding reading of bad books, could not and did not end. I shall have to go back to it eventually there's a good deal to be learned from that book as I recall.

according to c. 1395, #1

Actually the # sign is a squiggly thingie that I can't reproduce simply on the keyboard.  Cheesy






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« Reply #6 on: July 08, 2010, 05:23:28 PM »

What times we are living in... There is scarcely a novel today that would not fall under this condemnation and even besides the books there are the daily newspapers, some filled from cover to cover with that mentioned above.
The silence is deafening..
Lord grant us pastors after Your own Heart.
O Lord come to our aid
O Lord make haste to help us.  cross prayer
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« Reply #7 on: July 08, 2010, 05:35:45 PM »

Now if I may continue with some saints' quotes that touch upon the matter above in different ways.

'Blessed the one who considers those who sleep in their coffins in graves and has rejected every foul smelling desire, for he will rise in glory when the heavenly trumpet sounds, rousing all the children of humankind from sleep.'

St. Ephrem of Syria

The above quote reminds me of the 'holy hate' the saints' speak of that we must have for sin. If foul desires are 'foul' to us, then we will reject them more easily, if they are not, if they are only sweet, who can reject them? And so a sense of the foulness must be restored if it has been lost (it is natural), so as to restore the contrast, and the clean air. Living long enough in polluted air, you can no longer smell it, that too is something that unless we give up what we do not smell the stench of, we cannot discover.

'Your soul needs a brief winter. The winter purifies the air and the earth of foul vapors; it even invigorates the human body. If it strips the trees of their leaves, it is only to the end that they take deeper roots. The spring comes afterwards, and clothes them again with verdure and blossoms.'

St. Paul of the Cross

It can often be very hard to give up a familiar foulness:

'Fly from the world, and commence by trampling under your feet all human respect. Do not blush to be a servant of Christ. Regard this world with the same horror that the sight of a criminal suspended from a gibbet would awaken in you. Know that the atmosphere of the world is polluted with the foul odor of thousands of sins that are constantly committed, and which can be washed away only by tears of blood.'

St. Paul of the Cross

And so living 'in the world' but 'not of it' at the very least!

'If the man in the Gospel, who came to the marriage feast with out the nuptial garment, was condemned to darkness, what then should he expect who, admitted to the mystical banquet of the divine Lamb, neglects to adorn himself with the brilliant garb of virtues, and even presents himself impregnated with the fetid odors of impurity.'

'Continue, O fool, continue to gratify the flesh; for the day will come in which thy impurities will become as pitch in thy entrails, to increase and aggravate the torments of the flame which will burn thee in Hell: "The day will come, yea rather the night, when thy lust shall be turned into pitch, to feed in thy bowels the everlasting fire."'

St. Peter Damien

Dire warnings. Also let us not focus too much on only one kind of sensual corruption however.

Well, more quotes later, I need to sit down, with a glass of juice, and dry off in the sunlight and a/c, quite pitifully unlike a desert hermit. But perhaps I'll go out for a swim before the day is up. Revive myself with the outdoors in contrast to the papers and screen, can't go on the same thing too long -- Then back again, you know.. again and again I find..

The practice of just posting about things like this, educates me so much.. I am learning.. because I am sharing with others.. It's splendid.  Cheesy
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« Reply #8 on: July 08, 2010, 05:38:34 PM »

What times we are living in... There is scarcely a novel today that would not fall under this condemnation and even besides the books there are the daily newspapers, some filled from cover to cover with that mentioned above.
The silence is deafening..
Lord grant us pastors after Your own Heart.
O Lord come to our aid
O Lord make haste to help us.  cross prayer

'The world!' 'The world'! I really begin to understand what that means more and more! 'The world!'

As you said. 

God help us all!  flower
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« Reply #9 on: July 08, 2010, 09:48:09 PM »

Quote
Let no one make these excuses: that many of those books have a truly admirable brilliance and elegance of style; that they are remarkable for inculcating a psychology in accord with modern discoveries; that the lascivious bodily pleasures are reprobated as much as they are represented in their true light as most foul, or are sometimes shown to be connected to qualms of conscience, or in as much as it is shown how often the basest pleasures give way at last to the sorrow of a sort of repentance.

I thought of another bad excuse - that "there are so few books nowadays to read that don't have caustic content of some sort that the only thing to do is to read the ones with the least amount of base content". That is an excuse that I sometimes even use in my own mind, before I reject it completely!!!!!
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« Reply #10 on: July 08, 2010, 09:53:53 PM »

Quote
Let no one make these excuses: that many of those books have a truly admirable brilliance and elegance of style; that they are remarkable for inculcating a psychology in accord with modern discoveries; that the lascivious bodily pleasures are reprobated as much as they are represented in their true light as most foul, or are sometimes shown to be connected to qualms of conscience, or in as much as it is shown how often the basest pleasures give way at last to the sorrow of a sort of repentance.

I thought of another bad excuse - that "there are so few books nowadays to read that don't have caustic content of some sort that the only thing to do is to read the ones with the least amount of base content". That is an excuse that I sometimes even use in my own mind, before I reject it completely!!!!!

That is exactly it!!!

You can easily be swallowed up by the sea and think there is no other way! But there is! Smiley

One has to be very prudent, very careful! But there is!  rejoice SIGH!  flower

It's a learning experience.. as time goes by I become more and more careful.. it pays off to be prudent.. you can't catch everything, but eventually you get a tap by a guardian angel on the shoulder and open your eyes a little wider!  Little Angel
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« Reply #11 on: July 08, 2010, 10:10:31 PM »

Even in Catholic Bookstores one needs to watch for heterodox content. Sad
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« Reply #12 on: July 08, 2010, 10:18:00 PM »

Even in Catholic Bookstores one needs to watch for heterodox content. Sad

Everything used to be much more orderly!

I can only imagine what it was like to live before the chaos.. but people chaffed under the order and didn't value it enogh.

But with God's grace one can navigate through it all as it is now. Sigh!

I think perhaps I'll have to put up some of the AAS online too. There's a good deal of helpful stuff in there that clarifies many moral matters. There's another volume covering more years that I will hopefully pick up in future.

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« Reply #13 on: July 08, 2010, 10:45:30 PM »

Quote
Everything used to be much more orderly!

I can only imagine what it was like to live before the chaos.. but people chaffed under the order and didn't value it enogh.

I hadn't entered the Church yet, but I sure have wished for a renewal of The Index plenty of times. I think the people chaffing had more to do with inadequate evangelization than anything. Even with the secular world having a mass rebellion I think the Church could have weathered it better by teaching more of what our Lord and the Church had to say. Catechesis, although much better than it is now, was not good at all. Apparently, a number of people learned verbal prayers and practices without understanding the meaning of it all.
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« Reply #14 on: August 02, 2022, 05:08:34 PM »

Is the Roman Catholic religion the only religion which has a Canon?
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« Reply #15 on: August 03, 2022, 12:19:45 PM »

Is the Roman Catholic religion the only religion which has a Canon?
Canon has multiple meanings, there is a Scriptural Canon and there is Canon Law. The Orthodox Churches have ecclesiastical laws that are different than ours in some areas and similar in others but their Scriptural Canon is the same.
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CRUX SANCTI PATRIS BENEDICTI
CRUX SACRA SIT MIHI LUX!
NON DRACO SIT MIHI DUX!
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SUNT MALA QUAE LIBAS
IPSE VENENA BIBAS!
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Alleluia!
Alleluia!
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