FRAMINGHAM — One week after the practice began at the Elks Lodge, the Sunday Mass celebrated by married priests will have a new home.
Louise Haggett, president of CITI Ministries which sponsors the Mass, said the service will be held at the Framingham Civic League on Rte. 126 this week.
Haggett said the Framingham Elks said lodge manager Walter Connery said the service had to be moved because the building is not handicap-accessible. Connery could not be reached for comment.
Haggett said she suspects “political pressures” were put on the Elks Lodge.
CITI, which stands for Celibacy Is The Issue, was founded in 1992 in Framingham in response to a shortage of priests. Its mission is to work toward the full use of married Roman Catholic priests in filling spiritual needs.
“The Elks is a non-sectarian organization. To my knowledge, they have never refused anyone unless unless it was a real radical group,” said Haggett.
“We were told that we could no longer have Mass there because the building doesn’t have handicap access. However, we are the only public group the Elks has canceled,” said Haggett.
“We are not radical. We are not a protest group. We have no picket signs. The only thing we are interested in is having the Mass said in a free, non-judgmental atmosphere,” she said.
According to Haggett, married priests are being summoned by lay people and the Catholic Church’s canonical law, which states when (married) priests are asked for the sacraments, priests cannot refuse.
Talk about spinning cannon law. He kind of left out the part about having the faculties to administer the sacraments from the local ordinary or the exception being for persons receiving the sacrament in danger of death. I can’t think of any circumstance where a Mass could be administered licitly when the priest does not have the faculties to do so.
Can. 843 �1 Sacred ministers may not deny the sacraments to those who opportunely ask for them, are properly disposed and are not prohibited by law from receiving them.
�2 According to their respective offices in the Church, both pastors of souls and all other members of Christ�s faithful have a duty to ensure that those who ask for the sacraments are prepared for their reception. This should be done through proper evangelisation and catechetical instruction, in accordance with the norms laid down by the competent authority.
Can. 976 Any priest, even though he lacks the faculty to hear confessions, can validly and lawfully absolve any penitents who are in danger of death, from any censures and sins, even if an approved priest is present.
“Celibacy is a man-made law. Before 1139, popes, bishops and priests were married,” she said.
This is pretty generalized. Pope Adrian II who was pope from 867 to 872 was the last married pope. The majority of popes up to this time were not married at the time they became pope. Celibacy was already wide spread way before this time. Look at the desert fathers, the apostolic church fathers, the monasteries, especially the saints from this time period. The church made celibacy mandatory because of what it had learned during this time.
Roman Catholics still want to attend Mass but have become disillusioned for several reasons including its political agenda and the sexual abuse scandal, she said.
Priestly celibacy is not an article of faith but a prudent discipline. It does not matter what historically has been done in the past but what has been specified by competent authority.
“We are all devout Catholics and still want to receive the sacraments, but we don’t believe in all the rules and regulations of the church. We believe if Jesus were here today, he wouldn’t believe in them either.
You can not be both devout and disobedient. The only bar to the sacraments for these people is repentance. I know it is easier said then done, but if you truly want to receive the sacraments licitly then you have to rectify the situation that currently prevents it, not pretend that they don’t exist.
Update: Dale Price gave a more detailed and witty fisk of this group on an article from before they were kicked out of the Elk’s Lodge. Scroll down to The First Commandment for Churches Trying to be ‘Hep’ and ‘Groove Down’ with ‘the Young People’: “Thou Shalt Not Meet At An Elks Club.”