Intrepid Warriors: Living a Life of Fearless Intercession

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A curious report of the discussion between the monks of Molesme and their abbot Robert , who wished to restore among them the full observance of the rule of St. Benedict, may be read in the eighth book of Ordericus Vitalis. Not prevailing, St. Robert, with twelve companions, left Molesme and founded Citeaux, under a reformed observance. The privileges of abbots grew to be very extensive.

They obtained many episcopal rights, among others that of conferring minor orders on their monks. The use of mitre, crosier and ring was accorded to the abbots of great monasteries; these mitred abbots were named abbates infulati. In England mitred abbots had seats in Parliament: twenty-eight, with two Augustinian priors, are said to have sat in the Parliament immediately preceding the dissolution of monasteries.

On the curious exemption, noticed by Beda, in virtue of which the abbots of Iona exercised a quasi-episcopal jurisdiction in the west of Scotland and the Hebrides, see IONA. The practice by which laymen held abbeys in commendam—commenced in troubled times in order that powerful protectors might be found for the monks, and might have inducements to exercise that protection—grew by degrees into a scandalous abuse.

Benedictine abbeys, following the general Oriental rule, have always been independent of each other in government; but an honorary superiority was accorded in the middle ages to the abbot of the mother house at Monte Cassino; he was styled abbas abbatum. The duties of an abbot in early times may be learned from Rosweide; somewhat later, and in the West, they were defined with great clearness and wisdom in the rule of St Benedict. Edmunds; with which may be read the striking, and on the whole appreciative, commentary of Mr.


The name given to a class of notaries or secretaries employed in the papal chancery. They are first met with about the beginning of the fourteenth century; were abolished in the fifteenth, but afterwards restored. They are generally prelates, and the office is considered one of great dignity and importance. It is not incompatible with Church preferment. The name arose from this, that the abbreviator made a short minute of the decision on a petition, or reply to a letter, given by the Pope, and afterwards expanded the minute into official form.

This is required in the canon law as a preliminary to baptism, or, when there is no question of that as in the case of converts from the Eastern Church , before the convert makes his confession of faith. Ferraris sums up the canonical requirements in the matter of abjuration as follows:—that it should be done without delay; that it should be voluntary; that it should be done with whatever degree of publicity the bishop of the place might think necessary; and that the abjuring person should make condign satisfaction in the form of penance.

The modern discipline insists mainly on the positive part, the profession of the true faith. A name given, in the rubrics of the Mass, to the water and wine, with which the priest who celebrates Mass washes his thumb and index-finger after communion. He then drinks the ablution and dries his lips and the chalice with the mundatory. This ceremony witnesses to the reverence with which the Church regards the body and blood of Christ, and to her anxiety that none of that heavenly food should be lost.

It is impossible to say when this rite was introduced, but we are told of the pious Emperor Henry II. This ablution is mentioned by St. Thomas and Durandus. The former, however, gives no reason to suppose that it was consumed by the priest, and the latter expressly says that the ablution used formerly to be poured into a clean place. Benedict XIV. A magical word used by the Basilidians, a Gnostic sect. They believed in the existence of heavens, over which Abraxas presided, the numeral value of the Greek letters which composed the word being Many gems still exist with this word inscribed on them.

Classical authors use the Latin word absolutio literally, unbinding or unloosing to signify acquittal from a criminal charge, and ecclesiastical writers have adopted the term, employing it to denote a setting free from crime or penalty.

Absolution from Sin is a remission of sin which the priest, by authority received from Christ, makes in the Sacrament of Penance. It is not a mere announcement of the gospel, or a bare declaration that God will pardon the sins of those who repent, but as the Council of Trent defines sess. With regard to absolution thus understood, it is to be observed, first, that it can be given by none but priests, since to them alone has Christ committed the necessary power; and, secondly, that since absolution is a judicial sentence, the priest must have authority or jurisdiction over the person absolved.

The need of jurisdiction, in order that the absolution may be valid, is an article of faith defined at Trent sess. This jurisdiction may be ordinary—i. Thus a bishop has ordinary jurisdiction over seculars, and religious who are not exempt, in his diocese, and within its limits he can delegate jurisdiction to priests secular or regular.

Again, the prelates of religious orders exempt from the authority of the bishop have jurisdiction more or less ample within their own order, and they can absolve, or delegate power to absolve, the members of the order who are subject to them; nor is it possible, ordinarily speaking, for the bishop, or a priest who has his powers from the bishop only, to absolve such religious. Moreover, a bishop or a prelate of a religious order, in conferring power to absolve his subjects, may reserve the absolution of certain sins to himself.

Thirdly, absolution must be given in words which express the efficacy of absolution, viz.


The affirmative has been maintained by the celebrated critic Morinus, while Tourneley and many others have followed his opinion. It is certain that a form of absolution purely precatory does not suffice for the validity of the Sacrament of Penance. It would seem from this that these councils defined the indicative form as essential for the validity of the sacrament. In addition to this, it might be said that as the Sacrament of Penance has the nature of a court, the minister ought to pronounce his sentence as a judge; but if the purely precatory form is used, his sentence does not wear this character.

The absolution as used in the Greek Church being precatory only in the sound of the words and indicative in sense, was probably valid. He required the Greeks to follow the decision of the Council of Florence to which we have alluded, and employ the indicative and purely judicial form. Lastly, the form of absolution must be uttered by the priest himself in the presence of the person absolved.

Absolution from censures merely removes penalties imposed by the Church, and reconciles the offender with her. It may proceed from any cleric, even from one who has received the tonsure only, without ordination, provided he is invested with the requisite jurisdiction. This jurisdiction resides, in the case of censures imposed by an individual authority through a special sentence, in the ecclesiastic who inflicted the censure, in his superior, in his successors, and in those to whom competent authority has delegated power of absolution.

For example, if a bishop has placed a subject of his under censure, absolution may be obtained 1 from the bishop himself, 2 from a succeeding bishop, 3 from the metropolitan, in certain cases where an appeal can be made to him, or if he is visiting the diocese of his suffragan ex officio, 4 from any cleric deputed by one of the above.

With regard to censures attached to certain crimes by the general law of the Church, unless they are specially reserved to the Pope or the bishop, any confessor can absolve from them; and this is generally considered to hold good also of censures inflicted by the general as opposed to a particular sentence of a superior.

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Again, it is not necessary that the person absolved from censure should be present, or contrite, or even that he should be living. As the effects of censures may continue, so they may be removed after death. Excommunication, for instance, deprives the excommunicated person of Christian burial.

It may happen that he desired but was unable to obtain remission of the penalty during life, and in this case he may be absolved after his soul has left the body, and so receive Catholic burial and a share in the prayers of the Church. Absolution for the dead pro defunctis. A short form, imploring eternal rest and so indirectly remission of the penalties of sin, said after a funeral Mass over the body of the dead person, before it is removed from the church.

Absolutions in the Breviary.

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Certain short prayers said before the lessons in matins and before the chapter at the end of prime. Some of these prayers express or imply petition for forgiveness of sin, and this circumstance probably explains the origin of the name Absolution which has been given to such prayers or blessings. On a fasting-day, the Church requires us to limit the quantity, as well as the kind, of our food; on an abstinence-day, the limit imposed affects only the nature of the food we take. First, the Church does not forbid certain kinds of food on the ground that they are impure, either in themselves or if taken on particular days.

On the contrary, she holds with St. Next, the abstinence required is a reasonable one, and is not, therefore, exacted from those whom it would injure in health or incapacitate for their ordinary duties. Thirdly, Catholic abstinence is a means, not an end. Abstinence, says St. The answer is, that it enables us to subdue our flesh and so to imitate St.

Moreover, by abstaining from flesh, we give up what is, on the whole, the most pleasant as well as the most nourishing food, and so make satisfaction for the temporal punishment, due to sin even when its guilt has been forgiven. The abstinence as distinct from fasting days in the U.

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But Saturdays in. Lent, in Ember week, and vigils falling on Saturday, are not exempted. It may be of some interest, in conclusion, to trace the history in the Church of abstinence as distinct from fasting.

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Abstinence-days were observed from ancient times by the monks. In other words, the religious fasted all the year, except on Sundays and the days between Easter and Pentecost. These they observed as days of abstinence. Again, it is certain that the faithful generally did not, and, indeed, could not, fast on Sundays in Lent, for the early Church strongly discouraged fasting on that day; but it is also certain that they did abstain on the Sundays in Lent. For, during the whole of that season, says St. The Sundays, then, in Lent were kept in the ancient Church as days of abstinence.

With regard to the abstinence-days of weekly occurrence, Thomassin shows that Wednesday and Friday have been from ancient times observed in the East, not only as abstinence, but as fasting-days. Clement VIII.