Author Archives: Kevin F. Keiser

About Kevin F. Keiser

STB Pontifical University of St. Thomas in Urbe (Angelicum) Masters in Thomistic Studies, Angelicum STL Moral Theology, Angelicum STD Candidatus, Moral Theology, Angelicum

Update on the Summa Project

We have been getting a lot of inquiries lately regarding the bi-lingual Summa project.  And small wonder… it’s about time we posted an update.

Well, the news is that volume 4, comprising I-II, qq. 70-114, is well underway, and should be appearing in December of this year (2010).

We thank you for your inquiries and patience.  It is truly humbling and encouraging to find out that so many are interested in the project.  Thank you all so much for your support.

So, where are we anyway?

To any readers who have come here and been wondering if we’ve quit the commentary:

No, we haven’t.  But my wife Heidi and I have been busy for a while.  The doctoral dissertation needed some immediate attention, and we’re both preparing for an interstate move and for my new job.  So posting has been, and will continue to be sparse.  I will not be able to compose many new posts, but I do intend to continue posting once a week or so, putting up things that I have already written.  Once the doctoral dissertation is finished, I will perhaps return to the frequency with which I started.

The bilingual Summa project is continuing, but we’re not sure we’ll meet our original goal of August 15th for volume 3 (I-II, q. 1-70).

On Canon 916, holding oneself back from Communion, and an interesting thought of St. Thomas

Canon Lawyer Dr. Ed Peters of Sacred Heart Seminary has a post on Canons 915 and 916 in light of the current questions of interpretation on how to conduct the giving or receiving of Communion by those who are notorious grave sinners or otherwise not in communion with the Church.  Dr. Peters hits the main difficulty from the human point of view:

To be sure, both canons make serious demands on the faithful.
It’s not easy for an individual Catholic to refrain from going to holy Communion at Mass. The so-called ‘Communion fast’ offers no cover for a Catholic with a doubtful, let alone a guilty, conscience. These days, to remain in the pew while everyone else goes to Communion is tantamount to saying “I think I’m in the state of grave sin.” Who wants to imply that?

We are weak human beings, and it takes a lot of strength to do such a thing.  Of course, strength, robur (which literally implies the steadfastness of an oak tree) is the effect of one of the other sacraments, namely, Confirmation, the sacrament that makes you “firm”.  In this line of thought, St. Thomas has this interesting statement, which, as far as I know, he only says once in all of his works:

…for all the other sacraments are seen to be ordered to this sacrament [i.e., the Eucharist] as to an end.  For it is manifest that the sacrament of Orders is ordered to the consecration of the Eucharist.  But the sacrament of Baptism is ordered to the reception of the Eucharist.  In this, someone is also perfected through Confirmation, so that he may not be afraid to withdraw himself from such a sacrament…

An interesting thought: an effect of Confirmation is the fortitude not to go to Communion when you shouldn’t.  This could certainly be useful today, when many parishes have the enforced courtesy squad in the form of ushers who let us know when it is our turn to receive Communion.

Of course, in St. Thomas’ day, the reception of Confirmation generally preceded the reception of first Communion in the West.  Today, it is not so, at least in the U.S.  And I don’t think that the practice has to change just because of this consideration.  Confirmation itself does not carry in its notion any determination as to age; its determination is left free to the discretion of the Church’s ministers.   Nevertheless, I think it would be nice if by some determination of positive law, we made it easier for conscientious Catholics to “withdraw” from the reception of Communion when they judge they should not.  For that, I support Dr. Ed Peters’ own proposals for modifying the Communion fast.