While you all are together on this thread - your opinion would be quite useful and most appreciated here.
I have an acquaintance who is having the following Canon - particularly #2 - thrown up by some liberals as proof of baptism of desire. Other things are being mentioned as well, but this Canon one of them. What is to be thought concerning #2?
1917 Code of Canon Law – Canon 1239
§1. Ad sepulturam ecclesiasticam non sunt admittendi qui sine baptismo decesserint.
§2. Catechumeni qui nulla sua culpa sine baptismo moriantur, baptizatis accensendi sunt.
§3. Omnes baptizati sepultura ecclesiastica donandi sunt, nisi eadem a iure expresse priventur.
1. Those who die without baptism are not to be afforded ecclesiastical burial.
2. Catechumens who, through no fault of their own die without baptism are to be reckoned as baptized.
3. All baptized are to be given ecclesiastical burial unless they are expressly deprived of same by law.
On another point, if Card. Gasparri had anything to do with the 1917 code, this translation and/or promulgation, could he not have tampered with it? Was he not suspected as being a Mason? Many thanks.
This Canon Law means nothing more than that "Catechumens are to be given ecclesiastical burial." It makes no statement beyond that. There's one Commentary on the Code that people often slap in there with this quote which claims that this is tantamount to a doctrinal statement that Catechumens can be saved. That's false.
Let's look at the Canon. It says that only the baptized are to receive ecclesiastical burial. But, then, for the purposes of this canon only, catechumens are to be considered baptized. All this is saying is that in subsequent points, the term "baptized" refers to "baptized and catechumens" ... instead of the law having to stipulate "baptized and catechumens" every single time. It's just legalistic technical shorthand. So, for instance, #3 then while only speaking of "the baptized" ALSO applies to catechumens based on #2 before it. So, for Catechumens also, they could be expressly denied by law.
This is NOT a doctrinal statement that Catechumens have BoD.
So what are the implications of ecclesiastical burial? Does it necessarily mean that the person being buried was saved? No, of course not. Does ecclesiastical burial even imply that they could be saved or just merely that the Church recognizes a catechumen as somehow one of her own and the Church prays for him? This Canon does seem to leave it open for the faithful to HOPE for the salvation of catechumens. In other words, the Church continues to leave the possibility (and possibility of BoD) OPEN. But that is all, and nothing more can be inferred from this.
PRIOR Church law was the opposite, that Catechumens were refused ecclesiastical burial.