Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Did I Really Just Read What I Thought I Read?

That's the question I was asking while doing the reading for my Canon Law class when I read the following sentence (from Canon 332):

If the person elected lacks episcopal character, however, he is to be ordained a bishop immediately.

While sometimes this seems to be the criteria used in choosing bishops, this must be considered in context. The canon is concerned with the election of the Pope, and what it is really saying is that if the man elected to be Pope is not already a bishop, he should be ordained one.

But it was good for a little sobering humor!

5 Comments:

Blogger angelmeg said...

So that's how we get all those bishops that lack . . . oh wait a minute, now I get it. dang.


Maggie

6:14 PM  
Anonymous Wanda said...

Interesting - that must be an old usage of the word "character". It reminds me of Victorian novels, where a servant would talk about her "character", meaning almost a positive work history. "He'll take away my character" would mean, "He'll give me a bad reference", which would hurt my ability to get a new job with respectable people. Jane Austen used it too, and it was always hard for me to understand what exactly she meant: "his punishment was soon afterwards complete in the voluntary forgiveness of Mrs. Smith, who, by stating his marriage with a woman of character, as the source of her clemency, gave him reason for believing, that had he behaved with honour towards Marianne, he might at once have been happy and rich." Character here seems to mean "of good repute and with standing in the community."

7:41 AM  
Blogger ELC said...

With all due respect, this terminology is an elemental and fundamental aspect of sacramental theology. To wit, "Character indicates a special effect produced by three of the sacraments, viz. Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy orders. This special effect is called the sacramental character."

11:19 AM  
Anonymous Wanda said...

Oh. I thought it was English.

1:38 PM  
Anonymous G Shroff said...

Yep, that's the meaning of "character" in this context (the "indellible mark" of baptism and ordination) ... but still, it's humorous the polyvalence of the English word in this context :)

9:54 PM  

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