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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Stipends For Multi Intentional Masses
IT has become a common practice for churches to celebrate multi-intentional masses by clubbing together mass-intentions for different purposes such as departed souls, thanksgiving, praise, etc, offered by the faithful for a particular day and time. Stipends are therefore collected from all those offering the mass for their intentions. Such a practice is forbidden by Canon law 948 which explicitly states that only the intentions of the first stipend payer will be fulfilled by the Eucharistic celebrations and the rest of the intentions will have to be fulfilled on other days by offering separate masses for individual intentions. It is also not known why some Archdioceses have forbidden the clubbing together of mass intentions while in others it is permitted. Do we have separate Canon laws for different Archdioceses? It is also regrettable that the stipends for masses has increased threefold in the past few years which negates the noble purpose for which it was actually meant.
A F NAZARETH, ALTO PORVORIM

Priestly Celibacy, a Layman’s Perspective
ON February 14, ‘BBC’ aired a documentary entitled ‘The secret letters of Pope John Paul ll’ which predictably made headlines, as it was intended to. However, the very next day it was generally ignored, as it should be. Such stories have a very short shelf life and usually surface to generate interest in a new book or, as in this case, a new documentary film. But while dismissing this story as little more than a ‘Valentine’s Day joke’ we must admit that the time has come for the Catholic church to do a rethink on priestly celibacy. The issue of celibacy is discussed regularly, though informally by the laity. There needs to be an official platform for the laity and for the clergy (separately) to formulate their views. Incidentally, celibacy was not the rule for over a thousand years after Christ and became mandatory only after the Second Lateran Council in 1139. Hence merely discussing the issue or even talking about it should not be seen as sacrilegious. Perhaps it’s an idea whose time has come. Such discussions will give the Vatican an idea of which way the wind’s blowing. Priests who at some time in their ministry begin to feel that they cannot honestly be faithful to their promise (not vow) to be celibate should be permitted to leave the priesthood, rather than continue as a prisoners of conscience . They may be allowed to serve God as permanent deacons if they so desire.
ROBERT CASTELLINO, CALANGUTE

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