Thursday, August 05, 2010

Theology/Canon Law Doctorates without Scholastic Philosophy: "Null and Void"?


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Quaeritur: Perhaps you could comment on when and where this command of Pope St. Pius about doctorates in theology and canon law was reversed?  Or whether someone is improperly and liberally interpreting the Saint's words, "the regular course"?

49. Equal diligence and severity are to be used in examining and selecting candidates for Holy Orders. Far, far from the clergy be the love of novelty! God hateth the proud and the obstinate mind. For the future the doctorate of theology and canon law must never be conferred on anyone who has not first of all made the regular course of scholastic philosophy; if conferred, it shall be held as null and void. The rules laid down in 1896 by the Sacred Congregation of Bishops and Regulars for the clerics, both secular and regular, of Italy, concerning the frequenting of the Universities, We now decree to be extended to all nations.  (Pope St. Pius X, Pascendi Dominici Gregis, par. 49)
God bless, 
Daniel Offutt

RespondeoGood quote, Daniel.  I am no canon lawyer, but as far as I understand, the New Code supplants all prior legislation, such that this legislation is no longer in force.  Now, up until the issuing of the Codex Iuris Canonici (1983), I would think this legislation was still in force.  Yet, during the 18 years between the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) and 1983, it was simply ignored.  To my knowledge, no one even bothered misinterpreting it.  People just got doctorates without even the slightest training in Scholastic thought, and no one thought it a legal problem.  It was not even an issue.  In their minds it was the "spring time" of the Church, the "New Pentecost," and  scholastic philosophy was directly against what the Holy Ghost was doing in the Church, so it was obvious to all that no such training was needed.  Assuming that this Pascendi quote was in force until 1983, I wonder if canonically one could argue that doctorates (at least the canonical doctorates, i.e., STDs and JCDs) 'awarded' by pontifical faculties without the proper scholastic training before the new Code was issued are indeed null and void, such that many people with apparent doctorates do not really have them.  In any case, it's an interesting issue.  I welcome informed thoughts on it


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