Page:Catholic Encyclopedia, volume 10.djvu/43

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MASS


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MASS


rice, and on the other to ensure and safeguard the right of the faithful to the conscientious celebration of the Masses bespoken. By a mass-stipeud is meant a cer- tain monetary offering which anyone makes to tlie priest with tlio accompanying obligation of celebrating a Mass in accordance with the intentions of the donor (ad intcntioiicm dantis). The obligation incurred con- sists, concretely speaking, in the application of the "special fruit of the Mass" ((ructus speciailis), the na- ture of which we have already described in detail (A, 3). The idea of the stipend emanates from the earli- est ages, and its justification lies incontestably in the axiom of St. Paul (I Cor., ix, 13) : " They that serve the altar, partake with the altar". Originally consisting of the necessaries of life, the stipend was at first con- sidered as "alms for a Mass" (eleemosyna missarum). the object being to contribute to the proper support of the clergy. The character of a pure alms has been since lost by the stipend, since such may be accepted by even a wealthy priest. But the Pauline principle applies to the wealthy priest just as it clocs to the poor. The now customary money-olTtring, which was intro- duced about the eighth ccnturj' and was tacitly ap- proved by the Church, is to be regarded merely as the substitute or commutation of the earlier presentation of the necessaries of life. In this very point, also, a change from the ancient practice has been introduced, since at present the individual priest receives the sti- pend personally, whereas formerly all the clergy of the particular church shared among them the total obla- tions and gifts. In their present form, the whole mat- ter of stiiH'nils has been officially taken by the Church entirelv under her protection, lioth bv the Council of Trent (Sess. XXII, de ref.) and by the ilogmatic Bull ".\uctoreni tidei" (1796) of Pius VI (Denzinger, n. l.')54). Since the stipend, in its origin and nature, claims to be and can be nothing else than a lawful con- tribution towards the proper support of the clergy, the false and foolish views of t he ignorant are shown to be without foundation, when they suppose that a Mass may be simoniacally purchased with money (cf. St. Thomas, II-II, Q. c, art. 2). To oljviate all abuses concerning the amount of the stipend, there exists in each diocese a fixed " mass-tax " (settled either by an- cient custom or by an episcopal regulation), which no priest may exceed, unless extraordinary inconven- ience (e. g. long fasting or a long journey on foot) justifies a somewhat larger sum. To eradicate all un- worthy greed from among both laity and clergy in con- nexion with a thing so sacred, Pius IX in his Constitu- tion "ApostoHciE Sedis" of 12 Oct., 1869, forbade under penalty of excommunication the commercial traffic in sti)iends (mercimonium miascE .itipendionim) . The trafficking consists in reducing the larger stipend collected to the level of the "tax", and appropriating the surplus for oneself. Into the category of shame- ful traffic in stipends also falls the reprehensible prac- tice, of book-sellers and tradesmen, who organize public collections of stipends and retain the rnoney con- tributions as payment for books, merchan<lise, wines, etc., to be delivered to the clergy (S.C.C, 31 Aug., 1S74; 2,") May, 1^93). .\s .special punishment for thi.s olTence, sKsiinifiio a divinis reserved to the pope is proolainieii against priests, irregularity against other clerics, and excommunication reserved to the bishop, against the laity.

Another bulwark against avarice is the strict regu- lation of the Church, binding under pain of mortal sin, that priests shall not accept more intentions than thev can satisfy witliin a reasonable period (S. C. C, 1904). This regulation was emphasized by the addi- tional one which forbade stipends to be transferred to priests of another diocese without the knowledge of their ordinaries fS. C. C, 22 May, 1907). The accept- ance of a stipend imposes under pain of mortal sin the obligation not onlv of reading the stipulated Mass, but also of fulfilling conscientiously all other appointed


conditions of an important character (e. g. the ap- pointed day, altar, etc.). Should some obstacle arise, the money must either be returned to the donor, or a substitute procured. In the latter case, the sub- stitute nmst be given, not the usual stipend, but the whole offering received (cf. Prop, ix damn. 1666 ab Alex. VIII in Denzinger, n. 1109), unle.ss it be indis- putably clear from the circumstances that the excess over the usual stipend was meant by the donor for the first priest alone. There is a tacit condition which re- quires the reading of the stipulated Mass as soon as possible. According to the common opinion of moral theologians, a postponement of two months is in less urgent cases admissible, even though no lawful im- pediment can be brought forward. Should, however, a priest postpone a Mass for a happy delivery until after the event, he is bound to return the stipend. However, since all these precepts have been imposed solely in the interests of the stipend-giver, it is evident that he enjoys the right of sanctioning all unusual delays.

(d) To the kindred question of "mass-foundations" the Church has, in the interests of the founder and in her high regard for the Holy Sacrifice, devoted the same anxious care as in the case of stipends. Mass- foundations (fundationes missarum) are fixed bequests of funds or real property, the interest or income from which is to procure for ever the celebration of Mass for the founder or according to his intentions. Apart from anniversaries, foundations of Masses are divided, according to the testamentary arrangement of the testator, into monthly, weekly, and daily foundations. As ecclesiastical property, mass-foundations are sub- ject to the administration of the ecclesiastical authori- ties, especially of the dioce.san bishop, who must grant his permission for the acceptance of such and must appoint for them the lowest rate. Only when episcopal approval has been secured can the founda- tion be regarded as completed ; thenceforth it is unal- terable for ever. In places where the acquirement of ecclesiastical property is subject to the approval of the State (e. g. in Austria), the establishment of a mass- foundation must also be submitted to the secular au- thorities. The declared wishes of the founder are sacred and decisive as to the manner of fulfilment. Should no special intention be mentioned in the deed of foundation, the Mass must be applied for the founder himself (S.C.C, 18 March, 1668). To .secure punc- tuality in the execution of the foundation. Innocent XII ordered in 1697 that a list of the mass-founda- tions, arranged according to the months, be kept in each church possessing such endowments. The ad- ministrators of pious foundations are bound under pain of mortal sin to forward to the bishop at the end of each year a list of all foumlcd Masses left uncele- brated together with the money therefor (S. ('. C, 2.5 May, 1893).

The celebrant of a founded Mas.s is entitled to the full amount of the foundation, unless it is evident from the circumstances of the foundation or from the wording of the deed that an exception is justifiable. Such is the case when the foundation .serves also as the endow- ment of a benefice, and consequently in such a case the beneficiary is bound to pay his substitute only the regular tax (S.C.C, 2,5 July, 1874). Without urgent reason, founded ^Iasses may not be celelirated in churches (or on altars) other than those stipulated by the foundation. Permanent transference of such Masses is reserved to the pope, but in isolated in- .stances the dispensation of the bishop suffices (cf. Council of Trent, Sess. XXI de ref.; Sess. XXV de ref.). The unavoidable loss of the income of a founda- tion puts an end to all olili.L'alions connecteil with it. A serious diminution of the foundation capital, owing to the depreciation of money or property in value, also the necessary increase of the mass-tax, scarcity of priests, poverty of a church or of the clergy may con-