Obsequium in the Church

Pages: 256
Size: 9x6
ISBN: 978-2-89689-161-0
Binding: Unknown


This work analyzes the use of the word obsequium in the Church and reveals the intimate link between the obsequium fidei and the obsequium religiosum intellectus et voluntatis. Accordingly, the author analyzes the use of obsequium within the theological tradition, the Second Vatican Council, the 1983 Code of Canon Law, and finally the sacred Liturgy. By means of this analysis, the author explains how together obsequium fidei and obsequium religiosum intellectus et voluntatis serve as the interior “mechanism” by which the individual believer can offer a free and personal act of obedience to the Church, in particular to her ordinary magisterium as exercised by the Roman Pontiff and the bishops in communion with him. Moreover, together they serve as the interior “mechanism” of the free and personal act of worship which is due to God alone who is Lord and Creator of all, namely obsequium rationabile.

As a result, the author provides a definition of the word obsequium so as to assure proper interpretation and application of that word in the disciplines of theology (lex credendi), canon law (lex Ecclesia), and liturgy (lex orandi). Consequently, it is explained that respect or reverence cannot be given without a prior act of obedience. Indeed, only through obedience can true homage (worship) be given to any superior precisely because obedience entails precisely the offering of oneself in submission to the authority and superiority of the superior. Moreover, by means of this obedience, the communion of the Church is built up and the deposit of faith is protected from error and faithfully handed on to the next generation.

In this way, the importance of the word obsequium in the doctrine and practice of the Church is highlighted. Moreover, an explanation is given as to how and why the Church can still and must demand obedience of herself and of her members to the truth as revealed by God and safeguarded by her magisterium. In particular, an explanation is offered as to how and why obsequium can be given to the ordinary magisterium of the Church as exercised by the Roman Pontiff in his ordinary, ongoing teaching of the faith and by the bishops throughout the world teaching in communion with him. Indeed, obsequium in communione is necessary for the defense and building of the communio fidei which is the Church.

Thus, only as a communio of obsequium can the Church offer divinum obsequium in Christo for the glory of God and the glorification of man. For this to occur, the Church must lead men back to obsequium Christi.

Reverend Justin M. Wachs, J.C.D., ordained on the feast of Saint Barnabas in 2004, is a priest of the Diocese of Sioux Falls, In 2012 he earned his license in Canon Law at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome and a year later earned his doctorate from the same Pontifical University. He currently serves as Moderator of the Curia, Defender of the Bond, Promoter of Justice, Delegate for Discipleship and Evangelization, and Master of Ceremonies, while at the same time serving as pastor of the Hispanic parish of Our Lady of Guadalupe in the Sioux Falls.

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