Please provide any comment or advice you may have regarding this scenario [which, so far, for our age, to your present author, is purely hypothetical]:
Priest Proclaims Heresy; Laity Response?
A validly ordained priest is saying Mass on a Sunday at a parish, many hundreds of the faithful present, and during the homily he says, clearly and emphatically:
I believe Jesus Christ was a man, nothing more. Jesus was just a man, and nothing more. He was not God, he was not divine. He never rose from the dead. All that you are about to say about this in the Creed, you do not have to believe to be a good Catholic.
Is it OK to stand up and say, to the priest and so that all present in the church can hear: “You are a heretic and you have just proclaimed heresy.”
One could go on and say that, therefore, under Canon Law, with no further ecclesial action, the priest had excommunicated himself and now no longer had the faculties to finish the Mass. One could go on and add many things; but for this discussion, limit this to a lay person announcing you are a heretic and you have proclaimed heresy.
Your author is inclined to stand up and publicly accuse the priest of heresy so all can hear. Would this be a sin? Contrary to Canon Law?
The Code Of Canon Law , 1983, deals with the strict limitation of the homily to the ordained:
“Can. 767 §1. Among the forms of preaching, the homily, which is part of the liturgy itself and is reserved to a priest or deacon, is preeminent; in the homily the mysteries of faith and the norms of Christian life are to be explained from the sacred text during the course of the liturgical year.4. It is for the pastor or rector of a church to take care that these prescripts are observed conscientiously.”
In 1997 the Vatican issued a pertinent instruction:
ON CERTAIN QUESTIONS REGARDING THE COLLABORATION OF THE NON-ORDAINED FAITHFUL IN THE SACRED MINISTRY OF PRIEST
LIBRERIA EDITRICE VATICANA; VATICAN CITY 1997
The Homily § 1. The homily, being an eminent form of preaching, . . . also forms part of the liturgy.”
The homily, therefore, during the celebration of the Holy Eucharist, must be reserved to the sacred minister, Priest or Deacon(69) to the exclusion of the non-ordained faithful, even if these should have responsibilities as “pastoral assistants” or catechists in whatever type of community or group. This exclusion is not based on the preaching ability of sacred ministers nor their theological preparation, but on that function which is reserved to them in virtue of having received the Sacrament of Holy Orders. For the same reason the diocesan Bishop cannot validly dispense from the canonical norm(70) since this is not merely a disciplinary law but one which touches upon the closely connected functions of teaching and sanctifying.
For the same reason, the practice, on some occasions, of entrusting the preaching of the homily to seminarians or theology students who are not clerics . . . is not permitted. Indeed, the homily should not be regarded as a training for some future ministry.
All previous norms which may have admitted the non-ordained faithful to preaching the homily during the Holy Eucharist are to be considered abrogated by canon 767, § 1.(72)