© Copyright 2013, T. Stanfill Benns (This text may be downloaded or printed out for private reading, but it may not be uploaded to another Internet site or published, electronically or otherwise, without express written permission from the author. All emphasis within quotes is the author’s unless indicated otherwise.)
Well actually…no. All of those groups who are headed by priests or bishops describing themselves as sedevacantists can be considered non-Catholic sects. While in our case one must believe the see is vacant, it is not permissible during an interregnum to form Mass groups based on this belief. I know it is a shocker and most disheartening, but the leaders of these groups were never ordained and their “bishops” are not bishops, either; in fact in nearly every case they aren’t even priests. How can this be so?
When we read the preamble of Vacantis Apostolica Sedis, which should have been the first document read and followed after Catholics realized that Roncalli was not a pope, it is clear that certain things cannot happen during an interregnum. They are:
- No one, not even the cardinals, can usurp the jurisdiction of the Roman Pontiff during an interregnum. They cannot do what only the pope is typically allowed to do. This includes erecting seminaries, issuing papal mandates to consecrate bishops, supplying jurisdiction, canonizing saints, changing the liturgy in any way, dispensing from the observance of any papal laws, lifting of irregularities such as infamy of law or lifting any excommunications reserved especially to the Roman Pontiff, etc.
- Nor can they in any way violate or dispense from the observance of any papal law, change or correct such laws or add to such laws.
- “In truth, if anything adverse to this command should by chance happen to come about or be attempted, We declare it, by Our Supreme Authority, to be null and void.”
This is an infallible command; no one can ignore it. We are being ordered here, by a true pope, to regard any acts committed during an interregnum by those who usurp papal jurisdiction or break papal law as having never occurred. We must accept the invalidity of these attempted acts with a firm and irrevocable assent. The Pope is mandating these measures, which amount to declaring diriment impediments, to protect the rights of the Church. He is doing this in his official role as Christ’s Vicar on earth in order to protect the Deposit of Faith entrusted him by Christ from corruption during the dangerous time of an interregnum. To give Catholics an idea of the true extent of Traditionalists’ disobedience to papal law and Canon Law, we have listed the following penalties that many of these misguided individuals have incurred.
Traditionalists have joined a non-Catholic Church by following the leaders of various Traditionalist sects, non-Catholic because these sects do not recognize a true pope as their head and usurp the jurisdiction of a pope to claim they are Catholic, (Can. 1325). They have ignored numerous warnings from others that they are committing heresy and schism, (Can. 2314 §1, Can. 2315) They have officially and publicly embraced these groups, committing communicatio in sacris (Can. 2314, no. 3) and incurred infamy of law, (Canons 2314 §3 and 2294 §2.) They have received orders from notorious apostates, heretics and schismatics, namely Lefebvre and Thuc, also any Old Catholics or orthodox, (Can. 2372.) They have simulated consecration without papal mandate, (Can. 2370; see also the article on antiquarianism in the References section). Bishops have simulated ordinations without dimissorial letters, (2373). Traditional “priests” have simulated the Mass and Sacraments, (Can. 2322). They have issued mandates and decrees against the liberty and rights of the Church, (Can. 2334). Many of their purported “clergy” are guilty of a species of crime consistent with an excommunicated vitandus, (Can. 2338). They have not left these groups and done penance for a minimum of three years or made public retraction of their errors, (Canons 2237, 2242, 2295, 672 §1). They have not been abjured or pardoned from infamy by a canonically elected Roman Pontiff, (Can. 2295). They have not made public profession of faith, (Can. 1325). They have not demanded that those attempting the celebration of Mass and conferral of Sacraments cease and desist, (Can. 2294, 2338 §3).
These are only some of the offenses racked up against them. It is complicated because the functions of their clerics must be judged on two separate standards; the one they claim applies to them as “clerics” and the one that the law actually indicates as applying to them in a lay capacity. If they hold themselves to be clerics (and there is no certainty that they ever became clerics) then they incur excommunications as such but only where matter of conscience are concerned. If not then they still incur infamy of law and the penalties for heresy and schism (communicatio in sacris), also defending heresy and simulating the Sacraments. But in reality they are to be considered laymen and the penalties for clerics would not apply. This is because those things they attempted were prevented from taking effect by Pius XII during an interregnum.
As we read in “Jurisdiction, Lawful Pastors and Communicatio in Sacris,” (/articles/a-catholics-course-of-study/traditionalist-heresies-and-errors/jurisdiction-lawful-pastors-and-communicatio-in-sacris/), the laws of the Church, based on papal laws such as Cum ex Apostolatus Officio and others, dictate that those who have offered the Novus Ordo mass, belonged to the Novus Ordo church, signed council documents during the false Vatican 2 council, consecrated without a papal mandate or trucked in any way with Traditionalists are guilty of the offenses above. Anyone calling themselves a bishop or priest who committed even one of these offenses was ipso facto excommunicated for heresy/schism as well and lost all offices they may at one time have validly held, (Can. 188 §4). This includes the only two founding bishops of Traditionalism, Marcel Lefebvre and Peter Martin Ngo dinh Thuc.
So let us follow this through to the bitter end here. Neither of these men could act validly because to do so they would need to assume the lifting of any excommunications reserved in a most special manner to the Holy See, but especially their vindicative penalty for infamy of law. Only a true pope can lift such an irregularity (and sometimes the pope declines to lift them at all); but we have no pope. So in acting without papal dispensation and abjuration they ignored that lifting contrary to papal law, and this, Pope Pius XII taught, nullified and voided any attempted acts. What acts of these men were thereby nullified?
• The actual calling of men to the priesthood, by men who themselves were never called or who, even if properly called, later committed heresy and lost all jurisdiction. Jurisdiction cannot be supplied in any way, by anyone but the Supreme Pontiff, as has been the constant practice of the Church.
• The simulated ordination of such men by doubtfully valid bishops, who could call men to the priesthood in the first place because calling and clerical tonsure both are acts of episcopal jurisdiction. Performing such acts is a violation of the suspensions and censures incurred according to papal laws, especially those regarding Can. 147.
• The simulated consecration of bishops, for to consecrate bishops a papal mandate (permission) is required and there is no pope. In proceeding to consecration, these schismatic bishops usurp the power of the pope to approve the consecration and grant jurisdiction to the bishop, which can come only from the Roman Pontiff (Pope Pius XII’s Mystici Corporis; Ad Sinarum Gentum).
• Confirmations of the faithful, which assume a papal-granted jurisdiction never received from a true pope. Consecrations and Confirmations would be valid but illicit if performed during any time other than an interregnum, but Pope Pius XII says they are null and void during a sede vacante.
• Those not ordained or consecrated during the reign of Pope Pius XII remain laymen to the best of our knowledge, and cannot celebrate the Mass or confer Sacraments because they never validly received tonsure. Any claims to the contrary must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.
Like it or not, it is not the “Mass that matters” in our case, which in any event was the cry of the Anglicans, not the Catholics! It is the papacy the Lutherans and Anglicans rejected and that is what matters, for without a true pope Catholics cannot be assured that their clergy, hence Mass and Sacraments are valid or licit. They have no recourse for determining matters of faith or morals, and during an interregnum, Pope Pius XII infallibly decreed, no one else can fill this role. Nor is there currently any way that the Church can provide Herself with such a Pontiff, thanks to heretical Cardinals and faithless bishops, who failed to take the necessary steps to do so when it could have been done. But this was not the will of God. Christ alone can end this crisis and restore His Church. We know this is true because the Vatican Council teaches our Lord cannot depart from the way He constituted His Church from the beginning. For He will ever be faithful to His promises that the gates of Hell will never PREVAIL against Her.
So if we cannot attend Traditionalist services, what about the Mass? Is the Novus Ordo Missae really invalid? Is there ever a situation where Traditional masses could possibly be valid? Before reading the next section, please see the site article on the invalidity of the Novus Ordo Missae under references at /articles