Does Canon 20 Provide for Traditionalist Operations?

+St. Bede the Venerable+

Articles from long ago justifying the function of Traditionalists all these years keep resurfacing, and readers are taking note. Incredibly this latest example provides the fodder for an even more weighty indictment of their operations. This most recent justification, proposed by a “priest” in the 1980s who later became a “bishop,” is the application of Can. 20 to the Traditionalist situation (the text of Canon 20 below is taken from Dom Charles Augustine’s A Commentary on Canon Law):

If a general or a particular law contains no definite prescription concerning a case, unless there is a question of applying a penalty, the rule for deciding such a case must be taken from laws given in similar cases, from the general principles of Canon Law based on equity, from the methods and practices of the Roman Court [Curia] or from the common and constant teaching of approved canonists.” The canonists Bouscaren-Ellis remark in their commentary that where there is a question of applying penalties, no further action is needed because the law already has been stated. Below, each rule for deciding the new law will be examined.

  1. In his work Canon Law, Abp. Amleto Cicognani states: “If there is a law covering the case, this rule [Can. 20] is not to be applied according to the meaning of Can. 18…” (p. 621). In a case of doubt, Canon 18 requires that Traditionalists first resort to parallel passages of the Code, if any; to the end and circumstances of the law and to the mind of the legislator. In this particular case, the mind of the legislator, Pope Pius XII, is clear. The 1945 election constitution Vacantis Apostolicae Sedis, hereafter abbreviated as VAS; also the authentic interpretation of Can. 147 sealed with censures by Pope Pius XII, (both entered into the AAS), provide a definite prescription (or express provision of law) for our circumstances. VAS specifically governs interregnums and it makes null and void any attempt to contravene a papal law during the vacancy of the Holy See. So Can. 20 cannot be applied because an infallible papal law and an authentic canonical interpretation already exists.
  2. Regarding the application of penalties, they are many and multiplied in the case of Traditionalists. These include penalties for schism, heresy and communicatio in sacris; penalties attached to Canon 147; penalties for conferring and receiving episcopal consecration; penalties for receiving ordination without dimmissorial letters; penalties for receiving ordination and/or consecration from schismatics and penalties for simulating mass and sacraments. Nearly all these penalties are specially reserved to the Holy See, meaning they cannot now be resolved because we have no pope. And until they ARE resolved, no one can function because this alone — outside of any papal determination of the validity of their ordersraises questions regarding the validity of all their ecclesiastical acts. The excommunication for schism and communicatio in sacris, resulting in a vindicative penalty, voids all their ecclesiastical acts (see Can. 2294).
  3. In considering laws in similar matters (referring to decisions rendered by the Sacred Congregations, Rev. Augustine’s Canon Law commentary) these decisions show that in times of necessity even (validly ordained) schismatic clergy are forbidden to confer the sacraments. These decisions cited by the Sacred Congregations are mentioned in this article ( regarding reception of the Sacraments from schismatics; however, the validity of the ordination and consecration of those in question is not addressed, only the fact of their schism. This is a separate issue that precedes all others and must be resolved first before considering Can. 20. The questionable validity of Traditionalists’ orders is further discussed in the following articles: and in these links: also

Rev. Augustine does say that while decisions of the Sacred Congregations must be received respectfully, strong reasons could override them. But this would not extend to making certainly valid what was probably never valid at all, a decision only the Roman Pontiff can execute. Here we are not talking just decisions of the Sacred Congregations, but an infallible decision of the Roman Pontiff (VAS) which cannot be dismissed.

  1. In the case of ordination and episcopal consecration, involving the administration of the Sacraments, equity or epikeia is not able to be used as a mitigating factor because the Sacraments are of Divine law and Can. 20 comes under the heading of ecclesiastical laws. Also, “EPIKEIA HAS NO PLACE IN INVALIDATING LAWS, for the common good demands certitude concerning the validity of acts” (Abp. Amleto Cicognani, Canon Law). See .
  2. Methods and practices of the Roman Curia would not be something possible for us to emulate today because that process is not readily known or available for scrutiny. Even if it was available, those once familiar with it cannot now be consulted.
  3. The common and constant opinion of approved canonists regarding papal elections is that bishops could elect a pope from among their number in an imperfect (not a general) council, according to St. Robert Bellarmine, or an election could be posited by the “universal Church” after the manner employed at the Council of Constance. Six opinions constituting the necessary probable opinion in this matter are available on this subject. But let us remember we have no certainly valid and licit bishops to accomplish such an act. If this refers to opinions for providing Mass and Sacraments where the validity of the Sacraments has been questioned, and without communion with the Roman Pontiff, it is not only the common opinion but the unanimous opinion of modern theologians that such Sacraments can neither be conferred or received. (See epikeia link in no. 2 above.)

Important Can. 20 article omitted

Touting Can. 20 is only an excuse to write into the law whatever those acting as priests and bishops see fit to propose. As Abp. Amleto Cicognani warns in his Canon Law under Can. 20: “It does not appear that we should admit a too facile liberty devoid of arguments and conclusive reasons for exceeding those limits [set by the Code] since this seems to be fraught with dangers of excess… Beware of unfounded conclusions… that lead to liberty or imaginary equity” (pgs. 624-625). And Rev. Augustine notes, leading into his commentary on Can. 21: “Applying these rules, and especially that of equity, one may persuade himself that a certain law does not apply to himself under given circumstances. This may be true. However, since the law is intended for the common welfare, it is necessary to consider the rule laid down in Can. 21: Laws given in order to guard against a common danger must be observed,” even when there is no danger. And this includes laws guarding the faithful from false christs who mislead the flock to fleece them for their own benefit.

So if this Traditionalist in question here had researched a bit further, he would easily have seen that there is danger in the use of epikeia listed under this canon, and those dangers are acknowledged by canonists and theologians (see Every author quoted in these articles, and there are more than six as required to arrive at probability, warns of these dangers. The article the Traditionalist refers to and says he contributed to (although his name is not on the article), is one I am very familiar with. It has been sitting in my files for over 35 years!  And another more pertinent article by the same author, (Prof.) B. F. Dryden, was written at about the same time.

This second article, entitled For New Problems, a New Canon, was used as part of a series advocating the holding of an imperfect council with myself as one of the contributors. It was first published in the August 1988 issue of the Francinta Messenger, a Traditionalist newsletter edited by John Beauclair of Boise, Idaho.  Dryden’s part of the series appeared in the April 1989 edition. This series, written to help determine what could be done to re-establish the papacy, ran nearly a full year before my ill-fated book promoting a papal election was released.

It is not known whether the Traditionalist collaborated on writing this particular article on Canon 20 or not, but it would seem strange if he at least did not know about it and had read it. The opening paragraph of this article asks: “What do you think of the 1981 consecration of [Thuc] bishops? And how can a legitimate pope ever again be elected? No satisfactory answer can be given to either question without an understanding of Can. 20.” Dryden then goes on to summarize the teaching of the Belgian canonist, Capuchin Gommarus Michiels, who authored Normae Generalis Juris Canonici, (General Norms of Canon Law), 1929, Lublin Poland. Some quotes provided from this article below will be quite illuminating.

Application to the New Bishops — In the light of Fr. Michiels’ commentary, does Canon 20 make licit the consecration of Bishops Carmona and Zamora in October, 1981? Certainly not unless it first be shown that Canons 953 and 2370, forbidding and penalizing such consecrations without papal authorization, are null and void under present circumstances. Fr. Michiels shows… that any change in penal and other “odious” laws must be made by express legislation, not by Canon 20.

“Further, it is often stated that the consecrating bishop, Msgr. Ngo Dinh Thuc, was a member of the non-Catholic Conciliar sect at the time of the consecrations. lf this allegation is true, the consecrations were illicit for that reason, and could not be made licit by the very clear profession of adherence to the Catholic Church which Msgr. Thuc made some two months later. The allegation is supported by biographical data published by the staff of Einsicht magazine, friends and backers of the Vietnamese prelate, and by a published letter from the new Mexican bishops asking Msgr. Thuc why he concelebrated with a Modernist bishop. By way of refutation, nothing at all has come to our notice but a statement made by Rene Rouquette in his ‘Lettre Non-Conformiste that Msgr. Thuc had privately and satisfactorily apologized to the Mexicans.

“These new bishops would therefore be wiser to rely, not immediately on Canon 20, but first of all on the theological principle that the letter of a law is not to be observed when its observance no longer produces good but rather harm to the Church [i.e., epikeia], and is therefore unjust and immoral. Bishop Carmona does so argue, but in a rather summary and unimpressive fashion. Some not only may, but do doubt that deprivation of priests and valid sacraments until a pope is elected is sufficient harm to render observance of Canons 953 and 2373 unjust and immoral.

“As to that Apostolic succession which is a mark of the true Church, its chief element is the succession of mission, i.e., of jurisdiction, handed down from one legitimate pope to another, from St. Peter to the present, when the office stands vacant. This succession can be assured only by election of a pope, successor to Pius XII, not by the consecration, licit or illicit, of any number of bishops. For such consecrations are performed also in some schismatical churches, in an unbroken chain going back to the Apostles, without conferring any succession of mission. [!!!]

Canons 20 and Papal Election — The election of a pope, on the other hand, does clearly cry out for the use of Canon 20. The need for a pope is evident from Christ’s institution of the papacy, from the need for a single unifying authority in faith and discipline, and from the catastrophic ills the Catholic remnant suffers for lack of this papal authority. Yet apart from Canon 20, election of a pope is impossible without cardinals, and there are no cardinals and none can be appointed except by a pope. Since no rule for such a situation exists elsewhere, a rule of electoral procedure must be devised from the sources listed in Canon 20.

“The work of devising this rule, far from being completed, has hardly been begun, hardly thought of. Yet we may expect our ills and misfortunes to grow apace until it is begun, accomplished, and used effectively in the election of a pope “[end of Can. 20 article excerpt).

This article just quoted was written in the mid-1980s or shortly before. There is no date on the original. Prior to the “papal election” in 1990 which I helped promote then participated in, there first was an attempt made to interest Traditionalists in an imperfect council, and there was discussion of this at length, even after the “election.” But nothing ever came of it. When the election was being planned people were asked to weigh in on it and to offer opinions and proofs pro and con. No one ever offered sufficient theological proofs it couldn’t be done or volunteered to help do the research. But everyone certainly condemned and ridiculed those who followed through with it once the “election” was held, even though the my ONLY intention was to champion the papacy (and no, I did NOT campaign for the election of the one who later ruled as “pope” and this can be proven).

And yet this Traditionalist’s connection to the writer of the Can. 20 article (a connection unknown to me at the time) proves that these concerns were known and even understood in their proper light; it was understood that a true pope should be elected. Excluding the erroneous part of the article about the legitimate use of epikeia in this case and the bishops consecrated being only “illicit” versus questionably valid and incapacitated to act, it was relatively on point considering the time frame in which it was written. This further reveals the true intention of Traditionalists to rule uncontested and do absolutely nothing.

Some questions need to be posed based on the above and Traditionalists are obligated to answer them.

  1. Where is the positive proof that Lefebvre and Thuc could validly ordain or consecrate anyone given the current penal laws of the 1917 Code and Vacantis Apostolicae Sedis?
  2. If the proof for no. 1 could ever be provided (and it cannot), where is the definitive document demonstrating that in the absence of a reigning pontiff, bishops can be validly consecrated without the papal mandate?
  3. Arguments against the use of epikeia for sacramental purposes have circulated since the 1980s; the article on epikeia showing it cannot apply to Divine law has existed on this site since 2009. (A more recent blog piece is provided as a link above.) Why has no one thoroughly researched this principle and discovered it cannot and does not apply to doubts regarding the validity of the Sacraments?!
  4. If the need for a true pope was realized so very long ago, why didn’t these so-called true bishops elect one? Could it be that they suspected their own orders were not valid or licit, and electing a pope on that basis was a step even they hesitated to take? Or was it because the idea of a pope they would then have to obey was repugnant to them? Or are they flying under false colors perhaps and never intended to even consider restoring the papacy?

Traditionalist clerics are quick to cite those canons they believe will keep them in business but refuse to address the most crucial issue: their doubtful validity.  Canon 18 cannot solve their problem because there are no parallel passages of the Code that remedy invalidity, the end and circumstances of the law show only that the faithful must be protected from invalid sacraments and the mind of the legislator shows all their acts are void. It is a scholastic principle that “Laws justly declaring an incapacity to act or to receive benefits invalidate the attempted act or reception even if they are inculpably known or facts pertaining to their application in a concrete instance are unknown” (Summary of Scholastic Principles, Rev. Bernard Wuellner, S.J., # 341). This is the very principle infallibly enshrined in Pope Pius XII’s VAS. Traditionalists either ignore VAS or declare it is unjust because it deprives the faithful of the means to salvation, but this is a false claim. Baptism and Matrimony are still available to them as well as Spiritual Communion and the Perfect Act of Contrition.

Rather than seeking ordination or episcopal consecration they should instead have searched out retired and worthy bishops (not Thuc or Lefebvre) who reportedly were still alive at that time and insist they elect a true pope. That would have eventually granted them the status they long to possess today. Unfortunately, a true pope can no longer be elected because there are no verifiably valid and licit bishops left to elect him. There are many who insist such bishops still exist but as explained in the blog series article at, the chances of confirming such individuals as truly valid is nearly non-existent. This crisis could possibly be resolved satisfactorily, but not until Traditionalist clerical pretenders abandon their claims, which they were long ago obligated under the law to do. Their followers must also refuse to attend their masses and receive their sacraments under Canons 2259 and 2294 §1. This also binds under penalty of Can. 1325 which orders them to defend the faith. Christ will not be mocked forever.





The series ends, but the debate continues

+St. Rita of Cascia+

The uppermost question at issue in this entire series has been who and what constitutes Christ’s Church on earth, who is to be believed and obeyed, why they must be believed and obeyed and the consequences of not believing and obeying. In stepping back to try and determine what it is that distinguishes the Catholic Church as an institution from all others claiming to likewise possess the truth, we must never forget that the primary factor setting the Church apart is Her establishment by Our Lord on that Rock St. Peter, whose successors safeguarded the Deposit of Faith for nearly 20 centuries. It is the Apostolic College, the bishops in union with their head bishop; the ecumenical councils and the Supreme Pontiff acting on his own that have guided the Church safely over rough waters throughout time.

During the course of this series, mention has been made of fallacies in argument — begging the question, arguing beside the point, ad hominem attacks and so on. These arguments are opposed to the system of logic formulated by St. Thomas Aquinas. Aquinas’ venerable system, Scholasticism, was adopted by the Church to teach her doctors and theologians, so it is key to the right understanding of Her doctrines. The popes have never ceased to laud the benefits of this philosophical system and urge that it be taught to those engaging in theological studies. Whenever there is an error in making use of the principles taught by this system, then those committing these errors are not obeying the Church and their teaching cannot be trusted. Below is a brief outline of scholasticism and its importance to those studying the Catholic faith.


 The Popes on St. Thomas Aquinas:

“The doctrine of this Doctor, beyond all others, has fitness of words, manner of expression, and truth of opinions; so that he who holds it will never swerve from the path of truth; and, on the contrary, he who attacks it must always be suspected” (Pope Innocent V).

Pope St. Pius V called St. Thomas “the most certain rule of Christian doctrine by which he enlightened the Apostolic Church in answering conclusively numberless errors.”

“[Theology professors] should also take particular care that their students develop a deep affection for the Summa … In this way and no other will theology be restored to its pristine dignity, and the proper order and value will be restored to all sacred studies…” (Pope St. Pius X).

The manifold honors paid by the Holy See to St. Thomas Aquinas exclude forever any doubt from the mind of Catholics with regard to his being raised up by God as the Master of Doctrine to be followed by the Church through all ages(Pope Benedict XV, from His Papal Brief Approving the Catechism Of The “Summa Theologica” of Saint Thomas Aquinas For the Use of the Faithful, Feb. 5, 1919).

“We believe Thomas should be called not only Angelic but Common or Universal Doctor of the Church. As innumerable documents of every kind attest, the Church has adopted his doctrine for her own…” (Pope Pius XI)

“To follow [St. Thomas’] leadership is praiseworthy: on the contrary, to depart foolishly and rashly from the wisdom of the angelic Doctor is something far from Our mind and fraught with peril … For those who apply themselves to the teaching and study of Theology and Philosophy should consider it their capital duty…” (Pope Pius XII).

The Church has but one system of philosophy uniquely Her own, and all other systems have been condemned over the centuries as erroneous. This is testified to above by the popes.  Numerous condemnations of those who stray from St. Thomas Aquinas’ scholastic method can be found in Denzinger’s The Sources of Catholic Dogma.

St. Thomas’s definition of logic runs as follows: “Logic is the science and art which directs the act of the reason, by which a man in the exercise of his reason is enabled to proceed without error, confusion, or unnecessary difficulty… St. Thomas and his contemporaries looked upon logic as an instrument for the discovery and exposition of natural truth. They considered, moreover, that it is the instrument by which the theologian is enabled to expound, systematize, and defend revealed truth” (Catholic Encyclopedia, under Logic). The articles explain that it was Pope John XXI Who gave the Church the “Catholic” version of Aristotelean logic.

In his work Logic, Joseph Walsh, S.J. writes: “Logic is the science which directs the operations of the intellect in the attainment of truth… Truth as applied to the intellect is the agreement of our knowledge with objective reality. When our thoughts conform to things as they really are, when our judgment agrees with the objective facts, we are said to have true knowledge” (pgs. 7-8). Logic, therefore, is an ancient science adapted for use by the Church and endorsed by St. Thomas Aquinas for the study of theology. And the goal of this site is to provide those sincerely seeking the truth with objective facts.

Sacred Theology and all other related theologies are to be understood as the practice of this science. Msgr. Joseph C. Fenton, in his work The Concept of Sacred Theology, relates that the writers of theological textbooks refer to this science as “the science of faith.” Others, among them Tanquerey and Herve, define it as “the science which treats of God, and of creatures insofar as they are referred to God, by way of revelation and of reason.” Theology in general he defines as “a body of knowledge deduced from divinely revealed truth.” All scientific investigation and exposition must be governed by specific rules; the Scholasticism of St. Thomas Aquinas provides us with these rules.

Safely within the parameters of an unchanging Church, doctrine most certainly can never change, and the rules governing these doctrines likewise will not, cannot change. The key phrase here is within the Church. For there are many false systems of philosophy condemned by the Church and there can be no Church or Catholic society without the pope, as the Council of Trent, Pope Pius IX and St. Thomas Aquinas himself teach. (For further study, read;

Those wishing to bring forth arguments and proofs refuting what has been presented here must follow this system and its rules, dictated for use by the Church, or they cannot hope to successfully present their case. If this is not done, no one is bound to consider what they say, since they violate the laws of the Church in saying it. The following points would need to be disproven from the strongest form of proof available according to Canon Law — documents of the Roman Pontiff (especially those entered into the Acta Apostolica Sedis), the Sacred Congregations and authentic interpretations of Canon Law.


The definition of what indeed saves souls needs to be specified before the sweeping claim is made that Traditionalists have the necessary power and jurisdiction to validly administer the Sacraments and offer the Holy Sacrifice. Those attending masses simulated by Traditionalists are exposed to sacrilege and idolatry as has been demonstrated repeatedly in other articles on this site and this will damn — not save — their souls. Before they can present as instruments capable of saving souls, Traditionalists must first prove irrefutably they have been validly and licitly ordained and are able to validly and licitly administer the Sacraments.

As to the claim they must obey the divine law above ecclesiastical law, Pope Leo XIII teaches in Sedes Sapientiae, regarding obedience to the Roman Pontiff: “The guidance of both belief and action by divine right belongs to the… Chief Pontiff. Hence the Pontiff must have the power authoritatively to judge the meaning of Holy Scripture… and what is to be done and what is to be avoided in the work of salvation.” No one but the Roman Pontiff can pretend to interpret and apply a maxim of Holy Scripture, divine law; in doing this, Traditionalists usurp the rights of Christ’s Vicar.

The two Sacraments necessary for salvation are still available to the faithful — Baptism and Marriage. These are the only two Sacraments that validly and licitly ordained priests are obligated to administer under the Canon. In their absence, the Church has made provisions for the laity to baptize and contract marriage validly under the law, (Canons 742 and1098). Special emergency provisions have been made by the Holy Office lifting all impediments save those of consanguinity and the marriage of clerics. Canon 682 explains that the clergy only have the strict obligation to supply those Sacraments necessary for salvation, (Baptism, Matrimony) under the Divine law, all others being governed by ecclesiastical law, (Woywod-Smith).

It is important to note the following as stated in Woywod-Smith’s Canon Law commentary under Can. 742: “A Catholic lay person is to be preferred [in administering Baptism] to a priest who is suspended, personally interdicted or excommunicated when these censures have been imposed by a declaratory or condemnatory sentence, for Can. 2261 desires that the people do not request them to administer the Sacraments if there is anyone else who can do so.” So even if the possessed jurisdiction, Can. 2261 would not cover them just as has been maintained in the series of articles running these past two months. In addition to the provisions for Baptism and Marriage, when it is not possible to receive absolution in the Sacrament of Penance or Holy Communion, a perfect Act of Contrition and Spiritual Communion will suffice for forgiveness of sins and the graces received in actual reception of the Sacraments.

This overriding principle used to justify Traditionalist operations once again presupposes the existence of valid and licit orders, when this has not been proven by any means. Moreover, it presumes to interpret the Divine Law, when this privilege belongs solely to the Roman Pontiff.


The real issue here is NOT jurisdiction, but validity. It is highly unlikely that these Traditionalists representing as priests and bishops are validly ordained or consecrated, and we have very serious reasons indeed to believe they are not (see Thuc and Lefebvre were schismatics under Can. 2314, which says if they participated in a non-Catholic religion they also were unable to validly ordain or consecrate anyone, being guilty of communicatio in sacris (false worship, Novus Ordo). The censure levied in Can. 2314 §1, no. 3 results in an additional penalty called infamy of law (Can. 2294) and this penalty can be lifted only by a true pope. There is no doubt about the schism or the penalty. So why is anyone even talking about jurisdiction when there is no way they can even prove their validity?!

In order to even begin to function as clerics, those ordained or consecrated by schismatics — and Lefebvre and Thuc have been proven to be members of the Novus Ordo church, which all Traditionalists consider a non-Catholic church — are required to have their orders scrutinized and regularized, if possible, by the Roman Pontiff and the vindicative penalty lifted. They could function only if they were able to present VERIFIABLE PROOFS they were unquestionably validly and licitly ordained a priest and/or consecrated a bishop by a bishop approved by Pope Pius XII to ordain and consecrate (who has not been ipso facto excommunicated for heresy or schism). In the meantime, they are forbidden to function.


If it could be proven they possessed valid and licit orders, only then could Traditionalists bring up the subject of obtaining supplied jurisdiction. But here there is also a major problem — where are the IRREFUTABLE PROOFS that a canonically elected pope exists or has existed since the death of Pope Pius XII to supply such jurisdiction?  For as Rev. Francis Miaskiewicz writes in his Supplied Jurisdiction According to Canon 209, CUA 1940, “The Supreme Pontiff, from whom all jurisdiction emanates and from whom all common law has its origin, supplies the necessary jurisdiction… When the Church, or more specifically the Roman Pontiff is said to supply jurisdiction in any case whatsoever, be it in common error or in doubt, it is readily understood that the Pope acts in virtue of the plenitude of the jurisdictional power Christ entrusted to his person” (pgs. 28, 194).


The entire situation is summed up in the heading. There is no pope to examine the orders of these men claiming to be clerics, hence no possibility they can function as clerics until such a determination is made. There is no use in even discussing jurisdiction unless it is first proven that certainly valid orders were conveyed by Lefebvre and Thuc, for lay persons cannot celebrate Mass or administer the Sacraments. Any assumption by Traditionalists that such jurisdiction exists in the absence of a true pope is a usurpation of papal jurisdiction. Supplied jurisdiction can begranted only by the Roman Pontiff, who alone possesses the fullness of jurisdiction. Such pretensions to possess it are clearly a usurpation of papal powers and such acts are made null and void by Pope Pius XII’s election constitution Vacantis Apostolicae Sedis governing interregnums.

Series Summary

The conclusions from the series running this past two months are clear:

1) The Church is a Divine Society founded by Christ on St. Peter the Rock (Vatican Council); without St. Peter to direct and guide the successors of the Apostles, the bishops, the Church cannot exist, (Pope Pius XII, Pope Pius IX, St. Thomas Aquinas, others). We are obligated to adhere to even the opinions of the popes as the truth (, not the ruminations of Traditionalists. Only canonically elected popes, not Traditionalists, may determine the definition and application of Divine Law in any given situation.

2) The bishops are subordinate to the Roman Pontiff and receive their jurisdiction from him, NOT directly from Christ (Pope Pius XII). “Bishops must be considered as the more illustrious members of the Universal Church, for they are united by a very special bond to the divine Head of the whole Body and so are rightly called ‘principal parts of the members of the Lord’ … Yet in exercising this office they are not altogether independent, but are subordinate to the lawful authority of the Roman Pontiff, although enjoying the ordinary power of jurisdiction which they receive directly from the same Supreme Pontiff” (Pope Pius XII, Mystici Corporis; see also

3) Only those men granted offices by the competent authority in harmony with the sacred canons are to be considered bishops and priests (DZ 960, 967, Council of Trent; Can. 147 and authentic interpretation endorsed by Pope Pius XII). This canon rules that those who have not received their orders in this manner cannot possess either valid orders or jurisdiction (

4) The Supreme Pontiff holds the primacy of jurisdiction in the Church and he alone can determine who does and does not possess valid orders or episcopal jurisdiction (Vatican Council). In the absence of a true Roman Pontiff, no jurisdiction can be conveyed or supplied, even to those possessing unquestionably valid orders (Pope Pius XII in VAS, ).

5) Epikeia cannot be used to relax the laws governing the administration of the Sacraments even if Traditionalists could prove they are certainly validly ordained/consecrated. The Sacraments were instituted by Divine law and cannot fall under ecclesiastical law, which is all epikeia may be used to regulate (

6) Lefebvre and Thuc were formally members of the Novus Ordo sect at the time they ordained and consecrated Traditionalists and their “successors.” As such, they were not members of the Catholic Church, but schismatics who were infamous and unable to transmit valid orders (Pope Pius XII, Can. 2314, 2294 §2, numerous decisions of the Holy Office; see the heading Holy Office at Instead of refusing to listen to them and repelling them as Canon Law prescribes, Traditionalists welcomed them with open arms and communicated with them, receiving their sacraments and attending their masses. According to decisions of the Holy See, this also involved them in schism and communicatio in sacris.

7) At present, “recognize and resist” Traditionalists implicitly endorse the Roman usurpers because they refuse to renounce and separate from them and the clergy created under their auspices as required by Can. 1325. If they wish to die in the Church bequeathed to us by Pope Pius XII, they must accept all the papal teachings and laws of that Church as they existed at the time of Pope Pius XII’s death. Sedevacantist Traditionalists are no better, contenting themselves with their “bishops” who usurp papal jurisdiction and rule as Gallicanist mini-popes.

8) Canon 1812 tells us that acts issuing from the Roman Pontiff and the Roman Curia during the exercise of their office and entered as proof in ecclesiastical courts “prove the facts asserted,” (Can. 1816), and force the judge to pronounce in favor of the party producing the document, (commentary by Revs. Woywod-Smith). “Proof to the contrary is not admitted against Letters of the Roman Pontiff bearing his signature,” (Abp. Amleto Cicognani, Canon Law, 1935, p. 626, ft. note). Documents entered into the Acta Apostolic Sedis do not need to be submitted in the original or be an authenticated copy, (Can. 1819). If Traditionalists want to prove their case, they must produce the papal documents permitting them to act during an interregnum and declaring orders from a schismatic and irregular bishop to be certainly valid and capable of being exercised.

9) According to the unanimous opinion of theologians and canonists, whenever there is a doubt regarding the validity of the Sacraments or the (ordinary) means necessary to eternal salvation, one must take the safer course and not receive the sacraments as Bd. Innocent XI teaches in DZ 1151 ( When in doubt, the person cannot act before resolving the doubt without committing grave sin. Traditionalists can continue their campaign to shame stay-at-home Catholics into accepting their position, but they are staying at home in order to follow the laws and teachings of the Church, And no amount of shaming will convince them that Traditionalists are right, and the Church is wrong.

10) All the above, representing the proofs provided over the past two months in this blog series, is taken almost exclusively from papal and conciliar documents, Canon Law, and other reliable sources approved before the death of Pope Pius XII. The system of Scholasticism is followed to the best of the author’s ability. The method for following Canon Law is employed. The proofs presented demonstrate the mind of the Church on these matters but is met with silence from Traditionalists.


Disobedience to the Roman Pontiffs, the continual magisterium, typifies the behavior of Traditionalists in general, and St. Thomas Aquinas identifies the root of this sin: “…Disobedience arises from vainglory,” which is a type of pride. “The first sin of our first parents, which sin was transmitted to all men was not disobedience as such but pride, from which the man proceeded to disobey…It is a greater duty to obey a higher than a lower authority, in sign of which the command of a lower authority is set aside if it be contrary to the command of a higher authority…The higher the person who commands, the more grievous it is to disobey him,” (Summa, Pt. II-II, Q. 105, Art.1 and 2, Rep. Obj. 3).

“Indirectly and accidently…pride makes a man despise the Divine law which hinders him from sinning, (Jeremias 2:20; Summa, Pt. II-II, Q. 162, Art.2). “Knowledge of truth is two-fold. One is purely speculative and pride hinders this indirectly by removing its cause. For the proud man subjects not his intellect to God, that he may receive the knowledge of truth from Him, according to Matt. 11:25,” which verse, St. Thomas explains, means that God hides things from the proud and reveals them to the humble. “Furthermore, proud men will listen to nothing from other men as they should, (Ecclus. 6:34).”

St. Thomas continues, “The other knowledge of truth is affective, and this is indirectly hindered by pride, because the proud, through delighting in their own excellence, disdain the excellence of truth. Thus Gregory says, (Moral xxiii, loc cit.) that ‘the proud, although certain hidden truths be conveyed to their understanding, cannot realize their sweetness: and if they know of them they cannot relish them.’ Hence it is written (Prov. 11:2), ‘Where humility is, there also is wisdom,’” (Summa, Pt. II-II, Q. 162, Art.3). Ingratitude and excusing oneself from any wrongdoing are indicators of pride, according to St. Jerome, St. Augustine, and St. Bernard, all quoted by St. Thomas, (Summa, Pt. II-II, Q. 162, Art.4). St. Bernard also lists rebelliousness, along with arrogance and presumption, as three of the twelve degrees of pride.

Sadly, this explains why it is so unlikely that those belonging to the various Traditionalists sects will ever admit they have lived in error all these years: pride prevents them from accepting the truth, which, St. Thomas says, is hidden from them. In reading what is presented throughout this site, the reader is asked to keep in mind the following passage from Thomas á Kempis’ Imitation of Christ, Ch. 5: “Let not the authority of the writer offend thee, whether he was of little or great learning, but let the love of pure truth lead thee to read. Inquire not who said this but attend to what is said. Men pass away, but the truth of the Lord remaineth forever” (Psalm 116).



Traditionalist mistranslates Council of Trent to condemn “home-alone”

Traditionalist mistranslates Council of Trent to condemn “home-alone”

+St. Venantius+

It is hard to believe that a man presenting as a Traditional priest or bishop would falsify the words of the Council of Trent. Think it couldn’t happen? Well it did, many years ago, on the pretext of proving the meaning of the Council’s words was misrepresented by home-aloners based on a faulty translation. And that article is still circulating today, forwarded to us recently for comment by a reader. This so-called cleric points to the home-aloner in question at that time as ignorant of Latin and therefore unable to present the true context of the quote. (Because the cleric claims there has been “a mistranslation,” this commonly used source he faults will not be considered here.) The Trent text in question refers to the inability of clerics, who are neither rightly ordained nor sent, to function as legitimate priests. The teaching cited can be found in Sess. 23 of Trent, Can. 7.

Below is the Traditional cleric’s rendering of the Trent canon, allegedly taken from the Latin text. He refers to this as a “correct translation,” adding his comments on that canon:

“’If anyone says… that orders conferred by [bishops] without the consent or call of the people or of the secular power are invalid; or, that those who have been neither ordained by ecclesiastical and canonical power with the proper ceremonies nor sent, but come from elsewhere, are lawful ministers of the word and of the sacraments: let him be anathema.’ …The Latin expression rite ordinati does not mean something like ‘rightly ordained canon-law-wise.’

“Another favorite home-aloner phrase in the canon, sent by ecclesiastical and canonical authority, is likewise a mistranslation. For starters, the part of the phrase beginning with ‘by’ has been misplaced in the translation. In Latin it modifies ‘ordained,’ not ‘sent.’ ‘Authority,’ moreover, is an incorrect translation here for potestas, which means ‘power.’ The specific kind of power is the Church’s sacramental power, here referred to as ‘ecclesiastical and canonical power’ (ecclesiastica et canonica potestate)… Put simply, Canon 7 in Latin doesn’t say what the home-aloners thought it said. Rather, the canon condemns sacramental ministry without true sacramental ordination.” Well the reception of Traditional orders has been demonstrated as doubtful in this blog series on several different grounds, and unfortunately jurisdiction must also exist in order for any priest or bishop to possess apostolicity. And Mr. Traditionalist here misplaces and pointedly ignores the word ‘sent.’

To compare the rendition of the Traditionalist’s translation above with authentic translations, made from the Latin, during the reign of a true pope and with the proper supervision and approval, the following is presented from the Council of Trent documents themselves.

CANON VII — “If any one saith, that bishops are not superior to priests; or, that they have not the power of confirming and ordaining; or, that the power which they possess is common to them and to priests; or, that orders, conferred by them, without the consent, or vocation of the people, or of the secular power, are invalid; or, that those who have neither been rightly ordained, nor sent, by ecclesiastical and canonical power, but come from elsewhere, are lawful ministers of the word and of the sacraments; let him be anathema” (see this text at

The above online translation is identical to that found in The Canons and Decrees of the Sacred and Ecumenical Council of Trent translated by Rev. J. Waterworth, Newark, N.J., in 1848, “…from Le Plat’s copy (1779) of the authentic edition, published at Rome in 1564… a verbatim representation of the words of the Council.” The English translation of this same canon by Rev. H.J. Schroeder, O.P., 1940, (TAN Books), varies little, reading:

“If anyone say that bishops are not superior to priests; or, that they have not the power to confirm and ordain; or, that the power which they have is common to them and to priests; or, that orders, conferred by them, without the consent, or call of the people, or of the secular power, are invalid; or, that those who have neither been rightly ordained, nor sent, by ecclesiastical and canonical authority, but come from elsewhere, are lawful ministers of the word and of the sacraments; let him be anathema.” As can be seen from these sources, there is nothing even remotely referencing “with the proper ceremonies” found in these texts. Nor is the order he points to as falsely represented from the Latin reflected in the three translations quoted above, so three translators (and actually four, as will be seen below) disagree with him.

So let us examine the truth of these accusations one by one, beginning with the claim that the power referred to in this canon is not at all related to Canon Law.

“Rite-ly ordained” and Canon Law

To place what has been said above into its proper perspective, readers must note what Abp. Amleto Cicognani writes in his Canon Law: “Pope Pius IV, in the Bull of Confirmation [for Trent], forbade under severest penalties all men, ecclesiastics as well as laymen,to publish in any form, any commentaries, glosses, annotations, scholia, or any kind of interpretation whatsoever of the decrees of the said Council; or to settle anything in regard thereto under any plea whatsoever, even under the pretext of greater corroboration of the decrees or the more perfect execution thereof or under every other color whatsoever.’ He ordered where aught seemed obscure and in need of interpretation and decision that recourse be had to the Apostolic See” (pgs. 303-304). There is no doubt that the Traditional cleric in question here attempts to assign new verbiage to this Trent canon as well as an entirely new meaning. This is not only misinterpretation but falsification of an infallible document, which carries with it a censure for such acts (Can. 2360). On the other hand, “home-aloners,” did not attempt to “interpret” this canon, taking it exactly as it was written.

And concerning the Council of Trent’s relation to Canon Law, in the preface to his translation, Rev. Waterworth writes: “The decrees of discipline and reformation published by [Trent] embody the leading principles of Canon Law, by which the government and polity of the Church are, in great measure, now regulated.” The Catholic Encyclopedia, under Canon Law states: “The sources of law later than the Corpus Juris’ [early canons] are: the decisions of councils, especially of the Council of Trent (1545-1563), which are so varied and important that by themselves they form a short code, though without much order…” So what is this Traditionalist talking about? Further, Abp. Amleto Cicognani writes in his Canon Law: “The standard and chief norm of framing the Code was obviously the cure and salvation of souls” (emph. his). “Hence the wise diffusion of ecclesiastical power, the increase in the rights and attributes of bishops… the more accurate formation of clerical piety and learning, greater liberty for the Church, …etc.” (p. 427).

Pope Pius XII warns of the dangers of deliberately misinterpreting the canons as follows:

“The good of the Church demands that we take all possible care that the stability of Canon Law be not endangered by the uncertain opinions and conjectures of private parties regarding the true sense of the canons, and that interpretations which rest on subtleties and cavils against the clear will of the legislator do not result in undue indulgence toward violators of the law, a thing which disrupts the nerve of ecclesiastical discipline,” (decision concerning Can. 2319 § 1,1; Pope Pius XII Motu Proprio 1953). And this is what the Traditional cleric providing his false translation all these years has attempted to do.

As has been noted in various articles published to this site for the past 13 years, the authoritative canonical interpretation of Trent’s Sess. 23, Can. 7 is actually contained in Canon Law itself. It can be found under Can. 147 in the Canon Law Digest, Vol. III, T. Lincoln Bouscaren, S.J., 1942-1953. Canon 17 reminds us that “The authoritative interpretation of the law given in the form of law has the same force as the law itself.” The text of Trent’s Canon 7 in this translation varies only in one word, but that one word destroys the arguments of the Traditionalist cleric.

“If anyone says… that those who are neither duly ordained nor sent by ecclesiastical and canonical authority, but who come from elsewhere, are legitimate ministers of the word and of the Sacraments, let him be anathema.” The Canon Law Digest page is provided below.

Here, duly is substituted by the Sacred Congregation of the Council for “rightly” in the other translations, (or “rite-ly” as the Traditionalist alleges). This seems to indicate that the interpretation is to be taken according to the meaning as it is explained in the instruction, which is exactly as it has been understood by this author all along. Under law, (and here we are speaking of legal matters) the Cambridge Dictionary defines duly as: “The way that is correct or expected according to the law or rules.” And in Black’s Law Dictionary: “In due or proper form or manner; according to legal requirements.  Regularly; upon a proper foundation, as distinguished from mere form.” Canon 18 instructs those studying the law that ecclesiastical laws are to be “interpreted according to the meaning proper to the text and context.”

As has been documented on this site for nearly two decades, and especially in ordaining priests and consecrating bishops, Traditionalists have repeatedly violated both papal teaching and Canon Law. Matter and form is not enough in ordination; proper intention also is necessary, as Pope Leo XIII affirms in his constitution Apostolica Curae on Anglican orders. There can be no certainty regarding the reception of Traditional orders owing to questionable intention and the inability to receive jurisdiction. This has been covered over and over again on this site from numerous angles, and still Traditionalists assume they can validly exercise any orders they might have received, which they are forbidden to do. They are not legitimate pastors by decree of the Sacred Congregation of the Council and Pope Pius XII.

No office, no power

Given the tenor of this authentic interpretation of Can. 147, (which is listed in the A.A.S. and is therefore binding on Catholics) and the fact that Pope Pius XII lists several excommunications incurred for violating this law, it can scarcely be brushed off as inconsequential. In fact, it is the very decision of the Holy See on this matter mentioned by Pope Pius IV in confirming the Council of Trent. From the beginning of the Sacred Council’s instruction, it is clear the Pope is not speaking here of ordination only, but of jurisdiction and the right to fill an office (para. 1). Canonical investiture is the act of putting one in possession of an office, benefice or dignity (Catholic Encyclopedia). This has not only to do with orders, but jurisdiction; for ordination does not confer the office (or dignity) and its accompanying external jurisdiction (the act of the bishop delegating the jurisdiction to exercise that office). The meaning of Can. 147 is clear: “An ecclesiastical office is not validly obtained without canonical appointment. By canonical appointment is understood the conferring of an ecclesiastical OFFICE by the competent ecclesiastical authority in harmony with the sacred canons.”

But today no canonical appointment is possible because there are no certainly valid (Traditional) bishops or heads of religious communities (competent ecclesiastical authority) in communion with a true pope to make such appointments. And certainly very little Traditionalists do, particularly regarding obedience to the laws on jurisdiction and Holy Orders, is in harmony with the sacred canons. It is the ecclesiastical office which conveys ecclesiastical power, whether of orders or jurisdiction. This Rev. Charles Augustine notes in his A Commentary on Canon Law: “Every ecclesiastical office involves some jurisdiction, though its real and full nature appears only when exercised in foro externo. The term ecclesiastical office is generally to be taken in its proper sense as denoting ecclesiastical power” (see Rev. Augustine, Vol. II under canons 145-146). And if such jurisdiction cannot be conveyed by Holy Orders, since the Council of Chalcedon forbids it, it has to come from somewhere. As has been demonstrated on numerous occasions, it cannot and does not issue directly from Christ.

Thuc, Lefebvre et al resigned their ecclesiastical offices under Pope Pius XII. They then took up offices under a false pope. In other words, they gave away all their power and could not validly convey that power to those they ordained. Bishops in a diocese assign the priests they ordain to specific parishes. Thuc and Lefebvre had no power to assign their “priests” to any given office or parish or delegate any jurisdiction they may have possessed. This is the sending, not the ordaining power. And how can they go, unless they be sent? A future canonically elected pope may decide their ordinations were valid, but this has yet to be determined.  Each case would need to be examined by the pope based on its own merits, as has been the Church’s practice in the past. This priest keeps referring to the “sacramental power” Traditionalists received in ordination, but this power is not conveyed without an actual office because the permission of the diocesan bishop to exercise it is never given.

For the record, Traditionalists insist they do not possess offices at all, just “sacramental power,” (which may or may not have been received but is not ACTIVATED without appointment to an office!). Therefore they cannot lay claim to any type of jurisdiction, for this can come only through a bishop in communion with the Roman Pontiff who possesses an actual office himself. This is what the Sacred Congregation of the Council and Pope Pius XII decided in their authentic interpretation of Can. 147. If those claiming to be priests do not possess an office or some dignity as required by the canons and cannot present letters of recommendation from a certainly valid bishop, they cannot even celebrate Mass publicly. This from Revs. Woywod-Smith, A Practical Commentary on Canon Law, (Can. 804):

“700. The Council of Chalcedon (451) ruled that no strange cleric or lector should be permitted to minister outside his own town without letters of recommendation from his own bishop. Pope Innocent III issued the same prohibition but said that the priest who did not have his letters of recommendation might be admitted to say Mass if he desired to do so out of devotion: he might not, however, say Mass before the people, but privately. The Council of Trent again made the rule absolute — as the Council of Chalcedon had it — that no priest should be permitted to celebrate Mass and administer the Sacraments without letters of recommendation from his own bishop.” (This condemns the error of absolute ordination, referred to above — the belief that jurisdiction is received with ordination. Canon 111 also states: “Every cleric must belong to some diocese or some religious organization. No recognition may be extended to vagrant clerics,” and no one can be considered a cleric in such a diocese without valid first tonsure, which Rev. Augustine says is a jurisdictional act.)

Traditionalists do not obey Canon Law — instituted for the cure and salvation of souls — if they have neither an office nor a decision made by a canonically elected pope, authorizing them as validly ordained. The question remains then, who has called them to embark on this valiant crusade to “save souls” if not a duly authorized bishop or the Supreme Pontiff?

The call of the people

So if Traditionalists have no office, and therefore no power to exercise the orders they have purportedly received, from whom do they derive their “power”? In surveying the Internet on these various issues, there is no Traditional site to be found that does not base their raison D’être to operate on the “Divine” law of procuring the “salvation of souls,” something only those validly and licitly ordained are commissioned to do. According to them, this divine call supersedes even the decrees of popes and Canon Law. But this is truly a diabolical artifice disguised as a supreme good, enabling these men to do exactly what the Novus Ordo church does: place the service and interests of the people, not God, first. The popes have the power to bind and loose, and Christ told St. Peter that what he and his successors bind on earth will be bound in Heaven.

In previous decisions of the Holy Office, as well as in Pope Pius VI’s Charitas, the Church has already implicitly determined what this phrase “salvation of souls” in times of necessity means. Pope Pius XII in his Vacantis Apostolicae Sedis has also infallibly declared that the acts of those violating papal laws during an interregnum are null and void, and thus is speaking with the Divine assistance in so declaring. They cannot pretend to bypass the very head Christ established for His Church on earth to appeal to Him directly when that head alone is infallible. The popes have already indicated their mind in such matters and this is only a specious dissimulation intended to convince their followers they are above the law. In actuality, they are usurping papal power by interpreting Divine law in this situation without the charism of infallibility. Another black mark against them, to join the many others.

Following the introduction of the Novus Ordo Missae in 1969, those exiting the church in Rome began searching for priests who could provide them with Mass and Sacraments. Instead of searching for priests, however, they should instead have studied the teachings of the Church regarding similar circumstances. Had they done so, they would soon have realized it wasn’t just a matter of “finding” a priest willing to provide the services they were requesting.  Canon 467 tells us that, “The pastor [a man possessing an office lawfully and enjoying certainly valid and licit ordination] must hold the divine services, [and] administer the Sacraments to the faithful whenever they legitimately request it…” Under Can. 682, legitimate pastors are required only to administer the necessary Sacraments when requested, (Baptism and Matrimony), but only “according to the rules of ecclesiastical discipline.” No one in this current situation is allowed to approach pastors who are not legitimate.

Seminary Professor John Joseph McVey, who wrote his Manual of Christian Doctrine in 1926, teaches in Q. 77 of his work, on the power of jurisdiction: “A bishop who did not have his spiritual powers from the Pope, a pastor who did not have his from the lawful bishop, would be an intruder or schismatic” (emph. McVey’s) In Q. 78 in answer to the question: ”Is it lawful to receive the sacraments from an intruded pastor?” McVey responds: “Only in case of mortal illness, when it is impossible to have a worthy minister, is it lawful to receive absolution from an intruded pastor…” (see Canons 882, 2252 and 2261 §3). Of course, McVey assumed such a pastor would possess unquestionably valid orders and that there would be a reigning pontiff to supply the necessary jurisdiction, definitely lacking in a vitandus; but neither of these conditions exist today.

Because no other call to administer these sacraments is discernible in the case of Traditionalists, it must be assumed that the only call their “clergy” are answering is the perceived “need” and assumed right of their followers to receive the Sacraments, regardless of the teachings of the Church and the canons of the code forbidding such administration and reception. But as explained in a previous blog at, true doubt has been established regarding both the validity of orders and the non-existence of the supplying power among Traditional clergy. And whenever there is doubt regarding a Sacrament, according to the rules of ecclesiastical discipline (Canon Law), both canonists and all moral theologians agree that the safer course must be taken; the faithful must forego receiving the sacraments and attending their masses.

This was expected of those behind the Iron Curtain who were without priests, of those in France during the French Revolution, and at other times in history. It is reflected in the decisions of the Holy See presented in the last blog, Additional Proofs Traditionalist Clergy Cannot Function.  It was expected that those having to make this sacrifice would accept it as God’s will for them and offer it up as a sort of martyrdom of spirit, which many of them did, some of them only until they became martyrs for the faith in actuality.

But no one today is willing to make these sacrifices in union with Our Lord’s death on the Cross during this time, when we are enduring the Passion of Christ’s Church. They wish to be deprived of nothing, (or as little as possible), and suffer nothing for His sake. That was fine for those others asked to make this sacrifice, but not for them; God would never be so cruel. Forget the fact He was “cruel” to others, something they refuse to consider. This attitude disrupts the individual Catholic’s interior life and nullifies the very principles on which the Catholic Church was founded. Duly ordained and sent clergy who truly cared for their salvation would have explained to them they could not satisfy their requests for Mass and Sacraments and would have helped them to cultivate the virtues they needed to accept and resign themselves to the situation, but this did not happen.

How many years have those believing they are true Catholics been deceived by these very men pretending to be their saviors? Have they forgotten that even if these men were legitimate pastors they would only be acting as intermediaries for Christ, who Himself provides their Mass and Sacraments? Have they also forgotten, if they ever knew, that, as Pope Pius XII taught: “The Roman Pontiff… is the head and ruler of the Church, the living Christ on earth”? (address closing the Ignatian Year, July 31, 1956). It is incomprehensible that anyone would stoop to distort a conciliar document confirmed by several different popes, speaking in Christ’s own name, but this is what has occurred. If those who follow these Traditional pretenders and their associates can live with such a deception, they are no longer Catholic.

(Copies of Rev. Waterworth’s Council of Trent documents and any other corroborating evidence are available on request.)

Additional proofs Traditional “clergy” cannot function

+St. Robert Bellarmine+

If all those practicing Traditional “Catholicism” had the ability to survey the mountain of printed material that accompanied the emergence of the Traditional movement in the 1970s, they would understand why those who have experienced it and monitored it all these years are so certain of their conclusions regarding its existence today. The various newsletters, pamphlets, books, periodicals, tapes and videos showing the “teachings” issuing from this organization demonstrate one thing: no one was able to agree on anything and doubt was cast on nearly everything and everyone. Was so and so a true bishop, was this or that person a heretic, was the papal see really vacant, were the usurpers true popes, was the new mass valid or invalid, does Canon Law apply to this or that, and the debates continue. All these doubts centered around the means necessary to salvation, but the safer course — to simply stand back and separate oneself from the melee — was viewed as cowardly and unCatholic. Yet this was the course Catholics were obligated to take to avoid mortal sin and save their souls.

Catholics needing any further proofs on this matter should consider the following quote: “And so a doubt or opinion — no matter how probable it seems — cannot make what is not a Sacrament to become a Sacrament, nor transform into medicine what is actually poison. In this case, the certain natural law forbids one to expose himself to a danger of not obtaining the end or of bringing about evil or to apply means which are utterly inadequate or even harmful. To expose oneself to a danger of this kind ‘when in doubt concerning means necessary to salvation’ is gravely illicit. In such matters the safest and surest course must be followed” (Fr. Benedict Merkelbach, O.P., Summa Theologiae Moralis, 1930). What is presented below is yet further proof that Catholics must indeed follow the safer course in pursuing the means necessary to salvation, even when in extreme necessity.

(There has been much confusion on the Canon in the subhead below, so it requires additional clarification and attention. It must be understood, however, that any claim to jurisdiction by Traditionalists cannot even be considered unless and until they can first prove beyond any reasonable doubt they have received valid ordination/consecration. This cannot be determined during an interregnum because only a true pope can decide on the status of their orders. Until this decision is made, they are not allowed to function, so all the canons they cite in their defense can be dismissed, including Canons 209, 882, 2263 and others. Even if they were validly ordained/consecrated, there is no one to supply the jurisdiction they appeal to by invoking these canons, because the Roman Pontiff is the supplying source and we have no pope. More on this topic will be presented towards the end of this article.)

Holy Office decisions nix Traditionalist claims regarding Can. 2261 §2

Rev. Ignatius Szal explains from the beginning of his work, The Communication of Catholics With Schismatics, (Catholic University of America Canon Law dissertation, 1948) that Can. 2261 regarding reception of Sacraments from excommunicates does not apply to a schismatic because such a priest is not just under censure: “He is the minister of an unauthorized sect…” and must be avoided “anytime a spiritual danger is perceived.” He also reminds readers the acts of schismatics are forbidden by divine law (p. 59). Szal then goes on to prove his statement with the decisions of the Holy Office below.

On May 15, 1709, the Holy Office forbade Catholics to hear the confession of schismatics or to confess to them…Under no circumstances, NOT EVEN IN THE CASE OF NECESSITY, according to a response of the Sacred Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith on Feb. 17, 1761, ‘was it permissible for a Catholic to confess his sins to a schismatic priest in order to obtain absolution from him…’ In a question presented to the same Congregation in 1839, the following reply was made: “Ethiopian converts were not to receive the sacrament of Penance from an heretical priest.” When the Congregation was asked about whether such a practice could be tolerated in a case of necessity, “the Congregation furnished the ironical if not indignant reply, ‘Nihil esse respondendum.’”

Rev. Szal comments: “The answer to the question appeared so manifest that to raise the question at all branded the questioner’s action as foolhardy, and consequently as deserving no reply.” Szal notes that, “It is gravely illicit to request or receive the sacrament of Penance from a schismatic minister outside the danger of death. The ordinary necessity which a person senses when he is in the state of mortal sin is not sufficient to allow him to confess to a schismatic priest and receive absolution. Such a person would be obliged to make a Perfect Act of Contrition as best he could…”

Szal begins with questions answered by the Holy Office concerning the attendance of the Masses of schismatics. On Dec. 5, 1668, the Holy Office ordered a bishop to instruct his people not to go to Mass or other Divine offices in the churches of schismatics, and to warn them that they were not bound by the precept of hearing Mass when there was no celebration of a Catholic Mass. Another reply from the Holy Office on April 10, 1704 concerning active participation in schismatic rites brought the following response from the Holy See: “Pope Clement XI (1700-1721) decreed that it was not licit on the principal feasts of the year for converts, in order to avoid persecution, to go to the churches of schismatics, especially during divine services…”

On August 7, 1704, The Holy Office also stated that “The decree which prohibited Catholics from being present at the Masses and prayers of schismatics applied also in those places where there were no Catholic priests and with reference to such prayers as contained nothing contrary to faith and the Catholic rite.” On two other occasions, May 10, 1753, and April 17, 1758, the Holy See again forbade Catholics to participate in the masses of schismatics. In 1769, certain priests “were called to task for joining in the celebration of Mass with schismatics. The ignorance was inexcusable, and the act was a sacrilege which violated the true faith.” And to this we add the following quote from Rev. W. Wilmers S.J.: “All who support a priest, bishop, or diocesan administrator who has not lawfully received his mission from the pope, and all who hold intercourse with him in spiritual matters, are, like him whom they support, treated by the Church as schismatics, because by such action they separate themselves from the Church’s unity” (Handbook of the Christian Religion, pg. 371).

As early as the 1970s, Rev. Joaquin Arriaga-Saenz and others had already provided proofs that John 23 and Paul 6 were false popes and the fact that the heresy regarding the consecration of the wine in the Novus Ordo Missae was glaringly evident. Even though they objected to the changes in the Mass, Lefebvre, Thuc and their associates participated in this sacrilegious and idolatrous service. They had full access to the documentation regarding the usurpers but ignored it. As bishops, they were obligated to know the facts of the case, to renounce the usurpers and their heretical liturgy and to elect a true pope rather than function on their own as bishops. This was the teaching and practice of the Church (see But they refused to do this and instead created their own church outside the true Church.

As a result of their actions, according to Canon Law, all these men and those they ordained and consecrated committed heresy, schism, communicatio in sacris and incurred ipso facto excommunication and deposition under Can. 188, no. 4, as well as infamy of law (Can. 2314 §1, 1-3). Those incurring infamy of law are barred from VALID ECCLESIASTICAL ACTS (Can. 2294; see Woywod-Smith commentary). IF they indeed are clerics, which remains to be proven (and papal decisions in the past seem to indicate they would be treated only as laymen), they cannot function for this reason. Only the Roman Pontiff can lift this penalty, if indeed he does so choose to lift it (Can. 2295).

SO HERE IS ANSWERED THE OBJECTION THAT ALL EXCOMMUNICATES, HERETICS AND SCHISMATICS INCLUDED, ARE ALLOWED TO ADMINISTER SACRAMENTS WHEN REQUESTED BY THE FAITHFUL, FOR CANONS 2314 AND 2294 PRECLUDE THIS POSSIBILITY.  Already, regardless of any other prohibitions and in addition to them, Traditionalists, even if they possessed certainly valid orders, would be unable to administer these sacraments as the consequences of excommunication. Nor can this penalty be lifted, because currently the Holy See is vacant.

All the above proves what was said here regarding Can. 2261 §2 — the individuals covered in that canon cannot and do not include heretics and schismatics, who, as St. Robert Bellarmine points out, are already automatically excommunicated (see under subhead Ad Evitanda). Anyone who would obey a Traditionalist “cleric” and ignore the above decisions of the Holy Office by that very fact becomes a schismatic.

And ignorance no excuse, especially for bishops (Lefebvre, Thuc, et al)

While many are anxious to see these Traditionalist “care providers” as validly ordained, if “guiltless” material heretics, there is no support found for this false assumption in Canon Law or Church teaching. Canon 2200, in fact, assumes those publicly professing heresy or participating in communicatio in sacris to be guilty until proven innocent, and when the excommunication can be lifted only by the pope, this means only a true pope can determine guilt or innocence.

Concerning a plea of ignorance of the heretical nature of the offense or the actual penalty attached to it by a cleric guilty of (occult) heresy, Rev. MacKenzie states that: “If the delinquent making this claim is a cleric, his plea for mitigation must be dismissed, either as untrue or else as indicating ignorance which is affected, or at least crass or supine. His ecclesiastical training in the seminary, with its moral and dogmatic theology, its ecclesiastical history, not to mention its canon law, all insure that the Church’s attitude toward heresy was imparted to him…He had ample opportunity to know about heresy. Hence his present ignorance is unreal; or if real, it can be explained only as deliberately fostered — affected ignorance — or else as the result of a complete failure to do even a minimum of work in regard to fundamental ecclesiastical theory and practice — crass and supine ignorance.”  As noted above, those guilty publicly of heresy or schism cannot are presumed guilty under Can. 2200. And if those claiming to be true bishops and priests are really qualified to act and perform as such, having been supposedly educated in Traditional seminaries, then how is it they are ignorant of these things?

In his dissertation, Ignorance in Relation to the Imputability of Delicts, (Cath. Univ. of America, 1948) Rev. Innocent Swoboda, O.F.M., J.C.L. defines crass and supine ignorance as: “A complete lack of diligence when it is known that the truth could be easily discovered… a complete and total failure to use any effort to fulfill the obligation of knowing the law or the pertinent facts surrounding the law. The failure itself may arise from mere sloth or from a sinful heart or from a sinful habit of acting without due consideration of the results of one’s conduct… Only the ignorance of those things which can be easily learned can be considered crass or supine.” And if at least some of the faithful could recognize that the Vatican 2 church and Traditionalism were false and abandon these counterfeits, then what possible excuse could those far better educated in the faith offer?

And finally, in their commentary on Canon Law, under Can. 2242, Revs. Woywod-Smith observe: “Contumacy of the offender is implied in the deliberate violation of a law to which a censure latae sententiae is attached, and therefore the censure is incurred immediately with the breaking of the law. The violation is considered to be deliberate where disqualifying and invalidating laws are concerned,” such as a lack of jurisdiction which invalidates the Sacrament of Penance. Revs. Woywod-Smith also comment on Can. 731: “All canonists and moralists agree that those who are heretics or schismatics and know they are wrong cannot be given the Sacraments of the Church unless they renounce their errors and are reconciled with the Church. Numerous decrees of the Holy Office put this point beyond controversy.” These bishops were outside the Church, not within it. As bishops it was their bounden duty to defend the Church and especially the papacy. But they lost their offices early in the game, and those they attempted to create as clerics never obtained any position in the Church.

More on Traditionalists’ claim they don’t hold an office

The issue of those denying they possess an office and therefore are not affected by any papal, conciliar or canonical decrees or laws referring to the possession of “an office” has already been addressed at Under the scholastic method all Catholic clergy are bound to follow, Traditionalists are obligated to first define the term before claiming it does not apply to them. And of course it DOESN’T apply to them because in order to validly hold any office in the Church requiring the care of souls, one must first prove he is a cleric with the necessary qualifications, according to those laws currently in force, and deserves to be appointed according to his merits.

If the specified qualifications are lacking, the appointment is null and void (Can. 153). As noted in the articles at; also Traditionalists do not possess these qualifications. Furthermore, Can. 154 declares that no one who has received such an appointment based on these qualifications may assume offices involving the care of souls until they are first (validly and licitly) ordained. If they are not so ordained, then the office is not validly conferred, and they are forbidden to function.

So until the state of Traditionalists’ orders are determined by a canonically elected pope, there is no office to worry about. But we will play their little game and assume such is the case to clarify the following points. By office, according to Can. 145, is meant, “in a broad sense… any employment which is legitimately practiced for a spiritual purpose. In the strict sense, an ecclesiastical office means a stable position created either by the divine or ecclesiastical law, conferred according to the rules of the sacred canons and entailing some participation at least in ecclesiastical power, whether of orders or jurisdiction. In law, the term ecclesiastical office is used in its strict sense…” unless a specific law indicates otherwise.

So if Traditionalists were qualified to assume an office, they would have to call it an office, but they are not qualified to assume anything. Traditionalists occupy positions which correspond most closely to the strict sense of the definition, for they claim to possess a stable position, to operate under the Divine law (“salvation of souls”), and they claim to possess both Orders and jurisdiction. But their position is not conferred according to the sacred canons, and this is where they run into trouble. For Can. 147 states that an ecclesiastical office cannot be validly obtained without canonical appointment, meaning an ecclesiastical office conferred by the competent ecclesiastical authority designated in the canons.

No Traditionalist can pretend to have received an appointment, dignity or office of any kind from competent authority, for no authority not in communion with the Roman Pontiff and under his supervision and jurisdiction can be considered competent. Concerning the particulars of this canon, which has been the subject of an authentic interpretation approved by Pope Pius XII, see What is ironic about the denial by traditionalists that they occupy offices is the fact that they do not hesitate to quote conciliar documents which they believe favor their position, one of these being the Fourth Lateran Council which mentions offices three separate times. If they do not possess an office, then this council they cite in their defense doesn’t apply to them; they can’t have it both ways.

Traditionalists say they are not bound by disciplinary laws

This is an old claim thrown out decades ago to avoid any compliance with Pope Paul IV’s Cum ex Apostolatus Officioregarding papal elections and heresy. It did not wash then and it doesn’t wash now in regards to Ad Apostolorum Principis because a) it is entered into the Acta Apostolica Sedis which means it is binding on Catholic consciences per Pope Pius XII’s Humani Generis, and b) Cum ex Apostolatus Officio is clearly retained in the footnotes of the 1917 Code of Canon Law as the basis for almost every canon in the code that deals with heresy. I don’t care if Lefebvre said it was dismissed as an old law when the Code went into effect and no longer applies. He was wrong and facts placed into evidence in the 1970s, 1980s and on this site 15 years ago (see the Archives) proves this to be the case. Regarding papal disciplinary laws, the Church has taught:

The Vatican Council: “The pastors and faithful…are bound by the duty of hierarchical subordination and true obedience, not only in things which pertain to faith and morals but also in those which pertain to the discipline and government of the Church… If anyone says that the Roman Pontiff has only the office of inspection or direction, but not the full and supreme power of jurisdiction over the universal Church, not only in things which pertain to faith and morals but also in those which pertain to the discipline and government of the Church…let him be anathema,” (DZ 1827, 1831).

Pope Pius IX, in Quartus Supra (1873): “But the neo-schismatics say that it was not a case of doctrine but of discipline, so the name and prerogatives of Catholics cannot be denied to those who object. Our Constitution Reversurus, published on July 12, 1867, answers this objection. We do not doubt that you know well how vain and worthless this evasion is. For the Catholic Church has always regarded as schismatic those who obstinately oppose the lawful prelates of the Church and in particular, the chief shepherd of all… Such teaching is not only heretical after the definitions and declarations of the Ecumenical Council of the Vatican on the nature and reasons for the primacy of the Sovereign Pontiff, but it has always been considered to be such and has been abhorred by the Catholic Church.

And in in Quae in patriarchatu: “In fact, Venerable Brothers and beloved Sons, it is a question of recognizing the power (of this See), even over your churches, not merely in what pertains to faith, but also in what concerns discipline. HE WHO WOULD DENY THIS IS A HERETIC; HE WHO RECOGNIZES THIS AND OBSTINATELY REFUSES TO OBEY IS WORTHY OF ANATHEMA.” (Pope Pius IX, September 1, 1876, to the clergy and faithful of the Chaldean Rite.)

They also refer to Ad Apostolorum Principis as a “disciplinary law,” and claim that it doesn’t apply to our situation because it was intended for “normal times.” As seen above, these laws pertain even in cases of extreme necessity. Surely the existence of bishops enduring persecution in Communist China could never be considered “normal,” and in fact the Holy Office considered the situation in China an emergency in 1949 as indicated in the removal of nearly all impediments to marry (Canon Law Digest, Vol. 4). Furthermore, disciplinary law or not, Ad Apostolorum Principis is listed in the Acta Apostolica Sedis, meaning it is a document of the ordinary magisterium binding on the faithful as Pope Pius XII teaches in paragraph 20 of his Humani Generis (see , Pt. 1).  What is stated in Ad Apostolorum Principis is repeated in other binding documents issued by Pope Pius XII, particularly the part about older documents no longer being valid, a statement made earlier in Mediator Dei.

But the blanket of epikeia covers everything

And then of course there is always the old, tired line of defense they trot out as their weapon against all the nasty, legalistic “no jurisdiction” crowd — epikeia. This was thoroughly explained in the link above under the “office” subhead. From this it is clear that their contentions all these years have been false and are held as false by both moral theologians and canonists. Epikeia applies only to ecclesiastical law and conferring the Sacraments is a matter of Divine law. St. Augustine said: “The Church is Jesus Christ continuing to teach the world and to sanctify each of us by His Sacraments.”  As such no one who is not under the jurisdiction of Christ’s Vicar can be said to possess the jurisdiction Christ conferred first on St. Peter, which is exercised by the bishops but only under the supervision of the pope. This is the teaching of the Vatican Council and Pope Pius XII in Mystici Corporis Christi.

The pope alone can supply jurisdiction and suspend its use

To even attempt to claim supplied jurisdiction existed in the cases of those claiming valid ordination under schismatic bishops, the validity of those allegedly ordained and consecrated would first need to be decided by a canonically elected Roman Pontiff. This issue of the supplying of jurisdiction is larger than it seems, for it rests on what Rev. Berry says in his work The Church of Christ. Pope Pius XII’s decision was published June 29, 1943 in Mystici Corporis Christi, teaching that the bishops “enjoy[ing] the ordinary power of jurisdiction which they receive directly from the… Supreme Pontiff.” Berry, who wrote in 1927, taught that should it ever be decided by the Holy See that “…the pope confers jurisdiction [on the bishops], he may validly withdraw it by deposing a bishop at any time, with or without cause” (p. 410). And Pius XII later exercised this type of power by declaring null and void all those who usurped papal jurisdiction or violated papal law during an interregnum in his election constitution Vacantis Apostolicae Sedis (1945). In addition, Rev. J. Tixeront also notes that “The Apparatus of Pope Innocent IV,  expounds the theory that the pope has the right to place diriment impediments, not only for Matrimony, but also for the conferring of all the Sacraments, Baptism included” (Holy Orders and Ordination, A Study in the History of Dogma,1928, p. 289). This is more closely conformed to what Pius XII forbade in his papal election constitution.

And once Pope Pius XII declared that the bishops receive jurisdiction from the pope, not directly from Christ, he also defined that such jurisdiction is SUPPLIED only by the pope and does not in any way come to the bishops directly from Christ. We are talking here about the two infallible papal documents named above. If true bishops had existed following the death of Pope Pius XII and had taken over for a time and elected a pope, there would have been no problem; but they did not. They had jurisdiction which lasted as long as they lived, even if a false pope had deprived them of their see. Priests had jurisdiction only for the time specified by the bishops under whom they served, unless they had received a special commission of some kind or were missionary priests. Catacomb Catholics have taken the safer course not only because Trad Orders and their sacraments are doubtful, at best, but also because they have read the signs of the times.

Since all the bishops rebelled and went into apostasy, and the Mass subsequently ended, they believe according to their understanding of Holy Scripture Church they live in the times following the reign of Antichrist, a system continued by his “successors.” They await the will of God in these matters, for it is not certain what is to come next. Unless Christ intervenes in some miraculous way, a true pope cannot be elected. Some expect an imminent chastisement, others expect the Last Judgment. These things cannot be known for certain. But one thing, in their minds at least, IScertain: they will avoid all possibility of offending Our Lord and disobeying St. Peter and his successors by refusing to risk even the possibility they might imbibe the poison of sacrilege by following these self-proclaimed bishops and priests, attending their Masses and receiving their sacraments.

If we follow the Apocalypse, it seems that today’s catacomb Catholics are those who live in the desert, taken there on the wings of a great eagle (Apoc. 12: 6, 14). Fr. E. S. Berry says the two wings of this eagle, in the spiritual sense, are faith and prayer, for: “In faith and prayer, and especially in the contemplative life of her religious orders, the Church shall find a refuge of consolation Satan cannot violate” (The Apocalypse of St. John). Rev. Leo Haydock, commenting on Apocalypse 12 verse 6, writes: “The Church, in times of persecution, must be content to serve God in a private manner.” He explains that during times of persecution Christians fled to the desert to escape, which eventually gave rise to the “eremetical life.” Fr. William Heidt, in his Book of the Apocalypse, refers Apoc. 12: 14 to Exodus 19: 4: “I have carried you upon the wings of eagles, and have taken you to myself,” regarding the deliverance of the Israelites from the Egyptians. H.M. Feret O.P. says this verse refers to “that desert of Divine preparation where God Himself nourishes her during the period of her trial, (The Apocalypse Explained, p. 154). This he refers to Deut. 32: 11: “As the eagle enticing her young to fly, and hovering over them, he spread his wings, and hath taken him and carried him on his shoulders.”

Rev. Bernard Le Frois, S.V.D. says the wilderness/desert: “implies par excellence God’s special divine providence toward Israel and deliverance from her enemy through God’s special intervention… Elias flees to the wilderness for protection and nourishment… a solitary place well suited for communion with God.” He also cites Kittel’s interpretation: “The symbol of the time of probation of faith” (The Woman Clothed With the Sun, 1954 p. 177-79).   St. Francis de Sales writes in his Treatise on the Love of God that the early hermits (St. Paul, St. Antony, St. Mary of Egypt), seeking solitude in the desert, were “deprived of hearing Mass, receiving Communion and going to Confession… deprived too of direction and all assistance.” If the Holy Ghost then, that great eagle, carries the Church into the desert in Apoc. 12: 14, He is taking Her to a place devoid of these things. In other words, the Church does not have a choice as the early hermits did; it is by God’s will that She is transported there.

Our God is a jealous God; He wants us to Himself. He is delivering us from the dangers of idolatry and sacrilege if we will just listen to His Vicars. But that was not the intent of the bishops who left the Church to found Traditionalism. And until those who wish to be Catholic obey God, and not men, they cannot enter the kingdom of Heaven.




The Traditionalist Movement Was Never Catholic

+Apparition of St. Michael the Archangel+

Many believe that in joining any of the existing Traditionalist groups cropping up after the introduction of the new mass those exiting the counterfeit church in Rome actually remained members of the true Catholic Church of all time whose last true pope was Pope Pius XII — but think again.  All the available evidence indicates that at the very best, they became members instead of a church which appeared to retain much of the (especially external) aspects of the Catholic religion and just enough of Her teachings to appear to be the one, true Church, while actually constituting a church very much resembling the Old Catholic sect, or other sects of that persuasion. This means they belong(ed) to a church which doesn’t outwardly reject the idea of the papacy, but doesn’t necessarily endorse it, either; and this, of course, is a heresy. Traditionalists say they can do nothing to restore the papacy so must rely on their bishops, because the Church constituted by Christ will last forever.

Breaking news: Christ constituted His Church with Peter as its Head Bishop, the rock upon which all the rest would be founded, so where is their pope? Doubtfully valid bishops do not satisfy Our Lord’s conception of a perpetual Church. And as we will see below, the “bishops” from whom these Traditionalists claim to descend were not members of Pope Pius XII’s Church when they founded their Traditionalist sects, so they were and are schismatic, not Catholic. And those they ordained and consecrated outside that Church have not been judged by a true pope to be certainly validly ordained and consecrated, something the Church has always deemed necessary to protect the faithful. In times of antipopes in the past, the first thing the Church did on the return of the true pope was to declare the status of those ordained, consecrated or otherwise promoted under the antipope. In all the cases discovered, presented here under the header on antipope Anacletus,,  these men’s promotions were declared null and void. But of course today, this deliberately extended interregnum has prevented that.

Those intending to be truly Catholic and save their souls cannot be assured of their salvation unless they are subject to the Roman Pontiff (Boniface VIII, DZ 469). This includes subjection to decrees on specific questions answered by the Holy Office and the Sacred Congregations, (DZ 1684, 2008; Can. 9) whenever such questions are clearly of universal application (when the response does not limit its application to specific persons in a particular area). As has been repeatedly stated on this site, no one may ignore these decisions of the Holy See in favor of the “say so” of so-called priests and bishops not in communion with the Roman Pontiff and whose case of questionable orders has not been decided by Rome.

No one may in good conscience attend their “masses,” or receive their “sacraments,” because the Church teaches that when in doubt, one cannot act, especially when it concerns the validity of the sacraments (see subhead Canons 15 and 16, The decisions of the Holy See prior to the death of Pope Pius XII are binding, even when not universal and are used only as parallels. They are to be taken as authoritative, particularly when they pertain to doctrine, because they represent the voice of true and certain authority in the Church. And that authority still commands obedience today.

Condemned by the decree Lamentabili, Pope St. Pius X, 1907: “They are to be considered free of blame who consider of no account the reprobations published by the Sacred Congregation of the Index or by other sacred Roman Congregations,” (DZ 2008). And this from

Pope Pius IX, Tuas Libentur, 1863: “It is not sufficient for learned Catholics to accept and revere the aforesaid dogmas of the Church…It is also necessary to subject themselves to the decisions pertaining to doctrine which are issued by the Pontifical Congregations…” (DZ 1684). That there has never been and can never be any certainty regarding the validity, hence authority of Traditionalists, from the very inception of that schismatic group in all its many manifestations, is what will be proven below regarding the true affiliation of “bishops” Marcel Lefebvre, Ngo dinh Thuc and de Castro Mayer. To wit:

— All three men resigned the offices they possessed under Pope Pius XII, (although de Castro Meyer’s resignation was styled as a “forced retirement.”)

— All three men signed Vatican 2 documents. (It is reported, however, that de Castro Mayer refused to implement the Vatican 2 changes in his diocese or allow the Novus Ordo Missae to be said until his “resignation” in 1981.)

— Lefebvre and Thuc celebrated the Novus Ordo Missae.

— Lefebvre’s Society of St. Pius X does not celebrate the true Latin Mass but an unauthorized liturgy (John 23rd Missal) falsified by a papal pretender

— Thuc died as an N.O. archbishop emeritus of Hue, Vietnam and Lefebvre died as an N.O. bishop emeritus of Tulle, France.

— Both Thuc and Lefebvre were appointed to bishoprics under Paul 6 AFTER the institution of the Novus Ordo Missae.

— Thuc was reconciled to the N.O. church twice, once under Paul 6 and again under JP2.

— All three men consecrated bishops minus the necessary papal mandate.

— Thuc made his original “Declaration” under the title given him by Paul 6: Bishop of Bulla Regia. Those Traditionalists who were “handling” him, to better guarantee acceptance of their “Orders,” later had him issue an amended declaration.

— Thuc and Lefebvre established seminaries without papal approval.

— De Castro Mayer was the principal co-consecrator, with Marcel Lefebvre as consecrator, of four men designated for service in the Society of St. Pius X: Tissier, Williamson, de Galaretta and Fellay.

— De Castro Mayer died as Bishop Emeritus of Campos, Brazil. To his credit, “Bishop de Castro Mayer refused to sign a so-called “formula of reconciliation” (which would include an admission that excommunication was really incurred and that no situation of necessity, as claimed by Lefebvre and Castro Mayer, had existed in 1988) proposed by Vatican delegates at his death bed. He died on 25 April 1991” (Wiki). Unfortunately, this does not excuse him from incurring the censures for consecrating without the papal mandate in violation of Pope Pius XII’s 1945 papal election constitution.

— Alfredo Mendez-Gonzalez (consecrator of “Bp.” Clarence Kelly, Society of St. Pius V), is not considered here because he was consecrated in 1960 under John 23.

The facts stated above can be verified at the following links: Bp. de Castro Mayer:; Abp. Ngo dinh Thuc:; Bp. Marcel Lefebvre:; Bp. Alfredo Méndez-Gonzalez, C.S.C.:

In his The Communication of Catholics With Schismatics, 1948, (Catholic University of America dissertation), Rev. Ignatius Szal explains that beginning in 1631, the Holy Office began issuing various decisions concerning the use of faculties and the hearing of confessions: “The Sacred Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith stated that priests could seek permission for the use of their faculties from bishops who were regarded to be Catholic, provided that the priests had that degree of certitude regarding the orthodoxy of the bishops which excluded all suspicion of the schism or the error current in that region as attaching to them.” In the case of Lefebvre, Thuc, et al, it would be the error of ecumenism or irenicism condemned by Pope Pius XII, implicitly committed by remaining within the Novus Ordo Church and refusing to elect a true pope. In answer to further doubts that same year, Szal continues, “the same Congregation replied that it was not permissible to seek the permission for the use of even one of the faculties from schismatic bishops. It insisted that the clause which had stated that permission was to be sought must be understood in regard to bishops who were in communion with the Church of Rome. There was asked the further question whether this permission could be obtained from schismatic pastors, but the reply of the Congregation was the same as that in regard to schismatic bishops” (pgs. 90-91).

A December 20, 1949 instruction on ecumenism issued by the Holy Office summarizes the Church’s true teaching for Catholics as follows: “Therefore, the whole and entire Catholic doctrine is to be presented and explained: by no means is it permitted to pass over in silence or to veil in ambiguous terms the Catholic truth regarding the nature and way of justification, the constitution of the Church, the primacy of jurisdiction of the Roman Pontiff, and the only true union by the return of the dissidents to the one, true Church of Christ.”

Lefebvre, Thuc, de Castro Mayer and their successors were actually members of the Novus Ordo church claiming to be dissenters, while in practice remaining under that church’s official umbrella and practicing “recognize and resist” — a civil protest tactic. This was set in motion by sending letters to the false popes, submitting petitions and organizing protests, writing pamphlets, etc., a tacit recognition of their authority as true popes. Their actions would be better described as “recognize and refuse,” which actually translates to Satan’s “I will not serve.” For following the promulgation of the new mass, once they could truly gauge the level of destruction in the Church, they were duty bound to call such an election for the sake of the faithful, but they REFUSED to do this. This is what would truly have secured the “salvation of souls,” as well as guaranteeing the validity of Mass and Sacraments. But then they would have owed the pope obedience, and thus would have forfeited the absolute control they now exercise over their benighted followers.

Many rumors circulated over the years, but no bishops ever seriously discussed the election of a true pope. And yet this was the one thing they were bound to do; NOT consecrate other bishops indiscriminately as they have done. (See the article and comment posted at Rev. Berry writes: “It is the duty of the Church to see to it that the faithful receive the true doctrines of Christ, and to this end she may use adequate means to protect them from the contaminating influence of those who seek to spread false doctrines. She has not only the right, but also the duty, to take all necessary measures to protect the spiritual health of her members… The very purpose for which the Church was instituted [is], namely, the glory of God and the salvation of souls. The power of Orders is directly concerned with both…” Notice Rev. Berry does not say it is the Church’s duty to make sure the faithful receive the Sacraments, for Christ said “Go ye therefore and teach all nations,” then baptize. How is God glorified when the doctrines of the Church He sent his Son to earth to die for are not even taught to the faithful? Pope St. Pius X teaches in Acerbo Nimis:

“There can be no doubt, Venerable Brethren, that this most important duty rests upon all who are pastors of souls. On them, by command of Christ, rest the obligations of knowing and of feeding the flocks committed to their care; and to feed implies, first of all, to teach… Hence the Apostle Paul said: “Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel,” thereby indicating that the first duty of all those who are entrusted in any way with the government of the Church is to instruct the faithful in the things of God.”  Had Traditionalists been well instructed in their faith, they would have known the Church could not exist without a true pope. This is the job they should have devoted themselves to.

Instead, they wasted precious time on “recognize and resist” to bolster their own authority, and and this is where both Traditionalist and Sedevacantist “bishops” deviated from the faith under Can. 1325. When the Novus Ordo Missae was issued, Divine Revelation was falsified in the consecration of the wine in the Canon — Christ’s own words! Many of those exiting the Vatican 2 church left for that very reason — they knew the implications of this horrific change. But somehow these “courageous” episcopal leaders could not bring themselves to simply come out and announce the canon of the new mass violated Divine law and these popes were manifest heretics. They chose sides against Christ, remaining within the pale of that bastard church rather than risking martyrdom and ridicule to defend the Truth and restore the papacy. While hiding behind their self-sacrificing stance to “save souls,” as commanded by Divine law, they ignored the first and most important part of the Church’s Divine purpose: “the glory of God.” Their “manner of acting,” as stated in Can. 1325, told us all we need to know.

Traditionalists reproached those daring to criticize them for this by pointing to their past errors and used additional ad hominem attacks not allowed by the Church to discredit them. But the one thing they did not and could not do was to provide a line-by-line refutation of every issue these critics addressed and provide compelling arguments — a preponderance of evidence from papal and conciliar sources — to counter what was presented. Canon Law states that the burden of proof lies upon those who fail to produce a presumption in law (Can. 1827) and they have yet to meet that burden. Canon 1812 tells us that acts issuing from the Roman Pontiff and the Roman Curia during the exercise of their office and entered as proof in ecclesiastical courts “prove the facts asserted” (Can. 1816), and force the judge to pronounce in favor of the party producing the document, (commentary by Revs. Woywod-Smith). The documents have been produced on this site for over a decade, some of them for several decades, but Traditionalists generally use the Modernist method condemned by Pope St. Pius X as follows:

“When an adversary rises up against them with an erudition and force that render him redoubtable, they try to make a conspiracy of silence around him to nullify the effects of his attack, while in flagrant contrast with this policy towards Catholics, they load with constant praise the writers who range themselves on their side” (Pascendi Dominici Gregis, 1907).

What type of documentation would it take to refute the mountain of evidence presented against them from papal decrees, decisions issued by the Holy Office and Sacred Congregations, ecumenical councils and Canon Law? To begin with, anytime there is evidence of the type explained above presented regarding the validity of an ordination or consecration, it must be submitted to the Holy Office for consideration. And remember: no valid ordination, no consecration. Then the decision must be made either to conditionally ordain or to educate the individual in a Catholic seminary, IF he repents, is abjured and is approved for ordination by a true bishop. It is doubtful that consideration would be given to any episcopal orders purportedly received when ordination was not even certain, (see Rev. Leslie Rumble, Are Liberal Catholic Orders Valid? Homiletic and Pastoral Review, March 1958).

Citing a Nov. 18, 1931 decree of the Holy Office, Fr. Rumble writes: “A Catholic who lapses from the Church and receives orders from a schismatical bishop can be received back into the Church only on the understanding that such ordination, even if valid, will be completely disregarded.” And episcopal orders from a schismatic sect are seldom, if ever, recognized, Rumble notes. St. Robert Bellarmine cites the unanimous teaching of the Fathers in his work de Romano Pontifice, where he states: “Heretics who return to the Church must be received as laymen, even though they have been formerly priests or bishops in the Church” St. Optatus (lib. 1 cont. Parmen.).

Proper intention to ordain, consecrate doubtful

As noted in a previous blog, the mind of the minister must be conformed to the mind of the Church. Rev. Bernard Leeming S.J. stated here that in order for the minister to intend to do what the Church does, he must intend to join those ordained or consecrated to “the united body of the Churchin accord with the mind of the religious body of which he is a minister…” which means both the body of the hierarchy and the Mystical Body of Christ. This is also the teaching of Rev. P. Pouratt: “The intention of the minister is that of the Church which he represents” (The Theology of the Sacraments, 1910).

Fr. Rumble, in the same article cited above quotes from the 1956 work of Rev. Francis Clarke S.J., Anglican Orders and Defect of Intention: “’It belongs to the true Church to determine when a rite performed in given circumstances is an exteriorisation of her own faith; that is whether it is her own act; or whether it is, on the contrary expressing the faith of another separated Church, qua separated.’” Rumble comments: “In this latter case the rite is not valid. Thus Pope Leo XIII decreed in the concrete that Anglican ordinations do not remain acts of the true Church… In them the ‘ritual contact’ with the faith of Christ’s Church is not maintained” (all emph. Rumble’s). My question is: What faith?

Traditionalists are fond of pointing to the fact that both Lefebvre and Thuc were ordained and consecrated under Pope Pius XI and Pope Pius XII, but they neglect to mention that both men resigned the episcopal sees to which they were appointed by Pope Pius XII and accepted appointments to titular sees from John 23, Paul 6 and in Thuc’s case, John Paul 2. Clearly all three men were opposed to at least the Novus Ordo Missae and certain decrees of Vatican 2. And yet as opposed as they reportedly were to the new mass, they still accepted offices under the usurpers, did not formally condemn them as false popes, and in practice recognized them as valid pontiffs.

As explained in the blog on “Errors…” (, it cannot be certainly ascertained that both Lefebvre and Thuc, who never formally left their obedience to the Novus Ordo church, intended to ordain and consecrate bishops and priests obedient to a canonically elected successor to Pope Pius XII. For they certainly were not obedient even to the usurpers, and the bishops they consecrated never proceeded to elect a true pope. Therefore, it cannot be said they consecrated such bishops merely to restore the Church to its former condition, which would have been the only possibly acceptable reason for any consecrations at all.

They may have had in mind something Fr. Rumble described in his article which was attempted by a successor of the Old Roman Catholic “Abp.” Arnold Harris Mathew, a man named Bernard Mary Williams. Williams, well educated in Catholic theology and Canon Law, “taught a religion of ‘Catholicism without the Pope.’ He maintained all Catholic dogmas, including papal infallibility, and wanted to build up in England a considerable church absorbing many Anglo-Catholics which would eventually submit to Rome if the Pope would agree on the basis of an “’English Catholic Uniate Rite.’” Isn’t that exactly what has happened with Lefebvre’s Society of St. Pius X? One former SSPX member declared decades ago that it was Lefebvre’s secret intent to eventually lead his Society back into the Novus Ordo church.


This question begs to be answered more than ever then: What Church were these bishops consecrated for, and how can we have any certainty in this matter given the membership of Lefebvre and Thuc in the Novus Ordo, not the Church of Pope Pius XII as Traditionalists pretend?! Did they secretly believe as the heretic John Hus believed that “Christ, through his true disciples scattered throughout the world, would rule His Church better without such monstrous heads”? (DZ 654). Did they use the blueprint of the Old Roman Catholic Williams to make an end-run on the faithful exiting the V2 church in the 1960s-1970s? If these two bishops were truly faithful to the Church of Pope Pius XII, they would have followed the example of József Cardinal Mindszenty, who refused to give up his position as Primate of Hungary until Paul 6 removed him from this position in 1974. Instead they resigned their bishoprics under a true pope to accept “offices” from false popes who promoted manifest heresy. This and their failure to subsequently elect a true pope rightfully leaves the faithful in doubt regarding the validity of the consecrations. The strong evidence of a doubtful intention justifies their rejection of these bishops and their successors.

The following sums up the state of affairs regarding the consequences of these bishops’ refusal to do their duty and protect the flock entrusted to them by Christ by electing a true pope.

  1. Documentation of John 23rd’s pre-election heresy and credible accounts of his behavior prior to the election have been available for decades, providing the necessary proof that a) he was never validly elected and an interregnum indeed exists (read the Bull Cum ex Apostolatus Officio on the contents page); and b) the need to elect a true pope has existed since October of 1958. (See The Phantom Church in Rome for this documentation.)
  2. Paul 6’s heresies also were well-known pre-election and Canon 2391, no. 1 invalidates any election by the same set of cardinals who have elected an unworthy candidate (John 23rd).
  3. Failure to follow the teaching on conducting elections laid down in Pope Pius XII’s Vacantis Apostolicae Sedis also invalidated the election, as Pope Pius XII infallibly decreed.
  4. Episcopal consecrations without the required papal mandate constitute a usurpation of papal power; this and the violation of papal law voids all acts by Traditionalists per Pope Pius XII’s Vacantis Apostolicae Sedis.
  5. The claim to supplied jurisdiction has always been a ruse intended to distract Traditionalist followers from the real issue — questionable validity. “Supplied jurisdiction” — which cannot exist without a true pope and falsely presupposes valid orders — is therefore a moot point. Traditionalist orders cannot be validated or dismissed without a determination by a true pope.
  6. By pretending these bishops could constitute the Church minus a true pope and focusing on the continuation of the Mass and sacraments, also other familiar ceremonies and external devotions of the Church, those believing they were preserving the Catholic faith whole and entire were lulled into a false sense of security.
  7. In adopting the attitude that the usurpers were valid but destructive elements in the Church and by withholding the true nature of the teachings on “the constitution of the Church and the primacy of jurisdiction of the Roman Pontiff,” Traditionalist leaders and “clergy” maliciously destroyed Catholic trust in and reverence for the papacy. This destruction continues with the campaign now underway against Francis, viciously attacked by those still recognizing him as pope. This because they REFUSE to acknowledge that all those men elected after Pope Pius XII’s death are only usurpers and antichrists serving under the system established by Roncalli and Montini (John 23, Paul 6), diametrically opposed to the true Apostolic Succession.
  8. Given all of the above, Traditionalists have never belonged to the unchangeable Catholic Church of the ages as they believed. And the “priests and bishops” they relied upon to transmit the faith whole and entire would be nothing more than laymen in the eyes of the true Church and are nothing more than laymen today.

“Unless the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it. Unless the Lord keep the city, he watcheth in vain that keepeth it.” (Psalm 126:1)