Bp. Ngo dinh Thuc possessed no special faculties or ordinary jurisdiction
+St. Rose of Lima+
A reader has suggested that I refute a recent attack on my person by a Lefebvre and Thuc defender who suggests that because I promoted and participated in a “papal election” and am a member of the female sex I should maintain perpetual silence and be subject to my male counterparts. (I have heard this many times over the years from male Traditionalists who either are unable or unwilling to do the research necessary to defend their defenseless position.) To begin with, I owe no male any obedience save my husband and then I owe such obedience only as long as it does not contradict anything in way of the faith. Thankfully, my husband has never stood in the way of anything I believed I was required to do regarding my faith, even though he is a convert and has had nothing but horrible examples from Traditionalists regarding what a true male Catholic should be.
Secondly, I have no male counterparts in defending the faith to whom I owe any obedience because none of them are validly or licitly ordained or consecrated, and those laymen pretending to defend the faith under the Traditional banner are nothing more than modern-day Protestant reformers. This has been proven consistently from Church law and teaching so does not need to be reiterated here. I also have repeatedly pointed out on this site that not only am I allowed to defend the faith, I am obligated to do so despite my failings regarding the election of a false pope simply because Pope Pius XII and Church law commands me to do so. This is explained in the article “Where Is Your Imprimatur?” which has been posted on the articles page of my website for many years.
St. Vincent Ferrar did not elect a false pope but he supported one for 22 years, and he was a saint who worked many miracles! No one ever suggested he cease his activities because he made a mistake in good faith and caused others to follow a false pope. I campaigned only to elect a true pope, never the individual actually elected, who I voted for only as a last resort when no others appeared for the “election.” I have explained all this at https://www.betrayedcatholics.com/articles/a-catholics-course-of-study/introduction/how-i-became-involved-in-a-papal-election-and-supported-a-traditionalist-antipope/ but would like to add the following regarding the election facts that so many can never seem to get straight:
Prior to the election, I promoted an imperfect council which I felt was more in keeping with the Church’s teaching on papal elections. That was before I understood that none of those with valid orders could participate in such a council owing to communicatio in sacris and other issues. Once I realized that, I then promoted a papal election, but I never promoted the person later elected, foolishly believing instead a true bishop would show up at the last minute. The person elected was a last-ditch choice because there were no other options, or so those “electing” him were led to believe at the time. Six people attended the election, held at a second-hand store in Belvue, Kansas on July 16, 1990: myself, the “pope-elect,” his parents and a couple from Michigan who had known him for many years. All the original followers eventually departed after I began to expose his errors in 2007, except for his mother. Any followers he has now have been collected since then.
Of course those who are now renewing the attack on the stay-at-home position by referencing the false papal election are supporters of Bp. Ngo dinh Thuc, a man who resigned his position under Popes Pius XI and Pius XII to accept a new position under the false pope Paul 6 as titular bishop of Bulla Regia. Thuc’s followers hold that he received “special faculties” (privileges) from Pope Pius XI on March 15, 1938 which gave him the necessary jurisdiction to perform episcopal consecrations without a papal mandate. The English translation of the privilege bestowed on Thuc by Pope Pius XI reads: “By virtue of the plenitude of powers of the Holy Apostolic See, we appoint as our legate Pierre Martin Ngo Dinh Thuc, titular bishop of Saigon, whom we invest with all the necessary powers for purposes known to us.” No one in Traditional circles ever mention, as far as I’m aware, that these privileges were granted to Thuc in his capacity as a legate to Vietnam for the Apostolic See. Those reporting the existence of these faculties do not cite any canons governing them or note the circumstances that might have a bearing on the nature of the faculties.
Once a legate resigns his office, as Thuc resigned the offices of Vicar Apostolic of Vinh Long (and Titular Bishop of Saesina, Vietnam on November 24,1960, held since January 8,1938), his faculties cease. While he did not resign them to a true Roman Pontiff as Canon 268 stipulates, that really has no bearing on his special faculties. Understanding the types of jurisdiction Thuc held is essential to this case, since neither his powers as a legate or his position as a titular bishop entitle him to any real jurisdiction.
“Titular bishops… cannot perform any episcopal function without the authorization of the diocesan bishop; for as titular bishops they have no ordinary jurisdiction. They can, however, act as auxiliary bishops, i.e. they may be appointed by the pope to assist a diocesan bishop in the exercise of duties arising from the episcopal order but entailing no power of jurisdiction” (Catholic Encyclopedia under bishops). So Thuc could never act to consecrate anyone unless he acted only as a co-consecrator under the bishop of the diocese, if there had been any true bishop under whom he could function. As a titular bishop he did not possess ordinary jurisdiction, or really any jurisdiction of his own at all. As a legate he might have possessed ordinary power, but “The legate goes with ordinary jurisdiction over a whole country or nation,” thereby limiting Thuc’s powers to Vietnam only! (see the Catholic Encyclopedia under this topic). But under the heading regarding legates in Canon Law, Can. 265 states: “…The Roman Pontiff has the right to send legates to any part of the world with or without ecclesiastical jurisdiction.” So without the actual confirmation and itemization of the “necessary powers” granted by Pope Pius XI, no one can be certain that any jurisdiction at all was even granted. While Canon 268 states the office of the legate does not expire with the death of the Roman Pontiff, once again, the faculties granted could only apply to Vietnam. Nowhere does it state in the Canon Laws regarding legates that a legate’s power or jurisdiction, even if granted, is considered universal.
That a wide interpretation of such a privilege is not permissible is found in Can. 67, which explains that: “The extent of a privilege must be judged from the wording of the document, and its scope must not be extended or abridged.” And Can. 79 legislates that where written proof is lacking concerning the nature of a privilege, “no one may cite such a privilege in the external forum… unless he can furnish legal proof that he has received that privilege.” These special faculties are said by Traditionalists to have been renewed by Pope Pius XII in 1939, but no document that we have ever seen confirms this. No official document issued either by Pope Pius XI or Pope Pius XII appears to exist stating what those powers might be, so no one knows the true nature of these privileges unless it is noted in the Acta Apostolica Sedis. In a doubt of law or fact, the law ceases, anyway (Can. 15), although that axiom only works for Traditionalists when they wish to claim exemptions from laws that they cannot excuse themselves from obeying according to Divine law or the law itself. As explained in our Lenten blog series, however, such doubts do not apply where the Sacraments are concerned for where validity is in question, especially in the case of Holy Orders, — where there is a doubt if some Sacramental act is valid — the act is not to be performed and if performed is null and void.
One cannot speculate about any such other powers he might have held, designated by Pope Pius XI as “necessary faculties,” when the Sacraments are at issue. These faculties would need to be spelled out and, in any case, could not be said to amount to the universal jurisdiction granted only to cardinals as explained above in Can. 67. We have only one very faded and vague document granting Thuc the faculties he did possess, which could not have applied to any territory besides Vietnam. But all this is really irrelevant given Thuc’s later actions, which really indicate he lost all rights he ever had to exercise any powers he might ever have received.
Canons 429 and 430
Sede impedita is a Latin term used in Canon Law to refer to an impediment to possessing episcopal sees and their vacancy, whether by death of the bishop, resignation, transfer or privation. Rev. Charles Augustine defined sede impedita in Canon 429 as a “quasi-vacancy,” leading into, in the minds of the material/formal crowd, a perpetually impeded see when applied to the See of Rome. This quasi-vacancy, however has its limitations and conditions. It occurs in cases of exile officially declared, captivity, and mental or physical inhabilitas or incapability. This, according to Woywod-Smith’s commentary, can and does encompass a wide range of possibilities. Some of these include physical and mental debility (listed by Augustine), physical impossibility, inability to travel owing to war or natural disaster, etc. As both Canons 429 and 430 stress, the vacancy is to be filled within set time limits and the bishop is expected to actually occupy his see within four months, according to Augustine. Until this is possible, a vicar capitular is appointed to administer the diocese.
This Canon is enlightening because it goes into detail concerning the “privation” of the see owing to excommunication. This Augustine defines as the “canonical” death of a bishop. Although it is mentioned elsewhere in the Code, excommunication for heresy is not included under this Canon specifically. But if it was mentioned it would be considered a “tacit resignation,” incurred by the fact itself, or ipso facto, as Canon 188 no. 4 states. Such resignation would be effective immediately and would require no acceptance, only evidence of the facts in the case.
Thuc resigned his offices in Vietnam in 1960 after being appointed Archbishop of Hue by John 23, a position, of course, which he never actually received. This was three years before the war began in earnest in Vietnam resulting in the death of his brother Ngo dinh Diem. He and his brother would later be accused of graft, corruption and persecution of Buddhists during the period between 1960-1963, and perhaps even earlier, before the war prevented him from returning to Vietnam. He went from being Archbishop of Hue to titular bishop of Bulla Regia in 1968 under Paul 6. It could easily be the case that he lost any offices he ever possessed in Vietnam owing to exile or war, as stated under Can. 429, or that he forfeited his special privileges owing to abuse and deserved to be deprived of them, as mentioned in Canon 78.
Canons 2314 and 188 no. 4
But most importantly, Thuc tacitly resigned his office under Can. 188 no. 4, as Canon Law states, when he received his appointments as Archbishop of Hue and titular Bishop of Bulla Regia from the usurper Paul 6. Traditionalists cannot on the one hand condemn everything the Novus Ordo does as heretical and hold its ministers innocent of heresy. Canon 2314 on heresy states: “All apostates from the Christian faith and each and every heretic or schismatic incur the following penalties: (1) ipso facto excommunication; …(3) If they have joined a non-Catholic sect or have publicly adhered to it, they incur infamy ipso facto, and if they are clerics and the admonition to repent has been fruitless, they shall be degraded. Canon 188 no. 4 provides, moreover, that the cleric who publicly abandons the Catholic faith loses every ecclesiastical office ipso facto and without any declaration.”
Communicatio in sacris differs from simple heresy
Rev. Charles Augustine in his Canon Law commentary defines the non-Catholic sects referred to in regard to Can. 2314 as “Any religious society established in opposition to the Catholic Church, whether it consists of infidels, pagans, Jews, Moslems, non-Catholics, or schismatics.” In this case, it is schismatics. Formal membership is required for the delict to occur, according to the law, and no more formal membership exists than to be a minister in such a sect. The heretical act is expressed by either joining the sect or expounding its beliefs. In his dissertation The Delict of Heresy (1932), Rev. Eric MacKenzie, A.M., S.T.L., J.C.L. states: “In either case, the delinquent incurs first the basic excommunication inflicted on simple heresy. In addition, as a penalty for his aggravated delict, he incurs juridical infamy ipso facto, whether or no there is further official action by the Church.” Attwater’s Catholic Dictionary defines infamy as “A stigma attached in canon law to the character of a person…” Juridical infamy or infamy of law is a special punitive penance or vindicative penalty attached to certain grave offenses. It includes “repulsion from any ministry in sacred functions and disqualification for legitimate ecclesiastical acts.” (Under Can. 2294, Revs. Woywod-Smith qualify these acts as invalid.) Also, under Can. 188 no. 4, one who has engaged in non-Catholic worship “no longer has any rights or powers deriving from [an ecclesiastical] position,” (Ibid).
Concerning the exception made by Can. 2261 §2 MacKenzie relates: “If a priest has incurred more than a simple excommunication — [if he has] resigned his office by joining a non-Catholic sect,” he cannot even assist at marriages. And of course with the penalty for infamy of law comes loss of jurisdiction, if it was ever granted, so neither can he hear confessions or preach, even at the request of the faithful, because such acts would be null and void. And regardless of any existing censures, MacKenzie explains that to make use of Can. 2261 §2 requires that “the power of jurisdiction [be] already possessed.”
If these individuals attacking this site would actually do the research the Church demands that they do to present the truth to those who are seeking it, they would know that the powers they assign to Thuc are bogus. The only reason this site exists is that they fail to do their due diligence. Helping those desperate to maintain the status quo in a world devoid of all spirituality is a fruitless task. The status quo long ago vanished, and we find ourselves in the midst of the time following the death of Antichrist that St. Thomas Aquinas anticipated. Those who cannot accept that would have ranged themselves on the side of the Jews following the destruction of their temple in 70 A.D., as Christ prophesied. We too have seen the destruction of our temples of worship. But nothing, as St. Paul says, can keep those of us who choose to follow only Him from the love of Christ.
Those who think so little of the heresies of communicatio in sacris committed by Lefebvre, Thuc and other Traditionalists who once embraced the Novus Ordo and celebrated its false mass should consider the words below written by Fr. Frederick Faber:
“If we hated sin as we ought to hate it, purely, keenly, manfully, we should do more penance, we should inflict more self-punishment, we should sorrow for our sins more abidingly. Then, again, the crowning disloyalty to God is heresy. It is the sin of sins, the very loathsomest of things which God looks down upon in this malignant world. Yet how little do we understand of its excessive hatefulness! It is the polluting of God’s truth, which is the worst of all impurities.
“Yet how light we make of it! We look at it, and are calm. We touch it and do not shudder. We mix with it, and have no fear. We see it touch holy things, and we have no sense of sacrilege. We breathe its odor, and show no signs of detestation or disgust. Some of us affect its friendship; and some even extenuate its guilt. We do not love God enough to be angry for His glory. We do not love men enough to be charitably truthful for their souls.
“Having lost the touch, the taste, the sight, and all the senses of heavenly-mindedness, we can dwell amidst this odious plague, in imperturbable tranquility, reconciled to its foulness, not without some boastful professions of liberal admiration, perhaps even with a solicitous show of tolerant sympathies.
“Why are we so far below the old saints, and even the modern apostles of these latter times, in the abundance of our conversations? Because we have not the antique sternness? We want the old Church-spirit, the old ecclesiastical genius. Our charity is untruthful, because it is not severe; and it is unpersuasive, because it is untruthful.
“We lack devotion to truth as truth, as God’s truth. Our zeal for souls is puny, because we have no zeal for God’s honor. We act as if God were complimented by conversions, instead of trembling souls rescued by a stretch of mercy.
“We tell men half the truth, the half that best suits our own pusillanimity and their conceit; and then we wonder that so few are converted, and that of those few so many apostatize.
“We are so weak as to be surprised that our half-truth has not succeeded so well as God’s whole truth. Where there is no hatred of heresy, there is no holiness.
“A man, who might be an apostle, becomes a fester in the Church for the want of this righteous indignation,” (emphases added).
(The Precious Blood, published in 1860)