by T. Stanfill Benns | Jul 21, 2016 | Uncategorized
+ Our Lady of Mt. Carmel +
Finally back on the site and hope to be posting these regularly. My apologies to all.
It seems that the argument of validity versus liciety of Traditional “priests” ordained personally by Lefevbre and Thuc will not go away, despite irrefutable proofs offered to the contrary. To begin with a distinction must be made between those ordained as priests by these men and those consecrated as bishops. Not many if any Traditional priests, to my knowledge, can any longer claim direct descent from Thuc and Lefebvre. (While some believe Lefebvre was validly ordained and consecrated, questions concerning the Masonic affiliations of Lefebvre’s ordaining bishop and consecrator Achille Lienart clearly bring his own ordination, hence later consecration, into serious doubt). Some of the priests created by these two men subsequently have been “consecrated” bishops, and as such are vitandus-level heretics. Others may still be functioning as priests, yet their ordinations were never verified as certainly valid, nor can they be at this late date. And papal documents cited only later in the Traditional game prove they are not just illicit but doubtfully valid, and cannot function unless dispensed by the pope himself. This is because all those who followed Lefebvre and Thuc engaged in heresy and schism, and could not be abjured and absolved because no one possessed the necessary faculties to accomplish this. And Can. 2314 adds to heresy — and it has been proven without a doubt that that both Lefebvre and Thuc were heretics — the vindicative penalty of infamy of law, which requires a dispensation only the pope can grant, (Can. 2295). We have no true pope, ergo…
Therefore Lefebvre’s priests’ ordinations, also Thuc’s, are doubtfully valid AT BEST. Why is it important to make this distinction? First of all, because the truth matters. Secondly, because Pope Pius IX and Pope Pius XII have infallibly decreed that this is the case. And thirdly, some believe that because these priests are only “illicit” they may be called to give last rites in danger or death, and there are a (rare) few validly ordained priests left to call. Some canon lawyers and theologians have opined, however, that when summoning a heretic for Extreme Unction under Can. 2261§ 2, there is always a danger of perversion so one is better to simply make a perfect Act of Contrition and Spiritual Communion, or if unable have others pray for and with the person who is dying. Most are in a compromised mental when close to death, and certainly this is not time to try and ward off dangers to the faith. But when the person in question is doubtfully valid, there is actually serious doubt that one is even receiving the Sacrament. The Church teaches that this risk cannot be taken without endangering one’s soul, and so those priests whose ordinations were performed by Lefebvre or Thuc or any other schismatic or heretic bishop cannot be summoned in danger of death.
In his decision that schismatic bishops can never appoint or elect Catholic bishops to an office, Pope Pius IX taught in Etsi multa:
“24. But these men, having progressed more boldly in the ways of wickedness and destruction, as happens to heretical sects from God’s just judgment, have wished to create a hierarchy also for themselves, as we have intimated. They have chosen and set up a pseudo-bishop, a certain notorious apostate from the Catholic faith…
“25. But as even the rudiments of Catholic faith declare, no one can be considered a bishop who is not linked in communion of faith and love with Peter, upon whom is built the Church of Christ; who does not adhere to the supreme Pastor to whom the sheep of Christ are committed to be pastured; and who is not bound to the confirmer of fraternity which is in the world. 26. Therefore following the custom and example of Our Predecessors and of holy legislation, BY THE POWER GRANTED TO US FROM HEAVEN, We declare the election of the said [Old Catholic bishop], performed against the sanctions of the holy canons to be illicit, null, and void. We furthermore declare his consecration sacrilegious. We additionally excommunicate whoever has adhered to them and belonging to their party has furnished help, favor, aid, or consent. We declare, proclaim, and COMMAND that they are separated from the communion of the Church. They are to be considered among those with whom all faithful Christians are forbidden by the Apostle to associate and have social exchange to such an extent that, as he plainly states, they may not even be greeted,” [VITANDUS!] (http://www.papalencyclicals.net/Pius09/p9etsimu.htm). In Quartus Supra, Pope Pius IX clearly states that even without a formal declaration, the Armenians resisting the authority of the papal see were considered schismatics. Likewise all who “avoid carrying out their orders” (those of the Roman Pontiffs) are reckoned as schismatics.
And also from Graves ac diuturnae, Pope Pius IX teaches on such Old Catholics: “They repeatedly state openly that they do not in the least reject the Catholic Church and its visible head but rather that they are zealous for the purity of Catholic doctrine declaring that they are the heirs of the ancient faith and the only true Catholics. But in fact they refuse to acknowledge all the divine prerogatives of the vicar of Christ on earth and do not submit to His supreme magisterium…You should remind them to beware of these treacherous enemies of the flock of Christ and their poisoned foods. They should totally shun their religious celebrations, their buildings, and their chairs of pestilence which they have with impunity established to transmit the sacred teachings. They should shun their writings and all contact with them. They should not have any dealings or meetings with usurping priests and apostates from the faith who dare to exercise the duties of an ecclesiastical minister without possessing a legitimate mission or any jurisdiction. They should avoid them as strangers and thieves who come only to steal, slay, and destroy…”
The Old Catholics were the model for ALL Traditional organizations. It is clear from these teachings that no one without committing mortal sin can associate with or receive doubtfully valid Sacraments from such persons without also becoming heretics and schismatics. Pope Pius VI further taught in Charitas: “10. “For the right of ordaining bishops belongs only to the Apostolic See, as the Council of Trent declares; it cannot be assumed by any bishop or metropolitan without obliging Us to declare schismatic both those who ordain and those who are ordained, thus invalidating their future actions…24. They must not grant dimissorial letters for ordinations. Nor must they appoint, depute, or confirm pastors, vicars, missionaries, helpers, functionaries, ministers, or others, whatever their title, for the care of souls and the administration of the Sacraments UNDER ANY PRETEXT OF NECESSITY WHATSOEVER… 26. “We command those who have been or are to be elected, to behave in no way as archbishops, bishops, parish priests, or vicars nor to call themselves by the name of any cathedral or parochial church, nor to assume any jurisdiction, authority, or faculty for the care of souls under the penalty of suspension and invalidity.”
These men cannot function in the capacity of bishops whether elected or self-appointed, (DZ 967). They may have received orders but not jurisdiction, and the pope is declaring the acts they perform null and void for want of an office approved by him and the subsequent jurisdiction that goes with it. Pope Pius XII, in Vacantis Apostolica Sedis, only reiterates the teachings above, applying them specifically to an interregnum such as we have experienced for the past 58 years come this October.
“1. “We decree that whatever power or jurisdiction pertaining to the Roman Pontiff, while he is alive (unless in as far as it is expressly permitted in this, Our Constitution) the meeting of Cardinals itself may have taken for exercising, is null and void. 3. “Laws given by the Roman Pontiffs are in no way able to be corrected or changed through the meeting of the cardinals of the Roman Church [the See] being vacant; nor is anything able to be taken away or added, nor is there able to be made any dispensation in any manner concerning the laws themselves or some part of them. This is very evident from pontifical Constitutions [on]…the election of the Roman Pontiff. But if anything contrary to this prescript occurs or is by chance attempted, we declare it BY OUR SUPREME AUTHORITY to be null and void,” (Vacantis Apostolica Sedis, paras.1- 3, Ch. 1; Pope Pius XII, 1945.)
The laws of the Church concerning dimissorial letters and assignments to a diocese were violated and these priests never received an office, as Pope Pius VI teaches above. This was a law, “…given by the Roman Pontiff(s).” According to Can. 147, “An ecclesiastical office cannot be 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,” (Can. 147). In addition, “Those who have been assigned to the divine ministry at least by the first tonsure are called clerics,” (Can. 108). Can. 118: “Only clerics can obtain the power of either orders or ecclesiastical jurisdiction…” Rev. Charles Augustine, commenting on Can. 118 explains that the nature of first tonsure clearly indicates that it arises from the Ordinary’s office as an act issuing from his jurisdictional faculties granted by the Pope and not specifically the power of Orders, since tonsure is not an order but a ceremony or rite. These men are ordered by Pope Pius VI to assume no “jurisdiction, authority, or faculty.” And Thuc and Lefebvre lost their jurisdiction through their many heresies.
No one is denying that men fit for ordination become priests when unquestionably validly ordained by validly ordained and consecrated bishops, (and I do believe that Lefebvre’s ordination AND consecration were doubtfully valid). But those asserting their validity must prove:
1. Their fitness for ordination under the 1917 Code, (Canons 973-974, also Canons 983-988);
2. Absolution from the proper bishop, abjuration made for such heresy and schism;
3. Dispensation from infamy of law by a true pope;
4. Possession of dimissorial letters, (Can. 955).
And without such proofs, which they cannot provide, there can be no certitude of their validity! In 1347, the Holy See condemned the heresy that certainty cannot be obtained by resorting to the Thomistic method, (DZ 553-54; 556). All these teachings come to us from the very decrees of Christ’s vicars whose decisions we are bound to abide by, regardless of our “opinions” or the teachings of self-appointed “experts.” We are certain these men are invalid because they are proclaimed to be such from the mouth of infallible formal certitude. The Vatican Council teaches that where papal teaching is concerned, “It is not sufficient to shun heretical iniquity, unless those errors are also shunned which come more or less close to it,” (DZ 1820). Language matters; liciety is lawfulness, and without it one cannot function as a legitimate pastor according to DZ 967. But validity means such men are conducting ceremonies which amount to idol worship, simulating Mass and Sacraments and worshipping a piece of bread as the Body of Christ. For even those who justify their attendance at Traditional “masses” by claiming their actions are only “illicit” believe they are receiving Christ in the Eucharist, (although gravely sinning in the process). This reduces Traditionalism to nothing more than paganism.
As St. Robert Bellarmine taught, a doubtful pope is no pope. Therefore a doubtful priest is no priest, just as a (truly) doubtful law is no law. Yes, Trads have cited the canon saying that orders have the presumption of validity, but presumption must yield to infallible truth under the law itself (Can. 1827) and the teachings of Trent echoed in the Sacred Canons. Infallible papal laws and teachings cannot help but prevail over presumptions which hold for the usual, not the extraordinary case. In the 1347 errors of Nicholas Autrecort, one error stands out as particularly applicable to the situation today. Autrecort falsely held that evidence from one matter could not be used to draw inferences from or arrive at conclusions regarding another matter. This is precisely how the rules governing doubtful laws read in Canon Law. One is to use parallel passages in the Code, the purpose and circumstances of the law and determine the intent of the legislator to resolve a doubtful law. Here the legislator is assumed to be the pope (in most cases) and the councils, as commentators on the Code have affirmed.
The footnotes to the Canons, recommended for use in Can. 6 §4 in cases of doubt where one must follow the old law, also are a fruitful source of remedies. Traditionalists, in citing the laws and practices of the Church in the past to justify the absence of a papal mandate regarding episcopal consecrations totally ignore Canon Law. For while it was true that in the past there were bishops chosen without papal mandate in certain cases, recent laws issued by Pope Pius XII make it clear that such practices are no longer tolerated, (Ad Apostolorum Principis and Mediator Dei). Canon 22 states: “A more recent law given by the competent authority abolishes a former law…if it is directly contrary to the old law.” Also no evidence is admissible, Rev. Amleto Cicognani says, against documents signed by the Roman Pontiffs. This was precisely the reason for the Vatican Council definition of the jurisdictional supremacy of the Roman Pontiff; once Rome has spoken, the cause is finished.
Maintaining that bishops may validly exercise orders received from heretics and schismatics outside the jurisdiction of the Roman Pontiff is a subterfuge which qualifies as heresy on two different counts. First of all, it contradicts the infallible decision of Pope Pius XII in Mystici Corpus and Ad Sinarum Gentum that bishops receive their jurisdiction only through the Roman Pontiff who has the right to regulate such jurisdiction; not directly from Christ Himself. Secondly, it denies that the Pope has the power to exercise this right over bishops and limit such jurisdiction, when the Vatican Council has decreed that “The Roman Pontiff has 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 things which pertain to the discipline and government of the Church,” (DZ 1831). Those who count as only illicit the ministrations of Traditionalists must ask themselves: Do I accept papal teaching in its entirety, believing all the popes, St. Peter through Pius XII, have taught concerning divine revelation, without reservation? Because THAT is the true measure of a Catholic.
by T. Stanfill Benns | Feb 22, 2014
© Copyright 2014, T. Stanfill Benns (This text may be downloaded or printed out for private reading, but it may not be uploaded to another Internet site or published, electronically or otherwise, without express written permission from the author. All emphasis within quotes is the author’s unless indicated otherwise.)
Supplied jurisdiction, for all intents and purposes has ceased to be an issue because the suppletory source no longer exists. Only a canonically elected pope possesses the power to supply jurisdiction because he is the supreme holder of jurisdiction and has always been the only source of the supplying power in the past, (Pope Pius XII was the last of these popes). Once it was made clear that no one can supply jurisdiction during an interregnum, and Pope Pius XII’s infallible constitution Vacantis Apostolica Sedis leaves no room for doubt, all the claims to possess such jurisdiction became groundless. The task left to those who wish to puzzle out the full consequences of the jurisdiction muddle is to determine what acts trace back to jurisdiction and who possessed it following the election of Angelo Roncalli. The easiest way to do this is to study the conferral of Orders, because bishops cannot validly function unless they receive their jurisdiction (office, confirmed and conferred by papal mandate) from a valid pope. They cannot delegate jurisdiction unless they have received this mandate. Ordinary jurisdiction comes with the office and if there is no office there is no jurisdiction.
Ordinaries and other bishops are responsible not only for delegating jurisdiction to priests but also for making candidates for the priesthood actual clerics by conferring first tonsure. “Those who have been assigned to the divine ministry at least by the first tonsure are called clerics,” (Can. 108). Can. 118: “Only clerics can obtain the power of either orders or ecclesiastical jurisdiction…” And following it, Can. 147: “An ecclesiastical office cannot be validly obtained without canonical provision. Canonical provision means the grant of an ecclesiastical office by competent ecclesiastical authority, made according to the sacred canons,” (Can. 147). Rev. Charles Augustine, commenting on Can. 118 explains that the nature of first tonsure clearly indicates that it arises from the Ordinary’s office as an act issuing from his jurisdictional faculties granted by the Pope and not specifically the power of Orders, since tonsure is not an order but a ceremony or rite. According to Can. 949, tonsure is not listed among the rites to be given according to the power of orders. Can. 950 includes it among the terms of order, ordination, and sacred ordination, but this is for ease of reference and does not indicate any real inclusion as an actual order. Revs. Stanislaus Woywod and Callistus Smith, (“A practical Commentary on the Code of Canon Law,” 1957) explain in their history of ordination that, “Tonsure is not an order but a sacred ceremony by which young men are enlisted in the ranks of the clergy before they receive any orders.”
If tonsure is not an order, and the laws of the Church indicate it is not, then heretical and schismatic bishops who have no jurisdiction cannot validly convey it, anymore than they can validly absolve penitents when they hear confessions. When Revs. Woywod-Smith explain what validly consecrated bishops can do in regards to actual Orders, they state only that they can validly “confer all orders from the minor orders to the episcopate inclusively,” (commentary on Can. 951). This does not include tonsure although it presupposes it, since one becomes a cleric only through tonsure and only clerics can receive Orders. Even if Traditionalists could claim missionary status and pretend they were acting in the stead of an actual ordinary, (not possible according to Can. 147), Can. 957 states they could only administer tonsure to those of their own territory, which they cannot and do not possess! No bishop of any description can administer tonsure to those outside their territory and if they do, Revs. Woywod-Smith note in comments on Can. 294, they must produce dimissorial letters from the proper Ordinaries. If they cannot and do not produce these, tonsure is not valid. The offices of these Ordinaries do not exist, the Ordinaries themselves do not exist and so neither could any jurisdiction exist issuing from these offices that would allow these men to validly tonsure subjects. This is especially true seeing that their own “episcopal” status is doubtful, issuing from schismatics whose Orders and/or intention in receiving them and conferring them were questionable at best. Having established this foundation, we proceed to the next section.
Status of those ordained and/or consecrated under Pius XII:
So clearly it is of the utmost importance for Catholics solicitous for their souls to determine how this affects the Sacrament of Orders these suspected vitandus have conveyed since the death of Pope Pius XII. Because some have implied that we are impugning the validity of orders conferred by heretical and schismatic bishops, although we have never denied that ordinarily they can validly confer these orders while a Roman Pontiff reigns, it will be helpful to examine the chronology of those receiving orders since the death of Pius XII. For as Rev. Adolphe Tanquerey, whose works were used as seminary texts reminds us, “The power [of supreme jurisdiction] over the universal Church is given immediately by God to the Roman Pontiff once he is [canonically] elected and accepts his office [Canons 109, 219]; this power comes to an end at the time of his death or of his resignation,” (“Manual of Dogmatic Theology,” Vol. I, p. 152; 1959) And we have in the articles list Pope Pius XII’s constitution Vacantis Apostolica Sedis that backs this up: No one may usurp papal jurisdiction during an interregnum, and this declaration is infallible. A chronology of the orders mentioned is addressed in the numbered headers listed below.
Those priests and bishops validly and licitly ordained and consecrated
before the death of Pope Pius XII:
These bishops were not held culpable until the death of Pope Pius XII and before they realized the imposture of John 23rd or Paul 6. Had they at that time remained in their respective dioceses and chosen to begin the work to elect a true pope; had they never engaged in the V2 council or accepted the changes to the Mass made by John 23, or at least left the minute they realized that these changes violated Divine tradition, they would have retained full faculties. Francis Shuckardt, who started out as a lay worker for the Blue Army in the 1960s, was one of several early Traditional bishops. He held the Novus Ordo Missae as invalid, renounced Vatican 2 as a false council and rejected Paul 6 as an antipope. He was ordained in October 1971 and consecrated a bishop only days later, in November of the same year. His consecrator was an Old Catholic bishop who abjured his heresy, professed Catholicism, ordained and consecrated Schuckardt, then shortly thereafter, returned to the Old Catholics. Did he validly tonsure Shuckardt? No, because the jurisdictional power needed to convey valid tonsure was lacking, and no pope existed at that time to supply for it.
Did he possess the proper intention to ordain Shuckardt given the fact that he returned to his heresy? This poses a positive doubt that he did not, and as Pope Innocent XI decreed in DZ 1151, probable opinions about the validity of the Sacraments cannot be used to confer or receive them. Innocent XI’s proposition is one of many listed by the Catholic Encyclopedia under excommunications deserving of censure, (see excommunications). And it is the unanimous opinion of theologians, cited as infallible by Pope Pius IX (DZ 1792) and by moral theologians such as Davis and Prummer that probable opinions cannot be used to receive the Sacraments. Shuckardt was the founding Father of Mt. St. Mary’s in Spokane, Wash., later taken over by the CMRI. He ordained a number of priests and several bishops, and some have claimed he considered himself the true pope.
Scandals involving drugs, sex and weapons, also large amounts of money, made the news at one point, and many consider Schuckardt to have been a cult leader. He died in 2006.
Abp. Marcel Lefebvre and Bp. Peter Martin Ngo-dinh-Thuc signed Vatican 2
documents; this is a public fact. For years Lefebvre’s apologists denied he had
signed them. At that point both suffered the consequences of Can. 1258, lost all jurisdiction according to the censures for heresy and schism and incurred infamy of law. For all intents and purposes, Lefebvre and Thuc never left the Novus Ordo church, with Thuc reportedly hearing confessions and assisting at the NOM right up to the time he issued his declaration and consecrated des Lauriers, as Patrick Henry noted in his My Petition for Spiritual Help refuting the claims of the late “Bp.” Louis Vezelis, (http://www.jmjsite.com). See also http://bishopjosephmarie.org/doctrine/wolvesamongthesheep.html , (although inclusion of this link in this document is in no way whatsoever to be considered an endorsement of the site, its content or the Traditionalist who operates it). But really their signing of Vatican 2 documents, while telling of course, is not the only evidence of their cooperation with schismatics. Communicatio in sacris is proven by their other connections to the false church in Rome; Lefebvre in his negotiations with them and recognition of popes after Pope Pius XII as valid, and Thuc for the same reason For regardless of any pretended denouncement of them and supposed founding of sedevacantism, in the end he returned to his vomit.
Most priests began functioning as Traditionalists after 1969, setting up their own chapels independently or under the banner of such organizations as the Orthodox Roman Catholic Movement or the Catholic Traditionalist Movement. Lefebvre, of course had his “priories.” And Thuc was a notorious schismatic even before he laid hands on des Lauriers. Even the Novus Ordo church rightly saw his Palmar ordinations and consecrations as schismatic. After establishing a seminary in Econe, Switzerland in 1971, Lefebvre went on to ordain priests, beginning in 1976. He had to have known that without jurisdiction or papal mandate from Paul 6, he acted outside the law. Thuc also ordained and consecrated several men, beginning in 1975. Did they validly tonsure these men? No, because the jurisdictional power needed to convey valid tonsure was lacking, lost by communicating with the schismatic anti-Church in Rome. Furthermore, no pope existed at that time to supply for it, as was the case with Shuckardt as well. By these acts, Shuckardt, Lefebvre and also Lefebvre’s friend Thuc incurred the ipso facto excommunication under Can. 147 and should be considered as suspected vitandus, for the very reason that they repeatedly and contemptuously violated Canon Law.
Those priests acting quietly in their own jurisdictions privately for the good of the faithful and not joining these other schismatic groups also lost all jurisdiction they might have had at one time when the time or case limit for that jurisdiction ran out. A very few had missionary faculties or other special grants of power that would have allowed them to minister privately to the faithful indefinitely, as long as they did not join a schismatic group, venture outside their jurisdiction, or commit schism or heresy some other way. It must be remembered that some 10,000 men in America abandoned the priesthood between 1963-1976 and France lost nearly half of her priests, (Catholic Research Centre brochure, Brisbane Australia; circa 1980s). So in reality, there were very few indeed left to even consider the Traditional “alternative.”
Those priests in the seminary at the time of Pope Pius XII’s death receiving ordination/consecration after the death of Pius XII from bishops consecrated before the death of Pope Pius XII:
Those receiving valid tonsure were called by the proper bishop, and are assumed to have already received tonsure from these bishops before Pope Pius XII’s death. They also are assumed to have been ordained before the rites changed in 1968. These men actually became clerics. By all appearances, they were later validly but illicitly ordained and consecrated. Their first Masses, however, were said in communion with an antipope; also those in communion with an antipope assigned the offices they received. They basically were in the service of a non-Catholic Church by the time they received ordination, whether they understood this or not. And even though a few later left this church, they did not do so to elect a true pope but to set up yet another schismatic, non-Catholic church. These men incurred infamy of law and were barred from celebrating divine services and fulfilling their other duties. Their consecrating bishops signed V2 documents and remained in the NO church. Therefore their intention to do what the Church does in ordaining these men was suspect, making their ordinations doubtful.
Those already in the seminary at the time of Pope Pius XII’s death who received priestly or Episcopal orders after the death of Pius XII, from bishops consecrated after Pius XII’s death by bishops validly and licitly ordained and consecrated before Oct. 9, 1958.
The men in group (3) are assumed to have been “called” by bishops who were established in office under John 23. These bishops did not receive episcopal office according to Pope Paul IV’s bull “Cum ex…” although they appeared to do so. For Pope Paul IV’s bull states that once the heresy of an antipope becomes manifest: “To any so promoted to be Bishops, or Archbishops, or Patriarchs, or Primates or elevated as Cardinals, or as Roman Pontiff, no authority shall have been granted, nor shall it be considered to have been so granted either in the spiritual or the temporal domain.” This law is retained in the 1917 Code as a Fontes under Canons 188§4 and 2314 so is the parent law concerning heresy and loss of office — the old law — to be followed according to Can. 6§4. They therefore could not call men to the priesthood and their administration of first tonsure was invalid. This is true because the bishops creating these priests (prior to 1968) were not directly ordained by bishops in group (1) but received orders from second-tier bishops — bishops not validly and licitly ordained under Pius XII but validly and illicitly (no papal mandate) created after his death by those in group (1).
Pope Innocent III insists that only “By the tonsure given according to the form of the Church [is] the clerical status conferred,” (Woywod-Smith). Who must confer it? Pope Innocent III again tells us in his profession of faith proposed to the Waldenses (DZ 424) that the consecration of the Eucharist and the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass cannot be performed by just anyone, “however honest, religious, holy and prudent [he] may be…Unless he be a priest, regularly ordained by a visible and perceptible bishop.” (The Waldenses were wont to allow those not ordained to handle holy things and administer the Sacraments.) Pope Innocent III defines such a priest as one who is “established by a bishop for that office; and those solemn words which have been expressed by the holy Fathers in the canon; and the faithful intention of the one who offers himself. And so we firmly believe and declare that whosever without the preceding episcopal ordination believes and contends that he can offer the Sacrifice of the Eucharist is a heretic and is a participant and companion of the perdition of Core and his followers and he must be segregated from the entire holy Roman Church.” Therefore, no one can become a cleric who has not validly received first tonsure from the hand of one possessing the necessary jurisdiction to so convey it, and only clerics can be “regularly ordained,” (Canons 118, 147, 154, 453).
Those trained in seminaries established by Pope Pius XII receiving:
• priestly or Episcopal orders in the ancient rite (before 1968), or
• from bishops consecrated after Pius XII’s death by those bishops validly and licitly ordained and consecrated before Oct. 9, 1958,
• who therefore believe they received both papal mandate and jurisdiction from John 23 are in the same boat as those in no. 3 above. They have not received certainly valid tonsure and therefore cannot be considered for ordination.
Not considered here are those who a) were ordained or consecrated in the new rites; b) in seminaries established by John 23 and operated by bishops who received both their papal mandate and “jurisdiction” from him or c) were tonsured/ordained/consecrated by Conclavist “popes.” Item (c) will be discussed at greater length below.
Those in group (4) essentially were incorporated into the NO and really do not differ
from those in group (5), or for that matter, those in group (3). There are, then, it seems, very few men who became actual clerics post-1958 and fewer still who became Traditionalists. Fr. Louis Vezelis was ordained in 1956. He was consecrated by “Bp.” Musey who was raised to the episcopate on April 1, 1982 in Acapulco, Mexico, by Bishop Moises Carmona, assisted by Bishop Adolfo Zamora. Musey consecrated Vezelis that same year. Both of these men received their consecrations from Bp. Thuc. Musey reportedly had connections to the autocephalous Traditional Byzantine Rite Church and
to the Old Catholics. Fr. McKenna was ordained in June 1958 and consecrated by
Guerard des Lauriers (deceased), who also received episcopal orders from Bp. Thuc. Unfortunately, all these men’s orders were doubtfully valid, coming as they did through the Thuc line, (see http://www.jmjsite.com as noted above; McKenna’s, Musey’s and Vezelis’ orders were even more doubtful than des Lauriers’). According to the criteria used by Pope Leo XIII to determine the validity of Anglican orders, these second-tier bishops do not enjoy the same presumption of validity enjoyed by the initial breakaway bishops, who themselves were validly ordained and consecrated. But in the end, it would matter little. All those mentioned in the first part of this paragraph were excommunicated under Can. 147 for seeking their orders from notorious schismatics to fulfill the at least implicit requests of the laity and suffered infamy of law.
In conclusion, owing to a lack of jurisdiction, those men tonsured after the death of Pope
Pius XII by bishops receiving jurisdiction from John 23 were never tonsured because
John 23 could not provide jurisdiction, either as a pope or a bishop. Those providing tonsure with jurisdiction received during the reign of Pope Pius XII but after his death gave valid tonsure before the insertion of St. Joseph into the Canon of the Mass and the first session of Vatican 2. Nearly all of the men acting as priests today did not receive valid tonsure because even those receiving jurisdiction from Pope Pius XII lost any jurisdiction they had by affiliating with the schismatic Vatican 2 church, (Can. 2314 no. 3; communicatio in sacris) and tonsure is a jurisdictional act. Nor was there a Supreme Pontiff who could supply it. Valid tonsure is required for valid and licit ordination. Therefore, juridically speaking, these men remain laymen. The few who were validly ordained or consecrated incurred the censure attached to Can. 1258, also infamy of law the minute they set up or were assigned to a chapel and/or established a Traditionalist sect. Here we have in mind Shuckardt, Vezelis McKenna and others. Everything they did from then on was nullified in advance of its performance; it never happened. Lefebvre and Thuc signed V2 documents as members of a non-Catholic sect, incurred infamy of law and also incurred other censures for their ordinations and consecrations, which, once again were nullified in advance and never happened. This is not a judgment but only the conclusions and consequences of those Canon Laws to which ipso facto penalties are already attached. The class of laws that govern Canons 984 no. 5, 985 no. 1 and 2294§1 on infamy of law is called invalidating and incapacitating laws, and these Msgr. Cicognani explains at length here from his “Canon Law,” (1935) in the next section.
“An invalidating law is one that renders invalid, that is of no value, acts which by the natural law and the general principles of positive or human law would otherwise be valid…Such acts should be termed unperformed acts or acts that are null and void in themselves. For the Latin irrito means the same as irritum reddo, that is, I make invalid or of no value…A disqualifying law is one that renders a person incapable of performing certain acts…It does not directly affect the act, but the person. Thus if a cleric in major orders attempts marriage, the contract is null, for Can. 1072 imposes this disability on clerics in major orders…If the laws forbid and at the same time nullify an act, they oblige in conscience to omit the act…[Invalidating and disqualifying laws] demand that certain acts are not to be upheld as valid, nor are they to be considered as a source of rights or emoluments…The Roman law considered a law perfect when it both forbade something to be done, and if done, rescinded it. (This is exactly what Pope Pius XII declares in Vacantis Apostolica Sedis.) A less perfect law was one which forbade something to be done, and if done did not rescind the act but imposed a penalty on the transgressor.” Roman law, officially interpreted by the lawmakers, decreed that if prohibited acts were performed they were “to be considered as having never taken place, even though the lawgiver only forbade them. Canon Law adopted this law by making it one of the [Rules of Law] in the Liber Sextus: ‘That which is done against the law must be considered as not done at all.’”
“Canon 1680 declares that an act is null and void when either the essential constituents of the act are wanting, or some formalities or conditions are lacking which the Sacred Canons require under nullity. So too Can. 1148§ 2 declares that consecrations and blessings …are invalid if the formula prescribed by the Church is not employed.” Cicognani makes it clear that the law “must decree that the act is null, that the person is disqualified and this it must state either explicitly or equivalently. There is explicit invalidation when [it is] declared in clear and manifest terms; implicit when equivalent terms are used.” Canons 147, 153, 154 and 453 above all are invalidating laws. Canons 147 and 153 seem to satisfy this demand; that the person is disqualified and the act null and void. Canons 154 and 453 mention only that certain acts performed without the necessary requirements when appointing clerics to office are invalid. Can 1680, however, declares that, “An act is null and void only when either the essential constituents of the act are wanting or some formalities or conditions are lacking which the Sacred Canons require under pain of nullity.” And what is wanting in both these canons are men who actually received tonsure and validly and licitly became priests.
What we have today, if we believe the teachings of the Popes and Canon Law, are men who never became priests dressing up in cassocks and simulating the Sacraments. Traditionalists can choose to believe their erstwhile “priests” and phony bishops if they like but they are disobeying the popes and denying the papacy. No one is permitted to usurp papal jurisdiction during an interregnum. No one may violate the laws and teachings of the popes during a vacancy of the Holy See. If we do not accept this with a firm and irrevocable assent we are automatically outside the Church. That no one recognizes this fact proves beyond a reasonable doubt that they never understood what the Catholic Church was really all about in the first place.
by T. Stanfill Benns | Feb 19, 2012
Ordination/Consecration by Schismatics is Conditionally Valid, but Acts Emanating From Schismatic Orders Are Null and Void
© Copyright 2009, revised 2012, T. Stanfill Benns (This text may be downloaded or printed out for private reading, but it may not be uploaded to another Internet site or published, electronically or otherwise, without express written permission from the author.)
Over the past few years, it has been proven in articles on this site that any sacramental acts attempted by those who received Orders from schismatics and heretics are automatically null and void, since Trad “clergy” who receive them also suffer from infamy of law. Following this disclosure, accusations have been levied that this has never been the practice of the Church throughout the centuries. These same people also are saying that if this was indeed the case, it is equivalent to stating that those ordained and consecrated by heretics and schismatics do not possess valid orders. Traditionalists claim that epikeia excuses them from infamy of law and allows them to exercise the faculties received. We learn from The History, Nature, and Use of Epikeia in Moral Theology, by Father Lawrence Joseph Riley, Copyright 1948, The Catholic University of America Press, INC. Imprimatur: + Richardus Jacobus Cushing. D.D., 7 May, 1948: “Epikeia is not to be identified with interpretation, dispensation, presumed permission, excusing cause, or popular acceptance of human law…Human invalidating laws sometimes cease to bind; but epikeia may not be applied to human invalidating laws… In regard to matters which touch the essence of the Sacraments, the use of epikeia is always excluded.” And Fr. Riley was properly trained and duly approved, unlike Traditionalists.
While certainly valid and licit Orders and canonical mission jurisdiction must BOTH exist before one can say that any cleric is truly a successor of the Apostles, Orders is entirely separate from and can exist independent of jurisdiction. Yet Orders cannot be exercised licitly without jurisdiction and in the case of Penance it cannot be exercised validly, unless some truly serious reason to presume jurisdiction exists. Traditionalists deny two dogmas of faith (and yes, they are and have been heretics for some time now) that are the cause of their false pretensions to jurisdiction:
- They deny the infallible teaching of the Vatican Council, which states that the Roman Pontiffs enjoy supreme jurisdiction in the Church;
- They deny the infallible teaching of Pope Pius XII in Mystici Corporis Christi that bishops do not receive the right to exercise their orders directly from Christ, but must receive the jurisdiction necessary to posit at least licit acts directly from the Pope.
Three separate suspensions reserved to the Apostolic See are presumed as routinely incurred by Traditionalist “bishops” and “priests,” one for lack of Apostolic mandate in consecrating bishops (Can. 2370); another for receiving orders from the hands of a notorious heretic, apostate or schismatic, (Can. 2372) and a third for ordaining a non-subject without dimissorial letters, (Can. 2373). This would be more than enough to exclude them as able to provide the Sacraments in any situation. But this is granting Traditionalists way too much credit. In reality, these suspensions affect only those who are actually clerics, and since at best it is not certain that any of these men became clerics, a prerequisite for the priesthood according to Divine Law, all are infamous for their heresies and are irregular and excommunicated for simulating the Sacraments, (Can. 2322 §1). Infamy of law renders the administration of the Sacraments null and void, (Can. 2294). Canon 2295 states that absolution from infamy of law is reserved to the Holy See and Can. 2322 §1 also attaches an excommunication reserved in a special manner to the Holy See to the crime of simulating Mass and Confession.
The irregularity incurred under Can. 985 no. 7 for this crime is a “perpetual impediment…which permanently bars a man from entering the clerical state, or forbids the exercise of the orders already received.” So any talk of a true pope appearing on the scene or being elected by these men is just that — talk. They are irregular and excommunicated laymen who are incapacitated to elect anyone. Even if God sent a pope down from heaven, they would be permanently barred from receiving orders. Those validly ordained who are not guilty of simulation are still guilty of heresy for denying the articles of faith above and incur infamy automatically as an additional penalty. Unless absolved by the Roman Pontiff, the infamous cannot be promoted to Orders of any kind either, and if they have received orders from one who is irregular himself, Can. 2294 §1 nullifies the Orders received. So no matter how you look at this, from whatever possible angle, these men are incapable of validly and licitly administering the Sacraments, whether for excommunication, suspension, doubtful tonsure or lack thereof or all of these. And according to Can. 2208, “a person who repeatedly offends even against different kinds of laws also increases his liability.”
This same misunderstanding concerning the actual status of Traditionalists who have attempted to become clerics is the basis of a total misinterpretation of Can. 2261 §2 and Can. 2284. These canons refer only to clerics who have received certainly valid and licit tonsure then ordination and/or consecration but have been excommunicated for some reason following their ordination/consecration. These clerics must have been properly trained and validly and licitly ordained and/or consecrated using the old rite of ordination by a bishop also validly and licitly ordained in the old rite. Likewise any bishop’s consecrators must also prove valid and licit ordination/consecration. This alone is true apostolic succession. By valid we mean one who has received orders from a bishop who is using the proper matter, form and who possesses the proper intention, meaning he must use the old pre-1968 rite and have the intention to do what the Church does. He must use properly blessed olive oil in episcopal consecrations and must ordain only those possessing no impediments to Holy Orders. All other cases fall under Can. 1258, which deals with communicatio in sacris.
The two canons mentioned in the paragraph above have no intention or effect of supplying jurisdiction in these cases, since a) such suppletory jurisdiction comes only from a true pope and we have none; b) These canons apply ONLY to those who have already previously received a certainly valid and licit canonical mission from the proper authorities but have forfeited the right to exercise their faculties by incurring excommunication or suspension, as outlined above. Traditional clerics receive no jurisdiction and therefore are not included. One cannot be allowed to exercise something one once had, but which has been restricted, if one never had it. And not only have Trads never had such jurisdiction, without a true pope they can never expect to have it, either. Some attempt to exempt Lefebvre and Thuc from this group of Traditionalists because they did possess valid ordination and consecration, yet by adhering to the Novus Ordo as bishops and consecrating without papal mandate they both incurred infamy of law, irregularity and excommunication on several counts. One Traditionalist argument runs that because St. Thomas Aquinas holds that an heretical bishop can grant faculties if not formally declared heretical by the Church, but this long ago was declared not to be the case in Cum ex Apostolatus Officio, and more recently in a case decided by the Holy See.
Rev. Benedict Pfaller cites a decision rendered by the Authentic Commission on Code of Canon Law. He observes that, “A religious who ceases to be a Catholic, who bids farewell to the Catholic Church, is rightly considered as legitimately dismissed from the religious institute…A public apostate from the Catholic faith is one who publicly renounces the Catholic Church. Thus the religious would renounce the Catholic faith in passing over to a non-Christian group such as Buddhism, Mohammedanism, some well-defined cult of paganism, Judaism, etc.; or in joining a Protestant, heretical, non-Catholic Christian sect or a schismatic church; or in joining any professedly and manifestly anti-Catholic group, such as a league of Freethinkers, or, finally, in openly denying even one article of the Catholic faith…On July 30, 1934, a response of the Pontifical Commission for the Authentic Interpretation of the Code…state(d) that the declaration of fact is not necessary in order that a religious be considered as ipso facto legitimately dismissed… The religious must be considered dismissed even before the declaration of the fact takes place,” (Ipso Facto Dismissal of Religious, Catholic University of America Canon Law dissertation, 1948, Volume 34, Number 7, page 743-4, April 1934). Concerning irregularities, Revs. Woywod Smith comment on Can. 986: “Contrary to the former law…the irregularity [for apostasy, heresy or schism] is now incurred [even] though one does not join an heretical sect,” and irregularity prevents the exercise of jurisdiction actually received at one time; it does NOT address the issue of jurisdiction never granted.
It is said that Lefebvre was “tricked” into signing Vatican II documents, and that therefore his heresy is not certain until judged so by the Church, anymore than the heresy of those tricked into signing documents at the Council of Rimini was certain. At Rimini the documents initially signed at least could be taken in an Orthodox way, although this was not true of documents signed by the bishops at a later date. Could anything promoted at Vatican II be taken in an Orthodox way? And even if it could, is it ever permitted to accept lies containing an admixture of truth? If Traditionalists must go back that far in history to justify Lefebvre, then we know that such justification is a smokescreen. All the laws on communication in sacris and the added irregularity of infamy of law take both Thuc and Lefebvre completely out of the picture until a decision of the Holy See can determine their status and the status of those they ordained and consecrated. Until then, no one is allowed to exercise their orders.
Valid and licit
By licit is meant one who has received orders from one in communion with the Holy See with the necessary mandate to consecrate bishops or the necessary permission (jurisdiction) to operate seminaries, train seminarians and ordain them to their respective dioceses. These orders must be valid AND licit, not just valid. Only those possessing valid and licit orders are true successors of the Apostles, (see Apostolic Succession). This is the de fide teaching of the Church on apostolic succession. Without a true pope for the past 50 years and more it is easy to see that these conditions have rarely if ever been met. The Church legislates for what usually occurs, not for the emergency situation. She could not have intended to include schismatic or illicitly ordained and consecrated clerics, since already she forbids the laity to communicate with these individuals under Can. 1258. These included, pre-1959, but were not limited to the Greek and Russian Orthodox, the Old Catholics, the Old Roman Catholics and like sects whose orders, at least in the case of the Orthodox, were believed to have remained valid in previous times, but who today cannot even lay certain claim to validity. This is demonstrated in the work “Illicit Priests and Bishops Cannot Function” in this section.
In this article concerning Anglican and Polish National Catholic Church orders, a doubt concerning the validity of those ordained to the Traditionalist sects by schismatic bishops was established. Of course there are those still alive who yet were validly and licitly ordained and consecrated (prior to Pope Pius XII’s death Oct. 9, 1958), but possess no jurisdiction; these ordinations and consecrations are not being questioned as valid per se, but in nearly all cases those who have participated in NO and Traditionalist ceremonies are forbidden to exercise their orders and if they do attempt to exercise them their acts are invalid, (Can. 984 no. 5; Can 2294 §1). Below find listed the teaching and practice of the Church concerning Her dealings with lapsed Catholics, Liberal Catholics, Old Catholics and other individuals:
1. Nov. 18, 1931: A lapsed Catholic who receives orders from a schismatic bishop can be received back into the Church only on the understanding that such ordinations, even if valid, will be completely disregarded, (Dr. Leslie Rumble, American Ecclesiastical Review: “Are Liberal Catholic Orders Valid,” 1958).
2. The Australian convert Dr. Leslie Rumble, (ibid. # 1 above) told his readers that even if the Liberal Catholic “bishop” Willoughby who repented before his death had lived, he could never have been admitted even to conditional ordination, far less to Episcopal consecration.
3. Dr. Orchard, a famous congregational minister, was secretly ordained a priest by a bishop allegedly issuing from the Syro-Chaldean rite. Upon his conversion to the Catholic faith, Rome conditionally reordained Orchard in 1935, according to Dr. Rumble.
4. The Old Catholic “bishop” Giebner, upon his conversion to Catholicism, was reordained sub conditione following World War II, (Addenda/Corrigenda, “Bishops at Large,” by Peter Anson).
5. Nov. 9, 18, 1926: When Joseph Thiessen, an Old Catholic bishop, converted to Catholicism, he was warned by the Bishop of Cologne that because he had received ordination from the Old Catholics, he could not even function as a priest. Thiessen eventually returned to his schism, (Ibid., Anson, p. 320).
6. In his “Faiths of the Few,” (1963) William J. Whalen noted the following: “The Catholic Church follows the Augustinian theory that a bishop who is validly consecrated retains the power to transmit valid but irregular orders. In practice, the Church ignores orders received by apostates from schismatic bishops. These men, if reconciled to the Church, need not recite the Divine Office or even observe celibacy.” Whalen noted that it was the opinion of Cardinal Merry del Val, owing to the commercialization of orders by the notorious renegade Old Catholic bishop Vilatte, that none of these orders were valid. Vilatte reconciled with Rome, relapsed once again and was eventually buried as a layman. This, Whalen reported, despite the fact that “a number of Catholic theologians were prepared to admit that his orders were valid.” Already in the early part of the 20th century, then, the tendency to bend the rules on validity was apparent.
7. In his 1956 work “Anglican Orders and Defect of Intention” Rev. Francis Clark, S.J. observes: “To what an extent a visible separation from the true Church of Christ exerts an influence on the external rite itself, that is, whether such a rite does or does not continue the ritual profession of the faith of the Church must be determined by the Church, Herself. It belongs to the true Church to determine whether a rite performed in given circumstances is an ”exteriorization” of Her own faith — that is, whether it is her own act — or whether it is, on the contrary, an act expressing the faith of another separated Church, qua separated,” (qua meaning in what manner or how being defined by the Church). “In this latter case, the rite is not valid,” Dr. Rumble observes. “Thus Pope Leo XIII decreed in the concrete that Anglican ordinations do not remain acts of the true Church; in them ‘ritual contact’ with the faith of Christ’s Church is not maintained,” (ibid., Dr. Rumble).
The “ritual contact” referred to by Rev. Clark can be none other than the intent to do what the Church does — to include the recipient of orders in the “united body of the Church” as a true minister. So let us say that some Old Catholic bishop today wished to convert. First he would need to make the profession of faith and abjure all his heresies and schism in the presence of a validly and licitly ordained bishop. Secondly, he would need to be absolved from his excommunication(s) by a bishop, or a priest with faculties necessary to so absolve. Finally, he must be absolved sacramentally in confession, (“Pastoral Companion,” 1939). But there is no one known to possess jurisdiction who can validly and licitly absolve from sins and excommunication today; only when certainly valid and licit abjuration and absolution is obtained can these men be considered as received back into the Church. But this is only the beginning.
When such a man is finally a Catholic, what does the Church say about his Old Catholic orders? In the case of doubtfully valid orders, at best She tells him that he must be reordained conditionally, sometimes with retraining and sometimes without. But wait — pay attention to the word ordained. No one says that this man may be made a bishop, only a priest. The Church has no obligation to promote such a man and St. Robert Bellarmine states in his “de Romano Pontifice” that heretics and schismatics are incapable of being promoted, according to the unanimous opinion of the Fathers. This also is the teaching today of Canon Law concerning the incurring of irregularities, whether from crime or defect.
Early Church teaching on communication in sacris
St. Cyril of Alexander, 5th century: “It is therefore unlawful and a profanation, and an act the punishment of which is death, to associate with unhallowed heretics and to unite oneself to their communion.”
Pope St. Leo the Great, 5th century: “It is at the peril of his soul for any one of them [heretics] who has fallen away from [the papacy] into a sect of heretics and schismatics…to be received into Catholic communion after coming to his senses without making legitimate and express satisfaction.”
Pope St. Pelagius, 6th century: “For there is no crime more hated or despised than to communicate with schismatics…For anyone who does this is a reprobate and ceases to be part of the Church.”
Pope St. Gregory the Great, 6th century: “Rather ought everyone submit to death than to receive the sacrament of communion from the hand of a heretic.”
St. John Damascene, 8th century: “Let us never receive communion from or grant it to heretics…lest we become partakers in their dishonor and condemnation.”
St. Thomas Aquinas, Pt. II-II, Q. 39, Art. 3: “Jurisdiction…does not remain in heretics and schismatics; and consequently they neither absolve, nor excommunicate nor grant indulgences, nor do anything of the kind, and if they do it is invalid.”
Pope Paul IV, 16th century: “On no account [may] you go to the churches of heretics, or hear their sermons, or join in their rites lest ye incur the wrath of God.”
Pope Pius VI, 18th century; “Charitas”: “Keep away from all intruders, whether called Archbishops, bishops or parish priests; do not hold communion with them especially in divine worship.”
History of schismatic Orders
Rev. Ignatius Szal in his work, “The Communication of Catholics With Schismatics” (1948), chronicles the history of schismatic bishops ordaining and consecrating irregularly. He tells us that: “In , Pope Urban II decreed that those who in the past had been ordained by schismatic bishops who were once Catholic were to be received misericorditer when they returned to the Church, if their life and learning commended them, but that those who for the future would permit themselves to receive orders at the hands of schismatics were not to be considered worthy of the same concession. The Pope further declared that only inasmuch as the consideration of mercy and the strict demand of necessity had motivated his action, was it to have any application in the future, for he wanted no inroads to be made against the sacred canons, and he desired that they should regain their erstwhile strength and force. Once the emergency was past, then also whatever he had done to meet that emergency would no longer have operative effect. It was the imminent effect of far-reaching harm that had compelled him to mitigate the severity of the law.”
In the following chapter of his work Rev. Szal describes the time period in the late 12th century when the antipope Victor IV and Paschal III reigned. “These schismatics had ordained many of their adherents to the episcopate…The Third Lateran Council took action by declaring that the ordinations performed by these schismatic popes were null and void, as also the ordinations conferred by those who had been consecrated by them…The Canon used the word “irritas” in reference to the ordinations conferred by the schismatics. However the term was to be understood in reference to the execution or the exercise of these orders, rather than to their validity…Clement VIII in his Instruction Sanctissimus Aug. 31, 1595 stated that those who had received ordination at the hand of schismatic bishops who apart from their schismatic status were properly consecrated — the necessary form having been observed — did indeed receive orders but not the right to exercise them…
“Pope Benedict XIV in the Constitution Etsi Pastoralis of May 26, 1742 confirmed this doctrine of Clement VIII. On the question of schismatic ordinations, these two documents present an almost identical wording. Not only was the recognized validity of schismatic orders established, but further points were clarified. Schismatic bishops were not to be admitted for the conferring of orders or for the administration of any of the other Sacraments. Persons ordained by schismatic bishops were, upon a proper rectification and amendment of their status to be reconciled and absolved.” In addition they were required to do penance. If they had embraced any errors they were to abjure them either publicly or secretly; if not they were required to renounce the schism of their ordaining prelate. “Before the ordained persons could exercise their orders, it was necessary for them to receive from the Holy See a dispensation from the irregularity which they had incurred,” and this apparently refers to the infamy of law attached to communicatio in sacris.
“The reception of holy Orders from the hands of schismatic bishops has practically always been forbidden by the Church. Rarely has the Holy See ever considered it necessary to receive orders from a schismatic bishop. The prohibition to receive holy Orders at the hands of a schismatic bishop is contained in the general prohibition against active religious communication as expressed in Can. 1258§1. Canon 2372 also decrees a suspension a divinis reserved to the Apostolic See receiving holy Orders from a notorious schismatic. Even those ordained in good faith by such men forfeit the right to exercise their orders until they are dispensed. Communication in religious rites is forbidden because of accompanying dangers such as perversion of faith and scandal to others. This prohibition of the Church, found in Can. 1258, extends not only to active participation with schismatics in rites that are of their nature non-Catholic, but also excludes communication with them in rites which, though peculiarly Catholic, are exercised under the auspices of a non-Catholic sect.
This adds to any other censure a censure also for communicatio in sacris and for schism, detailed under Can. 2314. So even if such orders were valid, the act involved in receiving them would immediately ipso facto depose any cleric for the commission of schism, as specified under Can. 188 §4. Deposed clerics are considered as laymen under the law and if they possess any jurisdiction are deprived of it. St. Robert Bellarmine cites the unanimous teaching of the Fathers in his work “de Romano Pontifice,” where he states: “Heretics [and current canon law regards schismatics as equal to 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.).”
Intention, irregularity are the real questions
How is it possible to determine intention? In his 1960s articles for the Homiletic and Pastoral review, Joseph Prudzik examines the intention of a minister of the Polish National Church as follows. (Here we orient these observations specifically to Traditionalists.)
- There is evidence of a Protestant attitude toward the Sacraments. (Like the Protestants, Traditionalists believe in extraordinary mission jurisdiction and a church that can function without the papacy!)
- The minister’s words and deeds indicate a lack of Catholic faith. (In denying the necessity of jurisdiction to function, the inapplicability of Canon Law overall, the necessity of obeying papal decrees and in teaching that the four marks can exist without apostolicity and the papacy, Traditionalists deny several articles of faith.)
- After an exhaustive search, there is no existing evidence to indicate the minister accepted sacramental priesthood in the Catholic sense. (In denying the very essence of apostolicity itself, which consists of both orders and jurisdiction; and in ignoring a great body of evidence contrary to their beliefs which repeatedly has been brought to their attention, it is difficult to see how Trads believe that they can create priests in the Catholic sense.)
- The minister had no intention of doing what the Catholic Church does in ordaining and consecrating. (There was never any hope or intention of ordaining men priests and consecrating them bishops to eventually operate in communion with a canonically elected pontiff, receive jurisdiction or be assigned to a diocese. And there was no intention ever, in setting out to create these bishops, of doing so only to re-establish the papacy which they were obligated to do in order to proceed from a truly apostolic standpoint. Pascal Parente notes in his Dictionary of Dogmatic Theology: “Only in dependence on the ministerial power of the Church, indefectibly faithful to the mandate of its Founder do men of all times and places find the guarantee of the continuity of the means of salvation established by the Redeemer…The Church, moreover, is a well organized Body in which every vital movement, linked to an external rite must depend in some way on the visible head. It is necessary therefore that every infusion of new, vital energies, caused by the Sacraments be in some way dependent on the visible head of the Church and on Her hierarchy…”
Even though the Pontificale Romanum was used by Traditionalists and the minister’s consecrators may be presumed to have a Catholic intention, this doubtful validity cannot be overcome. (The intent of Lefebvre and Thuc, unlike the consecrators Prudzik considers, must be questioned. It cannot be ruled out, especially given the Pope St. Pius X Society’s reconciliation with Rome and Thuc’s return to the NO, which in fact proves neither of these men ever left this sect. P. Pourrat, in his “Theology of the Sacraments,” stated that: “The intention of the minister is that of the church he represents.” As titular bishop of Bullae Reggiae, the title granted by Paul 6 with which he signed his declaration, Thuc clearly believed himself a member of that church. They may only have ordained and consecrated Traditionalists with the expectation that those they created would later be reabsorbed into the Conciliar Church. It has always been the practice of the Church to declare null and void the ordinations and consecrations of men in the service of antipopes, and indeed the basis for this is found in Pope Paul IV’s Cum ex Apostolatus Officio. Therefore there is at least serious doubt that Lefebvre and Thuc had any real intention to ordain and consecrate men into the pre-Vatican 2 Church of the ages.)
And finally, as Prudzik noted concerning the Polish National Catholic Church minister and his consecrators: “It is not as safe, however, to concede the valid Orders of Stenhoven’s successors [Stenhoven being the initial breakaway Jansenist bishop in the 1770s] as one might grant the original validity of his own Orders…One can only conclude there is some doubt about validity.” This is true of those in the Anglican church as well, which is why Apostolica Curae held Anglican orders invalid. Prudzik’s observation about Stenhoven also is true of those many second and third-hand ordinations and consecrations from the Lefebvre and Thuc lines. But we also have irregularity and infamy of law to deal with, incurred by both Lefebvre and Thuc for signing V2 documents and participating in V2 rites. This irregularity is attached to Can 2314 no. 3 concerning heresy.
Suspicion of heresy is incurred immediately upon violating Can. 1258. If one ignores all admonitions and remains under this suspicion for more than six months by not exiting the non-Catholic sect, he is considered a heretic. This comes as a necessary consequence of violating Can. 1258 §1. Once those who consider themselves heretics are infamous, they are forbidden to perform ecclesiastical acts of any kind and such acts, if attempted are considered invalid, (Revs. Woywod-Smith commentary on Can. 2294). The Orders, if truly valid remain; but the right to exercise them is canceled and annulled. The Roman Pontiff alone possesses full power of bonding and loosing. Pope Pius XI has declared in his constitution Vacantis Apostolica Sedis that if ANYTHING is attempted during an interregnum that would ordinarily require the exercise of papal jurisdiction (and infamy of law can be absolved only by the true Roman Pontiff) it is null and void, because it presumes the lifting of the irregularity and violates Canon Law.
St. Robert Bellarmine taught that the mind of the minister must be conformed to the mind of the Church. Rev. Leeming stated that in order for the minister to intend to do what the Church does, he must intend to join those ordained/consecrated to “the united body of the Church,” which means both the body of the hierarchy and the Mystical Body of Christ. Those heretics and schismatics who do not will to do what the Church does, do not intend to join those ordained or consecrated to the “united body.” They cannot, for Traditionalists themselves are not united and they do not recognize the likes of all those who keep the faith at home. Therefore they exclude the effects of the Sacrament as the Church intended it to be administered and so are assumed not to validly confer Orders.
Heretics and schismatics can validly ordain and consecrate, providing their errors do not involve some doctrine necessary to the substance of the Sacrament of Orders. What constitutes this substance of the Sacrament? For ordination, a sacrificing priesthood obedient to the hierarchy, possessing the power to absolve from sin and sanctify the faithful. But Traditionalists cannot absolve from sin for lack of jurisdiction, nor can they sanctify the faithful because their sacrifices are illicit and therefore fruitless, according to St. Thomas. Conferral of episcopal orders presumes inclusion in the united body of bishops, but Traditionalist bishops are not united. It involves the governance of priests and faithful residing in a diocese, but these bishops have no pope so can never be assigned a diocese. And of course it involves obedience to the Roman Pontiff and communion with him, which has never happened in the Traditionalist sect.
All the above adequately describes the Traditionalist situation and as Prudzik noted in his case, this means that, according to the rules of logic and orthodox theology, all the evidence points to the highly probable invalidity of Orders (among Traditionalists). Yet because we have no pope, there can be no decision on this matter. This alone creates doubtful validity, especially when Pope Pius XII’s Constitution on papal election law is taken into consideration. How would you like to be a Traditionalist bishop who has behaved as though the papacy is an option and not necessary to his ministry when a true pope comes along? No thank you. The Church does not take kindly to the minimizing of her dogmas on the papacy, especially since the Vatican Council. Christ made Peter His vicar and spokesperson on earth, and this is a direct insult to His will in this matter and to the Divine Authority.
But are Traditionalists really schismatics?
Traditionalists don’t believe they are heretics or schismatics but believe instead they constitute the true Church, complete with its four marks; they cannot accept the idea that they are in schism, but wait — it’s worse than that. Essentially they hold the Gallicanist heresy which places bishops on an equal level with the pope. But it is not for us to accept or reject any premise unless it is taught or condemned by the Church Herself. This is clearly Church teaching; we are allowed to understand that teaching not as we choose to understand it, but only in that same sense in which the Church Herself has always taught and understood it. So the question is: What does the Church teach concerning those who attend the services of sede vacante and other priests today and those priests who lead them? Are they in schism and do they constitute a non-Catholic sect? Quoting the theologians Schmalzgrueber and Wernz, Rev. Szal defines pure schism as:
1. A direct (express) or indirect (one’s actions) withdrawal from obedience to the Roman Pontiff and separation from ecclesiastical communion with the rest of the faithful, even though one does not join a separate schismatical sect;
2. Such withdrawal must be made with obstinacy and rebellion;
3. The withdrawal must be made in relation to those things by which the unity of the Church is constituted; and
4. Despite this formal disobedience, the schismatic must recognize the Roman Pontiff as the true pastor of the Church and he must profess as an article of faith that obedience is due the Roman Pontiff.
It would seem that by disregarding the election law of Pope Pius XII concerning the preservation of Church law inviolate during an interregnum, it could be said that this constitutes at least an indirect withdrawal from papal obedience, (1). Despite the circulation of articles on jurisdiction beginning in 1984, priests and bishops have obstinately and consistently continued to wrongly invoke Can. 209 and 2261 §2, (2). The pope is the center of all unity, and in order to all be members of the same Mystical Body, we must all believe the same truths of faith, participate in the same Sacraments and worship, under the direction of lawful pastors who in turn are subject to the Roman Pontiff, (St. Robert Bellarmine’s definition of the Church). This is the classic description of the Catholic Church accepted by all theologians. The last two items in this definition of the Church are missing, the second depends on the last two and we are left only barely with the first, (3). And here we must observe that those who provide the Sacraments especially Penance, and their followers who deny the necessity of such jurisdiction to absolve, in contradiction of DZ 920, deny a truth of Divine faith. This consequentially anathematizes both Trad clergy and their followers (4).
If all those following these priests do not agree 100 percent with those of the faithful adhering to each and every doctrine the Church teaches, they cannot qualify as Church members and there can be no unity. Clearly there are problems with fulfilling the specifics necessary for this, the primary problem being a lack of lawful pastors and a true Roman Pontiff. The leaders of these sects complain that the Church always continues to exist during an interregnum and to state that She does not is a denial of indefectibility. But the Church Herself has the right to determine HOW She will exist during an interregnum, and Pope Pius XII did so decide. Unity is injured under #3, and this leads us to #4. No one in these sects denies that usually the Pope is the true and necessary head of the Church. All claim that obedience is owed to him. And yet they obviously believe that obedience does not include obeying all the existing laws Pope Pius XII infallibly decreed must be observed during interregnums. Nor does it include faithfully following the teaching of the ordinary magisterium concerning jurisdiction, unity, episcopal consecration or priestly ordination. If this is not indicative of schism, what is? For all the lip service they pay to the papacy, they clearly do not follow the teachings of the Church either from the distant past or even the last century regarding their actions, from what is presented above as well as what follows here.
Decisions of the Roman Curia
First Rev. Szal begins with questions asked 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.”
In order to participate in such functions, Rev. Szal points out, one would need “an authorization or dispensation from the visible head of the Church.” Continuing his assay of Holy Office pronouncements, Szal lists further decisions concerning Holy Communion. On June 17, 1839, The Sacred Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith forbade the reception of Holy Communion from an heretical priest. A general prohibition against receiving any sacraments from schismatics was issued by Pope Clement VIII (1592-1605). “Benedict XIV (1740-1758) also forbade the use of the services given by schismatics for the conferring of the sacraments. Rev. Szal gives this stunning summary of these decisions as follows: “From the nature of the response which the Holy Office gave to questions concerning the reception of absolution and Extreme Unction from schismatics on the part of persons who are in danger of death, it seems to be the mind of the Church that Viaticum should not be received from schismatics under any conditions.”
In 1631, Rev. Szal reports on the Holy Office’s various decisions concerning the use of faculties and the hearing of confessions. He writes: “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,” (Ibid). In answer to further doubts that same year, “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.
“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…”
Clearly the Holy Office would not today accept “necessity knows no law” or “impossibility excuses” as valid reasons for resorting to the services of schismatics. Impossibility excuses from the OBSERVANCE of the law; as the decision cited by Rev. Szal states above, impossibility excuses the faithful from attending Mass when the only way they could fill this obligation is to attend schismatic services. And while necessity may know no law, certainly this is not a license to grant dispensation from Divine laws and infallible law. As Rev. Raymond Kearney, quoting several other approved theologians observes: “The Church can supply only that power the disposition of which is entrusted to Her; She cannot, therefore, supply what is required by Divine or natural law,” (“The Principles of Delegation,” 1929). Only the Pope may supply. Without the Pope, the supplying factor is entirely lacking, and even absolution in danger of death is not advised. The necessity of first tonsure is a principle of Divine law and without it, the entire fabrication of Traditionalist orders falls to dust at their feet.
When others ask why it is not permissible to receive the Sacraments from Traditional priests or bishops, explain to them first that we have no guarantees that Traditionalists were ever validly tonsured, so therefore they could never become priests or bishops. Also no one is allowed to appoint their own ministers, which essentially is what Traditionalist laity do, and this is the teaching of the Council of Trent, (DZ 960, 967). Since we have doubts concerning their validity as priests, we are forbidden by the Church to receive the Sacraments from them, (DZ 1151). If they refuse to accept this, then explain to them that even if they are by some miracle validly ordained, then the following applies:
• The History, Nature, and Use of Epikeia in Moral Theology, by Father Lawrence Joseph Riley, Copyright 1948, The Catholic University of America Press, INC. Imprimatur: + Richardus Jacobus Cushing. D.D., 7 May, 1948: “Epikeia is not to be identified with interpretation, dispensation, presumed permission, excusing cause, or popular acceptance of human law…Human invalidating laws sometimes cease to bind; but epikeia may not be applied to human invalidating laws… In regard to matters which touch the essence of the Sacraments, the use of epikeia is always excluded.” And Fr. Riley was properly trained and duly approved, unlike Traditionalists.
• Only those who have already previously received a certainly valid and licit canonical mission from the proper authorities but have forfeited the right to exercise their faculties by incurring excommunication or suspension, is intended in Canons 2261 and 2284.
• In his 1956 work “Anglican Orders and Defect of Intention,” Rev. Francis Clark, S.J. observes: “To what an extent a visible separation from the true Church of Christ exerts an influence on the external rite itself, that is, whether such a rite does or does not continue the ritual profession of the faith of the Church must be determined by the Church, Herself.”
• Clement VIII in his Instruction Sanctissimus Aug. 31, 1595 stated that those who had received ordination at the hand of schismatic bishops who apart from their schismatic status were properly consecrated — the necessary form having been observed — did indeed receive orders but not the right to exercise them…Pope Benedict XIV in the Constitution Etsi Pastoralis of May 26, 1742 confirmed this doctrine of Clement VIII.
• Pope Benedict XIV also taught that, “Schismatic bishops were not to be admitted for the conferring of orders or for the administration of any of the other Sacraments. Persons ordained by schismatic bishops were, upon a proper rectification and amendment of their status to be reconciled and absolved… Before the ordained persons could exercise their orders, it was necessary for them to receive from the Holy See a dispensation from the irregularity which they had incurred.”
“The reception of holy Orders from the hands of schismatic bishops has practically always been forbidden by the Church. Rarely has the Holy See ever considered it necessary to receive orders from a schismatic bishop. The prohibition to receive holy Orders at the hands of a schismatic bishop is contained in the general prohibition against active religious communication as expressed in Can. 1258§1.”
• St. Robert Bellarmine cites the unanimous teaching of the Fathers in his work “de Romano Pontifice,” where he states: “Heretics [and current canon law regards schismatics as equal to 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.).”
• P. Pourrat, in his “Theology of the Sacraments,” stated that: “The intention of the minister is that of the church he represents.” Neither Lefebvre nor Thuc were ever formally separated from the Novus Ordo church prior to their consecrations and ordinations. Lefebvre never formally declared the See vacant or rejected the NO antipopes. Thuc declared the See vacant but retained the title of titular bishop of Bulla Reggiae, granted by Paul 6. He did not proceed to consecrate bishops for the sole purpose of electing a pope, as divine law required him to do.
• “It is not as safe, however, to concede the valid Orders of Stenhoven’s successors [Stenhoven being the initial breakaway Jansenist bishop in the 1770s] as one might grant the original validity of his own Orders… One can only conclude there is some doubt about validity.”
• On June 17, 1839, The Sacred Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith forbade the reception of Holy Communion from an heretical priest.
• The theologian Jean-Marie Herve, points out in his “Sacraments,” (Dogmatic Theology, Vol. I): “In the Sacrament of Holy Orders, the public good demands that the unworthy applicant [and heretics, schismatics and those suffering infamy of law are deemed unworthy by the Church], even if he be secret, be repelled even though his offense cannot be juridically proved. In this case the reception of the Sacrament is considered inferior in worth to the worthy exercise of the sacred functions and the public good of the Church. According to Pesch: ‘He who trenches on a public good thereby loses his right to a private good if the public good cannot effectively be defended without injury to the latter.’…It is forbidden to administer the Sacraments of the Church to heretics or schismatics even if they err in good faith…unless they first reject their errors and are reconciled with the Church.”
• Pascal Parente notes in his Dictionary of Dogmatic Theology: “Only in dependence on the ministerial power of the Church, indefectibly faithful to the mandate of its Founder do men of all times and places find the guarantee of the continuity of the means of salvation established by the Redeemer…The Church, moreover, is a well organized Body in which every vital movement, linked to an external rite must depend in some way on the visible head. It is necessary therefore that every infusion of new, vital energies, caused by the Sacraments be in some way dependent on the visible head of the Church and on Her hierarchy…”
As Rev. Clark said above, “To what an extent a visible separation from the true Church of Christ exerts an influence on the external rite itself, that is, whether such a rite does or does not continue the ritual profession of the faith of the Church must be determined by the Church, Herself.” This is precisely what Pope Pius XII said in Vacantis Apostolica Sedis, in explaining what can and cannot be done during an interregnum. “While the Apostolic Seat is vacant, let the Sacred College of Cardinals have no power or jurisdiction at all in those things which pertain to the Pope while he was alive…but let everything be held, reserved for the future Pope. And thus we decree that whatever power or jurisdiction pertaining to the Roman Pontiff, while he is alive (unless in as far as it is expressly permitted in this, Our Constitution) the meeting of Cardinals itself may have taken for exercising, is null and void.”
Without a decision on the status of these self-proclaimed clerics by a canonically elected Roman Pontiff, no one can be certain that they even received orders or the episcopacy. As noted above, one is never allowed to proceed in a case of doubt, particularly when such a case concerns the Sacraments. Until they receive papal absolution and make reparation, these men cannot function anyway. This is not some new deduction; some half-baked jurisdiction argument thrown prematurely to opponents. As demonstrated above, this has been the constant teaching of the Church throughout the ages. It is no surprise that intruders and usurpers have set themselves up in the holy places. It is a surprise, however, that so many have allowed themselves to be seduced.
by T. Stanfill Benns | Feb 16, 2012
Infamy of Law Bars the Valid Exercise of Orders Received
© Copyright 2009, T. Stanfill Benns (This text may be downloaded or printed out for private reading, but it may not be uploaded to another Internet site or published, electronically or otherwise, without express written permission from the author.)
Since Traditionalists first appeared on the scene and began collecting followers for services, they have claimed common error and supplied jurisdiction to function validly and licitly, something proven here not to exist in our particular case. Yet even if it could be said that such jurisdiction did indeed exist, there is yet another problem they need to contend with, more onerous by far than any of the rest. That problem is known as infamy of law, a special penalty attached to excommunication of certain kinds, primarily for heresy, apostasy and schism. Because the additional penalty cannot be proven unless it first is proven that one has abandoned the faith, Catholics need to understand how the Church judges and views acts of excommunication resulting from attendance at non-Catholic services, since most Traditionalists have attended and even officiated at the services of the Novus Ordo as well as schismatic Traditional services.
Canon E. J. Mahoney explains the Church’s teaching on attendance at these services as follows: “The liberal view [is that] baptized non-Catholics in good faith are members of the body of the Church precisely because they are not excommunicated…The view diametrically opposed to this is [that] the excommunication of heretics applies to material as well as formal heretics…If a choice had to be made between theses two views…, there is no question that the second fits in best with Catholic discipline, and, in particular, with our practice in reconciling converts…The solution which I think is the correct one consists in perceiving a distinction which the Code itself supplies. The Sacraments are to be denied both to material and formal heretics but for different reasons; to formal heretics because they merit punishment, the censure of Can. 2314 §1; to material heretics because they are excluded by Can. 731 §2, which is a necessary deduction from the concept of the Church: [basically, the Church is a society of men professing the same Christian faith, participating in the same worship, receiving the same Sacraments, from lawful pastors in communion with the Pope, etc…] Those who reject the rule of faith proposed by the Church are not members of the Church, and may not lawfully share in the privileges of members, as, for example, the reception of the Sacraments,” (“Questions and Answers: The Sacraments,” pg. 39-40, 1946).
Mahoney then cites Billot, who explains that formal heresy and schism cannot be excluded as a possibility in these cases. “…In reconciling converts…it is difficult in the first place to say with certainty that a given convert has not incurred the censure. It is not amongst those which crass ignorance excuses, and it is not unlikely that, during a given period previous to his submission, there was sufficient knowledge for incurring a censure. Therefore absolution from censure is given at least ad cautelam…Moreover, the important distinction between the internal and the external forum must always be remembered. The external government of the Church regards the external actions of people…It is open to the authority of the external government of the Church to regard the members of heretical sects as excommunicated, even though, in the internal forum of conscience, they may be guiltless of any act meriting punishment. We say it is ‘open to them’ to do so, but whether they do, as matter of fact, must depend on their own avowal, explicit or implicit. Even though there is no express direction from the competent authority that all converts are reckoned to be excommunicated, the absolution from censure, should, in my opinion, always be given…It is at least a liturgical law…In the “Ordo Administrandi,” [England] …rubric two takes it for granted that absolution from censure will be given to all who have reached the age of puberty. Nothing is said about omitting the absolution in cases where it is said not to have been incurred…Lastly, and the most important point of all…the license of the Ordinary is always necessary before reconciling a convert with the Church,” (ibid).
Mahoney’s words are only strengthened by the commentary of Revs. Woywod-Smith 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.” As Mahoney observes above, “Those who reject the rule of faith proposed by the Church are not members of the Church, and may not lawfully share in the privileges of members…” These privileges include that of voting and being a candidate, such as is mentioned under Can. 167 §5. This Canon has for its source Pope Paul IV’s “Cum ex Apostolatus Officio,” which deprives heretics and schismatics of any right to vote in ecclesiastical elections. This would exclude elections of bishops by other bishops and priests, as is the practice among certain Traditional sects.
Other theologians on this subject
The same subject matter is addressed in “Homiletic and Pastoral Review” in an answer to an enquirer, (Volume 34, Number 7, page 743-4, April 1934). The question was asked about receiving a baptized non-Catholic into the Church. The usual procedure was followed with absolution from the excommunication for heresy. However, in the accompanying confession the woman confesses to having had an abortion, which is also an excommunicable offense. Let us read part of the answer: Practically there is no difficulty about censure for the sin of abortion or any other offense which the Code of Canon Law punishes with a censure, because ignorance excuses from censures (See Canon 2229, paragraph 1), and it is reasonable to assume that ordinarily the convert was ignorant of the regulations of the Church. One may object and ask why then must we insist on absolving from censure because of heresy when the convert knows nothing more about that censure than he knows of other censures. There is a difference between a public profession of faith contrary to the teaching of the Church and sins committed in one’s private life. The one is a public affair; the other is a matter of conscience only. In public violations of the rules of the Church the public authority cannot but judge that the violation was done with full knowledge, and the burden of proof that it was done in good faith rests with the one who appears to be guilty. In many instances he may not be able to prove good faith, and he will be considered guilty.
• “The very commission of any act which signifies heresy; e.g., the statement of some doctrine contrary or contradictory to a revealed and defined dogma, gives sufficient ground for juridical presumption of heretical depravity. There may be excusing circumstances which excuse from grave responsibility in the external forum, and the burden of proof is on the person whose action has given rise to the imputation of heresy. In the absence of proof, ALL such excuses are presumed not to exist. (“The Delict of Heresy,” p. 35.)
• And from “The Jurist,” volume 132, page 405: “Irregularity Arising from Sect Affiliation” the same teaching may be found: “Question: A young man in my parish joined the Methodist Church at the age of 15. He was baptized in it in infancy. At 16, through association with Catholic young men in high school, he became a convert to the Church. Does he labor under any irregularity from which a dispensation should be obtained? (signed, Pedagogous)
“Answer: Since the young man joined the Methodist Church after he had attained the age of puberty, he does not escape the penalties which the Code visits upon his act. Clearly it may be assumed that he has been absolved from the excommunication in accordance with the provisions of Canon 2314§ 2, since it is apparent from the state¬ment of the case that he is a good Catholic and proposes to study for the priesthood. It is very likely, however, that he has not been dispensed from the vindictive penalty of infamy of law (infamia juris). Only the Holy See can dispense from this penalty. One who labors under it is irregular ex defectu, not ex delicto. Of course, even considered as an irregularity ex defectu, its presence is prevented, in the internal forum, by the good faith of the party affected: that is, good faith prevents the incurring of the vindictive penalty of infamy of law, and in the absence of the latter, there is an irregularity ex defectu. In the external forum, however, the dis¬pensation should be duly sought from the Sacred Congregation of the Sacraments.
“The young man also is subject to the impediment arising ex delicto from this heresy in accordance with canon 985, 1°. In the internal forum, good faith would excuse him; in the external forum, however, a dispensation should be sought from this irregularity also from the Sacred Congregation of the Sacraments. (I Cf. can. 2314, § 1, (here the author cites Canons 188 n. 4 and 2295). “All the above heresies are so-called silent heresies. No declaration of their individual existence is ever made by an ecclesiastical authority — except in the general way that all heresies have been condemned by the continual magisterium at some time, in one place or the other — and there is a record of this. To insist that one 14 and older cannot be held guilty of censures is to deny the Church’s right to establish and enforce censures. This teaching of the Jansenist heretics is condemned by Pope Pius VI:
“ ‘Likewise, the proposition which teaches that it is necessary, according to the natural and divine laws, for either excommunication or for suspension, that sentences called ipso facto have no other force than that of a serous threat without any actual effect, — false, rash, pernicious, injurious to the power of the Church, erroneous.’
“ ‘Likewise, the proposition which says “useless and vain is the formula introduced some centuries ago of general absolution from excommunications into which the faithful might have fallen, — false, rash, injurious to the practice of the Church.’”
What is infamy of law?
Canonists Woywod-Smith define it as “the loss of good repute…among good and serious-minded Catholics by reason of a crime committed or by general bad character…The infamy of law is of itself a permanent impediment unless a dispensation from the Holy See is obtained,” (commentary on Can. 984 n. 5). Canon 984 n. 5 declares that men seeking to receive orders who are guilty of apostasy, heresy, schism and other crimes not only become irregular but also incur infamy of law.
Revs. Woywod-Smith explain the effects of infamy of law under Can. 2294 §1: “A person who has incurred infamy of law is not only irregular, as declared by Can. 984 n. 5, but in addition, he is incapacitated from obtaining ecclesiastical benefices, pensions, offices and dignities, from performing legal ecclesiastical acts, from discharging any ecclesiastical right or duty, and must be restrained from the exercise of sacred functions of the ministry.” The authors continue: “The person who has incurred…an infamy of law…cannot validly obtain ecclesiastical benefices, pensions, offices and dignities, nor can he validly exercise the rights connected with the same, nor perform a valid, legal ecclesiastical act,” (all emph. within quotes in this article is the author’s). Canon 2314 §1 declares that by the commission of heresy, apostasy or schism the offender also incurs infamy ipso facto. When imposed in the form of a penalty attached to law, this sentence takes place immediately.
Infamy is an additional penalty separate from excommunication. As explained in Rev. Eric MacKenzie’s “The Delict of Heresy” on pg. 69 and 72: “The joining of the non-Catholic sect may follow after the externalization of heretical error as a consequence, or may itself be the first internal act which manifests the internal sin of heresy…As a penalty for his aggravated delict, he incurs juridical infamy ipso facto. This is quite independent of infamy of fact and may be incurred without the loss of reputation in the judgment of the general public. It is a juridical status which consists of a series of incapacities…It applies to all those who were validly baptized but were brought up in sectarian belief [such as] Protestants, Nestorians, etc., [These] must be presumed responsible for their external acts in violation of the law of the Church, until and unless the contrary is proven. Consequently, when they formally joined their sect, or publicly lived in accordance with its tenets and its practices, they are presumed to have incurred this juridical infamy, along with the general excommunication for heresy.” Therefore one is presumed to have incurred infamy until positive proof is offered that heresy itself was not committed.
Infamy of law is both a vindictive penalty and an impediment to Orders barring the excommunicate from the exercise of valid legal acts issuing from the clerical state, (or rights or privileges enjoyed by the laity). These are two separate things. Impediments require a dispensation and indeed Can. 2295 states: “Infamy of law ceases only on dispensation granted by the Apostolic See.” A dispensation is not the same as absolution in the internal or external forum nor abjuration or Profession of Faith. The local ordinary can absolve from infamy of fact after the usual period of “laudable conduct for three years,” but only the Pope can dispense from infamy of law. Pope Pius XII specifically states in the preamble to his 1945 election law that during an interregnum, no one can so dispense from those laws which the Roman Pontiff alone is wont to dispense and if they do, the dispensation is null and void.
As Woywod-Smith state, one under infamy of law cannot validly grant or obtain any offices, benefices, dignities, legally and validly perform any ecclesiastical acts or invoke any rights. So any offices or benefices Traditional clerics claim to posses, any right to elect, all right and power to function as clerics validly and licitly and officiate at sacred functions, any right to solicit tithes in the name of the Church — all are forbidden and invalidated by infamy of law. The only possible exception would be the simple laity, who at least are not certainly formal heretics in the eyes of the Church and therefore do not incur the actual infamia juris, as we saw above. They would still need to be dispensed, however, in the external forum. As in many other instances, formal excommunication in the case of those who are not aware of the law at all or are not schooled in Canon Law; also those invincibly ignorant or who are not well grounded in the faith, is not certain (Canons 2218, 2219). This is true at least until a true Pope and hierarchy examines the case. In any event, even non-Catholics are allowed to validly witness a marriage conducted in the extraordinary form and to administer emergency Baptism.
Does infamy of law bar one from election or electing? From Pope Pius XII’s 1945 election law it appears that cardinals were excused from the observance of not only “excommunication, suspension and interdict” (para. 34), but also from “ecclesiastical impediments” for those crimes other than heresy (excluded by para. 36) which would include, it seems, even infamy of law. However, Pope Pius XII adds that while cardinals cannot be “excluded in any manner from active and passive election, we suspend these censures, to the effect of this manner of election only, the censures remaining of their own strength in other cases.” Let us go to the Latin original for those who wish to check, since one Conclavist website quoting Pope Pius XII’s law has omitted the phrase, “to the effect of this manner of election only.” The Latin reads: “Nullas cardinalium cuius libet excommunicationis, suspensionis, interdicti aut alius ecclesiastici impedimenti praetextu vel causa a Summi Pontificis electione activa et passiva excludi ullo modo potest; quas quidem censuras, ad effectum huiusmodi electione tantum, illus alias in suo robore permansuris suspendimus,” (“A Practical Commentary on the Code of Canon Law,” Revs. Woywod and Smith). Using Cassell’s Latin Dictionary, (1923) we translate: “ad effectum (to the effect) hujusmodi (of this kind or manner) electione (of election) tantum (only).
While cardinal electors are probably excused from the observance of the vindictive penalty for infamy of law, for offenses other than heresy, apostasy or schism, this does not apply to “other cases,” and only to “the effect of this manner of election.” Let us presume that one was so elected in another manner of election. The electors would need to be free from any censures and infamy of law, then. Even if cardinals allowed to vote despite their excommunications invalidly helped elect an heretical or schismatic layman, who of course cannot enjoy the privilege of cardinals and would not be electing, that layman would be required to refuse the office voluntarily or would need to be rejected by the cardinal electors. This is true because Pope Pius XII infallibly states that during an interregnum, no one can dispense from things usually dispensed from by the Roman Pontiff, and only the Roman Pontiff can dispense from infamy of law. Therefore the cardinals could not dispense. Because Angelo Roncalli openly preached heresy prior to his election and was, by all accounts, a member of Freemasonry, and also because Roncalli openly allowed others to assure his election during Pope Pius XII’s lifetime, he never became pope. Over the years, the preponderance of evidence against Roncalli has become overwhelming. Those who continue to consider him a true pope despite this evidence should remember that even if Roncalli was only doubtfully pope, this is enough to disqualify him in the eyes of the Church.
So far we have demonstrated in the section on Canon Law that current Canon Law cannot be changed, interpreted or dispensed from during an interregnum; that even if such was the case, papal and conciliar teaching and the writings of approved theologians pre-1959 forbids illicit clerics to exercise their orders and declares their acts or attempted acts invalid; that Traditionalists do not possess lawful pastors nor do their pastors possess apostolic succession; that epikeia cannot be used as a pretext to operate as a priest or bishop, and that the pretense of extraordinary mission is a heresy and cannot be admitted. All that remains is to discover how heresy may be determined.
by T. Stanfill Benns | Feb 6, 2023
Traditionalists today forget that the Catholic Church cannot exist without a true pope. This also is the teaching of St. Thomas Aquinas, the Catechism of the Council of Trent, the Popes themselves and the theologians.
Pope Pius IX teaches this fact from his own mouth: “May God give you the grace necessary to defend the rights of the Sovereign Pontiff and the Holy See; for without the Pope there is no Church, and there is no Catholic Society without the Holy See,” (Allocution to religious superiors, June 24, 1872; Papal Teachings: The Church, by the Monks of Solesmes, translated by Mother E. O’Gorman, St. Paul Editions, 1962; no. 391, p. 226 ).
St. Thomas Aquinas writes: “In order that the Church exist, there must be one person at the head of the whole Christian people,” (Summa Contra Gentilis, Vol. IV, 76).
The Catechism of the Council of Trent teaches: “It is the unanimous teaching of the Fathers that this visible head is necessary to establish and preserve unity in the Church,” and this from Christ’s guarantees to St. Peter found in Holy Scripture, (Revs. McHugh and Callan edition, p. 104.).
Revs. Devivier and Sasia, whose work was personally endorsed by Pope St. Pius X, wrote: “As it is to the character of the foundation that a building owes its solidarity, the close union of its parts, and even its very existence, it is likewise from the authority of Peter that the Church derives Her unity, her stability, and even Her existence Herself. The Church, therefore, cannot exist without Peter,” (Christian Apologetics, Vol. II, p. 111).
Traditionalists today may call themselves priests and bishops, but they are doubtfully valid at best, are usurping the powers of the papacy and pretending to perpetuate the Church without a pope contrary to all Church teaching. It is the popes — NOT the bishops and priests, so-called — to whom we must listen. Men not certainly lawful pastors have no power over us whatsoever. The rights of priests are dependent on the bishop, the bishops’ rights and duties are dependent on the pope, and we have no true pope OR bishops. This is evident from what is stated below.
What are the rights and duties of a priest?
“Consequently, it is not easy to say in a way applicable to all cases what are the duties and rights of a priest; both vary considerably in individual cases. By his ordination a priest is invested with powers rather than with rights, the exercise of these powers (to celebrate Mass, remit sins, preach, administer the sacraments, direct and minister to the Christian people) being regulated by the common laws of the church, the jurisdiction of the bishop, and the office or charge of each priest,” (http://www.catholicity.com/encyclopedia/p/priest.html). Canon 108: “Those who have been assigned to the ministry, at least by the first tonsure, are called clerics.” Canon 118: “Only clerics can obtain the power of either orders or ecclesiastical jurisdiction…”
Apostolicity means possessing both orders AND jurisdiction.
“Apostolicity of mission consists in the power of holy orders and the power of jurisdiction derived by legitimate transmission from the Apostles. Any religious organization whose ministers do not possess these two powers is not accredited to preach the Gospel of Christ. For ‘How can they preach,’ asks the Apostle, ‘unless they be sent?’ (Rom. 10:15). It is Apostolicity of mission which is reckoned as a note of the Church.” (http://www.catholicity.com/encyclopedia/c/church.html see “apostolicity” header).
From the Catechism
What does Father Thomas Kinkead tell American Catholics on lawful pastors in the catechism used in Catholic schools in the 1940s and 1950s, before the decline of the Church? In his An Explanation of the Baltimore Catechism, #4, Fr. Kinkead writes in Q. 115: “What is the Church? A. The Church is the congregation of all those who profess the faith of Christ, partake of the same sacraments, and are governed by their lawful pastors under one visible head.” The Baltimore Council’s approved catechism (#3) for adults also written by Rev. Kinkead tells us in the answer to question # 494 that lawful pastors are “those in the Church who have been appointed by lawful authority and who have therefore a right to rule us.” Note that this says nothing of the supposedly “validly” consecrated bishops who have created these priests; it mentions only lawful authority. Valid consecration is not sufficient; if a bishop has not been approved by the pope and consecrated with the papal mandate he cannot function validly, (see Etsi multa and Charitas below).
“Even if valid orders exist, where jurisdiction is lacking there is no real apostolicity. Schism, as well as heresy, destroys apostolic succession,” (Rev. Thomas Cox, Pillar and Ground of Truth, 1900). In his Manual of Christian Doctrine, written for religious congregations and Catholic institutions of higher learning, seminary professor Rev. John Joseph McVey wrote in 1926:
Q. 60: Who after the pope are lawful pastors of the Church?
A. The bishops who have been canonically instituted, i.e., who have received from the Sovereign Pontiff a diocese to govern.
Q. 73: Why is it not sufficient to be a bishop or priest in order to be a lawful pastor?
A. Because a bishop must also be sent into a diocese by the Pope, and a priest must be sent into a parish by the bishop. In other words, a pastor must have not only the power of order, but also THE POWER OF JURISDICTION, (emph. McVey’s).
Q. 77: How is the power of jurisdiction communicated?
A. Priests receive their jurisdiction from the bishop of the diocese; bishops receive theirs from the pope; and the Pope holds jurisdiction from Jesus Christ. 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). So not only are Traditionalist “priests” and “bishops” illicitly ordained and consecrated, without a true pope they possess NO jurisdiction whatsoever.
Canonical mission is the conveying of the actual office by the Pope (to bishops) or the bishop (to priests), or the superior (to religious). (Delegated) jurisdiction, the power to execute the duties of that office, is granted to priests only by a validly ordained and consecrated bishop whose consecration was approved by a canonically elected pope (meaning his election was held without any doubts whatsoever about its legitimacy as prescribe by Canon Law and Pope Pius XII’s papal election constitution governing papal elections.) This means only bishops consecrated prior to Pope Pius XII’s death on Oct. 9, 1958 are considered validly consecrated.
Heretics and schismatics lose all jurisdiction
St. Robert Bellarmine says. “There is no basis for that which some respond to this: that these Fathers based themselves on ancient law, while nowadays, by decree of the Council of Constance, they alone lose their jurisdiction who are excommunicated by name or who assault clerics. This argument, I say, has no value at all, for those Fathers, in affirming that heretics lose jurisdiction, did not cite any human law, which furthermore perhaps did not exist in relation to the matter, but argued on the basis of the very nature of heresy. The Council of Constance only deals with the excommunicated, that is, those who have lost jurisdiction by sentence of the Church, while heretics already before being excommunicated are outside the Church and deprived of all jurisdiction.
“For they have already been condemned by their own sentence, as the Apostle teaches (Tit. 3:10-11), that is, they have been cut off from the body of the Church without excommunication, as St. Jerome affirms… All the ancient Fathers…teach that manifest heretics immediately lose all jurisdiction, and outstandingly that of St. Cyprian (lib. 4, epist. 2) who speaks as follows of Novatian, who was Pope [i.e. antipope] in the schism which occurred during the pontificate of St. Cornelius: “He would not be able to retain the episcopate [i.e. of Rome], and, if he was made bishop before, he separated himself from the body of those who were, like him, bishops, and from the unity of the Church.’” (An Extract from St. Robert Bellarmine’s De Romano Pontifice, lib. II, cap. 30, (http://www.cmri.org/02-bellarmine-roman-pontiff.html. This link is placed merely for purposes of attribution; no endorsement of this site is hereby intended.)
St. Robert Bellarmine, (de Romano Pontifice, Bk. 2, Chapter 40) also teaches: “The Holy Fathers teach unanimously not only that heretics are outside of the Church, but also that they are ipso facto deprived of all ecclesiastical jurisdiction and dignity …Saint Nicholas I (epist. Ad Michael) repeats and confirms the same. Finally, Saint Thomas also teaches (II-II, Q39, A3) that schismatics immediately lose all jurisdiction, and that anything they try to do on the basis of any jurisdiction will be null…” Further, 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.).”
Without such jurisdiction priests cannot act validly (confession, marriage, etc.), unless the Church supplies it, (in “emergency” situations). Priests must be assigned an office by a valid bishop in communion with the pope. A valid bishop can only convey an office if he possesses jurisdiction (Pope Paul IV’s Cum ex Apostolatus Officio, 1559, still retained in the 1917 code) and no one who has committed heresy possesses jurisdiction. Without this office and valid assignment to it by a valid bishop, priests cannot say Mass publicly.
Revs. Woywod-Smith, A Practical Commentary on Canon Law, (under Can. 804) write:
“699. A priest who desires to say Holy Mass in a church other than that to which he is attached must show authentic and still valid letters of recommendation (commonly called ‘Celebret’) to the priest in charge of the church. A secular priest must obtain these letters from his Ordinary, a religious priest from his superior, and a priest of an Oriental Rite from the Sacred Congregation of the Oriental Church. A priest who has a proper ‘‘Celebret’’ shall be admitted to say Mass, unless it is known that in the meantime he has done something for reason of which he must be kept from saying Holy Mass…
“If the priest has no ‘Celebret,’ but the rector of the church knows well that he is a priest in good standing, he may be allowed to say Mass. If, however, he is unknown to the rector, he may nevertheless be permitted to say Mass once or twice,” provided he fulfill certain conditions.
“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.”
As St. Pius X taught in Acerbo nimis (1905): “Pastors…are obliged by the precept of Christ to know and to nourish the sheep confided to them; now to nourish is first of all to teach… (a) And so the Apostle said, ‘Christ sent me not to baptize but to preach the Gospel, (b) indicating thus that the first office of those who are set up in any way for the government of the Church is to instruct the faithful in sacred doctrine.” So how is it that Traditionalists violate this teaching by rushing to provide Mass and Sacraments and failing entirely to instruct the faithful in sacred doctrine? How is it that despite Pope Boniface VIII’s teaching that unless all the faithful are subject to the Roman Pontiff, they cannot save their souls, Traditionalists fail to require strict obedience to papal law and teaching?
Canon 147 teaches: “An ecclesiastical office cannot be 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,” and this canon has been officially interpreted by Pope Pius XII to mean exactly what Pope Pius IX taught in the paragraph from Graves diurturnae quoted below, and the Council of Trent taught in the 1500s.
“This Holy Synod teaches that, in the ordination of bishops, priests and other orders…those who are called and instituted only by the people, or by the civil power…and proceed to exercise these offices, and…those who take these offices upon themselves, are not ministers of the Church, but are to be regarded as ‘thieves, robbers and those who have not entered by the door,’” (DZ 960; Canons 108-109; Can. 147.) “”If anyone says that … those who have neither been rightly ordained nor sent by ecclesiastical authority, but come from a different source, are the lawful ministers of the Word and of the Sacraments, let him be anathema.” (The Council of Trent, Sess. 23, July 15, 1563; DZ 967, 424). Having taught this infallibly, would “the Church” really be willing to supply jurisdiction for them?
When Can. 209 says the “Church” supplies, that term is interpreted to mean the Roman Pontiff, who is the only one throughout history who has EVER supplied jurisdiction. The Pope is the ONLY one who holds primacy of jurisdiction in the Church. All this is according to the Vatican Council decrees and is further explained in Rev. Francis Miaskiewicz’s Canon Law dissertation Supplied Jurisdiction According to Canon 209, (1948, Catholic University of America). And when Canon 2261 §2 says priests may act in emergency situations to administer the Sacraments, it is assumed that the Church (the Pope) will supply jurisdiction. But we have no true pope to supply it, so priests cannot now receive this jurisdiction. Without it they cannot act, as NO ONE may usurp papal jurisdiction during an interregnum. This Pope Pius XII infallibly teaches in his papal election constitution, (Vacantis Apostolica Sedis, 1945):
“We declare invalid and void any power or jurisdiction pertaining to the Roman Pontiff in his lifetime, which the assembly of Cardinals might decide to exercise (while the Church is without a Pope)… If anything contrary to this prescript occurs or is by chance attempted, we declare it by Our Supreme authority to be null and void.” And if even the cardinals (some of whom are also bishops) cannot exercise it, and they are superior in rank to bishops, certainly bishops could not presume to do so. Only the pope can supply the papal mandate; this is an act of papal jurisdiction.
Validly consecrated bishops such as Lefebvre and Thuc long ago incurred heresy and communicatio in sacris by celebrating the Novus Ordo Missae. They publicly admitted they celebrated this false liturgy in communion with a false church and Lefebvre never left that church. (Thuc vacillated back and forth between Traditionalism and the Novus Ordo throughout his life.) Therefore they incurred the penalty for notorious heresy, (Can. 2314 §1). Canon 2314 §3 further provides that if they commit communicatio in sacris (Can. 1258) they also incur a vindicative penalty, which only the pope is able to lift, (Can. 2295). Canon 2294 (Revs. Woywod-Smith commentary) classifies any act performed under the imposition of a vindicative penalty invalid. Furthermore, in his papal election law, Pius XII declares any act usurping papal jurisdiction during an interregnum null and void. One cannot presume to act validly and licitly without a papal dispensation from this penalty while the Church is without Her head.
So first of all, Lefebvre and Thuc are notorious heretics and schismatics (notorious by fact, meaning Catholics know what they did was an act of treason against the Church, they know that they did it because they have confessed it or otherwise confirmed it publicly and they know what they did was wrong; Can. 2197 no. 3). These two men automatically lost their offices and all jurisdiction. They cannot plead ignorance; for as Pope Celestine I taught: “No priest may be ignorant of the canons,” far less a bishop! These men were forbidden to function by papal decree, interregnum or no, (see Etsi multa and Charitas below). So even when not operating during an interregnum, past papal laws have declared the operations of such schismatics/heretics null and void in similar cases. During an interregnum, the acts of those who violate papal laws or usurp papal jurisdiction are infallibly declared null and void by Pius XII above.
Schismatic bishops can validly consecrate when a canonically elected pope is reigning, because then the reigning pope can judge and rectify such consecrations. But during an interregnum, such consecrations are null ab initio, (from the outset) because the pope infallibly forbids it. All affairs are to be referred to the future pope in advance of their accomplishment. Any attempted these consecrations are considered as though they never happened. Traditionalists cannot presume to consecrate bishops without a papal mandate, as Pope Pius IX unequivocally demonstrates in Etsi Multa. If a priest is not consecrated a bishop, he cannot validly ordain priests because technically he is still a priest himself. And since Traditionalist consecrations of bishops never happen, ordinations cannot happen either.
All comes back to Can. 147, explained above. In order to function as a valid and lawful pastor, one must be assigned an office. All must be done in accordance with the canons. All offices are lost on the commission of heresy, (Can. 188 no. 4 and Can. 2314 §2; also St. Bellarmine above).
Pope Pius IX, Etsi Multa (November 1873)
“24. But these men [the Old Catholics], having progressed more boldly in the ways of wickedness and destruction, as happens to heretical sects from God’s just judgment, have wished to create a hierarchy also for themselves, as we have intimated. They have chosen and set up a pseudo-bishop, a certain notorious apostate from the Catholic faith…
“25. But as even the rudiments of Catholic faith declare, no one can be considered a bishop who is not linked in communion of faith and love with Peter, upon whom is built the Church of Christ; who does not adhere to the supreme Pastor to whom the sheep of Christ are committed to be pastured; and who is not bound to the confirmer of fraternity which is in the world.
26. We additionally excommunicate whoever has adhered to them and belonging to their party has furnished help, favor, aid, or consent. We declare, proclaim, and command that they are separated from the communion of the Church. They are to be considered among those with whom all faithful Christians are forbidden by the Apostle to associate and have social exchange to such an extent that, as he plainly states, they may not even be greeted,” [Vitandus!] (http://www.papalencyclicals.net/Pius09/p9etsimu.htm).
Pope Pius IX, Graves Diurturnae (March 1875):
“We have already reproved and condemned this deplorable sect [the Old Catholics] which has produced from the old store of the heretics so many errors opposed to the principal tenets of the Catholic faith. This sect overthrows the foundations of the Catholic religion, shamelessly rejects the dogmatic definitions of the Ecumenical Vatican Council, and devotes itself to the ruin of souls in so many ways… [The faithful] should totally shun their religious celebrations, their buildings, and their chairs of pestilence, which they have with impunity established to transmit the sacred teachings. They should shun their writings and all contact with them. They should not have any dealings or meetings with usurping priests and apostates from the faith who dare to exercise the duties of an ecclesiastical minister without possessing a legitimate mission or any jurisdiction. They should avoid them as strangers and thieves who come only to steal, slay, and destroy.”
Pope Pius IX, Quartus Supra (January 1873)
“As Our predecessor Pius VI warned in his Apostolic letter condemning the civil constitution of the clergy in France, discipline is often so closely related to doctrine and has such a great influence on its preservation and its purity, that the sacred councils have not hesitated to cut off from the Church by their anathema those who have infringed its discipline.” www.papalencyclicals.net/Pius09/p9quartu.htm
Pope Pius VI, Charitas (April, 1791)
“They must not grant dimissorial letters for ordinations. Nor must they appoint, depute, or confirm pastors, vicars, missionaries, helpers, functionaries, ministers, or others, whatever their title, for the care of souls and the administration of the Sacraments under any pretext of necessity whatsoever… For We declare and proclaim publicly that all their dimissorial letters and deputations or confirmations, past and future, as well as all their rash proceedings and their consequences, are utterly void and without force…” www.papalencyclicals.net/Pius06/p6charit.htm
It is a sin of presumption to think Christ would supply jurisdiction in the pope’s absence as some teach today. There is no law in the Church anywhere that says in the present “emergency” situation Our Lord would supply jurisdiction; Charitas above says no “pretext of necessity” would justify such a belief. Pope Pius XII’s infallible papal election constitution says it does not/cannot occur. Even Our Lord cannot supersede a pope’s infallible decree, for He promises to bind in Heaven whatever His Vicar binds on earth, and He is ever true to His promises. The Church’s teachings must be taken as a whole, as a flawless composite of integral truth. One truth cannot contradict the other. If the Traditionalist scenario is true then the popes quoted above are liars. We are to obey God not men, and God speaks to us only through his VICARS and those in communion with them. The choice is and has always been our own. The Church infallibly commands us to be subject to the Roman Pontiff if we wish to be saved (Boniface VIII). And we cannot be subject to them by following men who refuse to observe the teachings of the continual magisterium and insist on functioning outside communion with a canonically elected pope.