Cekada’s justification of acting without papal mandate refuted
© Copyright 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. All emphasis within quotes is the author’s unless indicated otherwise.)
Below is a commentary on remarks made by Anthony Cekada concerning the citation of Pope Pius XII’s Ad Apostolorum Principis to prove that a papal mandate is required by law to consecrate bishops. This response is made at the request of an inquirer who wondered if what Cekada said had any basis in fact. What is interesting here is that Cekada intimates that bishops made heads of dioceses do not receive papal appointment; that only the three other types of bishops he mentions receive actual papal appointment, so do not need the mandate. However he argues that the mandate is for bishops serving “in any capacity” and therefore from the outset seems to contradict himself. While he claims that those demanding the mandate are confused, it is Cekada himself who is confused about the nature of the mandate. Rev. J. Tixeront, in his “Holy Orders and Ordination” (1928) tells us that the mandatum signifies much more than just permission to consecrate. “The Apostolic mandatum has replaced the official report furnished to the metropolitan concerning the election made, at first, by the clergy and people, then, at a later period, by the bishops, the king and the chapter.” This infers that when the Pontiff issues the permission, he has in hand the reports concerning the qualifications of the candidate and all necessary information needed to makes such an appointment. And indeed this will be demonstrated below.
(From Anthony Cekada)
Those who have attempted to invoke this decree in our own circumstances seem to have confused two things:
1. The mandatum: the papal document granting permission for the consecration of a bishop who will serve as a bishop in any capacity, including as an auxiliary or titular bishop, and
2. The canonical appointment: a papal decree designating a bishop as Ordinary (or “residential bishop”) of a duly constituted diocese, which appointment auxiliary and titular bishops did not receive.
The canonist Fr. Eduardo Regatillo, in his Institutiones Juris Canonici (Santander: Sal Terrae 1956), 2:600, states that the 1951 decree affects only bishops consecrated without papal appointment to be heads of dioceses.
“Anyone who is to be promoted to the episcopacy needs the canonical appointment by which he is constituted Bishop of a such a vacant diocese.
“In practice, it may be doubted whether only those who are to be consecrated residential Bishops are affected – that is, those who are consecrated for a diocese now in existence – or also titular bishops (who are created for an extinct see or diocese), or bishops who are consecrated for no diocese.
“From the purpose intended by the Holy Office, the decree appears to cover only those who are consecrated as residential bishops, for this is the actual case which the Holy See intends to condemn.
“This new type [of offense] differs from the one mentioned in Canon 2370, where the canon refers to consecrations performed without apostolic mandate (described in canon 953). The new decree, on the other hand, punishes consecrations performed without pontifical appointment.
“An appointment designates the person and bestows the title [to an office]. A mandate grants the permission to confer the consecration.”
Regatillo’s interpretation is confirmed a reading of Pius XII’s encyclical (reproduced below), especially paragraphs 45-48.
No traditional Catholic bishop – at least none of our acquaintance – has been consecrated to the episcopacy and then received illegal designation and title to a diocese established by the Roman Pontiff.
Traditional Catholic bishops are consecrated for no diocese. One cannot claim, therefore, that the 1951 Decree applies to them.
Response to Cekada
Cekada is basically ignoring the vast forest to focus on a few scraggly trees, possibly in part because he feels the need to defend his partner “Bp.” Dolan. You can find the explanation for this on my site at /articles/a-catholics-course-of-study/canon-law/trad-pseudo-clerics-only-simulating-mass-and-sacraments-pdf/ although it is rather long. But it does explain why, if we follow all the reasoning out concerning the crisis in the Church to the very end, these Trad priests created after John 23 was elected are most likely nothing more than mere laymen.
Since Traditionalism first came into existence in the late 1960s, it has been all about the Mass. This was a deliberate ploy to take people’s mind off the real issue — the papacy. The Council of Trent, St. Thomas Aquinas, the popes — all teach that without the pope the Church cannot exist. The pope is the center of all unity and if the Church loses Her center and Her unity, then there is no visible Church. Well this has happened, just as Holy Scripture foretold that someday it would happen during the reign of Antichrist. He who withholdeth, the Pope, was taken out of the way. The Great Apostasy finished with V2 and then the Mass was officially abrogated in 1969. This is exactly the order given by St. Paul, who said that unless the revolt come first, and he who withholdeth is taken out of the way, then the Man of Sin will not appear. And it is the Man of Sin, Antichrist, who causes the Holy Sacrifice to cease. Trads talk about these things; they even believe in them, but they do not follow this through to its logical consequences. They know we have no pope, they admit Paul 6 or the entire line of NO antipopes is Antichrist, they know that the exodus from the V2 Church was unprecedented, but they must still have the Mass, regardless of “the signs of the times.”
It was the duty of any remaining bishops and cardinals, once seeing what V2 was, to immediately withdraw themselves from the antipope and begin preparations to elect a true pope, but they didn’t. No faithful bishops withdrew and the ones who passed as Traditionalists, Lefebvre and Thuc, acted entirely outside Church law and teaching. Even though bishops swear to uphold Canon Law and to obey the pope during their episcopal consecration, these oaths they took were obviously meaningless. The issue here is NOT what kind of bishops those consecrated by Thuc. Lefebvre, etc. THINK they became. The issue is that they cannot become any kind of bishops at all during an interregnum, as my article above will show; and those “consecrated” by Lefebvre and Thuc certainly cannot be validly advanced to the episcopate if one cannot prove unquestionably that they ever became priests. If there is an effort to interfere with the rights of the Church or if someone attempts to usurp papal jurisdiction (to appoint or nominate bishops) during an interregnum, then these attempts are null and void. This is the infallible teaching advanced by Pope Pius XII in his 1945 constitution on papal election, Vacantis Apostolica Sedis, and Pope Pius VI in Charitas.
Notice that Cekada does not quote anything from Canon Law on this subject. Because if he did, it would soon become apparent that he has no real idea of what constitutes an ecclesiastical office, the implications of receiving such an office, and the necessity of the Pope himself to create such episcopal offices under penalty of invalidity. He totally misrepresents the meaning of canonical appointment, the very basis for his argument, which becomes clear from what is presented below. But we must not lose sight of the fact that it is not the valid consecration of these bishops sans any mandate that is really the issue here. It is the necessity of the papacy — the supreme jurisdiction accorded the Roman Pontiff by Divine right and the position of the pope as Head bishop of the Church with final say in everything — that is really the point here. In all their actions, from the beginning, Traditionalists, in the spirit of the Gallicanists and the Old Catholics, have deliberately circumvented the Supreme Authority of the Roman Pontiff and in so doing long ago became a non-Catholic sect. We proceed now to the relevant Canons:
Can. 293: “Territories which are not erected into dioceses are governed by vicars and prefects Apostolic, whose nomination is reserved exclusively to the Holy See.” The canonist Rev. Charles Augustine notes that: “Apostolic vicars and prefects enjoy the same rights and faculties in their respective territories as residential bishops in their dioceses…”
Can. 320: “Prelates nullius (of no diocese) are nominated and instituted by the Roman Pontiff…” Rev. Augustine comments on this canon: “Abbots and prelates nullius are nominated and invested by the Roman Pontiff, with due regard to the right of election or presentation lawfully belonging to another person; in which latter case they are confirmed and invested by the Roman Pontiff.”
Can. 323: “Abbots or prelates nullius have the same ordinary powers and the same obligations under the same penalties as a residential bishop in his diocese…”
Can. 331 §2 and §3: “The Holy See has the exclusive rite to pass judgment on the suitability of any candidate for the episcopate,” (and this to exclude unworthy candidates who cannot be validly consecrated. No candidate who has separated himself from the Church by communicating in the religious ceremonies of non-Catholics [Traditionalists], nor a priest whose ordination is not absolutely certain could ever be a worthy candidate. According to The Catholic Encyclopedia under “bishop,” the qualifications for valid consecration from the Council of Trent include “freedom from censure and irregularity or any defect of mind.” This also is reflected in Can. 2265 §2, §3.)
Can. 350: “The Roman Pontiff only can assign [appoint directly] to a bishop a co-adjutor,” (or auxiliary bishop).
And here I must disagree with Cekada’s theologian, because Canon Law does not support his statement.
Can. 953: “The episcopal consecration is reserved to the Roman Pontiff in such a manner that no bishop is allowed to confer episcopal consecration on anyone unless he has first ascertained that there is a papal mandate to that effect.” As Abp. Cicognani comments in his “Canon Law,” wherever the Church in Her laws does not differentiate, neither should we. So how does Cekada and his theologian miss “NO BISHOP” and “ANYONE” here?
Can. 2370: “A bishop who consecrates another bishop, the assistant bishops, or the priests who in place of the assistant bishops assist the consecrator, and the newly consecrated bishop who receives consecration without an apostolic mandate in violation of the precept of Can. 953, are all automatically suspended until the Apostolic See has relieved them from the penalty.”
So why does Cekada neglect to mention that Can. 953 is specifically referred to in Can. 2370? It would be the bishop receiving consecration who would need to produce the Apostolic Mandate; bishops-elect are generally allowed to choose their own consecrators. In Rev. Woywod-Smith’s note to this canon, they explain that the consecrator and his assistants are “further punished” with excommunication ipso facto under Can. 2370 (per Ad Apostolorum Principis) for consecrating “one not nominated or expressly confirmed by the Holy See.” This excommunication is most specially reserved to the Holy See. If this canon and Pope Pius XII’s excommunications are not interrelated, why is it entered under this canon by Woywod-Smith? Rev. Augustine says the suspension in Can. 2370 already has “the character of a vindicative penalty,” and he links it back to Pope Pius VI’s Charitas. This constitution decrees: “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.” And Pope Pius VI did not limit his scope of application to dioceses or diocesan bishops only, writing that any further illicit elections or appointments to offices by the rebel bishops and those following them, “whether old-established or recently and unlawfully created…have been, are, and will be void, unlawful, sacrilegious, and utterly null, and We hereby rescind, efface, and revoke them.”
Cekada’s focus is the canon’s application only to ordinaries or residential bishops; the actual subject matter of these canons is the absolute rights of the Roman Pontiff only to nominate, confirm or appoint bishops. He claims that the paragraphs (below) from Pope Pius XII’s encyclical confirm what Regatillo says, but they do nothing of the sort.
45. “Well known are the terms of the Vatican Council’s solemn definition: ‘Relying on the open testimony of the Scriptures and abiding by the wise and clear decrees both of our predecessors, the Roman Pontiffs, and the general Councils, We renew the definition of the Ecumenical Council of Florence, by virtue of which all the faithful must believe that ‘the Holy Apostolic See and the Roman Pontiff hold primacy over the whole world, and the Roman Pontiff himself is the Successor of the blessed Peter and continues to be the true Vicar of Christ and head of the whole Church, the father and teacher of all Christians, and to him is the blessed Peter our Lord Jesus Christ committed the full power of caring for, ruling and governing the Universal Church….’
46. “’We teach, . . . We declare that the Roman Church by the Providence of God holds the primacy of ordinary power over all others, and that this power of jurisdiction of the Roman Pontiff, which is truly episcopal, is immediate. Toward it, the pastors and the faithful of whatever rite and dignity, both individually and collectively, are bound by the duty of hierarchical subordination and true obedience, not only in matters which pertain to faith and morals, but also in those which concern the discipline and government of the Church spread throughout the whole world, in such a way that once the unity of communion and the profession of the same Faith has been preserved with the Roman Pontiff, there is one flock of the Church of Christ under one supreme shepherd. This is the teaching of the Catholic truth from which no one can depart without loss of faith and salvation.’
47. “From what We have said, it follows that no authority whatsoever, save that which is proper to the Supreme Pastor, can render void the canonical appointment granted to any bishop; that no person or group, whether of priests or of laymen, can claim the right of nominating bishops; that no one can lawfully confer episcopal consecration unless he has received the mandate of the Apostolic See.
48. “Consequently, if consecration of this kind is being done contrary to all right and law, and by this crime the unity of the Church is being seriously attacked, an excommunication reserved specialissimo modo to the Apostolic See has been established which is automatically incurred by the consecrator and by anyone who has received consecration irresponsibly conferred.” Not one word appears in this excerpt from pope Pius XII’s encyclical that even comes close to mentioning residential bishops, or ordinaries only as receiving papal appointment.
Returning to Can. 953 for a moment, Revs. Woywod-Smith write on this canon: “In the United States, all bishops are nominated by the Supreme Pontiff…In all cases, the Holy See reserves to itself the canonical institution and consecration of bishops.” What is meant by canonical institution? Another set of canons must be referred to here, ones that Mr. Cekada does not like to hear about.
The special case of Canon 147
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.” (Even vicars and prefects Apostolic, also prelates nullius, occupy an office.) And then Can. 148 defines appointments as any of the following: (1) free appointment by the legitimate superior; (2) by the so-called “institution” in cases where a patron has the right to nominate or present to the ecclesiastical superior the person who is to obtain the office; (3) confirmation by a superior in the case of elections and (4) In the case of postulation in religious orders, by the “admission” of the candidate by the superior to the religious order. Canon 110 states: “Though the Holy See gives some of the clergy the title of prelate without jurisdiction as a mere honorary title, the term ‘prelates’ properly denotes in law clerics, either secular or religious, who have ordinary jurisdiction in the external forum.” Under Canons 147 and 148, Rev. Augustine comments that: “The competent authority in conferring major ecclesiastical offices (prelacies) is the Roman Pontiff.” A prelate is one who “rules over the clergy and people of a district that is separated from every other diocese,” (Revs. Woywod-Smith, Can. 319). Donald Attwater defines a prelate as, “A dignitary having jurisdiction in the external forum. The principal prelates are the bishops; others are vicars and prefects apostolic.”
The Catholic Encyclopedia under “bishop” elaborates further on the above. In the case of those allowed to make recommendations for candidates to the episcopacy, “this does not juridically bind the sovereign pontiff, who has the power to choose the new bishop from persons not included in the list of recommendations.” In certain countries where bishops are elected, the votes are sent to the Holy See for approval along with a list of “useful information” about each of the candidates. “Whatever the manner of his nomination, the bishops has no power until his nomination has been confirmed by the Holy See…”
Can. 147, which according to the Sacred Congregation and Pope Pius XII is based on “sacred principles” is no ordinary canon. And because it is an invalidating and inhabilitating law, (meaning that unless it is done precisely as the law itself prescribes, it is invalid), any attempt to intrude oneself into a position of any kind without canonical appointment or provision is null and void; it simply never takes place. This decision is based on the following anathema issued by the Council of Trent: “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 960, 967, 424).
The following decision of the Sacred Congregation issued June 29, 1950 (AAS 42-601, part of the ordinary magisterium per Pius XII’s Humani Generis) gives the text of DZ 967 and yet another version of DZ 960, varying slightly from the Denzinger translation: “Those who undertake to exercise these offices merely at the behest of and upon appointment by the people or secular power and authority, and those who assume the same upon their own authority, are all to be regarded not as ministers of the Church but as thieves and robbers who have entered not by the door…His holiness Pope Pius XII…in order to preserve more inviolate these same sacred principles and at the same time forestall abuses in a matter of such great importance…deigned to provide as follows…” And here the censures incurred by Traditionalists, specially reserved to the Holy See are mentioned. The ipso facto excommunications are incurred by the ones occupying or holding an ecclesiastical office contrary to the canons and without any provision and those who allow anyone to be placed in these offices. Also excommunicated are those who have any direct or indirect part in such crimes.
This excommunication is listed under Can. 2394, which automatically deprives anyone, not just bishops, of an office seized illicitly and recommends them for punishment by the Ordinary. This for taking possession “of an ecclesiastical benefice, office or dignity by his own authority or before he has received the necessary letters of confirmation or institution [from the bodies or individuals electing or nominating clerics for various offices] and has exhibited them to the persons designated by law.” The meaning of offices will be explained below. Pope Pius XII was serious about the confirmation of all offices by the necessary superior; he was guarding here the rights of the hierarchy, i. e. the Church. This is why only a year later he would write Ad Apostolorum Principis. So clearly the mind of the Church in this matter is that expressed here by Pius XII, as well as by Pope Pius VI in Charitas.
Offices and those who occupy them
So we need to define terms here in order to prove Cekada has no idea what he is talking about. First of all, we already know what constitutes canonical appointment; it has to be done by the authority who in the canons is indicated as the one competent to make the appointment. In the case of bishops, that can only be the Roman Pontiff, regardless of the mandate. The mandate only provides proof the appointment has been reviewed and approved and permission to consecrate. Next we must determine what constitutes an office. By office, according to Can. 145, is meant, “in a broad sense…any employment which is legitimately practiced for a spiritual purpose. In the strict sense, an ecclesiastical office means a stable position created either by the divine or ecclesiastical law, conferred according to the rules of the sacred canons and entailing some participation at least in ecclesiastical power, whether of orders or jurisdiction. In law, the term ecclesiastical office is used in its strict sense…” unless a specific law indicates otherwise. So no matter what kind of bishop we are talking about, when they are appointed they are assigned to a specific office according to this definition. These Trad clerics cannot claim jurisdiction of any kind, because jurisdiction is a grant of authority made by a competent superior in communion with the Roman Pontiff to be exercised over specific subjects. Nor can they claim orders. Lefebvre and Thuc may have been validly appointed, but without the papal appointment of the bishops they consecrated, these bishops were never validly created for ANY position. Both Lefebvre and Thuc have huge clouds hanging over their heads where intention, their own validity and fitness are concerned. They certainly could not give to others what they did not have themselves, (please see website link above).
So those they created, whether priests or bishops, are only doubtfully valid AT BEST. They possess no jurisdiction and cannot use any assumed power of Orders for any purpose. This by virtue of Charitas above and because we cannot resort to doubtfully valid ministers according to Pope Innocent XI’s declaration that it is not safe to receive sacraments from such persons, (DZ 1151). Furthermore, Can. 154 declares that, “Offices which entail the care of souls cannot be validly conferred upon clerics who are not ordained priests.” Like it or not, Trads all have assumed an office. And if the office of bishop is not validly held, how can such men possible call and create priests? The canons say they cannot. A priest cannot create a priest, and in most cases these men are not even priests themselves! (See the article linked above.) In the consecration rite, these men are specifically called to the office of bishop. If they cannot accept such an office because papal appointment was never made, how can they receive it?! As Rev. Patrick Madgett S. J. teaches in Vol. II of his work “Christian Origins” (1943) under bishops: “A successor in any office or task is one who is lawfully substituted in place of another to perform the same duties, with the same powers.” And Trad “bishops” present as successors of the Apostles with all the same duties and powers, but are not lawful and are doubtfully valid.
In the episcopal rite of consecration, the one being consecrated is consecrated for the OFFICE of bishop. The one being consecrated reads, from the traditional episcopal rite: “I shall render to our Holy Father, Pope N., and to his aforesaid successors an account of my whole pastoral office, and of all things pertaining in any manner whatsoever to the state of my Church, to the discipline of the clergy and the people, and finally to the salvation of the souls which are entrusted to me: and in turn I shall receive humbly the apostolic mandates and execute them as diligently as possible. (Some Trad bishops have removed all reference to the papal mandates from the rite, something that is strictly forbidden by the Church. Only the pope can attenuate the rites of the Sacraments.) Later in the rite, the consecrator says to the one being consecrated: “Receive the staff of the pastoral office, so that in the correction of vices you may be lovingly severe, giving judgment without wrath, softening the minds of your hearers whilst fostering virtues, not neglecting strictness of discipline through love of tranquility. R. Amen.” Cekada and others pretend that only ordinaries or residential bishops can hold an office. But even a priest or religious can hold an office by appointment of the superior.
What is Cekada really objecting to in his article above? It seems that he is trying to accomplish three things: 1) He is attempting to confuse people’s understanding of canonical appointment so that they disconnect it from the idea of any office received. Why? Because Cekada knows that if these “bishops” laid claim to an actual office, especially one, say, that existed in the past and to which they were claiming to possess over the NO, that this would make them subject to various excommunications. This is why he makes it clear that the “consecration” of Trad bishops does not convey a spiritual office because they are not attached to any diocese. But here he is wrong. By definition, Trads DO possess a sort of “missionary” office of their own making, because they go to great lengths to convince their followers that their ministrations fit the Church’s definitions of an office: “…a stable position created either by the divine or ecclesiastical law, conferred according to the rules of the sacred canons and entailing some participation at least in ecclesiastical power,” whether of orders or jurisdiction. The reformers did not possess offices which were considered such by Church definition either, but this did not prevent the Council of Trent, and later Pope Pius XII, from condemning those “who come from a different source…who assume the same upon their own authority,” (DZ 960, 967).
And 2): He is saying either that there is more than one episcopal consecration ceremony, or that the one and only episcopal consecration ceremony is hopelessly flawed. Because in this ceremony any and ALL bishops, whether being consecrated as ordinaries or for other positions are asked to present the “Mandate or Apostolic Letter from the Pope,” which is read aloud. The Bishop-elect then kneels before the consecrator and solemnly swears an oath to submit himself to the Holy See, an oath which in the case of Traditionalists, if indeed it is even made, is as barren and worthless as the episcopal ceremony itself. As we have seen above, all such candidates for the episcopacy must be approved by the Roman Pontiff and present themselves for consecration within three months of such approval. Finally: 3) He is attempting to prove that Trad bishops do not incur the excommunication for not presenting the papal mandate, but that is the least of their worries. Let them first explain how they can become clerics without:
• First tonsure, which according to Can. 108 is necessary to become a cleric is an act of jurisdiction on behalf of the bishop (Rev. Charles Augustine), such jurisdiction being conveyed with the office. Even those appointed to an office without consecration (Can. 957 §2) may confer consecration “in the territory of their jurisdiction,” which Trads do not possess, a fact some Trad bishops even admit. And Cekada states that Trad bishops do not occupy an office.
• Dimissorial letters, which can be issued by several sorts of bishops under Can. 958 and even those not consecrated as bishops. But such bishops cannot ordain candidates not residing in their domicile (Can. 956); who have been rejected by the bishop (Can. 958 §4), or those who have not had their testimonial letters issued by the proper bishop and duly examined. (Can. 960). Dimissorial letters are issued only after the bishop has examined the testimonial letters and issued the dimissorial letters based on that candidate’s worthiness. Ordinations cannot be performed without them, just as in the case of the papal mandate. What Trad bishop, rightly consecrated and lawfully installed in an office, has issued such letters?
• Freedom from diriment impediments and vindicative penalties. No true bishop or pope exists to dispense from such impediments. And every Trad priest and bishop out there has either attended or assisted at non-Catholic Novus Ordo or Traditionalist services, and therefore has incurred communicatio in sacris, (Can. 1258, 2314, 2315, 2316). Can. 2314 states that those incurring this penalty for communication with non-Catholics also incurs infamy of law (Can. 2294) which can be lifted only by a legitimately and canonically elected Roman Pontiff.
So given all this, Cekada has far more to worry about than just the papal mandate.
Strange priests and the celebration of Mass
Even if men such as Cekada really were priests, they would not be permitted to say Mass or confer the Sacraments under the existing Code. Priests can’t say Mass outside their own parish, the place to which they are attached or have been assigned an office. Canon 111 states that: “Every cleric must belong to some diocese or religious organization and no recognition may be extended to vagrant clerics.” We read the following from Rev. Woywod’s “A Practical Commentary on Canon Law,” paragraphs 699-702, concerning the admission of strange priests to say Mass:
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.
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.” So where are the letters of recommendation Cekada needs to say Mass and administer Sacraments? Where is his proof of jurisdiction, demanded under Can. 200? To what legitimate Church or territory is he attached? Cekada’s church is not functioning according to the Sacred Canons because it is not Catholic. There is no competent ecclesiastical authority to grant any kind of office in the Catholic Church. And even if such authority did exist, only certainly ordained priests could receive these offices.
Christ placed the Roman Pontiff over all other bishops; jurisdiction comes to them only through the Roman Pontiff. This is defined by Pope Pius XII in Mystici Corporis and Ad Sinarum Gentum. Without this specific approval for consecration and subsequent grant of authority, bishops may have the power to consecrate and ordain, but they are forbidden under pain of nullity to use it. Rev. Madgett says: “Vicars apostolic, (titular bishops) who rule mission territories, exercise their jurisdiction by delegation and not in virtue of their office, as does the ordinary…[Only] the resident bishop or ordinary (possessing both the powers of order and jurisdiction)…[and] exercising them by virtue of his office, is successor of the Apostles in the full sense of the word.” And yet Canon Law states that they have the same powers, although their powers do not always issue directly from the Roman Pontiff. There is no different rite of consecration for the different kinds of bishops. All receive an office in the Church as long as the Pope makes or approves their appointment by nomination or institution, yet not all are ordinaries. The Church’s center of unity is the pope. Without him, the cardinals and bishops are forbidden by Pope Pius XII’s election constitution Vacantis Apostolica Sedis to ruin the Church and usurp the rights of the papacy, yet this is what they are doing. That constitution states that whenever the Church’s laws and rights are violated, the cardinals must defend them and in the absence of the hierarchy this mantle falls upon the laity, just as Pope Pius XII indicated in his 1957 address to Catholic midwives. As he told his newly made cardinals in February 1946: “The laity are stationed in the front ranks of the life of the Church, and through them the Church is the living principle of society. They are the Church…the community of the faithful on earth under the guidance of their common leader, the Pope, and the bishops in communion with him,” (emph. Pius XII’s). Therefore it is the duty of the laity to rebuke those who today brazenly dare to transgress these sacred rights.