A Comparison of Anglican and Traditionalist “Orders”
© Copyright 2006 by 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.)
Some have objected to the erroneous application of “Apostolica curae” to the present times, noting that Pope Leo XIII did not anticipate our own situation, where bishops unquestionably retained valid orders yet ordained and consecrated illicitly. A better appreciation of the background of “Apostolica curae” and the grounds on which it was issued will help clarify this matter.
Fortunately, Joseph Przudzik, Ph.D., writing for “The Homiletic and Pastoral Review” in the 1960s, reviewed the reasons for this papal decision in his “The History of Anglican Ordinations.” Despite its late date this article appears to be wholly orthodox, especially in view of the fact that ecumenism had by that time reached fever pitch and the first drafts for the new rites already were underway. Because it conforms to pre-1958 teaching, Przudzik’s work will be used as a template to compare Traditionalist ordinations and consecrations to those of the Anglicans in the 1500s.
Reasons for “Apostolica Curae”
Przudzik quickly arrives at the reasons for Pope Leo’s decision:
1. The Edwardine Ordinal was used, in which the traditional rites of the Church are substantially altered. As Przudzik emphasizes: “It is an accepted principle in theology that every substantial change in the matter or form of the Sacrament invalidates the Sacraments, (“Summa Theologica,” Vol III, St. Thomas Aquinas, Q.Q. 50, 54; also Rev. Adolphe Tanquerey, “Dogma,” III, p. 251, n. 348). “Any substantial change necessarily destroys the essence of the Sacrament as it was instituted by Christ…Every sacramental form must clearly show what is intended by the Sacrament.”
2. “For the validity of…ordination, the minister must be a duly consecrated bishop,” (Can. 951). Therefore, “Only a bishop can ex officio and validly confer orders,” (Council of Trent, Sess. 23, Can. 7).
3. The minister must intend to do what the Church does, a topic covered at great length elsewhere, (see “The priesthood” under Church). It is assumed that if the minister follows the rite precisely and administers it with the proper reverence that an habitual intention to “do what the Church does” exists.
These were the qualifiers used to determine whether Matthew Parker, consecrated Dec. 17, 1559 and the father of all succeeding Anglican prelates, was validly consecrated.
According to Przudzik, Parker was “consecrated” by four men: the chief consecrator was Barlow, assisted by Scorey, Coverdale and John Hodgkins. Barlow’s validity is considered doubtful, some theologians claiming he was validly consecrated, with others more numerous claiming his invalidity. Coverdale and Scorey were consecrated according to the Edwardine Ordinal, which nullifies their consecrations. Hodgkins was validly consecrated, but his position as an assistant does not certainly supply for the doubtful validity of Barlow and the invalidity of the others. Therefore, as Pope Leo XIII defined in part, Parker’s “Orders” were null and void for lack of a certainly valid consecrator.
Form and intention
This however, was only one consideration among many as Przudzik demonstrates. A second difficulty arises from the form used; that of the Edwardine Ordinal published in 1552. Cranmer was the primary author of the Ordinal as well as the Anglican “mass,” which the Novus Ordo Missae so closely resembles. There could be no doubt that his intention in authorizing the Ordinal was to eliminate all ideas of a sacrificing priesthood, essential to priestly validity. Likewise its ceremony for episcopal consecration did not specify, as laws governing the form require, the duties of a bishop. For this reason, Pope Leo condemned the Ordinal and declared that the use if the ordinal makes null and void the consecrations of these men. For as Przudzik observed, if the form intends an elimination, the one using that form also intends it. (This is essential in judging the false new sacramental rites of the Novus Ordo church.) And so we arrive at intention.
Three things here must be addressed: the intention of those consecrating concerning the power transferred to Parker; the intention of Parker himself concerning the reception of this power and whether or not this comprises the intent to do as the Church does. Przudzik shows that by publicly professing belief in the reformed English church and the stated position of that church — that Christ’s death on the Cross was “a perfect redemption…and the sacrifice of Masses…were blasphemous fables and dangerous deceits” — Parker easily shows his contrary intention, especially since he wrote the revised edition of the very source of this quote. Przudzik asks: “Can such a belief be reconciled with the intention of doing what the Church does? Can it reasonably be claimed that men who explicitly and repeatedly denied the sacrificial character of the Mass and the sacramental character of Holy Orders, had the intention of giving and accepting the power to ordain sacrificing priests?” The answer is found in “Apostolica curae.”
As Przudzik summarizes: the doubt concerning Barlow’s episcopal character alone is enough to invalidate Orders; the deficient form in itself is proof of invalidity; the proven lack of intention is enough to reduce these so-called Orders to naught. “But when all these considerations are joined, they present so strong an argument against the validity of Parker’s consecration to the episcopacy as to justify the papal pronouncement…: ‘Ordinations carried out according to the Anglican rite have been and are absolutely null, and utterly void.’”
If we substitute for Parker and his consecrators Marcel Lefebvre or Peter Martin Ngo-Dinh-Thuc, and those they have attempted to ordain and consecrate, the same flaws can be claimed for these men that Przudzik cites for the Anglicans, (although where the validity of the ordinations/consecrations by Lefebvre and Thuc are concerned. only doubts concerning validity can be entertained until a true pope decides the matter).
There is doubt that Lefebvre ever became a validly consecrated bishop, or for that matter even a priest. This is proven in Hugo Maria Kellner’s July 1977 Letter #72, “The Final Unmasking of ‘Archbishop’ Marcel Lefebvre.” In this edition of his Letters, Kellner relates Lefebvre’s discovery in 1976 that Lienart had been exposed as a high-degree Freemason and had been operating as such since 1919, and that by 1924 he had attained the 30th degree. As Kellner points out, this was four years prior to Lienart’s own consecration as bishop in December 1928. These facts were revealed in a book written by a man who had devoted his life to exposing Freemasonry, Andre Henri Jean Marquis de la Franquerie. Lefebvre never questioned de la Franquerie’s exposition of Lienart as a Mason. He publicly stated that it did not adversely affect the validity of his own Orders. Kellner insists that by virtue of Lefebvre’s seminary days as a student taught by Lienart and his family’s prominent position in the city of Lille, Lienart’s diocese, he certainly knew of Lienart’s Masonic orientation before 1976. This is true particularly since Lefebvre had written a letter to Franquerie (printed by the author) commending him for his work in May of 1970. This is certainly a probable conclusion, especially given Lienart’s active role in V2 and his suspected heresy concerning evolution, which partly prompted Pope Pius XII’s encyclical “Humani generis,” (American Ecclesiastical Review, “Theological Content of Humani Generis,” Rev. J. C. Fenton, November 1950).
Some have raised objections that circulated versions of Kellner’s article were fabricated by others who at that time opposed the SSPX. Others maintain that Lienart was not (certainly) a Freemason when he ordained Lefebvre, All know that Freemasonry’s avowed goal is the infiltration of the clergy and the destruction of the Church and the papacy. This is clear from papal documents dating back to the 1700s and Masonic literature itself. All can see the success this sect has enjoyed. There is no doubt, even among certain Protestants, of Freemasonry’s intentions and activities. This being the case, then, we must repeat with Przudzik: Can the intention of such men possibly be to receive/convey the Sacraments and perpetuate the hierarchy; to “do what the Church does?” And since one can only vehemently reply in the negative, does this not effectively invalidate the Sacrament(s)? Does this not render Marcel Lefebvre invalid since the consecrator he himself chose could not have possessed the proper intention and therefore could not consecrate others? And this is beside the fact that only bishops can consecrate and there is grave doubt Lienart ever became a bishop.
Some have tried to contest Franquerie’s findings, but no serious evidence to refute his research was ever presented. Rather several authors have circulated reports concerning the Masonic affiliation of other cardinals over the past 40 years. As in Barlow’s case, the doubt concerning Lienart’s episcopal consecration and therefore Lefebvre’s validity remains because it cannot be discounted and no corresponding positive proof for validity exists. And it is a moot point whether one of the co-consecrators assisting Lineart (assuming they did so assist and were beyond suspicion themselves) supplied for defect of intention in the primary minister of consecration; for Lefebvre was both ordained and consecrated by Lienart, and no co-consecrators are required in ordination. Ergo, Lienart could not have certainly validly ordained Lefebvre, and one not certainly ordained a priest cannot become a bishop.
No priest, no bishop
The Catholic Encyclopedia and Rev. Clarence McAuliffe present the Church’s teaching on the priesthood as necessary for valid Episcopal Consecration. “One Order does not depend on the preceding Order as regards the validity of the sacrament. But the Episcopal power depends on the priestly power, since no one can receive the Episcopal power unless he have previously the priestly power,” (Saint Thomas, Summa Theologica Supplement Q. 40 A5). McAuliffe affirms this in his “Sacramental Theology,” page 370: “However, the more probable teaching is that a baptized male cannot be validly consecrated a bishop unless he has previously been ordained a priest. This seems to be evident from the form of episcopal consecration: ‘Accomplish in Thy priest the fullness of Thy ministry.’” The priesthood is supposed, and this part of the form is necessary for validity. It is the common opinion of theologians, not to mention the constant practice of the Church to bestow episcopal orders only on priests, as Suarez himself has stated.
Many will object that the absolute need of the Church for priests will remove all objections to the ordination/consecration even of unworthy candidates. But this is not the teaching of the Church. As St. Thomas Aquinas teaches, better a few truly holy priests than several who are indifferent to acquiring a superior sanctity, even if this means raising the standards in admitting men to the priesthood. Herve points out in his “Sacraments,” (“Manual of Dogmatic Theology,” Vol. I) that where some leniency in such matters is exercised in the administration/reception of the other Sacraments, this cannot be the case with Holy Orders. “In the Sacrament of Holy Orders, the public good demands that the unworthy applicant 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.’”
So both Lefebvre’s ordination and consecration are doubtful, until certainty can be obtained concerning the true status of Lienart. In reality it is likely such certainty never can be obtained, which means the doubt persists. And this is not considering many other unanswered questions, such as Lefebvre’s own alleged affiliation with the Masonic Priory of Zion, an accusation he never refuted; or his public denial of the Blessed Trinity June 29, 1976 before a crowd of 500 attending ordinations in Econe, Switzerland. In this speech he manifestly denied the existence of the divinity of Christ, only a short time after ordaining priests and subdeacons. The publication Veritas out of Kentucky and many others at that time believed this to be a clear indication of a contrary intention invalidating these ordinations. (The speech containing this heresy was later reprinted in English.) It suffices to observe that if it was good enough for Pope Leo XIII to proceed based on doubtful validity in the case of Barlow, then it is not rash to assume doubtful invalidity based on Lienart’s Masonic affiliations and his open heresy, which exceed in wickedness even the heresies of Protestantism. Other defects existed in the Barlow consecration, as they also do in the case of Lefebvre, to strengthen the likelihood of invalidity and the weight of their sum total cannot be ignored.
And then we have the case of Bp. Ngo-Dinh-Thuc, which is somewhat more complicated. There has never been anything to suggest Thuc himself was not validly ordained and consecrated. But there is evidence to the effect that Thuc had no intention to consecrate Traditionalist bishops to the true Catholic Church, and this is even evident in his later “Declaration.” There is a strong probability, testified to by Rev. George Paront and Fr. Noel Barbara and strengthened by circumstantial evidence provided by Rev. Paront, that Thuc:
1. Was a member of the Novus Ordo church at the time of the consecrations;
2. Used the Novus Ordo rite of consecration, proven substantially altered and hence invalid, which does not create men bishops according to the rules of sacramental form, (see link).
3. Used invalid matter in the form of oil for the consecration, most likely provided and blessed by a Novus Ordo minister.
As with the Anglicans, the question is for what church did Thuc (and Lefebvre, for that matter) create these men ministers? Both Lefebvre and Thuc, acquainted since their days at the false V2 council, vacillated back and forth between Traditionalism and the Novus Ordo church. Neither sect fulfills the definition of the true Church as Christ constituted it, since an antipope rules in Rome and the Traditionalist church is headless. Both have publicly presented themselves as the heirs to the legacy of the pre-V2 Church, and today it is known, and has been known since 1990 (http://sspx.agenda.tripod.com/id19.html), that Lefebvre signed V2 documents, (http://www.cfnews.org/Lef-V2.htm) confirming his heretical and schismatic orientation.
Lefebvre, Thuc signed V2 documents
Because Lefebvre and Thuc were close associates at the council, and later, it is reasonable to assume Thuc also signed these documents, and many Traditional websites admit he did sign them. The Church has never considered non-Catholic sects capable of providing certainly valid orders whenever She has good reason to believe that the ministers of such sects do not intend to do what the Church does. The SSPX has now returned to the Novus Ordo church, and always did maintain that Benedict 16 and his predecessors were at least quasi-valid popes. Thuc signed himself as archbishop of Bulla Regiae, a title granted him by Paul 6, in the declaration issued following the consecrations of Guerard des Lauriers, Carmona and Zamora. Prior to the consecrations he had reconciled with Rome following the illicit ordinations and consecrations at Palmar de Troya in Spain. Lefebvre constantly negotiated with the Vatican, despite his excommunication by the NO church.
So from all appearances, it is safe to say that both men, were more likely than not members of this church and that they ordained and consecrated men outside the true Church as well as their parent NO. It is highly probable that Thuc used the rites of the NO church in conveying orders, rites that are demonstrably defective in form, as were the rites of the Edwardine Ordinal, and proof of this has been presented. Since the administration of these false rites automatically calls intention into question, Thuc’s Orders were at least doubtfully valid on two counts. As Pope Leo XIII clearly stated in “Apostolica curae,” “With this inherent defect of form is joined the defect of intention, which is equally essential to the Sacrament.” It is not difficult to appreciate the mutilation of the new rites by the NO church; the defects are clear. Nor does anything Thuc said or did in his brief space as a Traditionalist bishop convince us that he might not have used this defective rite. Even if he did not, there was most likely a defect in the matter used in consecrations, joined with the more likely than not defective intention and this of course further attenuated by the possible use of the NOM rite or form. And this does not even take into consideration the possibility that Thuc was not mentally fit enough to confer Orders, a doubt never satisfactorily resolved. The fact that he was elderly and suffering from diabetes (reportedly) could account for seeming periods of inexplicable behavior.
Again, the same probable defects exist in the matter, form and intention that are mentioned in the Anglican case, and for the same reasons. Defective rites, and the lack of intention to do what the Church does by creating sacrificing priests and bishops with the proper power to ordain and consecrate within THE TRUE CATHOLIC CHURCH, cannot result in validity. Did Thuc and Lefebvre ordain and consecrate with the idea that all of these men could one day return to the NO? Were the ordinations/consecrations performed with the intent to restore papal authority, if Thuc truly believed that Wojtyla was not pope? Or were they undertaken merely as a protest, to, in effect, perpetuate the resolution of the sede vacante, whether this was the intended result or not? Those berating myself and others for “bashing” Thuc and those he ordained and consecrated need to realize that Catholics cannot align themselves with those they consider “valiant defenders of the Faith” just because they appear to them to be orthodox and valiant, or because their strong feelings have resulted in a passionate opinion (based often on the need to preserve sacramental sources) that they indeed are valid and licit. We do not judge by personal opinions, but by the laws, the teachings and the practice of the Church. Those three standards do not bode well for men who behaved as Lefebvre and Thuc behaved. These two men vacillated between NO heresy and quasi-orthodoxy, when Christ told us that either we must be hot or cold, but if we are lukewarm, He will vomit us from His mouth. If we are truly Catholic, we stand doctrinally with all that went before, ending with Pope Pius XII. If not, we cannot claim to be truly Catholic.
Traditionalists like Polish schismatics
In a related article for The Homiletic and Pastoral Review, “Schism in America,” Przudzik uses the same principles that served as the basis for “Apostolica curae” to determine the validity of clergy serving the schismatic Polish National Catholic Church and its various offshoots. His conclusions are the same based on the same principles, but he provides us with a rare insight concerning similarities between Polish and present-day schismatics. Like Traditional sects in America, the Polish National Church in the 1960s had “divided and subdivided into a number of small organizations…Acting on Protestant principles of private interpretation, as soon as some member of the congregation disagreed on any matter with their priest, they split and formed a new congregation and usually a new sect.” Concerning the bishops and priests founding these sects Przudzik comments: “The breaks were caused essentially by pride rebelling against authority, by malice, by desire for financial gain or by other human weaknesses…worked upon and so presented they gave a semblance of reason to the rebellion… Rationalizations, sophistries, half truths [were] used by these heresiarchs…to mislead the people.” It was Przudzik’s belief that these men “sought ordination only to persuade deluded followers that they were still Catholics…For no Pole would accept permanently a bishop who had undergone no sacramental consecration…” This is not a judgment of those who may have had the intention of preserving the Church by preserving the episcopacy, but neither does it absolve them of the guilt. This is left to the future Pontiff.
Using the same rationale used for “Apostolica curae,” Przudzik zeroes in on the primary head of the PNCC from whom all other orders flow; Francis Hodur, a validly ordained Catholic priest. He traces Hodur’s line of episcopal orders back through a maze of Old Catholics and Jansenists dating back to the 1700s and now contaminated by modernism and other heresies, even apostasy. He emphasizes that while these aberrations do not necessarily invalidate the orders given, “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.” He also points out that the Jansenists (and even the Old Catholics, initially) “no more thought of questioning the Pope’s primacy of honor than they doubted the validity of their own apostolic line. It was his primacy of jurisdiction, with its personal infallible teaching power that they denied. Not so the attitude of their American offspring, who claim not only equality but even superiority to the Roman position and claims.” Przudzik demonstrates Hodur’s Protestant ideas on Orders and consecration from his own words and pertinent events, easily demonstrating Hodur’s lack of faith.
In the end he makes the following observations and arrives at his conclusions:
1. Hodur could hardly have had a right intention in receiving episcopal Orders.
2. There is evidence of his Protestant attitude regarding Sacramental Orders.
3. His words and deeds indicate a lack of Catholic faith.
4. After an exhaustive search, there is no existing evidence to indicate he accepted sacramental priesthood in the Catholic sense.
5. Hodur had no intention to do what the Catholic Church does in ordaining and consecrating.
6. Given the fact that the validity of Hodur’s consecrators is in question, even though the Pontificale Romanum was used and Hodur’s consecrators may be presumed to have a Catholic intention, this doubtful validity cannot be overcome. Considering the above, even if validity could be presumed, Hodur’s rejection of ordination and consecration in the Catholic sense has been demonstrated in the external forum and this directly concerns the Sacrament of Orders. In his “Sacramental Theology,” obliquely referred to by Przudzik, Rev. Bernard Leeming S.J. writes: “It is possible for a minister to have the intention of not doing what the Church does, and if such is the case the Sacrament is invalid. This teaching is universally accepted by modern theologians, who agree that a Sacrament is invalidated even by a secret intention of the minister contrary to the substantial nature of the Sacrament,” (pgs. 483-484).
7. Ergo, “according to the rules of logic and orthodox theology, all the evidence points to the highly probable invalidity of Orders in the Polish National Catholic Church.” And using the Anglican orders decision by Pope Leo XIII as a standard, the doubtful validity of Barlow is the precedent.
Having destroyed the two polluted “founts” as it were of such putative Orders, no doubt can remain concerning their validity and hence the validity of all who sacrilegiously proceed from them. Points 1-7 above apply also to Traditionalist priests and bishops, particularly those issuing from Lefebvre. Yet they apply equally to the Thucites, since the validity of those subsequently ordaining and consecrating is just as highly suspect, owing to a lack of true intention on Thuc’s part and the possible use of an invalid form. It cannot be denied that Thuc received valid Orders, yet this is not the only deciding factor in validity, despite what certain publicists try to maintain. His own writings and comments to others, but especially his actions, leave no doubt that Thuc was a member of the Novus Ordo church who was temporarily lured into the den of simulated “orthodoxy” just long enough to confer the desired orders and depart. In reviewing the history of the Old Catholic Josef Vilatte, present in the lineage of Hodur, this same phenomena is observed. Vilatte would bounce between Rome and the Old Catholics as it suited his purpose, but essentially he constituted a loose cannon among the Old Catholics. That his Orders failed to convey the desired effect is evidenced by the heresies of those he consecrated and the men they ordained, whose heresies concerning jurisdiction and the exercise of their Orders are publicly available. Considering the friendship between Thuc and Lefebvre, Lefebvre’s vote at the council, his continued negotiations with Rome and the recent return of the SSPX to the NO church, it seems that legitimate doubts about direction of both bishops are well justified.
Dogma of jurisdiction denied
Since some will continue to maintain the undoubted validity of Lefebvre and Thuc, despite the teaching of Pope Leo XIII himself, they must consider this. Those receiving consecration and ordination from Lefebvre and Thuc had to necessarily deny the existence of jurisdiction to become priests and bishops. They either had to invoke necessity, epikeia and/or ecclesia supplet, as most did, to grant the illusion of such jurisdiction, or they had to go one step further to arrive at the conclusion that such jurisdiction was the direct grant of Christ. Intricately involved with Orders as it is, Bouscaren-Ellis, explain in their “Canon Law, A Text and Commentary” (see Can. 108), that the necessity of proper jurisdiction cannot be impugned without committing heresy.
An intimate connection between Orders and jurisdiction exists, since jurisdiction generally assumes sacramental ordination. While heresy of any other kind does not necessarily invalidate Orders, heresy intimately connected with Orders can invalidate it. Especially if the majority of those calling themselves Traditional priests believe they receive jurisdiction by “divine right,” both an ancient and modernist heresy, this denies the Christ-constituted hierarchical organization of the Church. For it does not recognize the necessity of a visible head for the Church per Christ’s promise. Nor, according to their very actions, does it reflect the belief that all bishops must be validly and licitly ordained and must be subject to the Roman Pontiff; also that they cannot exercise their jurisdictional powers without his direction. Yet this subjection must exist in order for priests to validly preach and absolve according to Divine law. Traditionalists’ intention in receiving Orders, then, in view of this revival of the Gallicanist heresy, would necessarily be false and thus invalidate the Sacrament.
Pope Leo XIII did not require absolute certainty concerning invalidity to impugn orders as invalid; doubtful validity sufficed, especially if other evidence could be produced. The Edwardine Ordinal, so similar to the new rites in many respects was condemned as invalid for defective form. The necessity to put the axe to the root of the tree in order to tear out the source of this same sort of invalidity now plaguing the Church cannot be emphasized enough. While some might believe that “Apostolica curae” is the first condemnation of Anglican Orders, this is not the case as the constitution itself proves. The Catholic Encyclopedia under this head sums up Pope Leo’s teaching as follows: “Decisions had already been given that such orders are invalid. The very practice also of the Catholic Church supposed their invalidity, since, whenever clergyman who had received orders in the Anglican Church became converts, and desired to become priests in the Catholic Church, they have been unconditionally ordained…According to the teaching of the Catholic Church, to attempt to confer Orders a second time on the same person would be a sacrilege…” (The Church also has ordered several Old Catholics retrained and reordained, at least sub conditione. This would indicate an uncertainty, then, concerning the validity of their Orders. For further proofs, see “Membership in schismatic sects” under this same section.)
Countless non-Catholic sects have furiously multiplied since even before the death of Pope Pius XII. It is essential that the intention to do what the Church actually does, especially when coupled with any doubt concerning the validity of a sole consecrator or all consecrators, be viewed as indicative of probable invalidity. This is the reality of the ordination/consecration situation. Rome would need to judge each case on its own merits. We have doubts concerning the validity of these bishops based on positive proofs from a canonical standpoint, but also because their behavior has given us reasons to question their character and intentions. Anytime there is any doubt whatsoever concerning the administration of the Sacraments the Church forbids us to act. This is especially true in the matter of ordination, since Pope Pope Pius XI ordered bishops not to ordain candidates if any doubt whatsoever existed concerning their fitness or worthiness. We have serious doubts, on several different heads, both about the validity as well as worthiness and fitness of those presently presenting as priests and bishops. These doubts and the status of these men can be determined only by the Roman Pontiff. If those following these men truly believe themselves to be Catholic, there can be no question that this is indeed the case.