© Copyright 2022, T. Stanfill Benns (All emphasis within quotes added by the author)
It has always been the contention of those operating Traditionalist chapels, from their very beginning in the mid-1960s, that they continued all the teachings and Traditions of the Catholic Church just as they existed on the death of Pope Pius XII. If it was not actually stated by anyone, at least in the beginning, it was an implicit belief among the faithful at least, and that is why they followed them in the first place. But were these men truly following Church teaching as they allowed everyone to believe? What exactly did it mean to be a Catholic in good standing in the Church during the reign of Pope Pius XII?
St. Robert Bellarmine’s definition of the Church was adopted as the preferred definition by theologians: “The Church is a union of men who are united by the profession of the same Christian faith and by participation in the same sacraments, under the direction of their lawful pastors, especially of the one representative of Christ on earth, the Pope of Rome,” (De eccl. mil. 2.) And from Mystici Corporis there is this formal definition: “68. Now since its Founder willed this social body of Christ to be visible, the cooperation of all its members must also be externally manifest through their profession of the same faith and their sharing the same sacred rites, through participation in the same Sacrifice, and the practical observance of the same laws. Above all, it is absolutely necessary that the Supreme Head, that is, the Vicar of Jesus Christ on earth, BE VISIBLE TO THE EYES OF ALL… ”
According to Pope Pius XII, four factors alone are necessary in order that a man be counted as a member of the true Church. These are (1) the reception of Baptism, and thus the possession of the baptismal character, (2) the profession of the true faith, which is, of course, the faith of the Catholic Church, (3) the fact that a person has not cut himself away from the structure or the fabric of the ‘Body,’ which is, of course, the Church itself, and (4) the fact that a person has not been expelled from the membership of the Church by competent ecclesiastical authority.
Canon Law determines who is among those who have cut themselves away from the fabric of the body. The law indicates when this has occurred by attaching ipso facto (latae sententiae) penalties to those offenses which automatically result in excommunication. If one’s offense is publicly known or could easily become publicly known it is called notorious, and it takes effect immediately, without any official sentence by a superior (Canons 2197, 2232). Those penalties regarding heresy and schism, (rejection of the Roman Pontiff as head of the Church), are the main type of penalty treated below. Their commission is publicly known and has been for decades, and the penalties, therefore, are binding on the offender. Those presenting as clerics are public figures and are assumed to have incurred the penalty because their actions are more visible to the public eye.
These definitions of the Church and the penalties levied by Canon Law were supposedly commonly known to the pre-Vatican 2 clergy who studied them in seminary courses. They were expected to have been especially internalized by the bishops and other Church officials. The one thing emphasized in both these definitions is the union of the faithful with their common head the Supreme Pontiff. St. Bellarmine emphasizes direction by lawful pastors, Pope Pius XII mentions observance of the same laws. Mystici Corporis, an infallible encyclical binding the faithful to belief, also defines that bishops do not receive their jurisdiction directly from Christ. “Yet in exercising this office they are not altogether independent, but are subordinate to the lawful authority of the Roman Pontiff, although enjoying the ordinary power of jurisdiction which they receive directly from the same Supreme Pontiff.” So in one encyclical we are given a pretty clear idea of how the Church is set up and is supposed to operate.
False analogies misrepresented the situation
Those writing for decades on the crisis in the Church keep comparing it to the time of the Arian heresy, the Western Schism or to different periods in Church history when either antipopes reigned or there was a longish interregnum (the longest one previous to this lasted nearly three years). Yet during the Western Schism, a true pope did reign, but no one was sure who he was. And in in the case of antipopes, there was always a true pope for them to oppose. It hardly needs to be said that a three-year interregnum can scarcely compare to almost 64, so why is it even mentioned? The answer to that question can only be that every excuse and implausible explanation available has been advanced to keep those in Traditionalist groups from questioning their keepers and to make it appear they are justified in conducting their operations. That is the general overview; now we descend to specifics.
Challenges to the validity and liceity of Traditionalist orders have always been met with the response that even those ordained and consecrated by heretics and schismatics are considered valid and can confect valid sacraments. The key word here is “can.” And upon that one word rests a plethora of ifs and maybes, never addressed, often carefully concealed and generally ignored. For there is no real comparison, either, to past situations where there was an extended descent of illicit schismatic clerics issuing from men who were unquestionably validly ordained and consecrated and who unquestionably validly ordained and consecrated others. The Orthodox were allowed to proceed as they always had with the pope supplying jurisdiction for the sake of the faithful, according to Rev. Journet, Can. Mahoney, Rev. Herve and others. The Jansenist consecrations were recognized as valid by the Holy See until questions arose shortly before Pius XII’s death. Pope Leo XIII drew the line for the Anglicans regarding Parker and Barlow. As all know, Lefebvre’s own ordination and consecration are gravely doubtful and the consecrations by Thuc have been called into question for decades, owing to his mental state, affiliation with the Novus Ordo church and previously scandalous behavior.
But most importantly of all, these ordinations and consecrations did not take place during a time such as ours, a grave situation unparalleled in the history of the Church resulting in this extended interregnum. Here we have no assurance the Holy See would ever declare Traditionalist orders valid and every reason to believe that they would at least require their conditional if not absolute ordination before allowing them to function, depending on each specific case. So let us dispense now with all the illogical false analogies, which amount to no argument at all, and look at the facts as they really stand.
- Lefebvre was questionably ordained and consecrated himself; Thuc’s consecrations are doubtful owing to his mental state, intentions and what Pontifical was used. An entire book (The Sacred and the Profane, Clarence Kelly) was written proving this and there is evidence in this case that has not even been presented yet.
- Both men were notorious heretics and schismatics and incurred infamy of law, and moreover, their personal lives were scandalous.
- This is true of Lefebvre on account of his questionable ordination and consecration (and no, we cannot have moral certainty about his orders without an investigation by the Holy Office under a validly elected pope and a decision on these orders. Until then no one may use a probable opinion on the validity of the Sacraments of those ordained and consecrated by him.)
- Lefebvre’s personal involvement in Freemasonry is another black mark against him that would need to be investigated, because it could affect his intention in receiving orders, especially from a man reputedly a Freemason.
- Thuc is infamous for his bizarre behavior in the Clemente Dominguez affair and numerous ordinations of unworthy men for the priesthood and episcopacy.
- Once they consecrated their first bishop post-Vatican 2, men who also incurred censure for heresy, schism and infamy of law for communicating a divinis with them, their future acts as well as the acts of those they have “consecrated” are declared invalid. This will be proven below.
- Bishops consecrated by these two men are the first generation. But they could not be considered certainly valid bishops until a true pope decided if they were actually consecrated. And theologians are clear on the fact that mere observance of matter and form (the use of the rite used prior to the reign of John 23) is not sufficient to prove validity.
- We are now four to five generations removed from the initial consecrations by Lefebvre and Thuc. This is doubtful validity upon doubtful validity compounded.
- This does not even address the men who supposedly were ordained priests by Lefebvre, Thuc and the first set of bishops they are said to have consecrated.
St. Thomas Aquinas teaches below in his Summa Theol. II, Q. 82, Art. 7, 9, Pt. III: “The Minister of the Holy Eucharist”:
“I answer that, as was said above (aa 5, 7), heretical, schismatical, excommunicate, or even sinful priests, although they have the power to consecrate the Eucharist, yet they do not make proper use of it; on the contrary they sin by using it. But whoever communicates with another who is in sins, becomes a sharer in his sin. Hence we read in John’s Second Canonical Epistle (11) that ‘He that saith unto him, God speed you, communicateth with his wicked works.’ Consequently it is not lawful to receive Communion from them, or to assist at their mass.” (Article 9)… “And therefore whoever hears their mass or receives the sacraments from them, commits sin… By refusing to hear the masses of such priests, or to receive Communion from them, we are not shunning God’s sacraments; on the contrary, by so doing we are giving them honor: but what we shun is the sin of unworthy ministers” (reply to objection 1). Furthermore St. Thomas states in reference to heretical, schismatic and excommunicated priests, “Such persons as are separated from the Church by heresy, schism, or excommunication, can indeed consecrate the Eucharist..; but they act wrongly, and sin by doing so; and in consequence they do not receive the fruit of the sacrifice, which is a spiritual sacrifice” (Article 7). And further, “But because he is severed from the unity of the Church, HIS PRAYERS HAVE NO EFFICACY” (reply to objection 3 of article 7).
This, ultimately, is the charter for those who keep the faith at home, in order to honor the Sacraments and avoid cooperation in sin.
In summary, those who dare to assume a jurisdiction not granted to them by the pope, supplied or otherwise, are devoid of even the possibility of obtaining it. Are these idle words, not able to be demonstrated? Hardly. But needless to say no one will point to the papal decrees and canon laws that tell us what these men really are, and when anyone dares point to them they are told that the pope didn’t infallibly declare it, the laws have ceased to exist, that there is some divergence of opinion regarding what it meant, the person pointing it out is not qualified (and they are?!) ad nauseum. Of course these are observations made by self-appointed defenders of the indefensible never approved as theologians by the Holy See, and even approved theologians are not permitted to interpret the documents of the Roman Pontiff. Once a papal document or one issuing from the Holy See is presented as evidence in ecclesiastical court, no other evidence is allowed to be entered against it (Can. 1812 §1; 1816).
Those who minimize papal teaching by claiming it is impossible to know what the popes really mean or how to classify what they teach are working for the Traditionalist cause regardless of how they actually present themselves in public. Msgr. Joseph C. Fenton tells us: “It is, I believe, to be presumed that the Vicar of Christ speaks to the faithful in a way they are able to understand… Our Lord did not teach in any way but authoritatively nor does His Vicar on earth when He teaches in the name and by the authority of his Master. Every doctrine proposed by the Holy Father to the entire Church militant is, by that very fact, imposed upon all the faithful for their firm and sincere acceptance.” And people want to disagree with this statement and still call themselves Catholic?
If you were pastor hunting and searching the Internet for information on an individual, would you still seek him out if he had a rap sheet as long as your arm and was pretending he possessed credentials he could not prove he ever received? Well what is presented below is the equivalent of a rap sheet and according to Canon. 2200, it is up to the accused to prove themselves innocent, not for us to assume they are innocent without such proofs. Has anyone ever seen even an attempt to explain these things? No, because they are dismissed as the work of incompetents and fools not worthy of a response. Sound familiar? Deplorables and Wal-Mart crawlers? Little people? Maybe some people out there are willing to be ruled by a religious elite, but I am not one of them. So take this in the spirit it is written — an attempt to unmask those who are continuing to destroy our Church just as they have done for the past 100 years. I am an investigative reporter by trade, and they didn’t call me the pit bull because I wrote happy news.
A parallel in time
Before presenting proofs, however, the groundwork needs to be laid for the conclusions that will later be drawn. This we take from the articles written for The Homiletic and Pastoral Review by Msgr. Joseph Przudzik, Ph.D., J.C.B., S.T.B., A.M., A.A.S.W. Rev. Przudzik wrote two articles for this clerical publication in 1947, one on “The History of Anglican Orders” and the other on the status of the Polish National Church, entitled “Schism in America.” In this last article Przudzik uses the same principles established in his article on Anglican orders 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 basic 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…” And these attitudes and behaviors are exactly what we see among Traditionalist sect leaders today.
Przudzik zeroes in on the primary head of the PNCC from whom all other orders flow; Francis Hodur, a validly ordained Catholic priest consecrated a bishop by the Jansenists. He traces Hodur’s line of episcopal orders back through a maze of Old Catholics and Jansenists dating back to the 1700s and whose lines eventually became 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.” Rev. Bernard Leeming S.J. seems to admit the same the same regarding the sacraments of the Arians (Principles of Sacramental Theology, 1957, p. 653).
And today Modernism is so rife it has permeated churches of all kinds. 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. Not so the attitude of their American offspring, who claim not only equality but even superiority to the Roman position and claims. This is evidenced in their assumption of titles similar to those of the Catholic Church and their setting up of a hierarchical system similar to that of Rome.” It is interesting to note that the Gallicanists at the time of the Western Schism also accepted the pope’s primacy, but not his jurisdiction. Today even the pope’s primacy, the weight of his infallible decrees, is reduced to an expression of opinion. But all of this was foretold by Pope St. Pius X in his Pascendi dominici gregis: “They speak of modern philosophy and show such contempt for scholasticism… [They hold that] ecclesiastical government requires to be reformed in all its branches, but especially in its disciplinary and dogmatic parts.”
Minimism, as Msgr. Joseph C. Fenton ably points out in his articles on the topic, is the Modernist tool to relegate the papacy to only the symbol of a power exercised long ago, since Modernism is all about such symbols. But the Modernist variety of Gallicanism has gone a step further — it has eliminated the need for the papacy entirely, just as Pope St. Pius X warned in his Pascendi: “…They propose to remove the ecclesiastical magisterium itself,” and the necessity of a visible head for the Church. This they have done, proffering a million excuses for why they are allowed to do it. They condemn the Novus Ordo church for its Modernist infestation when they are just as infected by Modernism themselves, but in a more insidious way. The Novus Ordo wears its Modernism proudly on its sleeve; the Traditionalists cloak it in pious protestations to preserve the Latin Mass and rescue true Catholics from the Novus Ordo menace — their detestable claim to work for the salvation of souls. But that is not what the Catholic Church teaches they are doing, as will be seen below.
While the PNCC bears certain similarities to Traditionalists, there is one major difference which needs to be emphasized here. The PNCC nor any other sect separating itself from the Catholic Church never claimed to be the valid successor of that Church or that Church itself. It was always understood, as it could easily be when a legitimate Roman Pontiff ruled the Church, that such churches were breakaways and splinter groups not recognized by Rome and were to be avoided as such. But Traditionalists claim to be the genuine continuation of THE CATHOLIC CHURCH, not just another sect openly challenging the pope and/or deviating in some fashion from what She teaches and believes. And yet Traditionalism glaringly lacks, and is unable to ever provide, the one thing that would unquestionably make itself Catholic: the Roman Pontiff. The question to be answered below is: Can anyone on this earth officially function in the Church’s name in Her absence, without Her express pardon, permission, delegation and approval?
Intention of Thuc and Lefebvre to continue the Church of Pope Pius XII
If it was truly the intention of Abp. Marcel Lefebvre and Bp. Peter Martin Ngo dinh Thuc to continue the Church Christ established on earth, good friends that they were, they would have refused to sign Vatican 2 documents, gathered like-minded, validly consecrated bishops together and elected a pope. The resources on how to do this existed, the urgent necessity of the obligation was evident even to a blind man and there were bishops who did not attend Vatican 2 who could have responded. Cardinal Zabarella urged it in such cases in the 15th century and St. Robert Bellarmine sanctioned the calling of an imperfect council to accomplish it. Traditionalists were well aware of this. Until the late 1970s, the Church, as such, was believed to be continued by some priests validly ordained during the reign of Pope Pius XII, men ordained between 1958 and 1968 — before the changes in the rites of the Sacraments — and by others whose status could not always be verified in the Catholic Directory. Lefebvre priests eventually emerged from their seminaries to supplement these men. And then the consecrations began, first by Lefebvre and later by Thuc. There was brief talk of electing a pope following the consecrations, then silence. And that silence has reigned ever since.
So for nearly two decades the Church consisted of Lefebvre, a few sympathetic bishops here and there and these rag-tag priests, several of them later accused of homosexual relations, even pedophilia, who presented themselves as able and willing to care for the faithful. Yet if the clergy and faithful exiting the Novus Ordo church in the 1960s and 1970s truly intended to BE that Church, how is it that they ever thought it could exist without the very element that was its most distinguishing and important part — the Roman Pontiff? Surely having left the Novus Ordo, they tacitly at least were admitting that Paul 6 was a doubtful pope, or they would never have been able to justify their departure. The controversy over his status has raged since the early 1970s. Never in Church history has there been a time when a false pope was not opposed by at least one antipope; a brief glance at Church history could have told them that.
Yet Lefebvre and Thuc were in and out of negotiations with the Novus Ordo even after their first consecration of bishops, and until Thuc released his totally inadequate and contradictory declaration in February 1982, during the reign of Wojtyla, there was no indication that they believed the popes of the Novus Ordo were heretics. Mexican Sedevacantism founder Fr. Joaquin Saenz-Arriaga had declared the Vatican 2 popes heretics since the early 1970s and even heralded Paul 6 as the Antichrist, but no one paid much attention. Thuc did name Pope Paul IV’s Cum ex Apostolatus Officio in his declaration, a possible source for commencing an election, but along came Guerard des Lauriers with his material-formal hypothesis and all talk of ever restoring the papacy came to an end. Sedevacantists gradually separated themselves into little sects just as the rest of their Traditionalist brethren before them and the schism continued.
Lefebvre, Thuc and even Saenz were obligated to know that bishops alone could not rule the Church of Christ. For as Pope Pius VI wrote in condemning Febronianism:
“All the more must be deplored that blind and rash temerity of the man who was eager to renew in his unfortunate book errors which had been condemned by so many decrees; who has said and insinuated indiscriminately by many ambiguities that every Bishop no less than the Pope was called by God to govern the Church and was endowed with no less power; that Christ gave the same power Himself to all the apostles AND THAT WHATEVER SOME PEOPLE BELIEVE IS OBTAINED AND GRANTED ONLY BY THE POPE, THAT VERY THING, WHETHER IT DEPENDS ON CONSECRATION OR ECCLESIASTICAL JURISDICTION, CAN BE OBTAINED JUST AS WELL FROM ANY BISHOP …” (DZ 1500).
And there is also the more recent infallible teaching of the Vatican Council: “But that the episcopacy itself might be one and undivided, and that the entire multitude of the faithful through priests closely connected with one another might be preserved in the unity of faith and communion; placing the Blessed Peter over the other apostles, He established in him the perpetual principle and visible foundation of both unities upon whose strength the eternal temple might be erected” (DZ 1821). But these bishops were going to erect a new and better temple without the pope? Bishops trained in theology and holding positions of authority in the Church? Such men could not plead ignorance of these decrees or exempt themselves from blame. And the laity should have been asking questions instead of practicing blind obedience.
Presumably all Catholics know it is schismatic not to render obedience to the (a) pope. The Anglicans and Methodists are run by bishops only, but it is not schismatic for Catholics to behave as they do? They could plead that the Church was experiencing an interregnum but when did any interregnum in history last over three years? Did they educate themselves about this? And did they not even understand the meaning of the word interregnum, which is given as: 1. the time during which a throne is vacant between two successive reigns or regime; 2. a period during which the normal functions of government or control are suspended; 3. a lapse or pause in a continuous series, all of which apply to the papacy with one exception: in the Church an interregnum is always indicative of an ongoing election. Could a country function for even three years without a king, a president or prime minister? Was there any COMMON sense — far less CATHOLIC sense — left at all in these people exiting the Novus Ordo church?
There is one simple catechism quote that clarifies everything here and will help others understand what follows. 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:
- 60: Who after the pope are lawful pastors of the Church?
- The bishops who have been canonically instituted, i.e., who have received from the Sovereign Pontiff a diocese to govern.
- 73: Why is it not sufficient to be a bishop or priest in order to be a lawful pastor?
- 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).
- 77: How is the power of jurisdiction communicated?
- 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” questionably ordained and consecrated, without a true pope they are incapable of possessing ANY jurisdiction whatsoever. And this is from the approved catechisms of the Church. (See also the Catholic Encyclopedia articles on Apostolicity and Apostolic Succession.) It is a well-known fact that the laity even in the 1950s were woefully ignorant of their faith and more intent on religious externals than any intellectualization of their faith, although that will not necessarily excuse them. We will leave the question of the culpability of the laity, then, to a future pope, if some miracle provides us with one. What we are concerned about here is the culpability of what passed in the 1970-80s for bishops, the ones who were supposed to be leading the faithful but instead used them to set up their own false church.
In 1944, Rev. Alan McCoy O.F.M., J.C.L. wrote a dissertation, Force and Fear in Relation to Delictual Imputability and Penal Responsibility, (Catholic University of America). Under the general heading of “Delictual Acts Interdicted by Divine Authority,” regarding censures, he writes: “When an act is intrinsically evil, or involves contempt of the faith or of ecclesiastical authority, or works to the detriment of souls… imputability is not taken away in such cases since in these instances the observance of the law still urges under the pain of sin, even though the most severe personal hardship or danger, or also the greatest private harm might come from such observance.” Censures are generally ignored by Traditionalists who tend to regard them as inapplicable in their self-declared state of emergency. Epikeia and necessity cover all. Yet the primary purpose of penalties in Canon Law is not simply to punish and prompt the offender to reform, but to protect the faithful.
In a 1945 article for the Homiletic and Pastoral Review, “The What and Why of Punishment – Part Two,” Msgr. Joseph Przudzik notes regarding the primary purpose for censures: “Ultimately it would seem, that no essential reason for punishment can be assigned other than the common good… ‘The custody of public safety is not only the highest law but is the whole reason why public authority exists’… Canon 2215 …says that the penalty is for the delinquent’s correction and for the penalizing of the crime. This punishment, this juridical correction is also treated elsewhere in the Code as ‘towards the public restoration of injured justice or of scandal.’ Again we note that the public welfare is proposed as intrinsically the ultimate end of punishment.” And it is left to the Church to determine what endangers souls the most and how stringent that punishment must be.
Below we will discover how very far from the vaunted “salvation of souls” and the common good the solution to the crisis in the Church proposed by Traditional bishops and foisted on the faithful really was. And remember when reading below that these many censures levied by the Church are intended to protect the faithful from scandal and mortal son.
Canons governing episcopal consecration
Can. 951: “The bishop is the ordinary minister of sacred ordination.” Woywod-Smith comment on this canon: “A validly consecrated Bishop could validly confer all orders from the minor orders to the episcopate inclusively though he be a heretic, schismatic or deposed or degraded from the episcopal dignity, for he nevertheless retains the episcopal character in virtue of which he can validly ordain provided he observes the essential form of ordination and has the intention to do what the Church does in performing the sacred ordination rites.”
Canon 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.”
Canon 2370: “A Bishop who consecrates another and the assistant bishops or the priests taking their place as well as the one who receives episcopal consecration without having obtained an Apostolic mandate are suspended ipso iure until the Holy See has granted a dispensation.”
Under the above canon, the canonist Rev. Charles Augustine comments: “This suspension ipso iure lasts until the Apostolic See expressly dispenses therefrom.” He then lists the following in his footnotes: “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 as both schismatic both those who ordain and those who are ordained thus INVALIDATING their future actions.” This quote is taken from Pope Pius VI’s Charitas, 1791, issued against three bishops who consecrated another bishop without the papal mandate. Augustine notes it is listed as the Fontes, or old law, for Can. 2370, commenting that this is “…an example of its effective application.”
Since Traditionalist pseudo-clergy deny that these consecrations without the mandate invalidated their future actions, we cite Can. 6 §4: “In case of doubt whether some provision of the canons differs from the old law, one must adhere to the old law.”) Rev. Augustine notes that such consecrations without the mandate are of themselves valid, while confirming above that all further ACTS by the initial consecrator and the one consecrated are invalid (in referencing Charitas). In Rev. Ignatius Szal’s Canon Law dissertation, Communication of Catholics With Schismatics, Szal notes that 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…” In other words, these men validly but illicitly RECEIVED orders according to Church teaching and that of St. Thomas Aquinas, yes; but all the acts EMANATING from those orders were null and void. They could violate the censure and confer the Sacraments, but they only committed sacrilege, multiplied their censures and caused those seeking them out to commit sacrilege as well.
This is best explained in application by Rev. Bernard Leeming in his Principles of Sacramental Theology, 1957:
“619. Various expressions which seem at first sight to indicate invalidity of orders mean, in fact, a practical legal invalidity in the sense that the church to which the Bishop or priest was consecrated owed him no support or obedience and that his acts had no legal effect. This is true of the expression ordine irritos, ordines irritare, ordines exsufflare or sacramenta exsufflare. Not to be ordained may only mean not to have the right to the title in emoluments and jurisdiction of the office as may the expression ordinationes nullas vires obtinent. There is no force or power in such an ordination.” And even here Leeming seems uncertain about the extent to which these invalidating clauses actually apply, in saying it “may only mean.”
On the other hand, under hierarchy in their Dictionary of Dogmatic Theology, Pietro Parente, Piolanti and Garofalo wrote: “The valid use of orders, in most cases, cannot be prevented.” So obviously in some cases they CAN be prevented, but the authors do not specify what such cases might be. We are only left to speculate on the application.
Let us here pause to address the objection that null and void does not necessarily mean invalid despite its use in Canon Law and certain papal documents which seems to indicate that this is precisely what it means (see the full text of Charitas referenced above; also Pope Paul IV’s bull Cum ex Apostolatus Officio). Pope Leo XIII provides an authoritative definition of this term in his constitution Apostolica Curae, addressing the administration of Holy Orders: “To obtain orders nulliter means the same as by an act null and void — that is invalid — as the very meaning of the word and as common parlance requires.” And invalid is the word used interchangeably with null and void in the documents of Pope Paul IV and Pope Pius VI cited above. Leeming also lists invalid as “synonymous with null or void” (p. 266).
Canon 2370 is intended to apply to bishops who presumably held an office from which they might be suspended. Ironically, however, neither Lefebvre nor Thuc possessed any offices in the first place, having resigned the offices assigned them under Pope Pius XII to accept new offices from the usurpers. They were already considered heretics and schismatics, and also became infamous. They lost their offices and all possibility of obtaining jurisdiction under Can. 188 n. 4. Their acts of communicatio in sacris (Can. 2314 §1, no. 3) were external — public — so there can be no doubt of this. If those leaving and remaining separated from the Novus Ordo church believed that church to be a non-Catholic religion, they cannot excuse men who were bound to know better from continuing to maintain contact.
The obligation to avoid all non-Catholic worship bound them even under grave fear, as Rev. McCoy states above. So in ignoring their censures for heresy and schism by setting up for themselves what appeared to be some form of respectability, though it could never qualify as an office (and Traditionalists deny they possess any offices, at least in the strict sense under Can. 145) they violated Can. 147, which leads us to an entirely new condemnation and set of censures.
Canon 147 states: “An ecclesiastical office is not validly obtained without canonical appointment. By canonical appointment is understood the conferring of an ECCLESIASTICAL OFFICE by the COMPETENT ECCLESIASTICAL AUTHORITY in harmony with THE SACRED CANONS.” An authentic interpretation of this canon was rendered by the Sacred Congregation (AAS 42-601) and gives as its source 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… If anyone says that those who have not been duly [rightly] ordained nor sent by ecclesiastical nor canonical authority BUT COME FROM A DIFFERENT SOURCE are lawful ministers of the word and of the Sacraments, LET THEM BE ANATHEMA.
“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…” (Canon Law Digest, Vol. 3, T. Lincoln Bouscaren, 1953). The excommunications that follow are ipso facto and specially reserved to the Holy See, for allowing oneself to be lawfully intruded into an office. It extends also to those who have any part in it, directly or indirectly. There then follows a brief statement that reads: “Excommunication as vitandus inflicted for accepting office from lay authority, (AAS 42-195). See Can. 2394.” In the same volume, this canon references a priest named as vitandus acting as a diocesan administrator without the proper appointment. Revs. Woywod-Smith state under this canon: “The Congregation of the Council, on June 29, 1950, ruled that those who without canonical provision (cfr. Canons 147 §§ 1-2, 332 §1) SEIZE or allow themselves to be illegitimately thrust into or retain an ecclesiastical office, benefice or dignity, and all who take part in this, incur ipso facto excommunication reserved in a special manner to the Apostolic See.”
Canon 2258: This canon requires that when anyone is named a vitandus it must be publicly proclaimed that such is the case, he must be mentioned by name and ordered to be avoided. The authentic interpretation of Can. 147 satisfies two of these conditions, and it seems here that an entire class of men is intended, not just specific individuals. This happens also when an interdict is declared against an entire community. An authentic interpretation of the law is considered to have the same effect as the law itself, (Can. 17). Not only Can. 147 but the other papal decrees quoted here show such men are considered at least the equivalent of vitandus and the mind of the lawgiver is expressed vehemently in other laws on this same topic by Pope Pius XII. Publication of the FACT that they are so considered and would be considered by the Church as such cannot have the same effect, of course, as an actual papal declaration; but because the other two conditions are in place it can serve as at least a partial fulfillment. This is true because the laity have an obligation to demand that vitandus and anyone operating under a latae sententiae excommunication that is notorious — the one Traditionalists all incur for heresy, apostasy and schism — are obligated to deter them from exercising their orders and may ask that a declaratory sentence be issued against them (Canons 1325, 2259, 2294; 1935, 2223).
Traditionalists can argue that Thuc, Lefebvre and those they “ordained and consecrated” never assigned anyone to an office, but the wide description of an office under Canon 145 does match their functionality as non-clerics. Certainly the laity exercised their “right to demand the sacraments” from them, and so commissioned them under what they believed to be this right. And on their part Traditionalists responded to their demands. Therefore they accepted a sort of office from these laity, whether they call it that or not. And if they have not accepted such an office from the Church, where else could any pretended authority have come from?
Canon 147 also has Pope Pius VI’s Charitas for its footnote (Fontes). These Fontes likewise list Pope Pius IX’s Etsi Multa, which declares the Old Catholic bishop Joseph Humbert Reinkens a vitandus and an apostate. Reinkens was already an excommunicated heretic for denying the definition of papal infallibility prior to ordaining and consecrating priests and bishops in Germany. On February 11, 1911, Pope St. Pius X also declared the Old Roman Catholic Arnold Harris Matthew and two other bishops excommunicated in the bull Cravi Iamdiu Scandalo, denouncing Mathew for “arrogating unto himself the title of Anglo-Catholic Archbishop of London [and] all others who lent aid, council, or consent to this nefarious crime, by the authority of Almighty God, we hereby excommunicate, anathematize and solemnly declare to be separated from the communion of the Church and to be held for schismatics.” This bull called Mathew a pseudo-bishop and condemned him as a vitandus.
Pope Pius IX’s condemnation of Reinkens reads:
“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. And indeed ‘the Lord spoke to Peter; to one person therefore, so that He might found unity from one’ to Peter, ‘the divine dignity granted a great and wonderful consortium of his power, and if He wished anything to be common with him and the rest of the princes, He never gave, except through him, what He did not deny to the others.’” Calling him a “pseudo-bishop,” Pope Pius IX then states:
“We declare the election of the said Joseph Hubert Reinkens, performed against the sanctions of the holy canons to be illicit, null, and void. We furthermore declare his consecration sacrilegious. Therefore, by the authority of Almighty God, We excommunicate and hold as anathema Joseph Hubert himself and all those who attempted to choose him, and who aided in his sacrilegious consecration. 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.” Clearly he considers Reinkens a vitandus. And it appears as though those who followed him may have been excommunicated as vitandus as well.
Canon 2245, April, 1951, AAS 43-217,: “A decree of the Holy Office concerning the consecration of a Bishop without canonical provision is as follows: A Bishop OF WHATSOEVER RITE OR DIGNITY who consecrates to the episcopacy anyone who is neither appointed nor expressly confirmed by the Holy See and the person who receives the consecration, even though they were coerced by great fear, (Can 2229 §3, no. 3), incur ipso facto an excommunication most specially reserved to the Holy See.” Can. 2229 §3, no. 3 states: “Grave fear by no means excuses from penalties latae sententiae if the crime involves contempt of faith or of ecclesiastical authority or public damage to souls.” The canonist Augustine comments under this canon: “Hence no one is excused from the penalty laid down in Canon 2314 or from that established in Canon 2335 which forbids membership in Masonic societies.” And lest some try to wiggle under the canonical fence regarding the different rites, notice Pope Pius XII says here “of whatsoever rite or dignity.”
Can 2314 §1 states: “All apostates from the Christian faith and each and every heretic or schismatic incur the following penalties:
- ipso facto
- If they have been admonished and do not repent, they shall be deprived of any benefits dignity, pension, office or other position which they may hold in the Church; they shall be declared infamous and if they are clerics they shall, after renewed admonition, be deposed.
- If they have joined a non-Catholic sect or publicly adhered to it, they incur infamy ipso facto and if they are clerics and the admonition to repent has been fruitless they shall be degraded. Canon 188 n. 4 provides moreover that the cleric who publicly abandons the Catholic faith loses every ecclesiastical office ipso facto and without any declaration.”
And it must be mentioned here again that when there is doubt about how and when any canon in the Code is to be applied, one must return to the old law as Can. 6, n. 4 instructs. In this case the old law under both Can. 2314 and Can.188 n. 4 is Pope Paul IV’s infallible 1559 bull Cum ex Apostolatus Officio.
“We likewise consider it ﬁtting that those who do not refrain from evil through love of virtue should be deterred therefrom through fear of penalties. Bishops, Archbishops, Patriarchs, Primates, Cardinals [etc.]…, who must teach others and give them good example to keep them in the Catholic Faith — WHEN THESE PREVARICATE, THEY SIN MORE GRAVELY THAN OTHERS; for they not only lose themselves, but drag down with them to perdition and the pit of death countless other peoples entrusted to their care and government or otherwise subject to them… all and sundry Bishops, Archbishops, Patriarchs, Primates, Cardinals…WHO, IN THE FUTURE, SHALL STRAY OR FALL INTO HERESY OR SHALL INCUR, INCITE OR COMMIT SCHISM… being less excusable than others in such matters… (all these persons) are also automatically AND WITHOUT ANY RECOURSE TO LAW OR ACTION, completely and entirely, forever deprived of, and furthermore disqualified from and incapacitated for their rank” (para. 3. Notice that this applies to the future as well as to those living in the 1500s.)
“Further, if ever at any time it becomes clear that any Bishop, even one conducting himself as an Archbishop, Patriarch, or primate; or any Cardinal of the aforesaid Roman Church, even as mentioned, a Legate; or likewise any Roman Pontiff before his promotion or elevation as a Cardinal or Roman Pontiff, has strayed from the Catholic Faith or fallen into some heresy, or has incurred schism, then his promotion or elevation shall be NULL, INVALID AND VOID. It cannot be declared valid or become valid through his acceptance of the office, his consecration, subsequent possession or seeming possession of government and administration… The persons themselves so promoted and elevated shall, ipso facto and without need for any further declaration, be deprived of any dignity, position, honor, title, authority, office and power…” (para. 6). In paragraph five, Cum ex… declares those consorting with heretics as infamous. This bull’s censures are identical to those levied against vitandus.
Can. 2264: Cum ex… also is listed as a footnote to this canon which states that if a declaratory (latae sententiae) sentence has been issued, which appears to have been issued in way of the vitandus notification listed under Can. 147, all acts of jurisdiction are invalid unless jurisdiction is supplied under Can. 2261 §2. But under Can. 2261 §3, the law states vitandus can be resorted to only in danger of death. Today we lack the supplying power, the Roman Pontiff, so this is not even possible. Can. 219 states that: “The Roman Pontiff, legitimately elected, obtains, from the moment he accepts election, the full power of jurisdiction by divine right.”
The very act of heresy, deposition and infamy itself, then, committed by Lefebvre, Thuc, et al.— before they ever began ordaining Traditionalists — invalidated their acts. The subsequent ordinations and consecrations themselves may or may not have been valid, but the Church has the right and the duty, for the good of the faithful, to nullify the attempted administration of sacrilegious sacraments with the exception of Orders that would result from these acts. For they are divine, having been established by Our Lord Himself, and therefore they and the faithful who might think they are receiving them must be safeguarded from all abuse. Traditionalists may have been ordained and consecrated, they may have received the character, but all their sacramental acts are worthless because they are notorious heretics and schismatics and/or vitandus, and the majority of theologians agree vitandus are no longer members of the Church.
Until they a) abjure and are absolved from their heresies, b) their own orders are examined by a true pope, and c) they are either dispensed from any irregularity or ordered to be conditionally or absolutely ordained, they must be considered as possessing no validity whatsoever. For if a doubtful pope is no pope, then likewise a doubtful bishop or priest is no bishop or priest. The Catholic Encyclopedia recommends the following regarding the resolution of orders:
“Apart from exceptional circumstances, such as arose in 1896, the Holy See does not indulge in purely theoretical pronouncements on questions like that of Anglican Orders, but limits its intervention to cases of practical difficulty that are brought before it — as when persons or classes of persons who wish to minister at the Church’s altars have undergone ceremonies of ordination outside its fold. And even in thus intervening the Holy See is chary of doctrinal decisions, but applies a common-sense rule that can give practical security. Where it judges that the previous orders were certainly valid it permits their use, SUPPOSING THE CANDIDATE TO BE ACCEPTABLE; where it judges the previous orders to be certainly invalid it disregards them altogether, and enjoins a re-ordination according to its own rite; where it judges that the validity of the previous orders is doubtful, EVEN THOUGH THE DOUBT BE SLIGHT, it forbids their use until a conditional ceremony of re-ordination has first been undergone” (Anglican Orders).
All the above is expressed in Pope Pius VI’s Charitas: “We therefore severely forbid the said Expilly and the other wickedly elected and illicitly consecrated men, under this punishment of suspension, to assume episcopal jurisdiction or any other authority for the guidance of souls since they have never received it. 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. Nor may they otherwise act, decree, or decide, whether separately or united as a council, on matters which relate to ecclesiastical jurisdiction. 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…” The effects of Charitas are those visited upon vitandus, just as those of Pope Paul IV, Pius IX and Pope St. Pius X above.
Some have said that despite Pius VI’s decision, Pope Pius VII later reinstated all the constitutional bishops. This he could do as he had not impugned their consecration as bishops but only qualified them as illicit, voiding only any of their future acts. Pius VII did however, at one point, complain in a letter to Louis XVIII written in 1816: “of the bad faith of the constitutional bishops, protesting that the old bishops had not only refused to resign, but had, by writing and conduct, assailed the Holy See. ‘We willingly forget the offenses shown to us personally,’ he wrote the French king.
‘But we cannot forget those offered to the authority and dignity of the Church and of its head.
“Now in case any of these bishops are nominated to sees, they cannot obtain canonical institution from us unless they first give the Church and the Holy See suitable satisfaction,’” (Artaud de Montor, The Lives and Times of the Popes, 1911). The king suggested these bishops resign, but the pope became ill and the negotiations were delayed. Because of his failing health, “The Pope was more anxious to bring the affairs of the Church of France to a definite form… On May 30, 1819, the bishops, to the number of 40, wrote warmly to the pope. Pius VII replied by a brief, which finally arranged all,” (Ibid.).
Canon 2372: “Those who dare to receive orders from an excommunicated, suspended or interdicted minister, provided he has been declared such or condemned to one of the three aforementioned penalties, or from a notorious apostate, a notorious heretic, or a notorious schismatic, ipso facto incur suspension a divinis reserved to the Apostolic See.” And Rev. Francis Hyland, in his 1928 Catholic University of America dissertation Excommunication, notes: “Tanquerey remarks that the Church is wont to declare as vitandi only notorious heretics and schismatics who have already ceased to be members of the Church…” (pg. 9).
Regarding Can. 2245 and the Holy Office decree, Rev. McCoy, cited above, further discusses on page 92 what the Code considers to be acts involving contempt of the faith. He identifies the titles in the Code containing these acts as XI and XII of the fifth book, concerning “Delicts Against the Faith and Unity of the Church and Delicts Against Religion.” These include HERESY, APOSTASY AND SCHISM; COMMUNICATION IN SACRED RITES WITH HERETICS; USURPATION OF PRIESTLY FUNCTIONS AND SACRILEGE, among other offenses. On page 97, under the heading “Acts that Work to the Detriment of Souls,” McCoy writes: “These are all acts which draw people away from the faith or from the practice of Christian morals and thus expose them to the danger of eternal damnation…”
“Those acts which, by their nature, work to the detriment of souls are listed particularly in Titles XVI and XVII of the fifth book of the Code…bearing the headings: ‘Offenses Committed in the Administration or Reception of Orders or the Other Sacraments’ and ‘Offenses Against the Obligations Proper to the Clerical and Religious State.’” Among the offenses McCoy lists that work to the detriment of souls are: “…the administration of Sacraments to those who are forbidden to receive them…THE CONSECRATION OF A BISHOP WITHOUT A PAPAL MANDATE…THE RECEPTION OF ORDERS FROM UNWORTHY PRELATES… the negligence of a pastor in the care of souls.” It must be noted here however that this particular Holy Office decree was issued against men who at the time were bishops in good standing in the Church, who possessed actual offices; NOT HERETICS WHO POSSESSED NONE. That is a different kettle of fish and is handled differently by the Church. If we consider all that is said above by Rev. McCoy, and all that is forbidden by the canons listed, it begins to appear that far from rushing to save souls, Traditionalists instead have worked to foster contempt of the faith and promote schism. But of course they will always rationalize as follows.
But in this emergency…
Traditionalists argue that necessity knows no law and they can resort to epikeia to justify their ordinations and consecrations. But as has been explained at length in a separate work, Pope Pius XII’s 1945 election constitution, Vacantis Apostolicae Sedis, (VAS), which infallibly decrees what can and cannot be done during an interregnum, forbids any correction or change in the law during an interregnum. “The laws issued by Roman Pontiffs in no way can be corrected or changed by the assembly of Cardinals of the Roman Church while it is without a Pope, nor can anything be subtracted from them or added or dispensed in any way whatsoever with respect to said laws or any part of them… In truth, if anything adverse to this command should by chance happen to come about or be attempted, We declare it, by Our Supreme Authority, to be null and void.”
Here we are talking both papal laws and Canon Law, which is largely taken from papal and conciliar law. Some may object that Can. 20 advises the use of epikeia, and to invoke it would not be a violation of the law. But Can. 20 specifically states there must be no other provision in the case considered, and such provision was already laid down in VAS. It also recommends consulting the laws given in similar cases and the common and constant teaching of approved authors. Laws given in similar cases point to the summoning of the bishops to elect a pope (Council of Constance) and a good number of authors agree on this, namely St. Robert Bellarmine and those supporting his teaching. St. Bellarmine also recommends the calling of an imperfect council in the absence of a pope if the cardinals cannot elect. Finally, Can. 20 cannot be used in anything involving penalties. And VAS is a document levying several penalties.
The reason why this infallible law nullifies epikeia is explained as follows: “Epikeia may be defined as: A correction or emendation of a law which in its expression is deficient by reason of its universality, a correction made by a subject who deviates from the clear words of the law, basing his action upon the presumption, at least probable, that the legislator intended not to include in his law the case at hand,” (The History, Nature and Use of EPIKEIA in Moral Theology by the Rev. Lawrence Joseph Riley, A.B., S.T.L., a dissertation submitted to the faculty of the School of Sacred Theology of the Catholic University of America, 1948). Abp. Amleto Cicognani also refers to it as a correction of the law. So applying epikeia has done nothing; all is null and void. Not only is a correction to the law forbidden, but the probable presumption that the law should be changed could not be reconciled with VAS itself or the penalties levied by Pope Pius XII above, nor could it be reconciled with other papal decisions rendered by this same pope.
Even aside from their equivalent status as vitandus, Traditionalists could never have been supplied jurisdiction because it is withdrawn from them by VAS and under the canons and their Fontes above. And because we have no Roman Pontiff to supply, no jurisdiction could be supplied to anyone anyway. This is clear from VAS, which insists all be referred to a future pontiff, and no jurisdiction enjoyed by the deceased Roman Pontiff in his lifetime can be exercised after his death, even by the cardinal. If such jurisdiction is exercised, it is null, void and invalid. We also see in Charitas above that Pope Pius VI ordered the same in this matter, decreeing that the bishops he pronounced as schismatics are forbidden to decide any “matters that relate to ecclesiastical jurisdiction.” And if they attempt this, it is null, void and invalid.
Consequences cascading from the Canons
The canons above tell the real story. They say more than it appears. Given the explanation provided by the old law under Canon 2370, we can have no doubt 1) that these men, for their contemptuous acts outside papal law, are considered schismatics, and suffer for this the consequences of Can. 2314 and Can. 188, no. 4; and 2) With the exception of ordination and consecration, anything Lefebvre, Thuc, et al., or those they consecrated have done, is invalid. The orders given are questionably valid until the circumstances of their administration can be investigated by the Holy Office. In the meantime, any acts proceeding from those orders is considered to be invalid. Some may argue that actual schism could exist only if a true pope reigned. But to honestly maintain their position sedevacantists, at least, were obligated to consecrate just enough bishops to call an imperfect council and elect a pope. That might have been possible then and would have eliminated all suspicion of setting up a false church, but it would not be possible today. There was initially talk of doing this prior to the Thuc consecrations, but it soon ceased.
For along came Guerard des Lauriers with his material-formal hypothesis and quite suspiciously, all talk of ever restoring the papacy came to an end. Sedevacantists gradually separated themselves into little sects just as the rest of their Traditionalist brethren before them and the schism continued. All attempts to explore the possibility of an imperfect council, suggested by this author long before participating in an (invalid) conclave as an absolute last resort, was shot down by those who had the money and the influence in Traditionalist circles to do such a thing. The question is why, unless the plan all along was to set up a model of the more “traditional” Catholic church either to keep people quiet long enough to complete the Church’s destruction or until the Church could be refashioned along totally Gallicanist lines. As things stand today, it seems to be the latter. Given the failure of sedevacantism to do what the Church commanded, they must rightly be judged as schismatic, especially since they base their existences on the vacant See.
The language of the Holy Office decree, entered into the AAS under Can. 2245; also the fact that this censure is reserved in a most special manner to the Holy See (a fairly rare occurrence), makes it clear that the Holy Office had no intention, for the good of the faithful, of allowing these men to function in any manner, whether they acted as priests or not. They were declared the equivalent to vitandus under Can. 147 by an authentic interpretation entered into the AAS, which is binding on the faithful for belief. Traditionalists assumed power “on their own authority,” coming from a “different source” (DZ 960); and the laity “called” them and “consented” to their ministrations, (Can. 109). So it cannot be said that they did not accept their office from lay authority exactly as the rescript reads. Those behaving historically in a like manner were condemned as vitandus as well. Therefore it is not unjust to consider them as such.
Canon 2372 applies to both Lefebvre and Thuc who were clearly schismatic regarding their dealings with the Novus Ordo but were not questioned as such until years later. Canon 2370 would apply then to all those men who sought ordination from Lefebvre and Thuc prior to their consecration of bishops. In the exterior forum, all these men were schismatics even before their ordinations, for either they were raised in the Novus Ordo sect or were practicing Traditionalists. Even if they recognized their errors and left the Novus Ordo, it would still have been necessary for them to be dispensed from their irregularities, for heresy and schism are permanent irregularities that bar a man from ever receiving orders. The canonists Revs. Woywod-Smith and Ramstein go into detail regarding the need of readmittance to the Church for such heresy, citing Can. 2200 as proof of this need, and in addition they would also be required to receive a papal dispensation to qualify for ordination. But one more question needs to be addressed: did these men ever even become clerics?
Tonsure is a jurisdictional act
Now the first thing that must occur for a man to be admitted to the clerical state is what is known as tonsure. “By divine ordinance, the clergy are distinct from the laity” (Can. 107), and tonsure is the ceremony which marks that distinction. A man cannot be ordained without first tonsure. Few chronicling the change in the rites of the Sacraments by the Novus Ordo in 1968 mention the fact that Paul 6 later abolished the ceremony of tonsure in 1972. He must have realized that this also was essential to finalizing the destruction of the priesthood. It is interesting that the canon following the first mention of tonsure in the Code references DZ 960 and 967 from the Council of Trent on the prohibited institution of ministers by the laity and leads us back to Can. 147. Rev. Charles Augustine comments on this canon:
“This canon is directed against certain innovations which cropped out throughout the history of the Church but were introduced especially by the so-called reformers in the 16th century. The “consent of the people” was the favorite cry of Arnold of Brescia and his followers in the 12th century. It was repeated by Wycliff and Hus, Calvin and Zwingli. Against these the Council of Trent declared IT IS AN ARTICLE OF FAITH that the people have no voice in the choice of ministers.” And nothing could be clearer than this.
Tonsure is defined by St. Thomas Aquinas and is unanimously accepted by canonists as an ecclesiastical ceremony or administrative act — not a rite of Sacred Orders conferring an indelible mark — issuing from the office of a bishop. And we know that both Lefebvre and Thuc possessed no offices in the Church. So tonsure could not be given validly by a vitandus or anyone laboring under a vindicative penalty for heresy. Not only could it not be validly given; it could not be validly received by those presenting as candidates for the priesthood without first obtaining a dispensation from the Holy See for the same censure of heresy, schism and infamy of law under Can. 2314. And this presents Traditionalists with a very big problem.
Because, as St. Thomas explains, “The ministers of the Church are severed from the people in order that they may give themselves entirely to the divine worship. Now in the divine worship are certain actions that have to be exercised by virtue of certain definite powers and for this purpose the spiritual power of order is given while other actions are performed by the whole body of ministers in common, for instance the recital of the divine praises. For such things it is not necessary to have the power of Order but only to be deputed to such an office, and this is done by the tonsure. Consequently, it is not an Order but a preamble to Orders… “Reply Obj. 2: Although a man does not receive a character in the tonsure, nevertheless he is appointed to the divine worship; hence the appointment should be made by the supreme minister, namely the bishop.” (Summa Theologica, Vol III, Q. 40, Art. 2, Suppl.).
Commentaries on the Code of Canon Law, with the Latin and Castilian legal text, by Lorenzo Miguelez Dominguez; Arturo Lobo; Sabino Alonso Morán (Biblioteca de Autores Cristianos 1963 Volume II, page 396) also read:
“The tonsure received produces the incardination in some diocese, not being able to exist in acephalous clerics. And once incardination is produced by means of the prima tonsura, the Bishop of the diocese is the only one who can promote the tonsured to higher orders; he is the only legitimate ordinary minister of his subsequent ordination. In the ordination of the tonsured, the domicile of the tonsured no longer counts, but only his actual incardination, however this may have taken place.
*Ordinarily the tonsure is received in order to dedicate the tonsured to the service of his own diocese. But it can also be received in order to enter into the service of another diocese.
Two cases: that the foreign diocese be determined or indeterminate.
1º If it is determinate:
(a) the tonsure is conferred by one’s own bishop by reason of domicile, according to canon 956;
(b) The tonsured is ipso facto incardinated in the diocese to which he is destined, according to canon 111.2;
(c) The bishop of this diocese is the one who must confer higher orders on him or give him dimissorial orders.
2° If the diocese of another is indeterminate:
(a) he is conferred tonsure by his own bishop by reason of domicile, as in the previous case;
(b) he is incardinated in the diocese of the ordaining bishop, who can confer higher orders on him;
(c) in due time, he is to be excardinated from that diocese, incardinated in another diocese, the Bishop of the latter being his proper Bishop, from the moment of incardination, for all
incardination, for all effects and purposes
(S. C. Conc., 10 March 1923: AAS 16  51; CPI 17: February 1930: AAS 22  195; CPI 24 July 1939, 1 and 1: AAS 31  321).
So clearly here, as the Sacred Congregation demonstrates, the only way such a person can be validly tonsured is by a bishop in possession of a validly conferred diocese, which none of those floating bishops, be they Lefebvre, Thuc, Castro de Meyer or anyone else can claim to have possessed. And if the administrative powers of that bishop have been rendered invalid, guess what? It never happens. Why is this important? Because according to the canons, “Those who have been assigned to the divine ministry at least by the first tonsure are called clerics,” (Can. 108), and this is based on Divine law. And from Can. 118: “ONLY CLERICS CAN OBTAIN THE POWER OF EITHER ORDERS OR ECCLESIASTICAL JURISDICTION…”
So if the grantor’s act of conveying tonsure is invalid, and the grantees are unable to even seek ordination without a dispensation from the pope, which is no longer an option, does anyone really believe that these men could possibly have received ordination? Notice that Pope Pius VI in Charitas above classifies as invalid the deputations or confirmations of those consecrated as bishops without papal approval and the one(s) consecrating. So from what is presented below, from the Sacred Congregation of the Sacraments by Aloysius Cardinal Masella, Dec. 27, 1955, this appears to be one of those acts.
“The purpose [of this Instruction] is that the unworthy may in due time, even at the last moment, be absolutely held off from joining the sacred ranks lest dishonor and disgrace touch the Church of God…The Bishop must pass final judgment on the priestly vocation of their candidates, most earnestly examining it along with the canonical fitness of the candidates according to the norms given by approved authors of moral, ascetical and mystical theology. This fitness must be supported by positive proofs, especially concerning the virtue of chastity.” So tonsure cannot even be received unless these proofs are provided, and Lefebvre, Thuc, et al. could not provide them; their confirmations of these proofs were invalid.
These pseudo-bishops had no right or power to call anyone to the priesthood, and never possessed the ability to graft them into it. And this goes back as far as we find Lefebvre and later Thuc (and others) first ordaining priests, for their heresy was committed by accepting Vatican 2, the sacramental changes and the Novus Ordo mass as valid before these “ordinations” ever began. Dispensing themselves from the law in this “emergency” will not work, either; Vacantis Apostolicae Sedis declares null and void every dispensation from Canon Law during an interregnum, as explained above.
The Final Blow
As discussed in the first part of this document, the situation among Traditionalists cannot be compared to those sects which openly declare themselves separated from Rome. Traditionalists, rather, claim they ARE the Catholic Church, and as such they must be held to all the standards that Church has established in order to claim to validly confect Her Sacraments. This is an important distinction that has not been previously made but needs to be examined in depth in order to draw out the necessary conclusions. A schismatic bishop separating from Rome and starting his own Church, with branches here and there, does not claim to be the Catholic Church, although he may celebrate the Latin Mass and administer the Sacraments. He can validly ordain priests and consecrate bishops given he uses the proper form and has the right intention. He is judged differently because Rome no longer expects of him what She once did, given his rejection of the papacy.
But the Church would scarcely tolerate in her own ministers what she is forced to tolerate from this schismatic sect and its leader. Either members of Her hierarchy are Catholic and abide by all Her laws and teachings — particularly obedience to the Roman Pontiff in all things, since it is necessary for salvation, (DZ 469), — or they are not. They cannot at one and the same time claim to be the only surviving members of the hierarchy while failing to satisfy all the requirements necessary to belong to that body. These requirements are explained below:
Msgr. G. Van Noort, S.T.D., Christ’s Church, Vol. 2, 119-122, 1959
“Apostolicity of government or mission or authority means the Church is always ruled by pastors who form one, same juridical person with the apostles. In other words, it is always ruled by pastors who are the apostles’ legitimate successors… For on no one but the APOSTOLIC COLLEGE under the headship of Peter did Christ confer the power of teaching, sanctifying and ruling the faithful until the end of the world. This triple power therefore necessarily belongs and can only belong to those who form one moral person with the apostles; their legitimate successors.
“How could a man belong to the College of the successors of the apostles unless he be united to the head of the college and acknowledged by him as belonging to it? A man could hardly be a cabinet member if the president refused to accept him. Any man then who boasts Apostolic Succession but is not united to the Roman Pontiff may indeed actually possess the power of orders; he may even by purely physical succession occupy a chair formerly occupied by an apostle — at least he could do so — but he would not be a genuine successor of the apostles in their pastoral office; he would be a usurper.”
Rev. E. S. Berry, the Church of Christ, (p. 399).” “Christ evidently intended that His Church be governed by bishops — bishops by the power of Orders as well as by the power of jurisdiction… After the Ascension St. Peter and his successors [took] the place of Christ as visible head of the Apostolic body, with full authority to carry out His will: “Whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth, it shall be bound also in heaven.” Consequently the Roman Pontiff, as successor of St. Peter, has sole authority to accept new members into the Apostolic body, i. e., he alone has authority to constitute bishops, since authority to teach and govern the faithful was conferred upon the Apostles as a body and can be obtained only by incorporation into that body.
“Bishops are shepherds for portions of the flock that was committed in its entirety to the pastoral care of St. Peter and his successors; but no one becomes a shepherd of any portion of a flock unless he be made such by the chief pastor of the whole flock. It is also evident that the chief purpose of the primacy — the preservation of unity — could not be realized if the bishops of the Church were not subject in all things to her supreme pastor.”
The Catholic Encyclopedia under the Apostolic College: “As the Church has to endure to the end of time, so has the unifying and preserving office of St. Peter. Without such a principle, without a head, the body of the Bride of Christ would be no better than a disjointed congeries of members, unworthy of the Divine Bridegroom. In fact the connection of the Church with Christ and the Apostles would be loosened and weakened to the breaking point.” Only bishops headed by the pope, a bishop himself, truly govern the Church.
Pope Pius IX: “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.”
Now remember, to be the true successors to Christ’s Church they claim to be, all the ceremonies and rites necessary to Orders must have been received by Traditionalists according to the laws and teachings of the Church. 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 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.’”
So from all we have seen above, we have at best men who were:
- excommunicated as heretics for communicatio in sacris and branded infamous presenting as candidates for the priesthood;
- never properly examined for fitness and who apparently never received valid tonsure;
- “priests” who never even became clerics because they never received tonsure raised to the episcopacy by bishops without the papal mandate whose own orders are in question and who are
- under censure for heresy and schism, not to mention all the other censures enumerated above;
- “bishops” who were never priests and were not even eligible for the priesthood ordaining and consecrating others without the papal mandate who suffer all the same disabilities and censures mentioned above.
Now would someone please tell me what person in their right mind would ever think that such men, men who are not even Catholic and suffer under the most severe censures the Church can levy, could dare call themselves the true Church of Christ? These men did not just set up a schismatic sect for themselves, they set up an entire Church and called it Catholic! They are no better than their Novus Ordo counterparts who they have never ceased to castigate and constantly point to as the root of all evils.
In his article for The Homiletic and Pastoral Review, “Are Liberal Catholic Orders Valid?” Dr. Leslie Rumble, M.S.C. writes in a footnote: “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). And here readers must remember that Pope Leo XIII declared Anglican Orders invalid for lack of intention as well as invalid form. For he also proclaimed in this same document: “The Church does not judge about the mind and intention in so far as it is something by its nature internal; but in so far as it is manifested externally She is bound to judge concerning it.” Surely what has been documented here is enough to prove that all obedience to a Roman Pontiff and the absolutely necessary inclusion of him in the Apostolic College is absent in Traditionalists.
IT IS DE FIDE FROM THE COUNCIL OF TRENT AND HENCE THE UNANIMOUS OPINION OF THEOLOGIANS THAT BOTH ORDERS DULY RECEIVED AND JURISDICTION ARE NECESSARY FOR TRUE APOSTOLICITY TO EXIST, AND THAT PER POPE PIUS XII’S DECISION ON EPISCOPAL ORDERS IN MYSTICI CORPORIS, BISHOPS RECEIVE THEIR JURISDICTION ONLY FROM THE ROMAN PONTIFF. What we are looking at above is a vile imposture where the very Church Herself has been presented as something She is not and could never be. A Church without a pope, and no prospects of obtaining one; bishops possessing no power to forgive sins or confer graces, but offering only curses, in their ministrations; a series of questionable acts repeatedly condemned by the Roman Pontiffs made to appear as inconsequential and even non-existent. All this, they believe, the Church gladly tolerates and even approves in the interest of “saving souls.” But this is far from all.
The substantial nature of the Sacrament
Bernard Leeming, S.J., The Principles of Sacramental Theology, 1957
- “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.”
Comment: The substantial nature of the Sacrament includes the intent to induct a man into the Apostolic College to function there in union with his fellow bishops, in obedience to and under the direction of the Roman Pontiff. This is the entire purpose of the episcopacy.
- Heretics may not intend to do what the Church really does and yet may have sufficient intention provided their intention is to do what the true Church does or to do what Christ wished. In this case, the object they will may be in fact what the Church does, for their intention of doing what Christ willed prevails over the intention not to do what the Roman Church does. If however there is a prevalent intention not to do what the true Church does, then the intention is not sufficient; because in fact the object they will is not what the true Church does and what Christ willed. These conclusions or explanations follow from the generally accepted principle that it is not enough to intend to do what the Church does.
Comment: The object Traditionalists will is to present themselves as the true Church of Christ on earth and convince their followers it can exist without a pope and bishops in communion with him. The Vatican Council teaches that Christ wished his Church to last until the consummation, and that with Peter at its head the episcopacy be “one and undivided” (DZ 1821). Traditionalists pretend they are preserving the episcopacy, the Apostolic College. But without Peter they destroy the unity of the Church, something not only contrary to Christ’s will but deserving of anathema.
- In the case of bishops or priests who fall into heresy the presumption stands that they intend to do what Christ wills unless the nature of their heresy gives ground to suspect that they are so convinced that Christ does not will a particular effect of Sacraments that they absolutely exclude this from their intention” (end of Leeming quotes).
Comment: Now Leeming states that the effect of the Sacrament of the episcopacy is to include the one consecrated into the “united body [of Christ; the Church].” Included in that united body is the head bishop, the Roman Pontiff. If the consecration is performed with the intention NOT to include the Roman Pontiff as head bishop in this Body — which certainly has been and must be the case — and to induct the one “consecrated” instead into a body separated from the Church by heresy and schism, consisting of men who then are presented to others as full successors of the Apostles in the Catholic Church, then this constitutes a prevalent intention not to do what the true Church does. Such acts can only be described as evil and treachery of the worst kind. And not only are these acts evil and treacherous; they cannot be valid.
Oswald J. Reichel, M.A., B.C.L., F.S.A., A Complete Manual of Canon Law, 1896
Valid and Regular Ordination:
- Besides the essentials of ordination three things are necessary to make it valid and regular: (1) It must be given by persons properly qualified to give it;
(2) it must be given in a regular manner;
(3) it must be given to those who are fit subjects to receive it. Ordination is called invalid when it conveys no spiritual gift or power of order; irregular when it is valid in itself but conveys no position in the Church. The irregular recipient is capable of performing every function of order, but the exercise of the spiritual gift is either impeded through some fault of his own, or forbidden by the Church.
- To bestow orders in a regular manner they must be given:
(1) after examination and probation,
(2) after fasting and prayer, and
(3) unconditionally and gratuitously. A bishop is forbidden to lay hands suddenly on anyone, by which is understood that he may neither ordain without previous examination as to knowledge, nor without previous probation as to character.
Comment: Why is it that we hear only of “matter and form” from these Traditionalists when according to Rev. Reichel three additional requisites appear necessary to validity? We know for a fact many of these “orders” (in the case of priests) were not given after “examination and probation,” nor by those “qualified to give it” or “fit subjects to receive it.” And these are the “priests” who later became “bishops.”
Rev. Jean Marie Herve, Manual of Dogmatic Theology, Vol. 1, Sacraments
“474 c) It is required, and also sufficient, that there be an internal intention, at least implicit, of performing the rite as it is customarily performed in the true Church, with all that this includes, or is thought, even falsely, to include.”
Comment: There is obviously no internal intention on the part of Traditionalists to perform this rite as it is customarily performed by the Church. The absence of the papal mandate and the subterfuge that must be resorted to in order to gloss over the parts of the episcopal consecration ceremony violate this requirement. One observer has commented: “This …does not address the question of whether this is also the case for formal heretics. I believe that it is not, because a formal heretic who intends what he believes, formally holds an intention which is a contradictory of what the Church does.”
“481. b) Any condition concerning the future invalidates a sacrament. For a rite conferred under such a condition is not valid when the matter and form are performed, for at that time the intention of the minister is lacking; nor is it valid when the condition is met, for the matter and form are no longer present.” (P. Pouratt, V.G. in his Theology of the Sacraments, 1910, confirms as follows: “If the intention were dependent on a future, contingent fact, it would not really be existing when the sacrament is conferred, and hence by defect of intention the sacrament would be void” p. 401).
Comment: Any obedience pledged to a pope would necessarily be a future one, if such obedience is declared at all. If Traditionalists consecrate using the entire consecration formula, they must somehow amend the following:
“I …, elected to the Church of…, from this hour henceforward will be obedient to Blessed Peter the Apostle, and to the holy Roman Church, and to our Holy Father, Pope …. and to his successors canonically elected. I will assist them to retain and to defend the Roman Papacy without detriment to my order. I shall take care to preserve, to defend, increase and promote the rights, honors, privileges and authority of the holy Roman Church, of our Lord, the Pope, and of his aforesaid successors.
“Examination Q. 5: Will you exhibit in all things fidelity, submission, obedience, according to canonical authority, to Blessed Peter the Apostle, to whom was given by God the power of binding and of loosing, and to his Vicar our Holy Father, Pope N. and to his successors the Roman Pontiffs?”
The two Traditional consecrations available for viewing online differ from each other. Pivarunas’ consecration by Carmona in 1991 shows Carmona announcing, in place of the papal mandate: “Our Holy Mother the Catholic Church asks you to promote this priest to the high office of bishop.” Pivarunas then reads aloud in Latin the Oath of Obedience to the Holy See, seeming to read it in its entirety but omitting the name of the pope. The examination follows. The recent “consecration” of Charles McGuire omits the oath of obedience entirely, and the consecration begins with an explanation of the examination, which then follows in the ceremony. It is difficult to tell if any fealty to the Roman Pontiff is pledged re Q. 5 above. A traditional priest lists the current rite for consecration here: http://www.traditionalcatholicpriest.com/2014/11/21/traditional-catholic-rite-for-consecrating-bishops-1892/
In a 1993 article for Fr. Francis Fenton’s The Athanasian, John K. Weiskettel gives this evaluation of Daniel Dolan’s subsequent consecration by Mark Pivarunas: “Meanwhile, those questioning the consecration have also been divided as to details. Not only have some declared it invalid, decried it as scandalous, or even expressed doubts about Father Dolan’s qualifications for the office, but Father Clarence Kelly of the Society of Saint Pius V has gone so far as to denounce it as a ‘sacrilege.’” And this from Traditionalists familiar with the scandal and doubt involved in all the Thuc consecrations.
So Traditionalists must have in some way reworked the consecration rite to indicate they render obedience to a future pope, (implied in omitting his name), to some head bishop (or Holy Mother Church, whoever that now is) or omit it entirely. This then would basically exclude any inclusion of the one consecrated in the Apostolic College — a contrary intention as reflected in Msgr. Van Noort’s comments — or relegate it to a future event, as Rev. Herve states above. Since the See is vacant and the only pope one could pledge obedience to would need to be a future one, this would necessarily be the case. Either way, it apparently would be invalid. Also, Pope Pius XII teaches: “It shall be in no way right to understand from what we have declared and ordained above as to matter and form, that it would be lawful to neglect in any way or to omit the other established rites of the Roman Pontifical. Indeed, We ever command that all the prescribed details of that Roman Pontifical be religiously observed and carried out.” (Pope Pius XII, Sacramentum Ordinis); just one more papal command for Traditionalists to ignore.
- N. B. a) There is no sacrament even with a condition concerning a necessary future event v.g. “I absolve you, if the sun rises tomorrow,” if the minister wishes that his intention depend on such a condition.
Comment: So if the minister asks the candidate Q. 5 above, regarding obedience to the Roman Pontiff, and it is intended in a future sense, (which if the question is asked at all is the only way it could be intended), then both the minister and the candidate must agree to a future event to both ask and answer the question.
Rev. Adolphe Tanquerey, Manual of Dogmatic Theology, 1959:
Tanquerey requires: “That if the intention be conditional it is necessary that it be equivalent to an absolute intention. If the condition is of the future, for example ‘If you will have made restitution within a month I absolve you,’ that is not equivalent to an absolute intention BECAUSE IT PREVENTS THE SACRAMENTAL FROM PRODUCING ITS EFFECT IN THE PRESENT. Once the condition has been verified the form avails nothing since it is now a part of the past.”
Tanquerey then refers to Can. 1092 and this could be used as a parallel case in law since there is doubt about these ordinations and consecrations. This canon, written for matrimonial cases, states:
- If the condition is of the future and either necessary or impossible or sinful but is not contrary to the essence of the sacrament it is considered as not added …
- If the condition is of the future and is contrary to the essence of the sacrament, it renders it null and void.
- If the condition is of the future and licit, it suspends the validity of the sacrament.
Tanquerey notes that no. 3, however, applies only to contracts. He also cites Can. 732 which states when there is a prudent doubt about the validity of the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation or Holy Orders, they may be repeated conditionally.
The question based on the above is whether a future pledge of obedience to the Roman Pontiff by a bishop is contrary to the essence of the sacrament of (episcopal) Orders. Since consecration makes a bishop a member of the Apostolic College which can function only under the direction and supervision of the Roman Pontiff, and this college as a governing body of the Church cannot exist without its head, the question seems to answer itself. Oddly enough, were the Pontiff’s need to exist simply flat out denied and the other conditions were fulfilled, the Orders could be valid. Given that these men are saying they ARE the Catholic Church, and at least recognize the need to pay lip service to papal obedience of some sort, by doing this they are bound to abide by all Her laws and teachings to the letter, which means no consecrations can be undertaken until a true pope is elected.
Ludovic Cardinal Billot, S.J. On the Sacraments of the Church: A Commentary on the Third Part of St. Thomas, Vol. 1.
Thesis XVIII (q. 64, a. 8): “I respond, that an internal intention is certainly in itself invisible, but is made visible through the external action with which it is connected, if not with metaphysical or physical necessity, then certainly with moral certitude…”
Comment: That external action is one repeated countless times by Traditionalists, despite objections, warnings and theological demonstrations, belittled and ignored for decades. It consists of repeated defiance of all that has been taught by the popes and councils on episcopal consecration and jurisdictional matters. It is reflected in the repeated violation of Canon Law and the utter disregard for the penalties inflicted. The manifest contrary intention is to continue what many believe to be the true Church of Christ against His will with only bishops minus a true pope at its head. Rev. Billot states later in his treatise that:
“Ordinary occult heresy or theological dissidence will pose little danger of hidden invalidity… What does pose such a danger — almost the only thing that poses it — is something vastly rarer and perhaps infinitely more malicious, namely, the conviction that this Sacrament, validly performed, could confer grace, coupled with the determined intention that it not do so. Such a combination would characterize the mind of a demon.” But here we are NOT speaking of occult heresy but heresy that is public and notorious! And in functioning as priests and bishops without any assurance of validity, in confecting the Sacraments when expressly forbidden to do so even though they know they do not transmit grace but involve themselves and the one receiving in mortal sin, THE EFFECTS BILLOT DESCRIBES AS ISSUING FROM THE DEMONIC MIND ARE EXACTLY THE SAME.
Therefore, it is:
- this BENIGN AND HIDDEN SORT OF MALICE, characterized as demonic by Cardinal Billot,
- described above by Rev. McCoy as “INTRINSICALLY EVIL, WORKING TO THE DETRIMENT OF SOULS [and involving] CONTEMPT OF THE FAITH,”
- coupled with a CONTRADICTORY INTENTION OR ONE “CONCERNING THE FUTURE,”
- THAT INVALIDATES THE SACRAMENTS CONFERRED BY TRADITIONALISTS.
Their absolute contempt for the papacy, veiled cleverly by only deferring to the Roman Pontiffs in certain instances that benefit themselves — accompanied by their complete refusal to observe the penalties inflicted and refrain from scandalizing the faithful — is further proof of their intransigence. And poor Billot, who fortunately passed away before the final curtain came down on the Church, would not live to see the heights to which these demons would ascend.
The magic show
Simon Magus or Simon the Magician first appears in Acts 8: 9-29, and also is mentioned by St. Justin Martyr in his works. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, “By his magic arts, because of which he was called ‘Magus’, and by his teachings in which he announced himself as the ‘great power of God’, he had made a name for himself and had won adherents… [Following his conversion] Simon offered [the Apostles] money, desiring them to grant him what he regarded as magical power, so that he also by the laying on of hands could bestow the Holy Ghost, and thereby produce such miraculous results… He appeared as an opponent of Christian doctrine and of the Apostles, and as a heretic or rather as a false Messias of the Apostolic age.” The Church derives the word simony from this heretic, but the better takeaway from his story is his title as magician.
Simon envied the apostles. It wasn’t their inner spiritual life and conviction he wished to obtain but their power, and that to awe others with its miraculous results. He coveted the episcopacy. He was so enamored with the thought of this power and what it could do for his reputation and career that he offered to buy it from the Apostles. It is believed that after initially repenting he returned to his career as a magician. Had Traditionalists existed then, they would have been happy to provide him with orders. Today they have managed to create an empire Simon would have been proud to claim for his own. Appealing to the ignorance of their followers, they have managed to convince them that they are the actual Catholic Church, the continuation of the line of apostolic successors that existed following the death of Pope Pius XII. But as seen above they lie; they can never constitute that succession. To be an apostolic successor, one could possess jurisdiction without orders, but one cannot possess Orders without jurisdiction.
No one will question that Traditionalists present as the only true Church, and definitions found on the Internet confirm this.
1.“We traditional Catholics believe in the 2000 years of Catholic teachings, practices and tradition.”
- “A Traditional Catholic does all in his power to preserve the Holy Faith in a manner consistent with how it has always been understood, and who strives to preserve all of the liturgical rites and customs of the Church as they were before the ‘spirit of Vatican II’ revolution. Traditionalists are not some ‘branch of the Church,’ or (necessarily) some ‘splinter group’; they are usually and quite simply Catholics.”
- “Traditionalist Catholics believe that they are preserving Catholic orthodoxy by not accepting all changes introduced since the Second Vatican Council.”
So based on the above, can we say that Traditionalists are magicians? Do they do what magicians do? Magic is defined as “the art of influencing or predicting events and producing marvels… the art of controlling the actions of spiritual or superhuman beings…” It can also mean “one of the members of the learned and priestly class,” taken from the cult of the Magi. Magicians perform magic tricks and illusions with the help of props, making the impossible appear to be possible to the audiences they entertain. Now an illusion is defined by Merriam-Webster as: (1) “A misleading image presented to the vision: optical illusion. (2) something that deceives or misleads intellectually.” And we find it mentioned by St. Paul in 2 Thess. 2:9, where he tells us the Mystery of Iniquity will appear “in all power, signs and lying wonders” to deceive, if possible, even the elect.
Traditionalists to all appearances present as valid priests and bishops able to operate as such, when in fact the Church forbids them to function. They refuse to answer questions regarding their validity and ability to function. They insist they uphold the teachings of the Church, but they tacitly deny the necessity of the Roman Pontiff for the Church’s existence and fail to abide by the infallible teachings of the continual magisterium They use theological-sounding arguments to attempt to prop up their position, arguments that appear to be learned but can be, and have been, proven to be actual heresies, errors and logical fallacies. And according to the teachings of the Church, arguments based on logical fallacies are invalid.
They also act as entertainers, actors celebrating the Church’s Latin Mass and “sacraments” with all due pomp and splendor, to produce optical wonders and effect magical graces. Only we know from all the above that this cannot happen when they are forbidden to celebrate Mass, administer the “sacraments” and commit mortal sin by doing so, involving those who receive them in mortal sin as well. This is not grace; this is evil perpetrated as good. And it is evil they are well rewarded for; witness the fruits of their labors reflected in the grand church buildings and rectories many of them have built. Were they truly confecting the sacraments, it might be called simony, since they could not exist without their well-heeled followers.
Over time this impersonation of the Church has resulted in a lessening of the horror that it once had, or should have had, when the scarce few “woke” Catholics first realized what was actually happening and disowned them. Those now exiting this sect often do so almost reluctantly, on principle and faith alone, rather than with any sense of horror or urgency. There is no real appreciation of the enormity of the offenses committed against Our Lord, which are seen by those departing this group in a light filtered through an emotional attachment to what they thought was the Mass, the Eucharist and other religious externals. There is a general forgetfulness that these men act only in Christ’s stead and are His ambassadors, that they do not and cannot act in any other way, and that anything anyone once thought they received from them acted to their damnation, not their salvation.
The best way to describe this reaction is desensitization, a mental process that works to lessen genuine responsiveness to something negative or aversive after repeated exposure to it. One of the key reasons it is difficult to completely dismiss these men as offensive to Our Lord and useless, even possibly as agents of the devil, is their claim to possess validity, something they cannot be at all certain they possess and have no right to exercise without that certainty. It is this dilution of evil, based on the propaganda instilled by Traditionalist sects, that causes so many to return to them eventually.
All that Traditionalists do is designed to create illusion and deceive. They practice a sleight of hand with the faith, literally, in imposing hands to ordain “priests” and consecrate “bishops,” who because they are not validly consecrated wear only the mitres common to wizards. Epikeia is the magic wand they wave to make all their acts virtuous and valid. They somehow presume the magical lifting of all their censures in this “emergency,” penalties still on the books in the 1917 Code and binding. In this way they circumvent the scrutiny of the Holy Office, sidestepping the necessary reconciliation of any Orders they may be judged to have received, the lifting of any irregularities and vindicative penalties, the public adjuration of their errors and the performance of any penance assigned. Without this no one has any assurance they are even priests, far less bishops. All this is far more than a contradictory intention or one based on a future event. It is the sort of malice envisioned by Cardinal Billot, only on a much grander scale.
The science of illusion
Pope St. Pius X explains the dual personality of a Modernist in his encyclical Pascendi dominici gregis, where he describes such a heretic as “…proclaiming publicly his profound respect for authority, while continuing to follow his own bent.” This is how Traditionalists dismiss the papacy and is followed by a contempt for dogma and discipline, which the pope also notes. St. Pius X further condemns Modernists for their rejection of logic in the scholastic method of philosophy and theology, and for using sentiment and emotion to hijack the intelligence. What he says about this is very revealing, for he explains that faith is to be reduced to a “religious sentiment” and dogmatic formulas “sanctioned by the heart.” Sacraments are only “symbols and signs, although not devoid of a certain efficacy… [They are] the result of a double need, for everything in their system is to be explained by INNER IMPULSES OR NECESSITIES,” and this describes Traditional pseudo-clergy’s quest for power and adulation as superheroes with magical powers, swooping in to save the Church.
Everything about the methods of the Modernists speaks of Traditionalism. But those who identify only the Novus Ordo church with the introduction and practice of Modernism would never believe it existed or could exist in their own “true” church. They fail to heed Pope St. Pius X’s warning that “They are to be sought not only among the Church’s open enemies; they lie hid, a thing to be deeply deplored and feared, in Her very bosom and heart and are the more mischievous the less conspicuously they appear… They put their desires for Her ruin into operation not from without but from within; hence the danger is present almost in the very veins and heart of the Church, whose injury is the more certain the more intimate is their knowledge of Her.” St. Pius X also observes that there were among the Modernists those who were not necessarily for reform in worship; he calls them “admirers of symbolism,” (the retention of the Latin Mass). Today this is all Traditionalists have left: SYMBOLS of what were once the REALITIES of the Catholic faith — the “magic” peddled by Traditionalist pseudo-clergy.
Traditionalists claim to be the true Church on earth, yet by defying all Her laws, commanded by Pope Pius XII to be kept in place unchanged, they demonstrate their contempt for the faith and thus make manifest their true intentions. Although unable to claim any type of jurisdiction, they cite as their “mission” the salvation of souls, although they could never have received such a mission, which is conveyed only by the grant of jurisdiction. The attenuation of the episcopal rite of consecration to exclude obedience to the Roman Pontiff, or postpone it to the future, makes it very clear that a) they are not the continuation of Christ’s Church on earth and b) cannot possibly possess the intention to function as bishops who will continue that Church as Christ Himself established it. Rev. Leeming states above that: “In the case of bishops or priests who fall into heresy the presumption stands that they intend to do what Christ wills unless THE NATURE OF THEIR HERESY gives ground to suspect that they are so convinced that Christ does not will a particular effect of Sacraments that they absolutely exclude this from their intention.”
The presumption in this case cannot stand and must therefore yield to truth: claiming existence as THE true Church, they are bound to obey and be in communion with a visible Roman Pontiff. Pietro Parente et al state under the subject of Intention in their Dogmatic Dictionary: “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…” It is this very necessary dependence they absolutely deny; they are convinced that bishops alone can rule the Church indefinitely and are never required to elect a Roman Pontiff. And this is diametrically opposed to Christ’s expressed will and intention for His Church.
The destruction of the Church was planned long ago, and the methods devised; Modernism was one of these specifically developed to infiltrate the Catholic clergy, seeding the evolution of dogmas and false philosophy. The Hegelian method used to move the process forward can be seen to apply to what we see unfolding today; the evolution of dogma and worship, accomplished by the philosopher Hegel’s pagan formula, thesis, antithesis, synthesis. Thesis is a statement or theory put forward as a premise to be defended or proved; Antithesis is the opposite or contradiction of the thesis and Synthesis is the compromise that results in resolving the conflict between thesis and antithesis. It can be seen at work easily in Communism.
The object is a final composite of two sides or philosophies, not admitting any one thing as absolute truth. The creation of the Novus Ordo church was only the first step in the Church’s destruction; the dragon cast down to earth. The second step was the creation of the antagonist church, the dragon pursuing the woman, to make it appear there was an alternative to the NO and better deceive the elect. The constant struggle between the two churches would then result in a new church, or the absorption of the antagonist church into the first church, which to some extent has already occurred. Agents of destruction were active on both sides, owing to the successful infiltration of Modernists beginning in the 19th century. The new church in Rome was Modernism proper; Traditionalism was the Gallicanist version of the same error.
Both churches were devoid of any sort of authority or power to confer the sacraments, only in different ways. The Novus Ordo openly, with its false popes, revision of the rites of the Sacraments, and finally the desecration of the Mass. Traditionalists secretly, hidden in a maze of Church laws and teachings they consistently misrepresent, deny and dismiss; topics the average layperson, barely educated in the basic catechism, can scarcely grasp. What would the faithful do if they discovered their true plight? Then there could be an actual return to the faith, and this Satan wished to prevent at all costs. Traditionalism is the holding cell, until their plans for the new super church are accomplished. As demonstrated in previous articles, Traditionalists are really only the creatures of the Old Catholics and Gnostic-infiltrated sects existing prior to Pope Pius XII’s death. We can speculate about their origins and the source of the infiltration, but that is about all we can do. The rest is in God’s hands.
We began this article by referring to Msgr. Joseph Przudzik’s assessment of the orders conferred by the Polish Catholic National Church. We wish to repeat here his preface to the final assessment of those Orders, although it does not specifically apply to the case at hand above. In Part 2 of Schism in America he writes:
“In view of the paucity of material and the difficulties in getting at it, it is understandable that this article does not consider itself an authoritative interpretation of the validity of the orders of the various… Polish sects. The conclusions… enumerated are therefore private opinions of the present writer which are offered in all humility and with the consciousness that there is a possibility they may not represent the mind of the Church. For that reason, the author puts them forth only tentatively. He freely and willingly submits his opinions to any future decision that may eventually be rendered by the infallible authority of the Catholic Church. AT THE SAME TIME, THE PRESENT WRITER BELIEVES THE SUBJECT OF SUFFICIENT CURRENT INTEREST AND IMPORTANCE TO MERIT PRESENT CONSIDERATION… As far as can be gathered from the present available documents, according to the rules of logic and orthodox theology, ALL THE EVIDENCE POINTS TO THE HIGHLY PROBABLE INVALIDITY OF [THESE] ORDERS.”
To this I would add that I believe there is a very low degree of possibility that what is presented here, if it is weighed in its entirety, is mistaken. And today it is of the utmost importance to end this ungodly imposture foisted on those who think they are members of the Church Christ established on earth. It should also be noted here that I have compiled a great deal more information and theological proofs to back up my conclusions than Msgr. Przudzik was able to present. That being said, only the Roman Pontiff could make a decision regarding these orders, and I have always sworn to abide by his judgement. But this does not mean that until that time these men are valid and can function in any way whatsoever. This is forbidden by Pope Pius XII’s Vacantis Apostolicae Sedis, Can. 2200 and all the papal excommunications and censures cited above.
The evidence shows that Traditionalist pseudo-clergy cannot be CONSIDERED AS VALID until a decision is forthcoming from the Holy See. Until then, the faithful cannot without grave sin consult or attend their services or receive the “sacraments” or any such thing from any of these men. Not only do they themselves commit sin in doing so, they commit a second sin by cooperating with the person who administers the sacrament requested. I would like to close with the following from Msgr. Przudzik, commenting on the inroads made by the Polish schismatics:
“Such is the result of 40 years of tunneling under the Church of God. It cannot be said that from the schismatics’ point of view it is certainly unsuccessful. Indeed it urges upon all faithful members of the Catholic Church the necessity of realizing just how grave the situation is. Too frequently and too long has the importance of the break been minimized. Perhaps the realization of how many souls are being led astray frequently without even realizing they are being led out of the Catholic Church will start some large-scale, concentrated effort to bring them back.” And this is far truer in our situation than it could ever have been during a time when a true Roman Pontiff reigned. May God have mercy on us all.