+Seven Sorrows of the BVM +
(This article is longer than the others so please bear with me here. Also, as is the case in all my blogs and articles, any emphasis within the texts quoted is my own unless otherwise noted.)
Can. 953: “The episcopal consecration is reserved to the Roman Pontiff in such a manner that NO BISHOP IS ALLOWED TO CONFER EPISCOPAL CONSECRATION ON ANYONE UNLESS HE HAS FIRST ASCERTAINED THAT THERE IS A PAPAL MANDATE TO THAT EFFECT.” A papal mandate is permission issued specifically by the Roman Pontiff to those consecrating any bishop confirming the bishop’s nomination or election and assuring his fitness for consecration. As Abp. Cicognani comments in his Canon Law, according to a rule of law, wherever the Church in Her laws does not differentiate, neither should we. So how do Traditionalists and their pet theologians explain away “NO BISHOP” and “ANYONE” here? Yet those claiming to be bishops in the Traditional movement have attempted to dismiss these papal decrees forbidding their so-called consecrations using every possible loophole they can find. Necessity and epikeia are the excuse most often used for the consecration of these men they call bishops but as will be seen below and in the later article on epikeia, this will not suffice.
It must be remembered that there can be no apostolic succession without an unquestionably canonically elected pope, (and no, lay people and not even so called Traditionalists “clerics” can pose as electors). Validly and licitly consecrated bishops must be approved and appointed by a canonically elected pope and be fully in communion with him to ordain priests and assign them to parishes. Apostolic succession exists only when orders AND jurisdiction both are present, and neither is the case with Traditionalists whose orders are at best questionably valid (see https://www.betrayedcatholics.com/free-content/reference-links/1-what-constitutes-the-papacy/apostolic-succession-are-schismatic-clergy-and-laymen/). Jurisdiction cannot be present because it was never received, it CANNOT come directly from Christ Himself as our last blog demonstrated, and without a canonically elected Roman Pontiff it cannot be supplied, even in danger of death.
Traditionalists are robbers and thieves because they have not come through the door. They have not received their jurisdiction through the competent ecclesiastical authority in harmony with the canons as Can. 147 and Pope Pius XII demands. They have not been rightly ordained nor sent by ecclesiastical and canonical authority, because even in the case of “priests,” the ordination proceeds without the dimissorial letters. Impediments also are removed in those to be ordained by “bishops” who have no jurisdiction whatsoever and whose acts are made null and void under the terms of Pope Pius XII’s papal election constitution Vacantis Apostolicae Sedis.
Pope Pius VI’s Charitas is listed as one of the sources from the old law for Can. 147, which states: “An ecclesiastical office cannot be validly obtained without canonical provision. Canonical provision means the grant of an ecclesiastical office by competent ecclesiastical authority, made according to the sacred canons.” After quoting this teaching from the Council of Trent, (“If anyone says that… those who are neither duly ordained nor sent by ecclesiastical and canonical authority, but who come from elsewhere are legitimate ministers of the word and of the Sacraments, let him be anathema,” DZ 960,) the Sacred Congregation of the Council declared under Can. 147:
“In order to preserve more inviolate these same sacred principles and at the same time forestall abuses in a matter of such great importance, His Holiness Pope Pius XII has deigned to provide,” an ipso facto excommunication especially reserved to the Holy See for: “1) those who contrive against legitimate ecclesiastical authorities or attempt in any way to subvert their authority; 2) anyone who without a canonical investiture or provision made according to the sacred canons occupies an ecclesiastical office, benefice or dignity, or allows anyone to be unlawfully intruded into the same, or who retains the same; 3) those who have any part directly or indirectly in the crimes mentioned in one (1) and two (2),” (Canon Law Digest, Vol. 3, under Can. 147. And as Pope Pius IX teaches, Catholics are bound in conscience to obey also any decree issued by the Sacred Congregations.) This proves without a doubt that the section of Trent referring to unlawful pastors is not limited to the Protestants. These censures are very similar in nature to the excommunication found in Can. 2345 and Pope Paul IV’s condemnation in Cum ex Apostolatus Officio of those who usurp ecclesiastical offices. The canonists Revs. T. Lincoln Bouscaren and Adam Ellis, editors of the Canon Law Digest, say that Can. 147 applies also to the Holy See.
This excommunication is listed under Can. 2394, which automatically deprives anyone, not just bishops, of an office seized illicitly and recommends them for punishment by the Ordinary. This for taking possession “of an ecclesiastical benefice, office or dignity by his own authority or before he has received the necessary letters of confirmation or institution [from the bodies or individuals electing or nominating clerics for various offices] and has exhibited them to the persons designated by law.” The meaning of offices will be explained below. Pope Pius XII was deadly serious about the confirmation of all offices by the necessary superior; he was guarding here the rights of the hierarchy, i. e. the Church. This is why only a year later he would write Ad Apostolorum Principis. So clearly the mind of the Church in this matter is that expressed here by Pius XII, as well as by the Council of Trent and Pope Pius VI in Charitas.
Offices and those who occupy them
We already know what constitutes canonical appointment; it has to be done by the authority who in the canons is indicated as the one competent to make the appointment and confirm it. In this case those priests and bishops “electing” or choosing candidates for the episcopacy are not certainly even clerics and cannot elect or appoint anyone; they do not constitute competent ecclesiastical authority. In the case of bishops, the Roman Pontiff, even if one existed, could only confirm such an election or appointment if made by competent ecclesiastical authority. The mandate provides proof the appointment has been reviewed and approved and permission given to consecrate, and this would not happen if the electing or appointing body was found to be wanting in any way.
Next must be determined what constitutes an office. By office, according to Can. 145, is meant, “in a broad sense…any employment which is legitimately practiced for a spiritual purpose. In the strict sense, an ecclesiastical office means a stable position created either by the divine or ecclesiastical law, conferred according to the rules of the sacred canons and entailing some participation at least in ecclesiastical power, whether of orders or jurisdiction. In law, the term ecclesiastical office is used in its strict sense…” unless a specific law indicates otherwise. If Traditionalists were qualified to assume an office, they would have to call it an office, but they are not qualified to assume anything.
No matter what kind of bishop is intended here, when they are appointed or elected, they are assigned to a specific office according to this definition. These Trad clerics cannot claim jurisdiction of any kind, because jurisdiction is a grant of authority made by a competent superior in communion with the Roman Pontiff to be exercised over specific subjects. Nor can they claim certainly valid orders. Lefebvre and Thuc may have been validly appointed, but without the papal appointment of the bishops they consecrated, these bishops were never validly created for ANY position. Both Lefebvre and Thuc have huge clouds hanging over their heads where intention, their own validity and fitness are concerned. This cloud would need to be lifted before any question of the validity of their ordinations and consecrations could be decided by a true Roman Pontiff. They certainly could not give to others what they did not receive themselves, (please see website link on Apostolic Succession above).
Those they created, whether priests or bishops, are only doubtfully valid AT BEST; and according to Pope Pius VI in Charitas, the whole affair is null and void. They possess no jurisdiction and cannot use any assumed power of Orders for any purpose. This because we cannot resort to doubtfully valid ministers according to Pope Innocent XI’s declaration that it is not safe to receive sacraments from such persons, (DZ 1151). Furthermore, Can. 154 declares that, “Offices which entail the care of souls cannot be validly conferred upon clerics who are not ordained priests.” Like it or not, Trads all have assumed an office they are not qualified to possess. And if the office of bishop is not validly held, how can such men possibly call and create priests?
The canons say they cannot. A priest cannot create a priest, and in most cases these “bishops” are not even priests themselves! In the consecration rite, these men are specifically called to the office of bishop. If they cannot accept such an office because papal appointment was never made, how can they receive it?! As Rev. Patrick Madgett S. J. teaches in Vol. II of his work Christian Origins (1943) under bishops: “A successor in any office or task is one who is lawfully substituted in place of another to perform the same duties, with the same powers.” And Trad “bishops” present as successors of the Apostles with all the same duties and powers but are not lawful and are at the very least doubtfully valid.
Can. 148 defines appointments as any of the following: (1) free appointment by the legitimate superior; (2) by the so-called “institution” in cases where a patron has the right to nominate or present to the ecclesiastical superior the person who is to obtain the office; (3) confirmation by a superior in the case of elections and (4) In the case of postulation in religious officers, when voters appoint a certain candidate for office the superior accepting the determination of the voters is said to grant admission and (5) an office may be obtained simply by election and acceptance of the elected, but only if the law does not require confirmation of the elected. Canon 110 states:
“Though the Holy See gives some of the clergy the title of prelate without jurisdiction as a mere honorary title, the term ‘prelates’ properly denotes in law clerics, either secular or religious, who have ordinary jurisdiction in the external forum.” Under Canons 147 and 148, Rev. Augustine comments that: “The competent authority in conferring major ecclesiastical offices (prelacies) is the Roman Pontiff.” A prelate is one who “rules over the clergy and people of a district that is separated from every other diocese,” (Revs. Woywod-Smith, Can. 319). Donald Attwater defines a prelate as, “A dignitary having jurisdiction in the external forum. The principal prelates are the bishops; others are vicars and prefects apostolic.” So regardless of whether Traditionalists claim to be “residential bishops” or not, they are bound to be confirmed by the Roman Pontiff for consecration regardless.
This is demonstrated by what Pope Pius IX taught regarding the Old Catholics in Germany:
Etsi Multa, Pope Pius IX, Nov. 21, 1873
“24. But these men, having progressed more boldly in the ways of wickedness and destruction, as happens to heretical sects from God’s just judgment, have wished to create a hierarchy also for themselves, as we have intimated. They have chosen and set up a pseudo-bishop, a certain notorious apostate from the Catholic faith,Joseph Humbert Reinkens. So that nothing be lacking in their impudence, for his consecration they have had refuge to those very Jansenists of Utrecht, whom they themselves, before they separated from the Church, considered as heretics and schismatics, as do all other Catholics. However, this Joseph Humbert dares to say that he is a bishop, and, what passes belief, he is recognized and named in an explicit decree by the most serene Emperor of Germany and is proposed to all his subjects as a lawful bishop. But as even the rudiments of Catholic faith declare, no one can be considered a bishop who is not linked in communion of faith and love with Peter, upon whom is built the Church of Christ; who does not adhere to the supreme Pastor to whom the sheep of Christ are committed to be pastured; and who is not bound to the confirmer of fraternity which is in the world.
“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.” Hence it is from this Apostolic See, where blessed Peter ‘lives and presides and grants the truth of faith to those seeking it, that the rights of venerable communion flow to all’; and this same See ‘for the Churches spread throughout the whole world is certainly the head, as it were, of their members, from which if one cuts himself off, he becomes an exile from the Christian religion, as soon as he begins not to belong to its structure.’
“25. Therefore the holy martyr Cyprian, writing about schism, denied to the pseudo-bishop Novatian even the title of Christian, on the grounds that he was cut off and separated from the Church of Christ. ‘Whoever he is,’ he says, ‘and whatever sort he is, he is not a Christian who is not in the Church of Christ. Let him boast and preach his philosophy and eloquence with a proud voice; he who does not have fraternal charity and does not retain ecclesiastical unity, loses also what he previously had. Since by Christ one Church was founded divided into many members throughout the world, so likewise one episcopate, diffused in the harmonious multiplicity of many bishops. Subsequent to the teaching of God and the conjoined unity of the Catholic Church, he attempts to build a human church. Therefore, he who does not retain unity of spirit nor communion of peace and thus separates himself from the bond of the Church and the college of the priesthood cannot have the power nor the honor of a bishop because he kept the unity or the peace of the episcopacy.’”
“26. We have been undeservingly placed on this supreme seat of Peter to preserve the Catholic faith and the unity of the universal Church. Therefore following the custom and example of Our Predecessors and of holy legislation, by the power granted to Us from heaven, We declare the election of the said Joseph Humbert 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 Humbert 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 an extent that, as he plainly states, they may not even be greeted.”
Does this even give Traditionalists any pause whatsoever, that something so similar to their own elections and consecrations of bishops results in a sacrilegious act and VITANDUS excommunication for those following said bishop?! And here we see Pope Pius IX holds Reinkens’ election null and void, and this following “custom, the example of Our predecessors and holy legislation.” Likewise Pope Pius VI’s Charitas held France’s appointment of constitutional bishops null and void, so surely Pope Pius IX was referring to Charitas as well as other decrees in Etsi Multa. When such consecrations are performed during an interregnum outside the laws of the Church, Pope Pius XII has decreed they are null and void altogether.
Vacantis Apostolicae Sedis, Pope Pius XII, 1945 (paras.1- 3, Ch. 1)
- While the Apostolic Seat is vacant, let the Sacred College of Cardinals have no power or jurisdiction at all in those things which pertain to the Pope while he was alive…but let everything be held, reserved for the future Pope. And thus we decree that whatever power or jurisdiction pertaining to the Roman Pontiff, while he is alive (unless in as far as it is expressly permitted in this, Our Constitution) the meeting of Cardinals itself may have taken for exercising, is null and void.
- “Likewise we order that the Sacred College of Cardinals is not able to dispose of the laws of the Apostolic Seat and the Roman Church in any manner it wishes, nor may it attempt to detract wheresoever from the laws of the same, either directly or indirectly through a species of connivance, or through dissimulation of crimes perpetrated against the same laws, either after the death of the Pontiff or in time of vacancy, [however] it may seem to be attempted. Indeed, we will that it ought to guard and defend against the same contention of all men.
- “Laws given by the Roman Pontiffs are in no way able to be corrected or changed through the meeting of the cardinals of the Roman Church [the See] being vacant; nor is anything able to be taken away or added, nor is there able to be made any dispensation in any manner concerning the laws themselves or some part of them. This is very evident from pontifical Constitutions [on]…the election of the Roman Pontiff. But if anything contrary to this prescript occurs or is by chance attempted, we declare it by Our Supreme authority to be null and void”(private translation commissioned by Irene Keast).
In the above papal paragraphs, we find the phrase “null and void” just as it is found as follows in 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…”
And in Ad Apsotolorum Principis: “…Bishops who have been neither named nor confirmed by the Apostolic See, but who, on the contrary, have been elected and consecrated in defiance of its express orders, enjoy no powers of teaching or of jurisdiction since jurisdiction passes to bishops only through the Roman Pontiff as We admonished in the Encyclical Letter Mystici Corporis.” This key phrase referencing jurisdiction and teaching is what Traditionalists consistently ignore, which is why they must pretend to receive their jurisdiction directly from Christ.
In Vacantis Apostolicae Sedis, no change in the law is allowed even to the cardinals, most of whom were bishops. There can be absolutely no usurpation of papal jurisdiction; all must be left to the future pope. Even any attempt at such things is null and void and this is infallibly decreed in Etsi Multa, Charitas, and is clearly stated in equivalent terms in Ad Apostolorum Principis. And the cardinalate is directed by Pope Pius XII to prevent any such crimes from occurring. We live in an interregnum. Traditionalists have created their own “hierarchy” and yet all is an illusion; their acts were null and void. They will say the law does not apply to them, that they are allowed to function and call the law itself into question. They say this about all these laws and infallible decrees except those they feel serve their purpose. They offer no proofs whatsoever giving them direct permission to proceed; all the proofs are against them. Yet still they continue to offend God, violate the law and refuse to do His will.
And there is something else that to date no one seems to have pointed out. In the episcopal consecration ceremony, any and ALL bishops, whether being consecrated as ordinaries or for other positions are asked to present the “Mandate or Apostolic Letter from the Pope,” which is read aloud. The Bishop-elect then kneels before the consecrator and solemnly swears an oath to submit himself to the Holy See, an oath which in the case of Traditionalists, if indeed it is even made, is as barren and worthless as the episcopal ceremony itself. As we have seen above, all such candidates for the episcopacy must be approved by the Roman Pontiff and present themselves for consecration within three months of such approval. In his Ad Apostolorum Principis as well as in Charitas, no distinction is made between residential bishops, titular bishops, missionary bishops, etc.
In the episcopal rite of consecration, the one being consecrated is consecrated for the OFFICE of bishop. The one being consecrated makes this solemn oath to submit to the Holy See as follows: “I shall render to our Holy Father, Pope N., and to his aforesaid successors an account of my whole pastoral office, and of all things pertaining in any manner whatsoever to the state of my Church, to the discipline of the clergy and the people, and finally to the salvation of the souls which are entrusted to me: and in turn I shall receive humbly the apostolic mandates and execute them as diligently as possible.” (Some Trad bishops have removed all reference to the papal mandate from the rite, something that is strictly forbidden by the Church. Only the pope can attenuate the rites of the Sacraments.) Later in the rite, the consecrator says to the one being consecrated: “Will you teach the people for whom you are ordained, both by words and by example, the things you understand from the divine Scriptures? Will you receive, keep and teach with reverence the traditions of the orthodox fathers and the decretal constitutions of the Holy and Apostolic See?“ If these so-called bishops are not teaching obedience to the Roman Pontiffs and the continual magisterium — and they are not — then this oath is worthless. (See the two rites compared at https://www.academia.edu/646882/Comparison_of_Old_and_New_Catholic_Rites_of_Ordination_to_the_Priesthood).“Bishop” Anthony Cekada and others pretend that only ordinaries or residential bishops can hold an office, but the rite itself contradicts him. As seen above, even a priest or religious can hold an office by appointment of the superior.
The Catholic Encyclopedia under “bishop” elaborates further on the above. In the case of those allowed to make recommendations for candidates to the episcopacy, “this does not juridically bind the sovereign pontiff, who has the power to choose the new bishop from persons not included in the list of recommendations.” In certain countries where bishops are elected, the votes are sent to the Holy See for approval along with a list of “useful information” about each of the candidates. “Whatever the manner of his nomination, the bishop has no power until his nomination has been confirmed by the Holy See…” The request to receive the papal mandate, which is to be read aloud, followed by the oath of the one consecrated, is the first and most important part of the entire rite. This should be obvious to any rational person, because in the wording of the rite, it is implied that without the papal mandate, the man seeking consecration has no right to be consecrated.
Nullity according to Pope Leo XIII’s constitution on Anglican Orders
Then we have yet another problem to address, that of those who challenge the true meaning of null and void in all the above decrees. One person claims it need not be interpreted to mean exactly what it says, according to canonists and theologians, and does not mean that all the acts so declared are invalidly or even illicitly performed before or after the fact. Unfortunately, this is not the teaching of the Holy See and does not provide the out these “bishops” are so desperately seeking. In fact it strengthens the case for invalidity — something surely unintentional in raising this issue on our opponents’ part — but providential for those who believe the Roman Pontiffs enjoy the primacy of jurisdiction and supreme power in the Church and are to be obeyed when defining terms over theologians and canonists. From Pope Leo XIII in Apostolicae Curae:
“For to obtain orders nulliter means the same as by act null and void, that is invalid, as the very meaning of the word and as common parlance requires. This is especially clear when the word is used in the same way about Orders as about ‘ecclesiastical benefices.’ These, by the undoubted teaching of the sacred canons, were clearly null if given with any vitiating defect. Moreover, when some doubted as to who, according to the mind of the pontiff, could be called and considered bishops ‘validly and lawfully ordained,’ the said Pope (Pope Paul IV) shortly after, on October 30, issued a further letter in the form of a brief and said:
‘We, desiring to wholly remove such doubt, and to opportunely provide for the peace of conscience of those who during the aforementioned schism were promoted to Holy Orders, by clearly stating the meaning and intention which we had in our said letters, declare that it is only those bishops and archbishops who were not ordained and consecrated in the form of the Church that cannot be said to be duly and rightly ordained…’” Pope Leo XIII continues:
“The authority of Julius III, and of Paul IV, which we have quoted, clearly shows the origin of that practice which has been observed without interruption for more than three centuries, that Ordinations conferred according to the Edwardine rite should be considered null and void. This practice is fully proved by the numerous cases of absolute re-ordination according to the Catholic rite even in Rome.
“Wherefore, strictly adhering, in this matter, to the decrees of the pontiffs, our predecessors, and confirming them most fully, and, as it were, renewing them by our authority, of our own initiative and certain knowledge, we pronounce and declare that ordinations carried out according to the Anglican rite have been, and are, absolutely null and utterly void” (end of Pope Leo XIII quote).
Commenting on Canon 11 (invalidating and disqualifying laws), Abp. Cicognani wrote: “Invalidating and disqualifying laws certainly bind in conscience… Certain acts are not to be upheld as valid, nor are they considered to be a source of rights or emoluments. However, it should be noted that if the laws forbid and at the same time nullify an act…they oblige in conscience to omit the act…” Hence what is stated in Canon 11: “Laws only are to be considered invalidating or disqualifying which explicitly or equivalently state that an act is null and void or that a person is incapable of acting” (Canon Law, 1935). But the real key to everything Traditionalists have attempted to do is found under Can. 15, and will be examined in the article on epikeia.
This clarifies the true definition of null and void, and it was likewise made clear by Pope Paul IV in his Bull Cum ex Apostolatus Officio, where he states: ”If ever at any time it becomes clear that any Bishop…Archbishop, Patriarch, or primate; or any Cardinal of the aforesaid Roman Church…or likewise if 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.” But it raises yet another issue: If the presentation of the papal mandate is omitted from the form quoted above, is not this an alteration of the form calling it into question, just as the Anglican form was called into question and declared null and void?
Pope Leo XIII in his constitution on Anglican Orders quotes this from Pope Paul IV’s Praeclara carissima as follows: ‘“Those who have been promoted to Ecclesiastical Orders by anyone but a bishop validly and lawfully ordained [see the Council of Trent, DZ 960, 967] are bound to receive those orders again.’” And those bishops not validly and lawfully ordained were, Leo XIII continues, those promoted to the episcopate and other orders “not according to the accustomed form of the Church… the form and intention of the Church.” Was Lefebvre validly and lawfully ordained and consecrated? We have grave doubts. Thuc was apparently validly and lawfully ordained and consecrated, but neither he nor Lefebvre could ordain and consecrate “priests and bishops” without the jurisdiction they lost by affiliating with the Novus Ordo church and minus the papal mandate. At that point they were outside the Church and their actions were nullified by Pius XII’s law governing interregnums.
Here several things must be addressed. Despite any alleged validity of the consecrators, the papal mandate is an essential part of the consecration ceremony. Secondly, no one whatsoever may tamper with the rite of consecration in its essentials. According to Pope Pius XII in the first paragraph of Sacramentum Ordinis: “As the Council of Trent teaches, … the seven Sacraments of the New Law were all instituted by Jesus Christ Our Lord, and the Church has no power over the substance of the Sacraments…” The omission of this part of the consecration ceremony is essential to its validity, since the bishop receives no power without it as the Catholic Encyclopedia observes above.
It also is essential to the profession of the one consecrated that he is in communion with the Roman Pontiff, also his predecessors, and recognizes him as the supreme head of the Church. The Chinese bishops were not denying Pope Pius XII was their pope, they were simply disobeying him; pertinaciously continuing in such disobedience after a rebuke would constitute rejecting papal authority, which automatically results in incurring the censure for heresy. So to omit this ceremony also calls into question the orthodoxy of the subject seeking to be consecrated as well as the intention of the one consecrating. Do they intend to carry on the mission of the Church as it was constituted by Christ? Obviously not, or they would have recourse to a true pope for the mandate, and in his absence would abide by his laws. Without the mandate, all their machinations are null and void for want of the proper form and intention.
CMRI attempts to justify their consecrations by stating on their website: “The strict observance of Pope Pius XII’s decree on the prohibition of the consecration of bishops without papal mandate would become injurious to the salvation of souls.” This is the same rationalization used by conclavists to justify various attempts at election: “The Church has to have a pope because she cannot exist without one.” But the danger of a lay election and even one posited by doubtful clergy is actually a greater danger, given the possibility of electing an unfit candidate, as was later proven in all these cases. Moreover, lay elections are condemned by papal election law and other binding papal and conciliar documents. Pope Pius VI’s Charitas would have Catholics stay at home rather than resort to the Constitutional bishops; Etsi Multa issues similar warnings and declares null and void the old Catholic bishop(s) and Vacantis Apostolicae Sedis forbids anyone to act outside papal laws during an interregnum under the pain of nullity (invalidity). These and all other papal teachings are what the faithful are bound to obey.
The proofs provided above demonstrate the collective minds of the Roman Pontiffs regarding the function of bishops who are not approved by him or his canonically elected successors and declare those so proceeding excommunicated. Traditionalists posing as clergy falsely claim that even though they may be excommunicated they still possess jurisdiction, supplied or provided by Christ, demonstrated earlier to be A COMPLETE LIE. There is NO Church teaching to support this conjecture, forbidden by Pope Pius XII in Humani Generis, that in this emergency Christ would supply such jurisdiction. Nor would the pope supply it to doubtful clergy in any event. To possess true apostolicity, one must possess both valid and licit Holy Orders AND jurisdiction (see the Catholic Encyclopedia article on this topic), something none of these pretenders can lay claim to. And what of the oaths they took in their phony consecration ceremonies to uphold the teachings of the Holy See? Such oaths, if they were even taken, were as phony as the consecrations themselves, invalidated by the lack of the indispensable papal mandate and the (at least implicit) denial by Traditionalists of the necessity of the papacy.
There is no shame or blame in keeping the faith at home in light of such compelling evidence that these men are not providing true Mass and Sacraments and are involving their followers instead in sacrilege and cooperation in sin, both mortal sins. In fact, as we will see in the blog on epikeia, Catholics are bound to avoid these pretenders and their “sacraments” whenever such serious doubt becomes known to them. The real issue at stake is your immortal soul and whether Our Lord will acquire an accounting from you for choosing to follow these men and ignoring the Vicars He sent to speak for Him. Are you willing to take that risk? Are you willing to continue to cooperate in sin and incur communicatio in sacris for participating in false worship, placing you outside the Church and unable to save your soul?