Popes declare Orders received from schismatics null and void
© Copyright 2012, T. Stanfill Benns (This text may be downloaded or printed out for private reading, but it may not be uploaded to another Internet site or published, electronically or otherwise, without express written permission from the author. All emphasis within quotes is the author’s unless indicated otherwise.)
When others ask why it is not permissible to receive the Sacraments from Traditional priests or bishops, it must be explained that the popes in ages past all have agreed that such communication is forbidden Catholics and that order received from schismatics are not to be exercised, and if exercised, are null and void. Also no one is allowed to appoint their own ministers, which essentially is what Traditionalist laity do, and this is the teaching of the Council of Trent, (DZ 960, 967). Since we have doubts, we are forbidden by the Church to receive the Sacraments from them, (DZ 1151). In his “Handbook of Moral Theology,” Rev. Dominic Prummer states that this is the unanimous opinion of all modern theologians: that if there is any doubt whatsoever touching on the validity of the Sacraments, one may not receive them. And invoking epikeia will avail them nothing.
• The History, Nature, and Use of Epikeia in Moral Theology, by Father Lawrence Joseph Riley, Copyright 1948, The Catholic University of America Press, INC. Imprimatur: + Richardus Jacobus Cushing. D.D., 7 May, 1948: “Epikeia is not to be identified with interpretation, dispensation, presumed permission, excusing cause, or popular acceptance of human law…Human invalidating laws sometimes cease to bind; but epikeia may not be applied to human invalidating laws… In regard to matters which touch the essence of the Sacraments, the use of epikeia is always excluded.” And Fr. Riley was properly trained and duly approved, unlike Traditionalists.
• 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.”
Nearly all the papal decisions quoted below are taken from Rev. Ignatius Szal’s “Communication of Catholics With Schismatics,” 1948. In the pages before these decisions are quoted, Rev. Szal explained why Catholics communicating with schismatics is always a bad idea, even though the seem to have much in common with us: ”The danger of communicating with schismatics is far greater than with regard to other sects, because of the similarity of their rites and ceremonies to those of the Church.” (Here he refers to the Oriental Catholic and Orthodox churches.) “For this reason such communication may be more pernicious and indifferentism may easily result. A Catholic would be more inclined and more easily persuaded to consent to communicate with schismatics than he would be were it a question of heretical worship. In view of these differences, communication with schismatics presents a distinct problem …”
It was Pope St. Pius X who warned us against this in Pascendi Dominici Gregis: “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.” Here Pope St. Pius X referred to the Modernists, but are not those who are closest of all to the Church in Her teachings and practices today, the neo-Modernists, even more dangerous for this very reason than any heretics before? Is it really a coincidence that one of the primary aims of the Modernists was to “remove the ecclesiastical magisterium itself by sacrilegiously falsifying its origin, character and rights and by freely repeating the calumnies of its adversaries” when this is precisely how these neo-Modernists (think they) have successfully sidestepped the necessity of the papacy today?!
• Clement VIII in his Instruction Sanctissimus Aug. 31, 1595 stated that those who had received ordination at the hand of schismatic bishops who apart from their schismatic status were properly consecrated — the necessary form having been observed — did indeed receive orders but not the right to exercise them…Pope Benedict XIV in the Constitution Etsi Pastoralis of May 26, 1742 confirmed this doctrine of Clement VIII.
• Pope Innocent II, Can. 10, Lateran Council I, DZ 363: “Let no one unless canonically elected [and today’s laws state appointed by the Roman Pontiff] extend his hand for consecration to the episcopacy. But if he should presume to do so, let both the one consecrated and the one consecrating be deposed without hope of restoration.”
• Pope Pius VI – Charitas: “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.” (see Can. 2265 §1 [2-3]) Thuc and Lefebvre became heretics immediately on signing V2 documents. They lost all ability to validly administer the Sacraments owing to infamy of law.
• Pope Benedict XIV also taught that, “Schismatic bishops were not to be admitted for the conferring of orders or for the administration of any of the other Sacraments. Persons ordained by schismatic bishops were, upon a proper rectification and amendment of their status to be reconciled and absolved… Before the ordained persons could exercise their orders, it was necessary for them to receive from the Holy See a dispensation from the irregularity which they had incurred,” (Ibid., Szal).
“The reception of holy Orders from the hands of schismatic bishops has practically always been forbidden by the Church. Rarely has the Holy See ever considered it necessary to receive orders from a schismatic bishop. The prohibition to receive holy Orders at the hands of a schismatic bishop is contained in the general prohibition against active religious communication as expressed in Can. 1258§1,” (Rev. Ignatius Szal, Communication of Catholics With Schismatics,” 1948).
• St. Robert Bellarmine cites the unanimous teaching of the Fathers in his work “de Romano Pontifice,” where he states: “Heretics [and current canon law regards schismatics as equal to heretics] who return to the Church must be received as laymen, even though they have been formerly priests or bishops in the Church. St. Optatus (lib. 1 cont. Parmen.).”
Canon 2372: “All persons who presume to receive orders form a prelate who has been excommunicated, suspended or interdicted by a declaratory or a condemnatory sentence, or from a notorious apostate, heretic or schismatic, automatically incur suspension a divinis reserved to the Apostolic See. Any person who has been ordained in good faith by such men, forfeits the right to exercise the order received until he obtains a dispensation from the prohibition.” Revs. Woywod-Smith comment: “If the recipient acted in good faith…he incurs an impediment to the exercise of the order or orders he has received…The impediment can be dispensed from by his own ordinary.”
Lefebvre and Thuc both were notorious heretics and schismatics, and it was long ago known that they both associated with the NO and that Lefebvre accepted the V2 antipopes as true popes. What is it about such notoriety that these men did not understand? And today nearly all of them received orders from men who received orders from schismatics, Lefebvre and Thuc having long since been dead. (See Prudzik beleow.) According to Pope Pius VI’s “Charitas” above, all the actions of those they consecrated and ordained are null and void. For neither an ordinary nor a pope exist to dispense them from any so-called “good faith” ordinations/consecrations.
• P. Pourrat, in his “Theology of the Sacraments,” stated that: “The intention of the minister is that of the church he represents.” Neither Lefebvre nor Thuc were ever formally separated from the Novus Ordo church prior to their consecrations and ordinations. Lefebvre never formally declared the See vacant or rejected the NO antipopes. Thuc declared the See vacant but retained the title of titular bishop of Bulla Regiae, granted by Paul 6. He did not proceed to consecrate bishops for the sole purpose of electing a pope, as divine law required him to do.
• “It is not as safe, however, to concede the valid Orders of Stenhoven’s successors [Stenhoven being the initial breakaway Jansenist bishop in the 1770s] as one might grant the original validity of his own Orders… One can only conclude there is some doubt about validity,” (“Schism in America,” Joseph Prudzik, Ph.D., 1960s, Homiletic and Pastoral Review).
• On June 17, 1839, The Sacred Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith forbade the reception of Holy Communion from an heretical priest, (Rev. Ignatius Szal, “Communication of Catholics With Schismatics”).
• The theologian Jean-Marie Herve, points out in his “Sacraments,” (Dogmatic Theology, Vol. I): “In the Sacrament of Holy Orders, the public good demands that the unworthy applicant [and heretics, schismatics and those suffering infamy of law are deemed unworthy by the Church], even if he be secret, be repelled even though his offense cannot be juridically proved. In this case the reception of the Sacrament is considered inferior in worth to the worthy exercise of the sacred functions and the public good of the Church. According to Pesch: ‘He who trenches on a public good thereby loses his right to a private good if the public good cannot effectively be defended without injury to the latter.’…It is forbidden to administer the Sacraments of the Church to heretics or schismatics even if they err in good faith…unless they first reject their errors and are reconciled with the Church.”
• Pascal Parente notes in his Dictionary of Dogmatic Theology: “Only in dependence on the ministerial power of the Church, indefectibly faithful to the mandate of its Founder do men of all times and places find the guarantee of the continuity of the means of salvation established by the Redeemer…The Church, moreover, is a well organized Body in which every vital movement, linked to an external rite must depend in some way on the visible head. It is necessary therefore that every infusion of new, vital energies, caused by the Sacraments be in some way dependent on the visible head of the Church and on Her hierarchy…”
As Rev. Clark said above, “To what an extent a visible separation from the true Church of Christ exerts an influence on the external rite itself, that is, whether such a rite does or does not continue the ritual profession of the faith of the Church must be determined by the Church, Herself.” This is precisely what Pope Pius XII said in Vacantis Apostolica Sedis, in explaining what can and cannot be done during an interregnum. “While the Apostolic Seat is vacant, let the Sacred College of Cardinals have no power or jurisdiction at all in those things which pertain to the Pope while he was alive…but let everything be held, reserved for the future Pope. And thus we decree that whatever power or jurisdiction pertaining to the Roman Pontiff, while he is alive (unless in as far as it is expressly permitted in this, Our Constitution) the meeting of Cardinals itself may have taken for exercising, is null and void.”
Without a decision on the status of these self-proclaimed clerics by a canonically elected Roman Pontiff, no one can be certain that they even received orders or the episcopacy. As noted above, one is never allowed to proceed in a case of doubt, particularly when such a case concerns the Sacraments. Until they receive papal absolution and make reparation, these men cannot function anyway. This is not some new deduction; some half-baked jurisdiction argument thrown out prematurely to opponents. As demonstrated above, this has been the constant teaching of the Church throughout the ages. It is no surprise that intruders and usurpers have set themselves up in the holy places. But it is a tragedy, however, that so many have allowed themselves to be seduced.