+Feast of the Immaculate Conception+
This topic has been addressed before, but recent comments by an inquirer required a more detailed examination of the available proofs. What is presented here constitutes the most damning and convincing case yet for the invalidity of ALL Traditionalists claiming to possess orders. It should cause even the most blasé members of that sect to reconsider their current position and contentions, daily placing them in danger of eternal damnation.
Supplied jurisdiction, for all intents and purposes has ceased to be an issue regarding the so-called administration of the Sacraments by Traditionalists. This is true because it has been proven from papal documents and the works of approved theologians that the suppletory source no longer exists. Only a canonically elected pope possesses the power to supply jurisdiction because he is the supreme holder of jurisdiction and has always been the only source of the supplying power in the past, (Pope Pius XII was the last of these popes). Once it was made clear that no one can supply jurisdiction during an interregnum, and Pope Pius XII’s infallible constitution Vacantis Apostolicae Sedis(https://www.betrayedcatholics.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/VASannot.pdf) leaves no room for doubt, all the claims to possess such jurisdiction became groundless. The task left to those who wish to puzzle out the full consequences of the jurisdiction muddle is to determine what acts trace back to jurisdiction and who possessed it following the election of Angelo Roncalli. The easiest way to do this is to study the conferral of Orders, because bishops cannot validly function unless they receive their jurisdiction (an office, confirmed and conferred by papal mandate) from a canonically elected pope. They cannot delegate jurisdiction unless they have received this mandate. Ordinary jurisdiction comes with the office and if there is no office there is no jurisdiction.
A layman presenting as a priest for many years (now deceased) must have realized that supplied jurisdiction couldn’t cover Traditional operations. For he wrote over a decade ago that Christ Himself delegates jurisdiction to priests. This article is still posted on CMRI websites to justify their claims to jurisdiction. Ironically, this is a tacit admission that the bishop(s) ordaining these priests did not have it to delegate to them in the first place. And it is a patent lie, held by Protestant clerics during the Reformation and condemned by the Council of Trent. This same pseudo-cleric was so desperate to refute the jurisdictional arguments on this site that he even resorted to falsifying Council of Trent documents as proven in an earlier blog posted last year (see https://www.betrayedcatholics.com/traditionalist-mistranslates-council-of-trent-to-condemn-home-alone/; also, https://www.betrayedcatholics.com/false-sedevacantist-bishop-claims-refuted/). Pope Pius XII infallibly settled the Scriptural and doctrinal question that only the pope can delegate power to bishops and approve them, (see Mystici Corporis Christi and Ad Sinarum Gentum). As has been explained many times before, only those heretics known as Gallicanists and their successors, the Old Catholics, held that bishops are equal to the pope, rejecting papal supremacy as defined at the Vatican Council, called specifically to crush the Gallicanist heresy once and for all.
Traditionalist “clerics” are not the pope; they have no power whatsoever and no authority to make decisions regarding the teachings of Holy Scripture (divine law), the popes, the councils and Canon Law. Such power resides only in the Roman Pontiff and the Sacred Congregations. The Church and Her doctrines will last as Christ constituted them until the consummation, but all must stand firm in the belief that this Church was founded on St. Peter the Rock who alone has the power to infallibly teach and define. This means that all Catholics must adhere to the teachings of the Roman Pontiffs as they are contained in the Deposit of Faith, and taught by the Continual Magisterium, for the Church to exist until the very end. Because there is no Pope, the only way that there can be any continuation of the papacy is for Catholics to strictly follow everything that was taught from Peter to Pius XII. One of these many teachings is the nature and the definition of an office and how it is conveyed. For without an office in the Church, no one can even be considered a cleric.
St. Thomas Aquinas’ teaching on tonsure
The Church possesses jurisdiction “by Divine institution,” according to Can. 196. Ordinaries and other bishops are responsible not only for delegating jurisdiction to priests but also for selecting candidates for the priesthood and conferring first tonsure, thereby designating them as clerics. “Those who have been assigned to the divine ministry at least by the first tonsure are called clerics,” (Can. 108). Can. 118: “Only clerics can obtain the power of either orders or ecclesiastical jurisdiction…” And following it, Can. 147: “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,” (Can. 147). St. Thomas Aquinas indicates below that the nature of first tonsure involves appointment to an office, a jurisdictional act made possible by the granting to ordinaries of said jurisdiction over a diocese by the Pope. According to Can. 950, tonsure is implied in law in the terms ordain, ordination, sacred ordination and order by necessity. For unless tonsure is first received, one cannot become a cleric, and the clergy must be distinguished from the laity by Divine law, according to Can. 948.
(From the Summa):
“No Order is given except during the celebration of Mass. But tonsure is given even outside the office of the Mass therefore it is not an Order. Further, in the confirming of every Order, mention is made of some power granted but not in the conferring of tonsure. Therefore, it is not an Order.
“I answer that: The ministers of the Church are severed from the people in order that they may give themselves entirely to the divine worship. Now on 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. 1: I answer that: Some spiritual thing inwardly corresponding to it as signate corresponds to sign, but this is not a spiritual power. Wherefore a character is not imprinted in tonsure as in an Order.
“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.; end of St. Thomas Aquinas quotes) And all the following agree with St. Thomas:
“The tonsure or cutting of the hair which precedes the conferring of minor orders is not an order. It is an ecclesiastical ceremony which places a man in the clerical state. It confers no power whatever” (Sacramental Theology, Bk. I, Rev. Clarence McAuliffe).
Rev. J. Tixeront states in his Holy Orders and Ordination: “Tonsure is not an order. It confers no power in the liturgical order: it simply distinguishes him who receives it from the laity” (p. 133).
Revs. Stanislaus Woywod and Callistus Smith, (A Practical Commentary on the Code of Canon Law, 1957) explain in their history of ordination that, “Tonsure is not an order but a sacred ceremony by which young men are enlisted in the ranks of the clergy before they receive any orders.”
Rev. Charles Augustine, A Commentary on Canon Law: “Tonsure is not enumerated among the minor orders nor is it considered an order at all.” In a footnote to Can. 118, he comments that it is now the common opinion of theologians that tonsure is not an order.
According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, “Tonsure itself is not an ordination properly so called, nor a true order. It is rather a simple ascription of a person to the Divine service in such things as are common to all clerics … In the Latin Church it began as a separate ceremony about the end of the seventh century…”
“By reception of first tonsure a cleric is ascribed to…the diocese for the service of which he was promoted,” (Can. 111; also the Council of Trent, Sess. 23, Ch. 16). “Only clerics can obtain the power of either orders or ecclesiastical jurisdiction…” (Can. 118). Tonsure or some valid order is, by ecclesiastical law, a prerequisite for the VALIDITY of any office” (Canon Law: A Text and Commentary, Revs. T. Lincoln-Bouscaren and Adam Ellis, (Can. I09, 118).
The canons teach that without the bishop’s call, a vocation cannot exist. But first one must prove that a VALID AND LICIT bishop (Ordinary) in communion with a canonically elected Roman Pontiff who has appointed him to head a specific diocese and establish a seminary for that diocese has called a man to the priesthood. Can. 147: “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,” (Can. 147). St. Thomas Aquinas above indicates that the nature of first tonsure arises from the Ordinary’s office as an act issuing from his jurisdictional faculties granted by the Pope and not specifically the power of Orders. It should be noted that while Lefebvre, Thuc and others receiving their episcopate from Pope Pius XII could (theoretically) validly ordain IF they had possessed the jurisdiction to first administer tonsure, those who have since been foisted on gullible Catholics as ordained and “consecrated” by them or others without the papal mandate received nothing at all. Whether touted as priests or bishops, having never received tonsure, they could never even have become priests!
As proven elsewhere, Lefebvre, Castro de Mayer, Thuc, Mendez et al — all lost any jurisdiction they once possessed by joining the Novus Ordo sect, celebrating the Novus Ordo Missae, signing Vatican 2 documents and accepting offices from a false pope. This according to Canons 188 no. 4, 2314 and 1258, with Pope Paul IV’s Cum ex Apostolatus Officio being the fontes for both Canons 188 no. 4 and 2314. They therefore could not exercise any jurisdiction they did not possess and could not and did not assign any men as clerics to be ordained as priests. There is absolutely nothing in way of proofs these men can present that even so much as hints they possess or ever possessed such jurisdiction. As the canonists all teach, without receiving tonsure defining one as a cleric one cannot become a priest; this is a matter of Divine Law, as explained in Can. 948. Even if it could be said that such men did indeed become priests, which is highly unlikely and can never be established with any certainty without a decision from the Holy See, Canon Law forbids them to exercise their orders for seeking them from a schismatic, even, Pope Pius VI teaches in Charitas, “under any pretext of necessity whatsoever.” During an interregnum any acts usurping papal jurisdiction (presuming the approval of a true pope to administer a diocese and create priests) are declared null and void by Pope Pius XII in his Vacantis Apostolicae Sedis.
For those who believe they are receiving valid Sacraments from validly ordained priests, this information is of the utmost importance. Because these (unwitting?) imposters never became priests for lack of valid tonsure, as simple laymen they are not (a) bound to keep the Seal of the Confessional, since it involves no Sacrament; (b) able to celebrate the Holy Sacrifice because they cannot validly or licitly consecrate the Body of Christ and (c) fit to administer any of the other Sacraments. If they baptize it is illicit at best and they baptize only as laymen. Their actions are termed simulation of the Sacraments, punishable under Can. 2322 by ipso facto excommunication specially reserved to the Holy See. And those adoring Christ in what they believe to be the consecrated host, once they hear of their status, or could or should have learned of it, are guilty of idolatry as well as communicatio in sacris. Moreover, such men also may be guilty of simony for collecting money basically donated to them to procure what their followers believed to be the Sacraments. This is punished by an ipso facto excommunication simply reserved to the Holy See.
The Church’s teaching on offices
A quick look at the canons governing this case in the order they are listed will provide a better understanding of what the Church teaches regarding offices. Canon 145 tells us that an ecclesiastical office is a position permanently created by the divine or ecclesiastical law which, in its strict sense, carries with it either the power of orders or of jurisdiction. Remotely, therefore, tonsure is the preparation for Orders. In a broad sense, any task undertaken in the Church may be called an ecclesiastical office. In law, the Code states, the term ecclesiastical office is used in its strict sense unless the context clearly indicates the contrary. And it appears that the term office in this instance must be taken in the broad context, since tonsure is not an actual order and there is no transference of power. Tonsure is enough to qualify the cleric to validly hold an office, as Bouscaren-Ellis state above.
However, the promise of a perpetual benefice is bestowed, since the diocese, should the candidate proceed to ordination, takes on the education, care and support of the cleric. This is confirmed by Can. 979, which states: “The canonical title for the secular clergy is the title of a benefice, of a patrimony or pension. This title should be really secure for the whole life of the cleric and truly sufficient for the proper maintenance of the cleric…” The Code states that Canons 147 and 148 apply to those who receive a benefice. Now Canon 147 tells us that: “An ecclesiastical office cannot be validly obtained without canonical appointment. By canonical appointment is understood the confirming of an ecclesiastical office by the competent ecclesiastical authority in harmony with the sacred canons.” Lefebvre and Thuc were not competent ecclesiastical authorities. Having acknowledged and accepted offices from John 23 and Paul 6, they neither possessed nor could they validly convey offices and they did not act according to the Canons. They lost their offices and all jurisdiction under Can. 188 no. 4 by committing schism and communicatio in sacris. Pope Pius XII, on June 29, 1950, citing the Council of Trent, ordered that anyone violating Can. 147 was ipso facto excommunicated with the excommunication specially reserved to the Holy See.
Requisites qualifying candidates for an office
Rev. Matthew Ramstein, S.T. Mag., J.U.D., in his A Manual of Canon Law, (1947) wrote: “Most vacant offices are filled by free appointment. This is the act by which the competent superior confers an office upon the candidate of his choice…. The clerical candidate must possess those qualifications which the law demands for the office in question. These qualifications are found under the various headings of the Code which treat of the different ecclesiastical offices in detail. (Can. 152)
The following requirements for tonsure are outlined in The Popes and the Priesthood, A Symposium of Sacred Documents on the Priesthood, Meinrad, Indiana, 1944.
Sacred Congregation of the Sacraments, M. Cardinal Lega, (Dec. 27, 1930)
- “It is of the greatest importance to eliminate from the beginning, even before Tonsure and Minor Orders have been received, all those who are unfit for the office of priesthood or who lack Divine vocation…
- “Before Tonsure, a petition signed by the candidate for orders together with personal information as to the fitness of the candidate is to be submitted to the bishop.
- “The bishop then asks the rector of the seminary to verify the qualifications of the candidate as manifested during his seminary stay.
- “The rector then consults the candidate’s teachers, director, and the alumni prefects to report to him, both in private and in a group, on the qualifications and fitness of the candidate.
- “Based on this the rector then submits his own judgment to the bishop. The bishop also orders the pastor of the candidate and his family to make careful inquiries into the student’s signs of a vocation, his virtues and his piety, also habits of life both past and present. Such questions as whether the candidate is fond of strong drink, is charitable and whether he is proper and truthful in speech are put to those in a position to know. The reputation of the candidate’s family, also whether family members have exercised any undue influence on the student, are to be investigated.
- “The Bishop must duly investigate any suspicions that the candidate has inherited some vice or abnormality from his parents, whether physical or psychical.
- “The Bishop shall interview the rector and vice-rector of the candidate’s seminary to determine sincerity of faith.
- “When advisable, other persons of outstanding character, either clerical or lay, who may be able to give special information, should also be interviewed; especially when a slight doubt remains concerning the moral character and canonical fitness of the candidate.
- “The whole frame of mind in particular of each candidate is to be investigated by the candidate’s own bishop who must determine whether the candidate fully understands the nature of the burdens he is assuming and whether they feel themselves able to shoulder all these burdens.
- “If admitted to Tonsure, the documents of these investigations are to be consulted once again when the candidate receives the order of subdeacon. At that time, the entire method, omitting, however, inquiries made to the family, must be updated and repeated before the subdeaconship is conferred.” (This Instruction was reviewed by the Cardinals and personally ratified and confirmed by Pope Pius XI.)
If Traditionalist candidates were vetted according to the criteria above, would ANY of them have qualified as candidates worthy of tonsure? Who, exactly, considered of “outstanding character” in the eyes of the Church today would the bishop interview? What rectors of legitimately established seminaries were there to interview? The appointment of candidates to the clerical state satisfies all the requirements for appointment to an office upon reception of the various orders whenever the necessary qualifications are satisfied. We have no assurance whatsoever that these qualifications were met and every right to believe they were not met. As Canon 153 states, “The candidate for promotion to an office must be a cleric,” and tonsure is the first step in promotion to that office, filling the actual need of the diocese for additional clerics.
But no true bishop was ever approved for appointment to a diocese, so no need could be determined. No candidates were qualified to even be considered for tonsure and no jurisdiction existed to validly convey it. Ergo, it was never received in a manner that satisfies the requirements of Can. 147 for validity; every canon law regarding the administration of tonsure was violated. According to Rev. Charles Augustine in his above-mentioned Canon Law commentary, “Ordination according to the Code includes the conferring of the tonsure…” (Can. 950). The tonsure is renewed at different times during the progression of the cleric through the various orders. But it cannot be validly received unless the bishop administering it qualifies the candidates and possesses jurisdiction.
No mandate, no diocese, no tonsure
Traditionalists have tried to slip out from the noose around their necks by various subterfuges, primarily:
- assuming as true what is yet to be proved: that they actually received valid orders and can validly exercise those orders, when infallible decisions and decrees forbid and nullify this;
- the assumption that tonsure is an actual order arising from the power of Orders, when it is actually an act of jurisdiction;
- refusal to recognize Pope Pius XII’s decision regarding episcopal orders and jurisdiction, i.e., that such powers are subject to the Roman Pontiff and do not issue directly from Christ Himself when Pope Leo XIII states in Satis Cognitum: “Holy Writ teaches that the keys to the kingdom of Heaven were given to Peter alone. There is nothing to show that the Apostles received Supreme jurisdiction without Peter and against Peter. Such power they certainly did not receive from Jesus Christ;”
- their absolute denial of the teaching of Bd. Pope Innocent XI (DZ 1151), upheld unanimously by the theologians, that probable opinions cannot be used in receiving or administering the Sacraments (Rev. Dominic Prummer’s Handbook of Moral Theology);
- their claim that laws regarding jurisdiction have lost all force because they are only ecclesiastical laws, when Can. 196 clearly states jurisdiction is a matter of “Divine institution.” St. Alphonsus Liguori teaches: “…The presumption is for the continuance of the law, since it was certainly made, and there is no probability for its non-continuance,” (Revs. McHugh and Callan, rules of conscience, Moral Theology: A Complete Course).
- attempts to discredit Pius XII as pope and Mediator Dei as ambiguous;
- obfuscation of the meaning and issuing of the papal mandate;
- the fact that Traditionalists have never claimed to possess an office;
- arguments that bishops were allowed to function during interregnums in the past.
Pope Pius XII on more than one occasion warns of harking back to previous discipline to justify one’s actions. This pope teaches, in Mediator Dei, (Nov. 9, 1947): “Clearly no sincere Catholic can refuse to accept the formulation of Christian doctrine more recently elaborated and proclaimed as dogmas by the Church, under the inspiration and guidance of the Holy Spirit with abundant fruit for souls, because it pleases him to hark back to the old formulas. NO MORE CAN ANY CATHOLIC IN HIS RIGHT SENSES REPUDIATE EXISTING LEGISLATION OF THE CHURCH TO REVERT TO PRESCRIPTIONS BASED ON THE EARLIEST SOURCES OF CANON LAW.” And in any case, his papal election law specifically addressing interregnums is the most decisive factor, for no other law is tailored so closely as this one to the current situation. Consecrating without a papal mandate i.e., approval by the pope, is a usurpation of papal jurisdiction. Exercising the privileges of an ordinary as though one has been assigned to a diocese in the process of that approval also is a usurpation of papal jurisdiction. The bishop alone who is validly vested with the power of jurisdiction by the pope has the authority and power to choose men to tonsure and ordain for a given territory, and no assignment of any territory was ever received by Traditionalists.
Under Can. 188 no. 4, all bishops who recognized the counter-Church as the Catholic Church and engaged in communicatio in sacris by celebrating the John 23 “mass” and the Novus Ordo Missae became guilty of schism and lost all jurisdiction. This could have been avoided had they refused to participate in the false Vatican 2 council and sign its documents and withdrawn their obedience to and cooperation with the false popes as heretics and schismatics. Lefebvre, Thuc and others schismatic bishops like them who established Traditionalism, thereby misleading the faithful, were far worse than those bishops who abandoned them by remaining in the Novus Ordo church. For rather than leave them to their own devices, as those abandoning them did, they led those of good will among the faithful into error, when all they desired was to remain truly Catholic. Traditionalists and their followers can deny it and attempt to smear and discredit those who publish the facts proving their decades-long imposture all they like, but papal and conciliar teaching and Canon Law cannot lie.