QUAERITUR: Do SSPXers think new rites of ordination are valid?

This question came up in a comment under another entry.

Some SSPX priests and some of the people in the pew have doubted the validity of the new rite of Ordination. Is this a block? Are the priests who hold these ideas and their congregations deviating from official SSPX statements in this regard?

God bless all of us and I really do hope my brothers and sisters in the SSPX and all of trads will be truly reconciled soon.

As do I, but a great deal of humility will be needed before that will happen.

To your question.

I don’t believe many of the priest members of the SSPX, or even their bishops (though I am not sure about Williamson) would say that the post-Conciliar reformed rites for ordination are invalid.  Some probably would.  I recall years ago a priest of my acquaintance who skipped from his diocese to join the SSPX was conditionally re-ordained, which was a pretty serious problem.  But I believe that to be an aberration.  At least I hope it was.

It strikes me that they would hold to the position laid out by the late Michael Davies in his book Order of Melchisedech: Defense of the Catholic Priesthood, which I think might be out of print. 

Davies points out that the new rites, or rather the rites as they were issued by Paul VI, were in many ways flawed.  There was not adequate explicit expression of the meaning of the rite, exactly what was being conferred (the power the forgive sins, bless, transubstantiate bread and wine).  The idea is that a rite should express clearly what it means to accomplish.  That is to say that the ordaining bishop must have the intention to confer what the Church intends to confer.  That is facilitated and made explicit in the rite itself, by word and gesture. 

John Paul II reworked the rites in 1990, reinserting into the rites some elements that had been removed in order to make clear what the rites were doing.  I was probably the first man in the world ordained with that book as a deacon by Augustin Card. Mayer, now the oldest cardinal in the world, and then later I was ordained a priest with it by the same John Paul II.

However, even though Mr. Davies – now sorely missed – said that Paul VI’s rites were flawed, and I think he was right – they were not so flawed as to be invalid. 

The idea is this.  The bishops who were doing the ordaining were trained in an era in which what they were doing was very clear.  They knew what the rite intended to confer even if that wasn’t manifestly expressed in its entirely in the rite.  The rite was sufficiently clear, if not completely, and the Church and bishops knew what they were doing. 

However, Mr. Davies rang an alarm bell, and rightly so.  I am not saying that he is directly responsible for the reworking of the rites of ordination by John Paul II, but I think he may have contributed to and shaped the discussion. 

The problem – and it was a grave grave grave one – was this: What will happen decades in the future when, after decades of really lousy theological training in seminaries and squishy theology in universities, et al., bishops do not have a clear idea of who a priest is or what he does in the Church?  Can he possibly have the intention to do what the Church wants if those things are not explicitly laid out in the rites?  That would call into serious question the validly of the ordination.  The ordaining bishop would not have the proper intention to ordain as the Church intends.  

Thus, it was of critical importance to make sure the new rites had those elements.

Anyone who has been to ordinations with the new post-Conciliar rites and also the older pre-Conciliar rites will know what I am talking about.  Even if you saw the FSSP ordinations in Lincoln, NE on EWTN and have also seen ordinations with the new rite, you will see instantly that they are different in many respects. 

The new rite ordinations are valid, without question in the Latin form of the 1990 revision by John Paul II.  But I think we have to admit that the older form of the rites more clearly expresses what the Church intends.

So, in short, I think that most of the SSPX priests, at least the smart ones, will understand that the new rites are valid, just as the Novus Ordo is valid.  However, I think they would be very concerned about them. 

Final note.  I mentioned Michael Davies.

I can’t help but think that Michael Davies, a great gentleman who died a couple years ago, would have strongly supported the gesture of the Holy See made to the SSPX.

I met Michael Davies and remember what a tremendous bulldog he was on points he was convinced about.  However, you could have an amicable discussion with him and, if your arguments were good, he would shift his position.  Also, he was careful not to go over the top with his rhetoric and, when something was pointed out to him that was too harsh, he would make changes.

I think Michael Davies – sorely missed today – would have been thrilled by the election of Pope Benedict, Summorum Pontificum and this recent gesture of the Holy Father to resolve the divisions that sadly wound the Church. 

FacebookEmailPinterestGoogle GmailShare/Bookmark

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in ASK FATHER Question Box. Bookmark the permalink.

73 Responses to QUAERITUR: Do SSPXers think new rites of ordination are valid?

  1. Will says:

    Excellent post, Father.

    Here is what the official website of the SSPX has to say about this matter:

    http://www.sspx.org/miscellaneous/validity_of_episcopal_consecrations.pdf [Corrected by Fr. Z]

    Money quote:

    “The validity of the reformed rite of Mass, as issued in Latin by Paul VI in 1969, must be judged according to the same criteria as the validity of the other sacraments; namely matter, form and intention. The defective theology and meaning of the rites, eliminating as they do every reference to the principal propitiatory end of sacrifice, do not necessarily invalidate the Mass. The intention of doing what the Church does, even if the priest understands it imperfectly, is sufficient for validity. With respect to the matter, pure wheaten bread and true wine from grapes are what is required for validity. The changes in the words of the form in the Latin original, although certainly illicit and unprecedented in the history of the Church, do not alter the substance of its meaning, and consequently do not invalidate the Mass.”

  2. Will: Thanks for that link.

  3. Boko says:

    If memory serves, ICEL or its predecessor translating commission made such a hash of the English translation of the rite of ordaining a bishop that it was widely recognized as being invalid. Paul VI had to step in and order corrections. It shows the beauty of the charism of the papacy, but also reveals the real danger of having so many uses of the Roman rite (if each different language is to be understood as a “use.”) I don’t think our Lord gave any guarantee that some committee wouldn’t promulgate an invalid rite.

  4. Boko: You are exactly correct. As a matter of fact, I am convinced that that was the old incarnation of ICEL’s Waterloo. After that ICEL was dismantled and reassembled in a more rational mode.

  5. Tina in Ashburn says:

    Well said, Father.
    I admire Michael Davies as well. His logic comforted many of the old guard back in the day of the “new” upheaval in the Church. Often I wonder how he would take this new move towards the old Mass. This recently gained hindsight validates much of what he said.
    The SSPX wasn’t listening much to Mr. Davies even-tempered arguments back then either.

    “For obedience is better than sacrifices: and to hearken rather than to offer the fat of rams.” 1 Kings 15:22

  6. mpm says:

    Fr. Z,

    Very good explanation of the very grave problems that might have ensued
    witht the passage of years. Another consideration that “reformers” of a
    certain stripe frequently fail to consider.

  7. Will says:

    Here is another article from Angelus Press entitled “Ought Priests of the Conciliar Church to be ‘Re-Ordained’ When They Come to Tradition”:

    http://www.sspx.org/miscellaneous/conditional_ordination.pdf

  8. Father Z is not the first person to speak of “conditional ordinations” by the
    SSPX bishops of priests ordained according to the new rite. I myself have
    been informed of such conditional ordinations, although I have too little
    direct evidence to present (apparently, such conditional ordinations — if
    they really occur –are done
    behind closed doors and no cameras allowed).

  9. Mitchell says:

    All,

    I agree with the general opinion that the new rites are valid, however, lacking in expression…What still stumps me is that there is such general recognition of this, and yet reluctance to allow the re-introduction of the former rites into our parishes..It is like saying “OK we know this is less attractive, less valuable, less worthy but even for free we’ll take it” You can give the more valuable one to someone else..I just do not understand it…Why can’t we promote the older rites “linguistics” with a sense of modern thinking used for its’ applications?? Isn’t that the best of both going forward, and going back? Kind of like taking an old Bronze statue, and although the patina may be part of its appeal, remove it and reveal its’ lustre, brillance, and radiance..Let’s promote the older rites as new, with a fresh look at them as we did not do before..Could that mentality take hold large scale??? Your opinions…..Thank you

  10. Thomas says:

    I too think that Michael Davies would approve of what has happened since he died. And he would’ve disapproved of the conditional oridinations (I know of one done by Williamson).

    This article may not be charitable:

    http://sspx.agenda.tripod.com/id16.html

    Hopefully, this type of thing is coming to an end

  11. I know for a fact that not all SSPX priests accept the Novus Ordo as valid. I hear this kind of stuff from certain family members (who attend the local SSPX Chapel in the Los Ángeles area) all the time. When questioned on this matter, they tell me that they had heard a sermon about this…

  12. jacobus says:

    The whole thing is rather baffling. I can sort of understand the motives for reforming the Mass (vernacular, active participation, and all that). The Mass is where the rubber hits the road, so to speak, and trying to inform, educate, and enlighten the laity by means of a reformed Mass at least strikes me as good intention. But the Ordination rites? Why? What possible good could ever have come from that? Was this ever explained?

  13. M. says:

    I seem to remember reading that Michael Davies had a good relationship with Cardinal Ratzinger and that they understood each other very well and the Holy Father expressed a suprisingly cadid amount a grief at Mr. Davies’ death. I once read an article by Davies defending Cardinal Ratzinger in the strongest possible terms against some traditionalist polemics which said his understanding of Transubstantiation was flawed.

    As to being a bulldog, his greatest passion in life, outside of religion, was Welsh Rugby, enough said.

  14. There was not [in the Paul VI rite] adequate explicit expression of the meaning of the rite, exactly what was being conferred (the power the forgive sins, bless, transubstantiate bread and wine).

    It may be of interest to mention two separate prayers bestowing priestly powers (in English translations taken from the program for the ICK ordinations by Ab. Burke in St. Louis last June). Immediately after the anointing of the hands (before the Gospel) comes the

    Bestowal of the Power to Offer Holy Mass
    “Receive the power to offer sacrifice to God and to celebrate Mass for the living as well as for the dead. In the name of the Lord. Amen.”

    At this point the ordinand receives his folded chasuble.

    Later, in the continuation of the ordination following Holy Communion, comes the

    Bestowal of the Power to Forgive Sins
    “Receive the Holy Ghost; whose sins thou shalt forgive, they are forgiven them; and whose sins thou shalt retain, they are retained.”

    The new priest’s chasuble is then unfolded.

    Thus the two purposes for which a priest is ordained — to offer sacrifice and to forgive sins — are clearly and separately delineated in the traditional rite.

  15. Geoffrey says:

    Fr. Z said: “Even if you saw the FSSP ordinations in Lincoln, NE on EWTN and have also seen ordinations with the new rite, you will see instantly that they are different in many respects.”

    I had actually noticed more similiarities when watching the EWTN ordinations, which I found very comforting. I suppose I expected the worst, and was pleasantly surprised.

  16. John says:

    What I immediately notice is that in the SSPX publications it is repeatedly expressed that there have been misunderstandings of translations from french to english and that the original french was not intended to mean “invalid” but rather illicit (this small difference in chosen words has a HUGE impact on overall in the translation.) This goes to show how difficult it is to accurately translate from any one given language to another. Charity needs to be shown on both sides here as both sides have translation issues, from latin to english in the rites and from french to english in Archbishop Lebebvre’s letters and writings.

  17. Ottaviani says:

    Archbishop Lefebrve always accepted the validity of the new mass and sacraments. One of the reasons for the expulsions in 1983 of the “sedevacantist” sympathisers, was that they denied the validity of the mass of Paul VI.

    I also remember an interview with Fr. Guillaume de Tanouarn of the GSI, who was ordained in the SSPX, that Lefebrve made all his seminarians swear an oath never to deny the validity of the new mass or rite of ordination.

  18. Brian Mershon says:

    Angelus Magazine had a two-part series within the past year or so dedicated exlusively to showing that the new rites of ordination were valid.

    God bless Michael Davies. Young traditionalists would be very well served to read nearly everything he has written on the liturgy.

  19. Bob says:

    Dear Father,

    What are the differences between the original post-Council rites and the John Paul II ones?

  20. 1. Are those ordained with the earlier English translation by a freakishly liberal bishop to doubt their ordinations?

    2. Does not the intention to do what the Church wants independent of the (defective) theology of the ordaining bishop, so that this intention is limited to the mere desire to do what the Church desires?

    Grave indeed…

  21. Bryan Jackson says:

    I asked a SSPX priest about this once, and he indicated that they only do conditional ordinations in very extreme circumstances. This was more than a few years ago, however, so I do not remember all of the details.

  22. Paul Haley says:

    I have no idea what the SSPX’ers think of the new ordination rites and their validity or lack thereof. My own position is that if they intend to do what the church does, the rite is valid without question. The rite may defective in some way regarding language used, etc, but in the final analysis it is valid with proper intention.

    As an aside, it seems to me that our current holy father would take a very dim view of any ordination ceremony that was “over the top” and did not clearly reflect what the Church intends. I would not want to be in the shoes of any bishop that presided over such an event.

  23. Domine Non Sum Dignus says:

    Very informative (and comforting, in some aspects) thread — as opposed to the one recently closed down, which got a little “testy” (but perhaps need to).

    I have heard that Michael Davies (whom I never had the chance to meet) told a number of my acquaintances (that had gone on one of the Chartres Pilgrimages, I believe) that he firmly believed (then) Cardinal Ratzinger was a “great friend of tradition” — as opposed to one that had some other ulterior motive in mind, as regards to relations with traditionalist Catholics. I’m sure he would have been overjoyed when he became Pope Benedict XVI.

  24. Cerimoniere says:

    I don’t think there’s any doubt that the FSSPX recognizes the intrinsic validity of the new sacramental rites. Conditional ordinations or confirmations would result (I think and hope) from cases where they found some doubt that the rites were properly carried, or where it seemed that the bishop had manifested a intention positively contrary to the required one.

    On Father’s original post: isn’t it true that for a sacramental intention to be valid, one has only to intend generally to do whatever the Church does by that sacramental rite? Simple ignorance of the nature of the priesthood would not mean a bishop could not form a valid intention to ordain, surely? If the form contained in the rite is sufficient in itself, the intentional use of the rite prescribed by the Church should surely suffice for the validity of the bishop’s intention, provided that he doesn’t consciously intend NOT to confer the Church’s sacrament.

  25. Christopher Sarsfield says:

    The only priests I know who were conditionally ordained when going to the the Society, did so because they had doubts about the validity of their ordinations, due to their specific circumstances, not because the the Society encouraged it. However, I know many people that were conditionally confirmed by the SSPX, many by the Archbishop himself. Many hold that the reformed rite of confirmation is the most doubtful of all the revised Sacraments, but obviously not as crucial has the rite of ordination.

  26. Christopher Sarsfield says:

    Cerimoniere,

    There are many different schools of thought as to the minimum intention needed to confect the Sacrament. Some held that only a positive contrary intention could invalidate a Sacrament, but other schools of thought were more rigorous. For example some argue that a Black Mass can not be valid because the intention is to desecrate, while others argue that it is valid. I do not believe there have been dogmatic pronouncements on the minimum intent necessary, although I could be wrong, but I think this is what I learned when studying Phole-Preuss.

  27. AP says:

    Angelus Magazine had a two-part series within the past year or so dedicated exlusively to showing that the new rites of ordination were valid.

    Brian,

    I believe the two-part series you mention above deals
    with the rite of episcopal consecrations, not priestly ordinations.

  28. I am not Spartacus says:

    I apologise for going off topic but I just wanted to set the record straight. On the thread about the Pope’s offer to the SSPX, I got this comment

    What should I call you? “I am”? – hardly. “Spartacus”? – of course not. “IANS” – no.)

    Whoever you are, thanks for the quote from Mgr. Murray.

    I am an idiot. The book “Authority and Freedom in the Church” is by Mons Cormac Burke, not Cormac Murray.

    And to think some of me progenitors, Corkies of course, are from the Ol Sod.

  29. leo says:

    i was in a diocesan seminary 4 years ago , the majority of the students did not understand anything about the real prescence , most did not genuflect the formation seemed to be about making them docile which they already were , everyone was overweight ,their rooms had widescreen televisions the internet computer games . There was an extreme focus on psychological issues to do with sexuality .Latin was taught to the first years which consisted of the ordinary of the mass , they had never heard latin before joining . Once a month there was aMass in latin which was compulsory for the first years who were the only ones who attended any voluntry worship was ignored , afternoons were spent sleeping , smoking and drinking. You could perseve if you really thought it was woth it in the end but personally i didnt think it would get any better in parishs , now the students get ordained and drop out after two years of priesthood as they are not used to getting up early and serving others .Im not making a rant simply tring to suggest that it is the Theology that tolerates all of this that is flawed , i genuinely dont think those men are going to be happy as priests and i feel for them

  30. Basil Roberson says:

    Archbishop Lefebvre would carry out a sub-conditione ordination for any priest who having been ordained in the Paul VI rite had doubts about its validity. Confusingly he would enforce this as a policy and instead let the priest/doubtful priest decide for himself if he wanted it.

    The SSPX has for years conditionally confirmed large numbers of the faithful so clearly has little confidence in the Paul VI confirmation rite.

    It is interesting to note that the Phillipine bishop who joined the SSPX was never allowed to ordain anyone having been episcopally ordained in the Pauline rite.

  31. Cerimoniere says:

    Mr. Sarsfield: I think the Archbishop certainly recognized the validity of the new Latin form of Confirmation, knowing it to be a translation of an older eastern form. However, I think there were more problems with its translation than with some of the others. The initially-proposed English translation was rejected by the personal intervention of Paul VI, for example, because of an interpolation that seemed implicitly to deny the “filioque”. Perhaps those problems explain the greater number of conditional confirmations.

    The Mass is a unique case, because it involves not only the sacramental validity of the Eucharistic consecration, but also of the Mass itself. Normally, of course, they go together, but canon law suggests that it is possible (albeit gravely sinful) to confect the sacrament outside Mass. Seemingly, therefore, one could have a valid intention to confect the Eucharist, without any intention to offer a propitiatory sacrifice to God. Perhaps this explains how a Black Mass could desecrate the Eucharist while not being a valid Mass? Clearly, a priest who had become a Satanist would have a positive contrary intention as to the offering of Mass, but not necessarily as to the consecration. Indeed, a valid consecration would be important to his purpose.

    In any case, I think this instance shows how one could reach different results depending on how one thought the same general principle applied to the case. I do take your point, of course, that there is no final definition concerning the nature of required sacramental intention; only decisions of the Holy See on particular cases from which one can deduce principles.

  32. Basil Roberson says:

    “Confusingly he would enforce this as a policy and …”

    Apologies – I meant to type ‘Confusingly he would NOT enforce this as a policy…’

  33. Brian Mershon says:

    AP. You are right. My bad.

  34. Supertradmom says:

    Thank you for the excellent clarification. I do have several friends, who like me, go to the Tridentine Mass, but unlike myself, refuse to go to Communion unless the priest is old enough to have been ordained in the older form of the rite before any of the changes. [It makes me sad that they would think I am not validly ordained and cannot consecrate the Eucharist or forgive sins. Perhaps they don't have much trust in Holy Church. Still, I am glad I could provide some clarity about the issue. - Fr. Z ] I have given up trying to explain the intricacies of the problem, but I shall try and direct them to your succinct answer.

    Michael Davies was a great warrior in the Church. Let us pray that more like him will emerge from the new generation of “young trads”. [Mr. Davies thought I was a real Catholic priest.]

    Bless you, Father Z.

  35. Sacerdos Vagans says:

    A friend of mine who was ordained with the Italian version of the new rite and who later intended working with SSPX was conditionally reordained by Mgr Lefebvre, though I’m not sure now at whose request this ordination took place. I do recall, however, hearing complaints from SSPX supporters about priests ordained with the new rite being allowed to say Masses for the society, and I did get the impression that conditional reordination was the norm. I also remember students at Econe asking the Rector how they should behave regarding the Real Presence when visiting local churches. As I recall the answer was somewhat equivocal. Of course this obviously involved the rite and celebration of Mass as well as those of ordination. I was myself conditionally re-confirmed by Mgr Lefebvre – not something I would request now – but he didn’t want to re-baptize me. In fact I was baptized by an Anglo-Catholic clergyman who knew what he was doing, so there was no reasonable doubt about my baptism, but the archbishop didn’t know that. A propos, the Catholic Church should remain much more careful about Anglican baptisms – I have seen far too many which at best are dubiously valid by Catholic standards. I can’t imagine what ever possessed the Catholic Church to declare all Anglican baptisms valid. Many of them manifestly are not.

  36. Ottaviani says:

    Fr Z.

    Supertradmom said, “I do have several friends, who like me, go to the Tridentine Mass, but unlike myself, refuse to go to Communion unless the priest is old enough to have been ordained in the older form of the rite before any of the changes.”

    She does not think you are invalidly ordained!

  37. Prof. Basto says:

    Regarding the first post by Will:

    Does the SSPX believe that the Novus Ordo can be licitly offered? I’m not concerned here with validity, but with liciety. The quote provided from the SSPX website states:

    The changes in the words of the form in the Latin original, although certainly illicit…

    Even if the SSPX will not be required to offer the Ordinary Form, still they will certainly be required to accept not only that the Novus Ordo is valid, but also that, when properly celebrated in accordance with the rubrics and with the right intention, it is a licit celebration of Mass.

    In other words, they don’t need to like the new Mass, but they have to recognize its liciety when properly celebrated. Otherwise, they would have to hold that every Novus Ordo celebration is illicit for structural reasons, and that, for instance, the Pope (who so far has only celebrated Mass publicly using the new Books) always celebrates illicitly.

    In a post-reconciliation world, certainly a position of the SSPX holding that the celebration of the Ordinary Form is always ontologically illicit won’t be accepted.

  38. If the ordinations of, effectively, thousands of priests are put into question, this issue blows out of the water all other issues, both for the priests involved and for the faithful. Talk about division. Every layman will be asking every priest for his papers for every sacrament. What a hell! O.K. If that’s the way it is. But, I ask again…

    1. Are those ordained with the earlier English translation by a freakishly liberal bishop to doubt their ordinations?

    and…

    2. It is not enough for the proper intention of the ordaining bishop to do what the Church wants, that is, independent of the (defective) theology of the ordaining bishop?

    Does it really have to be: “Dein Ausweis, bitte!” ? ? ?

    Not everyone was ordained by JPII, in Latin, in the spruced up form…

    Really…

    So…

    ???

  39. Brian Mershon says:

    Fr. Z, I think you should re-read Supertradmom’s post. I believe you misread what she wrote. She said her friends will not receive communion, not her. I think I have read this correctly.

  40. Brian: Thanks for that. I made an adjustment. I so many things to read in a day and so little time, sometimes I miss essentials.

  41. Brian Mershon says:

    Fr. Z: Understand. But I see no edits to your original red comments to SuperTradMom. It still appears as before. She does not deny your ordination; it is friends of hers who do.

  42. I don’t intend for this to seem cynical.

    However, we know that the SSPV split from the SSPX over the issue of the Missal and that their defining issue, sedevacantism, came later after they were sure they could endure (with bishops).

    Would the SSPX be required to allow other bishops ordained/consecrated under the newer form so that they could not say at a later date that only they had the valid clergy?

  43. Matthew Mattingly says:

    The new Rites of Ordination may be valid, but they are stripped down to bare-bones, and totally unimpressive compared to the pre-Vatican II Rite.
    All the sense of mystery and holiness of the priest is gone.
    It almost sounds Protestant.

    Of course, the Rite of Ordination for Bishops is nothing anymore. All the rich traditions and symbolism are largely gone. I’ve seen in on EWTN. It’s almost a fabrication .
    I read once where the new Ordination Rite for bishops was copied in large part from that used by Anglican “bishops”. If so, that’s disgusting.

  44. Oremus says:

    Bishop Lazo assisted at the ordinations at Econe in pontifical choir dress and also imposed hands, so in a sense he was allowed to help ordain new priests.

  45. Fr. Angel says:

    Fr. Renzo:

    The overwhelming evidence of the Patristic age is that sacraments were judged valid or invalid according to whether they were confected in union with the diocesan bishop and for the purpose of building up the Church. The criteria of “matter, form, and intention” is a newer development in the Church, and came about to protect the Catholic faithful from needless doubts about the economy of sacramental grace as it was ministered by alleged heretics and schismatics.

    According to the thinking of the Ancient Fathers, the sacraments confected in the SSPX, including Holy Orders, would be summarily dismissed as invalid and utterly void. St. Irenaeus is quite explicit on this matter–no permissions from the local bishop means utterly void sacraments.

    In the newer sacramental theology that developed, the Church came to see that even those who are not in union with the diocesan bishop can confect sacraments so long as they cling to the matter, form, and intention used by the Church. If you read the history of the late Renaissance, and the years before Tridentine seminary reform was having effect, you will be quite shocked to see how sloppy and haphazard the conferral of sacraments took place. St. Vincent de Paul describes French Catholics handing to priests the proper formula of absolution to be read at the end of confessing, because many priests did not know the proper form. But the Church “supplies” so that the economy of grace is ever vibrant and thriving for souls.

    To put it another way, the practice of the Church is to give wide lattitude in tolerating aberrations and to even assume that the Church supplies validity where there is defect of intention based on ignorance, senility, poor translations, etc. The Council of Trent specifically stated that only the supreme authority of the Church (read the Holy See) is competent to pass judgment on the rites and their validity. The practice is to assume that the sacraments of the Church’s ministers are conferring grace until the Holy See explicitly denies validity, as in the case of Anglican orders.

    And those who state that a contrary intention must be manifested are in the right, for Pope Leo XIII stated in his decree that he judged Anglican orders to be defective because the Anglican divines had clearly published their intention *not to transubstantiate, *not to absolve, before they then expunged these references from Anglican rites.

    Therefore, it would not be the Catholic position to doubt the Holy Orders of a priest, even one ordained by a liberal bishop, unless the Holy See specifically declared invalid his ordinations. In the absence of a pronouncement of the Holy See, a bishop would specifically have to tell the ordinands, “I do *not intend to confer priestly orders that confect the Eucharist or absolve,” at which point I imagine the ordinands themselves would get up and walk out of the ceremony.

  46. Alexander Zeliwinski says:

    Fr.,

    One remark: this article is incorrect. The new rite for priestly ordination was not changed in the essential form by Paul VI.

    The controversies and the claim of invalidity are levelled against the new rite for consecration of bishop (Paul VI, 18th June 1968, however implemented from 1st april 1969 until 1975 around the world – the Czechs used the old until 1974 or even later, the Patriotic Chinese still use a modified form of this traditional episcopal consecration rite of the Roman Pontifical before 1969 in the Pius XII edition).

    See the website http://www.rore-sanctifica.org which contains all these arguments. Those sedevacantists of this websites are still acquainted and close to many SSPXers.

  47. Alexander Zeliwinski says:

    The SSPX accepts the validity of all revised (new, it was new forms implemeented) rites for the new sacraments, implemented under Pope Paul VI from 1969 until 1975. It accepts these new forms as valid.

    The controversy about the ordination is not about the official Paul VI form for priestly ordination, which is identical to the form in 1502 and 1947 (Sacramentum ordinis).

    It is about EPISCOPAL CONSECRATION under the NEW RITE of Paul VI.

    For these sedevacantists’ website and their extensive theological treatises in which they claim the “new bishops” are not valid bishops, see:

    http://www.rore-sanctifica.org

    That is the question. Not the priestly ordination. The SSPX never re-ordained some priests e.g. ordained in the new rite (in Latin) by Cardinal Sabbatani in 1980 or by those ordained by Cardinal Siri in 1977 who came over to the SSPX in 1990.

    The logic goes however (althoug the SSPX officially supports the validity of the new bishop’s consecration of Paul VI) that the new episcopal form denies the Filioque, lacks mention of the office of bishop in the Catholic sense, is heretical and thus invalid, and that the matter in it is severed from the “alleged” form (Et nunc effunde…. – which replaced the traditional Roman Rite’s Comple in sacerdote tuo ministerii tui summam….etc).

    The argument is not about Priestly Ordination, but about the Episcopal ordination rite of Paul VI. Without valid bishops, there can be no valid priests – not even those ordained by these “new” bishops in the ancient rite for ordination to the priesthood. That is their logic.

    See rore-sanctifica.org

    Dom Santogrossi OSB is writing already on this matter to refute. Consult rorate-caeli.

  48. Alexander Zeliwinski says:

    Dear Fr. Z.,

    Michael Davies only addressed the matter of the reformed form of the Priestly Ordination.

    He did not touch upon the totally new (Hippolytical – at least that’s what Dom Botte alleged) form for episcopal consecration under Pontificalis Romani (18th June, 1968 constitution).

    Of course the new rite for priestly ordination is valid. There is no nativa ac indoles spiritus and the form is there. Only silly extremist sedes without any knowledge and honesty to accept Catholic sacramental theology, would deny that.

    But the new rite for episcopal consecration is very unclear. Dr.Eng. Thilo Stopka (a German former SSPX seminarian, now married, and a leading sedevacantist activist on-line) says along with Abbé Schoonbroodt that the “quem dedisti” in the new form denies the Filioque, the active spiration of the Holy Ghost by the Father ánd the Son (sicut ex uno principio), and that it is subordinationist, heretical, and thus invalidated, as the Holy Ghost must be designated as the grace of the sacrament of the order of bishop – it is the grace of state needed by the bishop. The character (designated in the designation of the order or the power conferred by the rite) gives the power to consecrate and ordain and bless to the bishop. Well, just read rore-sanctifica.org. Dom Santogrossi OSB should treat this matter.

    However, I do not think any sedevacantist partisan could under their own theology deny the validity of your own priesthood. Pope John Paul II was consecrated a bishop in 1958 in the traditional Roman Rite Pontifical without the changes, and he used correct matter, words in your ordination. His intention cannot be presumed to be “evil” even by sedes !!!! They should know Apostolicae Curae Nr 33.

  49. Fr. Angel says:

    It is unfortunate that woeful ignorance of Catholic history and sacramental theology has caused numerous priests and faithful of the SSPX to depart from the truly traditional belief of the Church. At the least there is ignorance of that confidence which the Fathers had that the economy of sacramental grace in the Church is indefectible for all times.

    Except in the very recent thinking of the pre-Vatican manualists, it has never been the practice of the Catholic Church to demand so much from her ministers in order to have confidence that the sacraments are conferring grace.

    Matter and form, and the intention to do what the Church does, is a pretty broad field. And “ecclesia suplet” is that the Church will still assume validity, actually supply the validity, when the form is poorly recited or not completely recited and the intention suffers from ignorance and the old, senile clergy who are having senior moments.

    The traditionalists are not promoting Catholic sacramental theology but a weird hybrid of voodoo thinking and obsessive compulsive disorder need to treat the intention like an exam for the doctoral degree in dogma. Voodoo priests fret over the exact source of your magic, whether the witch who commissioned you was truly worthy of the craft. They obsess on the exact words of an incantation and the proper thinking and attitude which will conjure the right spirit for the magic that is to be produced.

    Such thinking is a radical departure from the dogma “ex opere operato” or from the work, worked. From the rite itself, as proposed by the Church, you have a done deal. The faithful should have serene peace as they approach because the grace of the sacraments cannot be held hostage by the humanity and errors of some of her ministers. The Catholic Church is ever beset by bishops and priets who are ignorant, who skip parts of the rite, who may even possess theological error or spiritual corruption.

    Nonetheless, if the Holy See has entrusted a man with the episcopal ministry and the Pope has approved the rites which the bishop uses, the pneumatic principle of indefectibility kicks in. The Holy Spirit in every age insures that the Church united to the Vicar of Christ will never want for the graces needed to make us holy and keep us on the path to salvation, “I shall ask the Father, and He will give you another Advocate to be with you for ever” (John 14:16).

    It follows that if the Bible calls the Advocate the Spirit of sanctification, and He is always with the Church, then it is a denial of the promises of Christ to now say that the majority of the Church is now without this Spirit because invalidity has entered through Peter into the Catholic Holy Orders and sacraments. Jesus said this Spirit is with the Church for ever. This clearly is a prophecy that He will always protect the sanctification that comes through the sacraments.

  50. Thanks very much. But still the same difficulties:

    1. Are those ordained with the earlier English translation by a freakishly liberal bishop to doubt their ordinations?

    This refers to the earlier English translation (whatever about the Latin) as enacted by a bishop who hasn’t a clue (poor training and himself ordained a bishop in the post-Paul VI promulgation period for the ordination rite for a bishop).

    2. It is not enough for the proper intention of the ordaining bishop to do what the Church wants, that is, independent of the (defective) theology of the ordaining bishop?

    Note that “the Church supplies” business refers only to the supply of faculties to absolve sin when these are not present, but only when the penitent is unaware of the lack of faculties by the priest. Not even God will make an invalid sacrament valid, though He will, of course, supply His grace to us however and whenever He wants.

    God likes to use the normal course of affairs with His own Church. Saint Thomas does grapple with what is, in effect, the indefectability thing, that is, for Holy Orders: again, God does not make valid an invalidly confected Sacrament, but provides the grace of the Sacrament apart from the ceremonies.

    That’s just from memory. Sorry.

    Fr Z: “The new rite ordinations are valid, without question in the Latin form of the 1990 revision by John Paul II.” After using the phrase “grave grave grave”, this statement throws into doubt the validity of the ordinations of priests “ordained” with the earlier English form of the rite, especially if that “ordination” was carried out by a bishop with the typical dumbed-down, hate-the-doctrine-and-morals-of-the-Church seminary training of the English speaking world in those years of darkness.

    This doubt will develop into a catastrophic hell of “Dein ausweis, bitte!” if it is not clarified, sticking in the gut of those who are susceptible to this kind of thing, only to vomited out later. And that time will come, as pointed out by supertradmom above. I’ve also seen the same thing she mentions.

  51. Basil Roberson says:

    Fr. Renzo di Lorenzo’s comments require a serious answer.

    As an Orthodox priest once said to me “The RCs made a great fuss about pronouncing Anglican orders null and void. The next thing they do is take out the references to sacrifice in their own rite!”

    I heard one of the SSPX priest who left Econe because of the consecrations in 1988 suggesting that new rite priests were ‘topped up’ by retired bishops.

    The question does need a serious answer.

  52. “It is interesting to note that the Phillipine bishop who joined the SSPX was never allowed to ordain anyone having been episcopally ordained in the Pauline rite.”

    If this was true, then why was the late Bishop Salvador Lazo
    (the bishop alluded to in the quote) allowed to pontificate in the main church of
    the SSPX in the Philippines?

    Incidentally, Bishop Salvador Lazo was reconciled to Rome at the very last minute
    by Archbishop Paciano Aniceto of the Archdiocese of San Fernando, Philippines.
    However, he was still buried at the SSPX church.

  53. Alexander Zeliwinski says:

    Father Angel,

    You fail to remark that this has nothing to do with the SSPX. It is about sedevacantists who allege that the Conciliar church is not the Roman Catholic Church and thus is no longer protected by the indefectibility you rightly assume. It is of course impossible a position to claim that the official form for the (new) episcopal consecration is invalid, and yet hold Benedict XVI to be the legitimate Roman Pontiff. That is clear.

    What is incorrect, is that you claim that a defect in form or intention is supplied for the Church. This is not true. The Church supplies for the lack of faith or expression thereof by prescribing rites which contain the faith, so that even a heretical minister can validly confect the sacrament involved.

    Of course personal faith of a “liberal” or whatever bishop is not important. The arch-modernist early modernist Fr. Alfred de Loisy, condemned as an heretic by Pope St. Pius X in 1909, said daily Tridentine Mass, and his Mass was valid as he observed the rubrics and matter, and form, and as he had the intention to “do what the Church does”. It is not necessary to want to reach the goal the Church wants, or to believe what the Church believes. That is something different.

    Anyway, the SSPX does not believe the new rites to be invalid in themselves, or to be formally heretical.

    Sedevacantists however believe the new rite for episcopal consecration after 1968/1969 is invalid and that there are few if any valid bishops left inside the Catholic Church. Please note that Hutton and Mel Gibson had archbishop emeritus Quintero Arce from Mexico (consecrated in 1961 under the old rite) to confirm their children and grandchildren in the traditional Roman Rite and to consecrate Mel’s Holy Family Chapel in Malibu, CA….

    “Incidentally, Bishop Salvador Lazo was reconciled to Rome at the very last minute
    by Archbishop Paciano Aniceto of the Archdiocese of San Fernando, Philippines.
    However, he was still buried at the SSPX church.”

    Proof for that claim? I NEVER heard about this. Just because the archbishop ran into the room where Lazo was dying means Lazo “renounced” his “schism”, or what? What was there to “reconcile” to or about? Just because he supported the SSPX Bp. Lazo had something defected from the Holy See? Of course not! How? Come on, this claim is ridiculous just ridiculous.

  54. Alexander Zeliwinski says:

    Despite the fact that I believe there are severe issues to be tackled, especially the claims of Dip.-Ing. Thilo Stopka and several sedevacantist theologians (who do not merely call it invalid, but also provide many arguments during the last 4 years – I’ve got to admit this) have to be taken seriously. Maybe the Vatican can refute them definitely, by giving explanations and arguments.

    Fr. Z.,

    I would say I am very pleased with your lovely words on the great Michael Davies.

  55. he had the intention to “do what the Church does”. It is not necessary to want to reach the goal the Church wants, or to believe what the Church believes.

    So… Let’s make some distinctions…

    1. Matter.
    2. Form.
    3. “do what the Church does”… really a combo of matter and form?

    Really? And do you think the words of a rite are going to change the thinking of the one reading them? Answer me this: How many priests don’t believe in purgatory? How many priests take stipends for Masses for the dead… for decades of years on end? How many times does he say prayers at Mass which refer to praying for the dead… um, daily… for decades of years on end. THAT worked, didn’t it?

    How about:

    1. Matter.
    2. Form.
    3. “do what the Church wants”… which may be different from what the individual ordained man believes at any given time.

    Isn’t this it?

    If the SSPX reduces the intention to matter and form, they are wrong, but then, they don’t really say that, do they?

    So, back to the question concerning many thousands of priests about any doubt concerning the validity of their ordinations with the earlier English version as offered by a bishop who doesn’t know Church doctrine about ordination or the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

  56. Regina Gorham says:

    Dear Father,

    How I long to be in the Church, but I can not bear what it has become!

    The Tridentine Mass, (if you can find it) is still attended by people who are immodestly, or otherwise indecently dressed, and we are regularly scandalized by priests who give either warm fuzzy, misleading, or even outright heretical sermons, while completely avoiding the moral crisis in our times.

    I have got to the point where I no longer trust our Priests to teach Catholic doctrine and dogma – and I say this with tears in my eyes. I love the Church… How grievously Jesus suffered….so that we might be ONE. I pray for her daily.

    The only anecdote I can find that is consistently safe, true, and courageous in our times, is the SSPX… We have jumped aboard what seems to us, as the Ark…a vessel of safety in the storm.

    So here is, the burning question: In trying to protect my soul and the souls of my six children – do I, in any way, risk our salvation by our affiliation with the SSPX?

    Thank you Father, as always – all priests are in our daily rosary prayers.

    Regina

  57. Fr. Angel says:

    Fr. Renzo and Alexander:

    I stand corrected. “The Church supplies” cannot make up for a defect of form or intention, as you both correctly noted. However, there is a complication I wish to toss in to the discussion here.

    The complication is: there is no definitive judgment after Vatican II that the form present in the Pauline rituals must be followed exactly in order for the sacrament to be valid. Is it possible that the “mens ecclesiae” or the mind of the Church has shifted to allow for some departure from the rite while retaining validity? If not, says who?

    A canon lawyer “Fr. Y” would say that a senile priest who says, “I forgive you” instead of “I absolve you” has invalidated the sacrament of Penance. But that judgment is neither backed up by canon law explicitly or the new rite of Penance. The canon lawyer “Fr. Y” may be a respected person, but his opinion is still an opinion and is actually a stricter judgment than what is presently taught among the sacramental theologians today.

    In fact, liturgical theologians today assert that a more patristic view is prevailing over the previous medieval thought seen, for instance, in Aquinas. In the patristic age, the form of the seven sacraments varied widely depending on region and language. You can see this when you examine liturgical texts of the patristic age. Also, there is no prescription of the Fathers that the wording of the form has to be exact. It is not until the Middle Ages that you find the doctors, such as Aquinas, stating that if the exact wording is not pronounced correctly, the sacrament would be invalid.

    The Fathers were more concerned that the rites were celebrated in union with and in obedience to the diocesan bishop, as St. Irenaeus stipulates. However, from the medieval rituals, we see the newer development that the Church has not only proposed the proper form of a sacrament, but it has also stipulated that these words must be pronounced exactly.

    The Church certainly possesses the power to go from a looser to a stricter judgment of proper matter, form, intention, and validity. This is the development of doctrine. The Council of Trent, however, reminded us that the Church has authority to change the rituals as she so determines and possesses at all times the ultimate judgment of the proper celebration of the sacraments.

    If the mind of the Church, however, through the Magisterium of Paul VI and John Paul II, now refrains from so easily pronouncing invalidity on the sacraments because of minor departures in the form or theological error, that is the judgment that must be respected, not the opinion of individuals who self-appoint themselves guardians of the sacraments.

  58. Fr. Angel says:

    Regina:

    I believe your question is for Fr. Z. However, if I may offer an opinion, and I may be wrong, I would suggest that there is no danger to your salvation by attending an SSPX chapel.

    There is nothing I see in the SSPX that is heretical or dangerous to faith and morals. On the contrary, the SSPX priests I know are faithful to preach the faith once delivered to the Saints. I have in the past been harsh in my assessment of the SSPX (because of their anti-papal comments), but I now realize that sadly, the priests in union with the Church are at times far more ruptured from communion with the true Faith than those who are in an irregular status.

  59. RBrown says:

    As an Orthodox priest once said to me “The RCs made a great fuss about pronouncing Anglican orders null and void. The next thing they do is take out the references to sacrifice in their own rite!”
    I heard one of the SSPX priest who left Econe because of the consecrations in 1988 suggesting that new rite priests were ‘topped up’ by retired bishops.
    The question does need a serious answer.
    Comment by Basil Roberson

    It has been seriously answered here more than once.

    1. The argument for nullity in Apostolicae Curae is not only based on defect of form but also defect of intention.

    2. Leo XIII wasn\’t the first pope to address the Anglican problem. When he decided it was time to reconstitute the Catholic hierarchy in England, Anglicans suddenly got religion and petitioned Rome to declare their orders valid. My understanding is that Merry del Val, English by birth and Spanish by noble blood, was assigned the task.

    3. I raised the question of the flaws in the present rite of ordination to one of my Angelicum profs, an expert on the Anglican problem who knew I was a convert. He was also a consultor to three different Vatican Congregations, including the SCDF and Sacraments. His answer was that despite any flaws in the rite, ordination is done within the context of the Roman Catholic Church.

  60. Michael J says:

    Why is it that the rite of Episcopal consecration is considered a sacrament? If someone could explain to me how a Sacrament (Holy Orders) is somehow split into two – ordination and consecration, I would really appreciate it.

  61. RBrown says:

    In fact, liturgical theologians today assert that a more patristic view is prevailing over the previous medieval thought seen, for instance, in Aquinas. In the patristic age, the form of the seven sacraments varied widely depending on region and language. You can see this when you examine liturgical texts of the patristic age. Also, there is no prescription of the Fathers that the wording of the form has to be exact. It is not until the Middle Ages that you find the doctors, such as Aquinas, stating that if the exact wording is not pronounced correctly, the sacrament would be invalid.

    That is NOT the position of St Thomas.

    The Fathers were more concerned that the rites were celebrated in union with and in obedience to the diocesan bishop, as St. Irenaeus stipulates. However, from the medieval rituals, we see the newer development that the Church has not only proposed the proper form of a sacrament, but it has also stipulated that these words must be pronounced exactly.

    The Church certainly possesses the power to go from a looser to a stricter judgment of proper matter, form, intention, and validity. This is the development of doctrine. The Council of Trent, however, reminded us that the Church has authority to change the rituals as she so determines and possesses at all times the ultimate judgment of the proper celebration of the sacraments.
    Comment by Fr. Angel

    According to St Thomas, the minister must communicate the essential meaning of the form. That is not the same saying the exact words.

  62. Development of doctrine is not going down a rabbit hole of casuisty, nor of useless ambiguity supposedly based on the Fathers and Thomas, nor of a hermeneutic of discontinuity by which one says that the dogmatic requirements of…

    1. matter
    2. form
    3. intention

    are no longer required because all of the doctrine of all the former Councils was not repeated in Vatican II (which was not the purpose of Vatican II, BTW).

    Intendere facere quod facit Ecclesia refers to desiring what the Church does whatever that happens to be regarding what happens with whatever particular sacrament. The shorthand for that last bit is: wanting to do what the Church wants. Intention is not to be reduced to the matter and form, making the intention redundant.

    In a different order…

    1. Say the black
    2. Do the red
    3. Intend what the Church does (=wants).

    =============

    Fr Z, is there something in particular you have in mind with the earlier English ordination rite?

  63. RBrown says:

    Fr Renzo,

    Minimal Intention is always general and always the same for every Sacrament: To intend to do what the Church does. MI is never specific, e.g., Transsubstantiation. There\’s a reason the word \”minimal\” is used.

    Remember that the words of consecration are not magic words. The Eucharist is confected by someone with Sacerdotal power who uses the Sacramental Form to express what is taking place–he does this by designating the matter by means of the Form.

    The Eucharistic sacrifice is effected not by a knife but by the words of the priest.

  64. Fr. Angel says:

    RBrown:

    Again, I stand corrected. I recall a certain position in the Summa regarding saying the exact words of the form for validity. After reading your post, I now realize that it was not Thomas’ position, rather a position he argued against when he mentioned that the Latins and the Greeks have slightly different words for the form of baptism, yet both confer baptism validly.

    It is time for me to go through that section of the Summa again before I have more moments of theological senility.

  65. Fr. Angel says:

    Fr. Renzo:

    I am not advocating that matter, form, and intention are not essential to the valid conferral of the sacraments after Vatican II. I understand that those elements are essential (Florence and Trent) and I believe that the Church’s prescriptions must be followed faithfully.

    However, the same Council of Trent stated that the Church, keeping what is essential in a sacrament, has a right to “determine or change…what she judges more expedient.”

    As regards Holy Orders, Pope Paul VI made changes to the rites of ordination for both bishops and priests. Insofar as the Pope cannot propose sacramental rites which corrupt the economy of grace in the Church, the apostolic succession and priestly Orders remain valid and intact as long as the rites or approved translations are used and the ordaining prelate does not explicitly oppose the intention of the Church.

    Unless the Pope specifically declares invalid the Orders pertaining to a particular bishop or priest, the Catholic faithful should serenely and with unshakeable confidence see apostolic succession preserved in the worldwide Church.

  66. So, not…

    matter, form and intention

    but

    “insofar as…”, “as long as…” and “are used and [...] does not explicitely oppose”

    Um… Lots of room there, especially with the “explicitely” business.

    Is the SSPX interested in that?

    =========

    So, Fr Z, is there something in particular you have in mind with the earlier English ordination rite?

  67. Alexander Zeliwinski says:

    Conceded, but St. Thomas Aquinas while agreeing that the form “Hey chap, hey priest, I love you, you love me, I am a bishop, I send now the Holy Ghost boo boo boo, so that you may be a full priest and bishop too” is valid sacramentally. The essential meaning is conferred (although the form is illicit). But St. Thomas Aquinas would not consider the words “I send you the Holy Ghost for the overseer’s office” sufficient. That would need significatio ex adiunctis. And “I give the Holy Ghost” or “Receive the Holy Ghost” are insufficient for a form. They do not mention the office or power of the order, which is also required for validity (Sacramentum ordinis, 1947).

    The new form for Episcopal Consecration only mentions the apostles founding Churches, and the “Spirit who Governeth the Church” (also “Spirit of leadership” in German translations). Ambiguous, although Fr. Cekada’s allegations are incorrect.

    Anyway, the meaning must be in the form if designated. If the entire rite is designated the form (as with the Orthodox), the same requirements apply. The Coptic (Catholic and dissident Orthodox) churches consider their preface entirely to be the form since 1899 for instance. Not the short forms as in the Latin rite established under Pius XII and Paul VI as forms for their respective Pontificals.

    As for intention, this is presumed to be present and sufficient whenever the minister observes the (Catholic) form and matter for the sacrament seriously. (Apostolicae Curae, par. 33) Nothing more is required. Not Catholic faith or belief in God at all, not sanctity, not supreme attention and concentration (there is even virtual intentions, e.g. a priest who pronounces the words/form while internally distracted by an army storming the church may not be focussed during it, but his vesting in the sacristy is considered enough intention – of course matter and form are still required to be seriously observed).

    I do not personally believe a defect of intention can be established for the rite of Paul VI (although the alleged heresy against the Filioque might do so – as alleged by Thilo Stopka and Abbé Marchiset), but I think that the form and the unity with the matter need to be established more firmly. But the modern Vatican refuses to address these questions sadly enough….

  68. Alexander,

    We are still left with enough questions to call for a doctrinal Council. These are huge, huge, huge questions touching many lives.

    And you are right that precision is the enemy for many in Rome, since that would destroy the unhealthy style of ecumenism some have been pushing.

    Yet, I am greatly heartened by the arrival of Bourke at the helm. He has arrived just in time for what will be happening with the SSPX. Wonderful. He’s great with precision. And he’s got guts. After he’s there for some years, then…

    This is a time of preparing questions…

    Cheers!

  69. RBrown says:

    Conceded, but St. Thomas Aquinas while agreeing that the form “Hey chap, hey priest, I love you, you love me, I am a bishop, I send now the Holy Ghost boo boo boo, so that you may be a full priest and bishop too” is valid sacramentally. The essential meaning is conferred (although the form is illicit).

    How can it be illicit if the rite is promulgated by the pope?

    But St. Thomas Aquinas would not consider the words “I send you the Holy Ghost for the overseer’s office” sufficient. That would need significatio ex adiunctis.

    If by “sufficient”, you refer to validity, I know of nothing in St Thomas that confirms you assertion.

    And “I give the Holy Ghost” or “Receive the Holy Ghost” are insufficient for a form. They do not mention the office or power of the order, which is also required for validity (Sacramentum ordinis, 1947)..

    From Sacramentum ordinis:

    “Da, quaesumus, omnipotens Pater, in hunc famulum tuum Presbyterii dignitatem; innova in visceribus eius spiritum sanctitatis, ut acceptum a Te, Deus, secundi meriti munus obtineat censuramque morum exemplo suae conversationis insinuet.”

    ["Grant, we beseech Thee, Almighty Father, invest this Thy servant with the dignity of the Priesthood; do Thou renew in his heart the spirit of holiness, so that he may persevere in this office, which is next to ours in dignity, since he has received it from Thee, O God. May the example of his life lead others to moral uprightness."]

    Finally in the Episcopal Ordination or Consecration, the matter is the imposition of hands which is done by the Bishop consecrator. The form consists of the words of the “Preface,” of which the following are essential and therefore required for validity:

    “Comple in Sacerdote tuo ministerii tui summam, et ornamentis totius glorificationis instructum coelestis unguenti rore santifica.”

    ["Perfect in Thy priest the fullness of thy ministry and, clothing him in all the ornaments of spiritual glorification, sanctify him with the Heavenly anointing."]

    Pius XII seem to contradict your comments.

  70. RBrown says:

    Appended to the above:

    I do not personally believe a defect of intention can be established for the rite of Paul VI (although the alleged heresy against the Filioque might do so – as alleged by Thilo Stopka and Abbé Marchiset), but I think that the form and the unity with the matter need to be established more firmly. But the modern Vatican refuses to address these questions sadly enough….
    Comment by Alexander Zeliwinski

    Apostolic Curae does not determine invalid Anglican intention by the form. It considers the Anglican theology of the time of the Edwardine Ordinal–and that the invalid intention found independently in the theology is manifest in the form.

  71. Hey RBrown,

    If I remember correctly, you’re a convert from Episcopalianism and you asked to be conditionally baptized. Guess you must have studied all this long and hard. Good on you.

    Cheers!