Anglican orders null and void?

Is the papal teaching in Apostolicae curae irreformable?

Is it an infallible pronouncement?

It is authoritative and binding.


read the pronouncement … even the divinity of Christ is not defined in such strong terms. (I jest, but read it and see how it is worded - it takes no prisoners)

I thought infallability applied only to matters of doctrine and morals, not facts. If so, and it is later shown that facts upon which the Vatican based its ruling were incorrect, i.e., the underlying factual assumptions were wrong, then why couldn’t the document be reversed?

First and foremost is the language present in Apostolicae Curae

We decree that these letters and all things contained therein shall not be liable at any time to be impugned or objected to by reason of fault or any other defect whatsoever of subreption or obreption of our intention, but are and shall be always valid and in force and shall be inviolably observed both juridically and otherwise, by all of whatsoever degree and preeminence, declaring null and void anything which, in these matters, may happen to be contrariwise attempted, whether wittingly or unwittingly, by any person whatsoever, by whatsoever authority or pretext, all things to the contrary notwithstanding.

[right]Leo PP. XIII
Litterae Apostolicae De Ordinationibus Anglicanis

As it deals with the validity of the entire sacramental system of the Anglican Church, and excludes them from communion with the Catholic Church, it’s very nature deals with doctrine, that is declaring which congregations can have valid consecration of the Eucharistic sacrifice (licitness being another matter entirely). That the Anglican community has been declared void of valid orders means that a Catholic is disallowed to receive Communion under any circumstances therein. Modern wrinkles such as female ordination and intercommunion with non-Apostolic congregations (Lutheran, etc.) only further the example.

Moreover, the Holy Father has affirmed several times that the nullification of orders given in Apostlicae Curae is irreformable and deserving of firm assent of faith.

Thanks be to God.
Modernists bring confusion.
The Church brings truth.

Understood, but that doesn’t address my question. If it is shown that Apostolicae Curae is based on factual assumptions which, subsequently, prove to be erroneous, then how would this affect the resulting decision?

It wouldn’t. That’s what I was getting across with the quote from the bull. The language is very clear in it. No matter what contravening evidence may construe or impugn the decision, it is to be held in perpetual memory for all time, by all members of the Church from the Pope down. It cannot be rescinded.

Anglican orders are invalid. Pope Leo XIII in his letter “Apostolicae curae,” of September 13, 1896 authoritatively declared that Anglican orders are invalid. Consequently, neither deacons, priests, or bishops exist in any of the Anglican churches.

Their orders are invalid according to the Holy Father because, first, they used an inadequate form for too long a time, and, second, their intention was defective.

The essential requisites for the sacrament were wanting in the Anglican church for 112 years, from 1550 to 1662. Before the year 1550 their orders were valid because they had been received from validly consecrated bishops. But the period of time during which the invalid form, “Receive the Holy Ghost,” and the defective intention (priests were not ordained to say Mass) prevailed was so long that all validly consecrated bishops had died and so there were no validly consecrated bishops to confer the sacrament. The papal pronouncement is clear.

But A.C. accounts for that. It states that the Edwardian Ordinal is invalid as writted ( a statement of the Form of a Sacrament, a matter of Faith).

So there is zero doubt that the Edwardian Ordinal, as written, does NOT validly ordain a bishop.

Therefore, any person ordained using the Edwardian Ordinal alone is not, in fact, a bishop with Apostolic Sucession.

If a subsequent person is ‘ordained’ by this bishop, or others like him, those ordinations too would be invalid.

What A.C. does NOT address is Anglican Bishops who were ordained using a valid Ordinal by bishops with true Apostolic Sucession (such as the Old Catholic Bishops).

Not quite true, A.C. states that the Anglican line was lost, but several Anglican bishops have sought Apostolic Sucession throught the Old Catholic Line ( commonly called the “Dutch Touch” in Anglican circles)

Those Anglican bishops who have been co-consecrated by Old Catholic bishops would participate in Apostolic Sucession, and could therefore validly ordain Deacons, and depending on Intent, priests as well.

(there must be an Intent to Ordain a Priest to a Sacrificial Priesthood,)

I think there are extremely few (or I think maybe none) of the Anglican bishops who have been ordained using a valid Ordinal (i.e. not considering the 1662 Ordinal as valid). Valid ordaining bishops yes, but in all cases it seems that an Anglican Ordinal has been used.

However this does not take into account that the 1662 Ordinal is not so widely used: since the CofE has its new Ordinal from the ASB and now in Common Worship and the TEC(PECUSA) has its own Ordinal in the BCP 1979- and one which has gone away form the traditional wording of the Anglican form.

But there is, I think, another small factor that has entered into the equation. The form for the Roman rite was defined by Pius XII in Sacramentum Ordinis- which it was not at the time of Apostolicae Curae.And the essential words of the form was declared to be:

Grant, we beseech Thee, almighty Father, to these Thy servants the dignity of the Priesthood (Presbyterii); renew within them the spirit of holiness, so that they might obtain the office of the second merit received from Thee, O God; and by their conduct may they afford a pattern of holy living.

Now how different exactly is this compared with the Anglican?

Receive the Holy Ghost for the Office and Work of a Priest in the Church of God, now committed unto thee by the Imposition of our hands. Whose sins thou dost forgive, they are forgiven; and whose sins thou dost retain, they are retained. And be thou a faithful Dispenser of the Word of God, and of his holy Sacraments; In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

If “Presbyterii dignatem” is sufficient to express the order and the Holy Spirit is spoken of, then the Anglican form should be alright. Unless, and this is where AC speaks, the meaning of “priest” is different for Anglicans. Their rite has no reference to the ability of priests to offer a the Sacrifice-not anywhere. I think that this is the central argument-of looking at other parts of the rite to see in what sense the word “priest” is understood. And it is still not official doctrine throughout the Anglican Communion to refer to the sacrificial power of the priesthood.

OTOH, I am thinking of certain Anglican liturgies which in the Communion Offices borrow many sacrificial expressions from the ‘Tridentine’ Mass. I wonder what would happen there? :hmmm:

True enough Brendan. Any Anglican, though, participating in such a ceremony would then cease to be Anglican. Anglicanism does not believe in a sacrificing priesthood. Why would they go outside of their communion to participate in such a ceremony?

And all the liturgies they “celebrated” were also invalid. And HAD BEEN INVALID. Yes, Leo XIII invalided an “accepted” rite RETROACTIVELY. Something to keep in mind that can be done by any Pope.

There are a number of “High Church” Anglicans who hold to the Real Presence and a Sacrifical Priesthood. The “Anglo-Catholics” do as well.

And there have been a surprizing number of Anglican bishops who have sought out the “Dutch Touch” in their ordinations.

I’d recommend that you check out the “Oxford Movement” and it’s sucessor, the “Liturgical Movement” in Anglican History.

How so? Accepted by whom?

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