Defending the New Rite of Episcopal Ordination

Dear brethren,

I have recently been troubled by various arguments made by some “Catholics” (I use that term very, very loosely in this case) that the new rite of episcopal ordination of the Pauline liturgical reforms is not valid.

Naturally, if such a statement is true, it has dire consequences for virtually all of the Roman rite bishops today, as most have been ordained with the new rite and would thus not be true bishops.

This then means that most priests are not priests and the sacraments are not real sacraments.

And the worst part: we don’t know that they’re not.

Naturally I can see the conspiracy-theory nature of this, and I have chosen to believe that the new rite is valid.

However, I am at times filled with doubt and I am disturbed by those doubts as to whether the Holy Eucharist (or another sacrament) that I am receiving is truly valid. The reason I doubt this is because I have not been able to find a definitive response to the assertions that the new rite is invalid.

While I have chosen to believe in the validity of the new rites, I am hoping to find some information to settle my intellectual uncertainty.

Can anyone help me with that?

I have not heard that this new rite is invalid. I have no documentation to prove that is invalid. I only know that if has been approved by the Curia Congregation responsible for
the clergy, which is under the auspices of the Magisterium, it has to be valid. To me it sounds a lot like propaganda from the “sedevacantis” group.

PAX DOMINI :signofcross:

Shalom Aleichem

To me, it’s very simple.

The Church by her very nature cannot promulgate invalid rites. It’s impossible for her to do so.

If the church has a rite to consecrate (actually, the Eastern word is “ordain”) bishops, then the priest this is done over is a bishop when finished.

The uncertainty is caused by the argument over “principalem”, correct?

Kind of, but from my understanding the main argument is that Paul VI’s (of blessed memory) sacramental Form does not contain an explicit mention of the office of the bishop nor an explicit mention of the Holy Spirit.

Both of these things were declared necessary in Sacramentem Ordinis by Pius XII (I think he’s the right one).

Could you explain this in more detail, brother Basil? I am not trying to challenge you (far from it! :nope:), I just think what you are saying is very promising towards helping me find an intellectual response to my doubts. :blush:

How is it intrinsic to the Church’s nature that she cannot promulgate invalid rites?

This strikes me as ABSOLUTELY true :thumbsup:,

…but I can’t explain how or why… :banghead:

Can anyone state with certainty that ordination rites in the underground (pre-legal) church would have been acceptable to these people? Only those who wish to cast aspersions on the orders of others use such arguments. This can be said of the sedevacantists. And I say it with regard to Apostolicae Curae.

\How is it intrinsic to the Church’s nature that she cannot promulgate invalid rites?

This strikes me as ABSOLUTELY true ,

…but I can’t explain how or why… \

**The Church is indefectable. She does not fail in her mission of saving souls.

Her mission of saving souls includes having valid, salvific rites–including for Holy Orders, the Eucharist, and the rest.

I can guess who all is questioning or denying the validity of orders in what such people call the “conciliar” or “novus ordo” church.

Faith comes by hearing the Word of God. You’ve been listening to the wrong people if they are distressing you. Don’t feel bad. It’s an old problem going back to the Book of Acts. The apostles had to deal with similar super-correct people whom they justly accused of “disturbing your souls” saying things they shouldn’t say, “to whom we gave no such commandment.”

Who gave these people the commandment to spread doubt and confusion about the “validity” of bishops among the faithful?

This is a quote from an article I’ve posted elsewhere that seems to speak to such groups: **

5: Ecclesiastical Gossip

A last great temptation is to get involved in gossip about people, places, practices, and especially the “issues” confronting the Church. Whether it is who is doing what, how they serve this or that service and with whom, or the like, which is all gossip; or whether it involves the greater problems confronting the Church, such as ecumenism, the calendar, or what they are or are not teaching at such and such a seminary; there is very little fruitful and much more that is sinful in all that idle talk. The Lord said that we will be accountable for each word.

Not only does this gossip involve judging people, especially hierarchs, clergy, and teachers who will have to answer for themselves before God; it distracts us from the one thing needful: to pursue our own salvation. We are only accountable to God for our own salvation, not for issues which we can have no effect on. One of the saddest things is that monasteries tend to attract people who in the name of being serious about their spiritual life fall into this delusion, while all this kind of gossip and factionalism actually destroys their souls.

It is bad enough that people talk about such things in person; many also read whole publications that are essentially scandal sheets. The Internet is perhaps the worst vehicle for such gossip. This is nothing other than ecclesiastical pornography. It must be avoided at all costs!

I guess I could type out a longer version, but here’s a shorter reply:

(a) the Holy Spirit is mentioned. Even if “Spiritus principalis” could be interpreted otherwise, the Latin leaves no doubt, because it says “quem dedisti”. In fact, many of the opponents have recognized this and dropped that line of argument - they instead argue on a much more theological level on the implication of that sentence for the working of the Holy Trinity.

(b) the office of a bishop, or more accurately the power of the Order. This is a more complicated issue because of several interlinked theological issues.

For example, before the second Vatican Council, one opinion that was popoular was that the potestas Ordinis and the potestatas jurisdictionis were completely separate - the first deriving from the Order, and the second deriving from the Pope. However, following Council declarations, the second opinion became more prevalent - that the bishops do receive some measure of governance at the time of their ordination. Where this complicates things is because then people to stringently stick to the first theory and refuse to admit the other, will deny that “principalis” is sufficient.

However, another thing I would point you to is the document “A Vindiciation of the Bull Apostolicae Curae” which can be found online. In the appendix, the revisers highlight terms which they believe were significant within the Prayers of Ordination - if you look at the Coptic one, the word “ruling” is highlighted.

(3) The merits of this one might be somewhat debatable as it seems very technical. I Sacramentum Ordinis, Pius XII said that the form had to contain a mention of the Holy Spirit and the grace of ordination. A little later, he defined the *entire *"Preface "as the “form”, “of which x were essential and requisite for validity”. So did Paul VI, so technically the entire Prayer of Ordination is the form. Certainly when looked at as a whole, the Prayer of Ordination in the 1989 Ordinal is extremely clear about things such as the high priesthood of a bishop.


It is amazing, and I think blasphemous, all the charges they make against the Popes and
all who follow the Church after VaticanII. In their eyes, we are all dupes. Lord have mercy
on them for they know not what they do.

PAX DOMINI :signofcross:

Shalom Aleichem

Matthew 16:18

And I tell you, you are Peter, * and on this rock * I will build my church, and the powers of death * shall not prevail against it.

Note that if the Ordinations are invalid Jesus is wrong, the powers of death have prevailed. :eek:

I think that it is also important to note that G-d can overcome our rites and imperfections. Intent is very important (by no means the end-all-be-all). For example if someone was baptizing a child who was near death, and didn’t pour the water correctly, G-d can over come that. That’s not to say that the rites are unimportant, and they are there for a reason, but in extreme cases I think that G-d might overcome our messups.

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