Question regarding validity of ordinations

First off, I’m not an advocate of the view which I’m about to describe. I’m faithful to the Catholic Church and supporter of Vatican 2 and the Popes up to and including Benedict XVI.

There are some Traditionalists that claim the following:

The Ordination Rite instituted in 1968 by Paul VI is invalid, because:

The rite lacks mention of the duty of the priest to offer the Holy Sacrifice for the people to Almighty God. Actually I’ve seen a list of 7 areas where the mention of “sacrifice” was removed when composing the new Rite.

It is claimed that this renders the new Ordination rite invalid (and therefore the people ordained are not actually priests) because that is one of the main reasons that Pope Leo XIII used to declare the Anglican Ordination Rite invalid. Lack of the mentioning of the sacrificial duty of the priest.

So…What is a good response?

Or what would the Traditionalists say here to bolster the argument set forth above?

:slight_smile: Hello, Reformed Rob!

Wanna bet we haven’t both read the same blog? :smiley:

In fact I was wondering a while back about the “Monk” vs “the ex-SSPX priest-turned-Sedevacantist.”

What a waste of time in either case!

Seriously, as what I guess we might call a “continuity Catholic” I’m with the Roman brand, so what Rome says, goes.


Hope this helps.:wink:


Myself, my first thought would be to respond by saying:

The Catholic Church still to this day teaches that it is the sacred duty of the priest to offer the Holy Sacrifice. There is no lack of “sacrifice” in the Church’s teaching regarding the priesthood.

There IS a lack of teaching regarding sacrifice in the Anglican priesthood. Correct?

So just because the new Ordination Rite of Paul VI takes out a few mentions of sacrifice, it is not intended at all to wipe it clear from the Church’s mind as a part of the priestly duty.

Hey Aurelio, thanks for your comments!

Actually, what I was referencing in my opening post was something that’s on a website not a blog that was up months ago, years ago maybe.

And on a personal note, I’ve had a friend go from Catholic to sedevacantist and now Eastern Orthodox. We’re not in fellowship anymore, but this was a small part of his argument against the “novus ordo.”

It’s been an “out of sight out of mind” issue for me but I just like to revisit things occasionally.

If the New Rite of Ordinations and Episcopal Consecrations is invalid, then the Holy See is vacant because Benedict XVI was consecrated a Bishop under the New Rite.

:slight_smile: Yo, Ceasar!

Yeah, I remember a variation of that approach from the mid to latter 1970s.


That special decade when Traditionalism with a capital T really began to take off?

When Tito Casini came out with his Last Mass of Paul VI.

When Yves Normandin’s French account of his struggle for the Tridentine Mass, Pastor Out in the Cold was translated into English.

When Malachi Martin published The Final Conclave.

When we were being told:
It takes at least three bishops to validly consecrate another bishop.

One of the three bishops consecrating Archbishop Lefevbre was a freemason.

That means that his grace, too, is a free mason.

Or that in any case, all his ordinations, no matter the career total, are likewise invalid.**:rolleyes:

I guess what goes around comes back again!:wink:

Good thread!


Haha, yes. :thumbsup:

Yes, that is part of some Traditionalist’s argument.

It only takes one bishop to validly consecrate another bishop, the other 2 bishops are co-consecrators who pass their episcopal lineages along with the primary consecrator and are there in care there happens to be any irregularities in the primary consecrator’s lineage. If it always took 3 bishops to make other bishops, then the 12 apostles would have had trouble and the episcopacy would have ended with them as many of them went out alone to spread the word of God St. Thomas the apostle comes to mind specifically.

Exactly, the Episcopal Ordination is Valid if ANY of the three are valid bishops.

If it always took 3 bishops to make other bishops, then the 12 apostles would have had trouble and the episcopacy would have ended with them as many of them went out alone to spread the word of God St. Thomas the apostle comes to mind specifically.

Or even St. Paul on his travels. Sure, sometimes he had Barnabas or Luke with him, but even then, that’s only two :wink:

The ordination rite (and all the rites of the Church) do what the Church purports that they do, ie, validly ordain or consecrate.

If you look at the Anglican Ordinal condemned by Pope Leo XII (from the 1662 BCP) there is no mention of sacrifice whatsoever. The word does not appear. What does appear at best, is the word “priest”.

Whereas in the Catholic Ordinal (1989) we read:

  1. in veros Novi Testamenti sacerdotes consecrabuntur ad Evangelium praedicandum, populum Dei pascendum cultumque divinum in dominico praesertim sacrificio celebrandum.

  2. Ministerio enim vestro sacrificium spirituale fidelium perficietur, Christi sacrificio coniunctum, quod una cum iis per manus vestras super altare incruenter in celebratione mysteriorum offeretur.

  1. Vultis mysteria Christi ad laudem Dei et sanctificationem populi christiani, secundum Ecclesiae traditionem, praesertim in Eucharistiae sacrificio et sacramento reconciliationis, pie et fideliter celebrare?
  1. Dominus Iesus Christus, quem Pater unxit Spiritu Sancto et virtute, te custodiat ad populum christianum sanctificandum et ad sacrificium Deo offerendum

As you can see no (1) speaks of the Lord’s Sacrifice, no 3 speaks of the Eucharistic Sacrifice, no. (4) speaks of offering sacrifice to God. No.(2) is the most explicit since it speaks joining the spiritual sacrifices of the people with the Sacrifice of Christ which is offered in an unbloody manner through the hands of the priest.

You won’t find that in the Anglican Ordinal of 1662.

Since each Anglican part of communion has its own forms of worship it would be too long to compare so I’ll just use the American and English Ordinals. The latest Anglican ordinal of the Church of England is the one in Common Worship. There the word sacrifice does appear there…in these contexts:

  1. With the Bishop and their fellow presbyters, they are to sustain the community of the faithful by the ministry of word and sacrament, that we all may grow into the fullness of Christ and be a living sacrifice acceptable to God.
  1. They are to preside at the Lord’s table and lead his people in worship, offering with them a spiritual sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving. They are to bless the people in God’s name.
  1. May they declare your blessings to your people; may they proclaim Christ’s victory over the powers of darkness, and absolve in Christ’s name those who turn to him in faith; so shall a people made whole in Christ offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to you, our God and Father, to whom, with the Son and the Holy Spirit, belong glory and honour, worship and praise, now and for ever.

As you can see the context in which sacrifice is used is totally different and absent form our Ordinal. The Anglcian Ordinal firstly explicitly says that the sacrifice is one of “praise and thanksgiving”, or a “living sacrifice” of the people. Furthermore, it says “so shall a people made whole in Christ offer spiritual sacrifices”. This can be taken as a reference to the common priesthood of all.

In the American Ordinal in the 1979 Book of Common Prayer there is one reference that was newly introduced:

May he exalt you, O Lord, in the midst of your people; offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to you; boldly proclaim the gospel of salvation; and rightly administer the sacraments of the New Covenant.

I would say that “spiritual sacrifices” does not approach a level of clarity. It usually takes on a different meaning referring to sacrifices of praise and thanksgiving. Still I suppose it can be argued that it has a “Catholic” meaning. Likewise except for number (2) the other references in our Ordinal that I posted earlier can be interpreted in a purely figurative manner-though again here I note that they do not use the word “spiritual”.

In order to sort this out one resorts to the ex adiunctis significations i.e. the context as given by other prayers in the liturgy.

The first and most obvious would be the Eucharistic Prayers. I, III and IV I do not think anyone can dispute as to sacrificial meaning. II is often disputed but the terms “Bread of Life” and “Chalice of Salvation” are Eucharistic terms. Even if one does not accept that, it is later referred to as the Body and Blood of Christ so that makes clear what is being offered.
The second is the preface of the Ordination which speaks of renewing the sacrifice of man’s redemption (quoted by the late Michael Davies)
The third is the Propers of the Mass namely the Super oblata which makes reference to the altar and sacrifice and the Postcommunion which is also makes reference to the Victim (Hostia) offered by the priests.

The fourth, as pointed out by Mr. Davies is the Profession of Faith taken prior to ordination. In it they say:

Furthermore, I embrace and uphold each and every doctrine concerning faith and morals which the Church has taught and declared in solemn definition or by ordinary teaching authority and in the sense in which the Church has proposed such doctrine especially the teaching concerning the mystery of the Holy Church of Christ, the Sacraments, the Sacrifice of the Mass, and the primacy of the Roman Pontiff.

“The Sacrifice of the Mass”. The Church has never repealed or changed the doctrine of the Sacrifice of the Mass.

By contrast nowhere does the Anglican doctrine state anything regarding the sacrificial nature of the Mass except it being one of “praise and thanksgiving”. Individual Anglicans may accept but there is no official teaching. In fact, with regard to the CofE, plain meaning of Articles 28 and 31 (against transubstantiation and the sacrifice of the Mass) of the 39 Articles would say the exact opposite and manifest disbelief. The 1979 US BCP also does not contain any direct mention of sacrifice in relation to the consecration Body and Blood , Eucharistic Prayer or otherwise. One of their prayers which comes nearly identical to EP IV purposely omits any such references.

What were the references to sacrifice removed from the old Ordinal?

Two main ones:

At the giving of the chalice and the paten:

Accipe potestatem offerre sacrificium Deo, Missasque celebrare, tam pro vivis, quam pro defunctis. In nomine Domini……Receive the power to offer sacrifice to God and celebrate Mass for the living and for the dead.

And the second is at the final blessing:

Benedictio Dei omnipotentis Pat+ris, et Fil+ii, et Spiri+tus Sancti descendat super vos; ut sitis benedicti in ordine sacerdotali; et offeratis placabiles Hostias pro peccatis, atque offensionibus populi omnipotenti Deo, cui est honor, et gloria per omnia saecula saeculorum.

The blessing of God Almihgty, the Fa+ther, the So+n, and the Holy Spir+it descend upon you: that you may be blessed in the priestly order, and offer propitiatory sacrifices for the sins and offesnes the people to Almighty God, to whom be honour and glory world without end.

There is one more phrase I have read which is from the address to the ordinands:

Sacerdotem etenim oportet offerre, benedicere, praeesse, praedicare, et baptizare.

A lot of translations say “offer Sacrifice” even though only the word “offer” appears……I suppose it can be reasonably assumed or something?

“Accipe potestatem” is the one most argued about. It very clearly expresses the role of the priest. So why was it removed? One of the reasons given was that it was Pius XII who defined the form of the sacrament of orders…before him there was a line of thought that held that the “tradition of the instruments” (i.e. handing of the chalice, etc.) was the integral part. Hence for example in the old Catholic Encyclopedia it was stated that:

The first and second of these impositions combined constitute in the Latin Church partial matter of the sacrament, the traditio instrumentorum being required for the adequate or complete matter.

And something to that effect is found in the decree to the Armenians in the 15th century with however a slightly different formula. It can be seen here:

Scroll down to session 8, the Bull of Union with the Armenians to the part where they talk about the sacraments- it is the sixth one. As you can see the wording is slightly different from that in the Traditional Ordinal.

However in Sacramentum Ordinis Pope Pius XII said:

It follows that, even according to the mind of the Council of Florence itself, the traditio instrumentorum is not required for the substance and validity of this Sacrament by the will of Our Lord Jesus Christ Himself. If it was at one time necessary even for validity by the will and command of the Church, every one knows that the Church has the power to change and abrogate what she herself has established.

So, the revisers argued, since the matter was settled, it was not correct to say “Receive the power” when giving the instruments because that power was given by the defined form** and matter. So the answer apparently was to omit it. :rolleyes: Apparently “for the living and the dead” underwent a cuttingeverywhere even in ordination of the deacons. *

  • In the Traditional Ordinal in the Roman Pontifical:
    Subdeacons: Receive the book of the Epistles and have the power to read them in the holy Church of God for the living and for the dead. In the name of the Fat+her and of the S+on and of the Holy Spi+rit. Amen
    Deacons: Receive the power to read the Gospel in the Church of God for the living and for the dead. In the name of the Lord. Amen
    Priests: as above

** Da, quaesumus, omnipotens Pater, in hos famulos tuos presbyterii dignitatem; innova in visceribus eorum Spiritum sanctitatis; (ut) acceptum a te, Deus, secundi meriti munus obtineant, censuramque morum exemplo suae conversationis insinuent.
[size=]The “ut” is omitted is the new Catholic Ordinal. Some people have tkaen upon themselves to attach great significance to it, not realising that “ut” doesn’t appear in the oldest Roman forms so if it is indeed a requirement that changes meaning, then all the bishops, including theirs, would be invalidly ordained today.
This is how it was translated in a 1856 explanation of the ordination rite:
We beseech Thee, almighty Father, grant to these Thy servants the dignity of the priesthood; renew in their inward parts the spirit of holiness, (so that) they might obtain the office of the second merit received from Thee, O God; and insinuate by the example of their conversation a censure of manners
ICEL: Almighty Father, grant to these servants of yours the dignity of priesthood. Renew within them the Spirit of holiness. As co-workers with the order of bishops may they be faithful to the ministry that they receive from you, Lord God, and be to others a model of right conduct.[/size]

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