Validity of Bishops after Vatican ii

Hello to one and all, I’m wondering are there any good links to the validity of Bishops after Vatican ii as someone i’m discussing it with someone who says any Bishop after Vatican ii does not have Apostolic succession. How would you answer this, or are there any good sources to counteract this claim. One person, a priest TLM says the Novus Ordo Mass is invalid because of this. I hope this in the right section !

Holding this position is heretical. Bishops ordained by the Catholic Church are successors of the Apostles. The ordinary form of the Mass (not called the Novus Ordo) is valid.


From a practical point of view, you are not going to have any luck with a discussion. They will not hear you because they have found a reason to reject obedience to the papacy since Vatican II, for thinking that if the Church were to make some error, it is okay to abandon the Church and start your own. But we have to continue walking behind Christ (following) and behind the Peter he puts in front of us (following) rather than breaking away to run in front of Christ or in front of Peter and say “God forbid that you go this way (to Jerusalem to die)”. We follow him with our cross, we do not lead him where we think the Church should go.

Basically tell him you have to follow Peter (the Pope and the Bishops) who has to follow behind Christ; you have no choice because you want to be with him and will likely suffer with him.

Believe it or not, I ran into something similar to this at work. Although it had nothing to do with the Church.

A man who is in prison wanted us to provide proof that the laws under which he was prosecuted were unconstitutional because he didn’t personally agree to abide by the laws. (he’s in jail for rape.)


The basis of the argument is completely wrong. In cases like this, there’s really no point in arguing other than to say, “the basis of your argument is completely wrong.”

There really is no arguing (debating) with a person like that because such a person has already decided to reject any kind of rational thinking on the subject.

The direct answer to your question is that no such source exists.

There are plenty of Church sources that condemn the idea that ordinations and Masses (post Vatican II) are invalid, but none that attempt to “prove” the point that they are valid. The Church expends a great deal of energy on the former but does not bother with the later.

The problem is that when people jump to this conclusion, IMHO it’s more of emotional than a logical study of history and theology. You should be able to reply with the facts, but they need to know that you care about them, personally.

Some of the facts I think are relevant:
Most of the bishops who met in V2, and shortly after, were appointed by Pope Pius XII. The cardinals he appointed were most of the electorate for John XXIII, and Paul VI, both of whom were apparently regarded as trustworthy by Pius XII. The closest aides of Pius XII, including those who did not always agree with subsequent popes and bishops, never regarded them as invalid.

The Councils of Trent, V1, and earlier councils brought about significant changes, causing the bishops who served during or soon afterwards to be denounced. That’s what happens after a council. How does he know any of the earlier councils, or earlier popes and bishops to be valid? Protestants reject the validity of Catholic bishops of the 1950s for instance. How does he prove the validity of those bishops (or whatever earlier decade when he thinks they were last valid?)

What are the sources he bases his conclusions on? He may point to some document from a few centuries ago that is allegedly now contradicted by Rome, but who is now telling him that it is a contradiction? Chances are he read it in some website. OK, where do the website writers get their inspiration and authority? He may say they take direction straight from Tradition, but how do the website writer get their authority to interpret Tradition? According to “Tradition”, the pope and bishops interpret Tradition. You have to challenge the “validity” of the website. The reality is that website writers take one section out of context of one papal document, not telling their readers there are other sections in that document, or dozens of other more relevant documents they did not reference. You have to show him the reality that his argument isn’t really based on Tradition itself, but based on website writers’ interpretation of Tradition, they who may be reliable or unreliable. Website writers who attack the Living Magisterium are, in effect, Protestant.

But again, there likely are no facts will fully suffice; he needs to know he is loved by you, and the Church. Pray for this person.

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Give him this quote which disproves sedvacantism(he is most likely a sedvacantist and those are the people who believe there is no pope right now)

“We declare, say, define, and pronounce that it is absolutely necessary for the salvation of every human creature to be subject to the Roman Pontiff.”-Pope Boniface VIII, Bull Unam sanctam (1302)

You want my advice? Stand down, and pray for this person. These types cannot be reasoned with. The idea of their conspiracy-theory narratives being wrong is not a possibility in their minds.

You just tell the person to prove his statement. Someone tells you something outlandish, they have to prove their claim. Just tell him you will pray for his conversion.


It’s a good idea, in theory. The problem is that very often when people have that position, they’re specifically looking for an opportunity to “prove” it. They actually want someone to ask “why?” Unless the faithful Catholic party is very, very well-prepared the situation can become a trap.

Praying for their conversion, that’s the best option.

The expression “Spiritus principalis” in the New Rite caused problems for some bishops. For example, in an October 14, 1966 memo, Bishop Juan Hervásy Benet (1905-1982), the Ordinary of Ciudad Real (Spain) and a promoter of Opus Dei, wrote to fellow study group members: “It would be necessary to establish undeniably that the new form better and more perfectly signifies the sacramental action and its effect. That is to say, that it should be established in no uncertain terms that it contains no ambiguity, and that it omits nothing from among the principal charges which are proper to the episcopal order.… A doubt occurs to me concerning the words ‘Spiritus principalis’; do these words adequately signify the sacrament?” There were other clergy that had voiced their concerns over what they saw as an ambiguous phrase in the form.

After Paul VI promulgated the new rite for Holy Orders in June 1968, it had to be translated into various modern languages.The first official English translation rendered it (Spiritus principalis) as “excellent Spirit”; French, as “the Spirit that makes chiefs” or “leaders”; German, as “the spirit of a guide.” These expressions may have led some of the more conservative bishops at the time to fear for the apostolic succession, because Rome suddenly issued two declarations on the translation of sacramental forms within three months (October 1973 and January 1974). The latter declaration from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, moreover, was reprinted in Notitiae (the official publication of the Congregation for Divine Worship), accompanied by a commentary. The author, a Dominican, specifically mentioned Pius XII’s 1947 Constitution Sacramentum Ordinis, the “substance of the sacraments,” how each new sacramental formula “continues to signify the special grace conferred by the sacrament,” and the need to “preserve the validity of the sacramental rite.” In the same issue of Notitiae, about a dozen pages later, there was a short article by Dom Bernard Botte OSB explaining the meaning “Spiritus principalis”.

This seems to show that Rome did bother to answer some criticisms from clerics within the Church in regards to the form and needed to reaffirm that the form was indeed valid and put their minds at ease.

Davies does a good job of showing how the Holy See cannot promulgate a sacramental rite that is invalid. Most of the arguments that sedevacantists will throw at you regarding sacramental stuff is addressed in these two talks.

Davies also had this to say in his book, The Order of Melchisedech:

"As the previous section made clear, every prayer in the traditional rite [of Ordination] which stated specifically the essential role of a priest as a man ordained to offer propitiatory sacrifice for the living and dead has been removed [from the New Rite of Paul VI]. In most cases these were the precise prayers removed by the Protestant reformers, or if not precisely the same there are clear parallels.”


… "there is not one mandatory prayer in the new rite of ordination itself which makes clear that the essence of the Catholic priesthood is the conferral of the powers to offer the sacrifice of the Mass and to absolve men of their sins, and that the sacrament imparts a character which differentiates a priest not simply in degree but in essence from a layman… There is not a word in it that is incompatible with Protestant belief.”

"If the new Catholic rite is considered satisfactory, then the entire case put by Apostolicae Curae [of Leo XIII] is undermined… If the new Catholic rite, shorn of any mandatory prayer signifying the essential powers of the priesthood, is valid, then there seems no reason why the 1662 Anglican rite should not be valid too, and still less can there be any possible objection to the 1977 Anglican Series III Ordinal.”

“As a final comment on the new Catholic ordinal, I would like to quote a passage from Apostolicae Curae and to ask any reader to demonstrate to me how the words which Pope Leo XIII wrote of Cranmer’s rite cannot be said to apply to the new Catholic Ordinal, at least where mandatory prayers are concerned.”

“… the differences between the 1968 Catholic rite and the new Anglican Ordinal are so minimal that it is hard to believe that they are not intended for the same purpose… It will be found that every imperative formula which could be interpreted as conferring any specifically sacerdotal power denied to the faithful at large has been carefully excluded from the new rite.”

“When the changes [to the Rite of Ordination] are considered as a whole it seems impossible to believe that any Catholic of integrity could deny that the parallel with Cranmer’s reform [the Anglican reform] is evident and alarming. It is quite obvious that there are powerful forces within the Catholic Church and the various Protestant denominations determined to achieve a common Ordinal at all costs… The sixteenth century Protestants changed the traditional Pontificals because they rejected the Catholic doctrine of the priesthood. Archbishop Bugnini and his Consilium changed the Roman Pontifical in a manner which makes it appear that there is little or no difference between Catholic and Protestant belief, thus undermining Apostolicae Curae [of Leo XIII]."

Dear Father,

Thank you for your contributions to this thread & forum:thumbsup: It is very helpful & a blessing…

I was wondering, when a Priest is ordained in the Fraternity of Saint Peter (FSSP) or in the Insititute of Christ the King (both traditonal orders under Rome;) ) Are they ordained in the Old Rite of Ordination?

Thank you in advance for your help. May our Lord Bless you & our Blessed Mother protect & guide you.


I used to attend FSSP and ICKSP masses and they use the Old Rite for priestly ordinations. In the beginning, the FSSP would try to seek out bishops that were consecrated in the old rite for their ordinations. In time, this became impossible as the bishops in communion with Rome who were consecrated in the old rite passed away.

The only ones today that have received old rite ordinations from ones that have received episcopal consecrations in the old rite are the SSPX (through Archbishop Lefebrve), sedevacantists such as the CMRI (through Archbishop Thuc) and a few other groups such as the SSPV.

Thanks for the kind words.

Generally, yes, they are ordained using the older rite.

What I will caution though is that it doesn’t matter. If you’re just asking because you’re curios that’s fine. If you’re asking in order to seek a priest ordained with the old rite, and avoid one ordained in the new rite, that’s dangerous spiritual grounds. Even if that’s not your reason for asking, there are some others who do this and I’ll take the opportunity to caution them that that’s not a legitimate criteria for choosing a Mass or a priest.

I would suggest that someone is reading propaganda which is over his or her head.

I don’t believe the Catholic Church has spent any resources defending the validity of its priesthood. Why would it?

Ok thankyou for all your replies, one a TLM Priest said that Transubstantiation does not take place because they weren’t ordained by a valid Bishop. So I explained that Transubstantiation has to take place if they have Apostolic succession. I’ve taken myself off their website, no point in debating with someone who says Mass is invalid after Vii.

And again we see an example of self anointing to the Magisterium. People who are not theologians should avoid attempting to tread where theologians go.

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