What does illicit but valid mean?


#1

What exactly does this mean? “Illicit but valid” as in reference to an ex-priest confecting a sacrament? For example, if an ex-priest confects the Last Rites, it seems by this statement that the Rites are fully effective, but how can that be if the confection is unlawful?

Thanks in advance!


#2

Dear Un,

“Illicit” means unlawful. If one parks in a no-parking zone, one has the ability to park there, but not the authority to do so. A so-called ex-priest may not have the authority to confect the sacraments, but he still has the ability (sacramental power) to do so. I say “so-called” ex-priest because once a man is ordained a priest, he will always be a priest, even if he is no longer allowed by the Church to function as one.

Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.


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