Saturday, August 22, 2009

Absolutely Null and Utterly Void: The 1968 Rite of Episcopal Consecration

Editor's NOTE:

Needless to say, the topic addressed in this piece is of monumental importance--the proper sacramental form for the consecration of Bishops in the Roman Catholic Church.

Their are many opinions on this subject among self-professed Traditional Catholics. Cekada concludes that the 1968 Pauline rite of Episcopal Consecration is invalid meaning that the sacramental orders of any Bishop consecrated and any Priest ordained by such a "bishop" are invalid.

Mr. Hutton Gibson has an extensive section on his website which addresses this issue as well. For further details proceed HERE...

I continue to study this problem very carefully and I have not yet made a final decision about validity of Episcopal Consecration since 1968. It seems absolutely vital that each person perform their proper due diligence as the implications are truly profound and frightening.

--Dr. J. P. Hubert

Absolutely Null and Utterly Void: The 1968 Rite of Episcopal Consecration

By: Rev. Anthony Cekada

“Once there are no more valid priests they’ll
permit the Latin Mass.”

— Rev. Carl Pulvermacher OFMCap
Former Editor, The Angelus

“Keep the shell, but empty it of its substance.”
— V.I. Lenin

IN THE 1960’S Catholics who were upset by the post-Vatican II liturgical changes had already begun to worry whether sacraments conferred with the reformed rites were valid. A defining moment in the United States came in 1967 when Patrick Henry Omlor published the first edition of his study, Questioning the Validity of Masses using the All-English Canon, a work that, even before the promulgation of the Novus Ordo in 1969, galvanized the then-tiny traditionalist resistance. As the modernist “reformers” overhauled the other sacramental rites — Confirmation, Penance and Extreme Unction — traditionalists questioned the validity of these sacraments as well, and sought out priests who offered the traditional Mass and used the old

Holy Orders was the one sacrament that traditionalists did not seem to worry about. Sure, there were no vocations. But since few laymen had ever even seen an ordination — still less knew what made an ordination valid — how or whether the liturgical changes affected the validity of Holy Orders was a topic that went unexamined...

XI. Summary

WE HAVE COVERED a vast amount of material in the foregoing sections, so we will now offer the beleaguered eader a summary.

A. General Principles

(1) Each sacrament has a form (essential formula) that produces its sacramental effect. When a substantial change of meaning is introduced into the sacramental
form through the corruption or omission of essential words, the sacrament becomes invalid (=does not “work,” or produce the sacramental effect).

(2) Sacramental forms approved for use in the Eastern Rites of the Catholic Church are sometimes different in wording from the Latin Rite forms. Nevertheless, they are the same in substance, and are valid.

(3) Pius XII declared that the form for Holy Orders (i.e., for diaconate, priesthood and episcopacy) must univocally (=unambiguously) signify the sacramental effects — the power of Order and the grace of the Holy Ghost.

(4) For conferring the episcopacy, Pius XII designated as the sacramental form a sentence in the traditional Rite of Episcopal Consecration that unequivocally expresses the power of the order that a bishop receives and the grace of the Holy Ghost.

B. Application to the New Form

(1) The new form for episcopal consecration that Paul VI promulgated does not seem to specify the power of the Order supposedly being conferred. Can it confer the episcopacy? To answer this question, we apply the foregoing principles.

(2) The short Paul VI form for episcopal consecration is not identical to the lengthy Eastern Rite forms, and unlike them, does not mention sacramental powers proper to a bishop alone (e.g., ordaining). The Eastern Rite prayers that the surrounding Paul VI consecration Preface most closely resembles are nonsacramental prayers for the installations of the Maronite and Syrian Patriarchs, who are already bishops when appointed. In sum, one may not argue that the Paul VI form is “in use in two certainly valid Eastern Rites” and therefore valid.

(3) Various ancient texts (Hippolytus, the Apostolic Constitutions, the Testament of Our Lord) which share some common elements with the Paul VI consecration Preface have been “reconstructed,” are of doubtful provenance, may not represent actual liturgical use, etc. There is no evidence that they were “accepted and used by the Church as such.” Thus they provide no reliable evidence to support for the validity of the Paul
VI form.

(4) The key problem in the new form revolves around the term governing Spirit (Spiritus principalis in Latin). Before and after the promulgation of the 1968 Rite of Episcopal Consecration the meaning of this expression provoked concerns about whether it sufficiently signified the sacrament.

(5) Dom Bernard Botte, the principal creator of the new rite, maintained that, for the 3rd-century Christian, governing Spirit connoted the episcopacy, because bishops have “the spirit of authority” as “rulers of the Church.” Spiritus principalis means “the gift of a Spirit proper to a leader.”

(6) This explanation is false and disingenuous. Reference to dictionaries, a Scripture commentary, the Fathers of the Church, a dogmatic treatise, and Eastern
Rite non-sacramental investiture ceremonies reveals that, among a dozen different and sometimes contradictory meanings, governing Spirit does not specifically signify either the episcopacy in general or the fullness of Holy Orders that the bishop possesses.

(7) Before the controversy over it arose, Dom Botte himself even said that he didn’t see how omitting the expression governing Spirit would change the validity
of the rite of consecration.

(8) The new form fails to meet two criteria for the form for Holy Orders laid down by Pius XII. (a) Because the term governing Spirit is capable of signifying many different things and persons, it does not univocally signify the sacramental effect. (b) It lacks any term that even equivocally connotes the power of Order that a bishop possess — the “fullness of the priesthood of Christ in the episcopal office and order,” or “the fullness or totality of the priestly ministry.”

(9) For these reasons, the new form constitutes a substantial change in the meaning of the sacramental form for conferring the episcopacy.

(10) A substantial change in the meaning of a sacramental form, as we have already demonstrated, renders a sacrament invalid.

C. Conclusion: An Invalid Sacrament

Accordingly, for all the foregoing reasons, an episcopal consecration conferred with the sacramental form promulgated by Paul VI in 1968 is invalid.
Proceed HERE for entire article...

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In light of Traditional Catholic dogma/doctrine, how should the Second Vatican Council be viewed ? Is it consistent with Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition and prior Magisterial teaching?

What explains the tremendous amount of "bad fruit" which has been forthcoming since the close of the Council in 1965? “By their fruits you shall know them” (Matt. 7:16)

This site explores these questions and more in an attempt to place the Second Vatican Council in proper perspective.