Thursday, August 13, 2009

Commentary on Cum ex Apostolatus

In researching available commentary on Cum ex Apostolatus, the editor came across this statement from Mr. John Daly in which he addresses the issue of invalidity of orders for those who are ordained by a heretic/apostate from the Catholic faith:

Re: Cum ex Apostolatus
"An argument has been adduced from Paul IV's Cum ex Apostolatus (1559) purporting to show that a heretic cannot ordain. This is based either on a misunderstanding or a mistranslation. The bull says that, if anyone is raised to the episcopate after falling into heresy, his elevation is "null, void and worthless" and that "each and all of (his) words, deeds, actions and enactments...shall be without force..." (§ 6). This nullifies the acts of heretical prelates from a juridical point of view; that is, a heretical bishop cannot appoint someone to office, declare sentence against a delinquent, absolve from censure, etc. But it has nothing to do with sacramental validity. On that topic Canon Law says that those who are ordained by heretics need to be dispensed to be allowed to function, but have no need of re-ordination (Canon 2372). And this has always been the Church's position." (cf. Denzinger 358) {Source: Bellarmine Forum}

Editor's NOTE:

I was unable to see where Canon 2372 of the 1917 Code can be used to support Mr. Daly's view. I reproduce it here as follows:

Canon 2372---They incur upon the fact a suspension from divine things, reserved to the Apostolic See, who presume to receive orders from one excommunicated or supended or interdicted after a declaratory or condemnatory sentence, or from a notorious apostate, heretic, or schismatic; but whoever in good faith was ordained by such a one as these lacks the exercise of the orders thus received until he is dispensed.

Canon 188---supports 2372 that public defection from the Catholic faith results in immediate loss of office "upon the fact and without any declaration by tacit resignation recognized by the law itself."

When I read the entire document Cum ex Apostolatus the language seems clear to me that no action whatsoever that a heretic/apostate might take is valid or binding whether the heresy/apostasy occurs before or after being elevated to the office in question. I am more than willing to be corrected but the language is very concise.

Dr. J. P. Hubert

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