26 May 2015

Responsa ad dubia

Hello Tommy! I reprint below something that I posted on April 24 about this matter of validity which you raise. "Tantum ergo" had raised it.

Hello Tantumergo! And Welcome! Your question, about the "Validity" of Eucharistic Prayer II, is so pastorally important that I think I'd better deal with it instantly.

Unless some priest is such a mad ingenious fool that he decides not to use wheat bread and grape wine, or misses out the Lord's Words at His Last Supper, it is very difficult for him to make a Mass invalid. Even if he were to be a secret atheist! Because of the chaotic situation which arose after Vatican II (but not mandated by the Council) devout laypeople quite often ask your sort of question. If you really want to read all the technical details about what is 'valid' and what is 'invalid' please look back at some earlier posts I gathered together at 4 September 2014; and also read 20 November 2013, 12 May 2014, and 13 March 2015. You see how often people do get worried! I'm sure this will not be the last time I am asked to take up a question like yours.

But my advice to anybody in your position is: Don't worry. Because using EP II certainly does make the Lord's Body and Blood to be present, and truly does offer them in Sacrifice. No ifs, no buts.

Back to Tommy ... the actual words of the form for consecrating a Bishop, introduced in the post-Conciliar Pontifical, had previously been used, for centuries, by Eastern Churches in communion with Rome or whose episcopacy Rome accepted, to consecrate bishops. When this was pointed out to Archbishop Lefebvre, he stopped doubting the efficacy of the rite. As for the Form of Ordaining a priest, the post-Conciliar Pontifical made one very slight change which silly people made a song and dance about. But the change in fact simply changed the wording back to what it had been in the first Christian millennium. If this wording really is inadequate to ordain, then S Gregory the Great, poor chap, went through his life ordaining invalidly. So did all the popes for more than a thousand years. People who claim this seem to me to be funny sorts of "Catholics".

I do get quite cross with these individuals who, because of their own passionate desire for "the Conciliar Church" not to have any true Sacraments, ignore what the Church has taught for centuries about validity.


Cherub said...

It is true, Father, that this point needs to be made time and again. What confuses many of the laity is the tendency of some priests to alter the text of the Mass at whim. Thank you for again reiterating what is essential for the validity of the Mass.

Opacus said...

Unfortunately that won't do. While the objections to the new form for ordaining a priest are worthless, the “it's Eastern rite” response to the objections to the 1968 rite of Episcopal ordination doesn't work either. This was demolished some time ago by Fr. Anthony Cekada in two pieces which you can read here:



Fr. Cekada is a sedevacantist but his research is thorough and he gives the positions he is opposing a fair hearing. If the 1968 rite is valid it will have to be demonstrated to be so on its own internal merits and not through equivalence to another rite known to be valid.

ansgerus said...

It has been argued that the words of the form of which you are speaking have been used in Eastern Churches for the ceremonies of Installation of Metropolitans, not for the consecration of bishops, e.g. for those who already where consecreted Bishops and who were "graded up" to become Metropolitans. Is this true according to your knowledge, Father? I would be very much interested to know more details about this point, independent of the question of the validity of orders. I just would like to know what are the historical facts with these words. In what ceremonies were they used, and together with exactly what additional prayers, if any (Eastern liturgies have a certain preference for flowery expressions and for long prayers, which in case of modern "re-using" mostly have been much shortened).

Fr John Hunwicke said...

Dear Opacus

Unfortunately, it will do. Fr Cekada's arguments are absurd. The central wording of the current form, centring upon the words spiritus principalis, is found throughout the East; not least in the Maronite rite. A man from Mars would indeed be able to think of good arguments why they do not adequately express the Episcopate; but for centuries the Church has accepted rites that use them. Ergo they have come to have the meaning of episcopal consecration. Nobody could deplore more than I do both the actions of the 1960s 'reformers', and the corrupt mindset which activated them. That is million miles from meaning that God has allowed the entire Latin Church to be deprived of a valid episcopate while he has continued to grant valid episcopacy to Oriental Churches, both united and schismatic, which use the same words.

I am afraid that I am concluding this discussion.