sacraments, sacramental rites

New Ordinations – I

New Ordinations – I posted in Eleison Comments on May 10, 2014

Should priests ordained with the new rite of Ordination of 1972 be conditionally re-ordained with the old and certainly valid rite of Ordination? Catholic doctrine on the validity of sacraments is clear, but the sacramental rites of the Newchurch seem to have been designed to lead gradually to invalidity (see EC 121 of Oct 31, 2009). The « gradually » is the problem. How far along was that gradual process in any given case? Perhaps God alone knows for sure. But let us begin with the clear doctrine.

One can say a Catholic sacrament involves five elements: Minister, Intention, Matter and Form are essential for validity, the Rite surrounding the Form can be important for validity by its sudden or gradual bearing on the Minister’s Intention. For priestly Orders, the Minister has to be a validly consecrated bishop; the Intention is his sacramental (not moral) intention, in ordaining, to do what the Church does; theMatter is his laying of both hands on the head of the man to be ordained (women cannot be validly ordained to the priesthood of Christ); the Form is the crucial formula or series of words in the rite which express the conferring of the priesthood; the Rite is all the other words surrounding that Form, and prescribed in the ceremonial rite of Ordination.

In a new rite Ordination, if both hands are laid on the head, the Matter is no problem. The new Form in Latin is, if anything, stronger for validity than the old Form in Latin (by the « et » instead of an « ut »), but vernacular translations need to be checked to make sure that they clearly express the grace of the priesthood to be conferred. Most of them surely do. Where real problems of validity arise is with the Minister and the Intention, because of the gradual erosion of Catholic Intention by the uncatholic new Rites.

For, as to the Intention, any bishop today ordaining a priest surely intends to do what today’s Church does, well and good, but what is that in his mind? What is a priest in the Newchurch? Is not yesteryear’s renewer of the Sacrifice of Calvary by the Real Presence being slowly but steadily replaced by today’s co-ordinator of eucharistic picnics? How far along is this process in any given diocese of the world? Did this or that bishop have in mind a sacrificer or a picnicker as being what the Church does? The ordaining bishop’s outward behaviour will indicate his Intention, but God alone may know for sure. Certainly many new Rites of Mass incline towards the picnicker, and the new Rite of Ordination surrounding the Form can only help by its severely diminished catholic content to undermine gradually the sacramental Intention of an ordaining bishop.

And as to the Minister, if the ordaining bishop was himself consecrated bishop with the new rite of consecration, let us assume that the ambiguity of the new Form of consecration is lifted by the words immediately following, nevertheless doubts like those above as to the Intention of the bishop consecrating must arise: did he consider, and therefore have as his Intention, that today’s Church consecrates makers of the Sacrifice, or of picnics? Such questions can often lack clear answers.

In brief, were I Pope, I think I might require that all priests or bishops ordained or consecrated with the « renewed » rites should be conditionally re-ordained or re-consecrated, not because I would believe that none of them were true priests or bishops, on the contrary, but because when it comes to the sacraments all serious doubts must be removed, and that would be the simplest way of removing all possible doubts. Newchurch rot of the sacraments could not be left hanging around.

Kyrie eleison.

Various “Churches”

Various “Churches” posted in Eleison Comments on December 1, 2012

Much confusion reigns today over the identity of Our Lord’s true Church here on earth, and the variety of names by which it can be called. Easily most of the present confusion comes from the Church’s biggest problem of today, which is the diabolical Second Vatican Council (1962–1965). Let us attempt to disentangle some of the confusion.

“Church” derives from the Old English “cirice,” deriving in turn from the Greek word “kuriakon,” meaning “of the Lord.” Thus “Doma kuriakon” meant “house of the Lord,” and from naming the building, “church” came to mean also the people that were regularly to be found in the building.

Catholic” Church names many a building, but principally the worldwide group of people (“katholos” in Greek means “universal”) who share one Faith, one set of Sacraments and one Hierarchy, all three having been established by the Incarnate God, Our Lord Jesus Christ, in his life on earth two thousand years ago. But from this original group of believers as instituted by Our Lord, other groups have regularly broken away, while still claiming to be Christ’s true Church. How then am I to know which is his true Church?

“Christ’s Church”has four Marks, as they are called. 1 One – above all by oneness of Faith Our Lord meant to unite his Church and not to found many churches (cf. Jn. XVII, 21–23: “That they may be one”). 2 Holy – Our Lord founded his Church to bring men to the All-Holy God and his holy Heaven (cf. Mt. V, 48: “Be you perfect”). 3 Catholic – Our Lord founded his Church for all men of all lands and all ages (cf. Mt. XXVIII, 19: “Going, teach ye all nations”). 4 Apostolic – Our Lord founded his Church as a monarchy, to be ruled by the Apostle Peter and his successors (cf. Mt. XVI, 18: “Thou art Peter and upon this rock (in Greek “petran”) I will found my Church”). Wherever these four Marks are, there is Christ’s true Church. Where they are lacking, there is not Christ’s Church.

“Conciliar Church”means the God-centred Catholic Church as fallen and still falling under the sway of the man-centred Second Vatican Council. Conciliarism (the distilled error of Vatican II) bears the same relation to the true Church of Christ as the rot of a rotten apple bears to the apple which it is rotting. Just as rot occupies the apple, depends on the apple, cannot exist without the apple, yet is quite different from the apple (as uneatable is different from eatable), so man-centred Conciliarism so occupies Christ’s Church that little of the Church is not more or less rotten, yet Conciliarism is so different from Catholicism that one can truly say that the Conciliar Church is not the Catholic Church. But the Catholic Church is visible. Isn’t the Conciliar Church also visible?

“Visible Church” means all the buildings, officials and people of the Church that we can see with our eyes. But to say that the Catholic Church is visible, therefore the visible Church is the Catholic Church, is as foolish as to say that all lions are animals so all animals are lions. That part alone of the visible Church is Catholic which is one, holy, universal and apostolic. The rest is various sorts of rot.

“Official Church”means the Church as led by, and following, its visible officials. Since these today are largely Conciliar, so the “official Church” is largely Conciliar and not Catholic, according to the four Marks. Similarly “Mainstream Church” means today’s official Church as opposed to the “Traditionalist” remnant. However, let nobody say there is nothing one, holy, universal or apostolic left in the mainstream Church, any more than everything in the “Traditionalist” remnant shows forth the four Marks. Wheat and chaff are always mixed in Christ’s Church (cf. Mt. XIII, 24–30).

Kyrie eleison.

Benedict’s Ecumenism – II

Benedict’s Ecumenism – II posted in Eleison Comments on April 7, 2012

As in any dispute involving the dreadful ambiguities of Vatican II, it might take long and scholarly articles to prove, or attempt to disprove, what Dr Wolfgang Schüler puts forward in his book of 2008 on “Benedict XVI and How the Church views Itself.” However, his main line of argument is clear enough, and it is well worth presenting to readers of “Eleison Comments,” to help them to see clear amidst much confusion. In this respect, comparisons have their limits, but they do help.

A whole can be composed of parts in two different ways, like a living tree, or like a pile of coins. Either the whole is primary and the parts are secondary, as with a tree, or the parts are primary and the whole is secondary, as with a pile of coins. The tree as a whole is primary because parts like branches may be cut off, but the tree continues to live its life as a tree and grows new branches, while the branches cut off lose their life and become something quite different, like a log or a chair. On the contrary each coin separated from its pile of coins remains exactly what it was in the pile, and if only enough coins are taken from the pile, it is the pile that perishes.

Now, is the Catholic Church, taken as a whole, more like the tree or the pile of coins? The Catholic Church is that special society of human beings who are united in that society by three things: the Faith, the sacraments and the hierarchy. To all three life is given by God himself. Faith is a supernatural virtue of the mind which God alone can give. The sacraments use material elements like water and oil, but what makes them sacraments is the supernatural grace they carry, that can only come from God. Likewise the hierarchy consists of natural human beings, but if these had no guidance from God, they could never succeed by themselves in leading souls towards Heaven.

Therefore the Catholic Church is much more like a living tree than like a pile of coins, even golden coins. For just as every living organism has within it a principle of life that gives it its existence and unity, so the Catholic Church has within it primarily God himself, secondarily his hierarchy, giving to it existence and unity. When what was a part of the Church cuts itself off from the hierarchy by schism, or from the Faith by heresy, it ceases to be Catholic and becomes something else, like the schismatic Orthodox or heretical Protestants. True, Orthodox believers may have kept valid sacraments, but since they are no longer united with Christ’s Vicar in Rome, nobody in his right mind calls them Catholic.

But now comes Vatican II. It changed the view of the Church, as it were, from that of a living tree or vine-plant (Our Lord’s own comparison: Jn. XV, 1–6), to that of a pile of golden coins. From the desire to open the Church to the modern world, the Conciliar churchmen began by blurring the frontiers of the Church (L.G.8). That enabled them to pretend that there are elements of the Church outside the visible bounds of the Catholic Church (U.R.3), like gold coins separated from the heap. And since a gold coin remains a gold coin, then they could further pretend (U.R.3) that what were elements of salvation inside the Catholic Church remain such outside also. From which the natural conclusion drawn by countless souls is that I no longer need to be a Catholic in order to get to Heaven. This is the disaster of Conciliar ecumenism.

We must present these texts of Vatican II in a little more detail before we pass on to Pope Benedict’s efforts to combine the ecumenism which divides the Church with the Catholic doctrine that unifies it.

Kyrie eleison.

Benedict’s Ecumenism I

Benedict’s Ecumenism I posted in Eleison Comments on February 25, 2012

A valuable study of conciliar ecumenism appeared in Germany a few years ago, written by a certain Dr. Wolfgang Schüler. In “Benedict XVI and How the Church Views Itself,” he argues that the ecumenism let loose by Vatican II transformed the Church’s understanding of itself, and he proves by a series of textual quotations that Joseph Ratzinger as priest, Cardinal and Pope has consistently promoted this transformation, from the time of the Council down to today. Nor can he be ashamed of having done so.

In logical order – it will take more than one “Eleison Comments” – let us look at the true Church’s view of itself, and then with the help of Dr Schüler, at how that view was changed by the Council and how Benedict XVI has consistently promoted that change. Finally let us draw the conclusions that emerge for Catholics wishing to keep the true Faith.

The true Catholic Church has always seen itself as an organic whole, a society one, holy, catholic and apostolic, consisting of human beings united by the Faith, the sacraments and the Roman hierarchy. This Church is so much one, that no piece can be broken off or taken away without its ceasing to be Catholic (cf. Jn. XV, 4–6). For instance, that Faith which is the prime constituent of the Catholic believer cannot be held piecemeal, but must be held either altogether (at least implicitly) or not at all. This is because it is on the authority of God revealing the dogmas of Catholic Faith that I believe them, so that if I disbelieve only one amongst many dogmas, I am rejecting his authority behind them all, in which case even if I believe all the other dogmas, my belief is resting no longer on God’s authority but only on my own choice.

In fact the word “heretic” comes from the Greek word for “to choose” (hairein), so because a heretic’s belief is henceforth merely his own choice, he has lost the supernatural virtue of faith, so that even if he rejects only one dogma of Faith, he is no longer Catholic. A famous quote of Augustine runs: “In much you are with me, in little you are not with me, but because of that little in which you are not with me, the much in which you are with me is of no use to you.”

For instance a Protestant may believe in God, he may even believe in the divinity of the man Jesus of Nazareth, but if he does not believe in the Real Presence of God, body, blood, soul and divinity, beneath the appearances of bread and wine after their consecration at Mass, then he has a profoundly different and deficient concept of the love of Jesus Christ and of the God in whom he believes. Can one then say that the true Protestant and the true Catholic believe in the same God? Vatican II says one can, and on the basis of supposedly more or less shared beliefs between Catholics and all non-Catholics, it builds its ecumenism. On the contrary Dr Schüler illustrates by a series of comparisons that what may look like the same belief, when it forms part of two different creeds, is not really the same at all. Here is one illustration: oxygen molecules mixed with nitrogen are the selfsame molecules as when compounded with hydrogen, but they are as different in the two cases as the air we breathe (O + 4N) from the water we drink (H20)! Stay tuned.

Kyrie eleison.

Innocent Ignorance?

Innocent Ignorance? posted in Eleison Comments on August 13, 2011

A reader asks a vital question: « If a good Protestant has lived a good life but still firmly believes that the Catholic Faith is wrong, so that he does not even consider entering the Catholic Church, can he still be saved?” The question is vital (from “vita” in latin, meaning “life”), because it is a question of eternal life or death for countless souls.

By way of answer, the first thing to be said is that every soul appearing at death instantaneously before God’s judgment seat will be judged by him with a perfect justice and with a perfect mercy. God alone knows the depths of a man’s heart which a man can hide from himself, let alone from other men. Men may misjudge, but God never. Therefore the “good Protestant” will be damned by himself or saved by God, exactly as God knows that he has deserved.

Nevertheless it stands to reason that if God wants all of us to be saved (I Tim.II,4), and requires of us to believe on pain of damnation (Mk.XVI,16), he will have let us men know what we must believe and what we must do to save our souls. What then must the “good Protestant” believe?

At the very least any soul to be saved must believe that God exists and that he rewards the good and punishes the wicked (Heb.XI,6). If a “good Protestant” who has led “a good life” does not believe that, he cannot be saved. But many Catholic theologians go further and say that to be saved one must also believe in the Holy Trinity and in Christ as Redeemer. If these theologians are right, then there may be many more “good Protestants” who cannot save their souls.

And God may require of them to believe in more than just these absolute basics, depending upon how much opportunity they have had in life to learn of the Truth that comes from him. If they are ignorant of all the rest of the Catholic Faith, have they never come across it? Possibly not. But possibly they have. I can remember my mother telling with admiration how a Catholic priest once answered all the serious questions of her “good Protestant” father, but there was no follow-up that I know of. If then “good Protestants” have even only once come across Catholic truth, why exactly did they not follow up? Unless it was badly presented, they were in effect rejecting truth. Can they have rejected it without some fault? Then did they reject it innocently or wilfully? “Good Protestants” easily consider themselves to be innocent, as do we all, but God is deceived by none of us.

However, there is also what a “good Protestant” must do to be saved. He may not know all that the Catholic Church infallibly requires of us in morals, but he does have at least the natural light of his in-born conscience. Now it may be truly difficult with original sin and with no help from the Catholic sacraments to follow that natural light of one’s conscience, but if one does seriously violate it or twist it out of true, it is easy to live and to die in mortal sin, a state in which no soul can be saved. Again, the “good Protestant” may plead ignorance of the fullness of God’s law as Catholics can know it, but is his ignorance truly “invincible,” i.e. innocent? For instance, did he really not know, or did he actually want not to know, that artificial means of birth control are seriously displeasing to God?

God knows. God judges. May he have mercy upon all “good Protestants,” and upon all of us.

Kyrie eleison.

Psalmist’s Perspective

Psalmist’s Perspective posted in Eleison Comments on January 2, 2010

Another year begins. What does it bring? If a global disaster in finance and economics is on its way, it has certainly not yet hit with full force. Will it hit in 2010? In any case it will draw closer. As the pressure mounts, it will become more and more important to see in that pressure the hand of God and not just the machinations of men. Here, with comments for the 21st century, is one of the 150 Psalms to help us see things as a soul close to God sees them. Psalm 27 has only nine verses:—! “Unto thee will I cry, O Lord” (and not to the media or governments): “O my God, be not thou silent to me: lest if thou be silent to me, I become like them that go down into the pit”

A powerful soft current is pulling all souls today towards the pit of eternal hellfire. God can easily help me, and he longs to do so, but I must turn to him and beg his help. The Psalmist will beg –

2 “Hear, O Lord, the voice of my supplication, when I pray to thee; when I lift up my hands to thy holy temple.

3 Draw me not away together with the wicked; and with the workers of iniquity destroy me not: who speak peace with their neighbour, but evils are in their hearts.”

The Psalmist is not a silly soft liberal who pretends that all men are nice and mean well. He knows that in many sweet-talking men God has wicked enemies who are powerful enough to have set up a whole environment, such as we have in 2010, that threatens to drag him down to Hell (verse 1). To deal with them, it is to God that the Psalmist will turn –

4 “Give them according to their works, and according to the wickedness of their inventions. According to the works of their hands give thou to them: render to them their reward.

5 Because they have not understood the works of the Lord, and the operations of his hands: thou shalt destroy them and not build them up.”

We need never worry that God will not deal with his (and our) enemies, even in our 21st century, when they may seem to have triumphed. They do not deceive him, nor will they escape him. What is more, God certainly looks after souls that turn to him –

6 “Blessed be the Lord, for he hath heard the voice of my supplication.

7 The Lord is my helper: in him hath my heart confided, and I have been helped. And my flesh hath flourished again, and with my will I will give praise to him.”

Note that the Psalmist is neither an idiotic angelist, pretending he is too perfect to have bodily interests – God has looked after him, “heart” and “flesh.” Nor is he a self-centred individualist, as is shown by his prayer for all of God’s people –

8 “The Lord is the strength of his people, and the protector of the salvation of his anointed (meaning, ever since the death of Our Lord upon the Cross, souls anointed with the Catholic sacraments). 9 “Save, O Lord, thy people, and bless thy inheritance: and rule them and exalt them for ever.”

Today we would say, save, O Lord, thy Catholic Church.

Kyrie eleison.