Validity of The Ordination and Consecration of Pope Michael

Origin of Holy Orders

Jesus Christ consecrated Saint Peter a bishop. Saint Peter in turn consecrated the other Apostles as Bishop, who in turn consecrated other men. And these lines continue to this day and will continue until the end of time.

Saint Irenaeus says: “Since, however, it would be very tedious, in such a volume as this, to reckon up the successions of all the Churches, we do put to confusion all those who, in whatever manner, whether by an evil self-pleasing, by vainglory, or by blindness and perverse opinion, assemble in unauthorized meetings; [we do this, I say,] by indicating that tradition derived from the apostles, of the very great, the very ancient, and universally known Church founded and organized at Rome by the two most glorious apostles, Peter and Paul; as also [by pointing out] the faith preached to men, which comes down to our time by means of the successions of the bishops. For it is a matter of necessity that every Church should agree with this Church, on account of its preeminent authority, that is, the faithful everywhere, inasmuch as the tradition has been preserved continuously by those [faithful men] who exist everywhere.”

And so, we all trace our Orders to the Vicar of Jesus Christ. But note well, that this is a unique Apostolic Succession. For instance, Pope Pius XI did not consecrate Pope Pius XII. Saint Irenaeus is pointing to a more important property of Apostolicity, that of succession to authority and mission to which the Order of Bishop is attached.

A faithful saying: if a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. (I Timothy 3:1)

The episcopate is an office to which an order is attached. A Bishop receives his authority by canonical appointment to the Office of Bishop of some diocese. The Pope receives his office by election, when the office is vacant.

My people have been silent, because they had no knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will reject thee, that thou shalt not do the office of priesthood to me: and thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I also will forget thy children. (Osee 4:6)

And one can see that the Office of priesthood can be lost.

Lines of Validity

Valid sacraments can exist outside of the Catholic Church. For instance, we studied in catechism that anyone can validly baptize, even a pagan. As for the other Sacraments, except marriage, the minister must possess Holy Orders. In the case of ordination and consecration, the minister must be a validly consecrated Bishop. And there are several lines, which have come into existence by Bishops abandoning the Catholic Faith and falling into schism and in many cases heresy. And yet, they can validly ordain and consecrated, provided they observe the proper matter and form with the proper intention. We shall consider this in more detail in a moment.

Orthodox

The first line has been in existence for almost a millennium, and this is the Orthodox. The first main split from the Catholic Church came in 1054. Others have occurred since. Some groups of Orthodox have been received back into the Church, and the Catholic Church holds their Orders to be valid.

Old Catholics

This is actually two groups. The first is based in Utrecht in the Netherlands. They went into schism in the 1720’s, consecrating bishops for their Church. A second group left the Catholic Church over the doctrine of infallibility in 1870, and they derived their orders from the first Old Catholics. These bishops consecrated others, and eventually bishops all over the world have descended from the first illegitimate consecration in 1724.

Bishop Charles Duarte-Costa

On July 2, 1945, Bishop Duarte-Costa was excommunicated for disobedience and proceeded to found the Brazilian Apostolic Catholic Church and to ordain priests for his new church. He eventually consecrated bishops, who in turn consecrated others. As with the Old Catholics, these lines have spread throughout the world. It is common for a bishop to have two or all three of these lines, for normally three bishops consecrate another bishop, although consecration of one bishop by another is valid.

Conciliar Church

Ordinations and consecration performed in the New Rite of Ordination are at best doubtful and most likely certainly invalid, so these men are not priests and bishops.

Thucites

(Arch)Bishop Peter Martin Ngo-Dinh Thuc is an interesting character. He has consecrated a number of bishops. He consecrated some independent priests, usually Old Catholics as bishop. However, he is most notable for two sets of bishops.

The first set of bishops stem from his ordination and consecration of Clemente Dominguez in early 1976 for Archbishop Lefebvre. Many bishops trace their lineage back to this consecration. Clemente proclaimed himself pope and founded the Palmarian Catholic Church. He also revised the Rite of ordination, which may render it invalid. However, some of his first bishops have separated from Clemente and retain a valid Rite of ordination. One of the bishops descended from him ordained Sinead O’Connor, a woman, as priest.

The second set of bishops, common called the Thuc Bishops, descend from two consecrations in 1981. The first is that of Father Guerard des Lauriers, a former professor under Archbishop Lefebvre at Econe. The second consecration was that of Fathers Moises Carmona and Aldolpho Zamora. In turn these bishops have consecrated other bishops.

Lefebvrites

On June 30, 1988, Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre and Bishop Antonio de Castro Meyer consecrated four priests of Lefebvre’s Apostles of Jesus and Mary, known under its public title as the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Pius X. Both Lefebvre and de Castro Meyer had participated in Vatican II and accepted some of the more minor heresies of that Council. They also recognized the claimants to the papacy of the Conciliar Church, namely Paul VI, John Paul I and John Paul II were valid Popes, which makes them technically schismatics.

St. Cyprian “”To adhere to a false Bishop of Rome is to be out of communion with the Church.”

Three of these bishops in turn consecrated Bishop Rangel for the priests that were under Bishop de Castro Meyer. Bishop Rangel has reunited with the Conciliar Church. Bishop Williamson has consecrated two other bishops.

Why Consider the Traditionalists With the Other Lines

Basically there is no difference between the Traditionalists and the Old Catholics and even the Orthodox. All are outside of the Catholic Church, although all claim to be in Jesus Christ’s Church. All of these ordinations are illegitimate, but all of these lines are valid. And with a few exceptions, all accept the validity of the other lines and their Sacraments in word and in practice.

One of the exceptions is Bishop Clarence Kelly of the Society of Saint Pius V. He was ordained by Archbishop Lefebvre and consecrated by a Conciliar Bishop, Bishop Alfred Mendez, who was consecrated bishop in 1960. He doubts the validity of the Thuc Line Bishops. Others have also doubted these bishops. Still others doubt the validity of Archbishop Lefebvre’s ordination and consecration by Bishop (later Cardinal) Lienart, because of his alleged high level membership in the Freemasons.

Archbishop Lefebvre accepted the validity of the Old Catholics and even announced in 1978 an Old Catholic bishop, Georg Schmitz as is successor bishop.

Bishop Slupski, whose consecration descends from Bishop des Lauriers through Bishop McKenna, consecrated a priest, who had been ordained by a line that broke away from the authority of Clemente, Bishop Neal Webster.

Are These Ordinations Valid?

Validity of the Thuc Consecrations

Father Anthony Cekada, who was ordained by Archbishop Lefebvre and now works with two Thuc Bishops wrote an article on this question. Let us consider a short part of his article:

On the other hand, to perform an episcopal consecration validly takes about 15 seconds.

This is about the length of time it takes a bishop to impose his hands on a priest’s head and recite the 16-word formula the Church requires for validity.

Once you’re certain of the fact that a real bishop performed a consecration using a Catholic rite, is it then necessary to prove positively that the bishop did not omit one of these essential elements during the ceremony?

No. The mere fact that a bishop used a Catholic rite is of itself sufficient evidence for validity, which thereafter requires no further proof. Validity becomes a “given,” which can only be disproved. And this can only be achieved by demonstrating that one of the ingredients essential to validity was either absent (or probably absent) when the ceremony was performed.

In another article, The problem of untrained clergy in the traditionalist movement, Father Cekada writes:

I HAVE AMPLY demonstrated elsewhere that canonists, moral theologians and various church decrees conceded a general presumption of validity to ordinations and episcopal consecrations conferred by Catholic bishops, Orthodox bishops and schismatic Old Catholic bishops in certain countries.

These authorities take it for granted that all such bishops follow the rites prescribed in their respective liturgical books, and thus employ the essential matter (imposition of hands) and form (formula proper to each order) required for the validity of an ordination.

But how far does this presumption extend? Does it extend even to orders conferred by an underworld traditionalist bishop of the type mentioned at the beginning of this article someone canonically unfit for the priesthood himself, lacking a proper ecclesiastical education, summarily ordained a priest, and raised to the episcopate, perhaps by a bishop equally ignorant and canonically unfit?

I doubt that any Roman canonist explored such an issue in a pre-Vatican II canon law manual Holy Orders conferred by, say, a chicken farmer-bishop 1 untrained in Latin and theology.

The principle to be applied, nevertheless, is clear enough: Unless someone has received proper training, no presumption of validity is accorded to the sacraments he confers, because he may not know enough to confer them validly.

Is Father Cekada’s position correct? Let us look at some statements on this.

Ecclesiastical Writers

Pope Leo XIII

Apostolicae Curae: “. . . Whenever there is no appearance of simulation on the part of the minister, the validity of the sacrament is sufficiently certain . . .”

Theologians

According to theologian Gasparri, a bishop is never presumed to have a positive contrary intention unless proven by those who assert such. “In performing an ordination the minister is never presumed to have such an intention of not ordaining, as long as the contrary would not be proved. For no one is presumed evil unless he is proven as such, and an act — especially one as solemn as an ordination — must be regarded as valid, as long as invalidity would not be clearly demonstrated.” (Gasparri, Tractatus de Sacra Ordinatione [Paris: Delhomme 1893], 1:970–Emphasis mine).

“In our days, certain Anglicans have gone to Holland to be ordained by the Jansenist [Old Catholic] bishop, which ordination is almost certainly valid…” Synopsis Theologiae Dogmaticae, Tanquerey, Vol. II, 1905, p. 618.

“Every validly consecrated bishop, including heretical, schismatic, simonistic, or excommunicated bishops, can validly dispense the Sacrament of Order, provided that he has the requisite intention, and follows the essential external rite (set. Certa). Cf. D 855, 860; CIC 2372.” Dr. Ludwig Ott,(1952), Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma. p. 456.

The theologian Leeming says this passage recapitulates the teachings of previous theologians who “…all agreed that the outward decorous performance of the rites sets up a presumption that the right intention exists.… The minister of a sacrament is presumed to intend what the rite means… This principle is affirmed as certain theological doctrine, taught by the Church, to deny which would be at least theologically rash.” (Leeming, Principles of Sacramental Theology [Westminster MD: Newman 1956], 476, 482.)

Prummer, Handbook of Moral Theology, 1957, page 383: “The ordinary minister is every consecrated bishop and no one else (Council of Trent, Session 23, Canon 7). Therefore even a schismatic bishop, or one who has been degraded or one who has been declared irregular, etc. may ordain validly, provided that his own consecration was valid and that he uses the essential matter and form.”

Canonists

“When the fact of ordination is duly established, the validity of the orders conferred is naturally to be presumed.” (See W. Doheny, Canonical Procedure in Matrimonial Cases [Milwaukee: Bruce 1942] 2:72.)

Woywod-Smith, A Practical Commentary on the Code of Canon Law, volume 1, pages 558-9, 1948, commenting on Canon 951: A validly consecrated bishop can validly confer all orders from the minor orders to the episcopate inclusively, though he be a heretic, schismatic, or deposed or degraded from the Episcopal dignity, for he nevertheless retains the episcopal character in virtue of which he an validly ordain, provided he observes the essential of the form of ordination and has the intention to do what the Church does in performing the sacred ordination rites. For this reason the ordinations performed by the schismatic (Orthodox) bishops of the Greek Church, by the Jansenist bishops in Holland, and by the Old Catholics in Germany are considered valid.

The doctrine maintaining the validity of ordinations performed by the heretical and schismatic bishops is generally held by the Church. There have been instances in history where individual authorities did not adhere to this principle, but ordained men again who had received orders from heretical or schismatic bishops. The first instance of re-ordination of this kind is said to have taken place when John Scholasticus, Patriarch of Constantinople (564-578), ordered that a number of clerics who returned from heresy be deposed from the sacred orders received in heresy and be re-ordained in the same orders. There are also some Canons of the Council of Nicea (325) and the Synod of Constantinople (381) which seem to declare null and void the orders conferred by heretics, but they are explained by most canonists to the effect that the canonical and juridical consequences of such orders were not admitted by the Church, and that a certain rite of reconciliation had to take place before the men ordained by heretics were permitted to exercise the functions of their orders.

Precedent Cases

“December 22, 1919 — At Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, in NYC, in the presence of +Patrick Cardinal Hayes, the Prince-Bishop, after resigning as Metropolitan-Primate made submission to Rome with the understanding that his Episcopal character would be recognized and that he would be allowed to function as a Bishop. A condition of recognition was that he retire to a monastery and join an order, which he did.” 2

The Church operated a special seminary in Rome for English speaking men, who wished to be priests. This was reserved for late vocations and converts from other sects, such as the Anglicans and Old Catholics. They would train the men, and ordain them, if necessary. In the case of Old Catholics, they would merely permit them to again function as a priest at the end of their seminary training.

The Church has always recognized the validity of the Orthodox line, and some of the Old Catholics. There is no known case of someone from the Duarte-Costa line being reconciled with the Church prior to Vatican II. And obviously, there is no possibility of a precedent case where the Catholic Church has received anyone ordained or consecrated by the Lefebvrites or Thucites.

Concluding Thoughts on Validity

The Old Catholics and Duarte Costa lines are zealous to make sure that the Catholic Church accepts the validity of their Orders. And this protects us for ordinations and consecrations performed up until the 1970’s. More recently with the introduction of the New Rite of Ordination, one must be more careful. Some more modern groups have revised their Rites of Ordination or actually use the New Rite, because the Church that calls itself Catholic and still possess much of Catholic property will accept them.

Legitimacy of Orders

Canon Law is quite clear on the requirements for a legitimate ordination. In the case of tonsure, the minor orders and the major orders, including the priesthood, a man must be ordained by his own Bishop, that is in most cases, the Bishop of his diocese called the Local Ordinary. In the case of religious, such as Franciscans or Dominicans, their Ordinary is not usually a bishop. The Ordinary can delegate another bishop to ordain is his place. If a man presents himself for ordination to anyone else, his ordination is illegitimate.

In the case of the consecration of a bishop, the bishop to be consecrated must have a Papal Mandate from the Pope. If he does not, the bishop who is consecrated and the bishops consecrating him are all suspended by Canon Law. Pope Pius XII added an excommunication for consecrating a bishop without a Papal Mandate for all of the bishops involved. Some have argued that to incur this excommunication, one must be consecrating a bishop for a diocese and claiming ordinary jurisdiction. This argument appears sound. Since the Thuc and Lefebvre lines with one exception, do not claim ordinary authority in the Catholic Church, but that they are consecrating Sacramental Bishops, they argue they have not incurred the excommunication. However, they would incur the suspension, because it has been in Canon Law for quite some time.

In a footnote to an article on the validity of Liberal Catholic Orders 3 Fr. Rumble states: “It may be worth noting that a Catholic who lapses from the Church and receives orders from a schismatical bishop can be received back into the Church only on the understanding that such ordination, even if valid, will be complete disregarded.” He then cites a decree of the Holy Office from November 18, 1931: “Ecclesiam non habere neque unquam habituram esse oratorem tamquam ordinatum, eumque propterea nullis obligationis statui clericali annexis teneri.” “The Church does not have the habit of binding those so ordained to the obligations attached to the clerical state.” The current teaching is that this includes the right to marry, although canonists over a century ago held that those illegitimately ordained to major orders could not validly marry.

Basically all of the ordinations and consecrations of the Orthodox, Old Catholics, Lefebvrites, Thucites, etc. are illegitimate, but valid.

The Ordination and Consecration of Pope Michael

First of all anyone who receives of Office of Bishop has a right to be ordained and consecrated. This right is established in Canon Law, which derives from the Council of Trent on the matter. Trent obliged Bishops to receive consecration within a certain time limit. However, if this is not possible the time limit does not apply. The reason for this law was because some men had obtained the Office of Bishop, which has an income, but were not being consecrated and discharging their duties as Bishop of a Diocese.

As Pope, Pope Michael therefore had a right to ordination and consecration. It took over 21 years to be able to arrange the ordination and consecration.

Pope Pius XII stated in a speech: “If a layman were elected pope, he could accept the election only with the condition of being ready and willing to receive ordination; the capacity to teach and govern, as well as the charism of infallibility, would be granted to him as of the moment of its acceptance, even before his ordination.” 4 So the Pope exercised his authority as Pope prior to his ordination, as have other Popes in history. One thing the Pope can do is reconcile a priest or bishop with the Catholic Church, which he did in the case of the bishop who ordained him.

Investigation

Pope Michael and Bishop Robert had personal contact not only with the bishop that consecrated Bishop Robert, but also the bishop that had consecrated him. The latter bishop was consecrated by five bishops in an organization Bishop Robert is familiar with and knows to have valid holy orders. All was duly investigated in a manner in keeping with the provisions of Canon Law.

Lineages

There are two lineages to consider. The first is that to the Office of Bishop of Rome and that of Holy Orders. These shall be abbreviated.

Bishop of Rome

Simon Peter answered and said: Thou art Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answering, said to him: Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-Jona: because flesh and blood hath not revealed it to thee, but my Father who is in heaven. And I say to thee: That thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose upon earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven. (Matthew 16:16-19)

When therefore they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter: Simon son of John, lovest thou me more than these? He saith to him: Yea, Lord, thou knowest that I love thee. He saith to him: Feed my lambs. He saith to him again: Simon, son of John, lovest thou me? He saith to him: Yea, Lord, thou knowest that I love thee. He saith to him: Feed my lambs. [He said to him the third time: Simon, son of John, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved, because he had said to him the third time: Lovest thou me? And he said to him: Lord, thou knowest all things: thou knowest that I love thee. He said to him: Feed my sheep. (John 21:15-17)

Jesus appointed Peter as His Vicar on earth, and Peter established his See in Rome.

Peter was followed by Linus, who was followed by Anacletus, … who was followed by Pope Pius XII. After the papacy was usurped by Antipope John XXIII-II, a long interregnum occurred. Under the Natural Law, the Church assembled on July 16, 1990 and elected David Bawden, who took the papal name of Michael, and reigns to this day.

Lineage of Orders

Why Aren’t the Last Bishops to be Found on the Internet?

Some bishops and jurisdictions 5 do not publish online, preferring to keep their ministry on the local level. Other bishops have gone into retirement, and they have not consecrated another bishop who has an online presence. Pope Michael has had personal contact with several such bishops:

Bishop Webster, Thuc line.

Bishop Blassingame, Duarte-Costa

Bishop Michael, Duarte-Costa

Bishop Robinson, Old Catholic

Also there are other bishops, who are not online, but known to Pope Michael

Why Weren’t Three Bishops Employed in the Consecration of Pope Michael

First of all, no independent bishop, such as the Old Catholics, Duarte Costa, Thucite or Lefebvrite wish to truly submit to ecclesiastical authority or the Pope. Recall that three of the four went into schism immediately, the Old Catholics, Duarte Costa and the Lefebvrites. The Thucites began with the idea of ending the vacancy, which would give them justification for consecrating a bishop or two until such could be organized. However, when they abandoned the election of a Pope, they all went into schism, save Bishop Ngo-Dihn Thuc himself. We have no certainty about his intentions at the end of his life.

Another Pope was consecrated by only two bishops, being unable to find a third bishop to consecrate him, and this in Rome itself. The Church has always held that a single bishop can validly consecrate another. Three is the traditional requirement, that has some times been dispensed with.

Final Comment

Note these are only traced back to the Catholic Church or to a consecration certified as valid by the Church.

Duarte-Costa Lineage

Bishop Carlos Duarte Costa, a former Catholic bishop, consecrated on 08/15/1954 Bishop Emile Federico Fairfield Rodriguez y Durand

Bishop Rodriguez-Durand consecrated Bishop Schultz, Jr. on 05/18/1975

Bishop Schultz consecrated Bishop Bless on 4 January 1986

Bishop Bless on May 5, 2002, assisted by Bp. Gallo, Bp. Perez, Bp. Mathieu, and Bp. Baladad consecrated Bishop Parnell.

Bishop Parnell on January 20, 2003 consecrated Bishop Justice

Bishop Justice on November 11, 2011 consecrated Bishop Robert.

Bishop Robert consecrated Pope Michael on December 10, 2011

Old Catholic Lineage

Bishop Arnold Harris Mathew consecrated Bishop Willoughby on October 28, 1914

Bishop Willoughby consecrated Bishop Banks on July 9, 1922

Bishop Banks consecrated Bishop Cooper on June 22, 1924

Bishop Cooper consecrated Bishop Brearley on January 31, 1954

Bishop Brearly consecrated Bishop Barbeaus on May 14, 1968

Bishop Barbeau consecrated Bishop Curerri on July 30, 1977

Bishop Curerri consecrated Bishop Brennan on October 9, 1979

Bishop Brennan consecrated Bishop Bless on May 14, 1987

Bishop Bless on May 5, 2002, assisted by Bp. Gallo, Bp. Perez, Bp. Mathieu, and Bp. Baladad consecrated Bishop Parnell.

Bishop Parnell on January 20, 2003 consecrated Bishop Justice

Bishop Justice on November 11, 2011 consecrated Bishop Robert.

Bishop Robert consecrated Pope Michael on December 10, 2011

On November 21, 1912 Bishop Matthew consecrated the Prince Bishop Rudolph de Landas Berghes. “December 22, 1919 — At Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, in NYC, in the presence of +Patrick Cardinal Hayes, the Prince-Bishop Rudolph de Landas Berghes, after resigning as Metropolitan-Primate made submission to Rome with the understanding that his Episcopal character would be recognized and that he would be allowed to function as a Bishop. A condition of recognition was that he retire to a monastery and join an order, which he did.” 6 What this means is that the Catholic Church considers Bishop Matthew validly a consecrated bishop.

1 The chicken farmers were three Old Catholic priests, at least one of whom was also a bishop. They worked for a short time with the Society of Saint Pius X in Saint Marys, Kansas in 1978 after Archbishop Lefebvre had made his announcement of accepting an Old Catholic Bishop as his successor bishop for ordinations. They were called this, because they were running a chicken farm in Arkansas, but desired to function as Traditionalist priests with the SSPX.

2 http://torc.blogspot.com/2005/02/ppp-our-orc-historical-time-line.html

3 Homiletic and Pastoral Review March 1958, page 568

4 Six ans se sont, address to the World Congress for the Lay Apostolate, Oct. 5, 1957

5 Knowing that a bishop should have authority of jurisdiction, Old Catholics and Duarte-Costa bishops set up jurisdictions and then claim authority over them.

6 http://torc.blogspot.com/2005/02/ppp-our-orc-historical-time-line.html