Saturday, April 19, 2014

In Defense Of An Ordination

   To be quite honest, I don't enjoy getting involved with needless controversy within Traditionalist Catholicism. Remember well the words of Galatians 6:10, "As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith." I especially abhor those with an ax to grind against good clerics. However, times will arise when we must make our Catholic way the best we can with no Magisterium in place during this time of near universal apostasy.

     After putting to rest the unsubstantiated accusations and fallacious reasoning of the boors at the blog Pistrina Liturgica regarding the ordination of Bp.Daniel Dolan, I never thought I would revisit the case of an ordination called into question again. A reader of this blog has recently moved to Cincinnati and wants to attend Immaculate Conception Church run by the Society of St. Pius V (SSPV).  The Church is run by Frs. William Jenkins and Joseph Greenwell. This person does not feel comfortable receiving the sacraments from Fr. Greenwell due to an article written circa 2006 by Fr. Anthony Cekada (for whom I have the greatest respect and admiration). The article, "Bishop Mendez and the 1990 SSPV Ordinations," takes the very serious step of calling into question the validity of the ordination of SSPV Frs. Paul Baumberger and Joseph Greenwell by Bishop Alfred Mendez. I had remarked on another site that I did not believe this to be the case, and the reader of my blog asked if I would write a post explaining my reasons.

   Some preliminary remarks are in order:

  1. I am not a theologian, nor have I ever claimed to be such
  2. I am not beholden to any Traditionalist order or priest, especially those with a "follow me or die" mentality
  3. I'm expressing an opinion which is my own on a matter that is not of Faith, and I would never expect anyone else to hold it because of any authority on my part. I have no authority, and if you agree with me fine, if not, that's OK too.   
  4. I hold no animosity against any of the clerics mentioned herein.
  5. Some remarks which are aimed at Traditionalist priests are not done with malice; we cannot fall into the trap of treating them as those endowed with Magisterial authority--and worse, treat them as above any/all reproach. Many did just that in the 1950s and it enabled the heretics and perverts to take over at the parish level easily with nary a whimper of protest    
  With all that in mind, I do consider the ordinations of Frs. Greenwell and Baumberger to have been valid. I recommend to all reading this to first read Fr.Cekada's article referenced above at In this way I need not rehash any background information, but may proceed directly to the crux of the issue.

The arguments of Fr. Cekada boil down to these:
  • There was a change to one of the words of the essential form ("quaesumus") by Bp. Mendez, thereby substantially altering and invalidating the rite
  • There were conflicting reports as to mode of pronunciation, number of times the form was pronounced, the grammatical number, and which ritual book was used.
   The SSPV holds to two opinions which I do not share: the invalidity of the Thuc consecrations, and the necessity of using two hands as the matter of the sacrament in the ordination of priests and consecration of bishops (no, Deo gratias, they have nothing to do with the boors at Pistrina Liturgica). Traditionalist priests and bishops can be quite intransigent when it comes to changing an opinion, admitting an error in judgement, and bickering among themselves. Bp. Kelly, a good and holy bishop, is overly zealous when it comes to the sacraments. He has a misguided notion as to what constitutes a "qualified witness" and the SSPV actually cast doubt on the episcopal consecration of Richard Williamson because they couldn't clearly see on the video if Archbishop Lefebvre placed BOTH hands on his head. (When I asked an SSPV priest, "Even if it was one hand, what about the co-consecrator, Bp. Antonio Castro Mayer? He's not to be found on the tape, and he's supposed to use two hands, right?" He quickly changed the subject).  I mention this because scrupulosity will play a role in the instant case. 

 As to the first argument of Fr. Cekada, the word "quaesumus" (part of the form defined by Pope Pius XII) was pronounced as "quae" "sumus" due to a hypenation that occured because the word began on one line and continued on the next. If the word was made into two words, it changes the meaning of form substantially, thereby invalidating it. Bp. Kelly admits to hearing a separation of syllables in his book The Sacred and the Profane (pgs.210-212, hereinafter SP)

Assuming, ad arguendo, that a separation of syllables was made, does that ipso facto render the sacrament null and void? According to theologians McHugh and Callan, Moral Theology Vol.2, #2655: 

"Rules on the Invalid Use of the matter Form of the Sacraments. (b) Since the matter and form are parts of a single composite sign, it is sacrilegious to invalidate a Sacrament by substantial separations, which destroy
the continuity or unity of signification.There is a substantial separation within the form when such long
intervals occur between the pronunciation of its syllables or words that it is not in common estimation
a united sentence or proposition; for example, if the celebrant says, "Hoc est cor -," then sneezes two or
three times, and (instead of repeating the words) concludes "-pus meum," or says "Hoc est. corpus" and
after an interruption of several minutes (instead of repeating) finishes with: "meum." "

   "Long intervals," it says. The separation of syllables startled Bp.Kelly because by his own admission in  SP, he was "being too careful." Fr. Jenkins, and Bp. Mendez said everything was pronounced correctly. Fr. Zapp had no problem with the ordination for over two years! Apparently, he thought everything was said correctly as well. It reminds me of several clerics who brought up a "problem" with Bp. Dolan's priestly ordination fourteen (yes, that's 14) YEARS after working with him and the "problem" was allegedly apparent from the start! If there was a separation, it appears to have been only slight and therefore not a substantial change. 

 Moreover, according to theologian Jone, Moral Theology, # 446: 

"b) Separations of individual words and syllables  constitutes a substantial change if the interval is
long enough to alter the meaning of the sentence. Thus, the form remains valid if one says" Ego te
baptizo," coughs and then completes the form. Similarly, if one interrupts the form by some
incidental remark, as" Turn the page," "Keep quiet,""This water is too cold." The formula of absolution is
likewise valid if the confessor, after saying: " Ego te absolvo," notices the penitent leaving the
confessional and says: "Come back! Always wait till the priest finishes! -a peccatis tuis." 
The form is invalid if interrupted for several minutes, e.g., after saying: " Hoc est enim corpus,"
one has a coughing spell, after which he should add "meum." If individual syllables are separated a shorter
interruption makes the form at least doubtfully valid; thus, if after saying" Hocest enim cor- " one 
should sneeze several times and then conclude "pus meum." In such cases the word begun should be
repeated. c) In judging whether a form has been altered substantially or only accidentally one must consider
whether the minister acted inadvertently, ie., mispronounced the form by mistake or whether he
intended to give the form a different meaning." (Emphasis mine). 

   Please notice that it is shown, in both of these references, that to render a sacrament invalid or
doubtful the "pause" or "interruption" must be more than just a brief one and according to Jone: "one must
consider whether the minister acted inadvertently,ie., mispronounced the form by mistake or whether he
intended to give the form a different meaning." Is there a doubt that Bishop Mendez didn't have the
intention to ordain? Even Fr. Cekada's own citation to theologian Halligan clearly says, "Substantial alteration may also be risked by faulty articulation or by clipping words through haste. In practice, where a complete word is de facto interrupted through a pause between syllables, it is advisable to repeat the word, unless the interruption is extremely slight." (The Administration of the Sacraments pg. 16; Emphasis mine). The interruption was slight enough that Fr. Zapp had no worries, Fr. Jenkins had no worries, nor the Bishop himself. Bp (then Fr) Kelly did, but this comes from someone who looks though video tapes looking for two handed consecrations. In other words, it disturbed him because he was guilty of scrupulosity. 

    What about the second argument of Fr.Cekada, the various conflicting reports? Since I see no merit to the mispronunciation in the first place, and personally spoke with one of the priests who was there, I'm satisfied that I don't need to reach the merits of the attempts (in my opinion) to save face by the SSPV due to an ordination that was done in private and a mistake (albeit non-invalidating) on the part of those who like to admit none. Maybe there was a third recitation of the form, but I'm satisfied with the first two anyway. This much is known:
  1. The ordination by Bp. Mendez took place; he would know best if the form was singular or plural, and if the form was pronounced correctly
  2. The separation of syllables was slight enough not to worry even a later detractor (Fr. Zapp)
  3. Bp. Kelly is know to be overly zealous, so even the briefest pause would give him concern
  4. Bp. Mendez had the intention to ordain, and this coupled with a brief pause does not constitute a substantial change 
 For the foregoing reasons, I'm satisfied with the validity of the ordinations of Frs. Baumberger and Greenwell. On a personal note, I believe (with no external evidence) that if any of the SSPV clergy had doubts, they would have performed a conditional ordination in secret with Bp. Kelly or Bp. Santay to avoid the scandal of disturbing the peace of mind of the faithful. Also on a personal note, I'm glad Fr. Greenwell is no longer on Long Island. Validity aside, the joke was that if your arrived  five minutes late when he was offering Mass, he'd be at the Last Gospel. One of the bishops should speak to him about the slovenly and rushed way he offers Mass. He also is the ONLY SSPV priest who refused to answer if he used the name of the Antipope in the Canon. "It's MY Mass" was his response. No, Father, the Mass belongs to the Church, in whose name you offer it--in persona Christi ("in the person of Christ" for validity) and in persona Ecclesiae ("in the person of the Church" for efficacy). We faithful have a RIGHT to know if the name of an Antipope is inserted in a Mass we attend. The Mass is not your personal possession. Contrast this with the devotion and love with which Fr. Baumberger offers the Holy Sacrifice and edifies the faithful. 

   To my inquisitive reader,  I suggest you go to Mass without fear of invalidity, but attend with Fr. Jenkins whenever possible. To all Traditionalist priests and faithful out there, let's be more discreet and charitable with each other whenever possible. The real enemy is Bergoglio and his ecumenical Vatican II sect monstrosity. Let's save our energy, whenever possible, so we can better fight him. 


  1. Thank you very much! This is what I was looking for.
    I greatly appreciate it.

    God Bless

  2. What, you don't subscribe to any party lines?

    But then how are you "Catholic", which means universal? We have a problem here: 1) if one is Catholic, one's part of a group and 2) if one is not Catholic, one may be a part of warring sects. I am not exempt from this problem.

    "I am not beholden to any Traditionalist order or priest, especially those with a 'follow me or die' mentality". Catholicism is a follow me or perish mentality. I think this is basically a problem all "traditionalists" are struggling with: either my belief is universal/Catholic, and everyone I know must take it on as well, or it is just an opinion - but then how can I have confidence in it really for anyone, let alone myself?

    Now, as regards your article: why the hate for Pistrania Liturgica? They grind an axe without mercy, but there's truth in what they say. It's like a check/balance on the unchecked sedevacantist Wild Wild West of the SGG/Sanborn/Seminary group. Unfortunately this goes back to my original comment, but in the absence of authority and conflicting reports we almost become a law unto ourselves out of necessity. People talk about, "this is mortal sin, that is mortal sin" until everything is mortal sin and you can do nothing, but even that is suicidally a mortal sin. Anyway, what's my point and the way out of this conundrum? We need to get more teams and groups of people together - this is a very confusing historical Catholic situation. While heresy is to be shunned and refuted, it must be done correctly and charitably - a "hardened heretic" might become a friend and supporter in the future - why the need for such a divisive attitude? I get the impression some trads are divisive just to be divisive. The "over-reaction" to the false unity of Vatican 2 has been a hyper-dividedness held up as virtue. But, just as Vatican 2 has false "dialogue" of trying to talk as though there is no division, there is also the false silence of traditionalists. There is a productive dialogue of talking through misunderstandings until there is a solution or agreement agreed upon. The danger of hardened divisiveness is that out of pride or policy, the longer someone goes on with a mistake, the harder it is to admit the mistake.

    Say the SSPV tomorrow recognizes the Thuc consecrations. Many people might say, "we told you so! Look at the harm you did!" This is not the spirit of forgiveness, and the anticipation of such a reaction maintains the status quo of their divided policy.

  3. Strategically, the traditionalists look like a complete joke to the world. Even potential converts in my city, where there isn't a chapel for 2 hours' drive, they're just going to look at sedevacantism as a half-baked idea. And it is still half-baked. There is no kind of network set-up, even a decentralized one, that unambiguously claims to be the Catholic Church. There is a lack of faith that moves mountains to restore the Church. There is no centralized place to send potential converts, online or in person, to get information on how to convert. There are all these random scattered chapels, some even off of the Traditio network that I hear of. Stay at home sedevacantists aren't setting up prayer sites. The whole thing looks dismal, but there is no room really for despair but a change in heart and mind. Literally almost anyone a sedevacantist talks to can be a potential convert because virtually no one is sedevacantist. We need to develop a whole "package deal" of Catholic Action to create a sedevacantist world. Objections and replies to them need to be compiled like as the form of the Summa Theologica is.

    My email is if you'd like to get in contact, it is a throw away email and you can delete these two comments if you wish.

    True unity is possible, against the false Vatican 2 unity and against false hyper-traditioanlist division. We are committed to objective truth, and that means that not all positions can be correct. We must be humble and admit that our position may not be correct, and must question it until we find a firm position. There are other problematic positions which I hope to refute like sedeprivationism, which "locks up" the papacy, and is possibly schismatic against sedevacantism? There are all these floating opinions which should be corralled together and sustematically 1) prayed for answers on and 2) work together towards answers. God will give them to us. We should be merciful towards one another more. Jesus assures us that if we ask we will receive. We need to urge prayers for unity, even by way of miracles and/or angelic/divine intervention. Isn't the crisis we face demanding of such a need?

    Thank you for your writing, I enjoy reading it!

  4. I agree with much of what my reader above has posted. However, a few clarifications are in order.

    1. I don't know that, in the absence of a pope, we can arrive at the truth in the application of agreed upon principles. We may know what is needed for a valid ordination, but as problems arise there is no one to whom we can appeal for a final binding judgement.
    I hope we can agree upon much more through prayer and cooperation. Pride must give way to concern for the Church, and having a more united front, if and until God grants us another True Pope to succeed Pope Pius XII

    2. There are theological opinions where we can be united yet disagree. Pope Pius XII purposely avoided in his definition on the Assumption as to whether or not Mary died before going to Heaven. The words he employed are "...when the course of Her earthly life had ended..." Some theologians taught she died but was resurrected prior to the first instant of bodily corruption. Others hold that Mary was exempt from death, as she was exempt from Original Sin and redeemed in a special manner. You can hold to either opinion without being a heretic.

    3. Pistrina Liturgica serves no purpose. They have grudges against clerics with whom they disagree, and calumniate them at every turn. Their blog is a masterpiece of sophistry as they employ so many fallacies a philosophy professor could use their writing as an example of "How NOT to argue." Case in point: Calling Bp. Dolan "One Hand Dan" they have never even come close to proving a one-handed ordination ever took place! Their evidence would never hold up in court--not even by a preponderance--let alone "clear and convincing" evidence, or evidence "beyond a reasonable doubt."

  5. Thank you very much for this very interesting analysis. I'm curious what you think about the question of the singular/plural problem in section IV of the article. You mentioned that only in passing, but it seems to be another element of doubt being introduced.

  6. As I understand it, Bishop Kelly explained that he inserted the wrong page of the ritual in the Sacred and the Profane. Most assuring to me is that Fr. Jenkins, who knows Latin quite well, has sworn to the fact that the plural was used. Bottom line: I don't think the singular was used due to the knowledge of both Fr. Jenkins and the bishop himself, who would still know plural from singular from his pre-Vatican II training. I'm further convinced that the SSPV will never admit a mistake (invalidating or not). Nor will most other Traditionalist groups. Fear of "scaring people away" if we admit any mistake coupled with pride, is a big problem with many clerics. Yet, these true clergymen would not subject their congregations to dubious sacraments. I know them, and believe that, should a real problem have presented itself, Bp. Kelly or Bp. Santay would have rectified the problem in private with a conditional ordination. They would never say as much as they would not want to disturb the peace of conscience their members enjoy.

  7. My priest is a Thuc line bishop and I see no problem with his holy orders.Archbisop Thuc was concecrated during the Reign of Pius XI.

  8. Why can't these men stop bickering,arguing, gossiping,and cross concecrate each other?If this happens,we have a coherent somewhat united true catholic church.The solution is so simple but it seems pride,arrogance,and a quest for power (i.e. Satan) are preventing this from happening.

  9. Our Lord hanging on the cross, bore these marks - even as His Mystical Body bears them now:
    He was virtually unrecognizable - bloody and severely beaten. His arms were dislocated. He was delirious (in a sense) due to excessive loss of blood, loss of sleep, and unimaginable pain. He was rejected and derided by the Jewish leaders - and general populous. He was condemned by a Council.

    How does this relate to the "traditionalist" Catholic rejecting Vatican II? It should appear self-evident. Traditionalists are dislocated - incapable of being united - but essentially of the same ("Catholic and Apostolic") faith.

    So what's next? The next phase is the taking down of His (mystical) Body from the cross - and laid in the dark tomb, when the remnant faithful return to the proverbial catacombs, i.e. the Church goes underground according to tradition, saints and mystics.

    The Gospel has effectively been "preached to all nations" - via Mel Gibson's movie "The Passion of the Christ" - one of the signs of the end times. Sacred Scripture says "will be preached" - not "has" been preached. The gospel had been effectively preached to all nations by 1962, but that was not a "sign", it was a consequence of history. Gibson's movie was a "sign".

    The Abomination of Desolation standing in the holy place is the Novus Ordo anti-eucharist / anti-sacrament, which is in its essence an "abomination" being the highest of sacrilegious act.

    The Novus Ordo mass is not "neutral" in its being, it is in fact a powerful satanic rite ("get thee behind Me satan") inasmuch as it is metaphysically of higher form than a mere mockery of Christ and His mass - which helps explain why there is such a proliferation of evil and escalation of evil since 1968.

  10. When Paul VI said "The smoke of Satan has entered the church", it was not in dismay, but rather chillingly the opposite, it was a battle cry - letting the Modernists, Masons, and others know that the "job had been done".

    "Wheresoever the body is, there the eagles will gather" - and so we see the faithful, represented by the eagles (which soar on the wind - i.e. Holy Spirit - and which only feed their young live food - flesh meat) - gathering together wherever there is a valid mass - this being another sign of the end times.
    It all adds up.

    The Church can survive without a pope, but not without the Faith. Without the Faith, there is effectively no Church. The Novus Ordo as a "faith" is not the Catholic faith with a few heresies and perversions, it is an entirely new faith. Those who remain Catholic in belief cannot practice it in the Novus Ordo. The Novus Ordo mass is not Catholic, it is not neutral, it is an anti-mass. The SSPX and others who are deceived into believing the Novus Ordo is the "Church", simply fail to recognize the true "nature" of the Novus Ordo mass and the Novus Ordo as a religion.

    There have been 44 antipopes in history (not including Novus Ordo popes) - 1/5th of the papal history of the Church. However, there has never been an anti-mass, an abomination that makes desolate, which any or all of those 44 anti-popes forced upon the faithful.

    Since a true pope is protected from universal error in matters of faith and morals, and since the Novus Ordo mass is 100% contrary to faith, the divine law, and the moral law, the "popes" of the Post Conciliar church prove by their enforcement of the Novus Ordo Missae, that they are anti-popes - of their Novus "new" religion.

    Do we "recognize and resist" an anti-pope as pope? In the practical order, it is worse to recognize and follow with resistance a non-pope than to reject a non-pope outright. The proof in this is the destruction of the faith of even traditionalist Catholics who border on being schismatic by even believing they can pick and choose what is to be believed or not which comes out of the Vatican. That is not "Catholic".

  11. We can't have a 'centralized meeting point' with the remnant catholic church.If that were to happen,more infiltrators would become parishioners and priest's.It would be a repeat of the post 1951 Era of the Catholic church.
    We are being punished and as a result,we must work and worship in hidden small places.