Monday, August 17, 2015

To Counsel The Doubtful And Instruct The Ignorant

 Once more, my readers have informed me that the boors at the blogs Pistrina Liturgica (hereinafter "PL") and The Lay Pulpit (hereinafter "LP") are continuing their pathological quest to cast doubt upon the orders of Bp. Daniel  Dolan and, by extension, the priests he ordained. My interest in this matter is quite simple; I don't want any Traditionalist succumbing to the irrational fear that the sacraments received from Bp. Dolan (and his priests) are doubtful. PL and LP contend that Bp. Dolan's orders are dubious because of an alleged one-handed ordination by Abp. Lefebvre in 1976. For the background, please read my post of March 2, 2015, entitled "The Burden Of Proof." The owner of PL goes by the moniker "The Reader," and the owner of LP calls himself "The Watcher." Ironically, neither one can read with comprehension or watch out for major blunders in basic logic.

 Now, the "Watcher" has once again renewed his attack against both Bp. Dolan and myself in his post on LP called "Still A Moot Point" of 8/1/15.  In order to allay the fears these hate-filled calumniators may cause, I will lay out the claims he makes (as stated by his own writing) and definitively prove both LP and PL wrong. I will then address attacks on my character in the footnotes to that post.

I) Claim: We are not saying that Bp. Dolan's orders are invalid, we simply claim there was a doubt about that validity, and therefore he needs conditional re-ordination/consecration.

Response: The Church teaches that whenever a Catholic cleric sets out to perform a sacrament, it is presumed to have been done correctly and validly. The burden of proof (BOP) lies with those claiming that a defect occurred. (“When the fact of ordination is duly established, the validity of the orders conferred is naturally to be presumed.” (W. Doheny, Canonical Procedure in Matrimonial Cases [Milwaukee: Bruce 1942] 2:72.)).  PL and LP simply have not carried the BOP that the alleged "one-handed ordination" ever took place.

The simple "presence of doubt" does not, as LP thinks, overcome the presumption of validity and require anything to be done. You must now ask, "Is the doubt well founded (i.e. reasonable) or is it based on hearsay without credible evidence?" The mere existence of doubt does not require anything to be done. People can doubt anything except their own existence (you must exist in order to doubt your existence) and your immediate sense impressions (whether what you see is real, in a dream, or caused by aliens, the fact of the impressions themselves cannot be doubted). So in all other matters you must ask if the doubt is well founded. People doubt the moon landing took place, that the Earth is really round, and question if  Elvis really died. These are all doubts.Would any rational person believe them?

There was doubt about Abp. Lefebvre's validity because of an alleged "Masonic connection" of his ordaining and consecrating prelate. Yet they do not call upon all those whose orders derive from Abp. Lefebvre to get re-ordained/consecrated. Why not? Using THEIR invented principle, the fact that there was doubt should be enough for every clergyman ordained and/or consecrated by Lefebvre to get a conditional re-ordination/consecration. Since LP's hatred extends only to Bp. Dolan, he conveniently forgets that there was doubt as to the validity of the Lefebvre ordination (and subsequent consecration) as well. It matters neither in the case of Bp. Dolan or Abp. Lefebvre because unreasonable doubt existed. 

II) Claim: The letter of the nine SSPV priests prove there was a doubt about the validity of Bp. Dolan's ordination.

 It only shows the existence of "doubt" to the same degree and extent as the "doubt" about Abp. Lefebvre. Like the alleged "Masonic connection"  and "doubt" in the Abp. Lefebvre case, the letter of the nine priests does not show reasonable doubt because it:
  • has no magical significance because NINE (always capitalized or otherwise emphasized by PL and LP) priests saw nothing
  • never declares there were witnesses
  • never names even one witness
  • has one signatory who was a 12 year old kid living in Kentucky when the ordination took place
  • has one priest who redacted his name
  • has one signatory who was graduating high school in Colorado
  • is therefore SOLELY based on hearsay and conjecture
There is no reasonable doubt here. If I had a letter signed by nine priests declaring "The Watcher" guilty of a crime, and none of those priests saw anything or had any witnesses (or any other evidence), would you think him guilty? As a matter of fact even with STRONG evidence, you must presume him innocent until proven guilty! That is the presumption granted to us in American civil law. Likewise, in ecclesiastical law, the sacraments conferred by a Catholic cleric are presumed done correctly and validly until the opposite is proven. LP and PL have done nothing to carry that burden of proof.

 The fact that priests signed the letter, does not help their case either. "The Reader" had claimed the "charism" of the priesthood would not allow them to sign unless they were "morally certain."

  • How can anyone be morally certain of something they never saw and for which they have no witnesses--nor did they even claim   to have a witness?

  • If the "charism" of the priesthood would preserve them from signing the letter, can someone please explain why pre-Vatican II theologians, like Henry Davis, wrote about solicitation in the confessional? Solicitation for sex in confession is also listed as a canonical crime in canon 2368 of the 1917 Code of Canon Law. If the "charism of the priesthood" could prevent them from signing letters of which they are not morally certain, or other moral failures (another invented principle of PL/LP) why doesn't it prevent the more serious offense of solicitation? Answer: precisely because this "charism" is an invented theological premise. 
  • To the credit of the SSPV, they stopped harping on that letter years ago. Not so LP and PL, unfortunately.  

III) Claim: The fact is, that, except for these hard-core naysayers, virtually EVERYONE in Traddieland knows about Dannie’s defective ordination.  As Pistrina so rightly put it, “Everybody -- and we mean e-v-e-r-y-B-O-D-Y -- who counts in this matter knows what happened.”  These naysayers can wallow in their denial all they want, but the truth is, they know it too – and, again, they know that the vast majority of traddieland now believes Dannie’s orders to be defective, and that if it actually did “go to court,” they wouldn’t have a case. 

  •  If e-v-e-r-y-B-O-D-Y knows the one-hand ordination happened, why can't you name s-o-m-e-B-O-D-Y who witnessed it? Seems like a pretty simple task unless you're a liar! Isn't it remarkable that LP and PL have all these witnesses, and yet for "personal reasons," not even ONE will come forward with a signed and sworn declaration?!

  • "Secret witnesses" are no witnesses at all. If you were sitting on a jury, would you find someone guilty of a crime based on hearsay from nameless, faceless "witnesses" ? How do you know exactly what they are testifying to, or if they even exist? 

  • They now claim to have just found (!) a SSPX priest who witnessed the alleged one-handed ordination! This comes right after my post of March 2, 2015, showing they have no case. What a coincidence. This priest's name guessed it! He chooses to remain anonymous as well! If anyone seriously thinks this priest exists, please contact me via the comments; I have a bridge in Brooklyn I'd like to sell you.

  • Unless and until this case "goes to court" we must presume that the sacrament was done properly and validly without any worries. The presumption is on correct and valid administration unless/until invalidity is proven. LP hasn't even given rise to a reasonable doubt about the administration of the sacrament with one-hand--an administration both LP and Pl admit might not be defective even IF they carried their burden of proof.

IV) Claim: And we use that word “case” advisedly, for one of those commenters, one “Introibo ad Altare Dei,” is a lawyer.  And, as a lawyer, he knows full well that, until such a case actually does go to court, no priest is going to be a whistle-blower and “tell” on another priest.  It’s just not done.  And if that priest has not authorized Pistrina to divulge his name -- and he hasn’t – then he’s not about to reveal it himself.  So, “Introibo” can safely play his hypothetical “produce your witness” game, because he knows that Pistrina’s hands are tied – that they are not at liberty to divulge it

  • LP likes to trumpet the fact I'm a lawyer, which appellation has a negative connotation in many circles. Now, however, he's ascribing to me some strange ideas to which no sane person (or lawyer) would ever adhere. 

  • In a state of sedevacante, this rumor will never "go to court." Both PL and LP know this, which is why they don't have to worry about being called on the carpet.

  • No priest will be  a "whistle-blower" and "tell" on another priest? "It's just not done"? Really? Wasn't the letter of the nine priests "telling" on Dolan? They stated (with no proof) "you were ordained with one hand." 

  •  Do you mean to say that a priest who KNOWS a defect occurred in the rite of ordination of another priest has no moral duty to come forward and protect the souls of Catholics from dubious sacraments? "Lex animarum est suprema lex"--the salvation of souls is the supreme law! Where does this "duty not to tell"originate? Canon law? Moral theology? "The Watcher's" Book of Priestly Ethics

  •  LP's invented principle sounds appropriate for the V2 sect, since they do not believe in exposing ("telling") on pederasts.

V) Claim: Fr. Cekada wrote a monograph on the validity of ordination conferred with one hand. Why bother unless the one-handed ordination took place? 

  •  Explained many times before, Fr. Cekada in October of 1990 denied one hand was used and, unlike those nine who signed the letter, he was actually there as an eyewitness. Later, he wrote his monograph as a way to "argue in the alternative" i.e.,"even IF what you said were true (and I'm not saying it is), you would still be wrong and here's why,,"

VI) Claim:  It is also an accurate barometer of his intransigence, arrogance, and lack of good will.  If he were truly humble and wise, he would have taken that simple, EASY step; he would have seized such a providential opportunity to show that he was good and humble, and to show -- for once in his life -- some real good will.  But he didn’t.   Instead, he took the denial path, getting his sidekick, Tinhorn Tony, to cobble up his pathetically bungled monograph, with the hope that no one would check its accuracy.  But someone did; and the result is that most of Traddieland considers not only Dannie’s orders doubtful, but those of all whom he has “ordained” as well.

  •  As I've stated before on this subject, it is far from "prudent" to scandalize (unnecessarily) those good Traditionalists whom went to Bp. Dolan and his priests, thinking that perhaps the sacraments they received were null and void. It has nothing to do with a lack of humility and everything to do with good judgement not to "fix" something that was never "broken" in the first place!

  • "Most of 'traddieland' (i.e.,Traditionalists) consider Dannie's (Bp. Dolan) orders doubtful (and) those of all he has 'ordained' as well."  Most Traditionalist believe this to be the case? When did LP conduct the professional survey? More speculation and conjecture based on their hatred. 

  • Despite attempts to explain "We're not saying the ordinations are invalid"--that's exactly what they want you to believe to drive you away from the Churches run by Bp. Dolan and his priests. Claiming moral turpitude isn't enough; they can get everyone away from the cleric they hate because in the practical order there is no difference between a doubtful sacrament and an invalid one; you MUST stay away!
VI) Claim: (This is an attack against me in the notes to his post)  It is interesting to note that Pistrina’s original articles about Dannie’s one-handed orders dealt only with doubts about their validity.  These articles brought people like “Introibo” (and even Checkie himself, although he camouflaged himself as “anonymous”) out of their subterranean woodwork to go to bat for Dannie – all to no avail.   Pistrina successfully shot down each and every one of their arguments and objections.  Then, later on, when a Pistrina article mentioned a witness to Dannie’s defective ordination, “Introibo” – having “struck out” with his “validity” argument -- crawled out of the woodwork again to attack Pistrina from a new angle: that the witness does not exist.  But that doesn’t matter, because – again – it’s not necessary to the “doubt” argument.

  • The "doubt argument" is fallacious for the reasons I gave above. 
  • They know Fr. Cekada ("Checkie") commented
  • As to validity, I've hardly "struck out" with my arguments--but here's a new one that makes having sworn statements from witnesses so vital:

 With Sacramentum Ordinis (1947) of Pope Pius XII, His Holiness sought to define precisely the matter and form of the Sacrament of Holy Orders (deacon, priest, and bishop).  His objective was to make reception of the sacrament less subject to doubt not more so. 

 For the lawful administration of the sacrament, the bishop must always physically touch the head of the ordinand with his hands. When this contact is not had, a moral contact (tactus moralis) suffices for validity (See AAS, XL (1948), p.7, n. 6) According to theologian Clancy, "By 'moral contact' is meant an extension of the hand, apart from any bodily contact, above the head of the ordinand, but effected in such a manner that contact is virtually rather than actually accomplished...The fact that the Holy Father declared that a 'moral contact' suffices for validity is consistent with his intention that there be no occasions for doubts or scruples concerning the ordination. Therefore, the notion of 'moral contact' can be interpreted with some degree of latitude. Any lowering of the hand of the bishop above the head of a specific candidate in such a way as to leave no doubt as to the intention of the bishop in the minds of those standing about would suffice for the validity of the ordination...It is difficult to conceive of an error or mistake in the first and necessary imposition of hands which would nullify the sacramental effect or bring it into doubt. Here, as in the ordination of a deacon, physical contact with the head of the ordinand in the imposition of hands is required for the lawful administration of the sacrament. A moral contact, however, is sufficient for the validity of the ordination." (See Clancy, Walter The Rites and Ceremonies of Sacred Ordination CUA Press (1962), pgs. 68, 70--Emphasis mine--See also theologian Halligan, Nicholas The Administration of the Sacraments ,The Mercier Press (1962), pg. 395, fn # 39, "Physical contact is required, although moral contact suffices for validity.")

 Clancy goes on to state that in his opinion, one hand would suffice for validity, but recourse should be had to the Holy See. The point here is that for "one hand" to be used, Lefebvre would have had to have held his other hand at his side or below the head of the ordinand. If he made physical contact with one hand and held the other slightly over the head with no contact--both hands were used--one physically, the other morally. This would make it certainly valid! It's hard to imagine the archbishop ordaining several men correctly, and then leaving one hand by his side in the case of Dolan. As long as there was MORAL CONTACT there is no doubt. What exactly did those "witnesses" see? Did they (erroneously) believe both hands needed to physically touch the head? The letter of the nine priests doesn't help, nor do faceless, nameless "witnesses" who gave no written statement.

 Of course, LP and PL will NOW claim that one of their "international correspondents" or some other alleged "witness" plainly saw the other hand of the archbishop resting at his side. (Remember the bridge for sale in Brooklyn? Contact me if you believe that one!!)

VII) Final Claim: Another attack on me.  
lawyers all too often aren’t so much interested in finding the truth as they are in winning the argument.  And when they don’t have the truth on their side, they must resort to using whatever “debating team” tricks they can find to “cloud the issue” and carry their point.

In this case, they accuse Pistrina of trying to prove that Dannie’s one-handed ordination is invalid, when in fact Pistrina has made no such claim.  (“Introibo” and others have repeatedly made this false accusation, which Pistrina has repeatedly had to rebuff.)  What Pistrina actually said was that there was doubt – which there is.  But “Introibo” – being the typical lawyer that he is – figures that repeating the same charge over and over again somehow gives it credibility.  This is a favorite lawyer’s trick -- and politician’s trick, for that matter.  (That is why political ads are repeated so often: “repetition is the mother of belief.”)

 Actually, "necessity is the mother of invention," so they had to invent a trumped up ordination defect with non-existent witnesses to fulfill their need of scaring people away from "dubious sacraments" given by clerics they hate. There are no lawyer "debating team tricks" ("if the anathema don't sit you must acquit.") Let me lay it out:

1. All sacraments conferred by a Catholic cleric are presumed to be done correctly and validly according to Church teaching. This holds true of Abp. Lefebvre's ordination of Dan Dolan.

2. The fact that there is doubt about something means nothing. There are those who doubt that Elvis really died 38 years ago, and he's working incognito in a supermarket somewhere. Doubt must be REASONABLE not mere speculation.

3. The letter of the nine priests in the SSPV was written only after Fr. Dolan left the SSPV in 1989. They had no problem with him prior to that time.

4. None of the nine were there. They saw nothing.

5. They never claimed to have witnesses.They simply stated "You were ordained with one hand" with no proof.

6. Fr. Cekada was there and claimed in 1990 that he saw everything was done correctly. Bp.Dolan doesn't even need a witness (although he has one) because the burden of proof is on those who claim a defect occurred (see #1).

7. Why does PL (and LP) want Bp.Dolan conditionally ordained/consecrated? Answer: Since there is some "doubt" from people who weren't there (and alleged witnesses, all of whom remain anonymous for secret reasons) you must remove the "doubt" by being ordained with two hands. They completely omit the details of the alleged "one hand" ordination thereby excluding moral contact EVEN IF it was not done lawfully according to the rubrics, and these witnesses are more than fabrications.

For the record, I disagree on Fr. Cekada's application of moral theology to the Schiavo case. I agree with Fr.Jenkins who opposed him. I disagree with Fr. Jenkins on the "dubious" Thuc consecrations and agree with Fr. Cekada. This doesn't make either of them evil. We live in a time when theological questions that arise don't always have answers since the defection of the hierarchy in the wake of Vatican II. For the record, I wouldn't waste my eyesight on reading PL or LP. If I ever feel the need to read the rantings of a loon, I'll pick up a copy of Mein Kampf. I only respond when it's brought to my attention they are casting doubt on a cleric's orders by means of calumny and keeping good Traditionalists away from the sacraments. As far as the other things that allegedly happened in Ohio, I know nothing. However, after seeing how these two consistently lie, can you believe anything they have to say?

 I hope I have successfully counseled the doubtful not to listen to either of these lying blogs, and avail yourself of the sacraments given by Bp. Dolan and his priests. I would like to think I've instructed "The Watcher" and "The Reader" but as a famous movie line goes, "Youth ages, immaturity is outgrown, ignorance can be educated, and drunkenness sobered, but STUPID lasts forever."


  1. Side comment: This whole debate is due to sedevacantism. If sedes were under a pope, the pope would decide and this whole debate would go away. As far as I know the Dolan consecration was ok, ordination I have doubts but it was probably fine. Dolan and others are wandering/vagrant clergy so even if one was a sede, one would not be obliged to go to him for sacraments.

    1. When you say the whole debate is "due to sedevacantism" it sounds as if we, the faithful remnant of Christ's One True Church, are somehow responsible for the defection of the hierarchy and could easily "fix it."

      It is true that if there were a pope he could settle the issue definitively. Getting a pope back is not easy. One David Bawden thought he could invite his mommy, daddy, two nice neighbors and a female "theologian" to his farmhouse in Kansas and declare himself "Pope Michael."

      Only an imperfect general council (correctly called when all necessary and sufficient conditions are present) can do this for us. If Sedeprivationism is true, the material pope must convert to Catholicism to become the formal pope.

      Until one or the other occurs, we must make our best Catholic way through this mess. That would include attending Mass and receiving the sacraments whenever we can. Although Traditionalist Bishops do not possess ordinary jurisdiction, they can give us those means of Grace. While no one is obliged to go to a particular Traditionalist Bishop or priest (if they have very serious reasons for so doing), I don't want the faithful Traditionalists thinking that Bp. Dolan and his priests are dubiously ordained and stay away from the sacraments if they can't find another Traditionalist clergyman within a reasonable distance.

  2. I ask this question because you know theology.
    Recently,my priest said in order for me to be absolved of my sins,I had to say "I promise I will not sin again"
    OK I thought it would be wrong to say this,so I didnt.He said come back next week,pray,and we'll talk then.
    Should I avoid this priest forever or go back?
    Literally every word,quote,and scenario is verbatim what was spoken.

    1. The priest (if a Traditionalist priest) clearly misspoke. You can't promise not to sin, for the Church teaches it is impossible to avoid even semi-deliberate venial sins, except by extraordinary Grace of God, granted to the Blessed Virgin Mary. You can, and should, strive to do what the Act of Contrition states, "...I firmly resolve, with the help of Thy Grace, to sin no more and to avoid the near occasions of sin." "Sin no more" means all mortal sin, which can be avoided by prayer, fasting, mortification and cooperation with God's Grace. If this is what Father meant (and I'm pretty sure it is), you may promise never to mortally sin again with the help of God's Grace.

      If he says something other than this (you must be free from all personal sin, like the BVM), I would gently point out Church teaching on the matter. If he still won't conform to the Church, leave the Confessional and seek out another priest. If this priest belongs to a Society (CMRI, SSPX, etc) report what happened to his superiors.

  3. Thank you very much G-d bless you & your family.

    1. Thank you! You're in my prayers my friend!