29 December 2008


I have just been looking back over comments upon recent posts. Two points.

(1) I understand the pseudonimity sought by the use of pseudonyms. But one does rather wonder who some of these anonymous friends are. Would it be inconceivable for them to send me emails revealing their identities and som e personal details? (pp@thomasthemartyr.org.uk)

(2) In this matter of the validity of Orders, I do sometimes speculate on whether in messy situations some notion of Deus necessaria supplet might be necessary. Some examples:
(a) the implications [Bede IV ii] of S Chad being judged by S Theodore non rite consecratus and then having his consecration catholica ratione consummata.
(b) the ordinations of Pope Formosus which were declared null by Pope Stephen VII and then 'regularised' by Theodore II.
(c) the granting of permission by fifteenth century popes to merely presbyteral abbots of the right to ordain to major orders including the priesthood. Some commentators have argued that these ordinations were valid on the grounds that 'Roman pontiffs have granted this faculty and therefore they can grant it', but the view of Ratzinger that the Pope is the servant and not the master of Sacred Tradition rather puts sa question mark against such a radical administrative overturning of the Church's basic sacramental structure.
(d) the declaration of Eugene IV that the Matter of Ordination is the porrection of the instruments, and the probability that while this decree was held in scholis to have juridical force, less care was taken to ensure that all ordinands had received the imposition of hands than was to ensure that they had all received the porrection of the instruments.


Presbyter said...

What a wonderful argument - "Popes have granted the facility therefore they can grant it!" It is on a par with "definitions have been made therefore what is not obviously within the deposit of faith must be there". It sounds like the type of logic which greeted Newman when he visited Rome in about 1850 and which led to his now generally accepted essay on development being regarded with suspicion.

Thank you Fr Hunwicke for your section on the validity of orders. So many people who object to Anglican Orders seem to want to take a Cyprianic view forgetting that such a position is undermined by the Council of Trent. As you previously pointed out ,Talleyrand, an atheist yet a bishop, could confer perfectly valid orders. One waits for comments on your contentions.

As regard pseudonyms, what personal details do you require? Many of us provide some detail already.

A Happy New Year.

Pastor in Valle said...

No Pope, of course, is bound by his predecessor. It is indisputable that the Church has changed the matter and/or form for the conferral of the Sacrament of Orders.
As you rightly write, the tradition of instruments was considered the form—I have it myself in a catechism of the mid 16th century. Pius XII made changes. Eucharist and Baptism one cannot tinker with much, (hence my worry over Addai and Mari) but Orders is within the remit of HMChurch. I have no doubt that HMCh could declare Anglican orders valid tomorrow (and indeed might even wish that she would do so) but I think it really requires that declaration for it to be so. And the issue of the ordination of women complicates it enormously (to say the very least!).
The case of Msgr Graham Leonard is interesting. The then Card. Ratzinger found his orders to be well-founded (it is said). Is it the finding (in this particular case) that makes this particular ordination valid, or does this finding validate all similar cases? The issue is complicated by the fact that Leonard did undergo a form of ordination to the presbyterate (though not the diaconate) though I cannot remember right now whether or not it was administered conditionally.
The issue of abbots ordaining is a separate issue, and concerns the identification of presbyterate with inhibited (but latent) episcopate. This identification is certainly my opinion, otherwise why would priests participate in the ordination of other priests and concelebrate the consecration of the chrism? And, above all, how could they exercise the apostolic power of absolution had they not this power? I think it a little far-fetched that to think that the bishop does it by extension through the priest.—more to say, sorry, must dash, door ringing.