7 August 2010

Apostolicae curae: flies in the ointment

Oh dear. The Dutch Tutch plot went wrong.

Firstly, the formula Accipe Spiritum Sanctum which the Dutch Tutchers used, was indeed once regarded as the Form universally among Roman commentators. This was because, by analogy with Baptism, people expected the Form to be words uttered simultaneously with the Matter. And Accipe ... is what the Consecrator actually said while imposing hands. But Accipe is itself quite a late addition to the rite. The true Form should historically be sought in words of the Eucharistic-style Preface sung separately from the Imposition of Hands. In 1947, Pius XII made that clear. And the Tutchers had not say that Preface.

(There is a masterly example of Sod's Law here. Accipe was the Anglican Form for Episcopal Consecration from 1550. Leo regarded it as inadequate qua Form, despite the fact that Roman writers regarded it as the Form of the Sacrament. However, because of the theological consensus that it was the Form, the Tutchers used it (what else, they wondered, were they supposed to use?) in the Remedy-Apostolicae-curae plot. It was then ruled out of court as the Form by Pius XII, not on the grounds of any inherent inadequacy but because the consensus among liturgists had shifted to the belief that the Form should be sought in the words of the venerable and ancient Consecratory Prayer of the Roman Rite. This ancient Prayer was itself subsequently unceremoniously ejected from the Roman Pontifical by Bugnini after the Council because he thought - get this - that it signified the grace of Episcopal Order so much less well than some old oriental Prayer he found under a hedge somewhere and dragged in instead. You couldn't have made all that up, could you?)

The next Fly in this Woodpile arises from the failure of the Anglican bishops who were supposed to be passing on the Tutch to do so in accordance with the protocols. It seems that some of them stopped saying anything out aloud. Thus, even were Accipe to be regarded as adequate, these gentlemen were not dishing out the full works. An element here, too, was that Anglican ecclesiastical lawyers apparently know no Latin. After every Dutch intervention they filled out the Latin protocols with gibberish ... operating on the Lower Third principle that if you make nearly every Latin word end in -i, half of them will be right. I have seen Eric Kemp's set of the Protocols; one of them is made out to say that the Archbishop of Utrecht was himself consecrated by the Archbishop of Canterbury in 1974 and that he himself on the same day simultaneously consecrated Bishop Eric!

This may very possibly be the reason why the CDF, when Bishop Graham Leonard showed them photocopies of the documents, were underwhelmed. They decided that they could not give his Orders a clean bill of health, but they did concede that there was an element of uncertainty about the application to his situation of Apostolicae curae. So they ordered his ordination to the presbyterate to be sub conditione. However, Bishop Graham used to like to remind people that CDF had not considered the question of his Episcopal Orders but only of his priesthood; he was convinced that the reason for this was that they foresaw that if they considered his episcopal Orders they would find them valid and then be embarrassed by finding that they were in possession of a perfectly formed married bishop with a perfectly formed wife!

Continues.

9 comments:

Mgr Andrew Wadsworth said...

The 'Dutch Touch' argument seems to have something of the theology of 'abracadabra' about it. It is the content of the rite which makes the intention clear and this is an historical problem in Anglicanism, for at the time of the Reformation there was a wholesale rejection of the Catholic theology of the Sacraments in general and the Priesthood and the Mass in particular.

While it seems reasonable to believe that individuals may have held a Catholic understanding, there was no noticeable corporate recovery of these ideas until the nineteenth century. Even today, this rejection is still an authentic Anglican position held in good conscience by a large section of the Anglican communion.

In relation to the Sacrament of Orders, how can it be possible for someone to validly transmit orders in which they do not believe to another who also fails to believe? Unless an Anglican bishop accepts the Catholic theology of the Priesthood and the Mass, it is impossible for him to have received it, even when he was ordained by one who possessed valid orders - transmission is impeded by lack of right intentiion in either the ordaining prelate or the ordinand. It is not a subjective element that can be activated (or supplied by way of sanation) by the will of either alone on his own initiative.

Fr John Hunwicke SSC, said...

As an expression of the Plain Man's Common Sense, this is totally unanswerable. However, the locus classicus as far as Intention is concerned is Bellarmine de Sac. in genere XXVII 8,which says something rather different. It is as well that it does, otherwise, as some members of SSPX appear to hold, the orders conferred by ultra-liberal post conciliar bishops on ultra-liberal post conciliar seminarians are invalid.

William Tighe said...

Concerning this:

"The next Fly in this Woodpile arises from the failure of the Anglican bishops who were supposed to be passing on the Tutch to do so in accordance with the protocols. It seems that some of them stopped saying anything out aloud."

I am confused. Should not "the Anglican bishops" in the first sentence here, as well as "these gentlemen" in the sentence that follows the portion I have excerpted refer to "the Old Catholic bishops?" Or (assuming that the Old Catholic bishops "did their duty" all along) do you mean "the Anglican bishops" who were consecrated with such Old Catholic consecrators failed to carry out "the protocols" subsequently? If that is the case, their cheerful insouciance makes them seem "brethren under the skin" of Scandinavian Lutheran bishops -- which the fabrication of the Porvoo Pseudocommunion has deminstrated palam et publice.

The young fogey said...

Historical footnote: the Roman Rite in the last years of the golden age when the Tridentine Mass was the ordinary form had a perfectly formed married bishop with a perfectly formed wife, and he was a wayward Roman Catholic at that, Solomão Ferraz. After passing through the Presbyterians and the Anglicans he was a bishop in Carlos Duarte Costa's schismatic Brazilian church but John XXIII received him in his orders and he became an auxiliary in Rio and attended Vatican II as an active bishop. He died in 1969. I don't know if he and his wife lived as husband and wife in those years.

motuproprio said...

Cardinal Hume was very clear that the problem with Anglican Orders lay in the 'nativa indoles ac spiritus' of successive rites from 1549 onwards which excluded the intention of confecting 'sacrificing priests', which the 'Dutch tutch' did nothing to remedy since it did not change the self-understanding of the Church of England with respect to its ministry.
An idea floating around 15 to 20 years ago was the 'Polish Plot' which involved the mass conditional ordination of members of Forward in Faith by bishops of the Polish National Catholic Church using 'in toto' a formulary unquestioned by Rome. Sadly it came to nothing.

Joshua said...

To submit to "reordination" - ugly word, but you know what I mean - remains the stumbling block.

Of course, it was the Anglo-Catholic opposition to accepting Methodist "orders" (presbyterially derived) that scuppered Anglican-Methodist reunion; and I recall a similar fuss over a certain Jerusalem bishopric exercised the minds of the Puseyites. The Church of South India, too, was a unification of Anglicans with other Protestants that, because of its undiscerning acceptance of "orders" of all provenances, both caused some Anglicans there not to join it, and for it not to join the Anglican Communion, if I get the story right.

The young fogey said...

Joshua: Yes, and the American Evangelical Episcopalians' non-insistence on episcopacy for intercommunion which led to most of them forming the Reformed Episcopal Church in the late 1800s, and the Episcopalians' Open Pulpit Canon allowing non-episcopal ministers to preach, which caused a number of Anglo-Catholics to convert (William McGarvey and company, the Society of the Atonement at Graymoor).

It all seems for naught now that the Anglicans are in communion with non-episcopal Lutherans thanks to Porvoo and the ELCA/Episcopalian merger, the United Methodists in America and the Moravians. Such with all Lutherans was a problem because Lutherans don't think episcopacy/apostolic succession is necessary even when they claim it like the Swedes do.

Most Anglicans now are good Swedish Lutherans in that regard: they think the claim gives them ecumenical cachet with Rome and the beloved exotic East (which it doesn't with either) but they think insisting on it is a bit childish.

Yet they still want that, er, validation which is why they're the only big denomination that takes the Old Catholics seriously.

Bishop of Ebbsfleet said...

Mgr Wadsworth's point, as I have said elsewhere, is why the West needs the somplementary and Eastern contextual understanding of Holy Order as imparted and exercised within the Church. The prior argument is, then, where does the Church subsist and secondarily who then has authority to minister within her, Valid form and intention are thus safeguarded not by conscientious individuals but hy the ecclesial context. This is parallel, as I have remarked elsewhere, to Fr Ted Tarnold's insistence, commenting on Porvoo, that apostolic succession is both bums on thrones and hands on heads.
+ Andrew

Bishop of Ebbsfleet said...

And now without typos...

Mgr Wadsworth's point, as I have said elsewhere, is why the West needs the complementary and Eastern contextual understanding of Holy Order as imparted and exercised within the Church. The prior argument is, then, where does the Church subsist and secondarily who then has authority to minister within her. Valid form and intention are thus safeguarded not by conscientious individuals but hy the ecclesial context. This is parallel, as I have remarked elsewhere, to Fr Ted Yarnold's insistence, commenting on Porvoo, that apostolic succession is both bums on thrones and hands on heads.
+ Andrew