Grave Deficiencies in the New Rite for Episcopal Consecrations? — Part I

 

by Br. Alexis Bugnolo

Since the 70’s there have been doubts raised about the new ritual for episcopal consecration in the Roman Rite

While these doubts regard not only the text of the new formula, but also the intention and purpose of the reform, I wish to consider here the formula itself.

First, a short review. For a sacrament to be valid, the form and matter required by Jesus Christ must be present or used. The form of a sacrament is that which is signified by the ritual. The matter of the Sacrament is that of which the Sacrament is composed. For episcopal consecrations, the matter is a baptized, male. The form is the words and actions which signify the conferal of the episcopal dignity. Consecration of a man as a bishop does not mean, necessarily, the reception of jurisdiction, since not all Bishops hold jurisdiction, though his capacity to hold jurisdiction is essential to the nature of the munus received. So in an episcopal consecration, though a man can receive by it munus, officium, dignitas and be empowered thus to ministerium, the sacramental ritual specifically confers only dignitas. The authorized context in which it is conferred, namely, to consecrate this man for this diocese, for example, in communion with the Church and at the request of legitimate authority, is what confers the munus or officium, and which authorizes the exercise of ministerium.

The formula, then, is principally the words used to express the form of the sacrament. The formula for the ordination of Bishops has varied over time and place. The laying on of hands, as prescribed by Jesus Christ, can be reckoned as the essential part of the form or matter of the sacramental action, depending upon whether one consider the ritual per se or the sacramental conferal as a action, respectively. For the laying on of hands is a sign, and to that extent it is part of the form of the formula. But inasmuch it is an action, not a sequence of words, it is part of the matter of the sacramental action.

While the authors of the new formulas expressly disparaged Scholastic theology, when discussing the validity of a sacramental formula one cannot violate the principles of textual signification which were vindicated by the great Scholastics theologians.

Therefore, to open this discussion, let us consider the new ritual in comparison with the historic textis the use of which it alleges to revive.

I copy Table 3, below, from the treatise on the validity of the new episcopal rite published by the SSPX, having changed only the English translation, and added my own commentary at each section.

With the great scholastics, I hold as a principle, that the meaning of the text is the substantial cause of the species of grace or favor impetrated, because God, being Truth and Justice, would disrespect the necessity of creatures to be conformed to truth and justice, if He answered prayers which were not in accord with truth or justice. Likewise, He is Honored and Glorified only when true and just prayers to Him are responded to with grace and mercy, because in this, He shows His Benevolence to those creatures who respect Him as Truth and Justice. Moreover, He teaches us to pray by witholding graces and mercies when we pray wrongly. And if He did not do this, He would be denying Himself as Father, Truth, and Justice.

This is a very important principle to remember when analyzing any text of any prayer. And it can be summed up by this principle of Our Lord: Ask, and you shall receive. A principle which implies, that if you do not ask, you shall not receive. And hence requires that we ask for something specific, if we want to receive something specific at all.

Please not that the English in this table are my own translations, and NOT those of the original table in the SSPX article. Those English translations were frequently erroneous and omitted words in the original texts, or changed them into more secular or less Biblical expressions.

In this part I, I will simply publish the correct translations of the source texts. I have, however, changed placent in line 35, column 3, to placeat presuming it was merely a typographic error.

Table 3: Validity of new episcopal consecrations

Validity of new episcopal consecrations

Table 3: Four-column comparison of 1968 edition with Hippolytus text, Coptic and Maronite Rites

1 1968 EDITION

Pontificale Romanum, 1968 typical edition

HIPPOLYTUS

La Tradition Apostolique d’Hippolyte, Don Botte (2nd ed.)

COPTIC RITE

Rite Copte, Dz., Ritus Orientalium, t.2, p.23

MARONITE RITE

Consecration du Patriarche Maronite, Dz., Ritus Orientalium, t.2, p.220

2 Deus et

O God and

Deus et

O God and

…Deus

…O God,

3 Pater Domini nostri Jesu Christi,

Father of Our Lord Jesus Christ,

Pater domini nostri Iesu Christi,

Father of Our Lord Jesus Christ,

Pater Domini nostri et Dei nostri et Salvatoris nostri Jesu Christi…

Father of Our Lord and of Our God and of Our Savior, Jesus Christ…

Pater Domini nostri Jesu Christi,

Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,

4 Pater misericord-iarum et Deus totius consolationis,

Father of mercies and the God of all consolation,

Pater misericord-iarum et Deus totius consolationis,

Father of mercies and the God of all consolation,

Pater misericordiam et Deus totius consolationis,

Father of mercies and the God of all consolation,

5 qui in excelsis habitas et humilia respicis,

Who dwell on high and regards the humble,

qui in excelsis habitas et humilia respicis,

Who dwell on high and regards the humble,

(see Line 7) qui in puris altis habitas perpetuo…et omnia videns,

Who dwells perpetualy in the pure heights, in splendor …and sees all things,

6 qui cognoscis omnia antequam nascantur,

Who know all things before they are born,

qui cognoscis omnia antequam nascantur,

Who know all things before they are born,

cognoscens omnia antequam fiant,

knowing all things before they are done,

qui omnia, antequam fiant, nosti…

Who come to know all things before they are done …

7 qui es in altissimis et respicis humiles,

Who art in the highest and regardest the humble,

8 tu qui dedisti in Ecclesia tua normas

Thou Who hast given norms in Thy Church

tu qui dedisti terminos in ecclesia

Thou Who hast set up the boundaries in the Church.

qui dedisti statuta ecclesiastica

Who hast given the statues of the Church

qui illuminationem dedisti Ecclesiae

Who hast given illumination to the Church

9 per verbum gratiae tuae,

through the Word of Thy Grace,

per verbum gratiae tuae,

through the Word of Thy Grace,

per unigenitum Filium tuum Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum,

through Thine only-begotten Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ,

per gratiam unigeniti Filii tui…

through the grace of Thine only-begotten Son…

10 qui praedestinasti ex principio genus iustorum ab Abraham,

Who hast predestined from the beginning the race of the just from Abraham,

praedestinans ex principio genus iustorum ab Abraham,

Predestining from the beginning the race of the just from Abraham,

qui elegisti Abraham, qui placuit tibi in fide…

Who hast elected Abraham, who pleased Thee in faith …

11 qui constituisti principes et sacerdotes,

Who hast constituted princes and priests,

principes et sacerdotes constituens,

constituting princes and priests,

qui constituisti sacerdotes ab initio…

Who hast constituted priests from the start …

qui principes et sacerdotes ordinasti in sanctuario tuo altissimo…

Who hast ordained princes and priests in Thy Most High Sanctuary …

12 et sanctuarium tuum sine ministerio non dereliquisti,

and didst not leave Thy sanctuary without ministry,

et sanctum tuum sine ministerio non derelinquens,

and not leaving Thy holy (place) without ministry

qui non reliquisti locum tuum sanctum sine ministerio,

Who didst not leave Thy holy place without ministry,

qui non reliquisti sublime sanctuarium tuum sine ministerio

Who didst not leave Thy sublime sanctuary without ministry,

13 cui ab initio mundi placuit in his quos elegisti glorificari:

Who, from the start of the world wast pleased to be glorified in these whom Thou hast elected:

ex initio saeculi bene tibi placuit in his quos elegisti dari:

from the start of the age it has  pleased Thee well that it be given in these whom Thou has elected

qui complacuisti tibi glorificari in iis, quos elegisti:

Who has pleased Thyself to be glorifed in these, whom Thou hast elected:

Tibi, Domine, etiam placuit modo laudari in hoc servo tuo, et dignum effecisti eum, praeesse populo tuo;

Thee, Lord, too, has it pleased to be praised now in this Thy servant, and Thou has made him worthy to preside over Thy people;

14 Et nunc

And now

Nunc

Now

Tu iterum nunc

Thou, again, now

15 effunde super hunc electum eam virtutem, quae a te est, Spiritum principalem,

pour forth on this chosen one that virtue which is from Thee: the Principal Spirit,

effunde eam virtutem quae a te est principalis Spiritus

pour forth that virtue which from Thee belongs to the Principal Spirit

effunde virtutem Spiritus tui hegemonici

pour forth the virtue of Thy governing Spirit

illumina eum et effunde super eum gratiam et intelligentiam Spiritus tui principalis,

enlighten him and pour forth upon him the grace and understanding of Thy Principal Spirit,

16 quem dedisti dilecto Filio tuo Iesu Christo,

Whom Thou hast given to Thy beloved Son Jesus Christ,

quem dedisti dilecto Filio tuo Iesu Christo,

Whom Thou hast given to Thy beloved Son Jesus Christ,

quem tradidisti dilecto Filio tuo, Domino nostro Jesu Christo…

Whom Thou hast handed on to Thy Beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ…

17 quem ipse donavit sanctis Apostolis,

Whom He Himself granted to the holy Apostles,

quod donavit sanctis Apostolis,

as much as He granted (Him) to the holy Apostles,

quem donasti Apostolis sanctis tuis

which Thou has granted to Thy holy Apostles

qui datus fuit sanctis tuis…

Who was given to Thy saints

18 qui constituerunt Ecclesiam per singula loca ut sanctuarium tuum, in gloriam et laudem indeficientem

Who constituted the Church in each place as Thy sanctuary, unto the unfailing glory and praise

qui constituerunt Ecclesiam per singula loca sanctificationem tuam, in gloriam et laudem indeficientem

Who constituted the Church in each place as Thy act of sanctification unto the unfailing glory and praise

19 nominis tui.

of Thy Name.

nomini tuo.

of Thy Name.

in nomine tuo.

in Thy Name.

20 Da,

Grant,

Da,

Grant,

Da igitur

Grant, therefore,

(see Line 22)
21 cordium cognitor Pater,

O Father, knower of hearts,

cordis cognitor Pater,

O Father, knower of hearts,

Pater, qui nosti corda omnium,

O Father, Who knowest the hearts of all,

22 effunde

pour forth

23 hanc eandem gratiam

this same grace

virtutem tuam

Thy virtue

24 huic servo tuo, quem elegisti ad Episcopatum,

to this Thy servant, whom Thou hast elected for the Episcopate,

super hunc servum tuum quem elegisti ad Episcopatum,

upon this Thy servant, whom Thou hast elected to the Episcopate

super servum tuum N., quem elegisti in Episcopum,

upon Thy servant, N., whom Thou hast elected as a Bishop

super hunc servum tuum, quem elegisti ad patriarc-hatum,

upon this Thy servant, whom Thou hast elected to the Patriarchate,

25 ut pascat gregem sanctum tuum,

that he may pasture Thy holy flock,

pascere gregem sanctam tuam,

to pasture Thy holy flock,

ut pasceret gregem tuum sanctum,

that he might pasture Thy holy flock,

ut pascat universum gregem tuum sanctum

so that he may pasture Thy entire holy flock

26 et summum sacerdotium tibi exhibeat sine reprehensione,

and exhibit before Thee the most high priestly office without reprehension,

et primatum sacerdotii tibi exhibere sine reprae-hensione,

and exhibit before Thee the primacy of the priestly office without reprehension,

et ut tibi esset in ministrum irreprehen-sibilem

and that he might be as Thy irreprehensible minister

et summo sacerdotio fungatur sine querela

and may exercise the most high priestly office without complaint

27 serviens tibi nocte et die,

serving Thee night and day,

servientem tibi nocte et die,

as one serving Thee night and day,

orans ante benignitatem tuam die ac nocte,

praying before Thy Benignity day and night,

die ac nocte tibi ministrans,

ministering to Thee day and night,

28 ut incessanter vultum tuum propitium reddat

so as to incessantly render Thy Face propitius

incessanter repropitiari vultum tuum

to propitiate again incessantly Thy Face

et concede, ut illi appareat facies tua, eumque dignum redde,

and grant, that there appear to him Thy Face and that he render (his office) worthy,

29 et offerat dona sanctae Ecclesiae tuae;

and offer the gifts of Thy Holy Church;

et offerre dona sanctae Ecclesiae tuae;

and  to offer the gifts of Thy holy Church;

congregans (conservans?) numerum salvandorum, offerens tibi dona in sanctis ecclesiis.

Gathering (protecting) the number of those to be saved, offering to Thee the gifts in holy churches.

qui tibi attente et cum omni timore offerat oblationes Ecclesiae tuae sanctae,

who shall attentively and with all fear offer to Thee the oblations of Thy Holy Church,

30 da ut virtute Spiritus summi sacerdotii habeat potestatem dimittendi peccata

grant that, by the virtue of the Spirit of the Most High Priesthood, he have the power of forgiving sins

Spiritum primatus sacerdotii habere potestatem dimittere peccata

to have the Spirit of the priesthood’s primacy to forgive sins

Ita, Pater omnipotens, per Christum tuum, da ei unitatem Spiritus Sancti tui, ut sit ipsi potestas dimittendi peccata

Thus, Omnipotent Father, thorugh Thy Christ, grant to him the unity of Thy Holy Spirit, so that he have the power to forgive sins

et impertire ei totam potestatem,

and share with him the whole power,

(See Line 34)

31 secundum mandatum tuum; ut distribuat munera secundum praeceptum tuum

according to Thy mandate; to distribute munera according to Thy precept

secundum mandatum tuum, dare sortes secundum præceptum tuum

according to Thy mandate, to allot portions according to Thy precept

secundum mandatum unigeniti tui Filii Jesu Christi Domini nostri, constituendi cleros secundum mandatum ejus ad sanctuarium

according to the mandate of Thy Son, Jesus Christ, Our Lord, to constitute clergy according to His mandate for the sanctuary

32 et solvat omne vinculum

and loosen every bond

solvere etiam omnem colligationem

to loosen, even, every binding

et solvendi vincula omnia ecclesiastica…

and to loosen all ecclesi-astical bonds …

(See Line 34)
33 secundum potestatem quam dedisti Apostolis;

according to the power which Thou gavest to the Apostles;

secundum potestatem quam dedisti Apostolis,

according to the power which Thou gavest to the Apostles,

quam dedisti sanctis Apostolis tuis,

which Thou  gavest to Thy holy Apostles,

34 ut potestate Spiritus tui solvat omnia ligamina,

so that by the power of Thy Spirit he may loosen all bindings,

35 placeat tibi in mansuetudine et mundo corde, offerens tibi odorem suavitatis,

may he please Thee in meakness and in a pure heart, as one offering to Thee an odor of sweetness,

placere autem tibi in mansuetudine et mundo corde, offerentem tibi odorem suavitatis,

to be, moreover, pleasing to Thee in meakness and in a pure heart, as one offering to Thee the odor of sweetness,

et placeat tibi in mansue-tudine et corde humili, offerens tibi in innocentia et irreprehen-sibilitate sacrificium sanctum incruentum, mysterium hujus Testamenti novi, in odorem suavitatis.

And may he please Thee in meakness and in humble heart, as one offering to Thee in innocence and irreprehens-ibility the holy unbloody sacrifice, the mystery of this new Testament, as an odor of sweetness.

et ut placeat tibi in pura humilitate, caritate illum imple, scientia, discretione, disciplina, perfectione, magnanimitate cum puro corde, dum orat pro populo, dum contristatur pro his, qui stulte agunt, eosque ad auxilium trahit, dum offert tibi laudes et confessiones ac orationes in odorem suavitatis

and that he may please Thee in pure humility, fill him with charity, knowledge, discretion, discipline, perfection, magnanimity with a pure heart, while he prays for the people, while he weeps for those who act foolishly; and draws them to help, while he offers Thee praises, confessions and prayers as an odor of sweetness,

36 per Filium tuum Iesum Christum, per quem tibi gloria et potentia et honor, cum Spiritu Sancto in sancta Ecclesia et nunc et in saecula saeculorum. Amen.

through Thy Son Jesus Christ, through Whom to Thee be the glory and power and honor, with the Holy Spirit in the holy Church both now and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

per puerum tuum Iesum Christum, per quem tibi gloria et potentia et honor, patri et filio cum spiritu sancto et nunc et in saecula saeculorum. Amen.

through Thy Servant-Son Jesus Christ, through Whom to Thee be the glory and power and honor, to the Father and to the Son, with the Holy Spirit both now and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

per Dominim nostrum Jesum Christum Filium tuum dilectum,  per quem tibi gloria, honor et imperium una cum Spiritu tuo Sancto ab aeterno et nunc et omni tempore et in generationem generationum et in saecula infinita. Amen.

through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Beloved Son, through Whom to Thee be the glory, honor and empire, one with Thy Holy Spirit, from eternity, now, and in every season, and unto the generation of generations, and unto infinite ages. Amen.

________________

CREDITS: The Featured Image is a photograph of the Episcopal Consecration of the future Pope Pius XII (Eugenio Pacelli) by Pope Benedict XV.

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4 thoughts on “Grave Deficiencies in the New Rite for Episcopal Consecrations? — Part I”

  1. Interesting. I’ve heard these arguments from sedevacantists before about how the ordination of priests in the Novus Ordo (and Bishops or Popes) are not valid because the forumula for the ordinations (matter, form and intention), are not present. The problem with these arguments is thaty they first have to establish that the second vatican council was not valid, and therefore, the apostolic succession was broken and this is where their arguments begin to crumble. Although, I will admit, much of the problems which some of the sedevacantists I’ve spoken with have pointed out, are very valid, but many conclusions don’t necessarily follow.

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    1. No actually these arguments fall or stand on whether the signification of the sacrament is essentially altered. But Sedes do not care about the truth, since they have the conclusion before they lay out the argument or look at the evidence.

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