6.0 Liturgy

6.1 Are the New Ordination Rites Valid?

Sometimes the best way to respond to a claim is to step back, and look at what the other person saying the very first sentences of their argument. For example, many of the ‘great’ thinkers in modern times have detailed books on their theories. You are not going to find a mistake in logic from page 3-500 but you will on pages 1-2.

Thus, instead of going over the points of linguistical change in the ordination rites, I am instead going to step back and say, “the language of the text does not really matter as much as what it signifies.” (Ie. Holy Spirit or Spirit of Love of God, can mean the same thing in a text if its the Pope’s intention that it means so)

Basically, the argument that the right of ordination since the reforms of Vatican II are invalid fails to offer Vatican II the same kind of thought process that you would if you encountered a problem in sacred scripture. For example a common argument atheists make is that one prophet in the bible says to bend your plow shears into swords while another says to make your swords into plow shears. There is only a contradiction until you dig deep.

“Pius XII, in his Apostolic Constitution Sacramenctum Ordinis, laid down the general principle when he declared that for Holy Orders these must “univocally signify the sacramental effects — that is, the power of the Order and the grace of the Holy Ghost.””

Now it is argued that the new rite does not signify the proper stuff like the Order priest or bishop etc., or Holy Spirit.. so based on Pope Pius it is not good at all.

This point is not really that strong. Why? Because as Pius XII states in paragraph 1 of Sacramenctum Ordinis there are some things which the church cannot change and some that are subject to custom. In paragraph 2 he says  “As regards the Sacrament of Order, of which We are now speaking, it is a fact that, notwithstanding its unity and identity, which no Catholic has ever dared to question, in the course of time, according to varying local and temporal conditions, various rites have been added in its conferring

Thus, since many different rites and expressions have developed over time (Eastern vs West for example) for the sacrament of ordination what is essential are the order and the Holy Spirit.

What we cannot do is say that Pope Pius XI dictated where or how theses sign should take place forever and ever.

Yes he did then proceed to offer a text for the sacrament which states what to say, yet no Pope can ever bind another Pope on matter mere church discipline. Thus, a future Pope cannot say that the Holy Spirit is not part of ordination because it is essential, yet what he can do is change the words of the text or even the location of where it mentions the
order or the person of the Holy Spirit.

Thus, when the Pope after V2 published new rites they had the same weight as the rites published by Pope Pius XI. In fact the rites replaced the old rites such that unless you had permission it was a against orders to use the old rites. Thus, the new rites – yes don’t use the same words, but do indeed have the meaning.

Thus, the new Pope can declare that the governing Spirit, is the Holy Spirit. We may even take this to ridiculous extremes. For example a pope could even say the Spirit that makes MacDonald’s great at fries is present and conferred upon you, if they wanted too. This would still be valid even if not in Latin or Greek dictionaries, or contains any previous link to Tradition because it would be the intention and meaning of the sentence as promulgated by the Pope that Spirit (Cap) means the Holy Spirit.

Step back for a few seconds. Christ said the gates of hell shall not prevail against the Church. How could this be true if all the priests are invalid except a few old pre-V2 ones? Note also that many SPPX bishops died in the state of excommunication from the Pope.

It is more reasonable to assume that the Pope and the vast majority of bishops knew the intention of the new text did not destroy the essential elements even though it used different words.

We can take an example from the Eastern rites. In the West we often say the bread and Wine become Christ when the priest says this is my body and raises them up. In the East not so, there is generally no clear line as to when this happens – it is a mystery. Different
theologians will argue for different points in the liturgy for when the transformation happens with some even saying it occurs over the entire liturgical process.

There does not have to be a clear Pope Pius XI given sentence for us to know about the order, power, Holy Spirit or anything else. For many years in the early church there had been 1000s of ordinations without a written form at all. Now with the new rite it means the same thing but with different words. We are not obligated to interpret new text in light of theology at the time of Pope Pius. We are obligated to interpret texts from the Pope in light of what the Pope currently means and wants to say, which was the same essential elements using different words.

6.2 Did Pope Saint Paul Invalidate the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick?

Paul VI allowed the bishops to use other oils for extreme unction. How can it not invalidate the sacrament? Pervious Papal documents say that it has to be olive oil, Yet Paul VI allowed other oils.

In short, the type of oil is a human-church tradition, not a divine given one by scripture or the Apostles. As a result, it does not matter if 20 popes say olive oil, the very next Pope could change it to some other type of oil if there were good reasons. Like lack of olive oil availability or as in the case of Pope Saint Paul VI who allowed the use of other oils to save souls if the typical oils were not available right away.

If I had to respond to a Protestant asking about if the sacrament of anointing of the sick is even a sacrament I would refer to the book James 13-15. This among other texts show that the sacrament should be done by a priest and that it forgives sins (connected with being given by a priest) Yet, that is about as far as you can argue from scripture on the topic of anointing of the sick. Its a sacrament given by Christ to Apostles, it forgives sins and requires a priest to give it.

As a Catholic we have both scripture and tradition, but tradition is not in opposition to scripture. If we think about the distinction or relative weight of truths in our faith an important point can be made. We have things in scripture or things that are dogmatically infallibly proclaimed (Like the Immaculate Conception) that all must hold too or be
considered not holding proper faith. Next up are things that are in scripture but we must dig a little to understand or teaching that is not infallibly proclaimed but has come up often in Church documents. This teaching is not as sure as those directly in scripture but still requires an assent due to constant teaching and their proximity to scripture. Things can get even more remote, for example Pope Francis’ recent comments on recycling in Ladato Si – where do they fall? Since they are relatively new topics and only one encyclical and one only Pope deals with them they do have teaching weight but not at the same level as say how we should preserve Catholic School systems in countries that have them. It is also hard to argue that recycling is found in scripture directly. There are comments about stewardship but these must be worked out and interpreted. Now if the next several popes make the same comments about recycling then this teaching gets moved up in weight even if not directly in scripture.

It is similar for the oils used in Anointing of the Sick. The type of oil is not dictated by
(unlike the fact that is forgives sins and is a sacrament and given by priests), nor by the Apostles. They type of oil does have a history in church law but really nothing else. Or in other words the type of oil is a human but not divine Church custom! We should always revere church law but a Pope is always above it. No previous Pope can tie the finger, as it is said, of the next Pope because as it says in Cannon law a Pope’s power is immediate (not through someone else), full (no limits- expect for Christ’s law) and supreme.

Thus, Paul VI thought it beneficial for souls, that in case of emergency when other oils were not present, any priest may even use vegetable oil to save a soul. It does not invalidate the sacrament because the Pope himself is supreme on matters of merely church law as the type of oil is not dictated by Christ in tradition or scripture. Here, a priest should use the regular oil of the past but if in dire need can use any type of oil. Since this is to save souls, it makes sense that a Pope would allow this.

This also happens for communion. For example, we believe that the communion of the orthodox is really Christ truly present because they have valid holy orders. Yet, we don’t use the same type of bread for communion. We are divided on the issue of leavened or unleavened bread!! This was even a great divider in the medieval church. Again, this issue though serious is not one that a Pope (because there are Catholic Orthodox churches now who use the opposite type of bread as Latin rites) can do away with. A Pope, for example though, could not due away with the fact that it must be bread as it is a more substantially
apostolic tradition.

6.3 Vatican II Restored the Epiclesis and shows Forth more Clearly the Role of the Holy Spirit in the Liturgy

The restoration of the Epiclesis and drawing out more clearly the role of the Holy Spirit in the Order of the Mass was one of the fruits of the reforms of the Second Vatican Council. The General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GRIM), describes the Epiclesis as one of the chief elements of the Eucharistic Prayer. The Epiclesis is the part of the Eucharistic Prayer, “In which, by means of particular invocations, the Church implores the power of the Holy Spirit that the gifts offered by human hands be consecrated, that is, become Christ’s Body and Blood, and that the spotless Victim to be received in Communion be for the salvation of those who will partake of it.” [GRIM, Par. 79(c)]

Cardinal Raniero Cantalamessa, preacher of the papal household, during his Lenten reflection on March 24, 2023 had some great reflections to offer Pope Francis and the papal household. Some of these reflections touched upon Vatican II and the reforms of the Liturgy.

It is a gift that the liturgical reform of Vatican II has placed at the heart of the Mass the epiclesis, that is, the invocation of the Holy Spirit: first on the bread and wine and then on the entire mystical body of the Church. I have great respect for the venerable Eucharistic prayer of the Roman Canon and I love to use it again, sometimes, being the one with which I was ordained a priest. I cannot, however, fail to note with regret the total absence of the Holy Spirit in it. Instead of the current epiclesis of consecration on bread and wine, we find, in it, the generic formula: “Sanctify, O God, this offering with the power of your blessing…” (Cardinal Raniero Cantalamessa)

The Catechism of the Catholic Church devotes paragraphs 1091 to 1109 to the role of the Holy Spirit in the Liturgy. Paragraph 1112 aptly summarizes the important role of the Holy Spirit in the Liturgy. “The mission of the Holy Spirit in the liturgy of the Church is to prepare the assembly to encounter Christ; to recall and manifest Christ to the faith of the assembly; to make the saving work of Christ present and active by his transforming power; and to make the gift of communion bear fruit in the Church.” The Epiclesis is the phrases after the Sanctus, in which the Holy Spirit is asked to be sent by the Father so the offerings may become the body and blood of Christ (Par. 1105). The Holy Spirit inspires us to give praise and thanksgiving in the doxology (Par. 1103). The Holy Spirit also recalls the saving actions of God in history which may be more or less developed depending on the liturgy (Par. 1103).

What we should also recall here is that the 1962 Missal, just before Vatican II, had an implicit Epiclesis added although this is argued. Early liturgies such as the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom the Epiclesis explicit in the text. Eastern Liturgies have maintained the Epiclesis since the earliest times. By returning to the original sources, the reforms of Vatican II reintroduced this crucial part of the Liturgy back into the life of the Western Church.

6.4 Other Posts


The papal liturgy after the Second Vatican Council has been an authentic liturgy, solidly rooted in the Tradition, adhering fully to the teaching of Sacrosanctum Concilium, as well as immersed in the concrete situations of the assembly. It is centred on the paschal mystery and projected towards the glorious Parousia of our Lord, all the while also expressing compassion for the suffering of men and woman of today and striving to give answer to their legitimate aspirations.” Archbishop Piero Marini (Master of Papal Liturgical Celebrations for Saint John Paul II) in Serving the People of God: Remembering Sacroscanctum Concilium. Novalis: Ottawa Canada. 2006. Pg 22-23.

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