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 is looking at in the very first sentences.
For example, many of the great thinkers in our times or 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 language change in the rites
I am 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
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, one prophet says to bend your plow shears into
swords while another says to make your swords into plow shears. There
is only a contradiction unless 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 ect, 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 the same text the quote is from 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 have developed over time (Eastern vs West for example) for
ordination he says that people need to know what is essential and
what is not. The order and the Holy Spirit.
What we cannot do is say that Pope Pius XI dictated where or how that
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 but what he can do is change
the words of the text or even the location of where it mentions the
order or Holy Spirit.
Thus, when the Pope after V2 published new rites they had the same
weight as Pope Pius XI and infact replaced the 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 the mean the same thing.
Thus, the new Pope say that governing Spirit, is the Holy Spirit and
also clearly states the order of the ordination such as priest
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
and it would still be valid even if not in latin or greek
dictionaries, or any previous link to Tradition because it would be
the intention and meaning of the sentence as promulgated by the Pope
that Spirit (Cap) also not in the new form it is a (Cap -person not
just an unknown spirit) 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 than 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 or some
even say over the entire thing!
The same thing applies here. 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 1000’s of
ordinations without an 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 nor 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 too not holding the 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 a 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 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 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
scripture (unlike the fact that is forgives sins, 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 Popes power is immediate (not through someone else), Full (no
limits- expect for Christ’s law) and supreme.
Thus, Paul VI thought it beneficial to 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 dont 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 as us 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
A development of church laws like this are common, for example in
several council of the early church there were cannon against priest
being clean shaven. Yet, such things are no longer held today.