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Catholic Caucus: Regarding Sinful priests, and Validity of Mass/Sacraments
Fr. Trigilio

Posted on 09/12/2002 9:01:14 AM PDT by Polycarp

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This is an email correspondence a friend shared with me recently, I'm not sure if Fr. trigilio posted it on EWTN's Ask The Experts Forum, but I thought it touched on a few important issues recently under dabate in the Catholic Caucus
1 posted on 09/12/2002 9:01:15 AM PDT by Polycarp
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To: patent; Siobhan; sitetest; JMJ333; narses; Catholicguy; *Catholic_list; Notwithstanding; ...
ping...
2 posted on 09/12/2002 9:02:26 AM PDT by Polycarp
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To: Polycarp
Excellent, excellent, excellent.

This is one reason why I'm not leaving.

Thank you, Polycarp.

Absolutely excellent.


sitetest
3 posted on 09/12/2002 9:05:39 AM PDT by sitetest
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To: Polycarp
One of the reasons I posted this is because this question, "How do we know the sacraments are valid any more?" is being asked by many upset but faithful orthodox Catholics.

Note Fr Trigilio's response to this honest question, his pastoral approach. We need to mimic it.

4 posted on 09/12/2002 9:07:42 AM PDT by Polycarp
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To: Polycarp
Thanks Polycarp!

This is what the CC on FR is all about. Great article, I love Fr. Trijilio and Fr. Levis. If I can, I try to catch their Q&A show on EWTN.

5 posted on 09/12/2002 9:08:21 AM PDT by american colleen
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To: sitetest; NYer
This is one reason why I'm not leaving.

Good. Let's roll.

NYer,

You recently asked about a Catechism thread.

If you're still interested, so am I.

Lets get it together and get it started before I get into a bad mood again and start whining again ;-)

Mea culpa, everyone, for my negativity and ranting lately.

6 posted on 09/12/2002 9:12:01 AM PDT by Polycarp
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To: Polycarp; dansangel
Thanks for the post. See, You need to be here....
7 posted on 09/12/2002 9:30:27 AM PDT by .45MAN
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To: .45MAN
See, You need to be here....

Thanks. After receiving quite a few public and private reprimands and alternately encouragements I've decided to stick around, for which many I'm sure will in the end be sorry ;-)

8 posted on 09/12/2002 9:39:02 AM PDT by Polycarp
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Comment #9 Removed by Moderator

To: Polycarp
Hence, a pagan can validly baptize even if he or she does not believe in baptism but knows the recipient or the parents (in case of an infant) does believe in it.

I have also heard that certain firefighters and police have administered the Last Rights, in this way.

Okay, so please forgive me for playing the 6th grader in catholic elementary school but ....

"Fadah, what if one of the woman priests ordained in Austria, truly believes that she is ordained, INTENDS ......... uh, never mind, I just answered my own question. She must have VALID matter .... but what if she got her mitts, er I mean, hands on valid matter, would it be valid communion?"

10 posted on 09/12/2002 11:16:45 AM PDT by NYer
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To: NYer
The Church allows a lay person to baptize under certain conditions. It does NOT allow for Holy Orders to be conferred on women. She is not a proper minister of the sacrament of Holy Eucharist. Therefore, whatever she does to mimic what is proper to a priest (or a deacon or bishop) is always illicit and invalid and sacreligious.
11 posted on 09/12/2002 12:09:30 PM PDT by ThomasMore
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To: Bud McDuell
I’m going to give you my understanding, but with the express caveat that I don’t know what I’m talking about. ;-)

By doing what the Church does, they don’t mean that the Church is the one actually doing the Consecration, but rather that the Priest is trying to do whatever it is that the Church intends that its priests do. Take, for example, baptizing a person. A heretic can baptize. If he uses the proper form, and intends to do what the Church does, even if the heretic views it as nothing, the baptism is valid. What the Church does is provide the Sacraments, and the Grace, as all Grace flows into the world through it. Here, the Church provides the Mass, even though the actual ceremony is celebrated by the priest, acting in persona Christi. The priest doesn’t have to understand what the Church does, believe it, or anything of that nature. It only has to, overtly, be his intent to provide that thing to the faithful.

The Church teaches that as long as the priest puts no overt obstacle in the path of "doing what the Church does," the Sacrament is to be considered valid. Something overt would be, for example, a priest who is teaching a group of seminarians how to celebrate the Mass would overtly indicate that the external motions, though looking like a Mass, are not a true Mass, but merely for teaching purposes.

patent  +AMDG

12 posted on 09/12/2002 12:50:39 PM PDT by patent
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To: NYer
The power to Consecrate comes from Christ. He delegates the power for each of the Sacraments. For example, he delegates the power to baptize to all of us. He does not delegate the power to Consecrate to all of us. If you are not a priest to begin with, you do not have the power to begin with, and your intent is meaningless.

patent

13 posted on 09/12/2002 12:53:15 PM PDT by patent
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Comment #14 Removed by Moderator

Comment #15 Removed by Moderator

To: sandyeggo
Therefore, to not INTEND what the Church INTENDS merely makes the Mass illicit FOR THE PRIEST (not for the faithful who attend)

If I understand this correctly, this passage should refer to not to licity but validity.

In which case, how can the sacrament be validly received by the worshippers if it is invalidly confected (that is, not confected at all?)

16 posted on 09/12/2002 1:03:46 PM PDT by Loyalist
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To: Polycarp
Many of the modern Lollards forget that the priesthood is an office, so that the important thing is the performance of the office. Once you left personal intention be the end all, then everything the priest does is open to question.
17 posted on 09/12/2002 1:12:53 PM PDT by RobbyS
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To: Polycarp
I've decided to stick around, for which many I'm sure will in the end be sorry ;-)

Not so, Polycarp! Well, maybe the snipers you attract or possibly a couple of the sedes, come to think of it.

18 posted on 09/12/2002 1:24:59 PM PDT by american colleen
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To: sandyeggo
"I had to read the last paragraph a couple extra times before I had it all straight."

Maybe we need a flowchart? Honestly, I was thinking about making one, but I'm not that good at graphics anymore.
19 posted on 09/12/2002 1:28:19 PM PDT by Desdemona
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To: NYer; Bud McDuell; Polycarp; All
Found this which is a good explanation....

WHEN IS A SACRAMENT VALID?

                              TRADITIO Traditional Roman Catholic Internet Site   
          E-mail List: traditio@traditio.com, Web Page: http://www.traditio.com
            Copyright 1999 CSM.  Reproduction prohibited without authorization.
 

	Catholic sacramental theology teaches that the validity of a Sacrament 
depends essentially on three things:  the form, the matter, and the intention of 
the minister of the Sacrament.

	The form is the operative words, usually from Christ Himself, as handed 
down to us by Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition (e.g., the form of Baptism, 
the form of the Consecration of the Holy Eucharist).  The matter is the 
operative material, again, as handed down to us by Sacred Scripture or Sacred 
Tradition (e.g., the fermented juice of grapes and wheaten bread in the case of 
the Holy Eucharist).

	The internal intention (intentio interna) of the minister of the Sacrament 
must be, as defined by the dogmatic Council of Trent "doing what the Church 
does."  It does not require even orthodox belief.  The minister of a Sacrament 
may be a heretic or an excommunicate, and the Sacrament is still valid, as long 
as this minimal intention is present, and he does not overtly exclude from 
happening what the Church intends.  An example would be the case of an athiest 
in an emergency baptizing a newborn infant.  Even though the athiest personally 
does not believe in the Sacrament, as long as he intends to do what the Church 
does in this instance, perhaps out of his concern for the infant, the Sacrament 
is valid.

	There is much nonsense being spouted about today by "lay theologians," who 
are ignorant of the Church's definition of intent.  They try to say that if the 
priest doesn't personally believe in the doctrine of transubstantiation, the 
Consecration is invalid.  On the contrary, the Church teaches that as long as 
the priest puts no overt obstacle in the path of "doing what the Church does," 
the Sacrament is to be considered valid.  A counter-example:  a priest, teaching 
a group of seminarians how to celebrate Mass, might overtly indicate that the 
external motions, though looking like a Mass, are intended not to be a true 
Mass.

	Another ploy of "lay theologians" is to question priests' orders.  They 
like to call it a "pedigree."  Such terminology exhibits the mind of a 
veterinarian, not a theologian.  Catholic moral theology has always taught that 
"orders are orders."  The Church has consistently recognized orders conferred by 
heretics, by schismatics, by excommunicates, e.g., by the Eastern Orthodox and 
the Old Catholics, both of whom are held to have valid orders (cf., inter alia, 
Udalricus Beste, Introductio in Codicem, quam in Usum et Utilitatem Scholae et 
Cleri ad Promptam et Expeditamque Canonum Interpretationum.)

	Why so?  Because the Sacraments operate "ex opere operato," that is, from 
the act itself, through the power of Christ, not "ex opere operatis," that is, 
from the disposition of the minister.  The minister can be unworthy (as all 
are), in mortal sin, in heresy, in schism, in apostasy -- Catholic moral 
theology still teaches that the Sacrament as valid.

	This very early teaching of the Church was articulated, but not invented, 
by St. Augustine, who held that the orthodoxy and validity of apostolic 
succession were not considered identical.  Bishops could be heretics, yet could 
exercise their office as stewards of the Sacraments in a valid manner.  This 
doctrine has been held to this day by the Roman Catholic Church.  Provided that 
the intention when ordaining their successors was the same as those 
traditionally held by the Church, sacred powers could be passed on and the 
sacraments administered in a manner that the Church recognizes as valid.

	The Church's wisdom and understanding of the Sacraments instituted by 
Christ have led her to presume throughout the centuries the validity of the 
Sacraments except in that unusual case when an objective, overt reality proves 
the contrary with a moral certainty.  Otherwise, we would find ourselves in the 
position of scrupulously (i.e., sinfully) fidgeting over the minute intent and 
"pedigree" of every priest.  "Did he have the right intention?"  "Was he 
properly ordained?"  "Was Holy Communion really distributed?"  "Were my sins 
really forgiven in Confession?"

	If Holy Mother Church's bimillennial wisdom does not worry, if St. 
Augustine does not worry, we need not worry.


20 posted on 09/12/2002 1:57:56 PM PDT by ThomasMore
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