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 Mission? 
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New post Mission?
I was reading Christian Apologetics, A Defense of the Catholic Faith, Rev. W. Devivier, S.J., 1903, Benziger Brothers, New York, Cincinnati, Chicago, Imprimatur John M. Farley, Archbishop of New York and came across several passages which reminded me of a previous discussion. The question of mission, what it is exactly, and how it is obtained has come up in many conversations over the last several of years, and frankly I do not have a very good answer. I have looked for an explanation in the few sources I have and found practically nothing. As it is an irregular topic, an in-depth discussion on it is probable reserved to a scholarly Latin text. I am curious if anyone has come across anything which can help my understanding of this concept.

Joe Cupertino posted this definition on a previous thread:
Quote:
I found an interesting point made on p.584 of "A Catholic Dictionary" by William E. Addis and Thomas Arnold, M.A. (1884):

Mission. Mission is inseparably connected with jurisdiction, so that he who is validly "sent" exercises a lawful jurisdiction in the place to which, and over the persons to whom, he is sent; and, e converso, any person exercising a lawful jurisdiction must be held to have received true mission. Mission precedes jurisdiction in the order of thought, but is coincident with it in practice.”


The passages which reminded me of this from Christian Apologetics, A Defense of the Catholic Faith are below:

Pg 353-354

IV. Protestantism Does Not Possess Apostolicity.
…B. Not Is It Apostolic In Its Ministry. – How can the founders of Protestantism hold their authority from the apostles, they who revolted against the successors of the apostles, and preached a doctrine opposed to that which had been believed for centuries? In truth, Luther, Calvin, and the other leaders of Protestantism, realizing the necessity of justifying their revolt, claimed to have received what they called their mission of reformation from the apostles. But the authority to alter or perfect a divine work must rest upon something more than an affirmation. Christ Himself felt obliged to give abundant proofs of His mission. The reformers should have furnished at least a few miracles to credit their mission to the people. Luther was deeply sensitive to the need of such proof, and sorely perplexed how to furnish it. Sometimes he said he held his mission from the magistrate of Wittenberg, sometimes from his dignity of doctor. In the space of twenty-four years he changed his opinion on this point fourteen times.

The truth is, no one has received or ever will receive such a mission. We have seen that the apostles received the mission to teach all men, to preserve all that Jesus Christ had confided to them; an St. Paul pronounced anathema against any one, were he an angel from heaven, who would teach any other doctrine than that of the apostles. Hence it is proved that it was on their own authority that those so-called reformers arrogated to themselves their alleged mission. And the Church has the right to say to them: “You are of yesterday; I know you not.”

Pg 397

…First Argument.-How could the Church fulfills her mission of saving souls if, while enlightening minds with the light of revelation, she did not at the same time impart the strength absolutely indispensable for the observance of the precepts imposed by revelation? Now it is through the sacraments, through the sacrifice of the Mass particularly, and through the exercises of her worship, that the faithful obtain the graces necessary for the maintenance of the spiritual life.

Pg 398

First Argument.-A society cannot really exist and attain its end without the power to govern. A multitude of wills seeking to attain the same end necessarily requires common and efficacious guidance. Hence, when it pleased Our Saviour to unite in a perfect society with the authority necessary to accomplish its mission. In other words, He had to establish heads and rulers invested with a triple power, legislative, judiciary, and coercive; a law supposes the right to judge the guilty and to inflict punishment.

Pg 400

…All men, to be saved, are obliged to believe the doctrine taught by Jesus Christ. Now Christ has given His Church the mission and power to teach His doctrine and transmit it from age to age pure and intact; therefore, unless Christ intervenes with continual miracles to insure the purity of this teaching, He must necessarily guard the teaching Church from all error;…
[All Bold Added]

Several thoughts I had:

1. It appears to me that when the Saints refer to the reformers having no mission, they are referring to the context that the reformers had no mission to reconstitute i.e. “alter or perfect a divine work”, the Church. In the case of the traditional clergy in general they are not fighting to alter the Church but preserve her.

2. There are cases where Saints have been given an extraordinary mission to preach, I believe, like in the case of St. Paul or St. Vincent Ferrer but they did validate their claim with miracles.

3. It would seem to me:
Power is the ability to act.
Jurisdiction is the authority to act.
Mission is the obligation or duty to act?

Ability and authority to act is distinct and different from mission for the passages talk about Christ giving the power necessary to fulfill the mission as two separate things.

4. If mission is the obligation to act, would it not then tie closely with jurisdiction while remaining in its essence different. They would not be interchangeable but because of their nature would they not be also inseparable. Meaning without a mission how could there be the authority to act and vice versa? For one to be shouldered with the obligation of fulfilling the duty of an office, does he not also have to acquire the office? Likewise if one is granted the office, does he not also have the obligation to fulfill the duties of the office?

For example, if a priest is set over a parish, does he not have the obligation to hear the confessions of his parishioners? The power of orders does not give him this obligation per say, but the jurisdiction would. And this obligation would be delegated to the priest from the hierarchy/authority of the Church concurrent with the authority to do so. And it would seem to me this obligation is naturally, implicitly implied by the granting of the office/duty by the superior.

5. In the case of a priest without jurisdiction and even more specifically an excommunicated priest, normally he would have no jurisdiction to hear confessions and hence no obligation (mission) to do so. But if a need were to arise from the parish priest being absent/ill or a lay person in danger of death, jurisdiction would be supplied to hear the confession. In this case, could not one argue that the obligation (mission) arises not from having been delegated by the authority of the Church, (although I think the argument that it is implicitly given by the Church could be made), but the obligation (mission) is imposed by the virtue of charity, or God, Himself? In this sense even though one ordinarily has no obligation to act (is even prohibited under normal circumstances) although he is capable of (he has the power to), a change of circumstances could force upon him the obligation to act.

And having the obligation to act, he is granted the authority, or can perceive to have been granted the authority to act stemming from the words of St. Thomas: “On the contrary, Spiritual necessity is greater than bodily necessity. But it is lawful in a case of extreme necessity, for a man to make use of another's property, even against the owner's will, in order to supply a bodily need. Therefore in danger of death, a man may be absolved by another than his own priest, in order to supply his spiritual need.” Hence Mission would always proceed jurisdiction, even in the case of supplied jurisdiction for the act.

Again this is my own incoherent babbling without much to substantiate it, and I am quite hopeful someone can direct my thoughts here. It would be nice to actually find a text to help me form my understanding in a Catholic sense.


Sat Jul 12, 2014 12:57 am
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New post Re: Mission?
James, I wouldn’t call your post incoherent babbling by any means. What you wrote here seems very clear, well thought-out, and orderly, at least to me.

James Schroepfer wrote:
1. It appears to me that when the Saints refer to the reformers having no mission, they are referring to the context that the reformers had no mission to reconstitute i.e. “alter or perfect a divine work”, the Church. In the case of the traditional clergy in general they are not fighting to alter the Church but preserve her.

I was just thinking something like this the other day, or maybe it was even this morning (hard to say, it’s been a long day). After you had asked if I had any good sources explaining mission, and I said I didn’t, I almost replied later to clarify myself, but got too busy. I was going to say that I’ve come across plenty of sources that mention some things about mission, but none that seemed to really break it down ,or explain it well. Ironically, I was going to then mention that it seems that when I find mission being discussed, much of the time it is in the context of why Protestants had no authority to be teaching their new doctrines. In other words, I've noticed the same things you have concerning the context in which mission is discussed much of the time. So, I definitely agree with your assessment here.

James Schroepfer wrote:
2. There are cases where Saints have been given an extraordinary mission to preach, I believe, like in the case of St. Paul or St. Vincent Ferrer but they did validate their claim with miracles.

Yes, from what I understand the consensus is that an extraordinary mission must be proven by miracles.

As for 3, 4, and 5, I think you’re analysis is excellent and seems to make sense. I appreciate you taking the time to think about this and write your thoughts out here, as they offer a possible perspective on jurisdiction and mission that hasn’t occurred to me, yet seems to be consistent with the things I remember reading. Keeping in mind the possibility of your assessment will make reading about mission much more interesting.


Sat Jul 12, 2014 5:50 am
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New post Re: Mission?
James Schroepfer wrote:
3. It would seem to me:
Power is the ability to act.
Jurisdiction is the authority to act.
Mission is the obligation or duty to act?


Dear James,

Nice work, over all.

The mission of the Church includes all three offices, to teach, to sanctify, and to rule. I think this is evident in the fundamental text to which all theologians appeal when presenting this question (whether they use the term "mission" explicitly or not). It's Matthew 28, 18-20. "And Jesus coming, spoke to them, saying: All power is given to me in heaven and in earth. Going therefore, teach ye all nations; baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world."

In this text Our Lord defines His mission as derived from the Father; He mentions the power of sanctifying (baptism); He mentions the power of teaching; and He mentions the power of ruling ("to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.")

So while it is true that jurisdiction implies mission, and mission implies jurisdiction, the two are not identical. "Mission" at least in its full sense also includes valid orders and the authority to bind men to the teaching of the true faith. The Apostles and their successors are sent to teach, to sanctify, and to rule.

So, to correct your definitions:

Power is usually used by theologians as a synonym for authority, despite the fact that the two terms do have, at least etymologically, essentially distinct meanings. Authority is a relation, the concomitant to subjection. An authority is acting in the line of the Author of nature and grace, and if he acts outside of that line he acts invalidly. His power or ability to procure the end for which he acts is precisely limited in this way, but also it is essentially nothing more than the moral power of the relation of superior to inferior - that is, the power of having the right to be obeyed, with the corresponding duty on the part of the inferior of obeying his lawful commands.

So power is the the ability to act, if this is understood correctly.

Jurisdiction is the authority to act if it is understood in the way defined above, I think, but this effectively equates it to power, thus removing the value from your distinction.

Mission is the obligation or duty to act, yes, but also the authority to do so. It's the whole thing, the notion of being given a task and the power to fulfil it. So, the Apostles were sent to sanctify, to teach, and to rule, and they were given all that they needed to do so; the priesthood, jurisdiction, and the magisterium, the office by which they taught, and teach, the faithful.

I agree that the authors generally reduce the concept "mission" - at least in practice - to the notion of being authorised. This, I think, can be understood as another relation - the relation of the Author to those who are authorised. So, the Protestant ministers are not authorised and therefore clearly have no mission. They have not been sent. But a Catholic parish priest has jurisdiction for the internal forum - that is, "faculties" for confession - which is really nothing more than the authorisation to hear confessions, and this suffices to say that they have indeed been "sent". So I'd say the concept isn't that hard to grasp, it's just hard to define. :)

Finally, valid orders are not strictly required for a man to be a true Successor of the Apostles, so we need to be careful with the above explanation for that reason. I do not mean to suggest that "mission" is limited to the persons who have been ordained. That is, one who has the mission to sanctify may do so by arranging others who have orders to provide the Holy Sacrifice and the sacraments.

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Sat Jul 12, 2014 12:50 pm
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New post Re: Mission?
Quote:
John Lane:
Power is usually used by theologians as a synonym for authority, despite the fact that the two terms do have, at least etymologically, essentially distinct meanings. Authority is a relation, the concomitant to subjection. An authority is acting in the line of the Author of nature and grace, and if he acts outside of that line he acts invalidly. His power or ability to procure the end for which he acts is precisely limited in this way, but also it is essentially nothing more than the moral power of the relation of superior to inferior - that is, the power of having the right to be obeyed, with the corresponding duty on the part of the inferior of obeying his lawful commands.


Actually when I listed power, I meant sacramental power in so far as what is necessary to fulfill the mission. I was relating jurisdiction synonymously to power in the sense of having the right to be obeyed.

Quote:
John Lane:
The mission of the Church includes all three offices, to teach, to sanctify, and to rule.


I agree the mission of the Church includes all three of these offices, but a thought is, does each cleric in the Church need to hold all three of these offices to fulfill his mission? Does a priest have to hold all three of these offices to fulfill his mission as a priest? Hence the example you provided.

Quote:
John Lane: Finally, valid orders are not strictly required for a man to be a true Successor of the Apostles, so we need to be careful with the above explanation for that reason. I do not mean to suggest that "mission" is limited to the persons who have been ordained. That is, one who has the mission to sanctify may do so by arranging others who have orders to provide the Holy Sacrifice and the sacraments.


A man may be a true Successor of the Apostles without being a bishop. But to fulfill his mission as a Successor of the Apostles is it not necessary for him to at least make sure to arrange others to provide the sacraments for his flock? If he did not, would we not say he failed in his mission?

Quote:
Joe Cupertino:
Yes, from what I understand the consensus is that an extraordinary mission must be proven by miracles.


Extraordinary mission is what I was relating to when I was referring to a mission which needs to be validated by miracles. As to the normal administration of sacraments by the traditional clergy, I don't think one can refer to them as extraordinary because from what I can tell they fall under the ordinary operations of the Church. The administration of the sacraments in this fashion may be unusual in the sense under normal circumstances this would not be necessary, but I don't think one can say they are extraordinary as I believe the administration of the sacraments by such clergy to be at least implicitly covered under Canon 2261/2 of the 1917 Code of Canon Law. If one can, under the circumstances of no priests, seek the sacraments from one excommunicated, this principle of the law can especially be applied to priests who, despite not having ordinary or delegated jurisdiction, are not even excommunicated. In this case I don't even believe it is necessary for the traditional priests to claim epikeia to justify administering the sacraments to us laity in need of them.

Quote:
Canon 2261
1. One excommunicated is prohibited from confecting and administering licitly the Sacraments and Sacramentals, except for the exceptions that follow.
2. The faithful, with due regard for the prescription of 3., can for any just cause seek the Sacraments and Sacramentals from one excommunicated, especially if other ministers are lacking, and then the one who is excommunicate and approached can administer these and is under no obligation of inquiring the reasons from the one requesting.
3. But from a banned excommunicate and from others excommunicated after a condemnatory or declaratory sentence has come, only the faithful in danger of death can ask for sacramental absolution according to the norm of Canons 882 and 2252 and even, if other ministers are lacking, other Sacraments and Sacramentals.


Quote:
Rev. Augustine, O.S.B., D.D. "A Commentary on the New Code of Canon Law" (1918), Imprimatur 1918:

"Canon 2261...
I. Provided the minister is not a vitandus or under a declaratory or condemnatory sentence, the faithful may, for any just reason, ask him to administer the Sacraments and sacramental to them. This is more especially true if no other minister is available, in which case the excommunicated minister thus asked may administer the Sacraments and sacramental without as much as inquiring for the reason why the petitioner wishes to receive them. Hence the faithful are to judge in such cases whether the reason is just. Any reason may be called just which promotes devotion or wards off temptations or is prompted by real convenience, for instance, if one does not like to call another minister."


Wed Jul 16, 2014 12:40 am
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New post Re: Mission?
James Schroepfer wrote:
I agree the mission of the Church includes all three of these offices, but a thought is, does each cleric in the Church need to hold all three of these offices to fulfill his mission? Does a priest have to hold all three of these offices to fulfill his mission as a priest?


No, but that's a different question. What is "mission" is one question. What is required in order to fulfil one's mission is another.

The priest (as distinct from the bishop) is best thought of as a delegate of the bishop. He is a limited creature, having restricted powers and responsibilities. We do not look for the mission of the Church in the proper sense in the priest, except insofar as we see him as the delegate of the bishop, fulfilling the bishop's mission. The bishop is really the one who is "sent" in the full sense, and he in turn "sends" the priest in a limited way - that is, to part of his flock, for limited purposes.

We need to rid our minds of any home-alone originated nonsense about "mission" in order to have clear ideas about this. As soon as they say something like, "If the priest wasn't 'sent' by a true Successor of the Apostles then he is a wolf who has not entered by the door," then confusion of ideas is apparent. Yes, a priest ought to be an authorised representative of a residential bishop (or of the Holy See in the case of missionaries). But the concept of "mission" which the theologians address, and which the home-aloner theorists apply to the case of priests, is really concerned with bishops alone. The priest is in a different category, and the terms and concepts don't apply directly to his role.

Turning to bishops, then, and looking at the question, we are faced with an unique problem - the traditionalist bishops. That is, men with episcopal orders but no claim whatsoever to any ordinary jurisdiction. They are not residential bishops (ordinaries) and they are not missionary bishops (apostolic delegates, etc.), nor are they even auxiliary or Curial bishops (titulars). They are a new creature, not envisaged by the law or by any historical precedent of which I am aware. Archbishop Lefebvre was acutely aware of this and made this abundantly clear in 1988 in various ways.

Now, there are at least two key questions here. 1. Were these men lawfully consecrated, or have they breached the law in doing so? 2. Is it lawful to approach such men for the sacraments? (A third question, are they Successors of the Apostles? has been answered - they're not, and no amount of arguing will affect the answer, I believe.)

The first question doesn't concern us except insofar as it might impinge upon the second question. I can see no reason why the answer to the second question would be "No," and your own citation of canon 2261 is apropos. That is, even on the hypothesis that such men are excommunicated, we can approach them lawfully and they can lawfully supply what we request.

The warnings against wolves who enter not by the door are especially directed at false bishops who claim authority which they do not have - e.g. heretics or even invalidly ordained usurpers. The great danger unauthorised claimants represent, apart from potentially invalid orders, is their apparent authority. To grasp this it is necessary to have a clear notion of the true relationship of a Christian to his bishop. Most trads these days have very vague or false ideas on this score. We are meant to be subject to our bishops, like children to their father. A usurper therefore represents the most extreme danger to the flock. Take away this notion of true subjection to authority, as for example most trads do by recognising heretics as their bishops and yet refusing all communication with them and certainly all subjection - even attempted subjection - and the entire concept of the false bishop as a danger to the flock loses all meaning. If your bishop is really nothing more to you than an optional extra in the Church, a man who could do a great deal of good if only he had the faith and actually cared a little for the faithful, but whom you ignore entirely because actually he's a raving heretic who practices an entirely new and false religion, then he is no danger at all - to you. He's a curiosity, a problem for others, but not for you. Calling him a "wolf" seems merely a form of verbal abuse, a rather unseemly thing to do.

Now, if we consider our traditionalist bishops in that context, we immediately see that since they do not claim any authority, they are not the kind of danger that Our Lord, and following Him the theologians, warn against. They are not heretics, they are not usurpers of authority, they are merely good Catholics - excellent, noble, self-sacrificing Catholics - who have episcopal orders and therefore are able to supply some goods that nobody else can or will supply.

Of course, the claim by some (e.g. Fr. Cekada) that these men are true Successors of the Apostles is somewhat dangerous, not merely because it is a mistake in theology, but precisely because every Christian knows that the Apostles were given authority, and their successors share in it. As already commented, most trads don't really grasp this truth, so they're not in much practical danger if they think that traditionalist bishops have some authority, but the ones who do know how things really work in the Catholic Church would be led to think that they must be subject to such bishops, or at least, to one of them. I have seen this error in the concrete in several instances, so it's not a purely theoretical problem.

Anyway, those are my ideas on this matter. I hope they're helpful.

James Schroepfer wrote:
Quote:
John Lane: Finally, valid orders are not strictly required for a man to be a true Successor of the Apostles, so we need to be careful with the above explanation for that reason. I do not mean to suggest that "mission" is limited to the persons who have been ordained. That is, one who has the mission to sanctify may do so by arranging others who have orders to provide the Holy Sacrifice and the sacraments.


A man may be a true Successor of the Apostles without being a bishop. But to fulfill his mission as a Successor of the Apostles is it not necessary for him to at least make sure to arrange others to provide the sacraments for his flock? If he did not, would we not say he failed in his mission?


Again, I presume you recognise that whether or not somebody has failed in their mission is an entirely distinct question from whether they have a valid mission to begin with?

James Schroepfer wrote:
As to the normal administration of sacraments by the traditional clergy, I don't think one can refer to them as extraordinary because from what I can tell they fall under the ordinary operations of the Church.


Exactly.

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Wed Jul 16, 2014 2:52 am
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New post Re: Mission?
John Lane wrote:
Turning to bishops, then, and looking at the question, we are faced with an unique problem - the traditionalist bishops. That is, men with episcopal orders but no claim whatsoever to any ordinary jurisdiction. They are not residential bishops (ordinaries) and they are not missionary bishops (apostolic delegates, etc.), nor are they even auxiliary or Curial bishops (titulars). They are a new creature, not envisaged by the law or by any historical precedent of which I am aware. Archbishop Lefebvre was acutely aware of this and made this abundantly clear in 1988 in various ways.


Yes, your ideas have been very helpful to me at least. Thank you! But this above quote I am not too sure about. I agree that we are in a unique situation but I don't understand how a traditional bishop can be a new creature. Only a Pope could create new offices or roles for bishops, correct? I suppose the thing that makes them new or unique is that they have no jurisdiction whatsoever and they are not delegates of any bishops or something like that, correct? And yet they are still Catholics in good standing.

I'm not trying to be a pain (although I may be that), I just want to understand the situation a little better. I think most of the bishops we are thinking of are in the lines of either Archbishop Lefebvre, Archbishop Thuc, Bishop Castro de Mayer or Bishop Menendez, correct? Maybe there are others that I am not aware of? But were not all 4 of these bishops Successors of the Apostles? Any bishop consecrated by these 4 bishops would have at least material apostolicity, correct? So the only thing the traditional bishops descended from these 4 bishops are missing is jurisdiction, correct? If they had jurisdiction they would be Successors of the Apostles because then they would have all the powers necessary to preach/teach, sanctify and rule. It seems to me that these bishops ought to have jurisdiction. Why do they not have jurisdiction? Are they not for all practical purposes delegates of the 4 Successors above? But maybe they are not delegates because in order to be a delegate there has to be some kind of formal paperwork filled out? I guess even if they are delegates, they are still not Successors because delegates are not necessarily Successors. But if the clergy of some diocese were to elect them to be bishop of their diocese, I would think that they would in fact be Successors. Am I off base here or do I understand this correctly? What would it take for a valid election to take place?

I get the feeling that the only reason we are in the position that we are in now is that the 4 Successors above were slow to realize the extent of the damage done to the hierarchy of the Church and they did not react quickly enough or decisively enough to preserve Apostolic Succession. For example, I remember you mentioning that Archbishop Lefebvre advising Bishop Castro de Mayer to hold an election for a new Bishop of Campos. Had they done that back in the 1980s we would still have at least one Successor of the Apostles in the traditional Catholic ranks.

I would appreciate any corrections to my comments above and/or any deeper explanations of not only the status of the traditional bishops but also maybe some specific steps that could be taken by traditional clergy to help restore the Church's hierarchy.

Thank you!


Thu Jul 17, 2014 2:07 am
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New post Re: Mission?
ClemensMaria wrote:
John Lane wrote:
Turning to bishops, then, and looking at the question, we are faced with an unique problem - the traditionalist bishops. That is, men with episcopal orders but no claim whatsoever to any ordinary jurisdiction. They are not residential bishops (ordinaries) and they are not missionary bishops (apostolic delegates, etc.), nor are they even auxiliary or Curial bishops (titulars). They are a new creature, not envisaged by the law or by any historical precedent of which I am aware. Archbishop Lefebvre was acutely aware of this and made this abundantly clear in 1988 in various ways.


Yes, your ideas have been very helpful to me at least. Thank you! But this above quote I am not too sure about. I agree that we are in a unique situation but I don't understand how a traditional bishop can be a new creature. Only a Pope could create new offices or roles for bishops, correct? I suppose the thing that makes them new or unique is that they have no jurisdiction whatsoever and they are not delegates of any bishops or something like that, correct?


Yes, exactly. They're an historically unprecedented thing. Of course, some have compared them to "vagrant" clergy, but that's not accurate. Vagrant clergy were always created in the face of legitimate authority or unlawfully departed from the government of the Church; our clergy exist as manifestly necessary in an era without active government. The story of St. Eusebius consecrating bishops for Christian communities in the East during a period when their own bishops had disappeared into heresy is a case of manifest necessity also, but of course those bishops were ordinaries, claiming their local see by right, and in no sense vagrants. Our traditionalist bishops are unique precisely because they are neither illegitimate (they have not contravened the law in being consecrated, due to necessity which knows no law) nor are they claiming any territorial jurisdiction.

The root cause of the problem is precisely the problematical situation of the Holy See. If Rome had held fast, the problem would be merely local, even if widespread (i.e. even if it affected many or most localities). But "rome" was the source of the problem, the heresy. The only path to a claim of jurisdiction was to declare the vacancy of the local see and arrange some kind of local election; but one could not realistically do this in the face of the Roman Pontiff: one would have first, or simultaneously, to declare the See of Rome vacant. But this all bishops were reluctant to do, for many reasons, not least of which was the lack of clarity about Paul VI's or JPII's own heresy. So the ambiguity of the situation resulted in a paralysis of any action directed along canonically classical lines. The non-local traditionalist cleric with episcopal orders created only for sacramental ministry was the answer.

What has happened is that while the nature of these bishops' ministry was understood and stated explicitly at the time of their creation, over time this has been somewhat forgotten and now we see many traditionalists treating them as though they have some actual authority, some rights and responsibilities other than being the source of particular sacraments. We see this in many ways, even for example in the nonsense which some spout about Bishop Williamson and his EC's: they say he has a duty to teach, since he's a bishop, so he cannot be forbidden from publishing his views. This arises from a totally false conception of what he is, as though he were an ordinary or an apostolic delegate or some other Successor of the Apostles, when he simply isn't. He has no episcopal duty to preach, because he has no flock to which he owes that duty.

ClemensMaria wrote:
I'm not trying to be a pain (although I may be that), I just want to understand the situation a little better. I think most of the bishops we are thinking of are in the lines of either Archbishop Lefebvre, Archbishop Thuc, Bishop Castro de Mayer or Bishop Menendez, correct?


Yes, except for that last name. Do you mean "Mendez"? If so, he was of course the man who consecrated Clarence Kelly as a "sacramental bishop" like the others.

ClemensMaria wrote:
Maybe there are others that I am not aware of? But were not all 4 of these bishops Successors of the Apostles? Any bishop consecrated by these 4 bishops would have at least material apostolicity, correct?


Yes, all four were Successors of the Apostles. No, they could not bestow any "material apostolicity" which is a term used to describe an unlawful occupant of a true see established by the Church (e.g. the Patriarch of Constantinople). Such a man has only material succession, which means no true succession but only the physical occupation of a see which really exists. Bishop Sanborn takes this term and makes it some kind of legal succession but in doing so he flatly contradicts all of the authorities he cites. Their entire point in using the term "material succession" is to deny the one thing Bishop Sanborn recognises - the legality of the succession.

ClemensMaria wrote:
So the only thing the traditional bishops descended from these 4 bishops are missing is jurisdiction, correct?

Yes, they lack any share in the authority of the Church. They have none of it. Not an ounce, not a skerrick, nothing. But that is what constitutes a man a Successor of the Apostles, as we have already seen. That is, even a man without any orders at all can be - and many have been - a true Successor of the Apostles.

ClemensMaria wrote:
If they had jurisdiction they would be Successors of the Apostles because then they would have all the powers necessary to preach/teach, sanctify and rule. It seems to me that these bishops ought to have jurisdiction. Why do they not have jurisdiction? Are they not for all practical purposes delegates of the 4 Successors above?

A delegate is a man to whom some authority has been delegated. None of these men were delegated any authority by those who consecrated them. There was no suggestion in any case that any authority was being delegated, and none was delegated. (Nor do I think that any could have been, but that's a distinct and unnecessary question.)

ClemensMaria wrote:
But maybe they are not delegates because in order to be a delegate there has to be some kind of formal paperwork filled out?

It's not about formal paperwork, it's about formal acts, whether recorded on paper or not. Just as with a contract, which may be purely verbal yet legally and morally binding, the paperwork is important but not essential. There was no act of delegation of any authority. Nobody even claims that there was.

ClemensMaria wrote:
But if the clergy of some diocese were to elect them to be bishop of their diocese, I would think that they would in fact be Successors.

Arguably, at least, yes. They would claim a see subject to the future approval of the Holy See. In the mean time they would have at least a coloured title to the office and canon 209 (supplied jurisdiction) would step in and assure the validity of their acts.

ClemensMaria wrote:
Am I off base here or do I understand this correctly? What would it take for a valid election to take place?

We need the clergy who elect to be clergy of that diocese, which means Catholic men who have received first tonsure in that diocese (or incardinated there by some other canonical process - we needn't concern ourselves with that possibility, it's too technical and raises a host of other questions, all difficult to answer).

ClemensMaria wrote:
I get the feeling that the only reason we are in the position that we are in now is that the 4 Successors above were slow to realize the extent of the damage done to the hierarchy of the Church and they did not react quickly enough or decisively enough to preserve Apostolic Succession. For example, I remember you mentioning that Archbishop Lefebvre advising Bishop Castro de Mayer to hold an election for a new Bishop of Campos. Had they done that back in the 1980s we would still have at least one Successor of the Apostles in the traditional Catholic ranks.

Yes, although I wouldn't say that those men were slow to realise the extent of the damage, so much as prudently reluctant to take any steps which might make permanent what at every stage looked like it simply could not last. Hindsight gives us 20/20 vision. :)

ClemensMaria wrote:
I would appreciate any corrections to my comments above and/or any deeper explanations of not only the status of the traditional bishops but also maybe some specific steps that could be taken by traditional clergy to help restore the Church's hierarchy.


I don't think we will see any such steps, and at this stage we have to recognise that Providence has ideas about how this crisis will end which are not apparent to us. Our role is to watch and pray, and especially, make acts of faith, because things will keep getting worse until Rome is restored. That much is certain.

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Fri Jul 18, 2014 12:41 am
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New post Re: Mission?
As is common in human parlance many words are used with different meanings by people from different cultures. The legal, medical. economic, and political systems use Latin with rather lose/broad and sometimes different meanings and "weight".

The 'mission' of the 'for profit' business is primarily to make money; the politicos to win votes; the medical, 'to do no harm'. So now of course I can rank myself with them all, and the devil's mission to boot.

This is the crossover of the clerical terminology into the secular language.

So what's in your wallet?


Fri Jul 18, 2014 1:16 pm
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New post Re: Mission?
Thank you John for your thoughts on the subject. They are very much appreciated.

Quote:
John Lane: No, but that's a different question. What is "mission" is one question. What is required in order to fulfil one's mission is another.


Quite so. My question was directed at the idea that the sacraments can be provided by clerics who do not necessarily hold a mission in the ecclesiological sense of a threefold office to teach, to rule, to sanctify.

However, they can have a mission either by law or authority, in the sense of having an obligation, to fulfill one of these offices without subsequently or simultaneously holding or by such obtaining all three. But hence the confusion arises from the loose meaning writers have applied to the word in different context or occasions.

Quote:
John Lane: I agree that the authors generally reduce the concept "mission" - at least in practice - to the notion of being authorised.


Mission in both it strict definition and general sense seems to be used to mean -having been authorized- or -having the obligation to. The Church has both been authorized to fulfill her mission, which is to save souls, and I would conjecture to say has the obligation to save souls. In the case of the Church, she has all three of the offices. But in the case of an individual as a member of that Church, this is not necessary, and the individual cleric can be authorized to whatever extent it so pleases her to choice again either by authority or by law (which comes from authority). Hence the case of the traditional bishops, who while having not been authorized to teach in the sense of one of authority or rule as such, have been authorized by the same law of the Church (Canon 2261/2) to provide the sacraments they are capable of to those in need of them similar to the traditional priests. That they can provide more of them does not place them at a higher level or authorize them to do more in a general sense. Their mission, in the sense of obligation, is to fulfill this spiritual need, nothing more.

And if the home-aloners wish to argue against such a mission to sanctify, as an authorization or obligation to act, being provided for by Church law, I don't see how they can successfully distain and disown such a mission arising from the Divine law of Charity. Instead they turn these acts of Charity into supposed crimes these traditional clergy are committing. Absurd on every level.

Quote:
John Lane: Of course, the claim by some (e.g. Fr. Cekada) that these men are true Successors of the Apostles is somewhat dangerous, not merely because it is a mistake in theology, but precisely because every Christian knows that the Apostles were given authority, and their successors share in it. As already commented, most trads don't really grasp this truth, so they're not in much practical danger if they think that traditionalist bishops have some authority, but the ones who do know how things really work in the Catholic Church would be led to think that they must be subject to such bishops, or at least, to one of them.


While for the most part the traditional bishops make no such claim as having a mission, I agree completely with you that the perception they encourage by certain behavior is dangerous as it can lead simple Catholics to believing them having as much. This is particularly a problem in the areas of having a mission to rule and to teach as in the case of Bishop Kelly on the Thuc bishops and Bishop Sanborn on una cum masses or the bishops of the SSPX on sedevacantism. The laity of these groups tend to falsely believe their opinions to be final decisions in such matters, lending to cult like tendencies by the same. While it certainly alright and perhaps commendable to defer ones' judgment to the more knowledgeable opinions of the former, it certainly should not be viewed as dissidence when another reasons to the contrary on a certain non-doctrinal point using sound judgment, good information, and sufficient reflection.

Quote:
John Lane: Again, I presume you recognise that whether or not somebody has failed in their mission is an entirely distinct question from whether they have a valid mission to begin with?


Absolutely!


Sat Jul 19, 2014 12:12 am
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New post Re: Mission?
John Lane wrote:
What has happened is that while the nature of these bishops' ministry was understood and stated explicitly at the time of their creation, over time this has been somewhat forgotten and now we see many traditionalists treating them as though they have some actual authority


This seems to have come about because whilst not claiming a territorial jurisdiction, many of their day to day activities are certainly jurisdictional. The concept that a bishop merely exits to dispense sacraments does not reflect the reality of the situation. Hence, the confusion about their status.


Sat Jul 19, 2014 4:12 am
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New post Re: Mission?
I know what the position of the SSPX is, and I don't think SV'ist have a vastly different position on the matter.

This problem is a bit more peculiar when you start talking about vows, and I don't mean like the "promises" the SSPX priest makes to the SSPX (really a pious union, jurisdictionally speaking). I am talking about a religious house and the whole canonical licitness needed behind it. So think of the elections of prior's, abbot's and things like that. Would it be impossible to have a traditional Abbot, since technically that is a strictly jurisdictional act.

What about the difference between private, and public vows? How did all of this work, during the 3 year sedevacante. I guess my real question, is give me the list of books to read. :lol:

I know at the end of the day, the Church is a perfect society that has everything she needs to do the work Her Divine Saviour has given it. So there is an explanation its just about me getting a better grasp of some of the more legal repercussions behind these questions.

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Fri Oct 10, 2014 3:29 am
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