Editor's Note: We'll continue our summer mailbag series with a short-answer to a paragraph from a tiresome missive we received in response to our "Anniversary Special" -- tiresome because we've answered this and related objections many times, in particular in Question XXII in our refutation/rebuttal of Checkie, titled "The Dubiety of Ordination Conferred with One Hand."
Let me make this simple for you disordered wing nuts. The unnamed SSPX priest's testimony about Bishop Dolan as the only candidate of his class to receive one-handed priestly orders is USELESS, even if it be true. (Which I very much doubt.) "The episcopate is the fullness of the priesthood" or "the completion to fullness of the Sacrament of Holy Orders" and so it COMPLETES the priesthood. Get it, you freaking idiots? Any defect would have been "cured," as you pompously say, when His Excellency Bishop Pivarunas consecrated then Father Dolan in 1993. Therefore, in Catholic theory, His Excellency Bishop Dolan has no need to "seek conditional orders."Whew! That was self-righteously angry, wasn't it?
As you regular readers know, we've said all along that it's disputed among theologians whether the leap from deacon to bishop results in a valid episcopacy. Some say yes, others no. And in our rebuttal of the Blunderer, we cited instances of the opposing positions.
Our own rebuttal to this correspondent's position -- to wit, that the episcopacy completes the priesthood and consequently does not require in its subject the presbyterate -- comes from the linguistically informed legal reasoning of the Jesuit G. Huarte.* His argument goes like this:
The espicopate has indeed always been a complementum of -- "something that completes" -- the priesthood. But by its very nature a complementum supposes the presence of something that has to be completed. Accordingly, it would seem, valid conferral of espicopal orders cannot in any way take place without presupposing the presence of the priesthood in the bishop-elect.Therefore, the defect wasn't cured in '93, and in leaping he fell flat on his face.
As a reply to our cultling's bold assertion of "Catholic theory," we quote from Archabbot Stehle's chapter "De Supplendis Defectibus in Ordinatione Commissis" (lit. on supplying defects committed in ordination).**
In praxi, Ordinum collationem quod attinet, pars tutior semper est sequenda -- in practice, with regard to the conferral of orders, the safer course must always be followed. (Our emphasis.)
Again, as we've always said, no one can know whether one-handed orders are valid or not until the restored Church decides. But, in light of the doubts first raised back in 1990 by the nine priests and later by our refutation/rebuttal of the Blunderer's erroneous defense of such orders, the safer course for His Deficiency -- according to Catholic practice -- is conditional ordination and consecration.
The down-on-their-luck losers he's "ordained" are anxiously waiting to be fixed. And so, by the way, are the deeply worried cult followers, who piously insist they cannot live without the sacraments.
*Tractatus de Ordine et Matrimonio (3rd ed.), p. 103, Rome, 1931.
** In his Manuale Ordinandorum or Ordinatiion Rite According to the Roman Pontifical, p. 75, Beatty, Pa., 1917.