Saturday, April 7, 2018


Omne actum ab agentis intentione judicandum ("every act must be judged by the doer's intention"). Latin Legal Adage

It's been a while since we ran a seasonal "mailbag" feature. Lately there's been a lot to cover in Cultilandia, making it impossible to share with our readership the content of our voluminous and, let us say, sometimes spirited correspondence. PL's post of March 24 generated so much e-mail that the team decided to replace the article slated for today with the following communication about the Liénart liability:

Thuc's opinion about Archbishop Lefebvre's validity and a $ will get you a cup of coffee, nothing else. Father Cekada beautifully disproved the defective intention "canard" with a single perfect quotation:
“all [theologians, Ed.] agreed that the outward decorous performance of the rites [our edition reads riteEd.] sets up a presumption that the right intention exists.... The minister of a sacrament is presumed to intend what the rite means... This principle is affirmed as certain theological doctrine, taught by the Church, to deny which would be at least theologically rash.” (B. Leeming, Principles of Sacramental Theology [Westminster MD: Newman 1956], 476, 482.)
Maybe if you knuckleheads would read a real theologian like Father Cekada and stopped calling him nasty names you would not spew forth all of your evil garbage.

For the record, we do read "real," i.e., properly formed, authentically Catholic, theological authors, like Bernard Leeming, S.J. We also read, for laughs, the amateur and suspect scribblings of that sub-educated, wannabe, outsider Erroneous Antonius.  In fact, Fr. Leeming's volume (the 1957 second impression with minor corrections) sits on the ready-reference shelf in our editorial offices, alongside Parente, Roberti, "baby" Prümmer, Pohle-Preuss, Bouscaren, Attwater, etc. Furthermore, our correspondent's cite from the Cheeseball's fatuous "Sacramental Intention and Masonic Bishops" has been on our radar for quite some time.

Insofar as Checkie's quotation surfaced (coincidentally?) in several responses about the Liénart liability, today affords an opportune occasion to demonstrate once again why no Catholic should ever trust anything Tony Baloney says or writes.  In all honesty, that citation is one of the most egregiously misleading — we're being charitable here — proof-texts we've ever encountered from the Checkmeister's unreliable pen, almost equal to his perverse mistranslation of infallible papal teaching.  We're sure you'll agree by the time we're through. It won't take long.

If you read the quote as it stands in Phony Tony's monograph, you'd think the principle affirmed as "certain theological doctrine" runs something like this: whenever a competent minister performs a rite correctly, he establishes a presumption that he does so with the proper intention.  Now there's nothing wrong with that as it stands: students of Roman law will clearly recognize the ancient maxim acta exteriora indicant interiora secreta.  However, it is NOT in its entirety the principle Fr. Leeming said would be rash to deny.  Here's Leeming's principle as stated verbatim on p. 482 of our edition of Principles of Sacramental Theology:

Principle XV
That principle is much more complex than the Cheeseburger's, wouldn't you say? Observe (1) the colon, which here emphasizes the sequence of thought, and (2) the transitional adverb nevertheless, so termed because it effects a logical transition (in this instance, between sentences).  Furthermore, grammarians classify that conjunctive adverb as an adversative, because it not only connects the sentences but also contrasts them. Note also there are not two principles: It's one principle consisting of two interconnected elements. The first element is limited by the second.

Consequently, sure, it's true that a minister is presumed to intend what the rite means, BUT, as the second half of Principle XV tells us, the presumption may be overthrown under a specific condition. You aren't free to accept only the first part of the principle and reject the second without censure.  In a similar vein, you can't declare that half the principle constitutes the whole principle.

Did the Cheeseball only give part of the story because the other part threatened to upset his self-serving objective? A motive for suppressing the whole principle might become apparent when you read Leeming's summary (pp. 483-484, emphases ours):
Thus, the mind of the Church is clear that it is possible for a minister to have the intention of not doing what the Church does, and that if such is the case, the sacrament is invalid. This teaching is universally accepted by modern theologians, who agree that a sacrament is invalidated even by a secret intention of the minister contrary to the substantial nature of the sacrament. *
As we have argued before (12/23/17), it is not inconceivable that a well-motivated, thoroughly radicalized infiltrator could pronounce the words and conduct the rite of priestly ordination impeccably, yet interiorly have no intention to do what the Church does. Indeed, an indoctrinated, highly intelligent, supremely self-disciplined enemy of the Church who understood what was at stake might almost reflexively commit himself to the unrelenting effort of subverting the sacraments at every turn, especially the sacrament of orders. What better way to destroy the Church than to corrupt holy orders through the passive aggression of a secret resolve?

If Liénart were a Freemason, he assuredly was aware of the far-reaching damage one rogue bishop could inflict upon the Church; working with brother Masons in the Church, the effectiveness of his destructive efforts would be amplified.  The Church had trained him well. In addition to his seminary formation, he studied at the Institut Catholique de Paris, the Sorbonne, and the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome. He therefore knew where to strike in order to wreak the most havoc with the least risk of exposing himself.

Now, whether he was a Mason, PL can't say for certain, but as far back as 1978 an SSPX priest, writing in defense of Lefebvre's orders, seemed to acknowledge Liénart's Freemasonry as a matter of fact.** Likewise, whether Liénart resolved at Lefebvre's ordination not to do as the Church does, we don't know with certitude either, for in  Rama Coomaraswamy's words, "we cannot look back into his heart in 1929."***

PL's point, however, is that if Liénart were an inveterate enemy of the Church, as Archbishop Thbelieved him to be and as many others have affirmed, then it is possible, perhaps even plausible, considering the psychological profile of the fanatical true-believer, that Liénart's intention at Lefebvre's 1929 sacerdotal ordination may well have been contrary to the substantial nature of the sacrament of orders. The horrific result would be Lefebvre's invalid ordination to the priesthood.

In his comedy Curculio, Plautus wrote, "flamma fumo est proxuma," which freely translated runs, "Where there's smoke, there's fire!" Lefebvrist "clergy" cannot cavalierly dismiss the Liénart liability without risk of self-immolation.  Too much has surfaced, and the days of easy denial are over. Although we may never know Liénart's intention on Lefebvre's ordination day, barring, say, the discovery of a personal journal, we can (1) apply what we know in general about the mindset of the Church's most formidable adversaries, (2) remind ourselves of Leeming's entire Principle XV, and (3) choose the safer side. It's not too late. For some.

The Readers' advice to Big Don — and to the Checkmeister  — is:


* For anyone who is interested in learning the facts about the rather involved and convoluted history of the presumption of intention, we recommend studying Leeming's chapter 15, pp. 462-496. This way you may bypass the untrustworthy cult masters completely.

** The article is found here. The writer may have been referring to the "outing" of Masonic prelates in a 1976 article published in the journal Il Borghese, which set off a series of investigations into moles who had penetrated the Church at high levels.

*** The  quote came from a 1982 article, Cracks in the Masonry, where Coomaraswamy concluded, "There is no credible evidence which shows that Cardinal Liénart was a Freemason (p. 8)." He seems to have changed his mind dramatically before his death, for in his revised and updated 2006 book, The Destruction of the Christian Tradition —click here, see p. 246 if you want to verify — we read, emphasis ours:
The Freemasons have long dreamed of infiltrating, and indeed, of taking over the Church. It was Cardinal Leinart [sic], another Freemason, who in 1950 petitioned Pius XII for permission to celebrate the Easter Vigil at night rather than in the morning—and this for “pastoral reasons.” 


  1. Reader, don't you think the FSSP clergy's validity is at least as suspect as Sanborn and Cekada's? Don't you question the validity of the new rites of Holy Orders at least as much as you question Lienart's intention?

    1. We are uncertain about ALL validities.

      Our point here is to show that the Tradistanis have no corner on the market of validity. They are as suspect as everybody else.

    2. Yes. Siri pro con

      toll free number


      3. more contact info




      was interested and await result of correspondence

  2. the site with the Lefebvre information is impedist however it is spelled a term for one who believe Siri was impeded

    snapshot secular Student Voices

  3. The prevailing wisdom I subscribe to is if we question one ordination or Bishop's orders without 100% concrete evidence,
    any ordination or Bishop line is up for grabs.
    I believe from basic Sacramental Theology the Thuc Lefevbre and Mendez lines are valid and safe.

    1. No. "Basic" sacramental theology does not provide such assurance. In fact, theological opinion puts the lines in doubt.

      For instance, assuming Abp. Thục was mentally competent, the Thục line is valid for those men who received orders directly from his hands, but the line in some cases became corrupted. For example, des Lauriers would've been valid, and so too Robert Fidelis McKenna, whom he "consecrated." However, if Lefebvre was not a valid priest owing to the Liénart liability, Big Don, who received episcopal orders from McKenna, may not be a "bishop," since many theologians teach one must be a priest first in order to receive the episcopacy validly (communius affirmatur episcopatum, nondum collato sacerdotio, valide conferri non posse, Noldin). Dannie's situation is complicated by the fact of Lefebvre's conferring the "priesthood" with one hand.

      Likewise subsequent "bishops" in the line may corrupt the lineage through their incompetence in administering the rite or their physical inability to perform it correctly. (European friends tell us one aged "bishop's" eyesight is so poor that he mangles the text of the form in the Pontificale. Also he sometimes uses only one hand for the matter while he holds the book in the other. In addition, we've heard of one guy "consecrating" in the vernacular.)

      Similarly with the Méndez line through the SSPV. If Kelly, who received his priestly orders from Lefebvre, did not get fixed before he received episcopal orders, then his orders are in doubt owing to the Liénart liability. And with that, Santay's validity is in doubt also.

      Therefore, none of these lines are completely safe. In Tradistan right now, only the Kid and the Jellyfish may be said to be valid and completely safe, assuming, that is, Thục possessed all his mental faculties. Are the others invalid? That's hard to say with certainty. Are they doubtful? Yes, they certainly are, and these men should follow the pars tutior, the safer path, and get themselves fixed, preferably by a "bishop" with multiple lineages, some of which are from the Eastern rite or the Orthodox.

    2. That doesn’t make since to me. The kid is doubtful if Sanborn is doubtful. He conferred some of his orders.

    3. No. The Kid was "ordained" a priest by McKenna, not Sanborn, and Geert Stuyver, a McKenna "priest" and "bishop," was a co-consecrator, thus assuring a valid conferral of episcopal orders despite Big Don's and Dannie's Liénart liability and Dannie's one-handed "priesthood."

    4. But some of his orders were performed by Sanborn, only the final one done by MCKenna.

    5. The Liénart line is valid from what I have read.

      Introibo ad altar Dei 2 blog did an excellent article on this very line of priests and bishops.

      If someone doubts it,
      I can't argue with them as it's a personal view.

    6. It's difficult to judge someone's ability to confer orders from a random report overseas.
      I have no problem with the Lienart line & our chapel is staffed by Thuc line clerics.
      There is no personal judgement or preference on my part.

    7. 1:37 PM

      How can that be?

      Joey was ordained a "priest" on December 8, 2001, and Sanborn "consecrated" a bishop in June 2002. We don't know who conferred Joey's subdiaconate and diaconate, but it wasn't Sanborn. If Dannie did the diaconate, then Joey might need to have that order redone.

    8. So you are saying none of his orders were conferred by Dolan or Sanborn? All his orders were McKenna? I wasn’t aware of that. Thank you for the clarification.

    9. 8:20

      Note that we addressed only the "priesthood" and the "episcopate." Dannie may have performed the "subdiaconate." As to who conferred the "diaconate" upon Joey, we don't know. Someone once said it was McKenna, because originally the Kid was going to be a "Dominican," but that was only a guess. If Dannie conferred the "diaconate," then at a minimum Joey should have that order conferred conditionally. Perhaps someone in cyberspace has more information. We are only certain of Junior's "priestly" and "episcopal" orders.

  4. The lines that are valid beyond all doubt are the eastern rites who have used their ancient ordination and consecration rites to ordain priests and consecrate bishops.

    Paul VI tampered with the Roman rite, so it can no longer be trusted. The Traddies lines are chock full of questions, whether it’s Thuc, Lefebvre, Mendez, the Old Catholics or Duarte-Costa.

    1. The Eastern Rites had their orders "modified" by JP2 in 1990.
      There is no info available online about what was changed.

      Secondly,the Eastern Rites are now "ordained" & "consecrated" by Novus Ordo prelates.
      Some of their churches are also staffed by Novus Ordo
      bi-ritual prelates.

      Tread carefully with the Eastern Rites.

      Would anyone who doubts the Thuc Lefevbre and Mendez lines accept the Holy Orders of a living Bishop ordained/consecrated before July 1968?

      I have the read the new rites were enforced after July/August 1968.

      Meaning if he ordained/consecrated priests and bishops in the traditional rites this year,would you all accept them or doubt them like the 3 main traditional lines?

    2. Then go East. What's stopping you?

      If the Patriarchate of Alexandria is any example to go by, the Orthodox also have their issues...

    3. Already have, and I havn’t seen even a hint of what anon 1:50pm has talked about.

    4. Well... anon @ 6:49 pm, your poor eyesight is not the issue here. What anon @ "11:50" has stated is absolutely true.

    5. It should read, “What anon @ “11:50” has stated is gratuitously asserted to be true.”

    6. This is anonymous 1:50

      My question is would anyone accept the validity of holy orders given by a Bishop ordained/consecrated before July 1968 if he conducted said Orders in traditional rites?
      I highly doubt we will live to see 1 more pre-July 1968 Bishop ordain/consecrate using the traditional rites.
      Would you all (hypothetically) doubt his orders similar to Mendez,Lefevbre,Thuc &

    7. 7:13

      If you are addressing PL, then our answer is yes, provided he had the proper intention.

      Perhaps we need to clarify something else that you may have missed in our posts. We do not deny that Méndez, Thục (assuming his sanity), and Duarte-Costa consecrated validly. Our concern with the Méndez line through the SSPV has to do with the Liénart liability incurred in virtue of Lefebvre's priestly ordination. As St. Thomas Aquinas said, "nullus potest recipere episcopalem potestatem nisi prius habeat sacerdotalem.

      So if Kelly didn't get fixed before his "consecration," then there's a doubt. (Likewise with the Thục line through Big Don and Dannie, although Dannie's one-handed ordination presents an additional, more serious problem.) The other problem we have with some Thục sublineages is they may have subsequently become vitiated through the incompetence of some of the "bishops."

    8. Anon wrote:

      “I highly doubt we will live to see 1 more pre-July 1968 Bishop ordain/consecrate using the traditional rites.”

      Contrary to your previous assertion, the eastern rites continue to ordain and consecrate men using their ancient rites, which are all essentially unchanged and intact. There was no 1990 order from Rome to change their rites. What you are referring to is the revised Canon Law for the Eastern Rites.

      Novus Ordo Bishops do not ordain eastern rite men, as a general rule, but there are exceptions such as the rites that do not have their own hierarchies.

      In eastern rites with hierarchies, which is almost all of them, their own bishops ordain their men, and their own bishops consecrate new bishops, always using 3 bishops, one as principal consecrator, the others as co-consecrators.

      There are cases of Novus Ordo ordained men transferring to eastern rites, but it’s not common.

      It’s prudent and wise to check these men’s orders, but keep in mind that you are looking for problems that exist with the exception, not with the rule.

  5. Of St. Terese of Avila, grace before meals, Protestantism for gratefulness for what you had. . .

    Stopped using the prayer I grew up with, all of bless these gifts to our use and us to thy service, and switched to an authentic enough for me Catholic, the one that mentions from Thy bounty.

    The protestant version has the workhorse approach of Protestantism; Catholic version has gifts of Thy bounty and ends with naming the One who provided them. The Catholic version also begins with the sign of the cross and ends with it.

    Well... it's just interesting to me since have discerned so far much that has taught what Protestantism actually did to me who noticed at least subliminally and the extended family who didn't and never has since the time my Lutheran grandfather came over from Germany to serve in a seminary in Canada meaning 6 children and all their children clueless.

    For there is no question at all that it affords material prosperity and placing it at the top of the list the Episcopal Church at the time I was raised in it gave prestige and class; that's how I got what I got growing up where HClinton hangs out. Not that she is class but you may get the idea.

    It's taken me decades to even begin to comprehend the damage that was done.

    Nothing remotely resembling St. Terese of Avila's work or the saint heself within Protestantism.

    Treasuring every moment with The Way of Perfection. The entire reason she was so fired up in her work on that centered in relentless Lutheranism at the time. She felt that the tiny group of 13 began as four nuns was a beleaguered outpost and saw the Church as the men in charge leading the charge needing their support by prayer not their criticism.

    We have today not the same thing. There is no one to support by prayer. But evidence of needy souls is all around me everywhere I turn my attention. I suppose I can pray for specific ones and have but more and more it is my own soul that counts and the distraction of others' misery esp since I can really do nothing about it not even recommend where to go to look for information is mercifully muted.

    Shout-out to the author of the Confessional Jurisdiction masterpiece; he began as a protestant too.

  6. Also: there are two Grace After Meals both of which mention the faithful departed. Nothing like this in Protestantism nothing truly treating of sin with teeth or redemption from anything since life as a protestant is basically bland.

  7. Can you provide REAL evidence that Leinart was a Freemason? I mean, aside from Lefebvre conceding the allegation? Real proof?

    1. For the answer, re-read our post — carefully.

  8. If this level of scrutiny were applied to given ordination or consecration prior to systematic theology arising in the 12th and 13th centuries, I suspect many if not most cases would be deemed lacking, almost certainly invalidating any legitimate claim the Church could make regarding an unbroken apostalicity.

    1. That's an issue much discussed.

      Tixeront (1925) wrote Morin believes "there is no example of a bishop having been consecrated before he was ordained a priest. Mabillon and Chardon are of a different opinion....{F}acts and texts seem to prove that ordinands were sometimes consecrated bishops without having been previously ordained priests. We should, however, add that many of these Ordinations were severely censured or even declared null." (Holy Orders and Ordination, pp. 321-322 trans. by Raemers).

      BTW, Tixeront, supported by St. Thomas, wrote that "Theologians and canonists hold ex communi sententia that the episcopal consecration is null and void if not preceded by Ordination to the priesthood." (p. 320).

    2. What about St. Paul?

      Also, I am not merely getting at the matter of priest before bishop. I mean generally.

      If pronunciations and internal convictions matter, I would argue nobody has any assurance whatsoever of sacramental efficacy two thousand years on now.

    3. "Nobody" is much too broad, but the question is a perplexing one. In his textbook De Sacramento Ordinis, Lennerz offers a number of examples from history of men made bishops immediately. Nevertheless, despite the arguments, both historical and practical, eminent theologians maintained ordinatio episcopalis non sit valida, nisi subiectum sit presbyter.

      The takeaway is to be safe. "Clergy" laboring under any doubt at all should get themselves fixed.

    4. I actually find nothing in the law preventing clerics from receiving conditional subdiaconate,
      and consecration if applicable.(in these unique times)
      These clerics received their holy orders without papal mandate.
      It wouldn't be repudiation of Apostolic succession.
      Their situation is a unique situation in Church history.
      Clerics should receive conditional Holy Orders just once from an unquestionably valid Bishop if they want to be 100% sure of orders.

    5. We not only agree, we urgently recommend your advice. There are Eastern-rite bishops and "bishops" with multiple lineages around to do the job.

  9. Reader, You talk about mht priests "blackmailing" people through the confessional. I don't get it. Could you please give a hypothetical example of this?

    1. We've talked only in general about trad "priests'" unduly exerting pressure through the confessional, never specifically. Perhaps a commenter made a specific reference. One example is where a woman confessed that her daughter had a live-in boyfriend. The "confessor" told her she had to persuade her daughter to give up her boyfriend. The poor old woman latter told him she wasn't successful. She was therefore denied absolution.