One is surprised to find an official journal of the Society of Pius X coming to the defense of the post-Conciliar rite for the consecration of Bishops, a rite upon which the Apostolic succession in the Catholic Church depends. It is even more surprising that Father Schmidberger of the SSPX and the Abbe Gaudron from the Priory FSSPX were collaborators in the production.[1]  All this only goes to support the contention that the SSPX and FSSPX are nothing more than conservative cults associated with the Novus Ordo establishment. Be this as it may, I find their contention that they have proven me to be in error, and that the new post-Conciliar rite for consecrating Bishops is valid, highly questionable.


It is of interest that the author(s) inform us that after the close of the Second Vatican Council, the Sacrament of Orders was the first rite that the reformers wished to “Aggionamentalize.” Truly, the reformers knew how to strike at the heart of Holy Mother Church! If the post-Conciliar Bishops are not true Bishops, then the “priests” they ordain are not priests.


Now the very idea of updating the Churches rites smells of heretical intent. There had been a perfectly adequate rite in use for some 17 centuries – and indeed as the authors point out in one of their foot-notes, the use of the traditional rite can be traced back to the Third Century, and hence is as ancient as the supposed rite of Hippolytus. The only possible reason for creating a new Sacrament of Orders was to introduce new and different beliefs about the nature of Orders, and to create a rite that was mutually acceptable to Protestants. In this they were quite successful.


And why should we need such changes – only 20 years previously Pope Pius XII had promulgated his Sacramentum ordinis which specified the traditional rite unchanged and delineated the absolutely necessary requirements for any valid ordination rite – requirements that the reformers clearly violated.


“We teach, declare, and determine this, all persons not withstanding, no matter what special dignity they may have, and consequently we wish and order such in the Roman Pontifical . . . No one therefore is allowed to infringe upon this Constitution given by us, nor should anyone dare to have the audacity to contradict it . . .” Sacramentum ordinis


One might point out that highly respected theologians and Canonists such as Herve and Capello have indicated the infallible and de fide character of Pius XII’s declaration.


What is shocking and indeed scandalous is in that Pierre Marie’s defense of the new rite, appeal is made to the authority of such nefarious individuals as Annibale (Freemason) Bugnini who boasted that the changes in the liturgy were “a major conquest of the Catholic Church”; Father Lucuyer, whose strange views on the nature of the Catholic priesthood have led Mgr. Tissier of the SSPX to characterize him as a heretic[2], and Dom Botte whose false claims with regard to the Apostolic traditions of Hippolytus have been exposed, and whose linguistic contortions with regard the phrase spiritus principalis are spelled out in my original paper. One wonders whether or not one will in the near future see these individuals on the altars (tables) used by the Society. Clearly the author(s) are happy to sleep with strange bedfellows.

As these characters may be somewhat unfamiliar to American readers, more will be said of them below.


Brother Pierre Marie has knowingly or unknowingly perpetuated many of the errors and downright falsehoods used by the above mentioned individuals in their efforts to justify the new rite for Consecrating Bishops. These falsifications have been pointed out by the French text Rora Sanctifica. The failure of the author(s) to either disprove or admit these errors which totally destroys their contentions as to the validity of the new rite they created, is evidence of their intent to mislead the Catholic faithful. Furthermore it is intellectually dishonest, and as such a sin against the Holy Ghost.




How does one determine the essentials of a rite? It is a question of the exact manner of action of the person who possesses the power of consecration (the consecrator) who says in an imperative manner (words of the form of the rite) and God who acts by the application of this form (which in an unequivocal fashion expresses the sacramental effects) combined with the matter (the imposition of hands on the recipient), and as a result it is God who confers the Episcopal consecration and the plenitude (fullness) OF Holy Orders and the sacramental powers which all is part of the chain of Apostolic Succession.


As Leo XIII taught:


“In a rite which involves the confection and administration of any sacrament, one logically distinguishes between the ceremonial part and the essential part which one calls the matter and the form. Everyone knows that the Sacraments of the new law signify in a sensible and efficacious manner, the invisible grace that they signify. It is true that this signification should be found in the essential part of the rite, which is to say, the matter and the form; but it especially pertains to the form for the matter is an indeterminate part of the rite.” Leo XIII, Apostolicae Curae. 1896.[3]


In 1947 Pope Pius XII specified the requirements of the form of a rite for Episcopal consecration:


“This is why after having invoked the divine light, in virtue of Our supreme Apostolic Authority, and from certain knowledge, declare, and as far as may be necessary, decree and provide: that the matter and only matter of Sacred Orders of the Diaconate, the Priesthood and the Episcope is the imposition of hands; and that the form and the only form, is the words which determine the application of this matter, which unequivocally signify the sacramental effects – namely the power of Order and the grace of the Holy Spirit – and which are accepted and used by the Church in that sense.”  Sacramentum ordinis.


“In the ordination or Episcopal consecration, the matter is the imposition of hands by the consecrating Bishop. The form consists of the words of the Preface of which the following are essential and are required for validity: Compte in Sacerdote tuo ministrii tui summm, et ornamentis totius glorificationis instructum coelestis unguenti roar sanctifica. (Give your priest the plenitude (fullness) of your ministry and provide him with all the glory of heavenly instruction and sanctify him with the graces of heavenly unction.) All these rites are accomplished in conformity with the prescriptions of Our Apostolic Constitution “Episcopus Consecretionis” of Nov. 30, 1944.” Pius XII, Sacramentum Ordinis.


Now, in the new post-Conciliar rite for consecrating Bishops, the essential form is specific and contains the phrase spiritus principalis. It is the only reference to spiritus used during the time when the ordaining Bishop places his hands on the head of the ordinand, and hence the only spiritus transferred.


The omission or negation of even one of the two conditions (the power of Orders or the “fullness of the priesthood” and the Holy Spirit) suffices to show that any rite for consecrating Bishops is invalid. In accordance with this principle, the new post-Conciliar rite for consecrating Bishops is clearly invalid. IT FAILS TO CONFER EITHER THE PLENITUDE OF THE SACRAMENT OF HOLY ORDERS OR THE HOLY SPIRIT. As such, IT CAN NO LONGER BE CONSIDERED A SACRAMENT;  THOSE WHO ARE ORDAINED UNDER ITS AEGIS ARE IN NOW WAY CATHOLIC BISHOPS AND THE SEMINARIANS THAT THESE LATTER ORDAIN ARE IN NO WAY CATHOLIC PRIESTS.


This then clearly demonstrates that the new rite is “intrinsically” invalid. As we shall see, the author(s) of this new rite will make an attempt to justify the validity of the new rite by “extrinsic” validations by claiming that it is similar to valid Oriental rites still in use, or to the ancient rite of the so-called rite of Hippolytus.





The authors would like us to believe that the use of the phrase spiritus principalis in various oriental rites, or in the Hippolytus document provide proof of the validity of their new rite. In this way they hope to prove validity by having recourse to its analogy with rites the validity of which has been accepted by the Church – namely Oriental rites “still in use,” or that of Hippolytus. The same technique was used by the Anglicans in their attempt to justify the validity of their rites of ordination. The author(s) in doing this either knowingly or unknowingly  involve themselves in propagating errors of fact, errors which Dom Botte and Father Lecuyer deliberately used in order to achieve the acceptance of the new rite.


Let us first consider the Apostolic tradition of Hippolytus which the reformers claim is a valid source of their new rite. In effect, they justify the new rite by the false exhumation and “reconstruction” of this document which is presented to us as a return to the primitive tradition of the Church.[4]

Dom Botte was one of the “scholars” involved in the “reconstruction” of the Hippolytus document which supposedly represented ancient Roman practice and was also used in the ancient partriarchies of Antioch and Alexandria. Both the reconstruction and the contentions of Dom Botte were disproved by the work of M. Richard and J. Magne and others, and was openly shown to be totally hypothetical at a conference on the topic held at Oxford University in September 1967. Despite this Dom Botte presented his work as an authentic text that should be used for creating the new rite, a contention which Pierre Marie finds acceptable.[5]


A further problem with the Botte reconstruction lies in the fact that in a fragment taken from the sixth century one does not find the phrase spiritus principalis, but the words spiritu primates sacedotium. There also exists an Oxford translation dating from the last century and available on the internet which translates this as “free spirit.” Needless to say Dom Botte failed to mention this in his supposedly scholarly studies.


This allowed the reformers to claim that the prayer of Episcopal consecration and the new rite and its essential form was derived from the Apostolic Tradition attributed to Hippolytus of Rome, a document of dubious origins “reconstructed” by Dom Botte himself.





The reformers, and Brother Pierre-Marie who is the author of the article in Sel de la Terre (translated in the Angelus) have accepted the false and erroneous arguments of the reformers and claim with them to support the validity of the new Conciliar rite by claiming there exists “an established and fundamental agreement” between the new form of Episcopal consecration with the Oriental rites that are sacramentaly valid and which are “still in use,”[6] namely the Coptic rite of Episcopal Consecration and the rite of “consecration” of a Maronite patriarch.[7]


This method gives the reader the impression of an external validation of the new rite by means of its “analogy” with the valid oriental rites. This proof by analogy can be considered as a tentative proof of the extrinsic validity of the rite.


Let us first of all consider the Syrian rite for the enthronement of an Archbishop. This “rite” is falsely presented to us as a rite of Episcopal Consecration “still in use.” The fact of the situation is that this “rite” is only a sacramental and for at least the past two or three hundred years, the archbishop is chosen from those already ordained as Bishops. In such a situation the use of the phrase spiiritu principalis is certainly appropriate.  Similarly, the Dominicans have presented the “ordination” prayers of a Coptic metropolitan as a sacramental act, when in fact the prayers involved are a supplement to the consecration of a Bishop and gives the Bishop the dignity of the Archbishoporic. In fact the term spiritus hegemonicus = spiritus principalisof the Coptic text is also to be found in the Coptic benediction of an abbot – again not as a sacrament.


Even if one were to grant that the phrase spiritus pricipalis is to be found in some Oriental rites, this changes nothing. In Paul VI’s rite the essential form is specific and contains the phrase spiritus principalis. It is the only reference to spiritus used during the time when the ordaining Bishop places his hands or the ordinand’s head, and hence the only spiritus transferred. In the Coptic, Syrian and other rites Pierre Marie refers to, the entire Preface is said during the time the ordaining Bishop places his hands on the ordinand’s head. Hence not only would the spiritus principalis be transferred, but also the Spiritus Sanctus (which incidentally is capitalized). Hence a true and proper consecration with the Holy Spirit occurs. In addition, by the use of the entire consecrating prayer, the problem of Significati ex Adjunctis is also to a great extent obviated.


The rite of Paul VI in fact suffers from the same defects as the Anglican rite which as Leo XIII explained were invalid because of a deficient form which did not express clearly the fullness of the priesthood. The Anglican rite was declared by him to be irreformably “null and void.”


In addition, in transcribing the Syrian text, the reformers changed the word “quam” into “quem,” (from “who” to “which”) and the Dominicans of Avrille followed suit, thus in fact falsifying the comparison and transitively changing the import of the rite to accommodate the Adoptionist heresies of Father Lecuyer. They have also arbitrarily rearranged the phrases of the Maronite rite on page 102 (French original) to force an “analogy” with the counterfeit form used in the Conciliar rite.




The role of this nefarious individual is highly significant, and once again, it is extraordinary that the Society should turn to him in its attempt to justify the new post-Conciliar rite of ordination.


First of all Father Lecuyer was an enemy of Archbishop Lefebvre and was responsible for the Archbishop’s deposition. According to Mgr. Tissier de Mallerais’s Life of the Archbishop:


“Father Lecuyer collected these complaints [against Archbishop Lefebvre] and others: authoritarianism, absence of consultations required by the constitutions before making decisions, government according to his personal views, imposition of his personal ideas with regard to liturgical language and collegiality, ‘taking positions that went against the decisions of the French Episcopate,’ which risked losing confidence in the French seminary. And finally, the fear that Mgr Lefebvre would not apply the Conciliar decisions. He sent the “dossier on Lefebvre to Paul VI and it was examined by the Sacred College of Religious orders which demanded of the superior general Lefebvre who made no attempt to refute this tissue of reproaches, ineptitudes, at times malevolent and calumnious.”


The biography of Mgr. Lefebvre also informs us that Father Lecuyer was the person who carried out the decision to expel Mgr. Lefebvre at the orders of Franc-Mason Cardinal Villot.


“The response was a telephone order by Cardinal Villot to have the Archbishop leave Rome and no longer stay there. The Archbishop responded: “Even though one send a battalion of Swiss Guards in order to force me to leave.” It was Father Lecuyer who received Villot’s order and transmitted it to Mgr Lefebvre.”[8]


Far more serious however is the fact that Father Joseph Lecuyer is, as Mgr, Tissier has publicly stated, a heretic.[9] The propagating of his opinions on the nature of the priesthood is well described in Rora Sanctifica as “the hidden intention of the new rite. (The ecumenical intention is not in any way hidden.) This heresy is not easy to explain and the following is taken from Lecuyer’s essay entitled The Meaning of the rites of ordination among the Fathers, L’Orient Syrien, Vol. V, 1960:


“The prayer that accompanies the imposition of hands according to Hippolytus of Rome, and which is found in substance in nearly all the eastern rituals, express with this a great richness: The ordinand receives in substance that which Christ Himself had received and which he passed on to the Apostles: this Spirit, this pneuma is also ‘the Spirit of the high priest.’ In brief, it is a question of a special grace which resides in the bishop in his double role as chief and of high priest, and which gives him the power of continuing, among the People of God, the double dignity of being head of the priests of the Old Testament. The formulas of Hippolytus, so full and rich, present the Episcope in the light of the institutions of the Old Testament, and in fact, very often similar to that of St. Clement of Rome who compares the Bishop to Aaron while the priests are compared to the sons of Aaron. However, this does not apply directly to the symbolism of the imposition of hands (. . . ). However, I wish to stress certain points.

1)                  In Apraate, as Theodoret admits, John the Baptist imposed his hands on Our Lord’s head.

2)                  The imposition of hands as such conferred upon him the priesthood. The same teaching or one very like it, is found with Saint Ephrem in his Commentary on Diatessaron: “Christ received from John the Baptist the dignity of prophet and priesthood. As for the royal dignity of the family of David, He derived this from the family of his birth.”

The last point made by Aphrante is especially interesting, namely that the imposition of hands corresponds to the anointing of kings and high priests in the Old Testament: In two places in effect (Luke 4: 18 and Acts 10:38). The descent of the Holy Spirit on Jesus at the Jordan is identified with a spiritual anointing.”


All this is somewhat confusing, but in essence it states that the descent of the Holy Spirit on Jesus at the Jordan was his spiritual anointing. It is a denial of the fact that Christ, from the first instant of His incarnation, in virtue of the hypostatic union, was called and consecrated by God a priest for all eternity. (Cf. Thomassin, De incarnatione, IX c VIII) As Garrigou Lagrange put it: “Christ did not receive this special character [of Holy Orders] since he was priest in virtue of the eternal grace of the hypostatic union.”


This error is further reinforced by the addition by Dom Botte of the word ipse (not in any reconstructed Hipolytus document) to the consecratory prayer in the new rite:


dffunde super hanc electrum eam virtutem, quae a te est Spiritum principatum, quem dedisti dilecto Filio tuo JC, quam ipse donavit sanctis Apostolis.”





The Role of Bugnini who was at the time Secretary of State under Montini was highly significant. He was appointed the task of overseeing the activities of the Concilium appointed to aggorniamentalize the new rite for consecrating Bishops and was responsible for appointing Father Lecuyer.


Moreover, Bugnini et al, by introducing the various changes into the Roman rite, opened the ecumenical door as is demonstrated by the fact that the Anglicans (according to the authors) are now using this rite in consecrating their “bishops.” He was the individual who supervised the production of The Pontificalis Romani in June of 1968 and the Novus Ordo Missae in 1969. He stated in 1965 that “we have stripped our Catholic prayers and the Catholic liturgy of everything that could act in any way as stumbling-block to unity with our separated brethren, namely the Protestants.”[10] He was later (1974) to boast that “the liturgical changes represented a major conquest of the Catholic Church.” He was personally rewarded with the Archbishop’s hat by Montini in January of 1972. Because of the exposure of his Freemasonic connections, he was exiled a second time in January of 1976.


The author(s) of the article in Sel de la Terre raise another interesting point which I had not considered in detail – namely yet another aspect of the “intention” of the rite. Despite their attempts to void this matter, they discuss the implications of collegiality which the new rite allows for. They argue that the Church had altered aspects of the traditional rite in the 12th century to preclude any such understanding or limitation on the Pope’s authority and that therefore the new rite in opening the door to collegiality did not involve accepting any real change in doctrine. Now if the embracing of collegiality by Vatican II is not a change in doctrine, than words have lost their meaning. It is pertinent that Father Lecuyer worked very hard at the Second Vatican Council to establish the principal of collegiality.


The author(s) also raise the issue of Archbishop Levebre’s position claiming that he did not object to the new rite. Now it is well known that Archbishop Lefebvre held that all the new Sacraments were “in se” valid. While I am not at all sure what he means by the term “in se,” but what confuses me is why the SSPX fails to use all the new Sacraments which they claim to be valid and which the Pope whose authority they recognize wishes them to use. This of course raises yet another issue which is outside of the scope of this response.


The authors also claim that Cardinal Ottaviani gave his approval, and indeed “showed his pleasure” in the new rite. The source of this is the Memoires of (Freemason) Bugnini whose reliability is certainly questionable. In view of the fact that Cardinal Ottaviani was virtually blind and advantage was taken of this to get him to sign a letter approving of the Novus Ordo Missae, would allow us to at least question Bugnini’s veracity.




It is clear that on the basis of Catholic Sacramental theology, as well as the de fide teaching of Pope Pius XII, that the new post-Conciliar rite for consecrating Bishops is “intrinsically” invalid. It suffers from the same defects as the Anglican ordination rites which led Leo XIII to irreformably condemn them.


The attempts at claiming an ‘extrinsic” validity based on parallelism with valid Oriantal rites “still in use,” or with a return to primitive practice (so-Called Hippolytus’ prayer) fall flat in that Rora Sanctifica has clearly demonstrated that such assumptions are based on poor scholarship if not outright fraud. (The author(s) of the Sel de la Terre article are in fact probably only guilty of accepting the work of Dom Botte and Father Lecuyer at face value, though their current refusal to admit the factual demonstrations of Rora Sanctifica demonstrates their willingness to mislead the Catholic laity and manifests their intellectual dishonesty and is as such a sin against the Holy Ghost.)


The claim that I was in error in my initial study on the question of the validity of the new rite also, as a result, is also false.


The issue is of major importance because it demonstrates, not only that the Apostolic succession in the post-Conciliar Church is non existent, but also that their Bishops are not Bishops (indeed most are simply laymen) and that they have absolutely no power to ordain priests. The issue becomes clearer when one understands that the desire for unity with the various groups of separated brethren requires that the post-Conciliar Church make their Apostolic succession and their Orders “null and void.” The reason for this is that even the most conservative of Protestants reject the idea of the Apostolic succession, the seven Sacraments, and a valid Catholic priesthood.


In so far as the post-Conciliar Church will probably soon be allowing the use of the Tridentine Mass, it should be clear that unless the confecting priest was ordained prior to 1965, or was ordained by a true and valid Bishop, nothing will be achieved. Further, those priests associated with the Society of Pius X, and who boast of their not being conditionally re-ordained (Father Hesse, rip; Father Perez in California, their name is legion) are simply not priests. They neither have the power to confect the Eucharistic Sacrament nor to absolve sins. To use a phrase taken from the English reformation, “They are not “massing priests.”


The new rite further incorporates the heresies of a false ecumenism, of collegiality, and of the Adoptionist heresies of Father Lecuyer.


The replacement of the true Catholic rite with one that declares the bishop is only endowed with the spiritus principalis or governing spirit, concedes to the Protestants their idea of the function of their bishops. (European Lutherans and Anglicans retain the title though not the essence of the Episcope.)


The new and post-Conciliar rite for consecrating Bishops is then at least doubtful, if not downright “null and void.”

[1] Correspondence with Philippe Bourcier de Carbon.

[2] Ordination sermon, 2002.

[3] The intention should also be considered and should conform to the intention to do what the Church does.

[4] “At the same time, they have greatly distorted the matter by agreeing with the erroneous doctrines of innovators under the pretext of returning to its primitive form.” Leo XIII, Apostolicae Curae, 1896,

[5] It is of interest that Mgr. Martimort, a member of the circle of Dom Botte, ended up by recognizing in 1987 (BLE.SCII/2, 1991, pgs. 133-144)that the Apostolic tradition was not truly attributable to Hippolytus of Rome. “I dare say , it is of little importance that matters little whether it was by  Hippolytus or not: It is a most ancient document and most precious for the history of the liturgy.”

[6] To quote Pauil VI’s  Pontificalis Romani “. . . the Apostolic tradition of Hippolytus of Rome, a document from the beginning of the 3rd Century, and which in great part is still used in the liturgy for the ordination among Copts and Western Syrians.”  This statement, as will become clear, is simply untrue.

[7]  The term is ambiguous for the exact word is chirotonia and the rite taken from Denzinger is dependent upon the publication Codex Liturgicus of Assemani (Rome, 1758, since reproduced in facsimile in 1902), according  to the use or not of certain parties serve for the non sacramental enthronement of a patriarch, preceded or not by a sacramental Episcopal consecration depending upon whether or not the ordinand was already a bishop and not just a simple priest. Certain parts of the rite were or were not used, according to the situation. And the way in which this the sacramental use of this rite of enthronement of a Maronite patriarch  had for many years before 1968 ceased to be used. Those chosen to be patriarchs were long before this time chosen from among Bishops, and thus endowed with fullness of Holy Orders. The Sacramental parts of the rite wee therefore not used in order to avoid the sacrilege of repeating the sacraments, unlike the practices used among the heretics and Nestorian schismatics.

[8] Taken by Mgr. Tissier from Iota unum by Romano Amero)

[9] Sermon on the ordination of priests, 2002.

[10] L’Osservatore Romano, 19 March, 1965