Editor’s Note: My wife, Laura Robbins, wrote an open letter to the author of the Introibo Ad Altare Dei blog, in response to the post “Get The Correct Interpretation And You’re Home Free.” I thought it was very well written, and I think you will agree. The points made are salient to the controversies affecting us Catholics who are just trying to make heads or tails of the chaos. I present the letter in full below. Be sure to leave a comment if you feel inclined! She’d love to get your feedback.
I will try to make this as short as possible. I was reading your article today about CE and I further clicked on and started reading your article “Betrayed by Benns”. I hope you understand this has nothing to do with my husband or Benns and everything to do with truth so please be objective when you read this, as I assume I am being objective in my argument:
First, I don’t believe Thuc to have been an invalid priest or bishop, but he certainly defected from the faith and never truly came back to the Church even dying in communion with the Novus Ordo.
Next, with Lefebvre: you say you will assume Lienart was a mason. Good, because there is plenty of evidence of it including Lefebvre’s own admission—why should we assume a public statement from Lefebvre was a lie or the result of confusion?
I will set you some examples that don’t refute any of the Church teachings you have brought forth.
One, say there was a man who committed theft. The authorities charge the man, but he is PRESUMED innocent, until proven guilty by a trial. The trial doesn’t come up with enough evidence to charge the man (and there are no witnesses who even saw it happen), so he’s found “not guilty” by the law. Does that mean the man did not commit the theft? No, it means that the law presumed something and couldn’t prove its contrary. It doesn’t say anything about the fact of the theft by the man.
Two, back to the Church, using your true example. The Church presumed that those native priests had sacraments. But the people were being absolved the whole time by laymen. The Church cannot supply holy orders and jurisdiction to laymen. All those absolutions were null and void and some people may have gone to hell over it, if they only had imperfect contrition for their sins!
Masons and Communists are declared enemies of the Church. Why should we (laymen) presume that the declared enemies of the Church want to perpetuate that same Church with truly ordained and consecrated clergy?! Has the Church told us specifically that masonic orders are valid? Did She so declare? Did She even declare that we are to “presume” masonic/communist orders are valid?
Here’s what She did say regarding something similar:
“THE MINISTER OF A SACRAMENT IS PRESUMED TO INTEND WHAT THE RITE MEANS: NEVERTHELESS, IF IN FACT HE RESOLVES NOT TO DO WHAT THE CHURCH DOES, HE HAS NOT SUFFICIENT INTENTION AND THE SACRAMENT IS INVALID.”
This is even emphasized as such in the original! That is a portion that I’m sure you have read since you decided to ellipsis it within your article.
“Lehmkuhl gives an interesting case of conscience on the point. A certain priest had lost his faith and had joined a forbidden society, after which time he began to perform his priestly duties in an external manner only. He religiously observed the correct and exact performance of the matter and the form in the sacraments he administered, but inwardly he intended not to do what the Church does and what Christ instituted. The solution of the case declares that the sacraments conferred by the priest were null and to be repeated absolutely,” (The Dogmatic Theology on the Intention of the Minister in the Confection of the Sacraments by Rev. Raphael De Salvo, O.S.B., S.T.L. 1949, referencing Casus Conscientiae, Vol. II, p. 14, Casus 7, Augustin Lehmkuhl, 1903).
He says “repeated absolutely”, not conditionally. I assume I do not need to educate you on what that means. Note that there’s not even a death bed confession here in this example.
So back to Lefebvre, his ordination to the priesthood was performed by a Mason, not just any mason with supposedly good will, but a high ranking mason. Why should we assume that his ordination is valid? Because the Church was silent on the issue?!
An episcopal consecration cannot be made valid on a layman. The man must have holy orders according to the Church teachings cited by “Bishop” Joseph Marie, which I know you’ve read. So any ordinations that Lefebvre tried to perform were invalid. Not because of VAS, not because he was a heretic who defected from the Church either before or at Vatican II, but because you can’t give what you don’t have.
Should we assume that his orders were valid just so that we can have possibly dubious sacraments? Because as the Church stated above, Her (and our) presumption does not a sacrament make. We can presume all day, but if they were invalid, then all these sede clergy are performing invalid and sacrilegious sacraments, because pretty much ALL of them come from Lefebvre and his unapproved seminary opened and ran with approval of and under a false pope!!
Are you willing to risk your eternal damnation on that presumption? Because you already stated today,
“Being home is the “safe way” to Heaven. We have the Act of Perfect Contrition, Spiritual Communion, and the Rosary. Ans. All these things are beautiful and Catholic. If this is all you have (like the Japanese Catholics during the Great Persecution) that’s the way to go.”
This is all the HAs (as you call us) are doing. Ensuring that we are on the safe road. There are NO graces conferred with invalid sacraments. Why should we risk it? That, to me, is quite a presumption! We do not have a pope to rectify the issue and the Church teaches us to always follow the safer course with respect to the sacraments. (I will cite it for you if necessary. I don’t have the reference off hand.) How are you doing that?
Just because you don’t like what the outcome is, doesn’t mean you have a good argument against it. You may be a good lawyer (you certainly argue like one), but that doesn’t give credence to your arguments just because they are delivered with rhetoric. It may very well be that there were few valid clergy left by Vatican II because of worldwide infiltration of the Church from masons and communists. That may help to better explain the complete and “sudden” apostasy.
Also, if you didn’t see this on my twitter feed, I argued that all clergy must have defected before the election of John 23 for this reason, Billot says (found here https://novusordowatch.org/billot-de-ecclesia-thesis29/):
“But whatever you finally think about the possibility or impossibility of the aforementioned hypothesis, at least one point must be maintained as completely unshaken and firmly placed beyond all doubt: the adherence alone of the universal Church will always be of itself an infallible sign of the legitimacy of the person of the Pontiff, and, what is more, even of the existence of all the conditions requisite for legitimacy itself. One need not fetch from afar proof of this claim. The reason is that it is taken immediately from the infallible promise of Christ and from providence. The gates of hell shall not prevail against it, and Behold I am with you all days. To be sure, for the Church to adhere to a false pontiff would be the same thing as if she were to adhere to a false rule of faith, since the Pope is the living rule which the Church must follow in belief and always follows in fact, as will be still more clearly apparent in what is to be said later. By all means God can permit that at some time or other the vacancy of the see be extended for a considerable time. He can also allow a doubt to arise about the legitimacy of one or another man elected. But He cannot permit the entire Church to receive someone as pontiff who is not a true and legitimate [pope]. Therefore, from the time he has been accepted and joined to the Church as the head to the body, we cannot further consider the question of a possible mistake in the election or of a [possible] deficiency of any condition whatsoever necessary for legitimacy, because the aforementioned adherence of the Church radically heals the mistake in the election and infallibly indicates the existence of all requisite conditions.”
All the supposedly valid and reigning bishops adhered to both Roncalli (through his whole pontificate) and Montini (at his election and some time after). Billot emphatically says this cannot be. He says “universal adherence” is an “infallible” sign! He says this point must be firmly placed beyond all doubt! Therefore, as said above, they may not have been true clergy from having defective orders because of infiltration. You can try to argue this point, please do!, but don’t use rhetoric and ill-placed or deceptive ellipses to do so. It’s unbecoming of a man who calls himself Catholic.
Happily Home but Not Alone,