Someone made a comment on my article "The Primary Foundation and the Secondary Foundations", and I would like to answer only two parts of that comment.
Part 1: "Sir what you have written is good and logical. But between sedevacantism and Siri theorist’s the truth is that the sheppard has been struck and the sheep have been scattered ... which many of us believe alluded to the crisis that was to strike the church."
Answer to Part 1:
The Catholic Church teaches that the words of the Prophet Zacharias repeated by Jesus Christ at the Last Supper about the striking of the Shepherd and the dispersing of sheep refer to the very certain events described by the Evangelists in the Gospel: "Then Jesus saith to them: All you shall be scandalized in me this night. For it is written: I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be dispersed." (St. Matthew 26:31, St. Mark 14:27, St. John 16:32, Zacharias 13:7)
Our Lord Jesus Christ refers these words to Himself, Shepherd of shepherds, His Apostles, including St. Peter, and to the first followers such as Cleophas and his companion ("generally supposed to refer to two of the seventy-two disciples" – An Exposition Of The Gospel Of St. Luke by the Most Rev John MacEvilly, Third Edition, DUBLIN: M. H. GILL & SON, 50 UPPER O'CONNELL STREET. NEW YORK: BENZIGER BROTHERS, 113 BROADWAY, 1898, p. 235), who said concerning Jesus of Nazareth: "but we hoped, that it was he that should have redeemed Israel" (St. Luke 24:21), as if they had not this hope any longer.
These words about the striking of the Shepherd and the dispersing of sheep don’t refer to “the crisis that was to strike the church” through Vatican II.
The Teaching Church in person of the Most Rev. JOHN MacEVILLY, Archbisbop ot Tuam, gives the following official comment:
The word, "scandal," which literally means, a stumbling-block that causes us a fall, transferred to the spiritual order, means, whatever is the occasion of our falling into sin, or proves a rock of spiritual offence (see xi. 6). Our Redeemer means here, that He shall prove a stumbling-block to His Apostles; that they shall take occasion, from what they shall see happening Him, that night, to fall into sin. This He predicts, to prove His divine insight into future contingent things; and God permitted this, for several reasons, among the rest, to afford matter for greater sufferings and sorrow for our Redeemer, seeing that His very chosen friends would desert Him; also to convince the Apostles of their weakness, and to teach them to commiserate the fallen.
Commentators are not agreed, as to what the sin referred to here, was. It is the more common opinion, that their sin consisted, not precisely in their deserting their Master, and leaving Him as they did, in the hands of His enemies; since, they might have known, He willingly presented Himself for death; but, in the principle of this desertion, arising from weakness and vacillation in their faith, owing to which they imagined He was forcibly overpowered by His enemies, and that, He could not fulfill the promise He made, as Son of God, to rise again.
As regards St. Peter himself, some say, he actually lost faith in Christ; he was not yet constituted head of the Church. Others maintain, he did not sin against faith, which he always retained in his heart; for, our Lord prayed, that "his faith would not fail" (Luke xxii. 32), but, against the external profession, or, confession of faith, and thus lost charity.
"For, it is written" (Zach. xiii. 7), "I will strike the shepherd," &c. In the original Hebrew and in the Septuagint, it is, "strike the shepherd," as if addressed by God to the "sword" But the Evangelist gives the sense. The words of Zacharias, in the imperative form, convey, that God Himself will strike the shepherd, or suffer him to be struck by the Jews. "He delivered Him up for us all" (Rom. viii. 32). The words of the Prophet are applied by our Lord to Himself; and, although they regarded the Priests of the Old Law, in the first place; still, the context shows, they applied, in a special way, to Christ, the Shepherd of shepherds, "and Bishop of our souls" (1 Peter ii. 25).
"And the sheep of the flock," &c. The Apostles and the followers of Christ, whom He gathered together again after His resurrection.
The word, "flock," is not in the passage from the Prophet; it is added by the Evangelist, for clearness' sake. (1)
Part 2: "The question is now for us lay Catholics is - if there are ordained minister’s of the church in existence in the world then what authority do you have? As it was through the intercession of the Holy Ghost that successor’s of Peter were installed as Pontiff. If there is no Pontiff then the connection to the underwritten authority has been broken and you can be judged (by the church militant) as operating without authority. And that is where many of us lay person’s sit we do not believe in the authority of ministers without Papal connection."
Answer to Part 2:
In the physical absence of a Pope, i.e. during the vacancy of the Holy See, the connection with his authority does not get broken, because the Holy See (Papacy) still exists morally as perpetual moral (legal) person. Therefore the Catholic bishops and priests are still connected with the Holy See (Papacy) morally (legally) since they firmly believe in the Dogma that the Pope is the Visible Head of the Church Militant, and consequently they can (must) be judged (recognized) by the Church Militant as operating with authority.
When we speak about Eastern Schismatic Churches, they have valid priests. Nevertheless, the Schismatic priests are operating without authority, because they are ministers without Papal connection.
But, when we speak about Catholic priests during the vacancy of the Holy See, nobody has the right to reduce them to the Schismatic level, since they are ministers with authority, with Papal connection, as it was said above.
There are very good explanations about this topic which can be found in the articles "Canon Law and Common Sense" and "Traditional Priests, Legitimate Sacraments" by Rev. Anthony Cekada. (traditionalmass.org, Articles)
Also, many arguments, supported by Holy Scripture, Canon Law, Moral and Dogmatic Theology, can be found in my articles “A Perpetual Legal Person and Jurisdiction”, “The Visible Head and Perpetuity of the Primacy”, “The Holy Ghost, Pope, Bishops”, “The Unbroken Succession of the Bishops of Rome”, “The Hierarchy of Order”.
People, who say that Catholic bishops and priests acts unlawfully celebrating Holy Mass and administering the Sacraments during the vacancy of the Holy See, can be compared to the Pharisees who condemned Jesus' disciples for eating corn (St. Matthew 12:1-14) in the field on the Sabbath.
These people also can be compared to the Pharisees, who made a consultation against Jesus, how they might destroy Him, because He healed people on the Sabbath.
Jesus said to the Pharisees: “Have you not read what David did when he was hungry, and they that were with him: How he entered into the house of God, and did eat the leaves of proposition, which it was not lawful for him to eat, nor for them that were with him, but for the priests only? Or have ye not read in the law, that on the sabbaths-days the priests in the temple break the sabbath, and are without blame? But I tell you that there is here a greater than the temple. And if you knew what this meaneth: I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: you would never have condemned the innocent.”
Also, when the Pharisees asked Jesus “is it lawful to heal on the sabbath-days?” in order to accuse Him, He answered to them: “What man shall there be among you, that hath one sheep: and if the same fall into a pit on the sabbath-day, will he not take hold on it and lift it up? How much better is a man than a sheep? Therefore it is lawful to do a good deed on the sabbath-days.” And after saying these words Jesus healed a man who had a withered hand.
When Jesus delivered a woman from infirmity (St. Luke 13:10-16), the ruler of the synagogue, being angry that Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, said to the multitude: “Six days there are wherein you ought to work. In them therefore come, and be healed: and not on the Sabbath-day.” But Jesus said to him: “Ye hypocrites, doth not every one of you on the Sabbath-day loose his ox or his ass from the manger, and lead them to water? And ought not this daughter of Abraham, whom satan hath bound, lo, these eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath-day?”
Evangelists say in all those cases the Pharisees made a consultation against Jesus, how they might destroy Him, because He broke the law of the Sabbath, and that was a “sacrilege” in their eyes.
Now we have a similar situation. For Catholic bishops and priests, to say Holy Mass and administer the Sacraments during the vacancy of the Holy See, means to do “a good deed” on “the Sabbath-day”.
According to Our Lord, Who is the Author of the Holy Mass, the Priesthood, and all the Sacraments, it is always lawful to do “a good deed”, delivering from spiritual infirmity the souls, “whom satan hath bound”.
It is always lawful to offer the Sacrifice of the Cross (of the New Testament) in Holy Mass. It means to have mercy.
To have mercy - it is lawful all the time, forever and ever, because it is the fulfillment of God’s main Commandment to love God and neighbor.
I would like to present now to all the readers the Catholic Teaching on The Blessed Sacrament and the Sacrament of Holy Orders based on two books: “GOD THE TEACHER MANKIND” by Rev. Michael Muller, C.SS.R., and “THE SEVEN-FOLD GIFT, A Study of The Seven Sacraments” by William F. Robison, S.J., Ph.D.:
- Christ ascended into heaven, whence He shall come to judge the living and the dead; yet He found a means to stay with us in the world to the end of time. This means is the institution of the Blessed Sacrament.
- Mother Church makes this sacrifice the very center of her life. It is her act of worship through all the days till the Lord shall come again in majesty to judge the living and the dead.
- Around the Calvary of the altar she gathers her little ones, with Mary and John and the faithful women, and she looks up at Christ.
- But if, in this august Sacrament, the Lord of Heaven and Earth stays with us to the end of time, it is by means of another Sacrament - by that of Holy Orders.
- When Our Saviour communicated His powers to his Apostles, He conferred them in a visible, sensible manner, expressing, in the words He used, the nature of the particular power given.
- By so doing, He showed in what manner the Apostles and their successors should communicate the same powers to others - that is, in an outward, visible manner, by words and actions, expressing the nature of the power bestowed.
- The Apostles communicated their powers of the priesthood in a visible manner.
- There is the "inward grace" (or inwaid part performed by God), namely, the power of the order received with an indelible character imprinted on the soul; and also actual grace for the due exercise of that order, together with an increase of sanctifying grace.
- Bishops, raised by the Apostles to the fulness of the priesthood by the imposition of hands, are, according to St. Paul's judgment, charged by the Holy Ghost with the government of the Church.
- From the declarations of St Paul it is evident that Holy Orders are divinely instituted, because God alone can give to the outward sign of the imposition of hands the power of producing grace in the soul.
- The Sacrament of Holy Orders bestows upon those who receive it the powers of priesthood.
- As Christ was represented in the priesthood before His coming, so also is He represented in the priesthood after His coming.
- He who has been ordained priest has received in his soul, by Holy Orders, a character which distinguishes him from all other men, and makes him participate in a special manner in the powers of the priesthood of Jesus Christ.
- In virtue of this character, the priest participates in Christ's power of offering sacrifice, of teaching, of legislating, of judging and ruling.
- The Sacrament of Holy Orders gives power over Christ's own body, as well as over His mystic body, which is composed of the members of the Church; but in a different manner.
- The power over Christ's own body, called the power of order, is made over, absolutely and irrevocably, to every priest.
- The power over Christ's mystic body, called the power of jurisdiction, is given only on condition of due appointment by the Church.
- As every priest, in virtue of the sacerdotal character, is invested with the power over Christ's own body, and as this character can never be effaced, every priest retains, as long as he lives, the power of offering sacrifice.
- A priest, therefore, cannot be deprived of the power over Christ's body.
- Hence, should he become a heretic and say Mass, he would validly consecrate.
- The same thing can be said of every Catholic bishop. He cannot be deprived of the Episcopal character and of the power which is essentially connected with holy orders, for that power is received immediately from God.
- Should, then, a bishop become a heretic, he still retains his Episcopal character, in virtue of which he validly though unlawfully, confers Confirmation and Holy Orders, and offers the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
- The Sacrament of Holy Orders is closely bound up with the very constitution of the Church.
- Holy Orders refers, in the first place, to the different grades among the members of the Church, to the rulers and the ruled; and, in the second place, to the Sacrament for the transmission of priestly powers.
- Christ promised to Simon, whose name He changed to Peter, "the rock," that upon him He would build His Church and that the gates of hell would not prevail against it and that He would give to him the keys of the kingdom of heaven.
- He pledged Himself to make the Apostles partakers of the power that was His very own by the gift of the Father.
- To Peter Christ gave the power which had been promised to him as the foundation stone, the bearer of the keys of the Kingdom, the shepherd of the flock, the ruler of the City of God.
- Then, to the Twelve, the body of chosen, trained, elevated, heaven endowed representatives of His, marshaled under the primacy of Peter, Christ communicated the great mission of authoritatively teaching every child of earth until the end of time.
- This living, teaching, sanctifying, ruling society was to last until the end of days.
- The sanctification of men unto eternal life was to be the end for which the Church was to labor, as it was the purpose of the loving Lord, who had come to save that which was lost and that men might have life and might have it more abundantly.
- The transmission of jurisdiction and of the authoritative power of teaching was to be secured by the succession of the bishops, who would stand in the place of the Apostles, continuing their mission of teaching and ruling mankind.
- But the Apostles were not only teachers and rulers. They were priests; they were bishops, with the plenitude of the priesthood.
- The chief powers of the priesthood touch principally two of the Sacraments which we have already dwelt upon, namely, Penance and Holy Eucharist.
- And as for sacrifice, they were to offer up the Eucharistic sacrifice of the body and blood of Christ. For, on the eve of His sacred Passion, after He had instituted the Blessed Sacrament of the altar, the sacrifice of clean oblation, Christ commissioned them to do as He had done, saying: "Do this for a commemoration of me. (Luke xxii, 19)
- Yes, they were priests, with the plentitude of the priesthood and with the means of transmitting the same sacred power to those who were to carry on their hallowed work until the second coming of the Lord.
- After all that has been considered in studying the other sacraments, the perpetuation of the power of sanctifying men through the holy rites of Christ's institution, and especially through the Sacrament of Penance and the sacrifice of the altar, needs no further proof.
- In fact, the only ones who are ranged in the opposition of denial are those who reject the pardoning power, given by the Christ to His own, and the sacrificial character of the Eucharistic oblation.
- Where there is a sacrifice, there must be priests.
- For, by the very voice of nature, speaking through the long ages of the past, the function of a priest is shown to imply sacrifice.
- Priest and sacrifice are correlative terms.
- Once more, then, given the sacrifice of propitiation of the New Law to apply the merits of Calvary to our souls and to continue to the end of time the expression of our dependence on the sovereignty of God, there must be a priesthood in the Church of Christ.
- And by consequence, there must be a means of perpetuating this priesthood as long as the Church shall be amongst the children of men to do the work of the Redeemer.
- The Sacrament of Holy Orders, or of Ordination, is the Sacrament of the New Law, instituted by our Lord Himself, by which spiritual power is conferred for the consecration, oblation and administering of the body and blood of Christ, for the forgiveness of sins, and for other spiritual functions.
- Its fullness is found in the episcopate, the body of those who, with the plenitude of the priesthood, can through the Sacrament of Ordination be fathers in God unto others, who enter into the same sublime powers.
- In the Council of Trent Mother Church teaches that "sacred ordination is truly and properly a sacrament instituted by Christ the Lord, and is neither a mere human invention thought out by men unskilled in ecclesiastical matters, nor only a certain rite of choosing the ministers of God's word and of the sacraments." (Sess. xix, can. 3.- Denz. n. 963)
- And thus, with all justice may the Church say that the fact of Christ's institution of Ordination, or Holy Orders, as a Sacrament is vouched for, not only by her own infallible utterance, but, (and this, for those who will not yet hearken to the words of her motherly teaching) by the testimony of Holy Scripture, by Apostolic tradition, and by the unanimous consent of the Fathers. (Cf. Council of Trent, Seas, xix, c. 3.- Denz. n. 959.)
- Besides these general participations in the priesthood of the great High Priest of mankind, to those who are consecrated by the sacred Sacrament of Ordination there comes a likeness to Him which gives them part in the special priesthood of Jesus Christ.
- Nay, in the exercise of that priesthood, these ministers of the Victim-Priest of Calvary act for Him and with Him, in His name and with His power.
- To this sacramental character, which will never pass away, there is bound during life the sublime power, which is given to them as cooperators with Jesus, - "the power of consecrating, offering, and administering the body and blood of Christ our Savior; of forgiving and retaining sins;" (Council of Trent, Sess. xix, c. 1. - Denz. n. 957) and of performing other duties of their state.
- All these duties refer, indirectly at least, to the Blessed Sacrament.
- To fulfill these duties, from Ordination they have the right to the actual helps of God, which will be given when needed for the actions of their sublime destiny.
- It cannot be repeated too often that the fundamental notion of priesthood is sacrifice.
- The sacrifice of Christ's ministering priests is the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. This is a true sacrifice; it represents, commemorates, continues and renews the bloody oblation of the cross of Calvary.
- From this power with regard to the real body of Christ comes the priest's power with reference to the mystical body of the Savior, namely, the faithful of Holy Church, whom he is to prepare for the Blessed Eucharist.
- For this lofty dignity, all should have the deepest reverence, warmed with the glow of holy love.
- If God's choice to this hallowed vocation has fallen on one whom you love, rejoice and revere.
- If, in the future, the eyes of the Master should rest on one to whom you have given earthly life; if in the ear and heart of the young man, a son of yours, there should sound the call from on high, summoning him to the mountain of sacrifice, even to the unstained Calvary of the altar; do not hesitate, do not repine, do not refuse the sacrifice, do not count the cost.
- Your loved one is blessed, and you are blessed in his hallowing.
- We should thank God for the Sacrament of Holy Orders; for, as the Source of Sacred Power, it is of incalculable advantage to each and every one of the children of the Church.
- Without the Sacrament of Holy Orders there would be no Church, and without the Church there would be no incorporation with Christ into the mystic body which sustains our life in God.
- Without the Sacrament of Holy Orders there would be no administration of the Sacraments, which are the channels of God's grace to our souls.
- Without the Sacrament of Holy Orders we would look upon a world from which the sun had been blotted out, as the Eucharistic God was torn away from His perishing children.
- Without the Sacrament of Holy Orders we would look from a sorrow crushed earth to a terrible future, deprived of those aids to our weakness by which God's love brightens the way home. (2) (3)
From this Catholic Teaching it is clear that the Blessed Sacrament and the Sacrament of Holy Orders are vital for the faithful and actual and necessary for mankind’s salvation till the next coming of our Lord when He shall come again in majesty to judge the living and the dead.
"Father, your article is profoundly theological, detailed and informative.
May your work be rewarded by many conversions.
Most Reverend Daniel Dolan"
The quotes from the Holy Scripture taken from: THE HOLY BIBLE PUBLISHED WITH THE APPROBATION OF THE CATHOLIC ARCHBISHOPS AND BISHOPS OF IRELAND. The Douay Version of the Old Testament of 1609, and with the Rhemish Version of the New Testament of 1582, Given at Dublin, May 4th, 1857.
(1) AN EXPOSITION OF THE GOSPELS
CONSISTING OF AN ANALYSIS OF EACH CHAPTER
AND OF A COMMENTARY
CRITICAL, EXEGETICAL, DOCTRINAL, AND MORAL
BY HIS GRACE THE MOST REV. DR. MacEVILLY
ARCHBISHOP OF TUAM
FOURTH EDITION, REVISED AND CORRECTED
DUBLIN: M. H GILL & SON, 50 UPPER O'CONNELL STREET
BENZIGER BROTHERS, 113 BROADWAY
(2) GOD THE TEACHER MANKIND
A PLAIN, COMPREHENSIVE EXPLANATION OF CHRISTIAN DOCTRINE
GRACE AND THE SACRAMENTS:
BAPTISM, CONFIRMATION, EXTREME UNCTION, HOLY ORDERS AND MATRIMONY
BY MICHAEL MULLER, C.SS.R.
NEW YORK, CINCINNATI, AND ST. LOUIS:
PRINTERS TO THE HOLY APOSTOLIC SEE
Imptimatur: +THOMAS FOLEY, Bishop Administrator of Chicago
pp. 314, 316, 317-320
(3) THE SEVEN-FOLD GIFT
A Study of The Seven Sacraments
BY WILLIAM F. ROBISON, S.J., Ph.D.
St. Louis University
B. HERDER BOOK CO.
17 South Broadway, St. Louis, Mo.
AND 68 Great Russell St., London, W. C.
Sti. Ludovici, die I. Mail, 1922
F. X. McMenamy, S. J., Praepositus Provincialis
Sti. Ludovici, die 23. Maii, 1922
F. G. Holweck, Censor Librorum
Sti. Ludovici, die 25. Maii, 1922
+Joannes J. Glennon, Archiepiscopus
pp. 125-129, 130-131,
165-166, 171-176, 179,
180-181, 182, 183-184,