Who does this help?


Not only is Catholic Answers hosting a debate on whether the Novus Ordo Mass is valid (really, with all the crap going on in the world, is this in any way necessary?), but in his E-Letter discussing the debate and the ramifications if the theory that it is not valid is in fact correct, Karl Keating fails to actually take a stance in the matter.

I understand Karl may want to publicize the debate, but if one is to raise the subject of whether or not we currently have a valid pope to however many hundreds or thousands of subscribers Karl has to his E-letter, it would be a kind and charitable thing to do to assure these people of the outright nuttiness of the theory.

How serious is the matter?

Consider now a hypothetical example. Let's say that a man was ordained a priest in 1951. He would have been ordained under the old rite, and, according to Matatics, that ordination would have been valid. So far, so good.

Now let's say that the same man was ordained a bishop in 1977. That would have been under the new rite, so, if we follow Matatics's logic, that second ordination would have been invalid. In reality the man still would be a priest; he would not have been elevated to the episcopacy.

Let's take the hypothetical one step further and imagine that this man, who was ordained a priest but not a bishop, is elected pope. What happens?

By definition the pope is the bishop of Rome, not the priest or layman of Rome. No man can be pope unless he is a bishop, just as no man is married unless he has a wife. If our hypothetical man is not made a bishop, either before or just after his election, he cannot be a real pope. There is no such thing as a layman pope or a priest pope. The bishop of Rome must be a bishop.

Now let's bring this hypothetical into the real world.

Joseph Ratzinger was ordained to the priesthood in 1951. He was ordained archbishop of Munich-Freising in 1977. He was elected pope in 2005. If his priestly ordination was valid but his episcopal ordination was not, then he is not a true pope. He is an anti-pope, a pretender, an imposter.

He may be called the pope. He may be addressed as "Holy Father." He may wear papal white. He may live in the Apostolic Palace. He may preside at Vatican events. But, according to this logic, he is not the pope.

This is the inevitable implication of the position that Matatics is now said to promote. If the Catholic Church has not had a valid rite of ordination since 1968, then today it cannot have a true pope. This is sedevacantism.

I'm not saying that Karl takes the side of the sedevacantists (indeed, his tone is somewhat reproachful), but considering the gravity of the subject (which Karl describes as and the fact that his organization is called "Catholic Answers," I think Karl has erred by not clearly refuting the position held by Gerry Matatics to his subscribers.

In short, I wish to assert the fact that we do indeed have a Pope.

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This page contains a single entry by Papa-Lu published on July 17, 2005 1:25 PM.

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