Griff Ruby's STRAIGHT STUFF (lent1str.htm) featured on The DailyCatholic, a Traditional Catholic publication dedicated to perpetuating the One True Faith and preserving the Traditional Latin Mass in this time of the Great Apostasy by upholding the sedevacantist syllogism in order to Save All Necessary Catholic Traditions in the United States (SANCTUS) and preserve the Truths and Traditions of the Church founded by Jesus Christ upon the Rock of Peter.

Lenten Edition 2012

    The Nonsense of Those Who Refuse the Church's Authority
With every passing year, it becomes more evident that the only true bishops left are those within the traditional ranks, and yet there remain the doubters who in their perplexity actually muck up the wheels of the Church's progress and prevent so many from realizing that for the Church to grow within the catacombs and expand universally as the only true Church founded by Christ, we need to acknowledge the authority and jurisdiction they rightfully have and put the gears in motion to save souls. That goes for the very shepherds in question as well because too often many of them jam up the works themselves in trying to strip the gears of their peer prelates because too many have Vatican on the Brain.

    "Some might point out that I too am merely some layman, with no special 'authorization' as such to teach. The difference is that I am not claiming anything original. Everything I teach and have ever taught in all of my published writing is solidly based in all the standard manuals of theology. The Church teaches (as do I) that bishops and priests possess and exercise authority in the Church, that Christ said to them 'He who hears you, hears Me,' (St. Luke 10: 16) but these others who deny the rightful authority of our traditional bishops and priests one and all teach that Christ said to them 'He who hears you merely hears you; I don't speak through anybody!' Now where is THAT in the Bible, or any other Magisterial teaching instrument of the Church?"

    I wonder sometimes what my readers must think of my Lumen Gentium thesis Down the Yellowbrick Road to Apostasy: The Lumen Gentium Syndrome. The upshot of that thesis has long proven perfectly consistent with what our native Sensus Catholicus has taught us to expect to be the case. We know we must always stand by Catholic Tradition, as represented by the Traditional Tridentine Latin Mass (or equivalent authentic traditional forms of any long-established Rite of the Mass), by the traditional Catechisms and teaching, by our fight for the Social Reign of Jesus Christ, and by our unity with all of our fellow traditional Catholics whose Church we do share.

    Even where many of us still mistakenly or accidently refer to the recent and current Vatican leaders as "popes," all of us by our actions demonstrate that during and since Vatican II the various Vatican leaders over that time have not been our living Rule of Faith, our religious point of reference. Even the most softlining Indultarian and Motuarian has sought to be excused from all the changes and new ways and modernist garbage, and rejoiced to gain whatever "exception" has ever been carved out for them in whatever corner occasionally gets allocated to them to live in peace undisturbed. Why seek such a thing unless we know it to be what God requires of us?

    And when we turn to our traditional clerics (having avoided the ones whose orders don't seem to be quite in order, or whose agenda is to maneuver and manipulate us into the ways of modernism), not only for the Mass, but also for our religious instruction, our regular confessors, and our main venue of choice for all serious Catholic fellowship, in doing that we acknowledge with our actions our instinctive trust in God and His Church. Our trust is not in men, not even these holy (and at times lesser) clerics who have resisted great pressures to get in line with a most fallen world and all manner of heresy, but in God who we all sense, at least deep down, to have sent them.

    As if instinctively, we serious and authentic Catholics (which is what being "traditional" is all about), seem to know that our clerics do not need the approval of the Vatican heretics in order to function, and indeed are themselves much safer outside that organization than in it. Many, or even most, of us even find at least suspicious any cleric who is willing and able to remain within the modernist Vatican's "good graces." What compromise might such ones have accepted? Do they name a known heretic as "pope" in the Mass? Have they agreed not to oppose Modernism (even while doing their bit to sustain the Faith which is Modernism's worst foe)? Have they agreed to sow division among the flock by badmouthing any of their clerical peers (and even superiors) who do not share their utterly worthless "approval"? Those sorts of problems should indeed cast suspicion upon any cleric who practices them, even if in some instances, the cleric himself might possibly be excused.

    Our traditional clergy have blessed and consecrated altars, confirmed our children, and increasingly, ourselves as well, witnessed and recognized our marriages in the formal ecclesial sense of what that means, even processed some few annulments among us, consented to be and function fully as our regular confessors, provided various dispensations to Church disciplinary rulings, opened and operated seminaries, ordained and consecrated new clergy and sent them forth into missionary territory, founded and canonically erected religious orders, and accepted abjurations from formerly heretical and/or schismatic clerics and appointed them places ("offices," actually) in the Church.

    These are not the actions of any mere "sacrament machines." These actions one and all go way beyond even the furthest limit of what epikeia and ecclesia supplet could ever justify. These are the actions of duly authorized and authority-holding clerics, our apostolic pastors whom God has sent, and who alone have the authority to send all of those yet to come in future ages.

    Most important, we laity, the Faithful, are one and all OK with this, and duly accept any and all such ministrations. Deep down, we all know we truly ought to accept these ministrations, even if in our minds we are unable to account for it or explain it to ourselves. So why do we trust? This is no mere Psychology, it is the Holy Ghost having spoken in our hearts. When we trust God, we trust God to provide us with His Church, in the hierarchical person of our traditional clerics. We trust that if we seek Him, we shall find Him, in the Church He has sent, in the person of our local chosen traditional cleric whom He has sent, for indeed He has. This is the path of humility, of obedience, of trust in God. This is the path of Faith, not only THE Faith, namely all that we believe and struggle for, but also of Faith itself, of the only alternative to the outright sin of Doubt. This alone is what will lead us all on the path of unity which God requires of each of us.

    Yet over against this, there are many who struggle with this question, namely in that while in their heart they know this all to be true, with their mind they are unable to account for it. Worse still, through some unknown sophistry which escapes me, some are even deceived into rejecting the Church's living shepherds. In that tragic rejection, it makes little difference whether they wholly reject our authorized traditional Catholic clerical shepherds or else treat and regard them as mere sacrament machines, either way, they have, in that, refused subjection to the Church and chosen the path of doubt and of schism to which God forbids each of us. Instead of building up, all these self-appointed apostles of denial can ever do is to tear down. The Church shall never gather up these authority-denying sophists to Her bosom just as a rake shall never pick up dry sand from the beach.

    What a sad testimony of doubt and unbelief it was when someone I know once wrote, "as there is no authority in the Catholic Church, our traditionalist bishops have no papal mandate to govern, a point that was made to me by a layman three years ago at a time when I believed, yes, quite mistakenly, that obedience was owed to these bishops." Right there is a thumbnail biography of one so deceived into believing that the Church has no duly authorized shepherds. What that unfortunate soul so sinfully dismissed as a "mistake" is what the Holy Ghost had whispered in his heart and which he (formerly) knew to be true, but through the deceptive "ministrations" of this unauthorized lay teacher he was somehow persuaded to refuse any further obedience to the authorized priests and bishops of the Church.

    One sees such statements cropping up time and time again in the writings of numerous self-appointed "teachers" and controversialists. Our unfortunate soul continues, thus: "Our traditionalist bishops have received the fullness of the priesthood solely for the perpetuation of the priesthood and thus of the sacraments. No traditionalist bishop has any ecclesiastical authority to grant or to withhold legitimacy to the work of other such bishops who, for one reason or another, are held in disfavor by him. People are free to associate or not to associate with a particular bishop or priest as they see fit."

    The "perpetuation of the priesthood and thus of the sacraments" would be irrelevant unless there was also ensured the "perpetuation of the continuous valid and lawful chain of command" continuing alongside that priesthood and tightly bound up with it. If it was purely and utterly a matter of valid sacraments alone, the Eastern Orthodox or Old Catholics could easily enough provide those things without any help from the Church. Whatever distinction as could be drawn up between Orders and Authority, the two virtually always go together. It would be a most rare and exceptional circumstance for a layman to be granted some prerogative normally granted only to clerics, and conversely, it is unheard of for a cleric of valid orders to lack the authority and jurisdiction normally associated with a cleric of his rank, apart from cases in which some penalty has been applied by the Church in a judgment against said cleric as a punitive action or said cleric's formal adherence to some schismatic body.

    Or again from the same layman: "There is one slight problem with this revisionist history: Bishop McKenna, though a true bishop, had no authority from the Catholic Church to establish a religious community. None of our traditionalist bishops have this authority. The existing communities of men and women are merely voluntarily organized pious associations of Catholics who are, in actual point of fact, members of the laity unless, in the case of men, they possess true holy orders. They are nothing more than that according to the law of the Catholic Church."

    That is all just the "Hitler's Big Lie" principle. If some obvious lie gets spoken (and written or published, etc.) again and again enough times, people just start to believe it, no matter how obviously absurd and indefensible. And indefensible indeed is such a denial of the authority of our traditional clergy. Do you realize that nowhere has any attempt ever been made at defending such a rank absurdity? There is no book, no treatise, no article, no sermon, no source, and no citation ever referenced in support of such a claim anywhere. Believe me when I say I have looked. It doesn't exist, and cannot, for the very attempt would at once display its foolishness.

    The layman quoted above claims that some other layman persuaded him to deny the trust which the Holy Ghost had formerly placed in his heart. But even he has not ever provided me or anyone any argument, any chain of reasoning, with which to persuade any honest inquirer to that absurd claim. No one ever has. They just somehow "get persuaded" and the rest of us are left scratching our heads wondering what ever happened to So-and-so? Needless to say, I don't go along with that. Am I supposed to discount or reject the authority of the only known Catholic bishops and priests in existence today merely because some unnamed layman somehow persuaded another layman who tells me so, and by using unknown arguments that neither one of them is prepared or willing to lay out for the rest of us to examine?

    They sometimes make reference to the "law of the Catholic Church." What law? Canon Law? Canon Law makes no provision for the Church's sole remaining clerics to be reduced, one and all, to the role of mere sacrament machines. Instead it lays out the duties and prerogatives of bishops and priests, thereby specifying in great detail exactly what authority our bishops and priests necessarily must and do possess. It lays out a good many duties that they have with regards to having regular meetings with each other at least every five to ten years. It also lays out punitive measures that justly apply to those who refuse to recognize our lawful traditional clerics, and yes, all of those laws most certainly ARE still in effect and those violating the laws will be held accountable for that in their personal Judgments.

    Some might point out that I too am merely some layman, with no special "authorization" as such to teach. The difference is that I am not claiming anything original. Everything I teach and have ever taught in all of my published writing is solidly based in all the standard manuals of theology. The Church teaches (as do I) that bishops and priests possess and exercise authority in the Church, that Christ said to them "He who hears you, hears Me," (St. Luke 10: 16) but these others who deny the rightful authority of our traditional bishops and priests one and all teach that Christ said to them "He who hears you merely hears you; I don't speak through anybody!" Now where is THAT in the Bible, or any other Magisterial teaching instrument of the Church?

    By what I have been able to find, this weird attitude, this refusal to accept as "official" anyone who is not and never was in some position within the fallen and heretical Vatican apparatus appears to have got its start with none other than Guérard des Lauriers. At some point he was asked if it was licit today to consecrate bishops without a mandate from Rome, to which he responded, starting out with the standard Catholic response grounded in all the usual theological manuals, that if there is no pope and for whatever reason may not be one for some substantial foreseeable amount of time, then it is licit, but if there is a pope, then it would not be. Even that is slightly oversimplified in that it does not take into account such things as prolonged physical isolation from a presumably existing pope, for example if a Catholic community with a bishop were stranded on a desert island, or trapped and held incommunicado in some gulag, or else from a pope's inability (e. g. through illness or dementia) to act as all would know and expect that he should.

    (I should point out that it is unfair to criticize the SSPX on this action, or judge against their legitimacy and jurisdiction as authentic Roman Catholic bishops. The mandate from their "John Paul II" had already been granted in principle, and it was universally known and accepted that such "approval," for whatever it might be worth, certainly should and could have been on its way, and would have been, had the man been in his right mind and thinking it over calmly and rationally. They certainly were not about to hold up the ceremony at the last moment merely because the man happened to choose that moment to disappear into himself, presumably to think about it some more or whatever. SSPX canonists have amply demonstrated that John Paul II's "law" was sufficiently flexible and liberal enough for their consecration to qualify as licit, despite the technical lack of the mandate document itself.)

    But having stated that much, basically rooted in standard theology, he then went out on a limb by adding the following: "The bishops should exercise the missio or power of order (they have, therefore [per this statement of his], a momentary or transitory jurisdiction per modum actus; but they cannot and must not arrogate to themselves the sessio or ordinary jurisdiction, be it territorial (over a diocesan territory) or personally (over a group of faithful). Jurisdiction, whether territorial or personal, can only come from the Prima Sedes, that is, the Pope, as His Holiness Pius XII reminded us in the encyclical Mystici Corporis." Fr. Francesco Ricossa goes on to claim that "this refusal to attribute ordinary jurisdiction to bishops consecrated licitly without mandate from Rome is grounded in divine law." No it's not, Father! Frankly, there is no basis, theological, canonical, or otherwise, by which any bishop can be or ever was to be consecrated licitly without also being granted jurisdiction as well. If a bishop is licit, he must therefore also have jurisdiction.

    I can only think of two reasons that des Lauriers (implicitly only, as far as I can tell) and Fr. Ricossa (explicitly, as just quoted), would even think of trying to draw a line between being a licit bishop versus being a bishop with jurisdiction. One of them is fear. As long as a bishop can pretend to having or canonically being in some weird and oddball and unaccountable status as being a "licit" bishop yet without jurisdiction (and what would that have been in any age but ours? A suspended bishop? An excommunicated bishop? A schismatic bishop? An apostate bishop? What?), he basically can pretty much "fly beneath the radar," being more or less mostly ignored by the Vatican and by others who might place him under some sort of scrutiny.

    Yet once our bishops should ever grow enough of a backbone to own up to the jurisdiction they actually have and begin pressing their lawful authority as is their right and duty, I think we all know things will all get cast into a far more sharp and clear light. The scrutiny will no doubt be somewhat daunting, a real challenge for individuals who seem to be by and large rather shy and retiring. Their claim will be challenged, and will have to be defended (quite a bit easier than most of them seem to think). It may even come to be fought over in secular courts, and good thing too, if and when it ever does!

    The other reason for such an artificial distinction would be rooted in their Formaliter/Materialiter model of events; with equal validity to that distinction, from a purely theoretical perspective, their whole thesis depends upon drawing a distinction between being elected Pope in a conclave (and even apparently seeming to all present to have accepted the office) versus whatever interior and secret obex any of them might nevertheless interpose between themselves and the formal acceptance of the papacy. For any absolute sedevacantist who has difficulty understanding this merely material (but not formal) papacy versus simply the papacy (formally and materially) pure and simple, he should by that same token have the exact same difficulty understanding the difference between being a merely licit (but not jurisdiction holding) bishop versus being simply being a bishop (licit and jurisdiction holding).

    And despite what des Lauriers seems to be saying, Pope Pius XII most certainly did not draw any such distinction in Mystici Corporis or anywhere else, but merely made reference to the Church Law (applicable and reasonable in his day) that a bishop must have a mandate from the pope. Even more basic than that, whenever bishops have been chosen and made, regardless of the manner in which it was done or the degree to which the Pope is brought into the loop at all, it was never as if the bishop gets elected or chosen or whatever, then consecrated, and then must function as some sort of "suspended bishop" with momentary jurisdiction, even in what is obviously to all known to be their Diocese, until some letter from the Pope finally arrives giving them a mandate.

    In those periods of lengthy papal vacancies of history, the bishops so chosen by their fellow bishops and/or by and from among the clergy of the recently vacated diocese or any other means accepted by the Church in various times and places, did not have to function in such a lame manner for however long it took for the Church to gain a pope again, and then for the pope, at last in existence again, to retroactively provide a "mandate." The bishops consecrated during such times were not only licit, but also possessed jurisdiction, and even jurisdiction of a full territorial sort, over a given diocese, which they received despite and during the prolonged absence of a pope.

    The consent of the pope can be implicit, and necessarily would always be such in a prolonged papal vacancy, but that is enough. As des Laurier himself did write, "one may presume the consent of someone if this someone does not exist, or if this consent is impossible to obtain (because of an absence of the proper authority)." But logically and consistently per this principle, this implied consent would have to apply equally to both the legitimacy and to the impartation of jurisdictional authority, of the bishop so consecrated. Now, given our present circumstance, can we doubt the implicit approval of "the pope" (once we should finally have one again someday) for having continued our valid and lawful apostolic succession? Can you not see that to refuse such consent to any and all such traditional bishops, would amount to his willing the extinction of Holy Mother Church Herself, something no real pope, worthy of the name and in his right mind, could ever do.

    At most, a pope might well refuse it, if ever at all, only in some few exceptional cases where the man consecrated under the terms of this reasonable presumption proved to be most particularly unfit and unworthy. But at least some such successions would have to have consent, and so can therefore and utterly without fear of contradiction by any possible future events, presume upon that consent with the fullest degree of certitude appropriate to any who actually has a papal mandate in hand for their consecration to the episcopacy.

    Important to note, however, in all of what des Lauriers and others have said, never is the case made that a jurisdiction conveying mandate requires any more or explicit "consent" of the pope than the qualifications for a licit bishop. Furthermore never is the case made that consent, not only for bishops to be made and have legitimacy, but also to be automatically granted jurisdiction, cannot be safely presumed in such a situation as ours. And again, what pope, worthy of the name and in his right mind, could ever will the extinction of authority and jurisdiction in the Church, any more than he could will the extinction of valid sacrament of Orders? Ergo, such implied papal consent, both for legitimacy and for authority and jurisdiction, most certainly can be freely presumed by any and all as who do not go on to disgrace the office through odious conduct or a fall into heresy.

    So how does anybody ever get fooled? One big part of it is doubt. In such a faithless age as ours, doubt has never before had such an easy sell. "How do you KNOW that Jesus Christ sent these priests and bishops?" "How can you be so absolutely SURE of that, or indeed of anything?" "But isn't it just faintly possible, however unlikely, that you might be making a mistake?" And then there is their "clincher," namely "In a doubtful case where grave matter is concerned, one must take the safer course." Is that even a true and Catholic principle? I don't find that documented anywhere. At most it is merely something that I suppose could make some sense in some limited circumstances. But that being the case, how is it that those who cite this unsourced "principle" invariably claim that "isn't it the safe decision to not attend Masses or get involved with clergy," as if they actually thought it safer to avoid the sacraments and stay at home making themselves to be each and every one of them their own pope?

    That is exactly like some overzealous social worker fearing that a child, having a one in ten thousand chance possibility of getting a spanking from their parents, should be yanked out of their home to be watched over by the State. That so shortsightedly overlooks the fact that all the State can provide the child is life in some vast impersonal and understaffed facility at which children abuse each other in all the most horrible ways whenever their minimal staff is not watching, and within which they are as much trapped as the inmates of a Juvenile Hall.

    To be one's own pope can never be the safest course. Our clergy do not operate independently, with no oversight, but with the oversight of our faithful bishops, and the bishops with the collective oversight of each other, until there is a pope again. (And I don't see anyone worrying about a Pope functioning without oversight!) Obviously, at least some Divine oversight must apply (and does) in the absence of a pope, not so much to prevent divisions (obviously) but to prevent heresy, which all traditional clergy of every stripe genuinely have avoided. The checks and balances which the law provides most certainly do still exist, regardless of whether they get utilized or not. So there is no question here of any lack of caution, but rather the lack of any need for any obsession with doubt that trusts no one and goes nowhere.

    But really, such morbid and unfounded doubts are often more than merely the sin of doubt. Indeed, there is often reason to believe that such extreme doubter may even be experiencing some sort of medical condition, some neurosis or obsessive-compulsive disorder or the like. And perhaps at times it may also find a root in prideful rebellion against all authority (by refusing to recognize any), or possibly even laziness in an unwillingness to travel the often inconvenient distance to Mass. There is no reason that any Catholic (or any sort of person at all) should ever willingly wish such a disease for themselves or anyone else.

    But in some other cases, maybe there are some other false assumptions that could be at work here. The easily fooled layman quoted above continues: "Each community will have to receive formal recognition from duly constituted ecclesiastical authority when we have a true Successor of Saint Peter and true bishops with ordinary jurisdiction when and if it is within the Providence of God this to occur."

    Duly constituted ecclesiastical authority? Where is that to be found today? If it doesn't exist in our traditional bishops today, then it doesn't exist, and that being the case it can never exist again. No "miracle" is going to restore "duly constituted ecclesiastical authority" back from total non-existence, short of Jesus Christ having to come again and be crucified all over again and then starting up a brand new Church, since the first one He started would therefore have failed.

    And let's not harbor any idea of "Peter and Paul coming back to earth" that was supposedly "prophesied" (by what authority? It was never approved). You want to know what that would look like? In the middle of the night you get a knock at the door and there you find some bearded shabby looking man dressed in what looks like a bathrobe sewn from sackcloth who says to you, "Hello, I am the Apostle Paul as spoken of in the Bible." You respond, "and I am the Czar of all of Russia!" and slam the door in his face. THAT, my friends, is the so called "return of Peter and Paul." In other words, even if the actual persons really came back to walk the earth again, we wouldn't recognize them. How could we? Even if we ever thought they really had come back could we be really sure? Really REALLY sure? Perhaps the "safer course" would be to doubt it...

    This vague "well, there must be someone out there somewhere..." is not going to wash. I don't accept it, and no Catholic ever should. The Church has never operated that way and never can and never will. Are we stranded alone on a desert island in the middle of the ocean? Are we being held incommunicado against our will in solitary confinement? Are we bedridden without so much as anyone willing to summon a priest or provide us simple access to any outside communication? If you are in a position to read this, then those excuses do not apply to you. We (you and I) are all in communication with the whole world. Through email and the Web we can write and speak to practically anyone anywhere in the world. And then there is also the telephone, and there is the ongoing standard shipment of letters and packages, and finally we have boats and trains and planes and cars and oxcarts and so forth with which to bring ourselves to any part of the world personally. If something as important as Catholic authority (in whatever unknown sense that anyone could have any superior claim to authority than our traditional Catholic bishops) really and actually existed in any part of the world, word of it would get around. We would know of it.

    If there had been elected at either the 1958 or 1963 conclave some other real pope ("Gregory XVI?"), to which our commonly known John XXIII and Paul VI etc. are but usurpers, where is that pope's succession? Where are that pope's clergy? What name has the current true but secret pope taken, such that all clergy can and should be at least able to do all in union and submission to him? What encyclicals and bulls and other papal documents has he published? What success has even those, who have thought of this, had in actually tracking down this supposedly real succession and Pope and Church? Even those who specifically seek it do not find it, and they have had plenty of time and many trips to various parts of the world with which to find it.

    Then there is the search for what I will call here "Bishop X." Bishop X is the hypothetical holder of whatever more could ever be claimed than our current traditional bishops can lay claim to. I guess he is supposed to be the remaining "duly constituted ecclesiastical authority." Once upon a time we had an identifiable such Bishop X, and that was His Excellency Bishop de Castro-Meyer of Campos, Brazil. But as we know, he has since passed away. But could there not be another? If there were, then where is he? And if he did exist, then by now he would have to be fantastically old, and if every such Bishop X who has ever existed isn't already dead, then they will be soon, and once that is the case, all that remains or could ever remain of any or all of them is their legitimate succession, to wit, our already known and documented traditional bishops, as I am forever emphasizing.

    And again, if he really existed, we would know of it. Word would get around. How easy it would be for some member of his flock to tell the rest of us, "Hey, look what we got here, come and see! A real and faithful Catholic bishop!" Something that important cannot be kept secret. And don't say, "well, maybe there are no traditional Catholics in his area capable of recognizing him." Traditional Catholics are found in all parts of the earth, not merely among our own limited national groups. Furthermore, if there really were such a faithful Bishop X, then there should be only all the more traditional Catholics in his area, even as we are still found in much larger numbers (per capita) in the area that formerly comprised the Catholic Diocese of Campos. Ergo, I do have strong reason to deny that any such Bishop X is alive today. The only way he could still exist anywhere today would be if it were HE that is stranded on a desert island or held in solitary confinement or bedridden and unable to reach out. And none of those conditions is conducive to a long and healthy life.

    It will not do to claim that Bishop X might simply be "weak" or "compromising" or "sincerely misled" by the heretics, such that he might subsequently repent someday. If that is the case, then he is no Bishop X. Even if he repents, who is there to accept his abjuration of error? Who is there to install him into some office of the Church? Another Bishop X? In that case, then let's just go directly to that other Bishop X instead. No, he would have absolutely no recourse but to the same traditional bishops who alone do indeed possess the authority to accept his abjuration and to install him into an office of the Church.

    But suppose for an instant, despite everything, that some Bishop X really did still exist today. How ought he act? Should he look down his nose at all of his fellow Catholic bishops, perhaps faulting them for not having quite his qualifications, perhaps judging them unjustly and rashly on some ground or other? In the case of the last known real living and documented Bishop X, namely Bishop de Castro-Meyer, we already have the precedent. While he lived, he really was in every sense a real live bona fide Bishop X, while Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre went all over the world, opening seminaries in any and every part of the world that he could, confirming children, and in short granting faculties to all of his priests, incardinating them into his own (worldwide) order. In other words, he was no different from all the known traditional bishops today. And yet the two, instead of fighting each other or disdaining each other or refusing to recognize each other, instead worked together and cooperated, as befits bishops who understand that they both serve and belong to the same Church.

    This also shows what our traditional bishops can expect, should expect, and have a full and unqualified right to expect, morally and legally and canonically speaking, from any remaining Bishop X as could possibly exist today.

    Finally, supposing Bishop X really does still exist somewhere today, what could he do to restore the Church? Declare the Roman See vacant? Bishop Thục already did that back in 1982, in Munich. Bishop de Castro-Meyer shouted as much in the streets of Campos shortly after being criticized (instead of congratulated) for his participation in the consecration of real bishops for the future of the Church. Bishop Mendez knowingly chose sedevacantist clerics to succeed him. Provide for an Episcopal succession? Several have already done that, and our traditional bishops of whom I write are all the result.

    Truth to tell however, any such addition to our lines of succession, especially from our Eastern and other alternative Rites, would be a most welcome and worthy testimony to the value and rightness of what has already been done, but whether or not any such alternate Rite bishops may yet choose to save their own souls and the souls of their flocks by doing the same, the Church shall survive just fine regardless.

    Tell the traditional bishops that they have jurisdiction? They should already know that they already have it; their actions show that, at least on some unconscious level, they indeed already really do know that. We have but to bring out into the light what already exists hidden in the shadows, and we really don't need Bishop X's help to do that, welcome it nevertheless would be, were it at all possible.

Griff L. Ruby

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Lenten Edition 2012