Saturday, June 29, 2013


Help! I need somebody! Help! Not just anybody! The Beatles

Ed. Note: Our new series continuing the discussion of one-handed priestly orders features our answers to lively correspondents who have written to Pistrina in response its seven-part series begging the rector to save the Rev. Mr. Nkamuke's orders.

Like so many other adornments, the art of lucid exposition is yet another missing element in the Blunderer's skill-set. All too often, his hastily cast phrases and ill-wrought observations result in his listeners' or readers' wide-eyed, head-shaking bewilderment. Apparently he thinks it's not worth his effort to guard against misinterpretation of his scribblings. No better example of his unhappy insouciance can be found than in an email Pistrina received recently from one Quaerens Intellectum (N.B we had to code a few words since this is a family blog):
So far your team has rebutted or crushed most of "Tony Baloney's" arguments, with the exception of section V. I think I know why, because I can't figure the ☽@♍♄ (sic) thing out either! He says that Pope Gregory "prescribed an imposition of the hand (singular) to render valid an ordination that was invalid." But the quotation reads "the suspension of the hands." The Pope used the plural, not the singular. Plural and singular are opposites. What kind of fools does he take his audience for? Does he think we are so illiterate or gullible as to believe that night is day, right is left, up is down, falsity is truth, wrong is right, evil is good?
We'll share with you the substance of our reply to the perplexed Quaerens Intellectum, but first, so you can see the whole context, we'll reproduce section V of the Blunderer's monograph, with the words our correspondent references highlighted. We printed the offending sentence in blue.


V. Gregory IX: Imposition of the Hand.
      In a 1232 Epistle to the bishop of Lyons concerning the matter and form of ordination, Pope Gregory IX likewise used the singular (a hand) to designate the imposition that takes place in the ordination rite:
When a priest and deacon are ordained, they receive the imposition of a hand by a physical touch, by the rite introduced by the Apostles.
This also confirms what we presented in the previous section: that the pope imposed one hand for ordinations in Rome.
      But what follows is equally significant:
If this shall be omitted, it must not be partially repeated, but at an established time for conferring orders of this kind, what through error was omitted must be carefully supplied. Moreover, the suspension of hands over the head must be made, when the prayer of ordination is uttered over the head. [Ed. Note: footnote 59 in the original contains the Latin Text for the preceding quotation:  DZ 445. “quod si omissum fuerit, non est aliquatenus iterandum, sed statuto tempore ad huiusmodi ordines conferendos, caute supplendum est* quod per errorem exstitit praetermissum. Suspensio autem manuum debet fieri, cum oratio super caput effunditur ordinandi.”]
Note that he has prescribed an imposition of a hand (singular) to render valid an ordination that was invalid.


We assured Quaerens we understood his umbrage, but this time we had to go to bat for the Bonehead (!)  Although Tony's not the sharpest knife in the drawer, he couldn't possibly be the first-class dullard his undisciplined prose makes him out to be. (There's no Traddie priest that dumb, we hope, although some of the younger pesthouse completers do come mighty close.)  
No one, absolutely no one, could be so stupid as to affirm that hands = hand (though it certainly may appear so at first blush to some laymen and clergy).

We grant that Gregory's succinct advice could prove problematic for a general reader, but bear in mind the Pontiff was writing to a bishop who was familiar with all the details of the ceremony and who didn't need transitional markers or explanatory phrases; the conjunctive adverb "moreover" (autem) is sufficient to indicate that imposition and suspension are two distinct ritual actions: the first being when the bishop lays both his hands on the head of each ordinand without saying anything (the matter defined by Pius), and the second when the bishop and priests hold their raised right hands extended over the candidates' heads (which, according to Pius XII, is not a continuation of the bishop's imposition). 

Quaerens  brightly disagreed, replying in customary, curse-encrusted Traddie-trash style:
You @$$%*!#$ are giving that ~`#{# - *^ - $%`+ too much benefit of the doubt. WAKE UP, JERKS! The only thing that refers to hand/hands in the second quote is "suspension of hands" and that's what the sede moron directs us to note! If he meant to refer to the "imposition of a hand" in the previous sentence, he would have left out the sentence mentioning "suspension hands." How dumb can you be, you dumb @$$/`~#$?
Encouraged by Quaerens' animated response, we replied that Tony's error stemmed from his failure to see that Gergory's words could be misinterpreted by the mostly non-specialists in his audience (including sede clergy). He doesn't have the insight of a naturally gifted teacher. He also failed to see the effect such a misunderstanding could have on his authorial credibility in the eyes of a general reader. A schooled, thoughtful writer would never have written a sentence so patient of misinterpretation in that particular context; he would have forestalled it by appending another explanatory sentence or two, and omitting what the incisive Quaerens suggested.

The Blunderer (we protested), an alien to good pedagogy and serial argumentation, just didn't have the gray matter to comprehend the necessity of pointing out the two separate ceremonial gestures referenced. But in the Blunderer's defense -- yes, we are defending him here -- he's never been admitted to a real institution of higher learning where competent professors reprove the failure to elucidate, where daily course readings provide models for transparent expository prose, where remedial resources are available for the grossly under-prepared. Furthermore, he has no one to call upon from among his addled sede colleagues, who's remotely capable of insightful reading and critiquing for clarity.

A man trained in a real university would have known, almost by second nature, how to avoid misinterpretation. (Most high-school students learned that in ninth grade.)  However, again, Tony is not the product of a sound educational system. He's been self-taught. He's had no competent mentors or associates with a privileged secondary education. Therefore, insofar as he's never been properly trained, such a failure of exposition is understandable (though not pardonable). It also explains why no one should ever pay attention to anything he says or writes. Leave that to the feeble-minded zombie-culties who pay through the nose for his and "One Hand's" bread and board and vacations.

A pity, but the sceptical Quaerens wouldn't buy our explication. He insisted the Bonehead was at the old game again of altering papal teaching while "shooting himself in the foot," and he abused us for trying to save Tone's bacon! ("You guys are $%`+#@+`♄☾ sedes in disguise trying to protect one of YOUR OWN!")

Well, this spirited and principled reply meant we'd have to go mano a mano with our good buddy Quaerens. But how? You all know how this blog eschews conflict and ill-tempered language!

That's where you come in.

We informed Quaerens we'd put the decision in your hands. Tell us (1) whether you think Quaerens is right, viz. that the Blunderer is brazenly mocking us by saying that when Pope Gregory uses the plural he really means the singular, or (2) whether Pistrina is right, viz. that the Bonehead understood the Pope meant two different liturgical actions, but didn't have the sense or skill to make his point clear as required of educated writers.


Before you vote, let's save some of our critics a little time. Many CLODs ("close loyalists of Dannie") are probably thinking as they read this that we didn't rebut Tony's section V because we couldn't.

Not so!

As we told Quaerens, we actually had rebutted section V in our May 11 post.  You'll remember we dismissed the Blunderer's argument of interchangeable usage of hand/hands among the authors as irrelevant in light of the explicit direction of Pius XII's constitution Sacramentum Ordinis -- the only text that counts in the discussion. However, since we were impressed with Quaerens' enthusiasm for reading closely the words of arguments (though we think he's wrong), we shared with him our linguistic rebuttal of the Blunderer's implication that in some authors "a hand" means "one hand." The whole argument's a bit too technical to reproduce here in its entirety, but perhaps a précis will give you an idea:
Impositio manus does not have to be translated "imposition of a hand," where the indefinite article is usually understood as individualizing the noun.  Instead of reading manus as a grammatical singular, we can read it as what Otto Jespersen called the generic number. We may then translate the phrase by the definite article with generalizing force: "imposition of the hand," which is something quite different from the Blunderer's sense of "imposition of a hand." (Our translation's akin to the adherent noun phrase "hand-imposition.") In this case, the singular's individualization becomes less important semantically than the representative idea. As an illustration, classicists and readers of Tom Brown's School Days may recall Virgil's triste lupus stabulis, "a baleful thing [is] the wolf for folds," which is a generic assertion about a whole class, not one individual.**

But enough already, boys and girls!

We fear we may have lost some of you with that little excursus. Besides, the simple, direct, plain-as-the-nose-on-your face teaching of Sacramentum Ordinis -- viz. matter for priestly ordination = imposition of hands -- makes it unnecessary to appeal to recondite grammatical analyses. So let's get back on track:

Simply put, we need your....

....HELP to decide who's right. Please use the comment section to vote for either explanation #1 (the Blunderer's dumber than a box of rocks) or #2 (the Blunderer is a lousy writer and teacher).

* Our 1957 copy of the 31st Latin edition of Denzinger printed in Barcelona omits this repetition of est (because it wasn't necessary). The additional word  is probably just another instance of a faux "scholar's" sloppiness.
** Not to belabor the point, but even the indefinite article can itself designate no one individual in particular as can an anarthrous plural: the sentences The dog is vigilant, A dog is vigilant, Dogs are vigilant can assert a general trait of the family Canidae.

Saturday, June 22, 2013


…whenever a prudent doubt persists regarding the validity of a sacrament bestowed, that sacrament may be repeated ([canon] 732,2), and it is to be observed that when the good of others is at stake or the mental anxiety of the recipient is concerned, repetition may more readily be conceded.  The repetition of the sacrament ought to be done where its validity is doubted — or rather, so long as the validity is not morally certain — in cases where the sacrament is necessary, whether absolutely and of its nature, as Baptism, or relatively and in respect to the good of others, as Ordination, absolution, Extreme Unction. Consequently, in doubt as to validity, Baptism, Ordination, absolution of the dying, Extreme Unction of the unconscious, and consecration of doubtfully consecrated hosts must be repeated. Though repetition may not be obligatory in certain cases, necessary sacraments may be repeated where the recipient is greatly distressed at a supervening doubt. Henry Davis, S.J.

Next Saturday marks the thirty-seventh anniversary of the much-discussed 1976 priestly ordination(s) at Écône. With the passage of almost four long decades, old memories fade, and, as is the fallen human condition, new memories are made. Over those years, no one, to our knowledge, has yet produced a photographic record of the event to settle the question definitively. Some original participants are reluctant to come forward; others hope the recollection of this discomfiting episode will vanish; a few are convinced no problem exists. The Church, headless monster she is today, must perforce remain silent until the Restoration.

Why, then, (one might reasonably ask) would it not be better to let the dead bury the dead and move forward in the work of resistance against Modernism? It is not as though we are 100% confident that the Rev. Mr. Nkamuke won't receive valid priestly orders in West Chester this November. Should not the young Levite be left to carry his own cross of uncertainty, like the rest of the traditional community? As a Catholic clergyman in this troubled age, he will experience many far greater trials. It would seem to be the more charitable course to lay aside this vexatious, intractable dispute.

With equal charity, we reply that we must concern ourselves with the problem. For Roman Catholics, the validity of the sacraments is an all-consuming concern, perhaps the sole concern in these forlorn days. If our aim is to preserve the faith until the Restoration, then it is our holy obligation to identify and remove any threats to its integrity, notwithstanding circumstantial discomfort or wounded feelings. 

Over the past month and a half, Pistrina has shared with you (a) the rationale for the Readers' dismissal of Fr. Cekada's conclusions and (b) the grounds underlying its prudent doubt about the validity of priestly orders conferred with one hand. Today we will lay out four overarching reasons for believing that at least one 1976 one-handed priestly ordination is not the stuff of urban legend but is highly plausible. Be advised that the following are private reasons, and therefore we shall not disclose the identities of the reporters and witnesses. We know who they are, and we are personally satisfied as to their rectitude and veracity. Our object is not to persuade anyone else to adopt our position, but solely to let the unbiased observer know that our belief in at least one one-handed ordination is founded on clear-and-convincing evidence.

 In 1990, nine Roman Catholic Priests affixed their signatures to a letter addressed to the Rev. Daniel Dolan. The letter declared, in part, "... your ordination was done with one hand." Admittedly, some of these clergymen may not have checked the texts of the references cited in the letter, but they could scarcely have missed the hard, categorical assertion that the addressee had been ordained with one hand. They surely were morally certain of the allegation or their consciences would not have permitted them to sign their names. This sanguine inference must be true, because a priest has reported that many American clergy at the time were aware of the report of the archbishop's conferring one-handed priestly orders in 1976. (Apparently little was made of the event at first, owing to the great esteem in which the archbishop was held: Almost everyone then thought he could do no wrong.)  

We have read where at least two signatories later issued retractions. However, we are not certain of precisely what they retracted. Did they retract their asseveration that Daniel Dolan's ordination was "dubious," or did they retract their assertion that his "ordination was done with one hand," or did they retract the imputation that McAuliffe advised that such a case "be referred to the Vatican for Judgment"?  There is a great difference between each of these motives for retraction. As a result, until the reasons are made plain by each individual in a sworn statement, we discount the significance of the retractions and continue to believe the nine priests were morally certain the Rev. Mr. Dolan had been ordained with one hand, otherwise they could not have signed the letter in good conscience.

First-hand reports from former seminarians at Écône and Winona relate it was common knowledge that the '76 ordinations had been performed with one hand. At least one of these men, who later received his own priestly orders from one of the '76 ordinati, underwent conditional ordination as a safeguard against any future impeachment of his orders.

A witness present at the '76 ordination confirmed in writing that the one-handed ordination happened, and he confided his irritation with the senior clergy in the sanctuary who did not intervene at the moment the defect occurred. Another individual, who was not present at the 1976 ordination, heard from others who were present that the archbishop had been "in a panic" following the ceremony but later composed himself after another party "explained" the validity of one-handed priestly orders. 

 If Daniel Dolan affirmatively knew he had been ordained with two hands, then by natural right and in natural justice he had a moral duty to deny immediately, vigorously, and unequivocally the nine priests' allegation that his "ordination was done with one hand." (A lofty refusal to "dignify a charge with an answer," as every wise man now knows, is an ethical failing as well as a public-relations miscalculation.)  However, no one seems to have a written record showing that Daniel Dolan, not a surrogate, emphatically controverted the priests' declaration in 1990. On the contrary, with Fr. Cekada's aid, Daniel Dolan in fact complied with the nine priests who urged him "diligently to research the problem and, to let us know any findings which shed light on this issue."

The nine priests had also cautioned the Rev. Mr. Dolan that they were bound to hold his "ordination to be dubious, unless evidence can be brought forth that one-handed ordination is certainly valid." If we may judge from the contents of Fr. Cekada's 2000 monograph, much of the elaborate (though intellectually flawed) effort was aimed at trying, albeit without success,  (1) to prove the certain validity of one-handed conferral of priestly orders and (2) to dispel dubiety. (A priest has informed us that some time after the 1990 letter went out and before the publication of Fr. Cekada's monograph, clergy received word that "Tony has researched the problem and there is no doubt that one hand is sufficient.")

Therefore, a reasonable man may legitimately conclude that such obedient, even zealous, compliance with the nine Catholic priests' requests is tantamount to agreeing with their allegation that Daniel Dolan's "ordination was done with one hand." Although Fr. Cekada did not succeed in demonstrating with an appropriate measure of probability the certain validity of one-handed orders, there is no question that he diligently undertook the time-consuming research the nine priests requested in an attempt to overcome the basis for their doubts. If he and the Rev. Mr. Dolan had been convinced of the falsity of the allegation, they would never have gone to such lengths to make the case for one-handed validity -- an effort, please recall, that included the manufacture of an erroneous translation that altered the content of formal papal teaching.

Why didn't Daniel Dolan issue in 1990 an outright denial of the nine priests' statement? Fr. Cekada would have saved himself many hours of tedious research, reading, and writing (as well as the chagrin of suffering withering rebuttal and exposure of his disturbing mistranslation along with other embarrassing errors).  More significantly, a robust, categorical denial would have shifted the burden of proof from the Rev. Mr. Dolan to the nine priests who raised the allegation in the first place, which they, as the contributing party, should have been prepared to prove. Likewise, the nine priests, not Fr. Cekada, would subsequently have assumed the risk of nonpersuasion. Yet it seems that Daniel Dolan elected not to challenge directly the nine priest's claim, and by meeting their conditions, he appears to have agreed with it.

Could it have been, we wonder, that he knew the priests' allegation was not false? Could he have realized that an outright denial would have been impossible in 1990 insofar as but 14 years had passed, and memories of the event were much fresher than they are today? Could it have been that he opted for the next-best alternative by dispatching the under-prepared Fr. Cekada to make the requested case for the validity of one-handed conferral of priestly orders?

For us, there is one answer to the three questions. Given Father's failure to produce the quantum of evidence needed to overcome, to the degree required, a prudent man's doubts, the validity of one-handed orders is by no means morally certain. The only rational course, consequently, is for Daniel Dolan to receive sub conditione both priestly ordination and then episcopal consecration. True, he should have sought conditional orders years ago to put an end to all the wrangling and grief, yet time remains to remedy the neglect. Bp. Sanborn himself should welcome this approach, if only to banish the anxiety of his seminarians and priests.

Should neither man heed reason's sweet voice, then doubt will continue to pursue both them and the men who have received or will receive orders from Daniel Dolan. Americans and Europeans may always be able to find a valid bishop from whom they may seek conditional ordination, but the Rev. Mr. Nkamuke may not be so fortunate if he returns to his mother country soon after his ordination.

Please, out of loyalty to the faith, contact the most reverend rector soon. Do it for charity and justice. Beg (and pray) on behalf of the Rev. Mr. Nkamuke.

Editor's Note: This post concludes the series devoted to persuading the rector to save the Rev. Mr. Nkamuke's priestly orders. However, Pistrina will continue exposing additional errors of the Blunderer's monograph in addition to covering other issues related to the 1990 letter sent to "One-Hand Dan." To kick off the new series of posts, next week we'll get all interactive by inviting ally and adversary alike to lend a hand in understanding one of the weirdest passages of the Bonehead's monograph (second only to his erroneous translation of a pope's official teaching). We've puzzled and puzzled over the words, and we're at our wits' end trying to make some sense of them. We're sure someone out there, perhaps a rabid CLOD ("close loyalist of Dannie"), can shed some light where our poor intellects find impenetrable darkness.

Saturday, June 15, 2013


Another one of the old poets (whose name escapes me at the moment) said that truth is the daughter of time. Aulus Gellius

On close analysis, the weakest argument for one-handed conferral of priestly orders is what the Blunderer misdescribes as a "decision" of the Holy Office. The word "decision" connotes a judgment or, more precisely, a conclusion based on a careful consideration of all the arguments and solemnly delivered by a competent body after consultation with disciplinary experts. Moreover, we would expect a decision of the Holy-Office to be in the form of a written decree.

There's no such animal in Tony's wild menagerie of misleading enlargement, irrelevancy, and linguistic error. What the Blunderer tries to pass off as a "decision" is in actuality hearsay.  Here are the naked facts: A theologian (Regatillo) passed along an unidentified bishop's anecdote about (1) making an inquiry somewhere at the Holy Office regarding one-handed conferral of priestly orders and (2) receiving a reply affirming the validity of orders so conferred. The theologian did not personally hear the reply. He merely reported this bishop got an answer.* Regatillo did not use the word "decision."

Let us pause, at this juncture, to make an all-too-obvious observation: 
An unidentified bishop's avowal that he received a presumably oral answer from an unnamed source in the Holy Office is definitely not a formal decision of  the Holy Office.
Note particularly that, beyond the sparely narrated account, the theologian supplied no concrete details: no name of the bishop, no date of the visitation to the Holy Office, no description of the attendant circumstances of the encounter, no name or title of the official(s) who gave the answer, no date of the defective ordination, etc. All we have is a minimalist account akin to a log entry .

Mind you, now, we're not saying the theologian or this certain bishop lied. As it stands, the anecdote is a piece of information that belongs to our investigation. However, it cannot, by any strectch of the imagination, be raised to the dignity of a decision of the Holy Office, with all the coercive force that such pronouncements carry.

After all, the reply may have come from one of the lesser officers of the Congregation, one who may have been speaking off the record to a private individual. He may not even have had a brief to offer an opinion on the subject, but perhaps informally ventured one anyway on that occasion. We will never know. But one thing's for certain: without concrete collateral details and a knowledge of the identity of the declarant as well as of the functionary who answered the query, we cannot assess the weight of the reply: It certainly isn't irrelevant, but neither is it confirmatory. It's just, say... thought-provoking.

In any case, the report is secondhand and hence must be considered hearsay, which is inherently weak: we cannot form a judgment of the directly involved parties' competence, trustworthiness, veracity, or accuracy.**  For the credulous, the meager anecdote may be persuasive, but for deeper thinkers without an agenda or vested interests, it fails to overcome a prudent man's positive doubt. The teaching of Pope Pius XII is simply too specific: imposition of hands is the matter of priestly orders. There's no getting around it.

In time, a restored Church may confirm or disconfirm the truth of the answer given to Regatillo's anonymous bishop (whoever he was). Only then will we know for certain that one-handed conferral of priestly orders is or is not valid. But that time, if it is to come at all, may lie far away in the future. Meanwhile, to safeguard the integrity of holy orders here and now, we must deeply discount the grossly inflated evidentiary value the Blunderer assigns this hearsay account, which he erroneously characterizes as a "decision of the Holy Office." Let's just say it's a story that merits notice, and let us, at the same time, conscientiously mark the absence of official confirmatory documentation

The bottom line is that today no one can be certain the conferral of priestly orders with one-hand is valid. There is not enough evidence to exclude the possibility of error. Accordingly, to put an end to all disputation (including ours), "One-Hand Dan" must be persuaded to undergo painless and quick conditional ordination and consecration. Call or email the rector today and tell him to get Dannie fixed. Then Dannie can fix all those poor slobs he's ordained. After that, he'll be free as a bird to ordain the Rev. Mr. Nkamuke at the cult center in November so the zombies still can believe he serves a purpose in Traddielandia. Then everybody will be happy (except, perhaps, the Blunderer. Dannie will be very displeased with the shoddy effort that resulted in his surrender).

Next week, in view of the approaching 37th anniversary of the infamous 1976 ordinations, Pistrina will share its reasons for believing the nine Roman Catholic priests who, in 1990, admonished Dannie about one-handed conferral of priestly orders.

*The Latin text , as Tony prints it, reads "eique responsum fuit validam fuisse ordinationem presbyteralem in qua Episcopus unicam manum imposuit," which he translates as "Its response was that a priestly ordination in which the bishop imposed one hand was valid...." [Blunderer's emphasis.] In this rendering, the noun "response" certainly sounds very official, and we grant that there is in Latin a noun responsum that denotes an official reply (as, for instance, in Denzinger, when we read Resp[onsum]. Commissionis de re Biblica ("Reply of the Biblical Commission").

We further allow that, as a serviceable translation into plain English for informal purposes, Tony's version is acceptable, although it is not entirely accurate, for the underlying Latin construction is the impersonal passive (with fuit for est, a not uncommon substitution). Literally, ...eique responsum fuit... means,"..and it was answered to him...," or even more literally, "...and an answering to [or for] him took place...." The semantic difference is subtle but not insignificant:  the passive voice, in addition to avoiding naming an agent, emphasizes the action as a whole and highlights the notion that an action was produced or effected. In other words, we have before our minds an activity, not a product (i.e., a formal or semi-formal ruling), as the word "response" would lead us to assume. A more accurate, yet still idiomatic, rendering would have been "...and they answered him [or said in reply to him]...."

Less charitable souls might say the slippery ol' Blunderer was being deceptive, as in his grossly erroneous mistranslation of the papal teaching of Sacramentum Ordinis. We'd rather say that, owing to his insurmountable educational deficits, he just couldn't fathom the Latin (as his translation "its response was that..." [emphasis ours] strongly seems to suggest).

** In anticipation of the hysterical reaction of some CLODs ("close loyalists of Dannie"), we hasten to observe that to question competence, trustworthiness, veracity, and accuracy does not necessarily imply the declarant is a liar. There are many elements beyond mendacity, which could impeach a declarant's testimony: advanced age, memory, misinterpretation, language impediments,environmental, emotional, social, and psychological factors, etc. The imprimatur issued for the Regatillo's manual offered no warrant against the intrusion of errors of fact (purposeful or inadvertent), or else why do we find the following printer's error on p. 744 (1.277) of the 2nd edition of Ius Sacramentarium: firmo onere caelibatus..?

Saturday, June 8, 2013


Oh, East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet,/ Till Earth and Sky stand presently at God's great judgment seat. Kipling

In his lame apology for one-handed conferral of priestly orders, the Blunderer compares the rites of some Eastern  Churches with those of the Roman Catholic Church. The useless effort proves the wisdom of the old Scholastic saw: omnis comparatio claudicat ("every comparison limps").

Our rebuttal to the Bonehead? It's a short and not so sweet


We remind everyone, including the Blunderer, that Pope Pius XII, in his 1947 apostolic constitution (the only text that counts in this question),  juridically determined for the Roman rite the matter and form required for valid ordination in the future. Past practice within and without the Roman rite is of no account.* As one of Tony's own experts opined, Constitutio haec vim retroactivam non habet ("this constitution does not possess retroactive force.")** 

Therefore, it seems to us very simple: after April 28, 1948, the only valid matter for priestly ordination in the Roman rite is the imposition of the bishop's (two) hands. Nothing else matters, so to speak. All this business about Byzantine, Coptic, or Maronite rites is not germane. If you're going to be an undoubted priest of the Roman rite in the wake of the promulgation of Sacramentum Ordinis, you must receive the imposition of (both) the bishop's hands. In light of the explicit definition found in Pius's apostolic constitution, one-handed conferral of priestly orders can only be viewed as a defect in the Roman rite of ordination.

Whether one-handed conferral is an essential defect or not must wait until the Church decides the question, an event that may not happen for quite some time. In the meanwhile, a deeply solicitous regard for the salvation of souls demands that one-handed priestly orders be considered, for safety's sake, an essential defect. Here we must heed the opinion of the Spanish Dominican Antonio Royo Marín:
If there is well-founded and prudent doubt over whether or not something essential was missing, the ordination ought to be repeated sub conditione ["conditionally"], even though a higher order might have already been received....***
So, don't allow yourself to be led astray. Toss out this foul-smelling red herring of an argument about the Eastern rites and get in contact the rector. Tell him to inform "One-Hand" that he cannot ordain the Rev. Mr. Nkamuke to the priesthood unless Dannie remedies the defect.

The rector may ignore your petition:  He might not be capable of summoning the empathy to imagine a holy, young priest's agony over doubts about whether he can truly confect the awesome miracle of Mass in behalf of the trusting faithful. To help you convince him, you'll have to appeal to his outsized pride.

Pistrina can help.

Next week we'll expose the worst bit of the Blunderer's sophistry -- worse than his erroneous translation of papal teaching. The rector may finally see how he was made to look the fool when he fell for the assurances that 
Tony has researched the problem and there is no doubt that one hand is sufficient.

It's time to retract the retraction. The rector and his eight clerical running buddies were right on the money in 1990. There was then, and there still remains now, loads and loads of doubt, doubt aggravated by the Blunderer's awkward attempt to make it disappear.

* Likewise, another rite's current practice is of no import either.

**E. Regatillo, Ius Sacramentarium (2nd Edition, Sal Terrae, 1949), p. 469.

***Teología Moral para Seglares, II (BAC, 1961), p. 494 , ❡c; Si hay duda fundada y prudente sobre si faltó or no algo esencial, debe repetirse sub conditione la ordenación, aunque se hubiera recibido ya una orden superior.... We'll come back to this entire section in a future post when we, in Christian candor, advise "One Hand" what he must do and why he should do it.

Saturday, June 1, 2013


...the faintest of all human passions is the love of truth. Housman

Editor's Note In its effort to save the Rev. Mr. Nkamuke's holy orders, Pistrina continues its post-mortem of Anthony Cekada's pathetic "The Validity of Ordination Conferred with One Hand." 

Without the slightest doubt, the Blunderer must think he earned his scholarly chops in his monograph's discussion of papal priestly ordinations. Unfortunately for him, it offers yet another proof of the Blunderer's gross amateurism. Indeed, the section, like the entire monograph, is solemn testimony to a missing advanced education.

Tony Baloney begins by appealing to the "practice in the Roman books used for priestly ordinations conferred by the Pope." [Blunderer's emphasis.]  He cites as his source for these "Roman" books an 18th century compilation made by the French Benedictine Edmond Martène. (Typical of Bonehead Tone, he consistently fails to spell the name with the grave accent mark. When he's wrong, he's very, very wrong.)

The chief trouble with his "Roman" argument lies in the ugly truth that "the Ordines of Martène...represent early usages of the Church in Gaul."*  Martène's purpose was to rediscover, through the Ordines, "the authentic Roman liturgy in antiquity and follow its adaptations and transformations, particularly in Gaul." ** A cursory inspection of Martène's data reveals that the various Ordines he printed came from places like Noyon, Jumiège, Compiègne, Soisson, Besançon, Le Bec, Cambrai, Pamier, and Mainz. Some documents derived from English sources. Scholars have long noted that the "Roman" Ordines, although they purport to describe how liturgical functions were performed in Rome, are far from homogeneous and contain interpolations, omissions, glosses, corrections, and non-Roman materialsYet from reading the Blunderer, you'd think these were the very texts from which reigning Roman Pontiffs recited.

Worse than this bit of verbal subterfuge is Tony's despairingly witless affirmation that a
full two-thirds of the Roman books, therefore, used at various points over a period of several hundred years, prescribe that one hand be imposed for priestly ordination. [Blunderer's emphasis.]
But what if -- a wiser head may ask -- the origin of this "Roman" text is secondary? Anyone with an ounce of knowledge of textual criticism would howl with toothsome, derisive laughter at the Bonehead's embarrassingly naïve observation. The renowned New-Testament textual critic Bruce Metzger's advice to beginners is worth heeding, even in this context: "The abundance of witnesses numerically counts for nothing  in view of the secondary origin of the text type as a whole."***

Absent an informed analysis of the provenance of the documents and the genealogical interrelationships among the manuscripts, no one can draw any conclusions about how faithfully Martène's Ordines attest to Roman praxis. Furthermore, it's quite possible that these Ordines may have derived their canonical regulations on priestly ordination from a non-Roman source (say, for instance, the Statuta Ecclesiae Antiqua, compiled in Gaul around a.d. 500 and circulated as [pseudo-] Carthage IV****).  But without hard information, almost everything is groundless speculation.  Given only the Blunderer's presentation, at most all anyone might be able to say about these Ordines is this: 
For several centuries, in some regions beyond the Alps, priestly ordination likely may have been conferred with one hand, under the supposition that one-handed conferral of priestly orders was the Roman practice
There's nothing in the Blunderer's exposition of papal priestly ordinations to warrant a claim that one-handed imposition for priestly orders was the actual practice of the Popes at Rome. Moreover, we must entertain the possibility that some transalpine compilers may have, unwittingly, introduced a practice never used in Rome.

However, the crucial information needed to come to a conclusion won't be found in Martène, for he died about a century before great the methodological breakthroughs occurred in the science and art of textual criticism. In addition, the Blunderer is so unschooled that he wouldn't even have thought to reproduce a coherent discussion of manuscript witnesses and exemplars to support his contention. Therefore, you may freely disregard this entire section of Tony's monograph, for, if the source is non-Roman and/or the texts corrupt, the section contributes nothing to the subject under dispute. We must all wait for a competent scholar with formal, advanced university training to visit this topic. Perhaps the work has already been done and is just waiting for us to discover it!


At this point we beg your indulgence for the following tedious exposé, but we can't end this post without once again drawing everyone's attention to the Blunderer's intellectual sloppiness. In footnote 41, he prints 
benedicente eum episcopo, manum super caput ejus ponant. 
What's wrong with that? Well, for starters, he gives no source for the emphasis of the word "manum.(Is the emphasis his or was it Martène's?) Second, he either (1) made a transcriptional error by printing ponant (3rd person plural, present active subjunctive) rather than ponat (3rd person singular, present active subjunctive) or (2) he failed to see that ponant, if it did appear in Martène's printed text, should have read ponat.

We couldn't find the 1736 second edition the Blunderer referenced, but we did consult the novissima editio ("latest edition") of the second volume of Martène's work printed in 1763. There we found, under Ordo iii, the following words on p. 39:
 benedicente eum episcopo, manum super caput ejus ponat. [Our emphasis.]
(The original printed text, for your information, is italicized; we only changed two old fashioned long s's [ſ] to round s's. ) Note the word manum is not emphasized, and the verb is in the correct number. Now, certainly, it's in the realm of possibility that Tony's 1736 edition may have misprinted the verb, but common sense coupled with a knowledge of rubrical Latin should have caused an educated man to recognize the misprint and note a correction. But, of course, we posited an educated man, didn't we? (Psst! Just between you and us, our guess is that Tony Baloney's source had no error, for in his footnote 43 for Ordo v, we find the correct verb form used!)

Let's face it, boys and girls: The Blunderer's just a rank amateur in everything he assays. Only the morons inhabiting the sede dystopia could think him erudite.

Here's the bottom line: Tony's whole section on papal ordinations is simply one nasty, unnerving, hot mess! The Blunderer's defense of one-handed conferral of priestly orders is looking more shaky with every post, wouldn't you agree? That's why everyone -- including CLODs ("close loyalists of Dannie") -- must summon the will to contact the rector.  Demand that he not allow "One-Hand Dan" to ordain the Rev. Mr. Nkamuke to the Roman Catholic priesthood, unless Dannie gets himself fixed by undergoing conditional ordination and consecration.

Next week we'll continue poking holes in the Blunderer's sinking monograph by briefly -- mercifully briefly --- dispatching  his section on holy orders in Eastern rites. You'll trust Tony's work even less, we guarantee it (especially if you've read this post's footnote ****).

* Hugh Williams in his 1899 edition of De Excidio Britanniae by Gildas, p. 232 (Google Books).

** Éric Palazzo, A History of Liturgical Books From the Beginning to the Thirteenth Century, p. 181 (Liturgical Press, 1998).

***The Text of the New Testament, p. 212 (Oxford, 1968). We must be grateful for Tony's ignorance: modern textual information is available, but can you imagine how he would have mangled it if, with all his impediments, he had tried to decipher such technical material?

****It's well worth noting, though, that the text of the Statuta printed in 1951 by Michel Andrieu reads differently from Martène's text.   The Benedictine printed (p. 22, ❡XI, 1763 edition) the following, as the rite described by the "Council of Carthage IV":
Presbyter cum ordinatur, episcopo eum benedicente, et manum super caput ejus tenente, etiam omnes presbyteri, qui praesentes sunt, manus suas juxta manum episcopi super caput illius teneant. [Our emphasis. N.B. we altered the ampersand to et, and we changed the long-s in several words.]
Very literally, "When a priest is ordained, while the bishop is blessing him and holding [his] hand upon his [the ordinand's] head, let all the priests who are present also hold over the head of that man [the ordinand] their own hands next to the hand of the bishop." [Our emphasis.]
If you consult Tony's footnotes to the Ordines he cited in defense of one-handed orders (nn. 41-48), you'll note the similarity of language: in fact, the several texts are virtually identical to the above cited direction. In further support of his argument for one-handed conferral of orders, Tony later (under the section on rites derived from Rome) quotes from Paul Bradshaw's book a translation of the Statuta's ritual direction, a text that Tony admits is Gallican. (He must not have seen the Latin text in Martène, so he used a secondary source; bad scholarship, but good in Tony's case because, by borrowing, the chance of mistranslation and mistranscription is reduced by several orders of magnitude.)

However -- and this is a really BIG however -- the recension of the Statuta printed in M. Andrieu's Les Ordines Romani du Haut Moyen Age ( III, p. 617, Spicilegium Sacrum Lovaniense) reads as follows:
Presbyter cum ordinatur, episcopo benedicente et manus super caput eius tenente, etiam omnes presbyteri qui praesentes sunt, manus suas iuxta manus episcopi super caput illius teneant. [Our emphasis.]
Very literally, "When a priest is ordained, while the bishop is blessing and holding [his] hands upon his [the ordinand's] head, let all the priests who are present also hold over the head of that man [the ordinand] their own hands next to the hands of the bishop." [Our emphasis.]
How very much of a difference, indeed, can one, tiny, little letter make! Please take note, one and all -- CLODDIES, most especially: Another version of the Statuta, this one based on Italian manuscripts -- first printed by the Ballerinis in 1757 and later by Migne and then by the patrologist Dom Germain Morin (with some variants), whose text Andrieu reproduced in 1951-- argues for the plural  HANDS.

Now, even the one or two less mentally challenged of the zombie CLODs can see what we mean about the necessity of having an education before venturing onto treacherous intellectual terrain, where only the educated and literate should tread. So, give yourself a break: ignore Tony Baloney in everything he writes or speaks.

Fuggeddabout that grossly incompetent Work of Human Hands, the savagely icy Schiavo opinion, and the impious suppression of the Leonine prayers. It's all so very, very, very wrong. Don't you agree?

Whaddaya say, Mr. Introibo Ad Altare? Remember, you did ask for --no, did demand --  it, didn't you?