KEEP CALM and GET CONDITIONAL ORDERS. Anonymous
Ed. Note: The last post in a series of our responses to e-mail comments regarding Pistrina's appeal to the rector on behalf of the integrity of the Rev. Mr. Nkamuke's soon-to-be-conferred priestly orders.
I have a question. Cekada says the priest who wrote the 1990 letter "misrepresented (read “lied about”) what both authors said," the two authors being Fr. Walter Clancy and Fr. Clarence McAuliffe. I can see where McAuliffe was misrepresented but I cannot see how Clancy was misrepresented. The PDF of the 1990 letter says "in the opinion of two authors, the case would have to be referred to the Vatican for judgment" and then the letter names the books by Clancy and McAuliffe. Cekada directly quotes from Clancy, "Since [Pius XII’s] Constitution does demand the imposition of both hands of the bishop (impositio manuum), however, in the ordination of a priest, the facts should be presented to the Holy See for a judgment." Based on that quote, it looks like the priest did NOT misrepresent Clancy. What do you think Cekada meant?He's so sloppy that we often have no idea what he really means, but we'll try our best to explain. The Blunderer, no doubt, was referring to the clause -- colored blue by us -- preceding our correspondent's quote, viz.:
In the course of the research which was being done in reference to ordinations and episcopal consecration, it was discovered that sacerdotal ordinations done with one hand are dubious, and in the opinion of two authors, the case would have to be referred to the Vatican for judgment."A good authority tells us the research in question (reported to have been extensive) had to do with the Thuc lineage. That aside, we point out that the full sentence, as written, does not necessarily affirm that Clancy and McAuliffe held one-handed priestly ordinations to be dubious. Indeed, owing to the coordinating conjunction "and" after the comma as well as the position of the phrase "in the opinion of two authors," a careful reader might understand two separate and independent assertions: the first, that the nine priests concluded from their research that one-handed conferral of priestly orders was dubious, and the second, that two of the authors encountered during the research process opined that a case of one-handed orders should be submitted to Rome for a determination.
From a syntactic and stylistic point of view, the language of the letter furnishes no firm grounds to assume the two named authors judged one-handed orders dubious. A careless or biased reader might well infer that the sentence means Clancy and McAuliffe said one-handed orders were doubtful (which, we concede, the two certainly did not). While the loose construction of the sentence may imply that Clancy and McAuliffe asserted such orders were doubtful, it may be just as likely that the priest was writing about different conclusions culled from several sources, some saying one-handed orders were dubious and two others independently advising that an individual case be sent to the Holy See. (Only one of them [viz., Clancy], however, did in fact counsel that course of action.) Structural analysis, then, has led us to an interpretative impasse.
The only way to get to the truth would be to ask the priest himself what he meant when he wrote the sentence. Without his testimony, everything is speculation, and we must avoid reading something into a sentence that its syntax does not necessarily or does not very probably support. The Blunderer should have been content with McAuliffe's opinion, to wit, "it is very probable that the imposition of only one hand would suffice for validity," and left Clancy out of it.
But really, who knows how the Bonehead thinks? We're still dumbfounded over his mistranslation of papal teaching, his characterization of undocumented hearsay as a decision of the Holy Office, and his clumsy note on Pope Gregory IX's letter.
Nevertheless, this is as good an opportunity as any to remark that Clancy's advice to refer the matter to the Vatican is in keeping with the thinking of well-known theologians. According to the Bonehead, Clancy's work was his doctoral dissertation. Of it, the Blunderer hissed, "This is hardly the Summa" -- a sophomoric and dismissive judgment that might well be leveled against almost all other theological literature. (You can almost gag on the smell of the fetid ill will he harbors against Clancy for his academic attainment.) But as we all understand, although a theological work may not rival or even distantly approach the Angelic Doctor's magisterial effort, it may still have something to offer, even if it repeats what others have taught.
Regatillo, whom everyone -- including the Latinless CLODs who cannot read his works -- praises to high heaven, offered advice along similar lines, in spite of the fact that he considered one-handed priestly orders valid! Earlier we quoted the following passage from Regatillo in a reply to a comment, but it's worth bringing it to the attention of the larger audience of a post:
(Lit.) The other canonists, whom I have consulted, and I think that an ordination so conferred [viz. with one-hand] is valid; and we would leave one so ordained to exercise his order[s] in peace. However, in the meantime we would recommend [or "advise" or "urge" or "suggest" etc.] that the Holy Office be consulted whether something must be supplied in the case. (Our emphasis.)*Observe the refreshing absence of smarmy arrogance and the comforting presence of Catholic vigilance: As certain as Regatillo was of the validity of one-handed orders, he prudently advised a safe course of action: meanwhile check with Rome to see if something should be done ceremonially with regard to the defect in a particular case. Note also that Clancy's opinion is completely in keeping with the Roman ethos of cautiousness in such matters, which is always to choose the safe way, no matter what.
Owing to "One Hand's" ecclesiological position, he never had available the option of consulting the Holy Office or its successor. Accordingly, long before he aggressively pursued and gained the episcopacy, he should have embraced the spirit of Regatillo's and others' teachings and sought conditional ordination. If in the years before he captured the episcopacy he couldn't find a bishop willing to confer orders sub conditione, he should have petitioned his consecrator before his consecration.
It's still not too late. By now, everyone has rejected the absurd meme that Tony is an "erudite scholar" and the rector a "great theologian." Only the most psychically brutalized cultists now believe that old wives' tale. (Or is it an urban legend?) "One Hand" himself has probably agonized through that rude awakening by now. If so, he should aspire to the solace that comes from knowing his orders are certainly valid.
No one, not even Dannie, could relish the dark, suffocating, poisonous atmosphere of doubt he now breathes. If he desires an antidote, if he seeks peace of soul for himself and his culties, he must secure conditional ordination and consecration. It's quick, easy, and painless (except, perhaps, for an outsized ego). But even stinging grief will be assuaged when all the carping critics like Pistrina can no longer hurl thunderbolts of dubiety at his orders and at those of the luckless men he's ordained.
Wouldn't that alone be worth it?
Maybe the rector will at length take pity upon the poor Rev. Mr. Nkamuke and, ad cautelam, administer the antitoxin needed ad arcendas funestas sequelas ordinationis forte invalidae. Why, he might even enjoy the one-upmanship and the delicious requital for so many past slights, a few of which took place on his home turf under his very nose.
* The Latin text from the Theologiae Moralis Summa III (1954), p. 495, reads, "Alii canonistae, quos consuli, et ego validam putamus ordinationem sic collatam; et sic ordinatum relinqueremus ut ordinem in pace exerceret. At interea suaderemus ut consulatur S. Officium: an aliquid sit supplendum in casu."