...only the individual reader is important to me. Nabokov
For nearly four months, rabid CLODs ("close loyalists of Dannie") have upbraided us for exercising our faculties of judgment when we read theological opinions. In their narrow, cult-besotted minds, engaged and reflective reading equals disparagement or impermissible comment.
That's all nonsense, of course. And, as for us, well, we're readers. We read. Closely. Carefully. Comparatively. Critically. We affirm or deny. We consider. We question.
Sorry, cloddies, but we have an intellect, so that's how we roll. (And that's why we're immune to the cultmasters' empty blandishments and hollow imprecations.)
Mind you, we're not theologians, and we never said we were. In fact, many of you know we don't believe there can be any genuine theologians around in the crisis. Real theologians will have to wait for the Restoration and the reconstitution of Catholic higher learning. However, as readers who have Latin, we are capable consumers of Catholic theological opinion. And, after careful reading and discussion, when we find something that looks problematic, we then bring it to Trad Nation's attention -- not to disparage a recognized theologian from the good-old-days but to caution other consumers, who may be naïve or overly credulous. After all, opinion, even informed opinion, is just opinion, and the best of authors can err.
Now that we have received a copy of Palazzini and De Jorio's two-volume Casus Conscientiae, propositi ac resoluti a pluribus theologis ac canonistis Urbis (Marietti, 1958), we can share with you our critical reading of the passage the Blunderer so shoddily transcribed and translated (see our August 4 post, "A Capital Mistake"). As an aside, we note with satisfaction that the original text has confirmed our common-sense conjectures about the Blunderer's errors of transcription and translation -- and even more*: it's amazing just how sloppy and unscholarly he is.
First, let's look at the entire context of what Palazzini-De Jorio printed (De Jorio is the author of the article). In the following literal translation we have reproduced the author's emphasis; note, however, we have formatted the section as one paragraph, for convenience; the text colored blue is the subject of our comments that follow:
Likewise no one is in doubt about the validity of priestly ordination or episcopal consecration conferred by the imposition of one hand. For indeed the power that is conferred is sufficiently indicated by the imposition of one hand. It is true, in fact, that the apostolic constitution Sacramentum Ordinis decides and determines that in priestly ordination the matter is the first imposition of hands that is done in silence. But the extension of one right hand is held to be a continuation of the imposition of hands. Moreover, that the imposition of one hand does not have less power than [that] of both [hands] is proved conclusively with legal sanction from the aforementioned apostolic constitution, which, while it declares "the matter of the holy orders of the diaconate, priesthood, and episcopate, is the imposition of hands, and that alone" (paragraph 4), decides and determines : "In diaconal ordination, the matter is the imposition of the bishop's hand, which occurs in one and the same action in the rite of that ordination" (paragraph 5).**
Although the extension of the bishop's right hand is a seamless, gestural action occurring in unbroken succession close upon the imposition of both his hands, we must vigorously protest any implication that the extension of the one right hand has anything whatsoever to do with the matter of sacerdotal orders.
Why? Are we being impiously bold here, forgetting our place as laymen? Are we foisting our own peculiar, subversive notions on these published and recognized Roman canonists -- especially upon De Jorio, who, truth to tell, was a notary in the Holy Office and held other esteemed positions in Rome (albeit Novus-Ordo Rome)?
Not on your life.
We ground our protest in the very words of Pius XII in the same apostolic constitution that definitively and absolutely excluded the extension of the right hand from the matter of the sacrament. (Makes sense to us: it's an extension, not an imposition, duh! But much more on that in a future post.) However, you needn't take our word for it. Read for yourself what Sacramentum Ordinis itself says in paragraph 5 (our emphasis in bold):
In Ordinatione Presbytertali materia est Episcopi prima manuum impositio quae silentio fit, non autem eiusdem impositionis per manus dexterae extensionem continuatio, nec ultima....
(Lit.) In priestly ordination, the matter is the first imposition of the hands of the bishop, which is done in silence, but not the continuation of the same imposition by the extension of the right hand, nor the last ...** (Our emphasis.)***Writing separately in 1948, two French commentators on the constitution, A. Michel and A. Delchard, both remarked on the sharp verbal precision and limpidity of the declarations of Sacramentum Ordinis.**** Nowhere is this linguistic exactitude more evident than when Pius XII makes it abundantly clear that the extension of the right hand (which uninterruptedly succeeds the first imposition of hands) is absolutely NOT the matter. The matter of priestly ordination, as Pius taught and as you've just read, "is the first imposition of the hands of the bishop, which is done in silence." Nothing more. Nothing less.
Pius intended to end all doubts in the future regarding orders, hence his remarkable linguistic and jurisprudential rigor throughout the constitution. The document's precision resists and defeats every effort to read into it what it clearly never affirmed: The pope taught the matter for the priesthood was the first imposition of hands done in silence, thereby precisely locating where the matter occurred in the rite. He explicitly excluded from the matter of priestly orders the ensuing extension of the right hand following the first imposition as well as the last imposition of hands to which are joined the words: "Receive the Holy Ghost: whose sins thou shalt forgive, etc." Furthermore, for each order, he distinguished and differentiated the matter (imposition of hands [plural] for priests and bishops, imposition of the hand [singular] for deacons) and specified the exact words of the form.
What could be more obvious to anybody? What could be more free from the need for interpretation than Pius's plain, unequivocal language?
The extension of the right hand that continues after the first imposition is not the matter.
How, then, can there be any dispute about what was the will of Pius XII? How does anyone, no matter how eminent, presume to fudge here? How can anyone so cavalierly ignore Pius's crystal-clear declarations about which there can be no debate, no wrenching of new meanings, no "higher" explanations, no "buts," and no violations of the letter and the spirit of papal teaching.
No means no!
And since to err is human, the Church has long provided an easy and painless way to rectify what was wrong or what might be wrong: conditional orders.
But you know this. You can read, too. You've already learned how to exercise your judgment. You can't be distracted by sophistry, unsupported assertions, or an all-too-convenient inadvertence to Pius's actual teaching. You yourself can join us in saying that anyone who upholds one-handed conferral of priestly orders by affirming or alleging that the extension of the right hand has the same sacramental power as the first imposition of hands is wrong, whether he be a competent, pre-Vatican-II-trained academic Latin author or a malformed, uncredentialed, Latin-challenged blunderer.
* In footnote 11, the Bonehead italicizes 17 words of Latin text and ascribes the emphasis to the author ("His emphasis," Tone writes, even though he cites both Palazzini and De Jorio). However, in the original book, for the sentences cited, only one word is italicized, viz. "continuatio."
**Case 341, vol. 2, p. 287, 2°. Item nemo dubitat de validitate ordinationis sacerdotalis vel consecrationis episcopalis, conlatae per unius manus impositionem. Etenim potestas, quae confertur, satis significatur per unius manus impoositionem. ¶Verum est quidem Constitutionem Apostolicam Sacramentum Ordinis decernere atque constituere in ordinatione presbyterali materiam esse primam manuum impositionem quae silentio fit.
****For their commentaries, see the Rore Sanctifica site.