Fr. Calderón Refutes Bishop Fellay
Translated by Michael Fuller
Fr Alvaro Calderon, professor of philosophy and dogmatic theology at the seminary of the SSPX in Buenos Aires and author of several texts of extraordinary quality, such as "La Lámpara Bajo el Celemín"(The lamp Under the Bushel) and "Prometheus, the Religion of Man", has published a study in the journal "Si, Si,No,No" No. 267, November 2014, which is entitled "Are the Episcopal Consecrations Reformed by Paul VI Valid?". Although the main purpose of the article is to respond to the objections of the sedevacantist sectors that oppose the validity of the new rite of episcopal consecration, some seriously erroneous statements made by Bishop Fellay in his never retracted "Doctrinal Declaration" of October 2012 are refuted from the point of view of sacramental theology in this study by Fr. Calderón .
Bishop Fellay said in No. 7 of the Doctrinal Declaration: "We declare that we recognize the validity of the sacrifice of the Mass and the Sacraments celebrated with the intention to do what the Church does according to the rites indicated in the typical editions of the Roman Missal and the Sacramentary Rituals legitimately promulgated by Popes Paul VI and John-Paul II."
Consequently, the Superior General:
a) recognizes the validity of all the sacraments reformed by the modernists, provided that they are held with the intention due. There are three components to consider in judging the validity of the sacraments: matter, form and intention of a true minister. Bishop Fellay does not object to anything regarding the matter, nor regarding the form of the Novus Ordo Sacraments, and refers only to the requirement of the necessary intent of the celebrant. However, in the seminaries of the SSPX it has always been taught that there are serious doubts about the validity of various reformed sacraments, due to the changes introduced by the modernists as to the matter, form, or intention. That's why the sound custom of conditionally confirming those confirmed in the Novus Ordo and of conditionally ordaining those priests ordained according to the rite of Paul VI has always existed in the Society. Extreme Unction was always considered as very likely invalid, etc.
b) He states that these sacraments were legitimately promulgated, an ambiguous expression (Does he say that the Sacraments are legitimate or is it only the act of promulgating these that is legitimate?) that has been interpreted by the majority of Catholics as nothing more than an acceptance of the legitimacy of the Sacraments of the Novus Ordo. For the concept of "legitimacy", see here.
Well, Fr. Calderon says the contrary: The rite of episcopal consecration (which is sacramental) is "certainly illegitimate" and "probably valid" (noting that "there is no certainty of its validity").
Here are the essential quotes (bold and italics in original):
"The new rite is certainly illegitimate.
The new rite that Paul VI intended to promulgate by his apostolic constitution Pontificalis Romani is certainly illegitimate by the accumulation of two reasons: firstly, because no pope has authority to destroy the Roman liturgical tradition and much less so to invent a rite that is in rupture with the whole of Catholic tradition; secondly, because the contamination with modernist doctrines causes harm to the faith, and a decision contrary to the common good of the Church cannot have the force of law.
Because of all this, even though the rite, considered as such, were totally orthodox and a better expression of the doctrine of the episcopate, it would not be legitimate, because no pope has the authority to break the liturgical tradition of the Church. The invention of a new rite is an act which is certainly illegitimate, even if he is a pope or an angel from heaven who intends to establish it.
(...) And the Society is obligated to declare the illegitimacy of the Novus Ordo Missae, because of the doctrines of the Paschal Mystery that inspire it (...), so we must also recognize that the Novus Ordo episcopal consecration is certainly illegitimate.
The new rite is probably valid.
A sacramental rite can be certainly illegitimate, but that does not necessarily invalidate it.
If we consider the matter, form and intention of the new rite of episcopal consecration in the context of the rite and the circumstances of their institution, we think it is most likely valid (...)
But we also believe that there is no certainty of its validity (...)
Now, in a matter of utmost importance for the life of the Church, such as the validity of the episcopate, it is necessary to be absolutely certain. Therefore, to accept in good conscience this rite, it would be necessary to not only rely on the judgment of theologians, but on the infallible judgment of the Magisterium.
As for the practical attitude to maintain in light of the new episcopal consecrations, it seems justified that which until now had been held by the Society: (Note the past tense, "had been held" NON POSSUMUS.)
(...) the positive and objective defects that this rite suffers, which prevent having certainty of its validity, we feel that (...) they justify and necessitate the conditional ordination of priests consecrated by new bishops and, if necessary, the conditional consecration of these bishops. Such doubts in the very root of the sacraments cannot be tolerated."