The priests of the Roman Catholic Institute (the RCI) have a strict policy concerning the distribution of sacraments which I would like to explain, since to some it may seem harsh.
In order that sacraments may be lawfully distributed, it is necessary that the priest have sacramental jurisdiction from the bishop of the diocese. In turn, the bishop of the diocese must be in communion with the Roman Pontiff in order that he function lawfully. It is easy to see, therefore, that there is a chain of command which comes straight down from the pope through the bishop to the simple priest.
Sacramental jurisdiction means that the priest is authorized by the hierarchy of the Church to distribute sacraments.
So how do we justify our distribution of the sacraments in a time when there is no pope and no diocesan bishop, owing to their adherence to and promulgation of a new and false religion?
We do so by the principle of epicheia (pronounced eh-pee-kay-ya), a Greek word which means equity. Epicheia is a commonly known principle among moralists, and it is this: that in the absence of the lawmaker, one may estimate the mind of the lawmaker in such a way that he would permit something that is reasonable, but which requires permission in ordinary circumstances.
A classic example would be that of a Dominican seminarian who sees in a bookstore a book which he needs and which is hard to find. Unable to contact his superior, he reasonably presumes that the superior would give his permission to buy it if he were available.
You see, therefore, that there are two conditions necessary in order to exercise epicheia: (1) that the proposed act be reasonable, since epicheia could not be invoked for something absurd, harmful, or outlandish; (2) there must be an absence of the lawmaker, that is, for one reason or another he cannot be contacted.
The ultimate law that justifies all of our apostolate during this Modernist takeover of the hierarchy is a well known adage of the Catholic Church: The salvation of souls is the supreme law. As the adage indicates, all the laws of the Church bow to this great and grand law, and indeed, it is the motive and animation of all of the lower laws of the Church. For the Church exists for the salvation of souls, and for no other reason. The adage reflects the very essence of the Church, and the very motive of the Incarnation and the Crucifixion of Christ. No one would dispute this.
We conduct a counter-apostolate to that of the Novus Ordo. We do this for a single reason: the Novus Ordo is a substantial rupture from the past. It is not Roman Catholicism, but a new religion which is being imposed upon us. It is Modernism, condemned by Saint Pius X as the “synthesis of all heresies,” and has proven its wicked origins by the devastating loss of faith and morals in Catholics since the time of the Second Vatican Council. The present “Catholic Church” is unidentifiable as the Catholic Church from before Vatican II.
Because it is a false religion, it cannot be a means of salvation, but is instead a means of damnation. For this reason, every action must be taken to ensure the survival of the true Faith, which is the unique means of salvation. What justifies these measures which we take, this counter-apostolate, is therefore the principle which I enunciated above: The salvation of souls is the supreme law.
From the principle that Vatican II and its reforms are rupture and not continuity, we conclude that is is impossible that the hierarchy which claims to be the Catholic hierarchy has, in fact, the power to teach, rule, and sanctify the Church. From the principle that the salvation of souls in the supreme law, we conclude that in order to ensure the preservation of the true Faith, the valid episcopacy and priesthood, the true Mass and sacraments, true Catholic doctrine and true Catholic discipline, it is necessary and therefore justified to carry on the complete sacramental and pastoral apostolate.
No sane person who admits our principles — that Vatican II is rupture and that the salvation of souls is the supreme law — would contest the lawfulness of what we do.
Why we refuse sacraments to those who attend the una cum Mass. Because the very basis of the lawfulness of our apostolate is to administer sacraments to those who have fled from the Novus Ordo, as from a false religion, it is clearly necessary that those who approach us for sacraments understand that the Novus Ordo is indeed a false religion. Otherwise they have no reason to approach us for sacraments, and we have no reason to give them sacraments.
If someone regards the Novus Ordo religion as the true Faith, as a homogeneous continuation of pre-Vatican II Catholicism, then he has no reason to come to us for sacraments. Indeed, it would be a mortal sin for him to come to us for sacraments, since we are distributing them in defiance of the command of the person whom he regards as the pope. He must consider our apostolate to be schismatic, as erecting an altar against the altar of the local bishop, something always considered schismatic.
Conversely, if someone sees the Novus Ordo religion as a substantial deviation from Roman Catholicism, he is logically obliged to say that it is impossible that those “popes” who have promulgated this new religion be in fact true Catholic popes.
In the practical order, therefore, if someone comes to us for sacraments, we must require from that person (a) the fact that he is convinced that the Novus Ordo religion is not the Catholic religion and (b) the fact that he adheres to the necessary and logical conclusion from (a), namely, that the Novus Ordo popes cannot be true Roman Pontiffs.
If he does not adhere to (a), then he is approaching us for the wrong reasons. An example would be that he finds our liturgy more dignified and reverent.
But such a motive is insufficient to justify a counter-apostolate against the Novus Ordo. Consequently it would be wrong — a mortal sin objectively — for a traditionalist priest to distribute sacraments on that basis.
If he does adhere to (a) but not to (b), then the person is involved in a grave inconsistency, and even an implicit heresy, namely that it is possible that the Roman Pontiff could prescribe or even permit that the whole Church adhere to false doctrines, a false and evil liturgy, and sinful disciplines. For to admit this is to contradict the dogma of the indefectibility of the Catholic Church.
Furthermore, those who do actively participate in una cum Masses are publicly affirming, despite whatever their interior thoughts may be about Bergoglio, that Francis is indeed the true Roman Pontiff, the Vicar of Christ on earth, with universal jurisdiction to teach, rule, and sanctify the faithful of the Catholic Church. They cannot hold that the religion that he has promulgated to the whole Church is a false religion, and at the same time affirm that he is a true pope. For this would be to deny the the dogma of indefectibility.
Consequently it is inconsistent and incoherent that they approach us for sacraments. If they were consistent and coherent, they should approach the Novus Ordo priests for sacraments. If Bergoglio is your pope, then go to Bergoglio for your sacraments.
In addition, those who actively participate in the una cum Mass of a traditionalist priest (e.g., SSPX) is also advertising to all that he agrees with their stance of recognize and resist, which is a non-Catholic doctrine, and implicitly heretical. Hence they give scandal by going to the una cum Mass.
It is for these reasons, namely for inconsistency and incoherence, as well as scandal, that we do not give sacraments to “una-cum-ers.” For inconsistency is always a sign of error. Right reason, on the other hand is always lightsome and crystal clear, precisely because of its consistency. But inconsistency is error, and error in the moral order is always sinful.
Therefore, it is objectively sinful for the una-cum-er to approach us for sacraments, and it is objectively sinful for us to administer the sacraments to him.
Objection: In this time of confusion, why penalize people who are simply trying to be good Catholics, not knowing any better?
Answer: We do make exceptions for those who labor under ignorance of these principles, but we will not leave these persons in ignorance. We will call them aside and gently explain to them the issues involved in the distribution of sacraments. If they persist in their intent to frequent the una cum Mass, then we will refuse them sacraments. But I want to emphasize here that the refusal of sacraments is based on an absence of a consistent and reasonable principle by which to give them sacraments, and it is not a statement that they are non-Catholics or public sinners.
Let me explain it another way. Every baptized Catholic has the right to receive the sacraments. True. But it is also necessary that he be properly instructed before he can exercise that right. He must accept the instruction, or else be refused. Likewise these instructions which we give our faithful are not merely Bishop Sanborn’s opinions, but are moral principles which flow directly from the Catholic Faith.
Let me explain it in yet another way. Our mission as bishops and priests is not to the Novus Ordo people, that is, those who have accepted and embraced the New Religion. Our mission is only to those who understand that the New Religion is indeed false, and that priests must be sought out who reject the New Religion.
But if you are affirming, by your attendance at the una cum Mass that Bergoglio is the true pope, you are also affirming implicitly that his New Religion is the Catholic Faith. Therefore you have no business seeking sacraments from us, and we have no business giving them to you. Again: If Bergoglio is your pope, then go to Bergoglio for your sacraments.
I should add here that adherence to the Vatican II popes as true popes leads necessarily to the desire to be recognized and regularized by them. It is for this reason that Archbishop Lefebvre, although repeatedly denouncing the New Religion of Vatican II as a false religion, nevertheless continued to strive to have his Society recognized by the Modernist hierarchy as a legitimate institution. At the 1988 consecrations, for example, in which he gave an excoriating sermon against the Novus Ordo religion, he nonetheless said to reporters after the ceremony that in five years the Vatican and the Society would be reconciled. For it is impossible that a Catholic avoid and/or habitually disobey the pope, and at the same time remain Catholic. Admitting that these men are popes creates a gravitational pull in the Catholic to be submissive to them and in communion with them.
Therefore the presence of the name of Francis in the canon of an unauthorized traditional Mass (SSPX) creates a fatal gravitational pull towards the very destroyers of the Catholic Faith. That name in the canon is an implicit recognition of the New Religion as Roman Catholicism.
Summary and conclusion. The principle which justifies an unauthorized apostolate on the part of traditionalist priests is that Vatican II and its reforms have constituted a rupture from Catholicism. This principle is the only justifying cause whereby lay people may approach unauthorized traditionalist priests for sacraments. Because rupture from Catholicism on the part of the hierarchy certainly and necessarily disqualifies them as the true Catholic hierarchy, owing to the dogma of indefectibility, then it is required that both clergy and lay people regard the Novus Ordo hierarchy as a false hierarchy.
Keeping the traditional movement on the straight path. Some may say that our policy is too strict, that the main concern is that people have the true Mass and sacraments. There is no need to worry about these theological considerations.
Such an attitude, prevalent today among both clergy and lay people, is very dangerous. The reason is that it is based implicitly on a heresy, namely that the Catholic Faith can do without the pope. Such an attitude sprang up in the Great Western Schism, when there were first two, then three popes. Errors concerning the papacy, its role and even its necessity in the Church, became widespread. The final effect of it came with the heresy of conciliarism, which was enunciated by the participants in the Council of Constance in 1415, which stated that a general council was above the pope.
Pierre d’Ailly (pronounced DIE-YEE) (1351—1420) was a theologian of the University of Paris, and later a cardinal. He formulated the idea that only the Church universal is infallible, but that every particular Church [local diocese] can err, including the Church of Rome. He said that the pope may err, and has erred more than once. He cited St. Peter’s error which was rebuked by Saint Paul. This same Pierre d’Ailly was the author of conciliarism, mentioned above.
The Society of Saint Pius X has repeated this very same doctrine, which is objectively heretical. Their theory concerning the universal ordinary magisterium is that, precisely, while the pope and all the bishops of the world may err in teaching doctrine, the universal Church will merely reject these teachings as false. It is as if the assistance of the Holy Ghost in teaching doctrine had not been given to the Apostles and their successors in the hierarchy, but to the universal Church, whereby it would “sift” and “discern” in the magisterium what is true and what is false.
A contemporary of D’Ailly was Jean Charlier de Gerson (1363 —1429). He too was a theologian and later Rector of the University of Paris. He went so far as to say that the right of correcting and even of deposing the Sovereign Pontiff belongs to the entire Church, and not only to a general council. I cite this because it is exactly the approach of Cardinal Burke and those who follow him, namely that it is legitimate to correct the pope when he errs, and worse, that this correction of the pope is sufficient for the indefectibility of the Church. This means, implicitly, that both infallibility and indefectibility are found elsewhere than in the teaching hierarchy of the Catholic Church. But this is fundamentally Protestantism. The Protestants say that infallibility is found in the Scriptures, and not in the teaching Church, with the result that everyone is free to interpret the Scriptures by himself, with the help of the Holy Ghost.
The consequence is, logically and historically, the multiplication of innumerable Protestant sects, each one differing in interpretation, yet each one claiming the assistance of the Spirit of Truth.
I bring up these examples in order to explain to our faithful why we are sticklers for correct doctrine and correct pastoral practice in regard to sacraments. The traditional movement must be the guardian of Catholic doctrine in these times, since most Catholics will lose the faith as a result of Vatican II. Consequently, it is essential that we not fall into errors ourselves while trying to avoid the errors of the Modernists.
The faithful, in this Modernist occupation, must not lose sight of the role and prerogatives of the pope. The pope, as pope, has an essential order to the truth. He must be the living rule of faith, as Cardinal Billot and others have pointed out. If he fails in this, he fails in his papacy. The conclusion is that Catholics, when faced with heresy from a pope, must not be content to live with him and merely ignore his errors, or correct them, but must reject him, because, in his imposition of doctrines contrary to Catholic Faith, he is revealing that he does not have the power from Christ to teach, rule, and sanctify the Church. By analogy, sheep would run from a wolf in shepherd’s clothing, once they discovered he was a wolf.
In other words, a doctrinally erring pope is not merely a “bad pope,” or a pope that needs correction, but no pope at all. It is the very loftiness of the papal office that requires this conclusion.