Liturgy & Liturgical Law Forum: Leo XIII Encyclical Apostolicae Curae
Leo XIII Encyclical Apostolicae Curae QUESTION from Darryl on September 16, 2002 In his 1896 encyclical Apostolicae Curae, Pope Leo XIII declared, ...we pronounce and declare that ordinations carried out according to the Anglican rite have been, and are, absolutely null and utterly void.
I am an Anglo-Catholic. I know an Anglican priest whose ordination is considered valid but irregular by the Vatican (he has a letter to prove it). Thus his ordination was not entirely void. I found it interesting to learn that noted liturgist Louis Duchesne dissented from the majority (a simple one at that) on the committee appointed by Leo to advise him on the matter. Just interesting -- I realize dissent isn't a cogent issue in Catholic epistemology.
The grounds adduced for nullity were a lack of language and intentionality regarding the Sacrifice of the Mass (which I accept and honor as apostolical, based in St. John Chrysostom's On The Priesthood, etc.) However, I have never seen adequate response by Roman Catholics that the Eastern Orthodox are also negligent in this regard as well, though their orders and sacraments are considered generally valid. The EO ordinals are not as sacerdotally explicit as the criteria against the Anglican Church warrants. There is not a level playing field, it would seem.
Now, I realize that once defined by a Pope ex cathedra, an issue can be discussed in hindsight, but is nonetheless ecclesiastically closed (whether AC1896 is extraordinary magisterium I'll leave to your advisement). The women's ordination issue also complicates future discussion and ecumenicity. But that's a red herring in the intervening years (i.e. 1896-1976).
My question is, I sense contradiction. So is the language of the Anglican Ordinal per se (and by extension, the Orthodox versions) the ground for inadequacy? If so, how can some Anglican priests be validly (though irregularly) ordained therewith (based on episcopal pedigree containing Old Catholics, etc.)? And what about the Orthodox?
Gratia et pax tecum, Darryl
ANSWER by Mr. Jacob Slavek on September 24, 2002 Dear Darryl,
I cannot explain the validity of this priest's ordination, and I think that before anyone could, they would need to see the letter. What is the irregularity of his ordination?
For the Orthodox: I think the answer is in your question. I have never seen adequate response by Roman Catholics that the Eastern Orthodox are also negligent in this regard as well
I am sorry that I cannot go into more detail, I am sure that sacramental theologians have written many books on the subject.
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