O Sacrament Unholy
Most Rev. Donald J. Sanborn
John Paul II Approves of a Mass with No Consecration
On July 20th, 2001, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Novus Ordo replacement for the Holy Office, issued a document which devastates all Catholic sacramental doctrine. The document was not made public until October, 2001.
The document is entitled, Guidelines for Admission to the Eucharist between the ChaldeanChurch and the AssyrianChurch of the East. The original Vatican text is in English.
The Assyrian Church of the East to which the document refers is a group based in the Middle East which was originally Catholic, but which passed into the heresy of Nestorianism at the end of the fifth century. It is more commonly called the Nestorian Church. The Nestorian heresy, named for its founder Nestorius, holds that in Christ there are two persons, one human and one divine. The Nestorians are particularly notable for denying that Our Lady is the Mother of God. This doctrine and its author were condemned at the Council of Ephesus in the year 431. In the eighteenth century a group of them broke off and wanted to return to Rome. They were accepted, and are known as Chaldean Catholics.
John Paul II, in his maniacal eagerness to do ecumenism, signed a Common Christological Declaration with this heretical and schismatical Nestorian Church in 1994. Supposedly this wiped away the doctrinal differences between Nestorianism and Catholicism. One should recall the similar Joint Declaration with the Lutherans, which according to Wojtyla achieved unity on the question of justification, but which in fact was to discard the Council of Trent.
So now that Novus Ordites and Nestorians agree about Christ and His mother, there is nothing to stop an intercommunion between them.
The document, which has the explicit approval of Wojtyla, permits Chaldean Catholics to attend the Masses of the Nestorians, and to receive Communion at their liturgies.
This is nothing new, however. Vatican II permitted such heretical and sacrilegious behavior for Catholics, and the 1983 Code of Canon Law specifically allows the practice in certain cases.
There is, nonetheless, an astounding detail about this act of ecumenism. By the admission even of the Vatican itself, the Nestorians do not have a consecration formula in their anaphora (canon) of the Mass. Their priest never recites the words of consecration, "This is My Body," nor "This is the chalice of My Blood..." with the subsequent words. Nor does he recite anything even similar to them.
The Vatican text states:
The principal issue for the Catholic Church agreeing to this request, is related to the question of the validity of the Eucharist celebrated with the Anaphora of Addai and Mari, one of the three anaphoras traditionally used by the AssyrianChurch of the East. The Anaphora of Addai and Mari is notable because, from time immemorial, it has been used without a recitation of the Institution Narrative.
By "Institution Narrative" they mean what Catholics commonly call the consecration formula, that is, the essential words which are the form of the sacrament. In the Catholic Church, by the institution of Christ Himself, they are "For this is My Body," for the consecration of the bread, and "This is the chalice of My Blood, of the new and everlasting testament, the mystery of faith, which for you and for many shall be shed unto the remission of sins," for the consecration of the wine.
These words, or anything similar to them, cannot be found in the Nestorian liturgy. In their liturgies, one of the canons or "anaphoras" which they use is a very old one called the Anaphora of Addai and Mari.1 In this anaphora, the words of consecration which Our Lord used at the Last Supper cannot be found. There is nothing even equivalent. Rather these words take the place of the consecration:
O Lord, may thy holy Spirit come and rest upon this the offering of thy servants, and bless and sanctify it: in order that it be for us, O Lord, unto the propitiation of trespasses and the remission of sins and unto the great hope of resurrection from the dead and unto a new life in the kingdom of heaven with all who are pleasing in Thy sight.
Beautiful words, indeed, but unfortunately they do not produce the sacrament. These words are a formula found in all Eastern Rite liturgies known as the epiclesis, which is an invocation to the Holy Ghost to bless and sanctify the bread and wine. The Greek Orthodox hold that without the epiclesis there is no valid sacrament.
The Substance of Sacraments
It is de fide that Christ instituted the sacraments. We must believe it by supernatural faith. This means that He gave to the sacraments their nature, their substance. He did this by assigning the use of a certain physical element in conjunction with certain words. In some cases, He specified both the element and the words, as in Baptism and Holy Eucharist. In other cases, He explained to the Apostles the nature of the Sacrament, determined in general the element and words, and left to the Church the determination of the specific elements and words.
It is the teaching of the Church that the Church does not have the power to change anything which pertains to the substance of the sacraments.2
It is commonly held by theologians that in those sacraments in which our Lord did not specifically determine the element and words, the Church is free to alter these things, provided the substance, that is, the nature or essence, of the sacrament remains the same.
The early Fathers of the Church always speak about a physical element and certain words used with it in the confection of the sacraments.
In the course of time, theologians began to refer to the physical element as the matter of the sacrament, and the words as the form of the sacrament. Although the terms matter and form are not de fide, they are directly deduced from faith, which is that Christ determined the substance of the sacraments. In order for the sacrament to have a substance, a nature, an essence, it must be specified in some way, and this specification arises from a determined matter and form.
For example, the Church is not free to approve of milk or wine as the matter for Baptism. It is not free to approve of ashes as the matter for Confirmation. Why? Because these elements would not signify what Christ determined as the substance of these sacraments.
Likewise the Church is not free to alter the words of the sacrament in such a way that they do not convey the meaning which Christ intended. Pope Leo XIII argued in this way when he declared that the Anglican form of Holy Orders was defective and invalid, since it was not sufficiently specific. In other words, it did not convey the substance of the sacrament.3
Let us assume for a moment, for the sake of argument, that John Paul II is a true Pope. Given the fact that he has dispensed with the words of consecration, the form of the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist, we would have to conclude one of two things:
• The words of Christ at the Last Supper do not pertain to the substance of the Holy Eucharist, or
• The words of Christ at the Last Supper do pertain to the substance of the Holy Eucharist, but the Church has the right to alter the substance of the sacraments.
There is no third possibility. But each of these two conclusions is contrary to the teaching and immemorial practice of the Catholic Church, and against the unanimous consent of the Doctors and theologians of the Church, as well as against all of the liturgical tradition of the Catholic Church.
The first conclusion, that the words of Christ do not pertain to the substance of the sacrament, is contrary to the Council of Florence, which declared:
The words of the Savior, by which He instituted this sacrament, are the form of this sacrament; for the priest speaking in the person of Christ effects this sacrament. For by the power of the very words the substance of the bread is changed into the body of Christ, and the substance of the wine into the blood; yet in such a way that Christ is contained entire under the species of bread, and entire under the species of wine.4
It is furthermore contrary to the teaching of Pope Pius XII in Mediator Dei:
The unbloody immolation at the words of consecration, when Christ is made present upon the altar in the state of a victim, is performed by the priest and by him alone, as the representative of Christ and not as representative of the faithful.
The second conclusion, that the Church can change the substance of a sacrament, is contrary to the Council of Trent:
It [the Council] declares furthermore that this power has always been in the Church, that in the administration of the sacraments, with the exception of their substance, she may determine or change whatever she may judge to be more expedient for the benefit of those who receive them or for the veneration of the sacraments, according to the variety of circumstances, times, and places.5 [emphasis added]
It is also contrary to the teaching of Pope Pius XII contained in Sacramentum Ordinis:
And for these sacraments instituted by Christ the Lord in the course of the ages the Church has not, and could not substitute other sacraments, since, as the Council of Trent teaches, the seven sacraments of the New Law have been all instituted by Jesus Christ, our Lord, and the Church has no power over the "substance of the sacraments," that is, over those things which, with the sources of divine revelation as witnesses, Christ the Lord Himself decreed to be preserved in a sacramental sign...
Concerning the form of the Holy Eucharist, the Catechism of the Council of Trent, promulgated by Saint Pius V, states:
We are then taught by the holy Evangelists, Matthew and Luke, and also by the Apostle, that the form consists of these words: This is my body; for it is written: Whilst they were at supper, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to his disciples, and said: Take and eat, This is my body.
This form of consecration having been observed by Christ the Lord has always been used by the Catholic Church. The testimonies of the Fathers, the enumeration of which would be endless, and also the decree of the Council of Florence, which is well known as accessible to all, must be here omitted, especially as the knowledge which they convey may be obtained from these words of the Savior: Do this for a commemoration of me. [Emphasis in original].
Now I ask, how could anyone say that the words of Christ do not pertain to the substance of the form of the Holy Eucharist?
Concerning sacramental form, Pope Leo XIII declared in Apostolicae Curae, on the subject of the invalidity of Anglican orders:
Moreover it is well known that the sacraments of the New Law, being sensible signs which cause invisible grace, must both signify the grace which they cause and cause the grace which they signify. Now this signification, though it must be found in the essential rite as a whole, that is, in both matter and form together, belongs chiefly to form; for that matter is by itself the indeterminate part, which becomes determinate through form.
Where in the "form" used in the Anaphora of Addai and Mari is the Body and Blood of Christ signified? It does not even mention the Body and Blood of Christ!
From the theological point of view, the declaration that this Nestorian rite is valid will have far-reaching and disastrous consequences. In the practical order it destroys the Church’s teaching concerning the necessity of matter and form for the sacraments. It furthermore permits, in the eyes of the millions who perceive John Paul as the Pope, the "Church" to alter the substance of the sacraments.
This disaster is confirmed by their supposed justification for calling it valid. They give three arguments. I provide their text and will comment on each.
First Argument: " In the first place, the Anaphora of Addai and Mari is one of the most ancient Anaphoras, dating back to the time of the very early Church; it was composed and used with the clear intention of celebrating the Eucharist in full continuity with the Last Supper and according to the intention of the Church; its validity was never officially contested, neither in the Christian East nor in the Christian West."
Comment: It is not true to say that this anaphora dates from the early Church. The Dictionnaire d’Archéologie Chrétienne et de Liturgie says that the Nestorian tradition attributes to the Patriarch Jesuyab III, near the beginning of the seventh century, the final determination of the liturgy which is known to us as the Anaphora of Addai and Mari. 6 It is true to say that Christianity Catholicism was implanted in Mesopotamia, now Iraq, at a very early date. If this anaphora, however, dates from the seventh century, it is about two hundred years after this region passed into the heresy of Nestorianism. In addition, it is simply false to say that the validity was not officially contested. When some of the Nestorians wished to return to Rome, they were permitted to retain this anaphora, but were required to insert the words of consecration. The same was done in the case of those returning from the Syro-Malabar sect in India, who had been evangelized by the Nestorian Church, and who used this consecration-free "Mass."
The Second Argument: "Secondly, the Catholic Church recognizes the AssyrianChurch of the East as a true particular Church, built upon orthodox faith and apostolic succession. The AssyrianChurch of the East has also preserved full eucharistic faith in the presence of Our Lord under the species of bread and wine and in the sacrificial character of the Eucharist."
Comment: This statement is nearly entirely false. The recognition of a heretical and schismatical sect as a particular Church is an application of the Vatican II heresy concerning the Church, of which I have spoken in many other places. The truth is that the Catholic Church, as distinguished from the modernist inmates of the Vatican, considers the NestorianChurch to be a heretical and schismatical sect. They do not have orthodox faith. We have already pointed out that they adhere to a blasphemous heresy condemned in the year 431. They did not abandon or repudiate this heresy in their so-called Common Christological Declaration. This document was merely a series of ambiguous statements that amounted to a pile of theological gobbledygook. Furthermore, they say that there are only five sacraments, Extreme Unction and Matrimony not being found on their list. They repudiate the authority of the Roman Pontiff and believe in divorce and remarriage. Furthermore, they have not preserved the Catholic faith in the Holy Eucharist, since they believe what the Lutherans believe, that the Holy Eucharist is both bread and the Body of Christ. In other words, they do not believe in Transubstantiation. They do believe, however, in the sacrificial nature of the Eucharist. Nor do they have apostolic succession, since they are separated from Rome. They do not even have what is known as material apostolic succession, since this applies only to the Eastern schismatics who have preserved a line of successors in sees founded by the Apostles, such as Antioch and Alexandria.
The Third Argument: "Finally, the words of Eucharistic Institution are indeed present in the Anaphora of Addai and Mari, not in a coherent narrative way and ad litteram, but rather in a dispersed euchological way, that is, integrated in successive prayers of thanksgiving, praise, and intercession."
Comment: Pure hogwash. It is true that the anaphora makes reference to the Body and Blood of Christ, and even says that we offer to God the Body and Blood of Christ, but there is nowhere to be found anything that even comes close to what the modernists call an "Institution Narrative" and what Catholics call the words of consecration. In fact, the epiclesis of the anaphora, the invocation of the Holy Ghost, merely asks for the blessing and sanctification of the offering, and not the transformation of the offering into the Body and Blood of Christ. All other epicleses in the Eastern Rites, even among the schismatics, call for the transformation. This call for transformation is certainly not sufficient for validity, but it is notable that this Anaphora of Addai and Mari, which the modernists have declared valid, is unique in that it does not even mention the transformation of the elements. The Last Supper is not even recalled in this anaphora, except perhaps for some veiled reference to an oblation offered by the apostles in the cenacle, lumped in behind the widow offering her mite in the Temple (Luke XXI:3).
A Hearty Laugh
This awful document is topped off by a closing comment which caused me to burst out laughing when I read it:
When Chaldean faithful are participating in an Assyrian celebration of the Holy Eucharist, the Assyrian minister is warmly invited to insert the words of the Institution in the Anaphora of Addai and Mari, as allowed by the Holy Synod of the AssyrianChurch of the East.
Warmly invited! This is the equivalent of saying to someone: "You are warmly invited to use the words which Christ commanded in the administration of Baptism." Do they really think that anyone will take such a statement seriously? It is a sign that the modernists know that what they have said in the document is absolute nonsense, and that they are hoping that the Nestorians will say a valid Mass after all.
Long-reaching Theological Consequences
This document opens the door to all sorts of possibilities for the modernists. It destroys, as we have seen, all Catholic theology concerning the sacraments in general and particularly the Holy Eucharist.
If we apply their criteria for a valid sacrament, instead of those of the Catholic Church, it opens the door to the validity of Anglican Orders, Lutheran Orders, and even of women priests. All you need is to have used the rite for a long time, and to have what the modernists term "orthodox faith." In order to achieve "orthodox faith," you do not need to abandon your heresy, but merely to sign some meaningless and vague document which serves as an instrument of approval of your heresy as orthodoxy. Then you become a "particular church," i.e., part of the Church of Christ, the ecumenical Superchurch. Your Eucharist is declared valid, and as Ratzinger says, "in every valid celebration of the Eucharist the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church becomes truly present." 7 What more could you ask for? It is having your heresy and eating it too not to mention your bread.
The modernists have not failed to see the significance of this otherwise hardly noticed act of the heretics pretending to be pope and cardinals in the Vatican buildings. An article in National Catholic Reporter (November 16, 2001) quotes a Jesuit by the name of Fr. Robert Taft, an expert on Eastern Christianity, who says that the ruling is "perhaps the most significant decision to come out of the Holy See in a half-century." He added, "This moves us beyond a medieval theology of magic words."
The article also cites a Benedictine by the name of Fr. Ephrem Carr of the Pontifical Institute for the Liturgy: "This certainly moves away from the classic scholastic theology of the Eucharistic Prayer, the insistence that the exact words of consecration must be present." He added that the decision was particularly striking since on previous occasions, when Chaldeans and Syro-Malabar Catholics (who also use this anaphora) wanted to return to Rome, were obliged by Rome to add the words of consecration.
Defection a Sign of False Religion
The Catholic Church is indefectible. This means that by the special protection of her Invisible Head, Our Lord Jesus Christ, she can never defect from her true purpose and goal, can never teach a false doctrine, or give her children evil disciplines or invalid sacraments. It is this assistance of Christ which gives the Church her very authority.
Despite regrettable human failures on the part of her prelates in the past, the Catholic Church has never defected. She has never taught error. She has never approved of an evil discipline or and invalid sacrament. Never.
Indeed we might wonder if the failure of a few of her prelates was not permitted by God in order to prove that she is not subject to human vicissitudes and misconduct, but is guided by the assistance of Her Divine Founder, who is with her all days even to the consummation of the world.
Since Vatican II, however, we have witnessed defection after defection. In a mere thirty-five years we see the unmistakable signs of a false religion: the teaching of false doctrine, the promulgation of evil disciplines, the universal legalization and use of false rites, and now the approval of an unquestionably invalid sacrament, and the destruction of the Church’s sacramental teaching.
This sad fact should teach us two things:
(1) to appreciate the two thousand year old record of indefectible truth and rectitude in discipline as a sign of Christ’s assistance to His Church;
(2) to immediately recognize that the defection which has so characterized the Vatican II religion is an infallible sign of its falsehood and wretchedness, and that despite whatever appearances they may have, the authors of this defection, Wojtyla and his minions, are phonies.
How Far Must JP 2 Go?
Now that Wojtyla has scrapped the immemorial teaching of the Church concerning the sacraments contained in the Fathers of the Church, in the unanimous consent of the Doctors of the Church and all theologians, in the teaching of the Council of Florence and of the Council of Trent, of the Catechism of the Council of Trent, in the teaching of Pope Pius XII, and of all of the liturgical tradition and discipline of the sacraments, what else, I ask, must he do before traditionalists will say that this man is not a Catholic?
Imagine: he has approved as valid a Mass which does not even have the words of consecration!
This is actually more radical than the approval of women priests. It is the same as approving as valid a Baptism without the words of Baptism, or of approving of pizza and Coke as valid matter for the Eucharist. It is, in short, to alter the sacraments in a substantial way.
So what else must he do?
(Most Holy Trinity Seminary Letter to Benefactors, February 2002)
1 It takes it name from two saints of the same names who evangelized Persia in the early Church. Although it bears their name, it was not written by them, but comes from a later date.
2 The Council of Trent, Sess. XXI, chapter 2. Denz. 931
3 Apostolicae Curae. q.v.
4 Council of Florence, Decree for the Armenians. Denz. 698.
5 Denz. 931
6 Volume 1, col. 520.
7 CONGREGATION FOR THE DOCTRINE OF THE FAITH, Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on Some Aspects of the Church Understood as Communion. (1992)