A Plea for Mercy and Common Sense


One of the charges often levied by bishops on those who refuse to accept the novelties following Vatican II in the areas of liturgy, practice and belief is that the validly-ordained priests serving these groups do not have faculties from them and, therefore, their sacraments are either illicit, invalid or both. The purpose of this essay is not to start a war of words with the hierarchy of bishops (Lord knows there has been enough of that over the last 40-50 years) but to defend the priests involved. We hear a lot these days about the need for Mercy but where is the Mercy for these priests who are acting from a conscience formed in the traditional magisterium of the church, that is, up to and including 1962. What possible harm could there be from providing formal jurisdiction to these priests for the use of liturgical books up to and including 1962? Is the vow of ecclesiastical obedience to a superior being misused in this context?

Ecclesia supplet means basically when there is doubt, the power of government is supplied to the minister. In the 1983 Code it says:

Can. 144 §1. “In factual or legal common error and in positive and probable doubt of law or of fact, the Church supplies executive power of governance for both the external and internal forum.

§2. “The same norm is applied to the faculties mentioned in cann. ⇒ 882, ⇒ 883, ⇒ 966, and ⇒ 1111, §1.”

From Google’s Merriam-Webster definition we have the following:

a deductive scheme of a formal argument consisting of a major and a minor premise and a conclusion (as in “every virtue is laudable; kindness is a virtue; therefore kindness is laudable”

However, our syllogism is as follows:

** The church supplies jurisdiction in a necessity (CIC 1323, §4, §5, §7)
** Salvation of souls is a necessity (CIC 1752)
** The church supplies jurisdiction in the salvation of souls (CIC 1752)

Get AQ Email Updates

One comment on “A Plea for Mercy and Common Sense

  1. And the question will inevitably arise – if ecclesia supplet gives them faculties, why then do they need or want faculties from the local Ordinary? The answer is to prevent confusion in the minds of the Faithful as a result of: www.diocs.org/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=vodXjPD6xzw%3d&tabid=58&mid=3350

Leave a Reply