Regína sacratíssimi Rosárii, ora pro nobis!

From the September AD 2010
Our Lady of the Rosary
Parish Bulletin


The Number of the Apostles?

Thuc Bishops?
Malankara Rite Mass?


Our Lady of the Rosary
Number of Apostles?

    Question:  It appears that the Litany of the Saints lists thirteen, not twelve Apostles, from Saint Peter to Saint Matthias.  Possibly Saint Peter and saint Simon are one and the same?  And what happened to Nathaniel?  Has he got an alias too?  (AH, New York)

    Answer:  Believe it or not there are fifteen men identified as Apostles. Counting Judas of the original twelve, Matthias makes thirteen, Paul makes fourteen, and Barnabas makes fifteen.  Barnabas (June 11) is the only one with a third class feast.  Timothy, Silas and Apollos might be counted as well, but that might be stretching a bit.  A number of people are called “apostle to the _____s”; that is to a particular nation or group of people.  Mary Magdalen is often called “apostle to the Apostles,” probably because she brought the news of our Lord’s resurrection  Simon the Apostle is also called Simon the Zelot, and is not Simon Peter.  Nathaniel seems to be Bartholomew in the Gospels other than John.  Bar‑Tholomew is a patronymic, which suggests that they all had aliases beginning with “Bar”—Simon Bar-Jona, Jesus Bar-Joseph, etc.—“Bar‑So-and-so” meaning “son of so-and-so.”


Our Lady of the Rosary
Thuc Bishops

    Question:  I recently read a passing reference to a controversy concerning “Thuc Bishops.”  What are “Thuc Bishops,” and what is the controversy? (JA, Port St. Lucie)

    Answer:  Pierre Martin Ngô Đình Thục (6 October 1897–13 December 1984), was the Archbishop of Huế in Vietnam.  His younger brother, Ngo Dinh Diem, was the first president of South Vietnam until his assassination in November of 1963.  After Vatican Council II Archbishop Thuc remained in exile, first in Italy and later in France.  To understand the nature of the “controversy,” one must understand the state of the Catholic Episcopate after Vatican II.

One of the first to call attention to the theological confusion spawned by the Council was Father Gommar A. De Pauw, J.C.D., (1918-2005) a professor of Theology and of Canon Law at Mount Saint Mary's Seminary in Emmitsburg, Maryland, and a former “peritus” at Vatican II.  Fr. De Pauw organized the Catholic Traditionalist Movement in March of 1995.  Cognizant of the need for a bishop, both as a protector, and to supply the Sacraments which simple priests cannot confect (especially the ordination of priests and consecration of bishops), in 1966 Father De Pauw enlisted the Most Reverend Blaise S. Kurz, O.F.M., (1894-1973) Prefect-Apostolic of Yungchow as Moderator of the Catholic Traditionalist Movement.  To the best of this writer’s knowledge, Bishop Kurz ordained one priest for the movement before he died in 1973—Father Gunther Storck, who would later become part of the “controversy.”[1]


Sede-vacantism (from the Latin “the chair being empty”—the “chair” being the Chair of Peter) has a superficial appeal to those who cannot explain how the post conciliar Church could have been afflicted by so many doctrinal and moral difficulties.[2]  The root of it is found in an exaggerated understanding of papal infallibility, which is exercised, according to Vatican I, under precisely defined conditions, when the Holy Father speaks about a matter of faith or morals as the authoritative head of the Church, declaring something in which all Christians must believe.[3]  Too many Catholics fail to make the careful distinctions made by Vatican I.  Their understanding of papal infallibility is something like “the Pope can never be wrong, or even “the Pope can do no wrong.”

Given this invalid premise one can reason:

● “The Pope can make no error/do no wrong,”

● “X has made a lot of errors//done a lot wrong,”

● “Therefore X cannot be the Pope”

From the same invalid premise one can also reason:

● “The Pope can make no error/do no wrong,”

● “X is the Pope,

● “Therefore all that X does must be correct/good.”

The second syllogism describes the thinking known as “papalatry, or “Pope worship.”

The false premise is usually buttressed with arguments from canon law, but these rarely stand up to scrutiny.

Whatever one may think of sedevacantism, at least it did not appeal to wild theories about the “real pope” being abducted and being replaced by an actor who was his double!

    Another early participant in the Traditional Catholic movement was Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre (1905-1991) who had been Apostolic Delegate in West Africa and Superior General of the Holy Ghost Fathers.  In November 1970 Bishop François Charrière of Fribourg, Switzerland established a pious union led by Archbishop Lefebvre, and known as the Society of Saint Pius X.  The Society established a traditional seminary at Ecône, Switzerland in 1971.  Although the Archbishop trained and ordained a large number of priests at Ecône, for nearly twenty years—until three years before his death—he consecrated no bishops to continue the work of the Society.  Some of his priests would become part of the “controversy”—the controversy of sede-vacantism—the argument that the post Vatican II Popes were really antipopes.

    Archbishop Lefebvre did not accept sedevacantism, and went on to consecrate four bishops in 1988.  Likewise, we Old Roman Catholics do not accept sedevacantism, and our Archbishop was consecrated in 1975, and his auxiliary in 2007.  Benedict XVI is the Pope.

    Archbishop Thuc entered the “controversy” when, at El Palmar de Troya in Spain, he consecrated Fr. Clemente Domínguez y Gómez (1946–2005) as bishop in 1976.  Domínguez claimed to have had visions of the Blessed Virgin in which she denounced the “progressivism” of the Modernist Church.  Domínguez also claimed to have a vision of Jesus, together with Peter and Paul, who told him that by divine commission he would succeed Paul VI as Pope!  Domínguez took the name “Pope Gregory XVII.”  (Not to be confused with Jean Grégoire de La Trinité, who proclaimed himself Pope Gregory XVII in Canada—no, I am not making this up!)

    In May of 1981 Archbishop Thuc consecrated Michel Louis Guérard des Lauriers (1898-1988), a former professor at Ecône and author of a theory—“sedeprivationism”—that Paul VI held the papacy “materially” but not “formally.”  Des Lauriers agreed to accept to accept sedevacantism and was consecrated.

    A large number of bishops—some sedevacantists and some not—derive their Holy Orders from Archbishop Thuc.[4]  Some of his “controversy” lies in the efforts of his supporters and detractors to prove that his episcopal consecrations were, respectively, valid or invalid.  Some of this revolved around the man’s alleged insanity, and some around an alleged lack of qualified witnesses.  Jealousy rather than theology seems to have been at the root of the claims.  In that their opponents were often men who had been ordained by Archbishop Lefebvre, Archbishop Thuc’s proponents retaliated by publicizing the fact that Lefebvre had been ordained and consecrated by one Achille Leinart, who was a Freemason—as though this would invalidate Lefebvre’s priesthood, episcopate, and ability to ordain.  (The Talleyrand episode demonstrates the fallacious nature of this claim.[5])  In any event many of the men who owe their priesthood to Archbishop Thuc have gone on to serve the Church well in Its current time of need.


Our Lady of the Rosary
Malankara Rite Mass

   Question:  The announcement said that at the end of the clergy’s continuing education session in Saint Petersburg there would be a Mass in the Malankara Rite.  What is the Malankara Rite?

    Answer:  When our Lord celebrated the Last Supper, He gave the Apostles the essentials of the Mass—the offering of bread and wine, the separate consecration of the two, and the reception of His true body and blood in Holy Communion.  The Apostles would embellish these essentials with customs taken from Judaism (like the Scripture readings of the synagogue, and the praying of the Psalms, and with the languages and customs of the Mediterranean world.  This world encompassed a vast territory, ensuring some variation it the rites established by the Apostles in the lands they evangelized.

    Tradition has it that Saint Thomas the Apostle set out for India in 52 AD, hoping to preach to the Jewish diaspora in Kerala, on the Malabar Coast along the southwest tip of the Indian sub-continent.  He established churches in a number of cities, among which the Christian community of Niranam claims to be the first.  He was martyred at Mylapore on the (eastern) Coromandel Coast of the Bay of Bengal.  In 232 AD the relics of the Apostle were taken from India to the city of Edessa, in modern day Turkey, near the Syrian border.  Much later, in 1258, the relics were moved briefly to the Greek island of Chios, and then to Italy, where they are now venerated at Ortona, on the Adriatic Coast.

    The Indian Church continued, generally receiving Its bishops from the Patriarch of Chaldea, but from time to time they received men tainted with the heresy of Nestorius, [Update] which held that Mary was the mother of the human Christ but not the mother of God.  This Nestorian connection alarmed western missionaries when they discovered the Saint Thomas Christians in the middle ages.  Conquest by the Portuguese around 1500 gave Jesuit missionaries of the Latin Rite the upper hand in dealing with the indigenous hierarchy.  One of the last Syrian bishops sent to India, Mar Joseph Sulaka renounced Nestorianism in 1552 and was appointed by Pope Julius III as Patriarch of Chaldea with jurisdiction over all of India,[6]  But in 1597, Mar Abraham, the last appointee of the Chaldean Patriarch, died.  Custom dictated that his Archdeacon, George of the Cross, would administer  the vacant see, but the Portuguese intervened, imposing Latin rites, laws, and hierarchy on the Saint Thomas Christians.  The Synod of Diampir in 1599 decreed this a permanent state of affairs, creating a multiple schism in the Indian Church.

    The Coonan Cross Oath of January AD 1653 united many of the Saint Thomas Christians of Kerala in a civil and religious rejection of Portuguese authority.  Pope Alexander VII sent Italian Carmelites in place of the Portuguese Jesuits in 1661 to organize an East Syrian Rite church hierarchy in union with the Pope.  About seventy percent of the Saint Thomas Christians joined this Syro-Malabar Catholic Church. The others joined the Syriac Orthodox Church at roughly the same time.  This West Syrian group employed the Liturgy of Saint James, and are often referred to as Syrian Jacobites or Malankara Orthodox. The split between Eastern and Western Syrian Rite Christians would remain permanent.

    But in 1926 some of the Malankara Orthodox determined to approach The Congregation for the Oriental Churches to bring about reunion with Rome.  Archbishop, Geevarghese Mar Ivanios of the Order of the Imitation of Christ was the chief negotiator.[7]  On 20 September 1930, two bishops, a priest, a deacon, and a layman professed the Catholic Faith.  On 11 June 1932, Pope Pius XI established a Catholic Syro-Malankara hierarchy and erected the Archeparchy of Trivandrum.[8] In 1933. Mar Ivanios was enthroned as its first Metropolitan Archbishop.

    Today, under Pope Benedict XVI, Moran Mor Baselios Cleemis is the present Catholicos of the Malankara Catholic Church, and Major Archbishop of Trivandrum.   Our visitor, and the celebrant of the August 27th Liturgy at Our Lady of Good hope is The Most Reverend Dr. Joseph Mar Thomas, Bishop of Bathery in Kerala and Apostolic Visitor to North America and Europe.[9] Mar Thomas is Prince of the Langue of India for the Sovereign Order of Saint John of Jerusalem, with which Order the See of Caer Glow is associated, and of which Archbishop Humphreys is a member.

    The Liturgy is to be celebrated in English, which is common in India, although the Malayalam, (മലയാളം), the principal language of the State of Kerala, is often used there.[10]  It will be according to the Rite of Saint James, the Liturgy of the West Syrians—and originally the rite of Jerusalem, before it spread to Antioch.  The familiar Rites of Saint Basil the Great and Saint John Chrysostom both derive from that of Saint James, probably the oldest Catholic Rite.  The text of the Rite can be found on the “New Advent” website associated with the Catholic Encyclopedia.[11]



[2]   See Q&A April 1996,  “Indefectibility and Infallibility”

[3]   The First Vatican Council, Session IV, Dogmatic constitution on the Church of Christ, Chapter IV, paragraph 9, 18 July 1870

[6]   Catholic Encyclopedia, s.v. “Saint Thomas Christians”

[8]   Apostolic Constitution Christo Pastorum Principi

Dei via est íntegra
Our Lady of the Rosary, 144 North Federal Highway (US#1), Deerfield Beach, Florida 33441  954+428-2428
Authentic  Catholic Mass, Doctrine, and Moral Teaching -- Don't do without them -- 
Don't accept one without the others!