Regína sacratíssimi Rosárii, ora pro nobis!

Apostolicæ Curæ, Pope Leo XIII (September 15, 1896).
Compare the New Order Pontifical (1968) with the
Catholic rite for Episcopal Consecration:

    [Consider the New Order Pontifical of 1968 with the logic of  Pope Leo's declaration that Anglican Orders are invalid.  For the sake of clarity, we have presented only excerpts, but the reader is invited to examine the entire Apostolic Constitution for himself at one of the URLs given below.  Pope Leo's pronouncement is both authoritative and logically compelling.  The numbered paragraphs are from the Apostoliv Constitution; editorial comments in brackets.]

24. In the examination of any rite for the effecting and administering of Sacraments, distinction is rightly made between the part which is ceremonial and that which is essential, the latter being usually called the "matter and form". All know that the Sacraments of the New Law, as sensible and efficient signs of invisible grace, ought both to signify the grace which they effect, and effect the grace which they signify. Although the signification ought to be found in the whole essential rite, that is to say, in the "matter and form", it still pertains chiefly to the "form"; since the "matter" is the part which is not determined by itself, but which is determined by the "form". And this appears still more clearly in the Sacrament of Order, the "matter" of which, in so far as we have to consider it in this case, is the imposition of hands, which, indeed, by itself signifies nothing definite, and is equally used for several Orders and for Confiirmation.

    [ I.e. The form must consist of words which more clearly determine the intent of using the matter of the Sacrament.]

25. But the words which until recently were commonly held by Anglicans to constitute the proper form of priestly ordination namely, "Receive the Holy Ghost," certainly do not in the least definitely express the sacred Order of Priesthood (sacerdotium) or its grace and power, wbich is chiefly the power "of consecrating and of offering the true Body and Blood of the Lord" (Council of Trent, Sess. XXIII, de Sacr. Ord., Canon 1) in that sacrifice which is no "nude commemoration of the sacrifice offered on the Cross" (Ibid, Sess XXII., de Sacrif. Missae, Canon 3).

    [ The form of priestly ordination must express the fact that that the Priesthood or its major grace (offering the Sacrifice of the Mass) is being conferred.]

26. This form had, indeed, afterwards added to it the words "for the office and work of a priest," etc; but this rather shows that the Anglicans themselves perceived that the first form was defective and inadequate. But even if this addition could give to the form its due signification, it was introduced too late, as a century had already elapsed since the adoption of the Edwardine Ordinal, for, as the Hierarchy had become extinct, there remained no power of ordaining.

27. In vain has help been recently sought for the plea of the validity of Anglican Orders from the other prayers of the same Ordinal. For, to put aside other reasons which show this to be insufficient for the purpose in the Anglican rite, let this argument suffice for all. From them has been deliberately removed whatever sets forth the dignity and office of the priesthood in the Catholic rite. That "form" consequently cannot be considered apt or sufficient for the Sacrament which omits what it ought essentially to signify.

    [ While other prayers in the rite may mention the priesthood, they do not suffice because the rite and those who use it no longer think of the priesthood in the Catholic sense.  The changes to the Catholic rite were deliberate, based on new doctrines, which gave new meanings to old words.]

28. The same holds good of episcopal consecration. For to the formula, "Receive the Holy Ghost", not only were the words "for the office and work of a bishop", etc. added at a later period, but even these, as We shall presently state, must be understood in a sense different to that which they bear in the Catholic rite. Nor is anything gained by quoting the prayer of the preface, "Almighty God", since it, in like manner, has been stripped of the words which denote the summum sacerdotium.

    [ Just as the form for the Priesthood must express the reception of priestly power, the form for the Episcopate must express the reception of the fullness of priestly power.]

29. It is not relevant to examine here whether the episcopate be a completion of the priesthood, or an order distinct from it; or whether, when bestowed, as they say per saltum, on one who is not a priest, it has or has not its effect. But the episcopate undoubtedly, by the institution of Christ, most truly belongs to the Sacrament of Order and constitutes the sacerdotium in the highest degree, namely, that which by the teaching of the Holy Fathers and our liturgical customs is called the Summum sacerdotium, sacri ministerii summa. So it comes to pass that, as the Sacrament of Order and the true sacerdotium of Christ were utterly eliminated from the Anglican rite, and hence the sacerdotium is in no wise conferred truly and validly in the episcopal consecration of the same rite, for the like reason, therefore, the episcopate can in no wise be truly and validly conferred by it, and this the more so because among the first duties of the episcopate is that of ordaining ministers for the Holy Eucharist and sacrifice.

[ If the concept of conferring the fullness of the Priesthood has been removed from the rite, or if the words of the new doctrines convey some other meaning than the Catholic meaning for the Episcopate and the fullness of the Priesthood, then the revised rite cannot confer the Episcopate.]

30. For the full and accurate understanding of the Anglican Ordinal, besides what We have noted as to some of its parts, there is nothing more pertinent than to consider carefully the circumstances under which it was composed and publicly authorised. It would be tedious to enter into details, nor is it necessary to do so, as the history of that time is sufficiently eloquent as to the animus of the authors of the Ordinal against the Catholic Church; as to the abettors whom they associated with themselves from the heterodox sects; and as to the end they had in view. Being fully cognisant of the necessary connection between faith and worship, between "the law of believing and the law of praying", under a pretext of returning to the primitive form, they corrupted the Liturgical Order in many ways to suit the errors of the reformers. For this reason, in the whole Ordinal not only is there no clear mention of the sacrifice, of consecration, of the priesthood (sacerdotium), and of the power of consecrating and offering sacrifice but, as We have just stated, every trace of these things which had been in such prayers of the Catholic rite as they had not entirely rejected, was deliberately removed and struck out.

    [ Since the "reformers" knew that people's beliefs were formed by their way of praying, they deliberately changed the Catholic rite in order to induce erroneous beliefs in the people.  Sacrifice, consecration, and priesthood are rejected by the new religion, and therefore eliminated from, or used in ambiguous or novel ways, in the new rite.]

31. In this way, the native character or spirit as it is called of the Ordinal clearly manifests itself. Hence, if, vitiated in its origin, it was wholly insufficient to confer Orders, it was impossible that, in the course of time, it would become sufficient, since no change had taken place. In vain those who, from the time of Charles I, have attempted to hold some kind of sacrifice or of priesthood, have made additions to the Ordinal. In vain also has been the contention of that small section of the Anglican body formed in recent times that the said Ordinal can be understood and interpreted in a sound and orthodox sense. Such efforts, we affirm, have been, and are, made in vain, and for this reason, that any words in the Anglican Ordinal, as it now is, which lend themselves to ambiguity, cannot be taken in the same sense as they possess in the Catholic rite. For once a new rite has been initiated in which, as we have seen, the Sacrament of Order is adulterated or denied, and from which all idea of consecration and sacrifice has been rejected, the formula, "Receive the Holy Ghost", no longer holds good, because the Spirit is infused into the soul with the grace of the Sacrament, and so the words "for the office and work of a priest or bishop", and the like no longer hold good, but remain as words without the reality which Christ instituted.

Apparently missing from the Vatican web site!


Roman Pontifical, 1893
The Prayer accompanying the laying on of hands containing the sacramental form for episcopal consecration at the time of Pope Leo XIII

New Order Pontifical, 1968
The Prayer accompanying the laying on of hands containing the sacramental form for episcopal ordination at the time of Pope Paul VI

It is truly worthy and just, right and profitable unto salvation that we should at all times and in all places give thanks unto Thee, O holy Lord, Father Almighty, Eternal God, honor of all dignities which serve unto Thy glory in sacred orders. To Thee O God, who, in the secret communings of familiar intercourse, giving instruction unto Moses Thy servant, concerning, among other branches of divine worship, the nature of sacerdotal vesture, didst order that Aaron, Thy chosen one, should be clad in mystic robes during the sacred functions, so that succeeding generations might be enlightened by the examples of their predecessors, lest the knowledge derived from Thy instruction should be wanting in any age. Since, indeed, with the ancients, the very appearance of symbols would obtain reverence, and with us there would be the experience of the things themselves more certain that the mysteries of figures. For the adornment of our minds fulfils what was expressed by the outward vesture of that ancient priesthood, and now brightness of souls rather than splendor of raiment commends the pontifical glory unto us. Because even those things which then were sightly unto the eyes of the flesh, demanded rather that the eyes of the spirit should understand the things they signified. And therefore we beseech Thee, O Lord, give bountifully this grace to this Thy servant, whom Thou hast chosen to the ministry of the supreme priesthood, so that what things soever those vestments signify by the refulgence of gold, the splendor of jewels, and the variety of diversified works, these may shine forth in his character and his actions. Fill up in Thy priest the perfection of Thy ministry and sanctify with the dew of Thy heavenly ointment this Thy servant decked out with the ornaments of all beauty. Vere dignum et justum est, aequum et salutare, nos tibi semper, et ubique gratias agere, Domine sancte, Pater omnipotens, aeterne Deus, honor omnium dignitatum, quae gloriae tuae sacris famulantur ordinibus.  Deus, qui Moysen famulum tuum secreti familiaris affatu, inter caetera coelestis documenta culturae, de habitu quoque indumenti sacerdotalis instituens, electum Aaron mystico amictu vestiri inter sacra jussisti, ut intelligentiae sensum de exemplis priorum caperet secutura posteritas, ne eruditio doctrinae tuae ulli deesset aetati.  Cum et apud veteres reverentiam ipsa significationum species obtineret, et apud nos certiora essent experimenta rerum, quam aenigmata figurarum.  Illius namque Sacerdotii anterioris habitus, nostrae mentis ornatus est, et Pontificalem gloriam non jam nobis honor commendat vestium, sed splendor animarum.  Quia et illa, quae tunc carnalibus blandiebantur obtutibus, ea potius, quae in ipsis erant, intelligenda poscebant.  Et idcirco huic famulo tuo, quem ad Sacerdotii ministerum elegisti, hanc, quaesumus, Domine, gratiam largiaris, ut quidquid illa velamina in fulgore auri, in nitore gemmarum, et in multimodi operis varietate signabant, hoc in ejus moribus actibusque clarescat.  Comple in Sacerdote tuo ministerii tui summam, et ornamentis totius glorificationis instructum, coelestis unguenti rore sanctifica.

God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Father of mercies and God of all consolation, you dwell in heaven, yet look with compassion on all that is humble.  You know all things before they come to be; by your gracious word you have established the plan of your Church.  From the beginning you chose the descendants of Abraham to be your holy nation.  You established rulers and priests, and did not leave your sanctuary without ministers to serve you.  From the creation of the world you have been pleased to be glorified by those whom you have chosen.  So now pour out upon this chosen one the power that is from you, the governing Spirit whom you gave to your beloved Son, Jesus Christ, the Spirit given by him to his holy apostles, who founded the Church in every place to be your temple for the unceasing glory and praise of your name.  Father, you know all hearts.  You have chosen your servant for the office of bishop.  May he be a shepherd to your holy flock, and a high priest blameless in your sight, ministering to you night and day; may he always gain the blessing of your favor and offer the gifts of your holy Church.  Through the Spirit who gives the grace of high priesthood grant him the power to forgive sins as you have commanded, to assign ministries as you have decreed, and to loose every bond by the authority which you gave to your apostles.  May he be pleasing to you by his gentleness and purity of heart, presenting a fragrant offering to you, through Jesus Christ, your Son, through whom glory and power and honor are yours with the Holy Spirit in your holy Church, now and for ever.  R.  Amen.


Deus et Pater Domini nostri Iesu Christi, Pater misericordiarum et Deus totius consolationis, qui in excelsis habitas et humilia respicis, qui cognoscis omnia antequam nascantur, tu qui dedisti in Ecclesia tua normas per verbum gratiae tuae, qui praedestinasti ex principio genus iustorum ab Abraham, qui constituisti principes et sacerdotes, et sanctuarium tuum sine ministerio non dereliquisti, cui ab initio mundi placuit in his quos eligisti glorificari:  Et nunc effunde super hunc electum eam virtutem, quae a te est, Spiritum principalem, quem dedisti dilecto Filio tuo Iesu Christo, quem ipse donavit sanctis Apostolis, qui constituerunt Ecclesiam per singula loca ut sanctuarium tuum, in gloriam et laudem indeficientem nominis tui.  Da, cordium cognitor Pater, huic servo tuo, quem elegisti ad Episcopatum, ut pascat gregem sanctum tuum, et summum sacerdotium tibi exhibeat sine reprehensione, serviens tibi nocte et die, ut incessanter vultum tuum propitium reddat et offerat dona sanctae Ecclesiae tuae; da ut virtute Spiritus summi sacerdotii habeat potestatem dimittendi peccata secundum mandatum suum; ut distribuat munera secundum praeceptum tuum et solvat omne vinculum secundum potestatem quam dedisti Apostolis; placeat tibi in mansuetudine et mundo corde, offerens tibi odorem suavitatis, per Filium tuum Iesum Christum, per quem tibi gloria et potentia et honor, cum Spiritu Sancto in sancta Ecclesia et nunc et in saecula saeculorum.

Prior to 1947, it was unclear as to exactly what part of the prayer of episcopal consecration constituted the essential form of the Sacrament.  This was defined "for the future" in Sacramentum ordinis of Pope Pius XII, and re-defined in Pontificalis Romani of Pope Paul VI.  The words appointed by Pope Pius and Pope Paul are underlined in the prayers above.

Pope Pius XII, 1947

Pope Paul VI, 1968

"Finally in the Episcopal Ordination or Consecration, the matter is the imposition of hands which is done by the Bishop consecrator. The form consists of the words of the "Preface," of which the following are essential and therefore required for validity: 

"Finally, in the ordination of a bishop, the matter is the laying of hands on the head of the bishop-elect by the consecrating bishops, or at least by the principal consecrator, that is done in silence before the consecratory prayer; the form consists in the words of the consecratory prayer, of which the following belong to the essence and are consequently required for validity: 
"Comple in Sacerdote tuo ministerii tui summam, et ornamentis totius glorificationis instructum coelestis unguenti rore santifica." Et nunc effunde super hunc Electum eam virtutem, quae a te est, Spiritum principalem, quem dedisti dilecto Filio Tuo Iesu Christo, quem Ipse donavit sanctis Apostolis, qui constituerunt Ecclesiam per singula loca, ut sanctuarium tuum, in gloriam et laudem indeficientem nominis tui.
"Fill up in Thy priest the perfection of Thy ministry and sanctify with the dew of Thy heavenly ointment this Thy servant decked out with the ornaments of all beauty" "So now pour out upon this chosen one that power which is from you, the governing Spirit whom you gave to your beloved Son, Jesus Christ, the Spirit given by him to the holy apostles, who founded the Church in every place to be your temple for the unceasing glory and praise of your name."
Source: Pope Pius XII, Sacramentum Ordinis, 30 November1947

Source:  Pope Paul VI, Pontificalis Romani,
18 June 1968


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