Archbishop Lefebvre on the Validity of the New Rites

A valid sacrament requires the correct matter and form, the intrinsic causes, and a valid minister and the intention to do what the Church does, the extrinsic causes.  For a sacrament to be intrinsically invalid, at least one of the intrinsic causes must be defective.  Now in some Traditionalist circles, it is claimed that Archbishop Lefebvre held that the validity of the New Rites of the Sacraments is doubtful.  By not making any qualifications, they make it seem like the Archbishop was speaking about the matter and/or form of the New Rites.  If it is their intention, they are not correct. Take, for example, the Fr. Stark issue.  Here are the words of the Archbishop during a 1983 conference in Ridgefield, Connecticut:

Note that Archbishop speaks about studying each case and not making one judgment across the board.  If he held that the matter and/or form was doubtful, he would indeed be right to make one judgment across the board.  Now, this example is for the New Rite of Ordination.  What about the New Rites of the other Sacraments?  For all the other New Rites, one would have difficulty finding Archbishop Lefebvre placing doubt on the matter and/or form as approved by Rome, except for the matter of the Sacrament of Confirmation because of the permission given in the New Rite to use vegetable oil instead of olive oil.  For the New Rites of the Sacraments, rather, the Archbishop was chiefly concerned with the intention of the minister due to a poor formation.  However, as mentioned above, this is an extrinsic factor.  Therefore, these Traditionalist circles need to be careful when they make broad statements and attribute them to the Archbishop or take the Archbishop’s words out of context.


One Response to Archbishop Lefebvre on the Validity of the New Rites

  1. We couldn’t agree with you more. They all matter in regard to the words of Archbishop LeFebvre including the words that are inconvenient toward a particular topic if the words of the Archbishop happen to not agree with one’s particular viewpoint on a particular topic. This way of proceeding by way of omitting and avoiding the words of Archbishop LeFebvre when they do not suit one’s viewpoint could even be said to be dishonest if the person’s approach is to purposely choose to omit and avoid Archbishop LeFebvre’s quotes that are opposed and do not bear witness to the particular viewpoints that one is putting forth.

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