A New – and EXPLOSIVE – ‘Dubium’

In the Open Letter that I reproduce below, Father Jan Krutewicz, a priest of the Archdiocese of Chicago, has raised an interesting and important question—one that has potentially explosive implications.

This letter has been addressed to Pope Francis and to Cardinal Victor Fernandez, in his capacity as prefect of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith.

The letter speaks for itself, so I am reproducing it here without comment.—PFL

Question: Is the Sacrament of Holy Orders valid when conferred on a deacon or priest by a bishop involved at any time in homosexual acts with the candidate for ordination?

And similarly: Is the Episcopal Consecration valid in a case where any one of the three bishops taking part in the consecration had been at any time sexually involved with the bishop-elect?

This question is solely about the integrity of the Sacraments whenever there is the possibility that the intention of the ordaining minister and the ordained would oppose the intention of Christ for the Church and which would directly undermine the validity of the Sacrament.

The recent Note from the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith, Gestis Verbisque, On the Validity of the Sacraments. in #18 recalls that the…

…personal faith and moral condition [of the minister who celebrates the Sacrament] (…) do not affect the validity of the gift of grace. Indeed, the minister must have the ‘intention of doing at least what the Church does,’ which makes the sacramental action (…) a fully ecclesial act, removed from personal arbitrariness. Moreover, since what the Church does is precisely that which Christ has instituted, the intention—together with matter and form—also contributes to making the sacramental action an extension of the Lord’s saving work. Matter, form, and intention are intrinsically united. They are integrated into the sacramental action such that intention becomes the unifying principle of the matter and form, making them into a sacred sign by which grace is conferred ex opere operato

If the Sacrament of Holy Orders would be granted as a repayment for sexual favors, then it would lack a valid intention. In fact, it would have the intention of the enemy of Christ.

A similar example of perversion of the intention of the Sacrament is in cases of attempts of sacramental absolution to a partner in sin against the Sixth Commandment. Canon 977 declares such absolutions invalid, and the confessor incurs excommunication latae sententiae, as per canon 1378.1.

It is my very strong personal doubt whether ordinations granted in exchange for mutual sexual acts are valid under any circumstances because of the lack of the right intention. This includes doubt about the validity of any past priestly or episcopal ordinations in the demonstrated circumstances of mutual involvement in moral depravity.

Continue reading at Catholic Culture

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