The Vatican issued a statement today on Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo’s illicit ordination of four men as bishops last weekend in Washington, DC.
“For this public act both Archbishop Milingo and the four ordinands have incurred excommunication ‘latae sententiae,’ as laid down in Canon 1382 of the Code of Canon Law. Moreover, the Church does not recognize, nor does she intend to recognize in the future, these ordinations and all ordinations deriving from them; and she considers the canonical status of the four supposed-bishops as being that they held prior to this ordination.
I’m a little surprised because I thought that even though the ordinations were illicit, they were valid, but perhaps the Vatican is saying that they are invalid because one of the conditions for a valid sacrament was not present. I would suppose that would be “intending to do what the Church intends.” The other conditions are proper form and valid matter and I suppose one of those might not have been present either. That the men had already claimed to be bishops in a schismatic sect may also have something to do with it.
In any case, while the excommunications are tragic, at least the errors are not compounded by actual ordinations.
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