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In Defense of My Episcopal Consecration

(A Letter of Bishop Moises Carmona)

My dear and true friend,

In answering your letter of —, I ought to tell you the following.

It is clear that in normal circumstances, no bishop can consecrate licitly another bishop, but we are presently living in circumstances that are not at all normal, since they constitute a most unusual case for which nothing is clearly legislated. Three things characterize our present situation:

Bishop Moises Carmona

1) Since the death of Pius XII, we have had but imposters, which means that for over twenty years the Holy See has been vacant.

2) Almost the entire episcopacy has embarked upon a new religion, and has therefore apostasized from the true Faith, renouncing the eternal Church.

3) The true faithful hunger for the word of God that is no longer being preached to them, and they are asking of us the administration of the Catholic sacraments.

At first, we placed our hopes on Archbishop Lefebvre, in whom we saw a true Catholic bishop, a defender of the true Faith, with whom the legitimate apostolic succession would continue; but we have been deceived. Lefebvre has not been unaffected; we have felt betrayed seeing him making deals with the Vatican from where all the blows against the true Church have come.

Although men fail, God cannot fail, nor can He abandon His Church. It is for this reason that, providentially and in its proper time, the very illustrious and humble Archbishop of Hue, Vietnam, with his valiant declarations, has presented to all men the disastrous state in which the Church finds herself in God’s eyes. He declared the vacancy of the Holy See and the invalidity of the “New Mass,” binding himself as a Catholic archbishop to do for the Church all that he can and ought to do.

The episcopacy was offered to me. I had to think much about it before I could decide. In the end, I accepted it for the sole reason of assisting in the rescue and triumph of the Church.

On October 17, Father Zamora and I were consecrated by Archbishop Thuc in a virtual catacomb, with only two distinguished doctors as witnesses. Both of us were conscious of the furious storms of protest that would come, but the words of our Divine Master encouraged us: “You shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice; and you shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy” (John 16:20).

On our return to Mexico, the attacks began. Some said, without any foundation, that our consecrations were invalid because we were consecrated with the new rite; others, more serious, said that, based on Canons 953 and 2370, the consecrations were valid but illicit, and that consequently we were suspended. [Ed. note: Archbishop Thuc used the traditional rite of episcopal consecration — not the new rite — when he consecrated Bishop Carmona.]

As can be seen, our detractors were ignoring the axiom Qui cum regula ambulat, tuto ambulat — “He who walks with the rule, walks safely.” They should remember, if they had forgotten, that Pope Gregory IX left eleven rules and Boniface VIII eighty-eight for the true interpretation of the law. These rules, according to Canon 20, can supply the defect of the rule in a particular case, as in the case we presently find ourselves. Consequently, the fourth rule of Gregory IX expressly states: Propter necessitatem, illicitum efficitur licitum — “Necessity makes licit what is illicit.”

The necessity of having Catholic bishops and priests and the lack of true sacraments can easily be seen; therefore, we were validly and licitly consecrated.

Rule 88 of Boniface VIII also expressly states Certum est quod is committit in legem qui legem verbum complectens contra legis nititur — “It is certain that one sins against the rule who adheres to the letter and leaves aside the spirit.” Therefore, it is unjust to impute to the legislator a desire to greatly harm the Church during a vacancy of the Holy See by forbidding the ordination of bishops and priests and the administering of the sacraments to the faithful who ask for them.

Therefore, in accepting episcopal consecration from Archbishop Thuc, we have relied on these rules, conscious and certain that, given the circumstances in which we live, the consecrations are both valid and licit. We are also conscious and certain that we would have sinned, if by relying on the letter [of the law] we had rejected the consecrations, there being only one Catholic bishop who can now be found to transmit the episcopal succession.

[Brief paragraph that has little relevance omitted here.]

Please accept my most sincere affection. I beg God to continue to illuminate you so that you may continue in the battle, defending the rights of Christ and of His Church, now so shamelessly offended by those who have the duty of defending them, even if it be at the cost of their lives.

 Sincerely yours,
 Moises Carmona R.
 May 18, 1982

* Archbishop Thuc used the traditional rite of episcopal consecration, not the new rite, when he consecrated Bishop Carmona.

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