ASK FATHER: Validity of sacraments from a schismatic priest | 6/14/2018 | View all posts by Fr. John Zuhlsdorf →
pixielilia (Posted by) Level 4


My wife and I recently discovered that Fr. Paul Wickens was schismatic priest. All we ever knew about him, we learned from our family. We attend Holy Mass at the chapel he built (now run by ICKSP with approval of the the archdiocese). Now that we know Fr. Wickens was in schism, what does that mean in regards the sacraments my wife and her sibling received from him? She received First Communion and Confirmation, and some her of siblings were baptized by him. Were these sacraments valid? Licit? Does anything have to be done on our part?

Church - Donatist - Controversy

This reminds me of the early Church’s Donatist controversy.

Wickens did not have faculties from proper authority to function as a priest.

Everything - Illicit - Case - Danger - Death

Everything that Wickens did was illicit, except in the case of danger of death (when the law itself provides faculties for valid absolution, etc).

However, being validly ordained, Wickens did truly confect the Eucharist when he validly, but illicitly, celebrated Holy Mass. Therefore, people really did receive Holy Communion from him.

Person - Church - Doubt

Any person can baptize validly, provided they do what the Church intends. There is little doubt that Wickens baptized validly.

The ordinary minister of Confirmation is a bishop. However, can. 822 says that a priest who has the “faculty in virtue of universal law or the special grant of the competent authority also confers this sacrament validly.” The local bishop could give a priest the faculty and the law itself gives a priest the faculty...
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