Today we live in a very confusing time inside Christianity; even the Catholic Church doesn't escape to it. The most fundamental dogms are denied, even by those who are supposed to teach them. As a consequence, respect for all what concerns God has diminished dramatically. Liturgy, once celebrated with fear and trembling, became an area of experimentation and selfrealization, an area where one can show his artistic talents. New liturgies were introduced accompanied by a new catechese, a new idea and ideal of priesthood, a new church with a new doctrine completely cut off from the living tradition, even often in fragrant contradiction with it. People, even bishops and theologians start to wonder what to think about certain celebrations: Eucharist, ordinations, baptisms, where even the most fundamental parts arbitrarily are changed. Even people higly placed in authority use non-approved texts for the Eucharist, ordinations, etc. In the area of evangelization adaptation has become inculturation, and when this one didn't satisfy those minds always searching for something new, it was replaced by 'inreligionisation', t.i., to adopt as far as possible the rituals, vocabulary and theology of the pagan other religions.

In this context it might be useful to examine the question of the minimum intention required from the part of the minister to administrate validly the sacraments. Since the intention is a hidden element in the minister, somehow we must be able to discern it through the external sign of the ceremonies. We will examine the controversed theory of the exterior, or better 'exteriorised intention'. Finally, we will see an application: the famous case of the Anglicanordinations, declared by Leo XIII in an irreformable decision as invalid and void because of defect of intention and of form.


D Denzinger & Schönmetzer: Enchiridion Symbolorum definitionum et declarationum...

NRT Nouvelle Revue Théologique.

A. Generalities


Before we study the particular question of what type of intention is required of a minister of a sacrament, let us first speak about the intention as a human act in general. We describe the intention as "an act of the will regarding the end". One adheres in absolute way to it, and pursues it as a term to obtain. It postulates however also an act of the intelligence to fix the term and to give the order to pursue it1. It regards also the intermediary goods and means, but principally it regards the end. So, a more complete definition would be: "the voluntary act by which we decide to do or to accept something".


  1. The intention is actual when one wants consciously the action; virtual2 when one acts under the influence of a previously taken decision without thinking on it at the time of the action (we act by automatism, e.g., in a distraction). In both cases, the intention unlatches the movement of the will. A presumed intention is called interpretative: if this presumption is based on former decisions or on a more general intention, it is an habitual intention.

  2. If the intention depends of a condition for its realisation, it is conditional, otherwise absolute.

  3. Depending of its object, the intention is confused, determined, undetermined, explicit or implicit.

Intention as Source of Morality (case of virtual and actual intentions)

The intention can be called the finis operantis (the aim of the doer), different from the finis operis (purpose of the action). The distinction is important because only the finis operis can be indifferent, while the finis operantis is necessarily good or bad.

  1. A good action with a good intention has its fundamental and accidental goodness.

  2. A bad action with a bad intention has a double malice.

  3. An indifferent action will be good or bad depending of the intention.

  4. A gravely bad intention spoils even a good action.

  5. A slightly bad intention spoils (venially) a good action if it is a determining cause of the action3.

  6. A slightly bad intention spoils (partially) a good action if it mixes itself with a good actionwithout being its total or immediate reason4.

Source of Merit

Our source of inspiration is St. Paul's teaching: "Whatever you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God" (1 Co.10:31). An act will be meritory only if it has God as its aim. In this life it is impossible to refer everything to God. We cannot think always on God; that belongs to the perfection in heaven. It is the vertue of charity which refers everything virtually to the Supreme Good. By doing so, it makes meritory all good works of the just. So, on the side of man, the intention is the source of merit. Man has to possess the vertue of charity so that he can refer everything he is and does to God, also his works if they are morally good. Consequently all our actions are meritory of eternal life5. An actual intention is not required; a virtual intention suffices to influence an action, because of the causality of the last end on the intermediary ends. If the virtue of the first cause remains in the subordinated causes, the intention of the principal end remains virtually in the secondary ends.

In the Administration of the Sacraments.

From the side of the receiver:


No intention is requested from children and dements. It is sufficient that the subject does not put obstacles. So, baptism, confirmation, eucharist and ordination are valid for them. For those who have the use of reason: some intention is required. The Council of Trent6 has defined that justification takes place by a voluntary reception of the grace and the gifts of the H. Spirit. Consequently, a positive resolution from their part is necessary. If violence was used, we must distinguish: if the violence was relative (the subject consents), the sacrament is valid; if the violence is absolute (irresistible), it is invalid. The same applies for receiving during sleep or insanity7.


the subject is passif, therefore the intention required from him is less perfect than for the minister who has an active role and is a cause, although subordinated. Required is an interior intention since it concerns a sacred thing; for marriage and reconciliation a virtual, for the other sacraments an habitual intention suffices. For ordination the intention must be explicit (expressed positively); for baptism, confirmation and extreme unction an implicit (manifested in another one8) intention suffices.

From the side of the minister:


The Church teaches that the minister must have the intention to do what the Church does9. This intention is different from a knowledge of the nature of the sacrament, faith in its efficacity, recognition of the true Church, but is equivalent with the will to do what Christ has wanted or to follow the practice of His Church, to accomplish a religious rite in use among the Christians. Even an ungodly person can be minister10. Let us come to the theological justification of this.

Bible and Fathers teach us that the minister in his action represents Christ and the Church. Therefore we speak of "baptising in the name of Jesus", celebrating "the supper of the Lord". His function is only ministerial. From this results the obligation to depend on the Authority which they incarnate by observing what He Himself has done or has ordained to do, t.i., to conform their intentions to His.

  1. God respects the nature of His instruments. Since man is a reasonable and free being, God asks man to subordinate his action to God's action, to act with a dependant but aunomous will, t.i., with an intention.

  2. The sacrament is a moral action of the highest level; therefore it postulates from the intelligence and the will a real intention.

  3. The matter of the sacraments in themselves don't signify the sacred effect11. It is the form which determines the sacramental sense, but not always clearly enough. It is the intention which removes all equivocity. The words of the form express the objective sense only if this sense is given to them by the intention. They have a practical (efficacious) value, not a theoretical one (depending from the faith of the receiver). So what is required is a will which makes these words to attain their aim, t.i., an intention. The nature and the end of the rite presuppose necessarily an intention.

Required Qualities:

1. to do what the Church does or what Christ has instituted: On 28 december 1949 the S. Congregation of the H. Office issued a notice: Answer on the validity of baptism in certain sects. The question was raised by American bishops if, in judging marriage cases, baptism in five particular sects, when the required matter and form were used, can be presumed to be invalid because of defect of required intention in the minister to do that the Church does or what Christ instituted, or that its validity should be presumed, except if the opposite can be proved. The answer was that they should be presumed valid as long as the opposite is not proved. The doubt was raised only for these five sects: baptism in the Anglican High Church baptism is considered as valid, other sects don't admit baptism at all.

The Baptists use the formula: "On the confession of your faith in our Lord Jesus Christ and in order to obey to the divine commandment, I baptise you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost"; that of the Disciples of Christ (type of Baptists) is: "On the confession of your faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, you are hereby baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost". Both sects consider baptism as a rite instituted by Christ. It supposes in the receiver, who is always an adult, faith in Christ, which baptism symbolises and perfects. The Presbyterians and Congregationalists (Calvinists) use a valid form but the accompanying prayers and explanations give it a heretical interpretation. The Methodists follow the Anglican ritual and doctrine.

Besides the use of matter and form, the validity of baptism requires from the part of the minister the intention, at least general, "to do what the Church does" or "what Christ has instituted". This intention can be explicit or implicit and is not excluded by an erroneous opinion of the minister on the nature and the effect of the sacrament. Even if the minister declares to have an intention to perform a rite which is merely symbolical of the faith of the receiver and of his union to Christ, he can still have the required intention because he thinks erroneously that Christ's institution was thus and he wants to conform himself to it. That is e.g., the case for pagans giving baptism. The Councils of Florence, Decree for the Armenians, and of Trent condemned the Protestant errors on the effects of baptism while recognizing their validity.

The H. Office on 17.11.1830 had already decided that baptism of heretics, using the essential matter and form, have to be presumed as valid12; and in an instruction on 30.1.1833 it justified its answer:

The validity of the sacrament doesn't require the intention called express or determined, but the generic intention suffices, i.e., to do what the Church does or what Christ has instituted or what the Christians do; such is the common teaching of the theologians". "The bishop must avoid ... to declare uncertain or invalid the baptism for the sole reason that the heretical minister who has administered it, not believing that sins are forgiven by this bath of regeneration, has not administred it for the forgiveness of sins and consequenly doesn't have the intention to confer it as it has been instituted by Christ ... Indeed, St. Pius V has declared that people baptised by the Calvinists in France should not be rebaptised because "the private error of the minister doesn't affect the validity of the sacrament, the general intention of the minister to do what Christ has instituted or what is done in the true Church of Christ prevailing on this error."13

The H. Office insisted that if no serious doubt exists, baptism should not be reiterated, even not conditionally. The quotation comes from Pius V who taught that when the minister uses the matter and form with the general intention to do what Christ has instituted, the fact that he errs in his special intention doesn't invalid baptism (cf. Council of Evreux in 1576). The H. Office in its instruction of 24.1.187714 quoted St. Robertus Bellarminus who remarks that the Council of Trent doesn't mention the aim of the sacrament; it doesn't say that the minister must intend what the Church wants, but what she does. "What the Church does" doesn't mean her intention, but her action. Those baptised by the Calvinists or Zwinglians are not rebaptised; "however we know that all baptise without the intention of the real aim to remove the original sin". The H. Office recalls its instruction of 18.12.1872 when was asked if baptism is doubtful when the minister before baptism declares that baptism doesn't produce any effect in the soul, it answered: "Negative, because an error on the effects of baptism doesn't exclude necessarily the intention to do what the Church does"15. The fact that the ritual contains heretical opinions or that such opinions are expressed before or after baptism doesn't exclude the required intention. But if he, not believing in Christ's divinty, excludes positively all religous meaning to baptism, this intention cannot be presumed. In the words "On the confession of your faith in our Lord Jesus Christ" he doesn't exclude the general intention, especially not when he adds: "and in order to obey to the divine commandment".

2) - only exterior: the minister wants to perform integrally and seriously the exterior rite, t.i., to apply the matter and pronounce the form, independently of all interior intention. It is also possible that he performs it with the intention to amuse himself or others, or with an intention not to confer the sacrament. In this case he has only an exterior intention.

- interior16: The minister wants the rite he performs as a rite of Christ and of the Church or as a religious rite in use among the Christians. The historiens Rufina, Socrates and Sozomena report that in Alexandria, in the year 305 children imitated a baptismal ceremony they just witnessed with non-baptised children. When the bishop, Alexander, saw this, he interrogated them, and recognised the validity of the baptisms after consulting his priests. The story is probably legendary, but it was for a long time taken as a real event17.

The question preoccupied St. Augustin. According to him only God knows the value of the sacraments:

But let us consider, in the case of some one also giving it in deceit, when both the giver and the recipient are acting deceitfully in the unity of the Catholic Church itself, whether this should be rather be acknowledged as baptism, or that which is given in a play, if any one should be found who received it faithfully from a sudden impulse of religion: or whether it be not true that, so far as the men themselves are concerned, there is great difference between the believing recipient in a play, and the mocking recipient in the Church; but that in regard to the genuineness of the sacrament there is no difference. For it makes no difference in respect to the genuineness of the sacrament within the Catholic Church itself, whether certain persons celebrate it in truth or in deceit, so long as both still celebrate the same thing, I cannot see why it should make a difference outside, seeing that he who receives it is not cloaked by his deceit, but he is changed by his religious impulse. Or have those truthful persons among whom it is celebrated more power for the confirmation of the sacrament, than those deceitful men by whom and in whom it is celebrated can exert for its invalidation? And yet, if the deceit be subsequently brought to light, no one seeks a repetition of the sacrament; but the fraud is either punished by excommunication or set right by penitence.
But the safe course for us is, not to advance with any rashness of judgment in setting forth a view which has neither been started in any regionary Council of the Catholic Church nor established in a plenary once; but to assert, with all the confidence of a voice that cannot be gainsaid, what has been confirmed by the consent of the universal Church, under the direction of our Lord God and Saviour Jesus Christ. Nevertheless, if any one were to press me - supposing I were duly seated in a Council in which a question was, without reference to the previously expressed views of others, whose judgment I would rather follow, if I were under the influence of the same feelings as led me to assert what I have said before, I should have no hesitation in saying that all men possess baptism who have received it in any place, from any sort of men, provided that it were consecrated in the words of the gospel, and received without deceit on their part with some degree of faith; although it would be of no profit to them for the salvation of their souls if they were without charity, by which they might be grafted into the Catholic Church ... Just as already, from the established decrees of our predecessors, I have no hesitation in saying that all those have baptism who, though they receive it deceitfully, yet receive it in the Church or where the Church is thought to be by those in whose society it is received, of whom it is said, "They went out from us". But when there was no society of those who so believed, and when the man who received it did not himself hold such belief, but the whole thing was done as a farce or a comedy or a jest - if I were asked whether the baptism which was thus conferred should be approved, I should declare my opinion that we ought to pray for the declaration of God's judgment through the medium of some revelation seeking it with united prayer and earnest groaning of suppliant devotion, humbly deferring all the time to the decision of those who were to give their judgment after me, in case they should set forth anything as already known and determined.18

He compares the case of someone giving baptism deceitfully inside the Church with a baptism given in a play to one who during it gets a right intention. In both cases there is no genuine sacrament. He asks if a right intention has more power for the validity, than a deceitful one for its invalidation? If such a deceit is discovered, the sacrament is not repeated; but the fraud is punished; but the Church has not definitively pronounced on this matter. His opinion is that baptism is valid "provided it is consecrated in the words of the gospel (intention of the minister), and received without deceit on their part with some degree of faith" (dispositions of the receiver). Baptism received with deceit inside the Church is also valid. But for a baptism conferred outside the Church by someone without faith, so that the whole thing was done as a farce, comedy or jest, one should ask it to God Himself, deferring it to a future judgment.

Hugues of St.-Victor (+ 1141) was the first to formulate the necessity of an intention. He justifies this by saying that the minister is a reasonable being, so he must act accordingly: there must be an intention corresponding to the exterior rite19. We must know speak about the controverse between the partisans of the exterior and those of the interior intention. We will start with the condemnation by Alexander VIII of the position of Fr. Farvacques of the Order of Ermites of Augustin (1622-1689)20.

B. External or Internal Intention?

The thesis of Fr. Farvacques

During a thesis he made to discuss following case: a parishpriest of a big parish, having loosed the faith, continued during 39 years to administer the sacraments. He observed in detail all the rites, but before administering the sacraments he always decided: "I don't want to do what the Church does". Finally, touched by grace, he converted and revealed the matter to his confessor, asking what is the value of his sacraments and what he should do about them.

Christ in His human nature is the principal minister of the sacraments; next, the Church cooperates in a special way in the administration of the sacrements. It is she, under Christ, who makes up for the absence of the necessary qualities in an unworthy minister by her faith and holiness. Finally, in dependance of Christ and the Church, man are ministers of the sacraments. They are instruments of the salvationwork. Since these instruments are reasonable and free beings, they must act reasonably and freely. No real human act can be done without intention. Upto there no problem. The controverse starts on the point: to what refers this intention to do what the Church does? Farvacques' answer is: on the serious, conscious and free accomplishment of the rites which constitute the way received in the Church to administer the sacraments. No other internal, occult and inscrutable intention is required; no contary intention, unless manifested, invalids the sacrament. How does he justify his position? He recurs to the above quotation of St. Augustine. Also the authority of St. Thomas is invoked (following in this his master, Albertus Magnus)21. Let us examine the text of St. Thomas. An objection says:

One man's intention cannot be known to another. Therefore if the minister's intention were required for the valdity of a sacrament, he who approaches a sacrament could not know whether he has received the sacrament. Consequently he could have no certainty in regard to salvation; the more that some sacraments are necessary for salvation...

He answers to that:

Some hold that the mental intention of the minister is necessary; in the absence of which the sacrament is invalid ... Others with better reason hold that the minister of a sacrament acts in the person of the whole Church whose minister he is; while in the words uttered by him the intention of the Church is expressed; and that this suffices for the validity of the sacrament, except the contrary be expressed on the part either of the minister or of the recipient of the sacrament.

But a little further St. Thomas says22:

... when a man does not intend to confer a sacrament, but to make a mockery of it. Such a perverse intention takes away the truth of the sacrament, especially if it be manifested outwardly. (corpus). The intention of mimicry or fun excludes the first kind of right intention [in regard to the sacrament], necessary for the validity of a sacrament. (ad 2).

This can still be understood in the sense that the contary intention must be exteriorised. In his Opuscula Theologica23 he enumerates the elements required for the validity: matter, form and intention. He distinguishes the exterior rite from the intention added to it, which thus is mental. St. Thomas never explicitly says that it suffices to have the intention to pronounce the words, but that it suffices to have the intention expressed by the words, e.g. to be minister, to baptise. This intention is interior, but non exclusively because it is exteriorised and incarnated in the words of the rite.

Farvacques' own arguments are as follows: Everything in the matter of sacraments depends on the free will of Christ, the principal minister. Christ could have made their validity dependent on a hidden intention, or the faith and holiness of the human minister. He has certainly not done it for the moral dispositions, so we can expect the same for the intention. St. Augustin gave the general rule: "Malitia ministri non nocet columbae Sacramentum suscipienti". So we can include the malicious intention in this. There also the Church makes up for the defect of intention, in the goodness of her maternal heart. Should it not be inconvenient that Christ's power be blocked by the wickedness of a minister who is only an instrument? Shouldn't the faithful be exposed to endless anxieties if everything concerning their salvation depends from an unverifiable intention? They would never be certain if they received a sacrament! This is not the case of a defect of matter and form or a manifested malicious intention, which can be noticed. An intention not to administer a sacrament while administering it is only an inefficacious velleity. In such a conflict of two opposite intentions, the only valid intention is the one translated in act. Even if he doesn't want to do what the Church does, he nevertheless does (freely) what the Church does: he observes her rite. So he has the intention to do what the Church does. The councils of Florence and Trent don't ask more. The condemned proposition is as follows:

Valet baptismum collatus a ministro, qui omnem ritum externum formamque baptizandi observat, intus vero in corde suo apud se resolvit: Non intendo, quod facit Ecclesia24.

The position of Ambrosius Catharinus

When Farvacques' thesis was condemned, most of his disciples stopped to teach it. Among those who persevered the most famous was Lancelot Politi, in religion Ambrosius Catharinus, (1484-1553) who was theologian at the Council of Trent. He affirms that the minister must have the intention to do what the Church does. For that it suffices that he intends to observe exactly the rite of the Church. The Church does not ask anything more. By observing it, he shows he wants to be her minister. Even if he has a hidden intention to simulate, the sacrament will be valid. He explains:

  1. If everything depends on a hidden intention, nobody can be sure of his salvation. He who performs or undergoes freely an act whose nature he knows, has he not by the fact itself the intention to perform or to undergo that act?

  2. A sacrament is a visible sign, so a invisible intention cannot make or invalidate one.

  3. The human minister is a minister of the Church, it is she who acts by his intermediation. Since the minister uses the required form and matter, what can be missing for the sacrament to be valid? A right intention? The Church does not require it from her ministers, she makes it up if necessary.

  4. Grace and other spiritual benefits come immediately from God, neither from, nor through the minister25. The minister lends his voice and movements to Christ and the Church. Through that the sacramental sign, wanted by God, exists and grace will be given to all who don't put obstacle. The will to accomplish seriously the exterior rite suffices for its validity.

Is Catharinus' thesis the same as that of Farvacques?

Both, Farvacques and Catharinus, assert firmly the validity of a sacrament in the case of a minister accomplishing integrally a prescribed rite with a hidden contrary intention, a positive intention not to do what the Church does. So in this point there is no difference in their teaching. Several authors claim that Rome itself declared that Catharinus' teaching was not included in the condemnation26, basing themselves on private conversations of his disciple, Sergius, with consultors who are bound by secrecy, but this is unlikely.

Motive and Scope of the Condemnation

The original texts of Farvacques of which the condemnation was extracted were as follows:

Qui dixerit ex parte intentionis faciendi, quod facit Ecclesia sufficere intentionem seriam ponendi, quibus utitur Ecclesia, dummodo iocandi animus nullo indicio foras se prodat; neque improbabile quidquam, neque censura dignum dixerit adstipulante Pallavicino. Valebitne Baptismus, si minister omnem externum ritum, formamque baptizandi observet, in sinu cordis occulte, latenterque cogitet: non intendo facere, quod facit Ecclesia? Decisio Augustiana. Valere Baptismum non obscure ex Augustino deducitur. Nam contra Donatistas lib.5. cap.13. scribit quod si sanctitas occulta ministri ad valorem Sacramenti requireretur, Deum illam externo signo demonstraret ... similiter enim, si Christus (penes quem stat vis & norma Sacramenti) ab illis latentibus cogitationibus voluisset baptismi valorem pendere, aliquo signo externo demonstrasset, quis minister necessariam intentionem haberet27.

It was considered as contary to the decisions of the Magisterium, especially of the Council of Trent, requiring matter, form and intention: Martin V's bull Inter cunctas; Eugenius IV's Decree to the Armenians28. The Council of Trent says:

The penitent should not be so complacent about his faith as to consider himself truly absolved before God on account of his faith alone ... if the priest has no mind to act seriously and to absolve truly. For ... one would be most negligent about his salvation if, knowing that a priest absolved him jokingly, he would not diligently seek another who would act seriously.29

The intention "to absolve truly" is the interior intention. The text mentions two incidental clauses. If these clauses are complementary, the intention to absolve is added to the rite seriously performed; if they are synonyms, to act seriously means here to absolve. In both cases an interior intention is needed. Farvacques' second text seems to assert that no intention is required; the correct and serious material execution of the rite is sufficient; but this interpretation is contradicted by the first text, where he asserts that the required intention is present when there is the intention to perform seriously the rites of the Church, as long as no contrary intention is manifested. The proposition was considered, not necessary as explicitly contrary, but as endangering the Tridentine definition, though the reference to Pallavicini30 recalls that the Council has avoided to pronounce itself on this problem. Only the affirmation that the intention to do what the Church does is not required in the minister, or that the sacrament is valid even when the minister has the positive intention to do something different than what the Church does while conferring the sacrament merits the qualification of heresy.

According to Bouessé Humbert31 the proposition was not condemned for its doctrinal contents. Farvarcques' thesis was condemned as "savouring of heresy", what means that his sentence is ambiguous, dangerous for the faith because it can have a heretical meaning. Once the ambiguity is removed, it can have an acceptable sense. Sometimes it suffices to limit the condemned sentence in its extension to make it orthodox. His condemned sentence was: "Baptism is valid, when conferred by a minister who observes all the external rites and the form of baptising, but interiorly within his heart resolves: I do not intend what the Church does". We can replace it by: "Baptism is valid when conferred by a minister who exteriorly intends what the Church does, since he observes all the external rites and the form of baptising in a proper context of request and grant, by which he protests expressly and exclusively his intention of baptising, while interiorly within his heart he resolves: I don't want to baptise in the sense in which the Church wants baptism".

The contemporian historian of the council of Trent, cardinal Pallavicini, clearly affirmed that the Council didn't intend to decide on the matter. Innocent IV as private theologian spoke also in this sense:

It is not necessary that he who baptises knows who is the Church who baptises, who is baptised and from where he comes. It is also not necessary that he has the idea (gerat in mente) to do what the Church does. Indeed, even if he has the idea to do the opposite, namely of not doing what the Church does, while yet doing it since he observes the form, there would be baptism provided that he intends to baptise32.

Benedict XIV (as private canonist, Lambertini) hundred years later taught that the opinion that an external intention suffices was never condemned by the Holy See, although it received a blow with the condemnation under Alexander VIII33. He explains that we can no longer teach that an external intention excluding all internal intention suffices. Distinctions have to be made. Also, we cannot identify the condemned proposition with Farvacques's general doctrine on ministerial intention or with Catharinus' teaching. The Church has not condemned the theory of the internal intention in bloc. Only its essence must be well exposed.

Leo XIII in his Apostolic Letter Apostolicae curae et caritatis (1896) declared:

With this intrinsic defect of form, then, there was joined a defect of intention - of that intention which is likewise necessary for the existence of a sacrament. Concerning the mind or intention, inasmuch as it is in itself something interior, the Church does not pass judgement; but in so far as it is externally manifested, she is bound to judge of it. Now if, in order to effect and confer a sacrament, a person has seriously and correctly used the due matter and form, he is for that very reason presumed to have intended to do what the Church does. This principle is the basis of the doctrine that a sacrament is truly a sacrament even if it is conferred through the ministry of a heretic, or of one who is not himself baptized, provided the Catholic rite is used34.

But Pius XII in his Apostolic Constitution Episcopalis Consecrationes (1944) ordered:

The two bishops who ... assist ... must not only touch with both hands the head of the bishop elect ... but also recite the prayer ... after having duly made their mental intention of conferring the episcopal consecration together with the consecrating bishop35.

Differences Between the Two Positions

Both parties admit the necessity of a ministerial intention, so in what do they differ? The partisans of the interior intention believe man's wickedness can sometimes separate the serious administration from the sacramental intention. For Catharinus the serious material accomplishment of the rite is not sufficient; on the other hand, an interior intention to do what the Church does is not required; the intention to perform exteriorly and seriously the rite ('exteriorised intention' to do what the Church does) suffices. Farvacques and Schillebeeckx36 say that the partisans of the interior intention request more than what the Church asks (the intention to do what the Church does). The serious external administration of the sacrament and the intention to do what the Church does are inseparable: the exteriorised intention implies necessarily a corresponding interior intention.

This is not the thesis of a 'mere exterior intention', which says that the serious accompishment of the rite entails necessarily the presence of a true intention in the minister except if he manifests exteriorly his interior disagreement. All possibility of an internal hypocrisy or simulation of the sacrament is denied. As long as there is no external manifestation, all eventual contrary intentions are supplanted and made up by the required intention. This is proved as follows:

  1. Theory of the prevalent intention: The minister has two contradictory intentions: one to do, one not to do what the Church does. The act itself will show in which direction the conflict evolves. Against this is objected that the minister might have only one intention: the contrary one, which he hids by his simulation.

  2. The visible character of a sacrament: since a sacrament is a visible sign, a non-manifested intention cannot suffice for or harm its validity. Against this is argued that it is true that the constitutive elements of a sacramental sign are in the realm of our exterior senses, but we cannot say that all elements which can harm the validity are discernable: e.g., wine made from an indiscernible chemical imitation, non-blessed chrism, non-consecrated bread, 'mass' celebrated by a false priest37.

  3. The social, ecclesial aspect of a sacrament: the faithful address themselves to the minister as a minister of the Church, not as an private individual with his personal views and intentions. It is impossible for a minister, acting in the name of the Church, in the moment in which he performs the rite commanded by the Lord, asked by the members of the Church, to prevent as a private person the act of being valid. Against this is objected that the Church requires a right intention of her minister, which the simulator has not. He doesn't want what the Church wants, but something that looks alike. The case is different of that of a minister who wants to abuse a sacrament (e.g., to consecrate hosts to profanate them). He has the intention to do what the Church does (finis operantis), but not what she wants (finis operis).

Catharinus' followers added a useful precision: The rite must be in an ecclesial context. They justify this as follows:

  1. He who performs seriously a sacred rite acts as a minister of Christ, does what the Church does by applying the matter and form on the subject as she prescribes. Consequently, the effect follows independently of the intention of the minister, just as natural causes produce their effect necessarily (e.g., fire). The rite confers the grace ex opere operato.

  2. The Church is a visible society. Such a society is governed by an administration that expedites all its affairs in an exterior manner. At the condition that the legal forms are observed, the authorities pay no heed to the interior intention. (e.g., decision of a judge).

  3. A mental intention escapes to all observation or controll. If this one is indispensable for the validity, how can the faithful know if they really received a sacrament? In the case of a bishop, we have invalid ordinations! What a source of perplexity for the souls. There is even the danger that the continuation of the hierarchy is no longer assured.

The arguments of the partisans of the internal intention38 can be resumed as follows: The representatives of Christ are not simply notaries who register the acts performed by God and accuse reception of the grace by the subjects. The sacramental action, while being a divine work, is also a human action. The minister is not an unconscious instrument, but a reasonable and free being; he must conform his will to that of the main cause, Christ. The exterior rite can be a profane or a religious action, natural or sacramental. This will depend from the intention of the minister. He must have the intention to use his ministerial power which he got from Christ, to act in His Name and with His power. This will, which has as object - not the materiality of the rite, but its supernatural character - is the interior intention. What about the fear for invalid sacraments? What is required from the minister is very little. One must have a very perverted soul to cheat the faithful in such a way. We must leave it to God's Providence who will not allow that the priesthood will be extinct by a series of invalid ordinations or that the faithful loose confidence in the sacraments. The assistance that Christ promised to His Church will not be vain.

In what consists the serious external intention implying necessarily an corresponding internal intention in the minister? It is the will, proved by the facts, expressed in the gestures accomplished and the words pronounced as the Church and the receiver of the sacrament want it. Except if he manifests the opposite, the obedience of a minister to the rite prescribed by the Church makes of him, willing or unwilling, a minister of Christ and the Church, accomplishing efficiently the sacramental sign wanted by them. This is particulary visible in the administration of baptism and ordination by the dialogues between minister and receivers. Here is no question of a practical certitude based on a presomption, based on exterior circonstances, but of a certitude based on the nature and truth of the sacrament and the minister because the intention in the case of sacraments gives the meaning to the symbolical rite. It is a meaning immanent to the rite which the minister wants necessarily as soon as he accomplishes the rite, not for game, but seriously.39

The term 'intention' in our modern languages is ambiguous: it has also the meaning of wanting the end of the act, e.g., a prayer for the conversion of a sinner. But in sacramentary theology it designs the usage. A sacrament is an action. By the will of its Instituter, Christ, it has an objective meaning, which the Church uses and which she cannot change. This meaning specifies the interior act of the will of the minister, independently of what he thinks of the value of his action, as soon as he executes it40.This presupposes in the minister, before he uses the rite, a decision on his part to proceed with this action. This decision is free. Because of exterior causes he might be compulsed to execute it seriously, while personally he might prefer not to proceed, as e.g., a priest who remains in office only to gain his bread, or one who wants to harm the Church from inside. This has no importance whatsoever: He wants the action he executes and freely executes it. The conflict in him is only between his will (decision) and a velleity.

What is the meaning of the 'vital and social context' of the rite administered seriously? It is more than the social and ecclesial aspect; it is the ritual dialogue, the human context of asking and receiving: someone asks to be baptised and the minister accepts the petition. The words "I baptise you" or "be baptised" in this context can only have one meaning. The minister might desire that the effect be not produced, but his words don't allow him to give to his action another meaning that the one intended by he who requests the sacrament. The same certitude doesn't exist for a simulation of an unrequested baptism of a child without any witness. This principle applies especially for the sacraments of baptism and ordination, which are the skeleton of the Church, of extreme importance for her holiness. The external intention of the minister, he willing it or not, is engaged in the confection or administration of the sacrament, the meaning wanted by Christ and the Church, as a consequence of the serious insertion of his gesture in the liturgical context. The nature itself of the sacramental rite commands the presence of the minimum required intention; in the human and ecclesial context in which the rite is performed, it can only have one sense. The sole fact of performing it freely proves in the minister the presence of that minimum required intention, necessary for being connected to Christ's operation.

There is one special case: in the hypothesis that the institution words constitute the essential form for the Eucharist, the priest could intend them to speak of his own body and blood, or as a simple narrative. It is not an exception against the general law, but a confirmation: the exception comes from the absence of a context removing all ambiguity. But when a priest celebrates mass in a liturgical, ecclesial context: in presence of a community, following all the presciptions of the Church, pronouncing seriously the consecratory words in the whole of the eucharistic prayer, he acts realy as minister of the Church, in persona Christi, even if he intends inwardly to refer them to his own body and blood. In the given context, his words pronounced as minister of the Church can only have one meaning, in spite of his personal, subjective velleities, namely the objective, ecclesial, ministerial one.

A special importance must also be given to the approval of the sacramental rite by the Church. This was particularly important in the judgment on the validity of the Anglican ordinations (cf. postea):

If a person uses correctly and seriously the form and matter prescribed by the Church, he is considered by that fact itself, to do what the Church does. Indeed, his internal intention has no exterior manifestation other than the prescribed form and matter: and this expresses effectively the intention of the Church. But if the prescribed form or matter is changed, with the intention to introduce another rite not approved by the Church or to reject what the Church teaches, then not only the correct intention is missing, but the existing intention is opposed to the sacrament and destroys it. The internal intention of the person, who uses a new form or matter not authorized by the Church, and rejecting what she teaches, has indeed a new external manifestation in which the authority of the Church is missing and which is opposed to her intention. A person, using such new form or matter thus doesn't want to do what the Church does41.

Fr. Schillebeeckx affirms:

It belongs to the true Church to determine whether a rite performed in given circumstances is an 'exteriorisation' of her own faith, that is, whether it is her own act; or whether it is, on the contrary, an act expressing the faith of another, separated church, qua separated. In this later case the rite is not valid42

The same principle applies in the case of a deliberate return to an ancient rite, which while formerly valid in spite of certain imprecisions, can be invalid today. Such a formula, that at a stage when the faith of the Church was not explicited, indicated sufficiently the correct meaning for that period and context, takes a complete different meaning in new circonstances (especially in presence of errors like Protestantism, rationalism). What earlier was not explicited is now deliberately passed over in silence.

In marriage, when one of the spouses withdraws his of her consentement to the marriage or one of its essential elements, the sacrament is considered as void and invalid. But it should be erroneous to try to prove something from that particular case of the sacrament of marriage. Not only, at least according to the Latin conception, the spouses they themselves are considered as the ministers and receivers of the sacrament, but also the conjugal consentment is object of the sacramental contract as well as of the ministerial intention. Every vice in the consentment affects not only the intention of the minister (and receiver), but also the matter of the sacrament. The proper nature of marriage forbids to transpose all conclusions drawn from it to other sacraments, especially if the conclusion is drawn in that in which marriage differs from the other sacraments, namely in being a contract.

Another refutation is based on the case of a repetition of a newly ordained priest: he also executes the rite until its smallest details. Everybody will agree that the material execution of the rite doesn't suffice. But we have already aswered implicitly to this case: there is not the full ecclesial context: (the rite, presence of faithful, their request). Also, suppose that the priest in question (he is already ordained!) suddenly desires to consecrate, than according to the partisans of the internal intention he consecrates validly!

Theological Evaluation of the Quarrel

If we look carefully, the capital difference between the two views concentrates on the nature itself of the sacramental gesture. For those who postulate an unverifiable internal intention the minister makes the sacrament: only if he decides that the rite he performs be sacramental, it will become a sacrament. He is the (instrumental) cause. The partisans of an internal intention consider that the minister doesn't produce the sacrament, he only administers it. For them the sacrament is a rite of the Church, accomplished by her minister. This one acts certainly on a way adapted to his nature: consciously, seriously and freely. The Church asks from him only that he intends to accomplish the rite of the Church. His role is to execute. He is in the background, behind Christ and His Church, completely under their influence. We could maybe make a comparison with the 'Ecclesia supplet' in the case of the sacrament of reconciliation administered by a priest without jurisdiction, in the case of error communis. It looks to me that the internalist view overstresses the role of the human minister. Another comparative study which should be made is that of the human writer and biblical inspiration: In this case also Deus supplet: He preserves the writer from error. If the minister of Christ can oppose Himself to Christ's action, than he becomes the main cause, and Christ only the subordinate cause. It is thus an overthrowing of the hierarchy, an anthropological view of sacramental theology. Not only God's action is abstracted, but it is even put aside.

The article of Fr. Monden, in Dutch language, throws some extra light on the subject:

The meaning of the exterior rite, as for all symbols, has to be recognizable. It is therefore that the sacramental sign has been 'instituted', t.i., entrusted by Christ to the faith of His Church; not to every believer in particular, but to the Church ... as His Mystical Body. She sees and confesses the bound existing between the signifying rite and the signified grace. At the same time if becomes evident why the personal intention of the minister who performs the sacramental sign is necessary in so far as it is necessary that he performs the sign as a sign: he has indeed to intend what the Church sees and wants in it: intentio faciendi quod facit Ecclesia43.

Also the excellent study of Fr. Schillebeeckx, again in Dutch language, gives interesting information: Just as the Church, and in dependance of her, sacraments have become necessary only to fill the distance caused by the resurrection of Christ. The resurrection constituted Him Lord and Son of God in power according to His human nature, and gave Him the possibility to reach each one of us in a human contact. Another consequence is that the reciprocity is not realisable from our side: since in normal conditions we are unable to perceive directly His glorified humanity. We need an intermediary, the ecclesial sacramentalism, which is the bridge and makes possible, in certain limits, the reciprocal meeting between the glorified Christ and the man to be sanctified in a terrestrial visibility. We can then define the sacrament as an immediate encounter of a man with Christ his Redeemer in and through an ecclesial visibility. In order to fulfil his role completely (the optimal case, not the strict minimum required), the minister has to espouse perfectly the intention of His Leader and act deliberately as an instrument of His Church, His continuation on earth. But if he doesn't attain this perfection, the minimum required (because the sacrament is there only to allow a reciprocal encounter of the believer with Christ in an ecclesial visibility) will be that the minister has at least the true (serious) intention to act really as someone who accomplishes a visible action of the Church: for the validity it suffices that he has the inwardly intention to accomplish the exterior rite of the Church.

The sacrament is a visible, sensible sign which allows us to have a reciprocal encounter in the corporability with the glorified Christ. A hidden intention doesn't do justice to this essential aspect of the sacrament. An unverifiable intention, able in itself to render the sacrament valid or invalid, is so much detached from the exterior gesture that it destroys the visible aspect of the sacrament.

We should not forget that the minister, while being a co-cause of the sacrament, still he is only the secundary ministerial cause, Christ in His divine Nature is the principal cause, in His human nature the primary ministerial cause. Christ has instituted the sacraments as a visible sign constituted of a symbolical act together with words which express the meaning of that act. "Accedit verbum ad elementum et fit sacramentum", said St. Augustine. The validity of the sacrament is essentially a question of institutional truth, t.i., of conformity with Christ's institution of the sign. The minister is only Christ's minister if he executes the commandment of the Lord, when he reproduces what Christ first has done or ordered to do: "Do this in memory of Me". Only this conformity assures the sanctifying contact between God's will and the rite performed by the human minister. Therefore the sacrament should not be seen, as Western theologians have done too often, as a magic thing, produces automatically its effect as soon as it is materially executed. There is only a sacrament when there is the efficacity of the word pronounced by the minister and this word is only efficacious when it is faithful in its meaning to the sign wanted by Christ. This faithfulness is the truth of the sacrament and guaranties its validity.

But this conformity, this truthfulness of the word and of the sign is immanent to the sacramental sign. It exists also in the will of the minister, but as an object of the Lord's commandment and as an internal motive for his ministerial action. Therefore, it doesn't suppose in the minister a conformity of his subjective moral dispositions (holiness included), of his personal psychological views (faith included) with the will of Christ. The only intention required in him is nothing more than the immediate orientation of the sign performed by the minister. This meaning will be elaborated by the minister as a conscious and free instrument when he reproduces the sign wanted by Jesus. The ministerial intention is thus an orientation (in-tensio) expressed in the exterior, sacramental sign, the action and the accompanying words.

Normally the minister will collaborate subjectively with His Master as a friend, trying to make his the views and desires of his Master, in this case he acts as a good minister. But his fonction, in order to be efficient, has less exigences. For want of acting as friend, he can act as mandatory, as a faithful functionary, giving to the faithful what they ask to him as agent of Christ and His Church. The whole context imposes the true meaning wanted by Christ on His official minister every time this one reproduces in presence of the members of the Church, at their request, the sacramental rite wanted by the Saviour. Even if he doesn't recognize or if he rejects interiorly this truth, it will not harm the truth of the sacrament, his words and gesture. But his will of opposition to the will of His Master constitutes morally a grave sin, a hypocrisy and a sacrilege, but it will be only a velleity, an inefficient wish, a pure intention without corresponding act.

To act or not to act in the name of Christ and of His Church doesn't belong any longer to the minister from the moment he performs the act ordered by Christ and His Church seriously. How can we separate a rite of Christ and the Church from its religious and sanctifying meaning when an official minister of Christ performs it with seriosity? The seriosity includes the religious meaning, which is the objective meaning. This one is the meaning given by Christ to the sign and wanted by the Church. Man is a reasonable being. How can he perform seriously an action that he doesn't want to perform? In conclusion we can say that the rite is sacramental when it is conform in its meaning, in its objective performance to what Christ wants. For that a corresponding intention is required in the minister, namely the intention to execute what the Saviour has instituted in the meaning objectively wanted by Him. Nothing, hence, can separate the ministerial intention from the sacramental rite44.


1. Introduction. History of the Anglican Ordinal

Before treating the particular problem of the Anglican Orders as an illustration of my study on ministerial intention, I must expose shortly the historical background of the new ritual. In a second part I will explain the meaning of the decision: the Anglican ordinations were invalid, not only because of a defect in the form, but also because of a defect in the intention.

The root idea behind the liturgical reform in Anglicanism is its Protestant theology. The fundamental difference between Catholics and Protestants is the theology of justification, mediation and participation. Catholicism is incarnational': the Church is an extension of Christ's incarnation. Christ gave her His power of sanctification. Through her ministers, endowed with Christ's priesthood, she gives men the fruits of Christ's salvation work. God reaches man through a channel of created causes (Jesus' humanity, Church, sacraments, mass). The priests are Christ's instruments. Protestantism is a personal encounter of an individual with divine mercy shown in Christ. Dr. K.E. Skydsgaard, a Lutherian theologican wrote:

According to the Roman Catholic view it is correct to speak of the Church as a priestly-sacramental, supernatural organism of salvation. But this is an impossible expression according to Evangelicals, who are not concerned with infusing the divine powers of grace, but with grace conceived as God's free and merciful coming to sinful men.45

The reformers rejected mass, not becausee of popular errors and abuses, but because of a different interpretation of the revelation. Luther rejected all mediation by creatures and intrinsic elevation of men. Man cannot actively co-operate in the economy of grace, grace cannot be communicated to others, everyone must have faith personally. Grace is not in man, but in God's free will imputing justice to the elect, God releases them from condemnation because of Christ's merits. Man gets only pardon by faith in Christ's atonement. His oblation is sufficient; it is past, it can only be remembered, not perpetuated or mediated. The supper only feeds the faith; it promises pardon, it cannot do anything for others, nor can it offer anything to God:

God does not deal ... with man in any other way than by the word of His promise. So too we can never have dealings with God in any other way than by faith in that word of promise ... A men can draw fruit from the mass only for himself, and indeed only through his own faith, and cannot bestow it upon another46.

Cranmer invited continental reformers for the revision of the new liturgy. Dissensions among them existed, but all agreed in their denial that mass is a sacrifice. The term sacrifice was used, but in a sense that excluded what it meant in Catholic doctrine47: as a mere remembrance of Christ's sacrifice, or an offering of material gifts (bread, wine), of praise and thanksgiving, of ourselves, but not of Christ. The English Reformers declared their conscientious opposition to Catholic sacrificial doctrine since it was opposed to their theology of justification: "The controversy is not whether in the holy communion be made a sacrifice or not...but whether it be a propitiatory sacrifice or not and whether only the priest make the said sacrifice".

The first Prayer Book (1549) was an ingenious essay in ambiguity, purposely worded in such a manner that Catholics and reformers could interpret it in their own way, but the offertory and all other references to sacrificial doctrine were omitted, altars were replaced by tables48. The new Ordinal of Edward VI for ordinations appeared in 1550. The main change was the conception of the priest as a minister of the word and sacraments, no longer as a minister of a sacrifice; all references to a sacrificial priesthood were removed, e.g., anointing of the hands. In its second edition (1552) the porrection of the instruments was replaced by the Bible. All bishops opposed to this were deposed. Matthew Parker was ordained according to this Ordinal. Basing themselves on the Preface of the Ordinal, Anglicans claim that the consecrators intended to ordain bishops to continue the succession of bishops; they did not intend to create a new office or order, distinct from what existed before the Reformation:

From the apostles' time there has been these orders of ministers in Christ' Church: Bishops, Priests and Deacons ... therefore, to the intent that these orders should be continued and reverently used and esteemed in this Church of England ...

In 1551 Cramner initiated a reform of ecclesiastical law. Punishable heresies were faith in transubstantiation, Lutheran consubstantiation, the sacrifice of the mass. This book provides us with the genuine interpretation of the liturgical books since it was drawn up under the same auspices and by the very same hands49. Also the Articles deny sacrificial doctine, e.g. art. 31:

Of the one Oblation of Christ finished upon the Cross. The offering of Christ once made is the perfect redemption, propitiation and satisfaction for all the sins of the whole world, both original and actual, there is no other satisfaction for sin but that alone. Wherefore the sacrifices of masses, in which it was commonly said that the priests did offer Christ for the quick and the dead to have remission of pain or guilt, were blasphemous fables and dangerous deceits.

The 1552 Prayer book removed all what could suggest a doctrine of consecration or Real Presence. It couldn't be interpreted in a Catholic sense. The minister had to stand at the north side of the table to avoid all appearance of a priestly posture. The prayers related to communion preceded the institution words to show that communion was the alone purpose, communion was given in the hands, eucharistic reservation and prayers for the dead were abolished. There were abuses wmong Catholics, such as abuse of stipends, mercenary spirit in the clergy, over-emphasis of priestly function, superstitious reliance by laity upon the procuring of masses for their souls ("gregorian masses"); neglect of communion; expiation takes effect mechanically for whom the mass is applied; over-emphasis to the passion. Bishops and spiritual writers had severely denounced them50, but the reformers attacked the doctrine of mass itself. Even if it is true that the reformers wanted to react against errors, this doesn't justify the new formularies: they also denied the orthodox doctrine, e.g., the eucharistic sacrifice:

The rest is but branches and leaves, the cutting away whereof is but like topping and lopping of a tree or cutting down of weeds, leaving the body standing and the roots in the ground. But the very body of the tree, or rather the roots of the weeds, is the popish doctrine of transsubstantiation, of the real presence of Christ's flesh and blood in the sacrament of the altar (as they call it), and of the sacrifice and oblation of Christ made by the priest for the salvation of the quick and the dead; which roots, if they be suffered to grow in the lord's vineyard, they will overspread all the ground again with the old errors and superstitions.51

2. Leo XIII: Bull Apostolicae Curae et Caritatis

In 1896, Leo XIII, after a commission re-studied the question of the validity of Parker's ordination, from which depend all other ordinations, pronounced a definitive judgement. We will study the text of this bull.

1. Interpretation of the Passage in the Bull on Defect of intention

The pope declared that orders performed according to the Anglican rite are null and void due to a defect in the required intention. He refers to an intention, always necessary for a sacrament, so he speaks about sacramental intention, not about that of the framers of the rite: an orthodox person can compose a defective rite and a heretic a valid one. He also doesn't speak about an intentio circa significationem formae52: in the case of an ambiguous form we must examine which meaning the minister intends to give: Pope St. Zachary in a letter to St. Boniface (746) declared valid baptisms of a priest, who baptised saying: "Ego te baptizo in nomine Patria et Filia et Spiritus Sancta" because he spoke thus out of linguistic ignorance, not to introduce an error. An intentio circa significationem can lack in a heretic, yet his sacrament can be valid if the form is ambiguous. This doesn't apply here: The Anglican form is not ambiguous, but defective. Some held that the general intention of the Church supplies any defect; of the minister only a serious outward performance of the rite is requested. With sacramental intention they mean the intention of the Church. Catholics don't recognize the Anglican community as a Church; also the true Church's intention doesn't need to be tested: it is Christ's one.

It is insufficient to say that the Bull presupposes a valid intention whenever the correct rite is used, and a defective one otherwise. Certainly, Barlow, Parker's consecrator held heretical opinions and had no wish to confer a sacrificial priesthood, but that is not enough to render his intention necessarily null (cf. baptism of Methodists). If the pope wanted to teach that the intention must be presumed to be defective only because the form he used was defective, he should have said: "if he does not use the due matter and form he is presumed not to have the necessary intention" instead of insisting on the purpose of the minister in using a changed rite. The use of a defective form is not enough for a conclusive judgement on the intention; the purpose of that must be studied. The conclusion is not "presumed", but: "it is evident".

Some held that a correct performance of a rite can be associated with a defective intention, but not the inverse (an invalid rite with a right intention) because then the intention is implicitly opposed to the intention of Christ and the Church. The Anglican form is defect, therefore their Orders can never be valid. But this principle is wrong: if a minister uses by mistake a form of a different sacrament, his is not intention defective. We must take in account his purpose in changing the form. Also a decision of the magisterium cannot rest on what is only a probable opinion (the Catharinian thesis).

Leo XIII says that as well as a defect of form, there was lack of the intention required for a sacrament. This one, according to Catholic theology53, is the personal intention of the minister. It must be actual or at least virtual. The pope says that the Church does not judge on the intention in so far as it is interior, but in so far it is manifested outwardly. There is favourable presumption when a minister makes use of the required matter and form, even if he is a pagan. If a rite was changed with a heretical design, the intention will be defective. "Changed" refers to the redaction of a new rite or its use by a minister. In the bull he speaks separately of the defects in form and intention54. Also the Legatine Faculties issued to Cardinal Pole by Julius III for the reconciliation in Mary's reign referred to the two defects55. The Arians showed in their other actions an habitual intention contrary to the Church, but this is not sufficient to invalidate a sacrament. Only if they change the form for that purpose, they show a contrary intention.

2. Some Objections

1. Can we judge an inner intention? The Church judges about intentions if she has reliable external indications. Anglo-catholic bishops might have got a correct intention, even the occasional participation of validly ordained bishops was of no avail because the Edwardine Ordinal was always used, so there was defect of form. Even if the minister had a right intention, the form would remain invalid because of anti-sacrificial spirit of the Ordinal. The defect of intention is not deduced from the fact that he uses an invalid form, but from the fact that he uses a rite framed purposely in opposition to Catholic sacramental doctrine on Catholic priesthood.

2. Merely concomitant heresy, e.g., that baptism has no effect in the soul, even if publicly declared during the ceremony, doesn't necessarily56 invalidate a sacrament, as long as an essential element of the sacrament is not excluded. But the Anglican Ordinal excludes the real priesthood and was officially rejected by the Catholic Church. Some theologians believe a defective intention to be present wherever a changed heretical ritual is used. The Holy Office answered that such a defect has to be proved in every case57. The error is supposed to be merely concomitant until the opposite is proved.

3. Although the sacrament by its nature is supposed to confer grace, the actual conferring of grace is not essential for its validity: an adult receives baptism without fruit if he receives it without repenting. An intention to exclude the sacramental effect doesn't invalidate, it will even not prevent the conferring of grace. But the essence of the sacrament must not be excluded.

4. Simultaneous Contrary Intentions in the Minister. Even if Parker's consecrator had an intention contrary to the conferring of Catholic orders, he had also the general intention to do what Christ instituted and what the Church does. When the will elicits two contrary intentions, the predominant prevails. Normally the general intention prevails, e.g., to do what Christ or the Church wants, since it includes a more particular one. If Parker's consecrator had known that Christ instituted a sacrificing priesthood, he should have had conformed his will to that58. This rule doesn't apply when one intention is conditional, the other absolute (theory of Franzelin)

Answer: When the minister positively and explicitly rejects, knowingly or not, an essential element of a sacrament as Christ instituted it, his intention is defective, and the sacrament invalid, even if he has a general intention to act as a Christian minister or if he would choose what Christ instituted if he knew the incompatibility of both intentions. An ordination is invalid if the minister, while intending to do what the Church does, at the same time explicitly intends not to effect a sacrament or to confer the power of Order or to imprint a character. He wants then two irreconcilable elements: e.g., to consecrate a non-sacrifical Mass, to confer non-sacrificial orders59. But he must exteriorise this60. The Anglican ritual was introduced with the design of rejecting something essential to the sacrament, and the ministers, while adhering to the error of the framers of the rite, manifested their approval of new form.

If a minister while baptising says: 'I want to give neither grace nor character', he has a defective intention. It has to be proved that the Anglicans reformers restricted positively their intention by their heretical doctrines, saying e.g., I want to ordain priests without giving power to consecrate. This condition doesn't flow necessarily from their heresy. It cannot be presumed, but has to be proved in foro externo. Such proves exist: they rooted out the Eucharistic sacrifice, deleted all reference to the sacrifice in the ordination rite, substituted altars by tables61. In the Bull the defect of intention was understood in this sense:

But if, on the contrary, the rite is changed with the manifest purpose of introducing another rite which is not accepted by the Church, and of repudiating what in fact the Church does and by Christ's institution belongs to the nature of the sacrament, then it is evident not only that the intention necessary for a sacrament is lacking, but even that an intention is present which is adverse and incompatible with the sacrament.

The pope declares the defects of the minister's intention to be manifest because three conditions are verified: 1° the rite was changed; 2° the minister made the change with the manifest intention to introduce another rite not sanctioned by the Church; 3° he substituted the rite with the purpose of rejecting something what belongs to the essence of the sacrament (certainty comes from this condition).

The defect of will doesn't lie in using a new rite, but in rejecting an essential element, here the power of a consecrating and sacrificing priesthood. Barlow was persuaded that he was returning to Christ's institution, it was his heresy. If he had known his error, he might have changed. In spite of his interpretative intention, the pope says: "it is evident". So he rejects the Franzelin's theory of the interpretative intention and presupposes the De Lugo-Gasparri principle: a positive act of the will against an essential feature of the sacrament necessarily vitiates the whole intention and invalidates the sacrament, whether or not the minister knows that feature to be essential. The pope adds: when the conditions are verified, there is not only a case of absence of due intention, but there is an intention opposed to the sacrament.

3. The Defect of Form

The pope arguments as follows: A sacrament, because it is a sensible and efficacious sign of grace, must signify the grace it effects. This signification is found mainly in the form, for this one gives determined significance to the matter, which by itself has no definite meaning. Imposition of hands is used for Confirmation, Penance and for different Orders. He doesn't say that the form must necessarily contain an express mention of the Order or power to be conferred, for this was controversed among the Schools. The most common opinion was that a form can receive its determination ex adjunctis, by prayers associated with it and by the general setting and purport of the rite62. A valid form must possess a determined sacramental meaning. If this cannot be found in the wording of the form or in the meaning which accrues to the form from its association with other elements in the ceremony, then the defect of form is certain.

The Anglican form doesn't contain any mention of the priestly Order or its essential power to consecrate and offer the Eucharistic sacrifice, so it is insufficient. Also, nowhere in the rite we find something that can supply the required meaning. At the contrary, all such references have been expunged. The pope says not that a form must expressly signify the order, but it ought not be a deliberate withholding. The same applies for the Episcopal Order, since the chief power of a bishop is that of ordaining priests.

Does not the rite itself shows what Order is being conferred? The Ordinal in its preface, titles, rubrics and some prayers makes distinction between the Orders of deacons, priests and bishops, which are "to be continued" in the Anglican Church. The pope answers to this (without taking position for or against the opinion that a form can be supplied by the general context): The context of the rite, in stead of providing a lacking determination, produces the opposite effect: the tendentious, total suppression of all that signified the powers of the Catholic priesthood, gives a anti-sacrificial connotation to the Ordinal. Moreover, this connotation has the effect of giving a different meaning to the terms 'priest' and 'bishop'. Even the formula for priesthood "whose sins thou dost forgive ..." and St. Paul's words referring to Timothy's office of bishop "remember that thou stir up the grace of God which is in thee by the imposition of hands" in the ordination of bishops cannot change this.

The Anglican form "Receive the Holy Ghost" is insufficient. The 1662 addition "for the office and work of a priest (or bishop)" came too late. The addition proves that they themselves felt that the form was inadequate. Even with this addition the forms remain invalid since the meaning of these words has changed in the Anglican context. In other contexts such a form could be valid. The only formulae infallibly are valid are those instituted by Christ and canonised by His Church. When a new form is introduced, there is no certainty of its validity until it has been acknowledged by the universal Church. No individual bishop or Church (except the Holy See) can decide with certain authority whether a new or modified liturgical form is valid. Only the universal Church has this power. Earlier, the acceptance of communion of a local Church by the universal Church was a guarantee of the validity of the sacramental rites of that Church. As long as no (expressly or tacitly) approval was given, uncertainty on their validity subsisted.


We have seen in this study that according to the general teaching of the Church, confirmed by this particular study on the bull of Leo XIII on the Anglican orders, the ministerial intention is an essential and vital element in the confection of the sacrament. As in the execution of the ceremony, also in this intention, the minister cannot act as he likes. He must follow Christ's institution and do what the Church does. Instead of considering the sacramental rite as a magical rite, depending of hidden intentions, we must see it rather as a dependance of the minister on Christ who instituted the sacraments and His Church, who is the treasurer. While for the validity little is requested, the priest, sacer-dos, the giver of holy things, has to conform himself, exteriorly and interiorly to the will of Christ. Then only he becomes an alter Christus. Then only becomes true what Christ promised His apostles and what is sung in the ordination of priests following the Roman Pontifical: I don't call you servants, but friends".


Arguments in favour of the in/externalist intention: 1) a rule in the Roman Missal (De defectibus, 7) that hosts present at the altar are not consecrated if not included in the mental intention of the celebrant. 2) Sixtus V approved expressly a decision of the Sacred Congregation of the Council (23.1.1586) declaring invalid the ordination of persons under the canonical age by a bishop who had beforehand declared that he did not intend to ordain any such. 3) It declared also invalid the ordination of natives by a bishop who had affirmed that he intended not to ordain them (13.2.1682). 4) Code of Canon Law (1917), can.1086, 1, on marriage consent: "The internal consent of the mind is always presumed to be in conformity with the words or signs used in celebrating the marriage." It is only a presumption: § 2 shows that it is revocable: the inner intention prevails. 5) Pope Nicolas I's rescript: baptism correctly conferred, even by Jews or pagans, is valid, cf. D 335.

Although orthodox, Scott's position prepared the Reformers' theology. He insisted on the commemorative nature of mass: it is only a ritual presentation to plead for the Church's needs. Christ delegated His priestly power to the Church and her ministers, so it is no direct act of Christ Himself, it has less efficacy than Calvary. The priest offers in persona Christi ac Ecclesiae. His view is too juridical: if the priest's ministry is seen, not as a delegation, but as a participation, we can say that Christ and the Church, both offer mass directly, while it is more truly the offering of Christ than of the Church or her minister. The Church is 'principal minister' in relation to the celebrant. For Thomists, Christ, in whose name the priest acts, is proximate offerer in mass, so mass has unlimited efficacy. They see the priest as acting in the person of Christ, neglecting the Scottist view that the whole Church (Head and members) offers the mass.


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Augustinus: De Baptismo contra Donatistas (PL 93:243)

Benedictus XIV, De synodo dioecesana, Liber 7.

Bouessé Humbert: Le Sauveur du Monde IV, L’économie sacramentelle, Chambéry-Paris, 1951.

Bouëssé Humbert op: Intention du Ministre et validité des sacrements in: NRT 77 (1955), pp. 1067-1077 Bouëssé Humbert op: A propus de l’ intention ministérielle in: NRT 80 (1958), pp. 722-725.

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Collectanea S.C. De Prop. Fidei, vol. II.

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Cramner: Reformatio Legum Ecclesiasticarum (1640).

Cranmer, Works, P.S. I.

Cranmer, Works, P.S. I.

De Lugo (card.): Disputationes de Sacraments in Genere, VIII.

De Lugo (card.): Disputationes de Sacraments in Genere, VIII.

Decisions of the S.R.Rota, vol.XXX, 1939.

Decisions of the S.R.Rota, vol.XXX, 1939.

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Dr. K.E. Skydsgaard: One in Christ, tr. A.C. Kildegaard, Philadelphia, 1957.

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Farvacques: Opuscula theologica ad veritatis et charitatis stateram expensa. (I). Opusculum in quo de sacramentis novae legis generatim agitur, Leodici Eburorum, G. Streel, 1680.

Farvacques: Corrollaria de Sacramentis in genere et tribus prioribus in specie ex axiomatibus sacramentalibus deducta, Lovanii, P. Sassenus, 1673

First Prayer-Book of Edward VI compared with the succesive revisions of the Book of Common Prayer, Oxford, James Parker, 1877.

Fontes Iuris Canonici, liber 4.

Franzelin: De Sacramentis in genere, Roma, 1868.

Franzelin: De Sacramentis in genere, Roma, 1868.

Gardiner: Explication of the Catholic Faith touching the Sacrament of the Altar (1551).

Gardiner: Explication of the Catholic Faith touching the Sacrament of the Altar (1551).

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Gatard: Anglicanisme in: Dictionnaire de Théologie catholique, T.1, P.2, 1284-1302; Paris; Letouzey; 1923 Gregorius: Dialogues (PL 77).

Gregorius: Dialogues (PL 77).

Grolier Encyclopedia of Knowledge; Danbury; Grolier; 1993; vol. 9 (art. Great Britain) Hugo de Sancta Victor: De sacramentis (PL 176).

Innocentius IV: Commentarium in tertium librum Decretalium.

Jones Cheslyn, ed.: The Study of Liturgy, London, SPCK, 1992.

Leo XIII: Apostolicae curae et caritatis (13.9.1896).

Marchal L.: Ordinations Anglicanes in: Dictionnaire de Théologie cath., XI, P.2, 1154-1193; Paris; Letouzey; 1932 Martin Luther: Babylon. Captivity, Werke, Weimar.

Martin Luther: Babylon. Captivity, Werke, Weimar.

Monden L. sj: Het Misoffer als mysterie, Roermond, 1948.

Monden L. sj: Symbooloorzakelijkheid als eigen causalitieit van het sacrament in: Bijdragen 13 (1952).

Neill Stephen: Anglicanism, Pelican, Middlesex, Penguin Books; 1965; 468 p. (329-468) Pallavicini, Histoire du Concile de Trente.

Pius XII, Apostolic Constitution Episcopalis Consecrationes (1944).

Pocock: Abolition of the 39 Articles.

Pocock: The reformation of the Ecclesiastical Laws, ed. Cardwell.

Pocock: Abolition of the 39 Articles.

Pocock: The reformation of the Ecclesiastical Laws, ed. Cardwell.

Pourrat, Théologie sacramentaire, Paris, 1910

Rataboul Louis-J., prof.: L’Anglicanisme; Que sais-je?; Paris; PUF; 1982; 128 p. (91-128) Renwart Louis sj: Ordinations anglicanes et intention du ministre in: NRT 79 (1957), pp. 1029-1053.

Renwart Louis sj: L’ intention du ministre des sacrements, problème mal posé? In: NRT 81 (1959), pp.


Renwart Louis sj: Intention du Ministre et validité des sacrements. La position de Fr. Farvacques et sa condamnation in: NRT 77 (1955), pp. 800-821.

Rufina: Historica ecclesiastica (PL 21)

S. Congrégation du Saint-Office: Réponse sur la validité du baptême dans certaines sectes in: NRT 72 (1950), pp. 522-530.

Schillebeeckx Edward, De sacramentale heilseconomie.

Skydsgaard K.E. : One in Christ, tr. A.C. Kildegaard, Philadelphia, 1957.

Socrates: Historica ecclesiastica (PL 67)

Sozomena: Historica ecclesiastica (PL 67).

Tavard George H.: The Quest for Catholicity, London, Burns & Oates, 1963.

Thomas Aquinatis, Summa Theologica.

Thomas Aquinatis: Opuscula Theologica De sacramentis.

Thomas Aquinatis: In IV Sententiarium.

Thouvenin A.: “Intention” in DTC, vol.7-2, col.2268-79; Paris, Letouzey, 1923.

1cf. St. Thomas Aquinatis, Summa Theologica I-II, q.12, a.1, ad 3: "actum voluntatis, praesupposita ordinatione rationis ordinantis aliquid in finem.

2St. Thomas calls this intention 'habitual', cf. S.T.II-II, q.64, a.8, ad 3. Today's understanding of the habitual intention is that of an intention which was virtual, but is it no longer (e.g. drunkenness), it lost all influence on the act.

3e.g. to celebrate Mass out of an immoderate desire to get stipendia.

4e.g. to go to a particular church to celebrate Mass where a higher stipendium is given.

5We must add: "de condigno", t.i. they are not meritory in themselves, like if salvation could come from human actions, but because of God's disposition who has connected our salvation with the accomplishment of good works.

6Session 6, c.6-7, D1556s.

7Innocent III to the Bishop of Arles, D 780.

8e.g. the intention to accomplish everything what is necessary for salvation is included in that of becoming Christian.

9cf. Council of Trente, Session 7, c.11 against Luther who claimed that the sacramental rite has no proper efficacity, that it is not an action of Christ that requests an intention; that it only depends on the faith of the subject. In this case if suffices to perform the rite so that the receiver remembers God's promise and his faith is awaked, D 1611.

10cf. Innocent III: Creed of the Vaudois, D 793; Martin V: Inter cunctos, D 1262; Eugenius IV: Decree to the Armenians, D 1310.

11e.g. the action of pouring water on the head of someone can also be done to wash, to cool of, etc.

12Florence: D 1315; Trent: D 1606, 1617; H. Office: Fontes I.C., 4, p.152.

13Fontes I.C., 4, p.153.

14Fontes I.C., 4, pp.366 ff.; Bellarminus: De sacramentis in genere 1:27; Trent: Sess.7, can.11, D 1611.

15Fontes I.C., 4, p.327.

16Ambrosius Catharinus, theologian at the Council of Trent: De necessaria intentione in perficiendis sacramentis (1547); cf. Salmeron (16th c.); Farvacques (17th c.); Juenin, Serry, Contenson, Drouin (18th c.), Oswald (20th c.).

17Rufina: Historica ecclesiastica 1:14 (PL 21:486f.); Socrates: Historica ecclesiastica 1:15 (PL 67:115); Sozomena: Historica ecclesiastica 2:17 (PL 67:978).

18St. Augustin, De Baptismo contra Donatistas L.7, c.53:101-102; transl. from A Select Library of the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church; ed. Philip Schaff, vol.4; Michigan, W.B. Eerdmans, 1956, pp.512f. (PL 93:243).

19Hugo de Sancta Victor: De sacramentis 2:6:13 (PL 176:460).

20propositions 28 and 29 (in 1690), D 2327s.

21St. Thomas Aquinas, S.T.III, q.64, a.8, ad 2.

22id. a.10, corpus and ad 2.

23St. Thomas Aquinatis: Opuscula Theologica De sacramentis.

24"Baptism is valid, when conferred by a minister who observes all the external rites and the form of baptising, but interiorly within his heart resolves: I do not intend what the Church does". D 2328; cf. Farvacques: Opuscula theologica ad veritatis et charitatis stateram expensa. (I). Opusculum in quo de sacramentis novae legis generatim agitur; Leodici Eburorum, G. Streel, 1680.

25Ambrosius Catharinus: De intentione ministri sacramentorum, Roma, 1552.

26cf. Thouvenin A.: "Intention" in DTC, vol.7-2, col.2268-79; Paris, Letouzey, 1923; Pourrat, Théologie sacramentaire, Paris, 1910, p.357; Schillebeeckx Edward, De sacramentale heilseconomie, p.472.

27Farvacques: Corrollaria de Sacramentis in genere et tribus prioribus in specie ex axiomatibus sacramentalibus deducta, Lovanii, P. Sassenus, 1673; Augustianae Quaestionum Moralium Quarumdam Moralium et casuum decisiones, Lovanii, P. Sassenus, 1678 in: Louis Renwart, S.J.: Intention du Ministre et validité des sacrements. La position de Fr. Farvacques et sa condamnation in: NRT 77 (1955), p. 815.

28Martin V, Inter Cunctas: "Likewise whether he believes that a bad priest who uses the correct mater and form and has the intention of doing what the Church does, truly performs (the Eucharist), truly absolves, truly baptises, truly confers the other sacraments", D 1262. Council of Florence, Decree for the Armenians: "All these sacraments are constituted by 3 elements: by things as the matter, by words as the form, and by the person of the minister conferring the sacrament with the intention of doing what the Church does. And if any one of these 3 is lacking, the sacrament is not effected"; "The minister of this sacrament is the priest, to whom by reason of his office it belongs to baptise. But in case of necessity ... even a pagan and a heretic may baptise, provided he observes the Church's form and intends to do what the Church does", D 1312, 1315. Council of Trent, Session 7, Decree on the Sacraments: "If anyone says that the intention, at least of doing what the Church does, isn't required in the ministers when they are performing and conferring the sacraments, anathema sit", D 1611.

29Session 14, cap.6, D 1685.

30Pallavicini, Histoire du Concile de Trente, Liv.4, chap.6, n.2.

31Bouessé Humbert, O.P.: Le Sauveur du Monde IV, L'économie sacramentelle, Chambéry-Paris, 1951, pp.362f.; Intention du Ministre et validité des sacrements in: NRT 77 (1955), pp. 1067-1077. L. Renwart got following information from the Franciscan Library where are kept the papers of a censor: of the six consultors, one esteemed it as correct; another as heretical in the Lutherian sense, as correct in the sense of Catharinus, as suspect of heresy if taken absolutely; another as heretical or at least savouring of heresy, the others as heretical. cf. NRT 77 (1955), p. 1077.

32Innocentius IV: Commentarium in tertium librum Decretalium, quoted in Boüessé Humbert: Intention du Ministre et validité des sacrements in: NRT 77 (1955), pp. 1068.

33Benedictus XIV, De synodo dioecesana, Lib.7. Cap.4. n.8.

34"Cum hoc igitur intimo formae defectu coniunctus est defectus intentionis, quam aequo necessario postulat, ut sit sacramentum. De mente vel intentione, utpote quae per se quiddam est interius, Ecclesia non iudicat: at quatenus extra proditur, iudicare de ea debet. Iamvero cum quis ad sacramentum conficiendum et conferendum materiam formamque debitam serio ac rite adhibuit, eo ipso censetur id nimirum facere intendisse quod facit Ecclesia. Quo sane principio innititur doctrina quae tenet, esse vere sacramentum vel illud quod ministerio hominis haeretici aut non baptizati, dummodo ritu catholico conferatur", Leo XIII, Apostolic Letter Apostolicae curae et caritatis (13.9.1896), D 3318. Translation by J.D. Smith, Catholic Truth Society, London, 1967.

35"... sed facta opportuno tempore mentis intentionem conferendi Episcopalem Consecrationem" Pius XII, Apostolic Constitution Episcopalis Consecrationes (1944), AAS 37 (1945) 131ff.

36Schillebeeckx Edward, De sacramentale heilseconomie, p.474.

37We envisage here only the validity of a sacrament; it can be expected that the faithful receive still the response graces.

38Bellarminus, Suarez, Vasquez, de Lugo, Tournély, Benedict XIV (as canonist).

39"Non requiritur mentalis intentio sed sufficit expressio per verba ab ecclesia instituta", St. Thomas, In IV Sent., d.6, q.1, a.2, sol.1, ad 2; cf. S.T.III, q.64, a.8, ad 2.

40That is the meaning of Innocent IV's text, otherwise there is contradiction in what he says between "even if he has the idea to do the opposite, namely of not doing what the Church does" and: "provided that he intends to baptise".

41Fr. Henry St. John, O.P., letter to the editor of Theology (Nov. 1936, pp.295-298).

42paper of E. Schillebeeckx quoted in Francis Clark: Anglican Orders and Defect of Intention, London, 1956, pp.9f.

43L. Monden sj: Symbooloorzakelijkheid als eigen causalitieit van het sacrament in: Bijdragen 13 (1952), pp. 277-285; cf. also his thesis: Het Misoffer als mysterie, Roermond, 1948.

44cf. Bouëssé H.: A propos de l' intention ministérielle in: NRT 80 (1958), pp. 722-725.

45Dr. K.E. Skydsgaard: One in Christ, tr. A.C. Kildegaard, Philadelphia, 1957, pp.157-9.

46Martin Luther: Babylon. Captivity, Werke, Weimar VI, p.51

47Cranmer, Works, P.S. I, p.369. Note that, different from all former Catechisms, the Catechism of the Catholic Church makes no mention of the propitiatory character of the mass! Why?

48We see similar changes in the new latin liturgy, criticised by Card. Ratzinger. That an orthodox interpretation was possible, cf. Bishop Gardiner, Explication of the Catholic Faith touching the Sacrament of the Altar (1551).

49cf. Pocock, Abolition of the 39 Articles, part 2, p.31; The reformation of the Ecclesiastical Laws, ed. Cardwell, pp.12-9

50cf. Alvarius Pelagius, De planctu Ecclesiae, Tauler; Council of Trente, s.22; John Gerson, Nicholas of Cusa, Denis the Carthusian, Gabriel Biel; cf. St. Gregory: Dialogues 4:55 (PL 77:416-21).

51Cramner: Preface to A defence of the True and Catholic Doctrine of the Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Our Saviour Christ, p.xxiv; cf. Answer to Gardiner's Explication; Reformatio Legum Ecclesiasticarum (1640), p. 29; cf. also the Lutheran Schmalkaldic Articles.

52Thomas Aquinatis: Summa Theologica III, q.60, a.8; q.64, a.8 ad 2; cf. Salmanticenses, Suarez, Franzelin. St. Thomas elsewhere teaches that a mere internal withholding of intention, even if the outward rite were duly performed, would be at least doubtful: In Lib.IV Sententiarum d.5,a.2,sol.1; cf. d.8, q.2, a.4, sol.3, ad 2; d.6, q.1, a.2; d.30, q.1, a.3, ad 3; Summa Theologica, III, q.65, a.10; Opusculum 5; etc.

53cf. Innocent III, Councils of Constance, Florence and Trente (D 424, 672, 695, 715, 854).

54The paragraph begins with "Igitur", not in the meaning of 'therefore', but: 'next'.

55cf. also the relation of Mgr. Genetti for the Holy Office in the Gordon case (1704)

56cf. Instruction of H. Office on Methodist baptisms in Oceania, 24.1.1877 (Collectanea S.C. de Prop. Fidei vol.II, n.1465, p.100) This doesn't mean that all these baptisms were valid; only we deny a general presumption of invalidity.

57Decision of H. Office, 28.12.1949, AAS, vol.XLI, p.650; cf. Decision of the S.R.Rota, vol.XXX, 1939, 28, p.265

58Franzelin: De Sacramentis in genere, Roma, 1868, 225f: "The sacrament can truly be said to be valid, provided that the minister by his general intention, will to confer baptism in the same way that Christians usually confer it, even if by a special intention he should will not to do what the Church does: e. g., if he should will that the baptism ... should not be a sacrament; if he should will not to sanctify the person baptised, etc. or should will not to do what the Roman Church does (thinking that she does not possess true baptism) ... It is necessary, however, that all these contrary intentions should not be so absolute that they exclude and destroy the other intention (e.g., of consecrating) ... If a man wills the exclusion of the sacrament, in such a way that, even if the sacramental doctrine were true, he would still will not to consecrate or to contract marriage, he cannot, while he has such an effective contrary intention, efficaciously will the consecration or the marriage contract. Generally speaking such an effective exclusion of the sacrament cannot be found, except in a case of deliberate and obstinate malice, of a kind very rarely met".

59cf. Gasparri (card.), Tractatus Canonicus de Sacra Ordinatione, vol.2, n.968, Paris, 1894; De Lugo (card.), Disputationes de Sacraments in Genere, VIII, Sect.8

60Clark in his book on Anglican Orders goes too far: he deduces general principles for all the sacraments from the particular, exceptional case of marriage; cfr. p. 14 in this study.

61Gasparri: De la Valeur des Ordinations Anglicanes, Paris, 1895, p.31: letter of Card. Vaughan.

62Opinion of Lehmkul, Gasparri. The intentio circa significationem can be seen as the subjective part of the determinatio ex adjunctis, while the rest can be called determinatio ex adjunctis objectivis.