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Ordinations and Consecrations 

Fr. Steven Hartley was ordained as a catholic priest in the Archdiocese of Brisbane by Archbishop Bathersby, under the New Right of Ordination, on the 5th of July 2002. He was conditionally ordained a priest by Bishop Adamson on the 29th of April 2010, under the Latin Rite in San Fransisco USA according to the 'Pontificale Romanum: Summorum Pontificum, Jussu Editum, a Bendicto XIV et Leone XIII, Pontificibus Maximus MDCCCXCV'. Fr. Steven Hartley was then subsequently consecrated a Bishop by Bishop Joseph Macek, on the 24th of May 2022, Our Lady Help of Christians Feast Day, at St Michael the Archangel Roman Catholic Church Windsor, Pennsylvania (Archbishop Pierre Martin Ngo Dinh Thuc and Bishop Christian Marie Datessen).

Over the years there has been controversies concerning Archbishop Thuc and his line consecrations and their validity.  Many different "traditionalists", whether they be Bishops, priests, or members of SSPX, CMRI, SSPV or any other group have questioned the validity of the "Thuc" consecrations.  This is also the case concerning Bishop Datessen.  I would like to outline the case for the validity of the consecration of Bishop Datessen and his line of consecrations. 

Bishop Datessen was an Old Catholic priest and then a Bishop. He was consecrated to the Episcopy by Andre Alexandre Enos a Bishop of the Old Holy Catholic Church (Vilatte and Mathew Linage) on the 10/09/1981.  He was then conditionally consecrated a Bishop by Archbishop Thuc on 25/09/1982 at Castel Sarrasin in France.  (Terry Boyle Thuc Consecrations)

Many people will argue that just because Bishop Datessen was first consecrated an Old Catholic Bishop that his lines of consecration are invalid.  Firstly, the Old Catholic lines are valid and recognized formally by the Roman Catholic Church.  Secondly Archbishop Thuc was a validly consecrated Bishop of the Roman Catholic Church and so he conferred on Bishop Datessen Valid Episcopal Orders. 

When reading through "The Administration of the Sacraments" by Nicholas Halligan, O.P. (1964) he states that "Every consecrated bishop and only such is the Ordinary minister of valid ordination."  .... "It makes no difference for validity even if the bishop is heretical, schismatic, excommunicated, degraded..."  (Halligan p. 367)   Also, in his footnotes he references Pope Pius ix recognizing the validity of Old Catholic orders both priest and bishop, because they have instituted a catholic hierarchy. 

The Code of Canon Law 968 (1917 Code of Canon Law) states that for a Valid Ordination "Only a person of the male sex who has been baptized can validly receive the sacrament of orders."  The Code continues on and outlines that "The Canon demands two things for a valid ordination of clerics " "(1) the male sex" and "(2) baptism by water."  And thirdly "the intention to receive the sacrament."   

Ludwig Ott makes a similar statement when he says: "Every consecrated Bishop, including heretical, schismatics, simonists or excommunicated Bishops, can validly dispense the sacraments of order, provided that he has the requisite intentions, and follows the essential external rite." Dr Ludwig Ott "Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma"  (Tan Books and Publishers Rockford Illinois: 1974) 458.

In Canon 1002 (1917 Code of Canon Law) states that "In conferring any order, the minister must thoroughly observe the proper rites in the Pontifical and other rites described in the liturgical books approved by the Church, and for no reason is he permitted to omit or invert them."  Also, in Canon 951, the Code of Canon law states that "The ordinary minister of sacred ordination is the consecrated Bishop ......" and ..... "The ordinary minister ordains by reason of the power received in episcopal consecration.  This power can never be lost; hence he can always ordain validly anywhere, even though not fully lawfully."   What these Canons are stating that when the ordinary minister is going to ordain or consecrate a man to the priesthood or to the episcopy that it is his responsibility to follow the rite of ordination or consecration.  He is the one to verify whether or not he has followed the rites of the church.  Also, secondly, that he will never lose his power to ordain and consecrate.  

What many people do not realize, when they try and make the case that Archbishop Thuc did not validly consecrate Datessen to the Episcopy, is that Archbishop Thuc had been consecrating man to the priesthood and episcopy for nearly 40 years.  He did know the rites of ordination and consecration.  He did know the matter and form necessary to confect a valid sacrament of Holy Orders.  So, when Archbishop Thuc states that he validly consecrated Bishop Datessen to the Episcopy, he can make this claim, because he did what the church requires of him to confect a valid sacrament of consecration.  Nobody then should question his ability to confect a valid sacrament, unless they have substantial evidence to prove otherwise. 

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