Outline of Episcopi Vagantes
(Under Construction: last changed on 10/15/2007
still much to be added and even more proof-reading to be done)


By "independent Roman Catholic priests" I do not mean clergymen with a self-proclaimed ministry, even if they do call themselves "Catholic" or "Roman Catholic," nor do I mean those clergymen calling themselves "Catholic" or "Roman Catholic" who claim "apostolic succession" via the so-called Old Catholic Churches of Europe, especially the many North American clergy with orders descending from Arnold Harris Mathew (1852-1919).

Nor do I mean clergymen who claim "apostolic succession" by way of an "Eastern Church," especially those claiming valid orders via Joseph René Vilatte (1854-1929) and his reported consecrator, the Malankara Syrian Orthodox Metropolitan Antonio Francisco Xavier Alvarez (1837-1923), or via Abdullah Aftimios Ofiesh (1880-1966) and his reported consecrator, the Russian Orthodox Metropolitan Basil Evdokim Mikhailovich Meschersky (1869-1935).

Such "Old Catholic" or "Eastern Church" lineages are the sources for the claimed "apostolic succession" of the vast majority of those clergy in the United States not in communion with the Vatican's hierarchy who say that they have valid "Catholic" orders.

Anyone coming across a congregation lead by any such clergyman can easily obtain, from almost any good library, excellent histories and analyses of the originating communions, sufficient to demonstrate that the congregation can in no sense be truly Roman Catholic.

Furthermore, I do not include in this discussion those clergymen claiming valid "Catholic" orders through some "Eastern Rite" bishop of the Roman Catholic Church, particularly those clergy claiming apostolic succession via Antoine Joseph Aneed (1881-1970) and his reported consecrator, Archbishop Méléce Sawoya (1870-1919) of the (Melkite Catholic) Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East, or via Antoine Lefberne (1862-1942) and his reported consecrator, Maran Mar Joseph Emmanuel II Thomas (1900-1947), the (Chaldean Catholic) Patriarch of Babylon. These so-called "Eastern Rite" Catholic cases are both few and problematic; and the validity of their orders is best left to experts to determine on individual bases.

What I do want to talk about are those clergy who claim priestly and/or episcopal orders via certain indisputably Roman Catholic bishops, i.e., bishops who - in the last hundred years - broke with the Vatican's authorities, for one reason or another, and later consecrated bishops of their own.

There are alive to-day many men (and even women) claiming to be priests validly ordained, and/or bishops validly consecrated, by such Roman Catholic bishops (or by the many "independent" bishops who were subsequently consecrated by them).

The bishops and the priests in these lineages really do cover the theological spectrum, ranging all the way from the "certainly valid" through the "doubtful" to the "certainly invalid." They can be grouped in nine distinct lineages, each descending from that small number of Roman Catholic bishops who in the 20th Century broke with the Vatican.

The first five of these "lineage groups" are small, with each comprising but a very few consecrations.

The other four "lineage groups," however, are much more complicated, with each comprising many scores of consecrations.

For all nine "lineage groups," though, I have set forth all the claimed "succession lines" - i.e., not only through the reported "principal consecrators," but also through the "co-consecrators" (whenever there were such).

I. The Concise Lineages:

For each of the following five lineages, the data has been easily acquired and (because the numbers of consecrations very few) easy to chart.

A. The Lefebvre/Mayer Consecrations for the Sacerdotal Society of Saint Pius X.

B. The Mendez Consecration for the Sacerdotal Society of Saint Pius V.

C. The Cornejo Consecrations for the Traditional Catholic Church.

D. The Alleged Charbonneau /Agagianian/ Tappouni Consecration for the Union of Churches and the World Missions.

E. The Alleged Pintonello Consecrations for the Assisi sedevacantists.

II. The Complex Lineages:

Three of the following four lineages comprise several scores of clergymen, all claiming valid "Catholic" orders. Many of these clergymen, however, have transferred repeatedly from one denomination to another, often even exchanging sub conditione consecrations among each other, thereby making very difficult the charting of their claimed lines of "apostolic succession."

The last of these four lineages involves the dozen Chinese bishops who in the 1950s , under pressure from the Communists occupying the mainland of China, established a "patriotic" hierarchy supposedly independent of the Pope. Reportedly, though, these days almost 80% of these so-called "Patriotic" bishops are secretly maintaining relations with the Vatican.

A. The Costa Consecrations for the Catholic Apostolic Church of Brazil.

B. The Ngo Dinh Thuc Consecrations for Various Groups.

C. The Alleged Sánchez Consecration for the Mexican National Catholic Church..

D. The Various Consecrations for the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association.

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