I recently attended the consecration of a friend. Over the course of the weekend, I made a comment to this friend about how thankful I am that we have an Independent Sacramental Movement. I especially am grateful that there were some brave souls that were willing to out on a limb and share apostolic succession with a band of renegades.
Think about it--apostolic succession outside of established churches is a relatively new thing. Sure, there was the consecration of Varlet. However, even his apostolic succession was confined to the Old Catholic Churches. It look men like Vilatte and Mathew to share the succession with others. This is such a relatively recent event in that these consecrations happened within the last 100+ years. Many people within and outside of the movement think that this is the worst thing that has ever happened. However, would many of those same folks inside the movement have orders today without those men?
Sure, Vilatte, Herford, Ferrette, and Mathew were quirky. So were many of the fathers of the movement who passed on succession. But, without their passing on their succession we would be like the priestless Old Believers of Russia. So, forgive this somewhat nostalgic post. But, I am entirely grateful to these early divines. Despite their intentions or shortcomings, they performed significant acts that have had generational ramifications. Some people were and are ordained that should not have been, but can the mainstream church say any different?