Author Topic: Another discussion about RCC Sacraments  (Read 248 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Luthien

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 47
  • Faith: Roman Catholic inquirer
Another discussion about RCC Sacraments
« on: April 25, 2016, 09:35:43 AM »
Quote
  Fr. Georges Florovsky held that while it may not be possible to say, precisely, that schismatics remain in the Church – although St. Basil the Great did say this of some schismatics – it would be “truer to say that the Church continues to work in the schisms,” and Florovsky spoke affirmatively of the “validity” of sacraments outside the visible unity of the Church.

As far as I know, this is a particular opinion originating with St. Augustine, and not the consensus of the Fathers. Augustine, however, firmly denied that there was grace to be found outside the Church. His theory was that schismatics and heretics may possess the outward signs of Baptism while being deprived of the internal workings  of salvific grace.

The  post-Schism Latins, through Thomas Aquinas, developed the idea of grace operating in sacraments outside the Church.

My understanding is that the Orthodox believe there is no grace outside of the true Church. One Lord, one Body, one Baptism, etc...

If this sort of opinion quoted above is becoming the general belief within the Orthodox Church, then it seems like it is headed in the same direction as the post-Vatican II Catholic Church.

*I edited my response to take out my person feelings about the matter. I am not sure what I can and can't say in this part of the forum. I  don't want to be "that person".

However, I was under the impression that what I stated above was the standard belief of the Orthodox Church, so the quote from Florovsky is confusing to me because I understood what he is saying to be the Catholic Church's position on the matter. I apologize if this is not the type of post to be made here, feel free to moved it or whatever is appropriate.*
« Last Edit: April 25, 2016, 10:19:04 AM by FatherGiryus »

Online Iconodule

  • Professor of Cryptopatristics at Miskatonic University
  • Merarches
  • ***********
  • Posts: 9,691
  • Monsters from the Id
  • Faith: Orthodox Christian
  • Jurisdiction: Ecumenical Patriarchate (ACROD)
Re: Another discussion about RCC Sacraments
« Reply #1 on: April 25, 2016, 09:49:14 AM »
Quote
  Fr. Georges Florovsky held that while it may not be possible to say, precisely, that schismatics remain in the Church – although St. Basil the Great did say this of some schismatics – it would be “truer to say that the Church continues to work in the schisms,” and Florovsky spoke affirmatively of the “validity” of sacraments outside the visible unity of the Church.

As far as I know, this is a particular opinion originating with St. Augustine, and not the consensus of the Fathers. Augustine, however, firmly denied that there was grace to be found outside the Church. His theory was that schismatics and heretics may possess the outward signs of Baptism while being deprived of the internal workings  of salvific grace.

The  post-Schism Latins, through Thomas Aquinas, developed the idea of grace operating in sacraments outside the Church.

My understanding is that the Orthodox believe there is no grace outside of the true Church. One Lord, one Body, one Baptism, etc...

If this sort of opinion quoted above is becoming the general belief within the Orthodox Church, then it is headed in the same direction as the post-Vatican II Catholic Church.

I have to say, as an inquirer into the Orthodox Church, I find this sort of information very disheartening. It is exactly these errors that lead me away, in part, from the Catholic Church. If the Orthodox are falling into the same trap, then I'm not really sure what to think anymore...

Historically, the Orthodox have tended to act as if Catholic sacraments are valid, from the beginning of the schism till now. Eastern Catholics who became Orthodox were received en masse without rebaptism or chrismation. If that bothers you, then you can of course go the route that "rigorist" Orthodox have taken, which is arguing that somehow the Orthodox Church, by receiving these people, fills the previously "empty" sacraments with grace. I think that's very silly but it does seem to have some traction in certain circles.
« Last Edit: April 25, 2016, 10:19:19 AM by FatherGiryus »

Offline Luthien

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 47
  • Faith: Roman Catholic inquirer
Re: Another discussion about RCC Sacraments
« Reply #2 on: April 25, 2016, 09:54:59 AM »
Quote
  Fr. Georges Florovsky held that while it may not be possible to say, precisely, that schismatics remain in the Church – although St. Basil the Great did say this of some schismatics – it would be “truer to say that the Church continues to work in the schisms,” and Florovsky spoke affirmatively of the “validity” of sacraments outside the visible unity of the Church.

As far as I know, this is a particular opinion originating with St. Augustine, and not the consensus of the Fathers. Augustine, however, firmly denied that there was grace to be found outside the Church. His theory was that schismatics and heretics may possess the outward signs of Baptism while being deprived of the internal workings  of salvific grace.

The  post-Schism Latins, through Thomas Aquinas, developed the idea of grace operating in sacraments outside the Church.

My understanding is that the Orthodox believe there is no grace outside of the true Church. One Lord, one Body, one Baptism, etc...

If this sort of opinion quoted above is becoming the general belief within the Orthodox Church, then it is headed in the same direction as the post-Vatican II Catholic Church.

I have to say, as an inquirer into the Orthodox Church, I find this sort of information very disheartening. It is exactly these errors that lead me away, in part, from the Catholic Church. If the Orthodox are falling into the same trap, then I'm not really sure what to think anymore...

Historically, the Orthodox have tended to act as if Catholic sacraments are valid, from the beginning of the schism till now. Eastern Catholics who became Orthodox were received en masse without rebaptism or chrismation. If that bothers you, then you can of course go the route that "rigorist" Orthodox have taken, which is arguing that somehow the Orthodox Church, by receiving these people, fills the previously "empty" sacraments with grace. I think that's very silly but it does seem to have some traction in certain circles.

My reading has actually indicated that the application of economia does not in fact affirm the validity of non-Orthodox sacraments. (?) So, simply put, nothing is being filled because there are no sacraments conferred outside the Church.

Not arguing for against this idea, it is just what I have been read/taught by priests up to now.

« Last Edit: April 25, 2016, 10:19:33 AM by FatherGiryus »

Online Iconodule

  • Professor of Cryptopatristics at Miskatonic University
  • Merarches
  • ***********
  • Posts: 9,691
  • Monsters from the Id
  • Faith: Orthodox Christian
  • Jurisdiction: Ecumenical Patriarchate (ACROD)
Re: Another discussion about RCC Sacraments
« Reply #3 on: April 25, 2016, 10:00:25 AM »
My reading has actually indicated that the application of economia does not in fact affirm the validity of non-Orthodox sacraments. (?)

Like I said, you can find plenty of people arguing that this is economia and that the Orthodox Church is somehow filling the empty form of heterodox sacraments with grace. That is the ex post facto rationalization which probably can be traced no earlier than the 20th or 19th century. It's a popular way of thinking with those who want to try to square their rigid triumphalist ecclesiology with the murkiness of history. I used to entertain such ideas but I think it stretches to snapping under the weight of history.

If it really were "economia" then baptism should be the normal mode of reception. So how come the 1484 Synod of Constantinople, which repudiated the Council of Florence, mandated chrismation for Catholics but not baptism?

A lot of ideas and attitudes pushed as "traditional" in modern Orthodoxy really aren't.
« Last Edit: April 25, 2016, 10:19:45 AM by FatherGiryus »

Offline Luthien

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 47
  • Faith: Roman Catholic inquirer
Re: Another discussion about RCC Sacraments
« Reply #4 on: April 25, 2016, 12:23:21 PM »
My reading has actually indicated that the application of economia does not in fact affirm the validity of non-Orthodox sacraments. (?)

Like I said, you can find plenty of people arguing that this is economia and that the Orthodox Church is somehow filling the empty form of heterodox sacraments with grace. That is the ex post facto rationalization which probably can be traced no earlier than the 20th or 19th century. It's a popular way of thinking with those who want to try to square their rigid triumphalist ecclesiology with the murkiness of history. I used to entertain such ideas but I think it stretches to snapping under the weight of history.

What I was trying to get at was that thinking of the sacraments in terms of validity and invalidity is being presented by some Orthodox writers as an incorrect way of understanding the sacraments.

Quote
If it really were "economia" then baptism should be the normal mode of reception. So how come the 1484 Synod of Constantinople, which repudiated the Council of Florence, mandated chrismation for Catholics but not baptism?

A lot of ideas and attitudes pushed as "traditional" in modern Orthodoxy really aren't.

An Orthodox priest from a local Antiochian Orthodox parish suggested I read this new book by Fr. Peter Heers:

http://www.amazon.com/Ecclesiological-Renovation-Vatican-Examination-Ecumenical/dp/6188158311/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

The book details the history of the belief in the Catholic Church that not only valid, but efficacious sacraments exist outside the Church. He argues that the ancient, Patristic consensus was that there are no sacraments outside the Church. That is not to say that God is not working throughout creation, just that in terms of the grace conferred by the Church's own sacraments, it cannot be found outside of its own Body. He goes on to say that the idea of a "valid" sacrament devoid of grace was developed by St. Augustine in countering the Donatist controversy.

From pages 52-53:
Quote
Blessed Augustine argued that:
     
  Any Baptism that makes use of the proper element of water and the proper word (i.e. the Trinitarian baptismal interrogation) is "valid." Any sacrament results from "the word . . . added to the element" and becomes "itself also a kind of visible word." Any Baptism, or any sacrament, "consecrated by the words of the gospel, is necessarily holy, however polluted and unclean its minister may be," for Christ, not the purity of the minister, makes Baptism effective.

Holding to the "validity" of schismatic or heretical Baptism does not, however therefore mean, according to Blessed Augustine, that a "valid" Baptism is necessarily "fruitful." Augustine himself taught that, although sacraments administered outside the Church were valid, they were wholly devoid of the Holy Spirit. Blessed Augustine made a distinction here between validity and efficacy, or in other words, between the sacrament or sign itself (sacramentum) and its reality, fruitfulness, or usefulness (res sacramenti).

and

Quote
Blessed Augustine treats "the unity of the church as inward, but the sacrament itself as outward." As Philip Cary puts it: "As a mere sign, the sacrament has no power of its own to accomplish what it signifies (as in the semiotics ofOn Christian Doctrine). Hence when it is found outside the Catholic church it is devoid of salvific power but retains its meaning and holiness, which stem not from its external circumstances but from its ultimate origin in the Catholic communion."

The author here cites at least 7 footnotes, but it's just too much to put here. Anyway, it seems like this whole conception of valid sacraments that are vivified by reception into the true Church comes as a newly developed idea through Augustine. He goes on further to trace the idea of grace operating within schismatic and heretical sacraments, particularly Baptism, to come from Thomas Aquinas. So, it is a post-Schism, western development. This, Fr. Peter argues, is the basis upon which the architects of Vatican II based their idea of grace filled Baptism for all who are baptized with water using the Trinitarian formula.

Vatican II transformed ecclesiology so that the Body of Christ is really spread throughout the world in degrees, as it were. Schismatics and heretics, therefore, have degrees of participation in the life of Church, and can truly be said to be a part of the Church by virtue of their Baptism, at least. This also implies that they also can share salvific grace without being completely united with the Church.

The reason I am laying this all out is because, based on what you are saying, you are seeming to suggest the standard practice through Orthodox history was to receive Roman Catholic converts by chrismation, and in doing so, Orthodox are affirming the existence of real sacraments outside of the Orthodox Church. If this were true, then the Body of Christ would be more like the what Vatican II proposed and, honestly, converting to the Orthodox Church would ultimately be pointless. It would be better to stay where we are and trying to meet each other in the middle as we are all "separated brethren".

As far as I know, both as a Catholic and as an inquirer to Orthodoxy, this a recent development in ecclesiology and sacramental theology. Pre-Vatican II popes up the Pius XII were emphatic that, essentially, there cannot be the true life of the Church, that is Her sacraments, outside of her Body. As far as Orthodoxy is concerned, I just haven't come across any material that would suggest a different opinion on this matter. If they exist, I would like to read more.

When you say that a lot of what is put forth as traditional is actually not in Orthodoxy today, that is worrisome for an inquirer. One thing that gives me pause in my journey is that Orthodox can't seem to figure out what anyone thinks about things as fundamental as, who is Baptized and what is the Body of the Church.

If my local priest can't be trusted, how am I ever to know which priests to trust and which not to trust? Certainly the answer can't be to rely on my own judgement. That is what I find myself having to do, and I keep going around and around in circles.

Time and again, I am hearing so many conflicting ideas on these issues which, practically speaking, Orthodox don't seem to have to tools to resolve. This priest confirmed my suspicion that this issue of the reception of converts is a huge issue right now in America. He himself was received by chrismation, though he admitted he believes the standard practice should be for converts to be received by Baptism. In saying this, I asked him if he is effectively living as a priest without ever having been Baptized. How can he then truly be a priest, if in his estimation, the way in which he was received into the Church was wrong? He never directly answered this question, but merely said that he has to follow his Bishop in these matters. Still, that would leave me feeling a bit uneasy.

This is really crazy stuff to think about. In matters of the Faith, I can't really see what is wrong with triumphalism. I mean, we are talking about Truth here. Either something is or it isn't. To suggest otherwise is really to suggest that the parameters of the Church aren't clear and that ultimately we don't have to have unity of faith in order to attain salvation.
« Last Edit: April 25, 2016, 12:27:09 PM by Luthien »

Offline Mor Ephrem

  • Supreme Commander of the Joint Armed Warrior Services (JAWS) of the Oriental Orthodox Church
  • Section Moderator
  • Protostrator
  • *****
  • Posts: 27,367
  • "You have car, but no insurance?"
    • OrthodoxChristianity.net
  • Faith: Orthodox
  • Jurisdiction: But my heart belongs to Czech Lands
Re: Another discussion about RCC Sacraments
« Reply #5 on: April 25, 2016, 01:05:10 PM »
Hi Luthien,

I've never been RC, but it's my observation over the years that a lot of RCs interested in Orthodoxy have difficulty thinking about Orthodoxy except in RC terms.  That's not an easy thing to overcome, but it is a necessary thing to overcome. 

When you say that a lot of what is put forth as traditional is actually not in Orthodoxy today, that is worrisome for an inquirer. One thing that gives me pause in my journey is that Orthodox can't seem to figure out what anyone thinks about things as fundamental as, who is Baptized and what is the Body of the Church.

In one sense, that's a very easy question to answer.  The Orthodox Church is "the Body of the Church" and whomever she communes is baptised. 

What is at issue here is what, if anything, the ancient practice of economy in receiving converts has to tell us about denominations outside those bounds and the sacraments they celebrate.  Personally, I happen to fall more or less in line with Iconodule's opinion, but in any case, this is a secondary issue.  Whether or not RCs have sacraments with some sort of weight in God's sight doesn't really change anything we believe about the Orthodox Church.         

Quote
Time and again, I am hearing so many conflicting ideas on these issues which, practically speaking, Orthodox don't seem to have to tools to resolve. This priest confirmed my suspicion that this issue of the reception of converts is a huge issue right now in America. He himself was received by chrismation, though he admitted he believes the standard practice should be for converts to be received by Baptism. In saying this, I asked him if he is effectively living as a priest without ever having been Baptized. How can he then truly be a priest, if in his estimation, the way in which he was received into the Church was wrong? He never directly answered this question, but merely said that he has to follow his Bishop in these matters. Still, that would leave me feeling a bit uneasy.

It's true that the reception of converts is a big issue, but it is so in large part because of the scandalous doubts sown by those who supposedly hold a "traditional" or "hardline" stance.  The tradition of the Church recognises several ways of receiving people into the communion of the Church, and has done so for over fifteen centuries, but all of them have one thing in common: they are oriented toward the reception of the Eucharist within the liturgical assembly of the Church, they prepare converts to join the Church in worship and in receiving Holy Communion.  THAT is what makes you Orthodox. 

It's not surprising to find people, even clergy, with doubts over how they were received.  It's unfortunate.  It's precisely because they have the attitude you described below:

Quote
If my local priest can't be trusted, how am I ever to know which priests to trust and which not to trust? Certainly the answer can't be to rely on my own judgement. That is what I find myself having to do, and I keep going around and around in circles.

It's because people are trying to out-church the Church, and taking prisoners with them.   

Quote
This is really crazy stuff to think about. In matters of the Faith, I can't really see what is wrong with triumphalism. I mean, we are talking about Truth here. Either something is or it isn't. To suggest otherwise is really to suggest that the parameters of the Church aren't clear and that ultimately we don't have to have unity of faith in order to attain salvation.

Again, this is an example of RC patterns of thinking that are not really helpful when trying to understand Orthodoxy on its own terms. 
Mor has an open appeal. This we knew already.

Mor suffers from Invincible Ignorance and is guaranteed salvation according to the Roman Catholic Church.

Offline Luthien

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 47
  • Faith: Roman Catholic inquirer
Re: Another discussion about RCC Sacraments
« Reply #6 on: April 25, 2016, 01:31:56 PM »
     

It's not surprising to find people, even clergy, with doubts over how they were received.  It's unfortunate.  It's precisely because they have the attitude you described below:

Quote
If my local priest can't be trusted, how am I ever to know which priests to trust and which not to trust? Certainly the answer can't be to rely on my own judgement. That is what I find myself having to do, and I keep going around and around in circles.

It's because people are trying to out-church the Church, and taking prisoners with them.   

Quote
This is really crazy stuff to think about. In matters of the Faith, I can't really see what is wrong with triumphalism. I mean, we are talking about Truth here. Either something is or it isn't. To suggest otherwise is really to suggest that the parameters of the Church aren't clear and that ultimately we don't have to have unity of faith in order to attain salvation.

Again, this is an example of RC patterns of thinking that are not really helpful when trying to understand Orthodoxy on its own terms.


I don't disagree that a legalistic mindset is not able to grasp Orthodoxy.

It is already apparent to me that you cannot understand the Orthodox mind with a Catholic mind and vice versa. I have even heard it stated, though I did not know how to verify this (I'll just take the priest's word for it), that Greek canon law has no concept of "validity" in terms of sacraments. So, we can't even interpret canon law in the same manner, I presume. That is why I was confused as to why Iconodule was using the word validity. It doesn't seem fitting within an Orthodox understanding of sacramental theology.

I would still like to have a clearer, more definitive understanding of Baptism, especially as it relates to ecclesiology. It is something far too essential to gloss over. The book I mentioned comes highly recommended from several priests and many others within the hierarchy who I am assuming take the "hardline" approach, but are in good standing in the Church.

As an outsider, I have no real way of knowing which camp is right in this debate, but it can't be both.

That being said, I do find it troublesome that I have encountered members of the clergy who are unsure of their own status. That doesn't leave me feeling very confident in going forward. What practical solution exists when you can't be sure of which priest is telling you the truth?

It seems to me that there are Orthodox out there who might be labeled hyperdox, or as you said, are trying to out-church the Church. That is certainly not foreign to Catholicism either (you know, rad trads). Then, you have the majority of Orthodox more or less saying what you and Iconodule are saying.

The hyperdox would say you are modernists even though you claim to uphold the historical understanding of the faith.

Vatican II claimed to be about "resourcement" and sought to rediscover the spirit of the Church Fathers... in doing so they were really claiming that they are returning to tradition, and that post-Trent Catholicism was far from it (not that I disagree solely on that point) but, well...that didn't really hold true. In either case, it seems like both parties think they are upholding tradition, not consciously trying to side-step or overwrite it. Yeah, that's not confusing at all...

If the traditionalists aren't really traditional, where are they getting their ideas from? Are modernism and ecumenism, in fact, not an issue in Orthodoxy as they claim?
« Last Edit: April 25, 2016, 01:35:24 PM by Luthien »

Offline Rohzek

  • Elder
  • *****
  • Posts: 385
    • Shameless Orthodoxy
  • Faith: Orthodox and Postpositivist
  • Jurisdiction: Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America
Re: Another discussion about RCC Sacraments
« Reply #7 on: April 25, 2016, 02:45:27 PM »
I think it is important to note that Augustine lifted his notion of grace, Church, and consequently the sacraments from Tychonius and then placed them firmly in a predestinarian framework. That is to say, Augustine believed God predestined some to heaven by his given grace alone, and those whom he didn't give it to were damned due to their own sins. So yes, of course, Augustine would hold that someone who is truly predestined to God's salvation would formally join the Universal Church, which would then unlock the sealed magic of heretical baptism etc. On the other hand, St. Optatus, Augustine's contemporary on the Donatist matter, argued that some forms of baptism still aren't even valid, if I remember correctly. Various Fathers had various opinions.

As for sacramental validity or existence for that matter outside the Orthodox Church, I think it is fair to say the Orthodox Church is the one true Church that Christ established. However, in another sense, while we know where the Body of Christ is, which is for certain in the Orthodox Church, we do not know where it is not. After all, the thief on the cross made it into heaven despite never being baptized, etc. People formally outside the Orthodox Church could very well be experiencing some form of closeness to God, etc. and thereby still be part of the Body of Christ albeit in a way that isn't fully productive. We don't know for sure. And arguably they would be better off if they joined the Orthodox Church, because Christianity is not just about a mono-to-mono thing. The wider community of the Church is an aspect of it as well. Tychonius, who isn't tainted with predestinarianism, spoke well about this and said that we cannot know who is or who isn't within the Body of Christ, which is ever growing. And we will not truly know until the end days. After all, I am sure there are plenty of formal Orthodox out there who are really evil people and won't make it into heaven.

This isn't to say that Tychonius thought belonging to the correct institution was not important. Contrary to that, Tychonius believed it to be so important that his fellow Donatists excommunicated him for holding orthodox views and for arguing with them.
 
As for me, as a Catholic convert to Orthodoxy, I am personally glad that I did not have to be rebaptised. My priest recognized my baptism. If he didn't I probably would have argued with him. Not everyone feels as strongly as I do about their non-Orthodox baptism and that's fine. But to me it was a matter of great importance personally.
« Last Edit: April 25, 2016, 02:52:36 PM by Rohzek »
"What I have shown you is reality. What you remember, that is the illusion." - Sephiroth from Final Fantasy VII

“Fools have a habit of believing that everything written by a famous author is admirable. For my part I read only to please myself and like only what suits my taste.” - Lord Pococurante in Candide by Voltaire

Check out my new blog: Shameless Orthodoxy Latest Post: L'Homme Machine: La Mettrie's Philosophy of Mind

Offline FormerReformer

  • Convertodox of the convertodox
  • Site Supporter
  • Archon
  • *****
  • Posts: 2,632
    • Music and Orthodoxy
  • Faith: Convertodox
  • Jurisdiction: Netodoxy
Re: Another discussion about RCC Sacraments
« Reply #8 on: April 25, 2016, 03:03:45 PM »


I don't disagree that a legalistic mindset is not able to grasp Orthodoxy.

It is already apparent to me that you cannot understand the Orthodox mind with a Catholic mind and vice versa. I have even heard it stated, though I did not know how to verify this (I'll just take the priest's word for it), that Greek canon law has no concept of "validity" in terms of sacraments. So, we can't even interpret canon law in the same manner, I presume. That is why I was confused as to why Iconodule was using the word validity. It doesn't seem fitting within an Orthodox understanding of sacramental theology.

While "validity" is an alien term to Orthodox theology, it does provide a useful shorthand, specifically when, regardless of the term used, what some more traditionalist Orthodox assert is the invalidity of others' sacraments.
Quote
I would still like to have a clearer, more definitive understanding of Baptism, especially as it relates to ecclesiology. It is something far too essential to gloss over. The book I mentioned comes highly recommended from several priests and many others within the hierarchy who I am assuming take the "hardline" approach, but are in good standing in the Church.

Getting a clear view of anything in Orthodoxy is going to be difficult. We like having a nice umbrella of views until an issue of outright heresy forces our hands to provide an official dogma. Catechisms mean far less to us than living and experiencing the life of the Church

Quote

As an outsider, I have no real way of knowing which camp is right in this debate, but it can't be both.

Well, Christ said "by your fruits you shall know them". Setting aside the traditionalists within the Church, of those who have separated from communion with the Church, how many have managed to remain intact themselves without further schism?

Quote
That being said, I do find it troublesome that I have encountered members of the clergy who are unsure of their own status. That doesn't leave me feeling very confident in going forward. What practical solution exists when you can't be sure of which priest is telling you the truth?

I don't think your cleric you mentioned earlier in the thread is unsure of his own status in any way. For example, I too wish I had been received by baptism instead of chrismation, but that is not due to any doubts about my being a full member of the Church. Of the many issues which might make me hesitate to approach the Eucharist, my re-baptism or lack thereof isn't one of them.

Quote
It seems to me that there are Orthodox out there who might be labeled hyperdox, or as you said, are trying to out-church the Church. That is certainly not foreign to Catholicism either (you know, rad trads). Then, you have the majority of Orthodox more or less saying what you and Iconodule are saying.

The hyperdox would say you are modernists even though you claim to uphold the historical understanding of the faith.

The problem with the hyperdox is that they seem to have a problem understanding that the Church has always had a multiplicity of ways of accepting converts from other Christian traditions, and even when they do understand that such has always been the case they invent new reasons why such should no longer be the case. Constantinople might have received Roman Catholics in one way, Moscow in another, and might even change how they approach such conversions depending on historical, theological, and even political facts as they apply to the time and place.
Quote
Vatican II claimed to be about "resourcement" and sought to rediscover the spirit of the Church Fathers... in doing so they were really claiming that they are returning to tradition, and that post-Trent Catholicism was far from it (not that I disagree solely on that point) but, well...that didn't really hold true. In either case, it seems like both parties think they are upholding tradition, not consciously trying to side-step or overwrite it. Yeah, that's not confusing at all...

If the traditionalists aren't really traditional, where are they getting their ideas from?

I have a suggestion, but let's not get too polemical.  :angel:

Quote
Are modernism and ecumenism, in fact, not an issue in Orthodoxy as they claim?

Yes and no. Yes modernism can be a problem for anyone - the fact that so-called traditionalism is itself a modernist movement shows that we do have such a problem. Do we have it to the extent that other churches have it? I don't think so, at least not at the level of Church leadership. Enough true traditionalists have stayed in communion with us that the few modernist voices we have get called into check pretty quickly.

Ecumenicism is nowhere near as big a bugaboo as some make it out to be. Yes, a few priests and bishops might be on shaky ecclesiological ground in this department, but by and large our hierarchs know that the Orthodox Church is the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. There is nothing wrong to being open to dialogue with other faiths so long as in such dialogues we maintain what the Orthodox Church is, what it isn't, and the necessity of that other faith adopting the doctrine and dogma of the Orthodox Church and jettisoning traditions and teachings that don't accord with that faith (papal infallibility or Calvinist TULIP). Sometimes priests and bishops involved in these dialogues go rogue and paper over differences with roses and unicorn farts in the form of happy clappy joint resolutions, but these tend to get rejected fairly quickly once it comes back the Church. We tend not to be too quick with the excommunicate/defrock button, but over the past few 2000 years have developed ways of letting the clergy know they're in the hot seat.
"Funny," said Lancelot, "how the people who can't pray say that prayers are not answered, however much the people who can pray say they are."  TH White

Oh, no: I've succumbed to Hyperdoxy!

Offline Luthien

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 47
  • Faith: Roman Catholic inquirer
Re: Another discussion about RCC Sacraments
« Reply #9 on: Yesterday at 03:00:20 PM »
Thanks for all the thought replies so far!

Okay, I just want to ask this plainly in light of what y'all have written above.

Do the Orthodox believe there are sacraments and a priesthood outside the Church? Are the boundaries of the Church clear?

Online Iconodule

  • Professor of Cryptopatristics at Miskatonic University
  • Merarches
  • ***********
  • Posts: 9,691
  • Monsters from the Id
  • Faith: Orthodox Christian
  • Jurisdiction: Ecumenical Patriarchate (ACROD)
Re: Another discussion about RCC Sacraments
« Reply #10 on: Yesterday at 03:30:54 PM »
Thanks for all the thought replies so far!

Okay, I just want to ask this plainly in light of what y'all have written above.

Do the Orthodox believe there are sacraments and a priesthood outside the Church?

Some Orthodox say no, some say yes, some are agnostic. I think the history is too ambiguous and complicated to give a definitive answer.

Quote
Are the boundaries of the Church clear?

Communion expresses the unity of the Church and those not in communion with us are clearly separate. What that says about their sacraments is ambiguous.

Offline Mor Ephrem

  • Supreme Commander of the Joint Armed Warrior Services (JAWS) of the Oriental Orthodox Church
  • Section Moderator
  • Protostrator
  • *****
  • Posts: 27,367
  • "You have car, but no insurance?"
    • OrthodoxChristianity.net
  • Faith: Orthodox
  • Jurisdiction: But my heart belongs to Czech Lands
Re: Another discussion about RCC Sacraments
« Reply #11 on: Yesterday at 03:43:07 PM »
It is already apparent to me that you cannot understand the Orthodox mind with a Catholic mind and vice versa. I have even heard it stated, though I did not know how to verify this (I'll just take the priest's word for it), that Greek canon law has no concept of "validity" in terms of sacraments. So, we can't even interpret canon law in the same manner, I presume. That is why I was confused as to why Iconodule was using the word validity. It doesn't seem fitting within an Orthodox understanding of sacramental theology.

I think the word "validity" can be used as a sort of shorthand, as long as you understand that RC and Orthodox definitions of that word will differ.  They are not interchangeable. 

Quote
I would still like to have a clearer, more definitive understanding of Baptism, especially as it relates to ecclesiology. It is something far too essential to gloss over. The book I mentioned comes highly recommended from several priests and many others within the hierarchy who I am assuming take the "hardline" approach, but are in good standing in the Church.

As an outsider, I have no real way of knowing which camp is right in this debate, but it can't be both.

It might be more useful to start with the basics than to start by studying books which are essentially internal debates arising out of particular circumstances. 

Quote
That being said, I do find it troublesome that I have encountered members of the clergy who are unsure of their own status. That doesn't leave me feeling very confident in going forward. What practical solution exists when you can't be sure of which priest is telling you the truth?

I think it's troublesome, too.  Either they should step down from ministry or they should stand up for the faith and discipline of the Church.  "I don't think I was legitimately received into the Church, but I'm definitely an ordained priest" doesn't make much sense.   

Quote
It seems to me that there are Orthodox out there who might be labeled hyperdox, or as you said, are trying to out-church the Church. That is certainly not foreign to Catholicism either (you know, rad trads). Then, you have the majority of Orthodox more or less saying what you and Iconodule are saying.

The hyperdox would say you are modernists even though you claim to uphold the historical understanding of the faith.

They can say whatever they want.  Many people focus on what the Church/"the Church" says, but it's equally important to look at what the Church does. 

Quote
If the traditionalists aren't really traditional, where are they getting their ideas from? Are modernism and ecumenism, in fact, not an issue in Orthodoxy as they claim?

That's a rather complicated question to answer, and maybe it's not the most important.  I think there's a lot of fear, ignorance, and "campaigning" on both sides.  Usually the truth is in the middle. 
Mor has an open appeal. This we knew already.

Mor suffers from Invincible Ignorance and is guaranteed salvation according to the Roman Catholic Church.