OrthodoxChristianity.net
November 27, 2014, 08:08:59 AM *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
News: Reminder: No political discussions in the public fora.  If you do not have access to the private Politics Forum, please send a PM to Fr. George.
 
   Home   Help Calendar Contact Treasury Tags Login Register  
Pages: « 1 2 3 4  All   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: Can of Worms Time: Why Do We Allow Marriage to Heretics?  (Read 2666 times) Average Rating: 0
0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.
Mor Ephrem
"Mor is right, you are wrong."
Section Moderator
Hoplitarches
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 18,378


"Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee..."


WWW
« Reply #135 on: September 16, 2014, 02:56:17 PM »

Hi Yury,

Your own response to Dr Patsavos' article anticipated my own.  For some reason, I can't copy and paste from the article, so I'll just summarise.

Dr Patsavos begins by establishing a theological and canonical foundation, which I'll set off in a quote box for convenience:

Quote
1.  Marriage is "the union of man and woman, the sharing of the same destiny in life forever, the communion of divine and human law", which "mirrors the union of Christ and the Church".  This, in turn, presupposes "mutual sharing of the same faith", symbolised and actualised above all in mutual participation in the Eucharist, which sacrament "accords a marriage its specifically Christian character". 

2.  The Orthodox Church's claim to being the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church in an exclusive sense means that she is reluctant to ascribe "ecclesial reality" to other Christian bodies.  It follows, in turn, that the Church is reluctant to recognise the sacramental ministry of these bodies.  Furthermore, when a body is judged to be heretical and not just schismatic, "there is no possibility within the canons of the Orthodox Church to recognise a valid sacramental marriage or any ecclesial reality as such in that Church, no matter how close or identical the theology may be on specific issues". 

3.  Therefore, the Church prohibits her members from marrying outside the Church.  Any concessions that were made in this regard were made fairly recently (~19th century), were made reluctantly, and required that the marriage take place in the Orthodox Church.

In general, I have argued in this thread for the same foundation, and for the same reasons.  But I think it's telling that a theologian and canonist as well regarded as Dr Patsavos does not explain the economic allowance for interfaith marriages in terms of the foundation he took pains to establish.  Instead, he seems to "allow" it because it's happening, so long as it happens in the Orthodox Church.  But this leaves a lot of unanswered questions. 

If, for example, an Orthodox Christian marrying outside the communion of the Orthodox Church is basically denying his/her ecclesial affiliation and placing himself/herself outside the Church, what is the Orthodox Church doing when it allows a non-Orthodox Christian to marry within the Orthodox Church?  What is the reason for allowing this form of "sacramental hospitality" but not others?   

Since Dr Patsavos correctly regards Baptism as the first in the sequence of sacraments, and since he claims that there are no valid sacraments outside the communion of the Orthodox Church, how can a non-Orthodox Christian receive a sacrament that is further along in the sequence without having had the first?  Is "marrying an Orthodox spouse" now somehow equivalent to Baptism/Chrismation?  Can we now begin to receive converts "by marriage"?  We don't regard these non-Orthodox people as automatically Orthodox upon marriage...should this be changed?   

Dr Patsavos notes that the allowance for interchurch marriages only became a possibility because of the separation of the marriage rite from the context of the Eucharistic Liturgy.  Yet, he also claims that it is the Eucharist that gives a marriage its specifically Christian character.  So when the Orthodox Church performs an interchurch marriage, is it actually a sacramental marriage, or is it a "natural" marriage in disguise?   

He also notes that a minority of theologians make the case that marriages outside the Church can be economically recognised, as is often done with Baptism, when they are done in communities which "recognise the sacramentality of marriage and priesthood" (and he makes clear early on that he is writing primarily with Orthodox and Catholics in mind).  Yet, we know that Orthodox and Catholic theologies on marriage differ in at least one important respect--the minister of the sacrament--and it would seem that other Western Trinitarian Christians agree with Rome on this matter (and, perhaps, others).  Since he notes the consistent Orthodox emphasis on the nuptial blessing conferred by an Orthodox priest as a necessary element in marriage, and the Western teaching regards the priest as only a witness, but not the minister, this is, to me, at least one significant difference in our respective teachings, and we also know that they have very real and practical ramifications.  That makes the allowance for non-Orthodox Christians to participate in Orthodox sacraments just a bit more problematic IMO: even with regard to the one sacrament we are allowing to participate in, they may not believe in it as we do, and yet we're presuming even that much identity of faith as a condition for moving forward. 

I don't deny that there are a lot of pastoral issues regarding ministry to couples/families in these situations, and it's not by any means a cake walk.  But I do think that this form of economy hurts the Church more than it hurts the couples.  But since we are incorporating them in some way into the Church by performing their marriages in the Church, what hurts us is also hurting them. 
Logged

The Mor has spoken. Let his word endure unto the ages of ages.
Mor Ephrem
"Mor is right, you are wrong."
Section Moderator
Hoplitarches
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 18,378


"Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee..."


WWW
« Reply #136 on: September 16, 2014, 03:20:38 PM »

All of this serves as a theological basis to demonstrate that the person is in enough of a sacramental relationship already to the Orthodox Church to receive less than all initiatory sacraments, or even be authorized to serve as clergy, with their assent.  I think that a similar argument can be used, through economia, to apply the sacrament of matrimony to such a couple in cases of exceptional need -- there is already enough there which permits the non-Orthodox Christian to participate in the sacrament of matrimony without receiving other sacraments, he or she having received something (albeit less than perfectly) in his own confession.  It is not to say that these heterodox sacraments are equivalent, far from it, but that there is enough in them to qualify the person to receive the sacrament of matrimony without having an Orthodox baptism, chrismation, etc.  It is something to think about.  Hence I support leaving this decision to the bishops.

Though I addressed this somewhat in my last post, let me continue. 

I think the sequence of the sacraments is important, not in terms of some ritual order that needs to be done in just such a way, but in terms of how they operate.  When we receive non-Orthodox Christians into the Orthodox Church economically (e.g., Chrismation, confession of faith, vesting of clerics), even if we can say that we are doing so because we recognise something in their non-Orthodox sacraments that is both "not nothing" and "not everything" (and Dr Patsavos is not alone in not conceding this point), it is being done for a purpose: through this means, the non-Orthodox Christian is being incorporated into the body of the Orthodox Church as a member in full communion and good standing. 

That is not what we are doing with non-Orthodox who marry Orthodox in the Orthodox Church.  The non-Orthodox spouse is not allowed to participate in other sacraments, is not regarded as a member of the Orthodox Church, etc. unless they actually convert.  Not only does this mess around with the sacramental sequence, but more importantly with what that sequence of grace accomplishes in the life of the believer. 

Also, you speak of marriage economy in terms of "exceptional need", but no one in this thread has established what "exceptional need" is in the case of marriage.  According to the PDF you linked to above, 66% of all marriages taking place within the Greek Archdiocese are inter-Christian, and when you factor in those that occur outside the Orthodox Church but involve a member of the Archdiocese, this percentage increases to 75-80%.  If economy is routinely applied at such a high rate, it is no longer economy, it is the rule.  And by definition, economy is not supposed to trump the rule.  It looks to me like the Church really dropped the ball at some point and economy is being invoked because it's easier.  I'm not criticising the GOA for this, mind you, because other EO and OO jurisdictions are doing this, and probably for similar reasons.  But it does have an effect on how we as a community understand the faith.  Either the theological and canonical foundation which Dr Patsavos established in his article, which is nothing other than the Church's foundation, is basically obliterated by such widespread economy or we are forced to confess one thing in one context and its opposite in another context (and, again, that basically destroys the foundation).             
Logged

The Mor has spoken. Let his word endure unto the ages of ages.
biro
Excelsior
Site Supporter
Warned
Toumarches
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Greek Orthodox
Posts: 14,438


fleem
WWW
« Reply #137 on: September 16, 2014, 03:27:29 PM »

If we never allowed marriage to anyone outside the church, even people who show an interest in converting after they get married, we may have wound up with a very limited population base, like some of the Orthodox Jewish groups, or the remnant culture of the Samaritans today. They still exist, but are very few in number. Too strict a limit on whom you may marry, sometimes leads to things like high amounts of Tay-Sachs disease. There is a health interest in not creating situations of, frankly, inbreeding.

Also, in some places, if your family moves somewhere, and there aren't a lot of Orthodox nearby, what are you supposed to do? Either marry out, or look for someone who is open to the possibility of conversion. Or, don't get married. In that case it's in our interest to let them marry someone and persuade the non-Orthodox person to convert. The Orthodox will otherwise not marry or not have children at all.

Just some thoughts.
Logged

Charlie Rose: "If you could change one thing about the world, what would it be?"

Fran Lebowitz: "Everything. There is not one thing with which I am satisified."

spcasuncoast.org
Mor Ephrem
"Mor is right, you are wrong."
Section Moderator
Hoplitarches
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 18,378


"Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee..."


WWW
« Reply #138 on: September 16, 2014, 04:37:15 PM »

Hi biro,

I think we need to be very clear on what we're discussing. 

If we never allowed marriage to anyone outside the church...

I'm not saying that an Orthodox person should necessarily restrict himself/herself to the (cradle) Orthodox population in terms of finding a spouse.  But at the same time, the Church has theological, ecclesiological, and canonical reasons why she prohibits marriages outside the Church and why she does not practice sacramental hospitality.  The expectation of the Church is and should be that the non-Orthodox person converts before the marriage takes place within the Church.  Anything less than that requires a theological justification which even accomplished theologians are not offering. 

Let's say a Roman Catholic decides s/he wants to join the Orthodox Church, and s/he spends some time as a catechumen before being received into the Church.  In that time, s/he likely does not receive sacraments in the Orthodox Church, even though s/he has every intention of joining the Church, and probably does not receive sacraments in the Catholic Church either.  The kind of economy that allows interfaith marriages ought to allow such a person to commune in the Orthodox Church prior to joining the Orthodox Church.  But it does not, and we have enough converts here to substantiate this policy. 

So why does being engaged to marry an Orthodox person suddenly make a difference in terms of whether the non-Orthodox have access to the Church's sacraments?  In that case, we are allowing them to participate in marriage but not in the Eucharist.  According to our basic beliefs, that makes no sense.       

Quote
...even people who show an interest in converting after they get married, we may have wound up with a very limited population base, like some of the Orthodox Jewish groups, or the remnant culture of the Samaritans today. They still exist, but are very few in number. Too strict a limit on whom you may marry, sometimes leads to things like high amounts of Tay-Sachs disease. There is a health interest in not creating situations of, frankly, inbreeding.

The Orthodox population is not so small, even in America, that we all have to marry our sisters.  So forgive me, but I think this is a bit too much.  It's more believable to me that the Church allows intermarriage out of a concern not to lose the Orthodox member due to misunderstanding, alienation, etc. than it is to believe that the Church is concerned about the health of the American Orthodox gene pool. 

Quote
Also, in some places, if your family moves somewhere, and there aren't a lot of Orthodox nearby, what are you supposed to do? Either marry out or look for someone who is open to the possibility of conversion. Or, don't get married.

Again, we need to be clear.  Does "marry out" mean "marry a non-Orthodox person in the Orthodox Church"?  This seems to be allowed by some jurisdictions, but it raises important questions that aren't really being answered.  Or does "marry out" mean "marry a non-Orthodox person outside the Orthodox Church"?  Well, according to Dr Patsavos, this is definitely out of the question, unless the Orthodox party has no qualms about excommunicating himself/herself.  But that's on them.  The Church will never affirm such a decision, it will only respect the freedom of the person to leave and "keep the lights on" for them in case they ever want to come back.   

Now, I understand that not everyone is called to a celibate, single lifestyle, and that forcing it on oneself, especially for some supposedly religious reasons, can be all sorts of disastrous.  So I'm not trying to make light of the serious difficulties that are involved in the types of circumstances you describe.  But it's not like there are no serious difficulties involved with interfaith marriages.  When the Church is more forgiving of contradictions to her basic beliefs than she is insistent on retaining those beliefs as a necessary consideration in the overall equation, she severs her own feet from under her.       

Quote
In that case it's in our interest to let them marry someone and persuade the non-Orthodox person to convert. The Orthodox will otherwise not marry or not have children at all.

It would be interesting to see the statistics on how many Orthodox spouses marry non-Orthodox spouses and do persuade them to convert.  My gut tells me they are a minority, but I would be happy to learn otherwise.  It still wouldn't answer more fundamental questions, though. 
Logged

The Mor has spoken. Let his word endure unto the ages of ages.
biro
Excelsior
Site Supporter
Warned
Toumarches
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Greek Orthodox
Posts: 14,438


fleem
WWW
« Reply #139 on: September 16, 2014, 05:01:20 PM »

I think I need to stop wasting my time.
Logged

Charlie Rose: "If you could change one thing about the world, what would it be?"

Fran Lebowitz: "Everything. There is not one thing with which I am satisified."

spcasuncoast.org
Mor Ephrem
"Mor is right, you are wrong."
Section Moderator
Hoplitarches
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 18,378


"Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee..."


WWW
« Reply #140 on: September 16, 2014, 05:13:35 PM »

I think I need to stop wasting my time.

Oh.  Yours was one of those posts.  Sorry! 
Logged

The Mor has spoken. Let his word endure unto the ages of ages.
Yurysprudentsiya
Section Moderator
Archon
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: OCA, although in my heart I will always remain a loving son of the UOC-USA
Posts: 2,258


God, the Great, the Only, Keep for Us Our Ukraine!


« Reply #141 on: September 16, 2014, 09:48:09 PM »

I'm thankful for Mor's contributions here and I respect them.

It is unfortunate, from my perspective, that the advocates of the economia which I believe is right here have advocated it in such a tepid manner.

I still think that the way I proposed above makes the most sense (to me) in terms of understanding this practice, although I concede to Mor that the marriage sacrament does not automatically entitle the non-Orthodox spouse to then start communing, so there is some difference between admitting them to marriage based upon a heterodox baptism and admitting them to membership based upon the same.  But the argument is still there (although I'm too tired to make it now) that experiencing this sacrament puts the non-Orthodox spouse in a special relationship to the Church, although I'm not sure how you would define that.  We can bury a non-Orthodox Christian, I think, with the Trisagion.  We have, in the OCA, funeral services for unbaptized stillbirths.  I realize that funerals are not strictly sacraments, but we traditionally do not limit ourselves to just seven sacraments, either.  So there is precedent, at the barest, for extending some of the graces of the Church to those outside her fold.  I understand the implication that such a marriage, even though sacramental, may be somehow qualitatively less than or different from a sacramental marriage between two Orthodox Christians.  But I wouldn't even begin to try to unravel that here.

I have no idea why 66% of Greek Orthodox marry outside the faith.  But the Greek Church in America historically had a reputation for being a church *for* Greeks, more so than some other ethnic jurisdictions.  This presents a problem in terms of intermarriage within the faith where Greek = Orthodox or Orthodox = Greek to many people.  I would be interested to know if that is changing now.
Logged
Yurysprudentsiya
Section Moderator
Archon
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: OCA, although in my heart I will always remain a loving son of the UOC-USA
Posts: 2,258


God, the Great, the Only, Keep for Us Our Ukraine!


« Reply #142 on: September 16, 2014, 09:50:07 PM »

Perhaps it could be considered whether such a marriage only "works" sacramentally upon the Orthodox partner, enabling that person to live fully in a marriage and be a good influence on his or her spouse, but it would similarly "work" upon the non-Orthodox partner only at such time he or she is received into the Church.  That is just raw speculation on my part.
Logged
Shlomlokh
主哀れめよ!
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Bulgarian
Posts: 1,299



« Reply #143 on: September 16, 2014, 09:52:52 PM »

If we never allowed marriage to anyone outside the church, even people who show an interest in converting after they get married, we may have wound up with a very limited population base, like some of the Orthodox Jewish groups, or the remnant culture of the Samaritans today. They still exist, but are very few in number. Too strict a limit on whom you may marry, sometimes leads to things like high amounts of Tay-Sachs disease. There is a health interest in not creating situations of, frankly, inbreeding.

Also, in some places, if your family moves somewhere, and there aren't a lot of Orthodox nearby, what are you supposed to do? Either marry out, or look for someone who is open to the possibility of conversion. Or, don't get married. In that case it's in our interest to let them marry someone and persuade the non-Orthodox person to convert. The Orthodox will otherwise not marry or not have children at all.

Just some thoughts.

This presupposes the Orthodox don't seek out converts. If that was as a case, you'd have a good point.

In Christ,
Andrew
Logged

"I will pour out my prayer unto the Lord, and to Him will I proclaim my grief; for with evils my soul is filled, and my life unto hades hath drawn nigh, and like Jonah I will pray: From corruption raise me up, O God." -Ode VI, Irmos of the Supplicatory Canon to the Theotokos
TheTrisagion
Armed Feline rider of Flaming Unicorns
Warned
Merarches
***********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Antiochian
Posts: 9,485



« Reply #144 on: September 16, 2014, 10:01:14 PM »

Its kinda hard for me to put enough effort into thinking about this to really form an opinion, but one thing that kind of strikes me about the economia argument is the fact that economia is not intended to be the new rule, it is intended to be the exception to the rule. If you grant economia to every person who asks it and marry every couple who comes, then it really isn't economia anymore, it is praxis.
Logged

Have you considered the possibility that your face is an ad hominem?
Somebody just went all Jack Chick up in here.
JamesR
Virginal Chicano Blood
Warned
Taxiarches
**********
Offline Offline

Faith: Eastern Orthodox (but doubtful)
Jurisdiction: Orthodox Church *of* America
Posts: 5,888


St. Augustine of Hippo pray for me!


« Reply #145 on: October 03, 2014, 01:04:48 AM »

If we never allowed marriage to anyone outside the church, even people who show an interest in converting after they get married, we may have wound up with a very limited population base, like some of the Orthodox Jewish groups, or the remnant culture of the Samaritans today. They still exist, but are very few in number. Too strict a limit on whom you may marry, sometimes leads to things like high amounts of Tay-Sachs disease. There is a health interest in not creating situations of, frankly, inbreeding.

Also, in some places, if your family moves somewhere, and there aren't a lot of Orthodox nearby, what are you supposed to do? Either marry out, or look for someone who is open to the possibility of conversion. Or, don't get married. In that case it's in our interest to let them marry someone and persuade the non-Orthodox person to convert. The Orthodox will otherwise not marry or not have children at all.

Just some thoughts.

This presupposes the Orthodox don't seek out converts. If that was as a case, you'd have a good point.

In Christ,
Andrew

Not to mention similar arguments can be made to justify sin.

If we don't allow masturbation then men will fornicate

If we don't allow people to become abortionists or strippers then they'll steal

etc.
Logged

Quote
You're really on to something here. Tattoo to keep you from masturbating, chew to keep you from fornicating... it's a whole new world where you outsource your crosses. You're like a Christian entrepreneur or something.
Quote
James, you have problemz.
Maria
Orthodox Christian
Merarches
***********
Offline Offline

Posts: 10,401


O most Holy Theotokos, save us.


« Reply #146 on: October 03, 2014, 02:31:42 AM »

If we never allowed marriage to anyone outside the church, even people who show an interest in converting after they get married, we may have wound up with a very limited population base, like some of the Orthodox Jewish groups, or the remnant culture of the Samaritans today. They still exist, but are very few in number. Too strict a limit on whom you may marry, sometimes leads to things like high amounts of Tay-Sachs disease. There is a health interest in not creating situations of, frankly, inbreeding.

Also, in some places, if your family moves somewhere, and there aren't a lot of Orthodox nearby, what are you supposed to do? Either marry out, or look for someone who is open to the possibility of conversion. Or, don't get married. In that case it's in our interest to let them marry someone and persuade the non-Orthodox person to convert. The Orthodox will otherwise not marry or not have children at all.

Just some thoughts.

This presupposes the Orthodox don't seek out converts. If that was as a case, you'd have a good point.

In Christ,
Andrew

Not to mention similar arguments can be made to justify sin.

If we don't allow masturbation then men will fornicate

If we don't allow people to become abortionists or strippers then they'll steal

etc.

Rationalization is the devil's tool to encourage us to commit sin.
Logged

Glory to Jesus Christ!
Glory to Him forever!
Arachne
Trinary Unit || Resident Bossy Boots
Section Moderator
Protokentarchos
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Greek Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Antiochian Archdiocese of the British Isles and Ireland
Posts: 4,675


November is short. Type fast.


« Reply #147 on: October 03, 2014, 03:07:10 AM »

Not to mention similar arguments can be made to justify sin.

If we don't allow masturbation divorce and remarriage then men will fornicate commit adultery.

Fixed it for you. Roll Eyes

When you are bishop, feel free to go 100% akriveia.
Logged

'When you live your path all the time, you end up with both more path and more time.'~Venecia Rauls

Blog ~ Bookshelf ~ Jukebox
vamrat
Vamratoraptor
Taxiarches
**********
Offline Offline

Faith: Serbian Orthodox
Jurisdiction: New Gracanica
Posts: 7,975



« Reply #148 on: October 03, 2014, 09:52:16 AM »

Not to mention similar arguments can be made to justify sin.

If we don't allow masturbation divorce and remarriage then men will fornicate commit adultery.

Fixed it for you. Roll Eyes

When you are bishop, feel free to go 100% akriveia.

It only reiterates the point as the original was "if we don't allow people to marry someone in the Church who is out of the Church then they will just leave the Church".  I personally consider this worse than masturbation or strippers (as neither defames the Sacraments) though not quite as bad as abortion or divorce (as one is murder and the other God says He hates and is either mocking or defaming the Sacraments).
Logged

Das ist des Jägers Ehrenschild, daß er beschützt und hegt sein Wild, weidmännisch jagt, wie sich’s gehört, den Schöpfer im Geschöpfe ehrt.
Tags:
Pages: « 1 2 3 4  All   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.18 | SMF © 2013, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!
Page created in 0.098 seconds with 42 queries.