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Author Topic: Sacrament of Holy Orders Effects an Ontological Change  (Read 5489 times) Average Rating: 0
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Apotheoun
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« Reply #45 on: January 12, 2011, 09:39:08 PM »

Faith =/= sinless. It's not personal worthiness, no miracles or sacraments are capable without faith.


(what if  Wink)
The faith of the minister has no impact on sacramental validity in the traditional Scholastic approach, but that does not mean that faith - on the part of the Church - is absent.
Your throwing around Traditional Scholastic approach both without reference to the "scholasticism", as if it's the only thing that can support the understanding, and with enough sneer to confuse a snake or Harry Potter.
I think it is important to try and understand why the Medieval Western theologians taught what they did about the sacraments.  By the way, I have nowhere claimed that this Western approach is the only possible approach; instead, I have simply tried to present the teaching accurately. 

As I see it, the whole point of the Medieval Western teaching - for good or ill - was to give those receiving the sacraments a degree of certainty in relation to sacramental validity, which in itself is a commendable thing.
« Last Edit: January 12, 2011, 09:39:34 PM by Apotheoun » Logged

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« Reply #46 on: January 12, 2011, 09:46:28 PM »

Time for an anecdote.........  Decades ago I received into Orthodoxy a very venerable man who was a Theosophist/Liberal Catholic priest.  By Rome's criteria he had valid priestly orders.  It was his custom to consecrate the bread rolls and carafes of wine in restaurants and leave them to be consumed by waiters and kitchen staff, or simply tossed in the rubbish bin.   Those of you who know Liberal Catholicism will know that their priests believe in spreading divine grace through the universe as much as possible.

I could laugh at his doings (it was just bread and wine to me) but Catholic priests were horrified since in their eyes a valid consecration had taken place and the Eucharist was being horribly degraded.

This highlights the perversity of the "magical" RC pipeline theory of apostolic succession.  It can end up in anyone's hands.  And it seems the Lord can be compelled, as if my magic, to respond to the summons of anyone no matter how outlandish and degrading the situation is for Him.
I doubt even the stictest Scholastic would see those consecrations as valid. When a priest minsters the sacraments, he must intend to do what the Church does, otherwise it is not a true sacrament. His consecration of bread rolls at a restaurant would not be seen as the Eucharist by the Catholic Church.

That's right.  The anecdote is an absurdity by definition.

It's not absurd. Ask a canonist. 

Father,

Protestants and Orthodox have been using this "example" for so long that I no longer need to "check" anything with anyone.  It is neither proper matter, nor proper intent.
Well, there, rather dependent on the worthiness of the minister, aren't you?

No Professor....

Intending what the Church intends is not at all the same as depending upon the personal worthiness of the priest.

Ah, splitting those hairs.....the Church doesn't intend a schismatic or heretical priest to perpetuate schism and heresy, but that doesn't matter to your theory. And outside the Church, it can only be his personal unworthiness, as he doesn't have the Church's worthiness to fall back on and heal what is weak and complete what is lacking: he is on his own.
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« Reply #47 on: January 12, 2011, 11:54:31 PM »

...Holy Orders establishes a relationship between the man and Christ that is ontological and I would imagine that those of this world cannot really touch that once it is done...so it seems to me from the article below.

Dear Elijah Maria--I hope you had a great holiday season and I pray that you will enjoy a safe, healthy and blessed 2011.

I appreciate what you are trying to say but I am not comfortable with your conclusion, which seems to go beyond its premise. Let's approach it from a more familiar perspective, that of lay members of the Body (as neither you or I presumably ordained).  Would you not say that humans in general are different from His other creations because we are made in His image and likeness? But, since we have a propensity to fall short (way short), He has tried over and over again to help us become what He meant us to be when He created us. Let's agree on that one critical premise here: among the characteristics that He gave us, our free will has been the most problematic for Him. And, we do experience ontological changes in baptism, Chrismation, and Holy Communion. Yet, our ontological changes depend on us to ultimately uphold and maintain them, even though we fall short in many ways: "voluntary and involuntary, in word and deed, known and unknown" for all have sinned and have come short. This condition applies to laity and clergy alike--no one is worthy. And yet, as long as we persevere, we will end up getting closer and closer to the Lord's intended destination for us and the ontological changes will eventually become permanent.

So, the question is not whether an ontological change has occurred or will eventually prove to be permanent; the question is whether that change is permanent from the get go. To the Orthodox, it is certainly possible and desirable but no Mystery, including ordination, may be permanent regardless of how the recipient of Grace acts. If we did not believe in the free will of man, we might as well be Southern Baptists, with their  Once saved, always saved doctrine. OTH, it seems to me that there are Roman Catholics (past and present) who have argued for permanency in the case of the Holy Orders, just as there are now Roman Catholics who do not emphasize such permanency.

Neither side can escape the past and I am not advocating that we should reject the past. The problem, however, is our stubborn and prideful adherence to past positions and arguments. I will give you an example that is not between us and the Roman Church: it appears that both the OO and the EO essentially agree that we now have the same Christology and yet we cannot throw off the politics and definitional/cultural misunderstandings of this centuries old dispute simply because...well, to me it seems that pride is the principal reason.  In any case, the same situation may be applicable here as well. However, there is yet another problem that separates the East from the West. While the East may tend to be less definitive than the West, the West may have the additional burden of having convinced itself that human reasoning and scientific explanations are not only desirable but an absolute necessity. It is as if Westerners have a black and white, all or nothing approach to everything. I am convinced that this attitude has actually increased human knowledge and civilization greatly. I am similarly convinced that this attitude is a hindrance to a balanced approach all things spiritual, theological and ecclesiastical.

What I am sincerely trying to convey is this: We are not that far apart but we either choose to accentuate our small differences or our epistemiology (or our degree of humanistic impulses) forces us to highlight these differences.
« Last Edit: January 13, 2011, 12:02:25 AM by Second Chance » Logged

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« Reply #48 on: January 13, 2011, 12:03:24 AM »


No Professor....

Intending what the Church intends is not at all the same as depending upon the personal worthiness of the priest.

Ah, splitting those hairs.....the Church doesn't intend a schismatic or heretical priest to perpetuate schism and heresy, but that doesn't matter to your theory. And outside the Church, it can only be his personal unworthiness, as he doesn't have the Church's worthiness to fall back on and heal what is weak and complete what is lacking: he is on his own.

Nonsense...

Any priest at any time may or may not administer a sacrament not intending what the Church intends by the sacrament.  At that point there is no sacrament. 

It is that clear-cut and that simple. 

Till he would be laicized or removed from service, he is still a priest and still capable of changing his mind and doing as the Church intends...and then there is a sacrament.

The Church NEVER intends a frivolous consecration outside or inside the liturgy of the Eucharist.
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« Reply #49 on: January 13, 2011, 12:03:24 AM »

No Professor....

Intending what the Church intends is not at all the same as depending upon the personal worthiness of the priest.
The personal worthiness or faith of the minister - according to traditional Western teaching - does not impact the validity of the sacrament, nor is the minister required to have an intention that matches the specific intention of the Church, for as Dr. Ott explains:  "Objectively considered, the intention of doing what the Church does suffices.  The minister, therefore, does not need to intend what the Church intends, namely, to produce the effects of the sacraments, for example, the forgiveness of sins; neither does he need to intend to execute a specific Catholic rite.  It suffices if he have the intention of performing the religious action as it is current among Christians" (Ludwig Ott, Fundamentals of Catholic Doctrine, page 344; see also Summa Theologica, Tertia Pars, Q. 64, A. 9 and A. 10).

Read carefully this section does not say quite what you have it saying...As you can see from the sentence that I have highlighted in red, there must be a conformation of intention at a specific point in the act of consecration.  IF the priest consecrates outside of the liturgy, as in the example given by Father Ambrose, then the priest has failed on BOTH counts, and there is NO sacrament:

Quote
Aquinas:

I answer that, The minister's intention may be perverted in two ways. First in regard to the sacrament: for instance, when a man does not intend to confer a sacrament, but to make a mockery of it. Such a perverse intention takes away the truth of the sacrament, especially if it be manifested outwardly.

Secondly, the minister's intention may be perverted as to something that follows the sacrament: for instance, a priest may intend to baptize a woman so as to be able to abuse her; or to consecrate the Body of Christ, so as to use it for sorcery. And because that which comes first does not depend on that which follows, consequently such a perverse intention does not annul the sacrament; but the minister himself sins grievously in having such an intention.

Reply to Objection 1. The Church has a good intention both as to the validity of the sacrament and as to the use thereof: but it is the former intention that perfects the sacrament, while the latter conduces to the meritorious effect. Consequently, the minister who conforms his intention to the Church as to the former rectitude, but not as to the latter, perfects the sacrament indeed, but gains no merit for himself.

Reply to Objection 2. The intention of mimicry or fun excludes the first kind of right intention, necessary for the validity of a sacrament. Consequently, there is no comparison.

Reply to Objection 3. A perverse intention perverts the action of the one who has such an intention, not the action of another. Consequently, the perverse intention of the minister perverts the sacrament in so far as it is his action: not in so far as it is the action of Christ, Whose minister he is. It is just as if the servant [minister] of some man were to carry alms to the poor with a wicked intention, whereas his master had commanded him with a good intention to do so.
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« Reply #50 on: January 13, 2011, 12:30:05 AM »


Any priest at any time may or may not administer a sacrament not intending what the Church intends by the sacrament.  At that point there is no sacrament. 

It is that clear-cut and that simple. 

I am not sure if the Orthodox would take that stance.  If we move back a few years into Soviet times, we have many instances of faux priests and faux bishops who had no intention of consecrating bread and wine into body and blood but we believe that in fact that is what the faithful received at their hands.  We believe that these same unbelieving priests had no intention to baptize but all the same baptism took place.  In his all sovereign way the Holy Spirit overrode the lack of belief and lack of intention in the hearts of these false priests and bishops and a sacrament came into being.
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« Reply #51 on: January 13, 2011, 12:45:07 AM »

No Professor....

Intending what the Church intends is not at all the same as depending upon the personal worthiness of the priest.
The personal worthiness or faith of the minister - according to traditional Western teaching - does not impact the validity of the sacrament, nor is the minister required to have an intention that matches the specific intention of the Church, for as Dr. Ott explains:  "Objectively considered, the intention of doing what the Church does suffices.  The minister, therefore, does not need to intend what the Church intends, namely, to produce the effects of the sacraments, for example, the forgiveness of sins; neither does he need to intend to execute a specific Catholic rite.  It suffices if he have the intention of performing the religious action as it is current among Christians" (Ludwig Ott, Fundamentals of Catholic Doctrine, page 344; see also Summa Theologica, Tertia Pars, Q. 64, A. 9 and A. 10).

Read carefully this section does not say quite what you have it saying...As you can see from the sentence that I have highlighted in red, there must be a conformation of intention at a specific point in the act of consecration.  IF the priest consecrates outside of the liturgy, as in the example given by Father Ambrose, then the priest has failed on BOTH counts, and there is NO sacrament:

Quote
Aquinas:

I answer that, The minister's intention may be perverted in two ways. First in regard to the sacrament: for instance, when a man does not intend to confer a sacrament, but to make a mockery of it. Such a perverse intention takes away the truth of the sacrament, especially if it be manifested outwardly.

Secondly, the minister's intention may be perverted as to something that follows the sacrament: for instance, a priest may intend to baptize a woman so as to be able to abuse her; or to consecrate the Body of Christ, so as to use it for sorcery. And because that which comes first does not depend on that which follows, consequently such a perverse intention does not annul the sacrament; but the minister himself sins grievously in having such an intention.

Reply to Objection 1. The Church has a good intention both as to the validity of the sacrament and as to the use thereof: but it is the former intention that perfects the sacrament, while the latter conduces to the meritorious effect. Consequently, the minister who conforms his intention to the Church as to the former rectitude, but not as to the latter, perfects the sacrament indeed, but gains no merit for himself.

Reply to Objection 2. The intention of mimicry or fun excludes the first kind of right intention, necessary for the validity of a sacrament. Consequently, there is no comparison.

Reply to Objection 3. A perverse intention perverts the action of the one who has such an intention, not the action of another. Consequently, the perverse intention of the minister perverts the sacrament in so far as it is his action: not in so far as it is the action of Christ, Whose minister he is. It is just as if the servant [minister] of some man were to carry alms to the poor with a wicked intention, whereas his master had commanded him with a good intention to do so.
The highlighted sentence does not alter anything that I have said in my previous posts, because I have focused solely upon the issue of sacramental validity, and not whether the sacrament is efficacious either for the recipient or the minister.  That said, the reply to Objection 2 is the better response to the dilemma posed by Fr. Ambrose, and not any kind of focus on whether the minister's intention is conformed to that of the Church in relation to any merit or demerit that might accrue to the him personally.
« Last Edit: January 13, 2011, 12:51:16 AM by Apotheoun » Logged

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« Reply #52 on: January 13, 2011, 01:08:08 AM »

Basically there are two approaches to the sacrament of orders being discussed in this thread:

(1) the sacrament of orders produces an ontological change in the person receiving it, which remains within him even if he breaks communion with the Church; or (2) the sacrament of orders establishes a new relationship between the minister and the faithful (i.e., a taxonomic change), which remains effective as long as he maintains communion with the Church.

In the first case the grace of orders is connected primarily to the recipient, who cannot lose this grace even if he separates himself from the Church; while in the second case the grace of orders is connected primarily to the Church herself, which means that maintaining communion with her is necessary for the priesthood of the ordained minister to be valid and endure.
« Last Edit: January 13, 2011, 01:21:57 AM by Apotheoun » Logged

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« Reply #53 on: January 13, 2011, 02:14:10 AM »


Any priest at any time may or may not administer a sacrament not intending what the Church intends by the sacrament.  At that point there is no sacrament. 

It is that clear-cut and that simple. 

I am not sure if the Orthodox would take that stance.  If we move back a few years into Soviet times, we have many instances of faux priests and faux bishops who had no intention of consecrating bread and wine into body and blood but we believe that in fact that is what the faithful received at their hands.  We believe that these same unbelieving priests had no intention to baptize but all the same baptism took place.  In his all sovereign way the Holy Spirit overrode the lack of belief and lack of intention in the hearts of these false priests and bishops and a sacrament came into being.
Because withinn the Church the divine grace divine grace always heals that which is infirm and completes that which is lacking.
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« Reply #54 on: January 13, 2011, 09:59:22 AM »

No Professor....

Intending what the Church intends is not at all the same as depending upon the personal worthiness of the priest.
The personal worthiness or faith of the minister - according to traditional Western teaching - does not impact the validity of the sacrament, nor is the minister required to have an intention that matches the specific intention of the Church, for as Dr. Ott explains:  "Objectively considered, the intention of doing what the Church does suffices.  The minister, therefore, does not need to intend what the Church intends, namely, to produce the effects of the sacraments, for example, the forgiveness of sins; neither does he need to intend to execute a specific Catholic rite.  It suffices if he have the intention of performing the religious action as it is current among Christians" (Ludwig Ott, Fundamentals of Catholic Doctrine, page 344; see also Summa Theologica, Tertia Pars, Q. 64, A. 9 and A. 10).

Read carefully this section does not say quite what you have it saying...As you can see from the sentence that I have highlighted in red, there must be a conformation of intention at a specific point in the act of consecration.  IF the priest consecrates outside of the liturgy, as in the example given by Father Ambrose, then the priest has failed on BOTH counts, and there is NO sacrament:

Quote
Aquinas:

I answer that, The minister's intention may be perverted in two ways. First in regard to the sacrament: for instance, when a man does not intend to confer a sacrament, but to make a mockery of it. Such a perverse intention takes away the truth of the sacrament, especially if it be manifested outwardly.

Secondly, the minister's intention may be perverted as to something that follows the sacrament: for instance, a priest may intend to baptize a woman so as to be able to abuse her; or to consecrate the Body of Christ, so as to use it for sorcery. And because that which comes first does not depend on that which follows, consequently such a perverse intention does not annul the sacrament; but the minister himself sins grievously in having such an intention.

Reply to Objection 1. The Church has a good intention both as to the validity of the sacrament and as to the use thereof: but it is the former intention that perfects the sacrament, while the latter conduces to the meritorious effect. Consequently, the minister who conforms his intention to the Church as to the former rectitude, but not as to the latter, perfects the sacrament indeed, but gains no merit for himself.

Reply to Objection 2. The intention of mimicry or fun excludes the first kind of right intention, necessary for the validity of a sacrament. Consequently, there is no comparison.

Reply to Objection 3. A perverse intention perverts the action of the one who has such an intention, not the action of another. Consequently, the perverse intention of the minister perverts the sacrament in so far as it is his action: not in so far as it is the action of Christ, Whose minister he is. It is just as if the servant [minister] of some man were to carry alms to the poor with a wicked intention, whereas his master had commanded him with a good intention to do so.
The highlighted sentence does not alter anything that I have said in my previous posts, because I have focused solely upon the issue of sacramental validity, and not whether the sacrament is efficacious either for the recipient or the minister.  That said, the reply to Objection 2 is the better response to the dilemma posed by Fr. Ambrose, and not any kind of focus on whether the minister's intention is conformed to that of the Church in relation to any merit or demerit that might accrue to the him personally.

I highlighted the wrong section.  The section just before it is the one that indicates that without the intention of the Church in the first instance there is no sacrament.

In Father Ambrose's scene, there was not intent in the first instance because the consecration occurred outside of the liturgy.
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« Reply #55 on: January 13, 2011, 09:59:22 AM »

Basically there are two approaches to the sacrament of orders being discussed in this thread:

(1) the sacrament of orders produces an ontological change in the person receiving it, which remains within him even if he breaks communion with the Church; or (2) the sacrament of orders establishes a new relationship between the minister and the faithful (i.e., a taxonomic change), which remains effective as long as he maintains communion with the Church.

Point of fact:  In the Catholic Church both of these things happen which is why I like the Orthodox source that I presented in the beginning.  It indicates that both things happen: a unique personal relationship with Jesus Christ that is never terminal, to the priest's salvation or reprobation depending on how he treats that relationship,  and a unique relationship with the Church that can be severed in time.
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« Reply #56 on: January 13, 2011, 09:59:23 AM »


Any priest at any time may or may not administer a sacrament not intending what the Church intends by the sacrament.  At that point there is no sacrament. 

It is that clear-cut and that simple. 

I am not sure if the Orthodox would take that stance.  If we move back a few years into Soviet times, we have many instances of faux priests and faux bishops who had no intention of consecrating bread and wine into body and blood but we believe that in fact that is what the faithful received at their hands.  We believe that these same unbelieving priests had no intention to baptize but all the same baptism took place.  In his all sovereign way the Holy Spirit overrode the lack of belief and lack of intention in the hearts of these false priests and bishops and a sacrament came into being.

Now we are back to examples that actually fit what Todd was saying yesterday.  These priests and bishops did DO what the Church intends to DO ...in the CONTEXT in which such things are DONE.

So that would fall within my Church's Catholic understanding of valid sacraments, not because of anyone's faith but because the Church and the Holy Spirit make up what is lacking as Isa has said.
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« Reply #57 on: January 18, 2011, 09:59:45 AM »


Any priest at any time may or may not administer a sacrament not intending what the Church intends by the sacrament.  At that point there is no sacrament.  

It is that clear-cut and that simple.  

I am not sure if the Orthodox would take that stance.  If we move back a few years into Soviet times, we have many instances of faux priests and faux bishops who had no intention of consecrating bread and wine into body and blood but we believe that in fact that is what the faithful received at their hands.  We believe that these same unbelieving priests had no intention to baptize but all the same baptism took place.  In his all sovereign way the Holy Spirit overrode the lack of belief and lack of intention in the hearts of these false priests and bishops and a sacrament came into being.
Because withinn the Church the divine grace divine grace always heals that which is infirm and completes that which is lacking.

Excuse my ignorance...
1)  Could a church, not in communion with the orthodox church, receive consencrated bread & wine if the believers' believed that's what they were receiving -- say something along the more conservative Anglicans?
2)  How many of the orthodox autocephalous churches need to accept another church for it to be in communion with orthodox?
3)  Do Eastern Catholic churches follow the Eastern churches or Rome's understanding?
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« Reply #58 on: January 18, 2011, 10:30:28 AM »


Any priest at any time may or may not administer a sacrament not intending what the Church intends by the sacrament.  At that point there is no sacrament.  

It is that clear-cut and that simple.  

I am not sure if the Orthodox would take that stance.  If we move back a few years into Soviet times, we have many instances of faux priests and faux bishops who had no intention of consecrating bread and wine into body and blood but we believe that in fact that is what the faithful received at their hands.  We believe that these same unbelieving priests had no intention to baptize but all the same baptism took place.  In his all sovereign way the Holy Spirit overrode the lack of belief and lack of intention in the hearts of these false priests and bishops and a sacrament came into being.
Because withinn the Church the divine grace divine grace always heals that which is infirm and completes that which is lacking.

Excuse my ignorance...
1)  Could a church, not in communion with the orthodox church, receive consencrated bread & wine if the believers' believed that's what they were receiving -- say something along the more conservative Anglicans?

We cannot make a dogmatic statement on anything Anglicans or others do until they come to be received into Orthodox communion as by definition until then they are outside the Church. Any mystical, invisible union is just that, and thus, not being revealed, not a basis on which to make a dogmatic statement.

My opinion is maybe. But that's just my opinion.

Quote
2)  How many of the orthodox autocephalous churches need to accept another church for it to be in communion with orthodox?
One, but if it confesses the Orhtodox Faith, it would be in communion with all the Orthodox of all ages.[/quote]

Quote
3)  Do Eastern Catholic churches follow the Eastern churches or Rome's understanding?
I'll let others comment for now on that.
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A hasty quarrel kindles fire,
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