...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.