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#307084 - 12/14/08 07:51 AM Re: specific Orthodox disagreements with the Catholic Catechism [Re: Irish Melkite]
Hieromonk Ambrose Offline
Member

Registered: 03/22/06
Posts: 1520
Loc: New Zealand
Originally Posted By: Irish Melkite
I think Father Ambrose's 'feeling of the need coming on' - besides that he's been much enamored of that particular post of mine for some years - relates to the following prefatory remarks contained in it:

Originally Posted By: Irish Melkite
... the application of the theory held by a given Church effectively determines the validity accorded to claimed presbyteral and episcopal orders and, ipso facto, the validity of sacraments administered by those claiming to possess valid orders, ...


which is the underlying premise - that the administration of a Mystery by one whose presbyteral right to do so might be seen as flawed calls into question the efficacy of the Mystery which he administered.

Síocháin, Neil a chara!

Well, that's partly it. But your whole monograph is written so well - when the mood is upon thee the mellifluosity flows! It says the difficult things about the Orthodox uncertainty (treading very politely here) concerning non-Orthodox Sacraments. The fact that people hear it from a fellow Catholic lessens the impact. But you also point out, quite fairly, that not all Orthodox share this uncertainty although when they are obliged to speak more deeply out of traditonal Orthodoxy mysteriology they may find it difficult to maintain their more generous position.

I wonder if there are Orthodox here who would like to argue for the Augustinian position? It would be good to hear from them too.


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#307111 - 12/14/08 03:37 PM Re: specific Orthodox disagreements with the Catholic Catechism [Re: Irish Melkite]
ajk Offline
Member

Registered: 05/22/07
Posts: 1658
Loc: MD
Originally Posted By: Irish Melkite
Deacon,

I think Father Ambrose's 'feeling of the need coming on' - besides that he's been much enamored of that particular post of mine for some years - relates to the following prefatory remarks contained in it:

Originally Posted By: Irish Melkite
... the application of the theory held by a given Church effectively determines the validity accorded to claimed presbyteral and episcopal orders and, ipso facto, the validity of sacraments administered by those claiming to possess valid orders, ...


which is the underlying premise - that the administration of a Mystery by one whose presbyteral right to do so might be seen as flawed calls into question the efficacy of the Mystery which he administered.


My question was specifically in the application not the theory. I believe I comprehend the basics of the theory, but I inquired further about a specific application using an example that Father had raised.

Rather than my inferring and possibly misapplying the theory to the actual case, and wanting to get it direct from the other's actual perspective*, I reiterated the focus, which it seemed had been lost, of the question. As can be seen, Father gave a very thorough and informative answer (and he did not even once say economia -- I accept that it is working behind the scenes in his answer). I was quite gratified by the tone and substance of his response.


-----------------
* I think this is proper intellectually. While it is legitimate with restraint to draw inferences from another's remarks, all too often words and intentions and conclusions are ascribed without seeking clarification first.

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#307114 - 12/14/08 03:59 PM Re: specific Orthodox disagreements with the Catholic Catechism [Re: Hieromonk Ambrose]
ajk Offline
Member

Registered: 05/22/07
Posts: 1658
Loc: MD
Originally Posted By: Hieromonk Ambrose

Síocháin, Neil a chara!

Well, that's partly it. But your whole monograph is written so well - when the mood is upon thee the mellifluosity flows! It says the difficult things about the Orthodox uncertainty (treading very politely here) concerning non-Orthodox Sacraments. The fact that people hear it from a fellow Catholic lessens the impact. But you also point out, quite fairly, that not all Orthodox share this uncertainty although when they are obliged to speak more deeply out of traditonal Orthodoxy mysteriology they may find it difficult to maintain their more generous position.

I wonder if there are Orthodox here who would like to argue for the Augustinian position? It would be good to hear from them too.




Let me ask then: applying the theory, answers please of yes, no, maybe, I don't know; but elaborate on the answers at will.

Questions:


Fr. Ambrose, is Neil a Christian? Has he been baptized, thereby putting on Christ?


Neil, are you a Christian? Have you been baptized, thereby putting on Christ?







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#307129 - 12/14/08 08:21 PM Re: specific Orthodox disagreements with the Catholic Catechism [Re: ajk]
Apotheoun Offline
Member

Registered: 03/25/05
Posts: 2861
Loc: SF Bay Area, CA
Originally Posted By: ajk
Neil, are you a Christian? Have you been baptized, thereby putting on Christ?

I think that it is pretty clear that Neil believes that his baptism in the Catholic Church is valid, and so the question as stated is rather pointless, but would it not be better to ask Neil a completely different question.

Perhaps something more like this: Neil according to Eastern Orthodox sacramental theology (as you understand it) are you a baptized Christian?

And in addition to this question another could be asked: Neil, would you say that perhaps some Eastern Orthodox bishops might accept your baptism in the Catholic Church as valid as an act of charity, while others might require that you submit to baptism by an Orthodox priest, that is, if you were to convert to Orthodoxy?

And one final question for Neil: Is the question directed to Fr. Ambrose something that he is competent – as a presbyter – to answer, or should the question be addressed to an Orthodox bishop?

I ask this question because Fr. Ambrose himself indicated that while he was a priest in one jurisdiction (I believe it was the Serbian Orthodox Church) he was required to baptize converts from other Christian ecclesial communities, while as a priest of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia he – at the request of his bishop – merely requires that converts from non-Orthodox Churches make a profession of faith and receive the mystery of chrismation.

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#307130 - 12/14/08 09:20 PM Re: specific Orthodox disagreements with the Catholic Catechism [Re: Apotheoun]
ajk Offline
Member

Registered: 05/22/07
Posts: 1658
Loc: MD
Originally Posted By: Apotheoun
Originally Posted By: ajk
Neil, are you a Christian? Have you been baptized, thereby putting on Christ?

...but would it not be better to ask Neil a completely different question.


No, I'll stick with my question. Actually, maybe you can help:


Apotheoun, is Neil a Christian? Has he been baptized, thereby putting on Christ?


Apotheoun, are you a Christian? Have you been baptized, thereby putting on Christ?

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#307131 - 12/14/08 09:52 PM Re: specific Orthodox disagreements with the Catholic Catechism [Re: ajk]
Apotheoun Offline
Member

Registered: 03/25/05
Posts: 2861
Loc: SF Bay Area, CA
Originally Posted By: ajk
No, I'll stick with my question. Actually, maybe you can help:

Apotheoun, is Neil a Christian? Has he been baptized, thereby putting on Christ?

Apotheoun, are you a Christian? Have you been baptized, thereby putting on Christ?

Seeing that I am a Catholic these are rather foolish questions, but in order to satisfy your curiosity I will answer both of them.

Now, as far as Neil's baptism is concerned, I believe that he was baptized in the Catholic Church (in fact I think he was raised a Latin Catholic), and so my answer to your first question is: yes, I accept Neil's baptism as valid, and as a consequence he is in my opinion a baptized Christian. Nevertheless, many of my Orthodox friends would not agree with my answer to your first question, because they connect grace more firmly to the Orthodox Church and to the profession of the Orthodox faith, and so for them the validity of the holy mysteries performed outside the Orthodox Church is questionable at best.

Finally, as far as my own baptism is concerned, I was baptized in the Methodist Church, and when I converted to Roman Catholicism in 1987/88 my Methodist baptism was accepted as valid, even though I would have preferred to be baptized as a Catholic since I have my own doubts about the validity of the baptism that I received as a Methodist based on what I know about the minister who baptized me. But my doubts about the validity of my Methodist baptism were brushed aside by the priest at my parish because I was told that the Catholic Church accepts the validity of heretical baptism as long as the matter, form, and intention (a very general intention to say the least) were correct. So am I a baptized Christian? I have been told that I am by the Catholic Church, and as a Catholic I will accept that decision.

Nevertheless, I find it interesting that many years later the Catholic Church has declared Mormon baptism to be invalid because it is heretical, even though Mormons use the proper matter and form, and they have the same general intention to do what the minister at the Methodist Church did when I was baptized. Yet evidently that is not sufficient for valid baptism anymore. That said, perhaps the Catholic Church is moving in a more Cyprianic direction these days.

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#307144 - 12/15/08 01:24 AM Re: specific Orthodox disagreements with the Catholic Catechism [Re: ajk]
Hieromonk Ambrose Offline
Member

Registered: 03/22/06
Posts: 1520
Loc: New Zealand
Originally Posted By: ajk
Let me ask then: applying the theory, answers please of yes, no, maybe, I don't know; but elaborate on the answers at will.

Questions:


Fr. Ambrose, is Neil a Christian? Has he been baptized, thereby putting on Christ?

My personal opinion -

I want to say yes, but then the Church could make a liar our of me by baptizing him if he ever wanted to come into the Orthodox Church.


"..elaborating on the answers at will."

A few anecdotal things...


1. At one of the 1980s meetings of the Roman Catholic-Orthodox International Theological Dialogue (the same body as met recently in Belgrade and Ravenna) the Orthodox delegates refused to accept the validity of Roman Catholic baptism per se. This speaks volumes.

These were representative from all the Orthodox Churches, bishops and theologians, men well seasoned in the ecumenical dialogue and full of goodwill towards the Catholic Church. Not a fanatical palaeolohimerologhite anywhere in sight! But when push came to shove and the Catholics put them on the spot about baptism they found it necessary to express a "cyprianic" position regarding sacraments outside the Church.

No subsequent meeting has ventured to address this knotty question.. There was of course the 1999 American Catholic-Orthodox Consultation at Saint Vladimir's which issued a statement appealing to the Orthodox Churches to recognise Catholic baptism. No Orthodox Church has responded. Again, that speaks volumes. They will exercise economia quite frequently but they will not alter basic traditional mysteriology.

2. I am reminded of an incident in the UK recorded by the Archbishop of Canterbury himself (Lord Runcie if I remember) in an issue of Eastern Churches Quarterly. At a meeting in England of Anglican and Russian
Orthodox bishops, the Anglican bishops asked at supper: "Do you believe we are baptized?" The Orthodox asked to have the night to think about it. At breakfast in the morning the Anglicans asked: "So, what do you think? Are we baptized?" The Orthodox replied, "We do not know"

--- "Non scimus" - I would personally adopt this agnostic position.

3. Lastly, you may remember that a couple of years ago the Russian bishop in Germany was foolish enough to sign his name to a statement recognising Lutheran baptism. The reaction from Moscow was swift and they pointed out that this was the private opinion of the particular bishop and not the teaching of the Russian Church.

The bottom line is that the Orthodox adhere to the cyprianic position concerning Sacraments outside the Church. However, this is frequently mollified, by economia, at the time when an individual person approaches the Church for reception.


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#307158 - 12/15/08 07:33 AM Re: specific Orthodox disagreements with the Catholic Catechism [Re: Hieromonk Ambrose]
Irish Melkite Offline
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Registered: 10/27/03
Posts: 9932
Loc: Massachusetts
Deacon,

In answer to the query posed, yes, I consider myself a Christian, having been baptized. The point of your question is lost on me, however, if one discards Steve's logical follow-up queries, which boil down to - were I to embrace Orthodoxy, how would I react to a decision that required me to be baptized anew because the Catholic Mystery administered to me was deemed to lack sacramental grace? I would likely resent it, as I believe the Mysteries of both Churches to be valid.

Otoh, as I believe that each of the Churches appropriately (and, in good conscience must - a poor expression of what I mean, but I'm tired) judges the efficacy of what has gone before - so as to do what it believes right, I'd almost assuredly accept the decision. However, believing as I do about the Mysteries of both Churches, is it logical to expect that I would embrace Orthodoxy via the medium of a jurisdiction in which such was not also the belief? Hardly. So, unless all of Orthodoxy was asserting an unwillingness to accept Catholic Baptism at a time when I were to decide to embrace it, the question becomes moot.

Let me add that, despite answering the query posted, I find the personalization of the discussion to be a bit inappropriate. The piece which I wrote some years back has appeared both here and on other fora and Father Ambrose presented it as what he kindly considers to be a partcularly clear exposition of the generally opposite attitudes taken by the two Churches. That said, and I am flattered by my friend's opinion, I am unconvinced that my personal thoughts on the points expressed, were such views applied to me, are particularly relevant. The stances taken by the two Churches are what they are - the presentation is factually accurate and verifiable by any number of examples in real life - it is not opinion. Thus, that I should be asked to defend it, by analyzing how I would react were it applied to me, seems to be neither here nor there, wholly speculative, and - frankly - no one's business.

(I would note, however, that, in the very recent past, the Catholic Church has, wisely, begun to take a more Cyprianic view in reacting to episcopal acts undertaken by a few established hierarchs who have wandered from the reservation. Whether it will do so when next faced with a request for entry into communion by an independent or vagante bishop with a half-way respectable claim to a valid episcopal genealogy remains to be seen.)

Many years,

Neil

PS - On re-reading and reflection. I also find inappropriate the suggestion that Father Ambrose, in obeying the differing decisions of two hierarchs to whom he was in obedience at different times, was somehow lacking in consistent application of Orthodox tenets. The situation he faced is no different than that encountered by any presbyter who excardinates from one jurisdiction and incardinates to another, or whose hierarch retires and is replaced by another of differing opinion. Father did as he was bound to do by his vows - give obedience to the instructions of his canonical superior.


Edited by Irish Melkite (12/15/08 07:41 AM)
Edit Reason: Add Postscript
_________________________
"One day all our ethnic traits ... will have disappeared. Time itself is seeing to this. And so we can not think of our communities as ethnic parishes, ... unless we wish to assure the death of our community."

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#307160 - 12/15/08 08:37 AM Re: specific Orthodox disagreements with the Catholic Catechism [Re: Irish Melkite]
Apotheoun Offline
Member

Registered: 03/25/05
Posts: 2861
Loc: SF Bay Area, CA
Originally Posted By: Irish Melkite
PS - On re-reading and reflection. I also find inappropriate the suggestion that Father Ambrose, in obeying the differing decisions of two hierarchs to whom he was in obedience at different times, was somehow lacking in consistent application of Orthodox tenets. The situation he faced is no different than that encountered by any presbyter who excardinates from one jurisdiction and incardinates to another, or whose hierarch retires and is replaced by another of differing opinion. Father did as he was bound to do by his vows - give obedience to the instructions of his canonical superior.

If this is in reference to my post, I did not mean to intend any offense against Fr. Ambrose, who merely did what he was supposed to do in receiving converts to Orthodoxy, i.e., obey his bishop. If what I said has been read by anyone at this forum as an attack on Fr. Ambrose I apologize for my poor skills in conveying my point, which simply was that the Orthodox connect the grace of the holy mysteries more directly to the Church, although an Orthodox bishop has the authority to exercise a certain degree of "economy" when it comes to accepting converts from non-Orthodox ecclesial communities.

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#307166 - 12/15/08 09:26 AM Re: specific Orthodox disagreements with the Catholic Catechism [Re: Apotheoun]
Hieromonk Ambrose Offline
Member

Registered: 03/22/06
Posts: 1520
Loc: New Zealand
Originally Posted By: Apotheoun
[If this is in reference to my post...


Dear Todd and Neil,

I have not noticed anything intended to be offensive. Please believe me, no offence has been given or taken. I am having a great time on the Forum and hope that we all are.

The deacon (is that Steve?) is insistent that questions receive an answer but there's nothing wrong with that.

Peace and good will to all!

Fr Ambrose


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#307170 - 12/15/08 09:51 AM Re: specific Orthodox disagreements with the Catholic Catechism [Re: Hieromonk Ambrose]
Hieromonk Ambrose Offline
Member

Registered: 03/22/06
Posts: 1520
Loc: New Zealand

It would be great if other Orthodox participated in answering Father Deacon's questions. It would be interesting to hear other views and other ways of expressing things.

My backgound is basically Serbian and if you wanted to place me in a pigeonhole, I guess it would be in the tradition of Fr Justin Popovich. We could do with input from Greeks and Antiochians, etc. I should maybe apologise for spending so much time on the Forum.

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#307172 - 12/15/08 12:28 PM Re: specific Orthodox disagreements with the Catholic Catechism [Re: Hieromonk Ambrose]
ajk Offline
Member

Registered: 05/22/07
Posts: 1658
Loc: MD
Originally Posted By: Hieromonk Ambrose
The deacon (is that Steve?) is insistent that questions receive an answer but there's nothing wrong with that.


ajk is Deacon Anthony.

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#307176 - 12/15/08 01:54 PM Re: specific Orthodox disagreements with the Catholic Catechism [Re: ajk]
JSMelkiteOrthodoxy Offline
Member

Registered: 08/18/06
Posts: 2406
Loc: Georgia U.S.
I've been wrestling with this issue of sacramental validity and economia in the past few weeks. I just finished reading Patrick Barnes' book, "The Non Orthodox," and I've been reading numerous articles. The topic affects me personally, since I was baptized by single immersion in the Southern Baptist Church. And as many know, the Southern Baptist Church does not regard baptism as a sacrament. I was received into the Melkite Church (12 years ago) by Chrismation and then I was received into the Orthodox Church, Antiochian (2 years ago) by Chrismation. I confess that I wish I had been baptized Orthodox. I have read some articles suggesting that converts who are not baptized in the Orthodox Church have a harder spiritual struggle. On the other hand, I've heard that even if a Church's use of economia is too liberal, it is still valid. In other words, there are many who criticize the Antiochian Church's blanket policy of receiving all converts (who have been baptized with water in the name of the Trinity) by Chrismation. But it is not the convert's fault that this is the policy and even if it is a bad policy, the convert sill receives all of the necessary baptismal grace in chrismation. What is confusing though is that, at least in my jurisdiction, I've heard Orthodox clergy say that non-Orthodox baptisms are valid and that we accept them. This doesn't seem, however, to be in accord with the canons and with our theology.

To make matters more confusing, we simply have to look at our practice of allowing Orthodox to marry non-Orthodox Christians. The Church forbids an Orthodox from marrying an unbaptized person. But an Orthodox can marry, with permission, a baptized non-Orthodox Christian. Now, if non-Orthodox baptisms are universally invalid, then why the permission? The non-Orthodox Christian would be in the same boat as the muslim or Jew. It seems to me that if there is ever a pan-Orthodox/Ecumenical council, that this is one of the first issues that needs to be addressed and settled definitively.

Oh, and I've also recently discovered that not all Orthodox Churches baptize adults by triple immersion. I know at least one Orthodox in my Church (Antiochian) who was baptized by an Orthodox priest by having water poured over his head. Is this valid?

Joe

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#307183 - 12/15/08 02:40 PM Re: specific Orthodox disagreements with the Catholic Catechism [Re: JSMelkiteOrthodoxy]
Orthodox Catholic Offline
Member

Registered: 11/05/01
Posts: 24146
Loc: Canada
Dear Friends,

The position of Orthodoxy with respect to the "efficacy" of the sacramental Mysteries resting on the foundation of actual, real communion with the Holy Orthodox Church is one that is not about "questioning" anyone's life of Grace.

It is one that simply professes agnosticism with respect to that life of Grace since it is experienced outside the Church.

One may be baptised but when one enters the Orthodox Church - that and other sacraments received outside the Church COULD be affirmed as legitimate.

For example, Ukrainian Catholics who join the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Canada are never rebaptised or rechrismated - they simply express their desire to be Orthodox and are received by Confession.

And heterodoxy/schism are not the old reasons for rejecting someone's Baptism in Orthodoxy.

For years, Orthodox Christians baptised in the Kyivan Orthodox Metropolia needed to be rebaptised when they went to live in Russia since the Kyivan Metropolia admitted to baptism by pouring.

Alex

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#307188 - 12/15/08 03:18 PM Re: specific Orthodox disagreements with the Catholic Catechism [Re: JSMelkiteOrthodoxy]
Hieromonk Ambrose Offline
Member

Registered: 03/22/06
Posts: 1520
Loc: New Zealand
Originally Posted By: JSMelkiteOrthodoxy
Oh, and I've also recently discovered that not all Orthodox Churches baptize adults by triple immersion. I know at least one Orthodox in my Church (Antiochian) who was baptized by an Orthodox priest by having water poured over his head. Is this valid?

Yes, but really not the preferable way.

See

http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/ecumenism/pouring.aspx

What is very interesting is that this article was written in 1754 and predates the discovery of the Didache and its instruction of how to baptize under varying conditions. The Didache was rediscovered in 1873 by Bishop Philotheos Bryennios, bishop of Nicomedia.

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