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Ministers of Matrimony #278347
02/13/08 08:23 AM
02/13/08 08:23 AM
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Posts: 299
Portugal
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Filipe YTOL Offline OP
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Filipe YTOL  Offline OP
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Hello all,
Recently in a discussion about matrimony somebody mentioned that in the Western Church the bride and groom are the ministers of the sacrament, but in the Eastern Churches it is the priest. As you would expect, this caused some surprise and confusion to most of those present. At the time, one of the women in charge interrupted and explained that in the Eastern Liturgy the couple were still ministers, but that the Priest was as well.
I didn't say anything at the time, because we were a bit off topic, but I am quite sure this is incorrect, and I would like to privately explain the issue to her.
Am I correct in assuming that the sole minister is the priest, in an Eastern wedding?

Re: Ministers of Matrimony [Re: Filipe YTOL] #278349
02/13/08 08:51 AM
02/13/08 08:51 AM
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Posts: 6,562
Glasgow, Scotland
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Our Lady's slave Offline
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Our Lady's slave  Offline
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I personally think you are correct Filipe smile

In the Latin Church as you state that the couple are Ministers of the Sacrament - this is why they can be married by either a Deacon or a Priest.

As you state, in the East the couple are married by a priest , it is NOT possible for an Eastern Deacon to marry them - this is where there can be problems with an Latin Catholic marrying an Eastern Catholic in a Latin Catholic Church - the priest has to be there for the sacrament to be conferred upon the couple.

stick to your guns smile

Re: Ministers of Matrimony [Re: Filipe YTOL] #278352
02/13/08 09:13 AM
02/13/08 09:13 AM
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Posts: 147
Ottawa
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father michael Offline
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From my understanding, all the Holy Mysteries in the East are received passively. Re: marriage, there is a difference between East and West in that the actual crowning and blessing received from the priest are necessary in the East.

Did you know that if a Byzantine Catholic gets married in the Latin Church, it MUST be a priest who marries them or it is considered invalid? At least is what I have been informed by a bishop-doctor of canon law....

Last edited by father michael; 02/13/08 09:14 AM.
Re: Ministers of Matrimony [Re: father michael] #278353
02/13/08 09:26 AM
02/13/08 09:26 AM
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Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Collin Nunis Offline
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Collin Nunis  Offline
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Yes, it true... A priest must be the one who marries them if an Eastern Catholic marries in the Latin Church.

Re: Ministers of Matrimony [Re: Filipe YTOL] #278354
02/13/08 09:42 AM
02/13/08 09:42 AM
Joined: Jul 2005
Posts: 94
Ouiatenon
theophilus Offline
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The concept of Eastern marriages being ministered by BOTH the priest and the couple is an invention of Latin canon lawyers so that an Eastern marriage will fit into their annulment system. Otherwise it would be impossible to annul an Eastern marriage, which is our Tradition.

We do not believe in a sacramentalized legal contract, "until death do us part". We believe that the priest cooperates with the Holy Spirit to join the couple into one ontological person, not unlike how a priest and the Holy Spirit will transform bread and wine into the Body and Blood -- it is something that cannot really be "undone".

Re: Ministers of Matrimony [Re: theophilus] #278373
02/13/08 12:48 PM
02/13/08 12:48 PM
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ajk Offline
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Originally Posted by theophilus
The concept of Eastern marriages being ministered by BOTH the priest and the couple is an invention of Latin canon lawyers so that an Eastern marriage will fit into their annulment system.


This is ludicrous.

Originally Posted by theophilus
We believe that the priest cooperates with the Holy Spirit to join the couple into one ontological person ...


This violates the integrity of the person -- of the persons of the man and woman -- and I trust it is not Orthodox theology or teaching. The married couple is no more "one ontological person" than is the Trinity.

Dn. Anthony

Re: Ministers of Matrimony [Re: ajk] #278381
02/13/08 01:47 PM
02/13/08 01:47 PM
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Dublin
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Fr Serge Keleher Offline
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Fr Serge Keleher  Offline
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There was a mildly amusing case several decades ago in an Eparchy in the USA which shall here remain nameless. The Bishop attempted to permit a deacon to marry the couple, and the ceremony was held. This reached the ears of Rome, which stepped on the bishop and required that the ceremony be repeated, this time by a priest.

Fr. Serge

Re: Ministers of Matrimony [Re: ajk] #278385
02/13/08 02:27 PM
02/13/08 02:27 PM
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Ouiatenon
theophilus Offline
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Fr. Deacon Anthony,

How is my statement ludicrous? Consent or any action of the couple is not a requirement for marriage. The mystery is the action of the priest and the Holy Spirit given to the couple. How could the concept of the couple being a "minister of the sacrament" be anything other than a Latinization?

Of course marriage violates the "integrity of the persons of the man and woman"! You no longer have the freedom to do whatever you want without "your other half". The couple is joined together as one. This is not a contract or vow, but an eternal ontological reality. Yes, I mean eternal -- this mystery does not end at death. Thus divorce or annulment is not possible. An ecclesiastical divorce or second marriage is only a temporary situation that ends at death (still married to your first and only "real" spouse)

Re: Ministers of Matrimony [Re: theophilus] #278403
02/13/08 04:25 PM
02/13/08 04:25 PM
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Posts: 1,923
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ajk Offline
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Originally Posted by ajk
Originally Posted by theophilus
The concept of Eastern marriages being ministered by BOTH the priest and the couple is an invention of Latin canon lawyers so that an Eastern marriage will fit into their annulment system.


This is ludicrous.

Originally Posted by theophilus
We believe that the priest cooperates with the Holy Spirit to join the couple into one ontological person ...


This violates the integrity of the person -- of the persons of the man and woman -- and I trust it is not Orthodox theology or teaching. The married couple is no more "one ontological person" than is the Trinity.


Originally Posted by theophilus
Fr. Deacon Anthony,

How is my statement ludicrous? Consent or any action of the couple is not a requirement for marriage. The mystery is the action of the priest and the Holy Spirit given to the couple. How could the concept of the couple being a "minister of the sacrament" be anything other than a Latinization?


Theophilus and all,

Perhaps we're talking past one another. Latinizations are ok for the Latins but not for us. I understand what is intended by "Consent or any action of the couple is not a requirement for marriage" but consent is a necessary prior condition, it is just not sufficient in the East: the blessing of the priest is required.

What I challenge though is the assertion that "Latin canon lawyers" invented the "concept of Eastern marriages being ministered by BOTH the priest and the couple ... so that an Eastern marriage will fit into their annulment system." But if you have facts to the contrary I'm willing to listen and learn.

Originally Posted by theophilus
Of course marriage violates the "integrity of the persons of the man and woman"! You no longer have the freedom to do whatever you want without "your other half". The couple is joined together as one. This is not a contract or vow, but an eternal ontological reality. Yes, I mean eternal -- this mystery does not end at death. Thus divorce or annulment is not possible. An ecclesiastical divorce or second marriage is only a temporary situation that ends at death (still married to your first and only "real" spouse)


Marriage produces a new relationship but a proper relationship does not violate the integrity of persons, a bad one does in the colloquial sense, neither does in the ontological sense. The ontological integrity of the concept of person -- person understood in the theological sense -- is "violated," i.e. misrepresented, by the loss of uniqueness and identity resulting if it were the case that marriage functioned "to join the couple into one ontological person." The mysteries that are ontological in effect are associated with the sense of sphragis (seal) or character (indelible mark) and are therefore not repeatable. These are Baptism, Chrismation (Confirmation) and definitely in Catholic, possibly in Orthodox theology, Holy Orders. Marriage being repeatable is not one of them.

Theologies based on the concept of person, such as that of Met. John Zizioulas, identify our being made in the image and likeness of God as referring specifically to the mutual application of the concept of person. I am a person, my wife is a person, we become one, one flesh, in marriage but we do not say we become one person any more than we would say the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are one person in the Trinity.

Dn. Anthony

Re: Ministers of Matrimony [Re: Fr Serge Keleher] #278408
02/13/08 04:43 PM
02/13/08 04:43 PM
Joined: Jan 2007
Posts: 299
Southern California
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MrsMW Offline
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Every once in awhile Rome comes in handy. smile

Re: Ministers of Matrimony [Re: MrsMW] #278442
02/13/08 09:41 PM
02/13/08 09:41 PM
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Posts: 709
DC area
Penthaetria Offline
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Originally Posted by MrsMW
Every once in awhile Rome comes in handy. smile
Especially as a tourist destination -- but I sure wouldn't want to live there -- literally or theologically! grin

Last edited by Penthaetria; 02/13/08 09:43 PM. Reason: to make my great wit even wittier. I crack myself up sometimes.
Re: Ministers of Matrimony [Re: Penthaetria] #278470
02/14/08 06:21 AM
02/14/08 06:21 AM
Joined: Mar 2005
Posts: 2,833
SF Bay Area, CA
Apotheoun Offline
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Apotheoun  Offline
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Marriage iconically mirrors the union of Christ and His Church, i.e., the salvific union of Head and Body as one mystical person stretching throughout time; and so it is true that husband and wife, i.e., head and body in marital union, through the mystery of crowning form one person, which means that their union is ontological and not merely intentional. Nevertheless, marital union does not involve the destruction of the hypostatic distinctiveness of the spouses, just as the hypostatic distinctiveness of Christ and his Body (i.e., all the many members within His Church) is not destroyed by the energetic union brought about through the incarnation of the eternal Logos and the sacramental mysteries that extend it by applying its deifying power throughout human history. Thus, I have no qualms in saying that the mystery of crowning does involve the creation (for lack of a better term) of a new ontological hypostatic reality through the union of the spouses, which iconically signifies and manifests the eschatological union of Christ and His Body the Church, i.e. the Whole Christ, and that this union does mark (or seal) the spouses, even though it is repeatable.

P.S. - Several Orthodox priests have told me that the mystery of chrismation is repeatable.

Re: Ministers of Matrimony [Re: Apotheoun] #278557
02/14/08 05:00 PM
02/14/08 05:00 PM
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Chicago
Michael_Thoma Offline
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Todd,

Are you saying that the Sacramental union of spouses creates a ontological miaphysis within the marriage?

Re: Ministers of Matrimony [Re: father michael] #278583
02/14/08 07:26 PM
02/14/08 07:26 PM
Joined: Sep 2007
Posts: 51
CA
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Originally Posted by father michael
Did you know that if a Byzantine Catholic gets married in the Latin Church, it MUST be a priest who marries them or it is considered invalid? At least is what I have been informed by a bishop-doctor of canon law....


Never knew this. It makes sense if a, say, Ukrainian Catholic is being married to a non-Catholic in a Roman Catholic parish with an RC cleric and using the RC ritual (this happens quite often in fact in these parts where most UCs attend RC churches). But, what if the Eastern-Byzantine Catholic is being married to a Roman Catholic in the Roman Catholic Church, does the need for a priest still persist? Is it always possible to take into account both liturgical and canonical traditions and disciplines at the same time?


Re: Ministers of Matrimony [Re: Apotheoun] #278585
02/14/08 07:31 PM
02/14/08 07:31 PM
Joined: Sep 2007
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Originally Posted by Apotheoun
... iconically mirrors ...


An interesting phrasing. It would seem to me that icons and mirrors are quite different. If marriage merely mirrors the relationship of Christ and the Church then marriage is changeable as our 'vision' of the relatioship between Chrsit and the Church changes. But if marriage is an icon of the relationship of Christ and the Church then marriage our vision is vision (understanding) is not important ... the reality of the relationship that is re-presented in the icon of marriage is what is vital.


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