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Marriage East and West, CCC #1623 #417919
01/20/18 06:09 AM
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Filipe YTOL Offline OP
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Hi everyone...
I have been having a discussion with a friend about who presides over the sacrament of matrimony (hence my other question).
I pointed out that in the Eastern Churches it is the priest or bishop, but he countered and said that is not the case, and quoted article 1623 of the Catechism.
So I looked it up and in my version at home it clearly states that the Priest or bishop is the minister, in the Eastern liturgies. But he insisted and it seems that the article was changed recently and now says that "In the tradition of the Eastern Churches, the priests (bishops or presbyters) are witnesses to the mutual consent given by the spouses,124 but for the validity of the sacrament their blessing is also necessary"

Why the change? Is the Church now saying that the priest/bishop is not the minister of the sacrament?
Your opinions are welcome, of course, but any references to authoritive texts would be great.

Re: Marriage East and West, CCC #1623 [Re: Filipe YTOL] #417920
01/20/18 11:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Filipe YTOL

Why the change?
Good question.


Originally Posted by Filipe YTOL
Is the Church now saying that the priest/bishop is not the minister of the sacrament?
The present wording of the CCC:

Quote
1623 According to Latin tradition, the spouses as ministers of Christ's grace mutually confer upon each other the sacrament of Matrimony by expressing their consent before the Church. In the tradition of the Eastern Churches, the priests (bishops or presbyters) are witnesses to the mutual consent given by the spouses,124 but for the validity of the sacrament their blessing is also necessary.125
--------------------------------------------
124 Cf. CCEO, can. 817.
125 Cf. CCEO, can. 828.


Quote
1623 Secundum traditionem latinam, sponsi, tamquam ministri gratiae Christi, sibi mutuo Matrimonii conferunt sacramentum, suum consensum coram Ecclesia significantes. In traditionibus Ecclesiarum Orientalium, sacerdotes — Episcopi vel presbyteri — testes sunt consensus mutuo ab sponsis praestiti, 275 sed etiam eorum benedictio ad validitatem sacramenti est necessaria. 276


This neither confirms nor rejects that the priest is the minister of the sacrament of marriage in the Eastern "tradition." This neither confirms nor rejects that the spouses are the ministers of the sacrament of marriage in the Eastern "tradition." The referenced CCEO canons do not use the term minister. In these texts there is no explicit wording that informs us about the minister of the sacrament of marriage in the Eastern "tradition."

I refer the forum to the previous lengthy discussion (2008, 2015) that you also started: Ministers of Matrimony

Re: Marriage East and West, CCC #1623 [Re: Filipe YTOL] #417921
01/20/18 03:38 PM
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theophan Offline
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Filipe YTOL:

Christ is in our midst!!

ajk's quotation is the wording of the second edition of the CCC. Do you have the first? Maybe that is why you have a discrepancy. As to why a change was made, that is a question for Rome from which the revised second edition came.

Bob

Re: Marriage East and West, CCC #1623 [Re: theophan] #417922
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Originally Posted by theophan
Filipe YTOL:

Christ is in our midst!!

ajk's quotation is the wording of the second edition of the CCC. Do you have the first? Maybe that is why you have a discrepancy. As to why a change was made, that is a question for Rome from which the revised second edition came.

Bob


First Edition Version
Quote
1623 In the Latin Church, it is ordinarily understood that the spouses, as ministers of Christ's grace, mutually confer upon each other the sacrament of Matrimony by expressing their consent before the Church. In the Eastern liturgies the minister of this sacrament (which is called "Crowning") is the priest or bishop who, after receiving the mutual consent of the spouses, successively crowns the bridegroom and the bride as a sign of the marriage covenant.
Vatican Archive

Also, consider:

Quote
EWTN Catholic Q&A
Minister of the Sacrament of Matrimony
Question from John on 05-03-2001:
Dr. Carroll, The Catholic Church holds that the Eastern Church's teaching that the priest confers the sacrament of Matrimony upon the the couple is a valid Catholic opinion. The NCCB's document, "Eastern Catholics in the United States" says, " Marriage in the Eastern Church is a sacrament confered by the priest by means of the "crowning" and nuptual blessing, not by the couple as in the Latin Church." It was authored by my bishop, Andrew Pataki. The Catechism of the Catholic Church says, "1623. "In the Latin Church, it is ordinarily understood that the spouses, as ministers of Christ's grace, mutually confer upon each other the sacrament of Matrimony by expressing their consent before the Church. In the Eastern liturgies the minister of this sacrament (which is called 'Crowning') is the priest or bishop who, after receiving the mutual consent of the spouses, successively crowns the bridegroom and the bride as a sign of the marriage covenant." It is therefore an error to dismiss the Orthodox view as heretical because the Magisterium has ratified it as a valid opinion. ,John
Answer by Dr. William Carroll on 05-05-2000:
I am now aware of this fact, which as you say is in the Catholic Catechism. - Dr. Carroll

COPYRIGHT 2002
www.ewtn.com

Re: Marriage East and West, CCC #1623 [Re: ajk] #417934
01/23/18 05:25 PM
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Question is why the second edition of the CCC changed what, to me, was a much better explanation of the differences in theology expressed in the marriage rites.

Bob

Re: Marriage East and West, CCC #1623 [Re: theophan] #417935
01/23/18 11:29 PM
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Originally Posted by theophan
Question is why the second edition of the CCC changed what, to me, was a much better explanation of the differences in theology expressed in the marriage rites.
Your question may anticipate a possible answer: " differences in theology." As I noted as the concluding remark of the 2008&2015 thread:
Originally Posted by ajk
4) FINAL CONSIDERATION The Sacrament of Marriage -- or lack thereof -- touches most if not all of us, directly or through family friends etc.. The Church owes us a clear, unambiguous theological foundation for understanding the mind of the Church, uniting and reconciling East and West, and from which details and specifics are consistently formulated. I believe that theological foundation should be based on a theology of Person and the Church, Ecclesiology as the Body of Christ and His Spouse, the Temple of the Holy Spirit, and the mon-archē of the Bishop.

link => Ministers of Matrimony

Re: Marriage East and West, CCC #1623 [Re: Filipe YTOL] #417936
01/24/18 07:19 AM
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Filipe YTOL Offline OP
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Thanks, everyone, for your help!
Filipe

Re: Marriage East and West, CCC #1623 [Re: Filipe YTOL] #417940
01/26/18 09:24 AM
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The change in the CCC may be attributed to commentary that developed after the promulgation of the CCEO. In his commentary, _Eastern Catholic Marriage Law_, the late Archimandrite Msgr Victor Pospishil notes, “Because the contract of marriage is a sacrament for the baptized, the parties of the contract are also the ministers of the sacrament.” In _A Guide to the Eastern Code: A Commentary on the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches_, Fr Josef Prader writes, “The minister of the sacrament of marriage is the one who posits the sacramental sign... In the Eastern Catholic Churches, the sacramental sign essentially consists in the indispensably reciprocal consent of the parties and, by ecclesiastical disposition, in the sacred rite, that is, in the priestly blessing...” so Fr Prader is of the opinion that both the baptized parties and the priest are ministers of the sacrament. Fr Prader was an associate professor of Canon Law at the PIO, and a consultor of the PCCICOR (the Pontifical Commission on the Revision of the Code of Oriental Canon Law).

Last edited by Deacon John Montalvo; 01/26/18 09:25 AM.
Re: Marriage East and West, CCC #1623 [Re: Deacon John Montalvo] #417942
01/26/18 10:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Deacon John Montalvo
The change in the CCC may be attributed to commentary that developed after the promulgation of the CCEO. In his commentary, _Eastern Catholic Marriage Law_, the late Archimandrite Msgr Victor Pospishil notes, “Because the contract of marriage is a sacrament for the baptized, the parties of the contract are also the ministers of the sacrament.” In _A Guide to the Eastern Code:
I'd like to hear how this fits with Orthodox theological sensibilities. What of baptized Christians who are in a common law union or those who are members of an ecclesial community (rather than an ekklesia)?


Originally Posted by Deacon John Montalvo
A Commentary on the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches_, Fr Josef Prader writes, “The minister of the sacrament of marriage is the one who posits the sacramental sign... In the Eastern Catholic Churches, the sacramental sign essentially consists in the indispensably reciprocal consent of the parties and, by ecclesiastical disposition, in the sacred rite, that is, in the priestly blessing...” so Fr Prader is of the opinion that both the baptized parties and the priest are ministers of the sacrament. Fr Prader was an associate professor of Canon Law at the PIO, and a consultor of the PCCICOR (the Pontifical Commission on the Revision of the Code of Oriental Canon Law).

Even more so, I'd like to hear how this fits with Orthodox theological sensibilities. Though not authoritative as is the CCC, It is knowledgeable commentary and I'd say a correct and reasonable one, but what is considered the consent that makes the baptized parties ministers? Just answering questions put to each of them? The West has the vows as a very explicit form of "the indispensably reciprocal consent of the parties." Generally vows are not in the nuptial liturgy of the East although they are in the Ruthenian Recension trebnik.

Why then is the CCC so vague?

Re: Marriage East and West, CCC #1623 [Re: ajk] #417955
01/31/18 11:24 AM
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Filipe YTOL Offline OP
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I came across this document, which is helpful and has many references. It's a doctoral thesis, so what I did was search the word "minister" and just skip to the relevant passages.
Page 200 and footnote 58 are particularly interesting. https://cuislandora.wrlc.org/islandora/object/etd:164/datastream/PDF/view

Although the CCC has changed its wording, it is interesting that, as far as I know, for an Eastern Catholic Marriage, or a mixed Eastern/Latin marriage to be valid, the ceremony must still be presided over by a priest or bishop, lending force to the fact that the Church still considers the Eastern understanding of the Priest/bishop, but not deacon, being the minister of the sacrament, to be legit.

Last edited by Filipe YTOL; 01/31/18 11:24 AM.
Re: Marriage East and West, CCC #1623 [Re: Filipe YTOL] #417956
01/31/18 11:31 AM
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In fact, it is worth reading through to page 205, where this issue is discussed further and in some detail, with different positions explained. The change in the wording of the CCC is also mentioned.

Re: Marriage East and West, CCC #1623 [Re: Filipe YTOL] #418337
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Originally Posted by Filipe YTOL
In fact, it is worth reading through to page 205, where this issue is discussed further and in some detail, with different positions explained. The change in the wording of the CCC is also mentioned.
I've been wanting to tend to this; it's only taken some 5 months!

The explanations, conjectures, for the change in the CCC are given there in the thesis as you state. This clarifies and is a rationale for the difference in wording of the CCC but it confirms, for me, that the Church is not wanting to discuss the matter in terms of minister or ministers of this Mystery/Sacrament. It is sidestepping this important issue and that is unfortunate. So, from the theses p 201-204:

Quote
The fact that sacred rite is an essential element of the canonical form of marriage brings up another difference between the Eastern and Latin traditions, namely the minister, or the ministers, of the sacrament of marriage.63 For the Latin tradition, the matrimony is a consensual contract which becomes a sacrament through the exchange of the consent between the two spouses.64 In fact the Catechism of the Catholic Church states: “According to the Latin tradition, the spouses as ministers of Christ's grace mutually confer upon each other the sacrament of Matrimony by expressing their consent before the church.”65 According to the doctrine of the non-Catholic Oriental churches the minister of the sacrament of marriage is the priest or the bishop who carries out the sacred rite through which the matrimonial sacrament is celebrated.66 Considering the minister of the sacrament of marriage, the Russian contemporary theologian Evdokimov affirms: “The priest is the minister of the sacrament that is instituted by God; mutual consent indicates that the betrothed are not bound by any other engagement, but the grace results only from the rite performed. In no way, nor in any sense, can the spouses be the ministers of the sacrament.”67

In the Catholic Oriental Churches there are two opinions concerning the ministers of the sacrament of marriage.68 One of them underlines the mystical and sacramental factor of the marriage and as a result considers the priest as the minister of the matrimony. The other opinion is closer to the Latin principle and regards the consent of the parties as the efficient cause of the marriage and consequently acknowledges the spouses as ministers of the matrimonial sacrament.69 In fact, this difference of opinions made its way in the process of preparation of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Thus, the first edition of the Catechism of the Catholic Church stated that in the Oriental liturgies the minister of the sacrament was the priest or the bishop who, after receiving the mutual consent of the spouses, crowned them as a sign of the matrimonial covenant.70 Prader argued that this assertion referred only to the non-Catholic Oriental Churches.71 However, in the second edition there is no direct affirmation that the priest is the minister of the sacrament of marriage: “In the traditions of the Eastern churches, the priests (bishops or presbyters) are witnesses to the mutual consent given by the spouses, but for the validity of the sacrament their blessing is also necessary.”72 This change is significant because on one hand it underlines the value of the Oriental tradition by maintaining the necessity of the nuptial blessing, while on the other hand prevents the supposition that the sacrament of marriage has a different configuration in the Eastern Catholic Churches than it does in to the Latin Church.73

The two different opinions are indirectly present even in the current legislation. The CCEO does not specifically designate the minister of the sacrament of marriage but agrees with the 1983 CIC that consent constitutes the marriage.74 However, in order to remain faithful to the Oriental tradition CCEO stipulates in canon 828 § 1 that only those marriages are valid which are celebrated with the sacred rite in the presence of the competent priest or bishop. The second paragraph of the same canon explains that the sacred rite is carried out through the intervention of the priest who assists at and blesses the marriage.75


Take all that and add to it footnote 58, p200

Quote
58 Salachas, Il Sacramento del Matrimonio, 184. The Oriental concept that marriage is a sacrament conferred upon the parties through the priest‟s blessing brings out two other differences between Western and Latin traditions. First, in the Eastern tradition, marriage, as any sacrament, pertains to the eternal life in the Kingdom of God and cannot be dissolved by the death of the parties but creates between them an eternal bond, unlike the Latin belief where the matrimonial contract is dissolved by the death of one of the spouses. Second, in the Eastern tradition, marriage as a sacrament is a gift of grace. The parties might have made a mistake in asking the grace of marriage when they were not ready for it or they might show themselves unable to make this grace fructify. In these situations the Church may admit that in fact the grace was not received and consequently tolerate separation and allow remarriage. In opposition, in the Latin Church the matrimonial covenant has always been considered indissoluble. See Meyendorff, Marriage: An Orthodox Perspective, 54.


and this conclusion p 303-4

Quote
The conclusion of the second section of the first chapter was that until the eighteenth century there coexisted in the Eastern Byzantine Tradition two doctrines concerning marriage: one that considered consent as the fundamental element of the constitution of marriage and the other one which considered the blessing mandatory for the validity of marriage. It was not until the second half of the nineteenth century that the matrimonial doctrine underwent a significant change and the priestly nuptial benediction was considered to be the most important element of the sacrament of marriage.


and the comments of Fr. Deacon John and theophan, here, and the previous thread, and what emerges? I'm still not sure.

I say again that the Church, comprising East and West, needs desperately to resolve this issue starting with a foundational theology of the Mysteries/Sacraments that informs the necessary canons rather than vice versa as seems to be our current situation.

Re: Marriage East and West, CCC #1623 [Re: ajk] #418338
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ajk:

Glory be to Jesus Christ!!

What is your reference for the last quote in the above thread? Is it the immediately preceding quote?

I think that considering the Mystery of Matrimony apart from the other Mysteries is part of the problem. All of the Mysteries, as I have been taught, form part of the life of the Church lived in the Holy Spirit.

Remember that the Latin form of the Mystery was, until after the Vatican Council, a mere take-over of the Roman civil ceremony. It consisted of an instruction, exchange of vows, a ring ceremony, with a nuptial blessing added. That was it. I think history might have played a part, too, in that Rome had to take over civil functions after roughly 500 AD while the Eastern Empire and Oriental practice seemed to reflect the separation of the Church from the civil requirements of marriage and toward a deeper theological understanding. And this latter practice lasted another 1000 years until the fall of Byzantium and up to today.

My own opinion is that, after the change to Latin in the West in things theological and liturgical, practices and theologies diverged and grew gradually farther apart. I also suspect that with the West's focus on St. Augustine's view of all things theological, rather than the Eastern consensus based on the theological schools of Alexandria and Antioch, there is little one can do to bend these two views toward a common understanding at this time. I've read that the Eastern approach was to find a consensus of the Fathers, rather than on a single Father's theology. It's interesting to me that the Oriental Orthodox pretty much follow the Chalcedonian Church's understanding, including the Church of the East.

All this is my own speculation; not based on formal theological education.

Bob

Re: Marriage East and West, CCC #1623 [Re: ajk] #418339
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Glory forever.

Bob,

The link is to the thesis two posts up from mine in #417955. For your convenience ==> The Canonical Form of Marriage in L...ed Pastoral Concerns In Eastern Europe.

Re: Marriage East and West, CCC #1623 [Re: Filipe YTOL] #418342
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Glory be to Jesus Christ!

Had another thought.

The Eastern tradition seems to take a stance about the Mysteries that is not as juridical as that of the West. I was instructed that the Mysteries are all part of the life of the Holy
Spirit living within the Church. The bishop (successor to the Apostles) and his delegate, the priest, are the guardians of the Mysteries. So grace flows through the ordained clergy to the People of God; the clergy nourish the Church as Christ nourishes His Bride, the Church. The Mysteries are not looked at as separate things, but are all part of God nourishing His People. Even certain solemn blessings are part of the Mysteries. My Orthodox instructor told me that each Mystery is God's intervention into the life of the Church and of the individual and it is done in and through the Church and her clergy. So it would seem that the clergy are necessary for the Mysteries to occur.

There is a new study of the Vatican II by a Greek Orthodox scholar entitled "The Ecclesiological Renovation of Vatican II" that examines Rome's detachment of the Mystery of Baptism from the other Mysteries and the implications of that theological move. It may be that this Augustianian look at the mystery of marriage is akin to that--looking at each Mystery separately from the others. And therein may be the reason for such a diversion of theological teaching about who is the minister of the Mystery of marriage and what is essential.

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