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Hylomorphic simply refers to the Aristotelian theory that everything consists of substance and form. When applied to the sacraments, it tends to reduce everything to the proper matter (substance) and the proper words (form), which in turn allows the sacraments to be analyzed through a set of abstract propositions concerned mainly with "validity", outside of the liturgical, ecclesial and eschatological dimensions of the sacraments.

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Originally Posted by mardukm
From what I understand, "impanation" means that the humanity-divinity of Christ was hypostatically united to bread/wine. Is that really what the EO teach?
Hmm ... I wonder how much of this interpretation actually comes from Wycliff or Hus, and how much comes from their detractors. The fact that the Czech Orthodox Church wants to glorify Jan Hus rather strongly suggests that they find his teaching on "impanation" a faithful reflection of the Orthodox teaching.

Originally Posted by mardukm
Accidents are real things, and have ontological importance, but I think critics of TS often understand accidents as having no reality. For example, I've read that Latin anthropology holds that the body is the accident of the soul, the latter being the real essence of the human being.
I don't know where you read this, but I was taught that in the hylomorphic model, the soul is the "form" of man, while the body is the "matter"--both are required for the "substance." The "accidents," on the other hand, refer to properties or characteristics that can differ from on person to another, without their ceasing to be human.

In other words, we could have a three-dimensional projection that would have all the outward appearances of a man, yet clearly it would not be a man. This is what I understand to be the meaning of "accidents" in the theology of TS.

Originally Posted by mardukm
I see TS as being perfectly complementary to the statement of a few Fathers that in the Eucharist, the bread becomes something more than bread. That patristic idea indicates that something of the bread still remains.
In my RC elementary school training, we used the term "appearances" rather than "accidents" (although it was explained that this was not limited to visual appearances, but included all sensible characteristics). When I learned the term "accidents" later on, I was not given to understand that it encompassed anything beyond the scope of "appearances" as described above.

I would be glad to hear that this is *not* the original intent of these terms, but it is certainly the way they were taught to me.


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Deacon Richard

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Originally Posted by Orthodox Catholic
Personally,I believe that the old rules of strict fasting and prayer, including abstention from sexual relations prior to Communion in the East are the probable culprits . . .

The canons of the Kyivan Metropolitan St John II prescribed fasting, including fasting from sex on all Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. If someone was planning on going to Communion one week, the whole week would be like that.
Without trying to de-rail this thread, can someone explain to me:

a) Why one needed to abstain from sexual relations? Doesn't this smack of ritual impurity? I don't understand.

b) Is this prohibition still in place?

Thanks

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First, let me point out that Alex has referred to a Kievan Metropolitan's rules that are stricter than the canonical norms established in the seven Ecumenical Councils as held in the East. we'll never stop one from being stricter than required, but we won't require it.

Second, there are two general categories of fasting which are confused by the faithful: ascetical and pre-eucharistic. They are related, but not in a one to one relationship. The pre-eucharistic fast is much more closely tied to "ritual impurity." More on that later.

Those ecumenical norms would include acceptance of ascetical fasting throughout the year on Wednesdays and Fridays as well as during the Great Lent and Holy Week. It doesn't mean that one adheres to the fasting regime strictly (no eating until the afternoon plus the varying restrictions on meat, dairy, fish, wine, and olive oil), but that one make sincere efforts in that direction. Are conjugal relations between a married couple included? Well, as the Apostle Paul wrote, only by mutual agreement for a season.

A canon is a ruler against which we measure ourselves - or as the same Apostle wrote (paraphrased), 'if there hadn't been the Law, I wouldn't have know that I was sinning.'

The canonical pre-eucharistic fast precludes all sexual relations on the eves of receiving the eucharist along with all eating and drinking from the midnight (or from when one lays down to sleep) until the time of reception.

Ritual impurity is greatly understood and badly maligned, but I'll use the term "ritual preparedness" to help explain the point of it.

When we seek to contact the holiness of God, we should prepare. We fast. We pray. We abstain. Moses was told to take off his sandals. We humble ourselves, for what are we compared with almighty God?

When our contact with the holy is over, we are not ready to do anything. Certainly, we don't go from the holy to the banal or vulgar. Isn't there something particularly wrong with receiving the eucharist and then immediately opening an i-phone to check the score on the ball game? We certainly are not ready to pursue more contact with the holy. We are ritually unprepared (impure/unclean). We need to stop and allow the contact with the holiness of God to possess us.

It is equally true that sin makes us ritually unprepared (unclean/impure) but that concept is not so hard to grasp. So the adulterer abstains from the eucharist 20 years, the fornicator seven, and the man who killed an enemy in battle three. [These are canonical norms, not any particular penitent's actual period of excommunication which would vary according to the person's understanding of the gravity of his or her sin and the repentance shown.] So that concept is simple: do bad = stay away from the holy.

But the trouble seems to be this: How does doing good/contacting the holy make one ritually unprepared/unclean/impure? A good guess is that the "blood" has a lot to do with it, but in the Semitic languages "blood" and "life" are almost the same word. And therein lies the key.

The conjugal relationship between husband and wife is holy and creates its own period of ritual unpreparedness. It involves blood, but also gives the possibility for new life.

The celebrant makes the offering to God for the people and (in the Eastern Orthodox Churches) is not prepared to immediately make another the same day for this is the body and blood of Christ.

The High Priest entered the Holy of Holies and afterwards burned his clothes and touched no one for three days. The scrolls in the tabernacle are the word of life for the people.

The women abstain from the eucharist during their monthly cycle because it is holy not because it is bad. Without this, how would new life come into the world? "Eve" means "life."

Finally, the woman gives birth and stays away from the chalice for fourty days - because she did something wrong, impure or unclean? No, she did the holiest thing that a human can do - she brought new life into the world!

In the risen Christ,
Andrew

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Interesting thanks.
It makes sense that we should fast from the profane when preparing to experience the sacred.
However, I thought that ritual purity was set aside with the fulfillment of Christ's redemptive work.
I'll have to ponder this some more.

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Originally Posted by StuartK
Hylomorphic simply refers to the Aristotelian theory that everything consists of substance and form. When applied to the sacraments, it tends to reduce everything to the proper matter (substance) and the proper words (form), which in turn allows the sacraments to be analyzed through a set of abstract propositions concerned mainly with "validity", outside of the liturgical, ecclesial and eschatological dimensions of the sacraments.
Stuart,

I don't remember exactly how this system works, but I do know that in the hylomorphic model, matter is not the same thing as substance. Otherwise, your observations are accurate. Also, your point is very good regarding this system's emphasis on "validity" of the sacraments, along with the consequent de-emphasis of their liturgical, ecclesial and eschatological dimensions.

However, you also state that the Latin Church "no longer places much emphasis" on hylomorphic sacramentology, and I question just how accurate that is. ISTM that where the RCC is strongest these days is right where it's the most conservative.


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Deacon Richard

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How can a medieval innovation be considered "conservative"?

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Originally Posted by StuartK
How can a medieval innovation be considered "conservative"?
Ha ha! I'm afraid we're not all historians like yourself--most people think of 100 years as time immemorial. wink

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