Rorate Caeli

Milingo's excommunication declared; Episcopal ordinations not recognized

Essential excerpt of the Holy See Press Office's communiqué:

For this public act, both Archbishop Milingo and the four ordained [bishops] incur in a latae sententiae excommunication, envisioned by Canon 1382 of the Code of Canon Law. Moreover, the Church does not recognize and does not intend to recognize in the future these ordinations and all ordinations derived from them, and retains that the canonical status of the four supposed bishops remains that in which they found themselves before the ordination.

56 comments:

With Peter said...

"retains that the canonical status of the four supposed bishops remains that in which they found themselves before the ordination."

This seems to be a common modifier when the Church denounces illegal ordinations. On the surface, it seems to suggest that the Church believes the ordinations are invalid (i.e. not sacraments at all). At the same time, this would be impossible if the form and matter of the sacrament were preserved intact.

Maybe its a statement not of definition but recognition? In other words, the Church is not commenting on validity, which would require more investigation than the Church is willing to give?

dcs said...

I don't think the Holy See is commenting on the validity (or lack thereof) at all. They are careful to say "canonical status," which I guess means whatever the spiritual status of the four bishops might be, their canonical status is that of laymen.

S.H. said...

this is certainly interesting - canonical status means...?

Ad Orientem said...

Peter is correct in his observations (from the RC point of view). The canonical status of the "ordinands" would be that they are heretics. In the case of Ab. +Millingo he is certainly a schismatic and quite probably a heretic (again from the RC point of view).

As for the recognition of the Ordinations the Roman Catholic Church having separated the Holy Mysteries from the Church holds that it is possible to be an obvious and overt heretic or schismatic and still to have "valid" though illicit sacraments. Thus Roman Catholics would look at these unfortunate events and conclude that four new bishops have been created.

We Orthodox however take a different approach. In Orthodoxy the Holy Mysteries are dependent upon the grace of God which flows only through His Mystical Body. They are not magic which anyone can conjure if they use the right words and have the correct intent. We teach that the Mysteries are performed by the grace and cooperation of the Holy Spirit in union with God’s Church as a whole. Hence we hold that true sacraments do not exist outside of the Church. This is why we Orthodox do not concern ourselves with all of the various weird vegante bishops floating around who claim orders from this or that bishop tracing his orders back several centuries. In short the "Dutch Touch" does not impress us. If you seperate yourself from the church you have no mysteries. As St. +John Maximovitch of San Francisco once observed, you can have all the wiring correct, but once you are cut off from the power company the lights won't work.

Jordan Potter said...

Canonical status refers to their legal standing under the Code of Canon Law of the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church.

As I understand it, some or all of these four men who were ordained by Milingo (prescinding from the question of whether or not this ordination was valid) were all validly and lictly ordained as Catholic priests before leaving the Church. Thus, canonically they are priests who are not permitted to act as priests. They claim to have been ordained as bishops in the schismatic Old Catholic sect, which if true would mean they were illicitly ordained bishops but presumably they were valid ordinations. But canonically they would still be priests who are not permitted to act as priests, regardless of any illegal Old Catholic ordination.

Their "reordination" by Milingo changes nothing about their status. Sacramentally they may or may not be bishops, but canonically they are validly-ordained priests who have lost the right to act publicly as priests.

Jordan Potter said...

"If you seperate yourself from the church you have no mysteries."

It's a good thing we Catholics hold a different view, or else we would have to regard Orthodox Churches as mere "ecclesial communities" that, like the Protestants, would lack valid apostolic succession and therefore would lack valid sacraments of Eucharist, Confirmation, Holy Orders, Penance, and Unction.

Jordan Potter said...

I should add that in Catholicism, as in Orthodoxy, the sacraments are dependent upon the grace of God which flows only through His Mystical Body. It is a grave distortion of Catholic belief to characterise Catholic sacramentalism as "magic which anyone can conjure if they use the right words and have the correct intent." Rather, it is because the sacraments are dependent upon God's grace which flows only through the Mystical Body that we believe even illicit ordinations can be valid, just as the illicit baptisms of heretics can be valid.

bedwere said...

But for the Orthodox a subsequent Chrismation in the Orthodox Church would make an illicit ordination valid, wouldn't it? However doesn't that imply that there was some sort of ordination already in place? Otherwise a Chrismation would make everybody a Bishop...Just wondering.

With Peter said...

Easterners have not faced the sort of attack against the sacraments that Catholics have faced since the sixteenth century and this has stagnated the development of Easterners' theological understanding of the mysteries. They have been spared the crisis which was dealt with by the Council of Trent, but they have also not received the grace that has come to the Church in response to this crisis. Eastern theology has all the primitive beauty and romance of the sacraments, but none of the hard-earned scars of the polemical disputes suffered by Westerners. Ad Orientum's post displays this perfectly.

Form and matter are not "hocus pocus." It is a question of maintaining the essential integrity of the sacrament.

By the way, Ad Orientum, haven't the Copts and the Greeks always recognized the validity of each other's orders even as they have condemned one another as heretical and schismatic?

Certainly the Orthodox rejected the third and fourth century heresy of Donatism, didn't they? If so, they admitted the existence of valid sacraments/mysteries
"outside the visible confines of the Church" (to borrow a very useful Vatican Two-ism).

Indeed, I think a careful reading of Lumen Gentium would go a long way toward understanding how sacraments can be "outside the Church" and yet "in, from and for the Church" at one and the same time.

bona gratia said...

So why did it take the Vatican five years (after his Moonie marriage and resultant scandal) to dispose of this guy's title of archbishop? I mean, really!

The Book Burner said...

"So why did it take the Vatican five years (after his Moonie marriage and resultant scandal) to dispose of this guy's title of archbishop? I mean, really!"

I guess Benedict just happened to remember, "oh yeah, I told Pope John Paul II to condemn them... Well I'll just do it now."

Ad Orientem said...

Wow several responses. Let me start in order.

JP wrote...
"It's a good thing we Catholics hold a different view, or else we would have to regard Orthodox Churches as mere "ecclesial communities" that, like the Protestants, would lack valid apostolic succession and therefore would lack valid sacraments of Eucharist, Confirmation, Holy Orders, Penance, and Unction."

Why is that a good thing? I am not trying to be snarky, but I fail to see what you gain from it. Roman Catholics are not allowed to commune Orthodox Mysteries and Orthodox are not allowed to commune in the Roman Church. To do so would be tantamount to self excommunication.

"Rather, it is because the sacraments are dependent upon God's grace which flows only through the Mystical Body that we believe even illicit ordinations can be valid, just as the illicit baptisms of heretics can be valid."

This seems contradictory. How can the sacraments exist only within the Mystical Body of Christ (the Church) and yet be the property of heretics? If you are a heretic (formally) then you have withdrawn yourself from the Mystical Body.

Bedwere wrote...
"But for the Orthodox a subsequent Chrismation in the Orthodox Church would make an illicit ordination valid, wouldn't it? However doesn't that imply that there was some sort of ordination already in place? Otherwise a Chrismation would make everybody a Bishop...Just wondering."

That would depend on a number of factors. In Orthodoxy we do not teach that heterodox sacraments are unimportant or without any merit. We do teach that they are to varying degrees defective and empty of the sacramental grace which only The Church can provide. In some cases if the form and intent are very close to what Orthodoxy does than we do indeed teach that by an act of sacramental oikonomia the Mystery of Holy Chrismation can make whole that which was defective and fill with grace that which was empty of it.

For this reason many Orthodox jurisdictions will receive converts who have received a heterodox baptism by Holy Chrismation. Also the preservation of the external form of Apostolic Succession is not unimportant. An interesting essay was published on this subject in the Journal of the Moscow Patriarchate (http://www.holy-trinity.org/ecclesiology/succession-1.html) by then Patriarch Sergius. Indeed because the Roman Church (and the non-Chalcedonian Churches) have retained the forms of Apostolic Succession as also a more or less Orthodox understanding of the Holy Mysteries, in many jurisdictions Roman Catholic clergy who convert are not re-ordained but rather are received by vesting following confession, profession of faith and Holy Chrismation.

In cases where the external forms of Apostolic Succession either do not exist or have clearly been ruptured by grave heresy which touches on the nature of the Holy Mysteries then Chrismation can not repair that which was never intended to be done in the first place. Thus very few heterodox Mysteries are covered by this outside of baptism. It should also be noted that Orthodox do not accept heterodox baptisms as repairable merely on the basis of the use of water and the Trinitarian Formula. There must have been sacramental intent. For this reason almost all converts from non-confessional Protestant sects are received through both Holy Baptism and Holy Chrismation. As a side note I am of the opinion that this should be the normative method for receiving ALL protestants unless there is an extraordinary reason. Given the current chaos in the so called confessional churches (Presbyterians, Episcopalians, Evangelical Lutherans etc.) it's simply impossible to know what they are doing at any given time or what their intent is anymore.

With Peter wrote...
"Easterners have not faced the sort of attack against the sacraments that Catholics have faced since the sixteenth century and this has stagnated the development of Easterners' theological understanding of the mysteries. They have been spared the crisis which was dealt with by the Council of Trent, but they have also not received the grace that has come to the Church in response to this crisis. Eastern theology has all the primitive beauty and romance of the sacraments, but none of the hard-earned scars of the polemical disputes suffered by Westerners. Ad Orientum's post displays this perfectly."

This is an interesting point. You are of course correct in your historical observations of fact. However we Orthodox would respond that the origins of the crisis that precipitated the need for Trent was the separation of the Western Church from Holy Orthodoxy and the near sole reliance from roughly the early Middle Ages until quite recently on scholastic theology as the basis for Western Christian doctrinal formulation. Blessed +Augustine's highly controversial theories on sin and baptism became broadly speaking the cornerstone of all the theological innovations of the Western Church which Thomas Aquinas and the other scholastics built on. During the medieval period the study of the Patristics, especially of the East, became quite rare for a variety of reasons (most being beyond the control of the Latin Church). Thus separated from their Orthodox brethren and employing such un-orthodox methods for doctrinal formulation the fragmentation of the Christian West was in hindsight, highly predictable.

"By the way, Ad Orientum, haven't the Copts and the Greeks always recognized the validity of each other's orders even as they have condemned one another as heretical and schismatic?"

No. However there is a general agreement that among the non-Orthodox confessions their form and intent are as close to Orthodoxy as any of the various confessions out there. For this reason converts have in the past sometimes been received quite informally. I personally am not comfortable with this and to my knowledge that practice has ceased. But they are certainly closer to us than Rome is at present.

"Certainly the Orthodox rejected the third and fourth century heresy of Donatism, didn't they? If so, they admitted the existence of valid sacraments/mysteries "outside the visible confines of the Church" (to borrow a very useful Vatican Two-ism)."

Donatism preached that sin on the part of clergy invalidated their mysteries not heresy. See Cyprian and Basil. This raises another interesting point. Which is that while we know with certainty where the Church is (canonical Orthodoxy) and we can say with a fair degree of certainty in some cases where it is not (evangelical Protestantism) there are gray areas. We do not have a clear map with an exactly drawn line on one side of which you have the grace of the Holy Mysteries and on the other of which you don't. Florovsky wrote a very good essay (http://www.fatheralexander.org/booklets/english/limits_church.htm) on this subject which I would recommend to those who have an interest in the subject.

Ad Orientem said...

I apologize. Apparently I can't post links in here. If you want the links to either of the articles I cited drop me an email at jec1ny@aol.com. I will be happy to send them to you.

Jordan Potter said...

"Why is that a good thing? I am not trying to be snarky, but I fail to see what you gain from it."

It's mostly what the Orthodox gain from it, I think -- the recognition that despite their lack of communion with the Pope, they still retain a majority of the Apostolic Tradition. It will also make much more possible the eventual reconciliation of the Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Churches. If the Orthodox Churches had lost apostolic succession, there would be just as little chance of reconciliation with them as there is with the Protestants. That is, instead of there being only a small chance of reunion between East and West, as there is under the current circumstances, there would be virtually no chance of reunion between East and West.

"How can the sacraments exist only within the Mystical Body of Christ (the Church) and yet be the property of heretics?"

How can heretics validly baptise?

The grace comes only through the Catholic Church, the Mystical Body, but it overflows from the Church to touch those who are not formally united to the Body. It is never the property of heretics, though, even if God allows them to benefit from it. Validity of a sacrament has never depended on the weakness of sinful man. Grace just doesn't let itself be vanquished by sin that way.

The reality of valid sacraments outside the visible unity of the Body, however, is not a green light for, or an approval of, illicit sacraments. Someone once explained to me the difference between a valid, licit Eucharist and a valid, illicit Eucharist in this way: in both Eucharists, Jesus is really present, but in the illicit Eucharist, Jesus shows up, but He's really p***ed.

Anyway, I note that in your further comments, you explain that the Orthodox belief and practice really isn't as far from the Catholic belief and practice as your original comment might lead one to believe. It's not the same belief, of course, but it's similar.

Juan Manuel Soria said...

Dears Bloggers:

The Holy See statement seems very clear. These bishops are not bishops at all, are only validly ordained priests.

Regards,

Ad Orientem said...

JMS,
You must have been reading a different Vatican statement from the one I saw. I read no such declaration that they are not bishops. I read that they are not recognized as such which in the Roman Church means their orders are illicit and they have no jurisdiction. They are vegantes. But the validity of their orders does not seem to be challenged from what I can read.

Ablative Absolute said...

The conditional ordination of these men by Milingo does not change their canonical status because they (i) remain excommunicate (ii) previously claimed orders that were possibly valid but certainly illicit and (iii) still claim orders that are possibly valid but certainly illicit.

Scranton Priest said...

Ad Orientem,
How do the Orthodox view the problem Donatism? Did the Donatist heresy affect Eastern theological thought at all?

dcs said...

So why did it take the Vatican five years (after his Moonie marriage and resultant scandal) to dispose of this guy's title of archbishop? I mean, really!

Because he apologized. He was threatened with excommunication, IIRC. At the time he renounced his Moonie marriage.

Scranton Priest said...

Ad Orientem said:
“Donatism preached that sin on the part of clergy invalidated their mysteries not heresy.”

Heresy is always a sin (against Faith) as is schism (against Christian Charity). The Donatist looked upon the sinful “Traitors” as apostates. For them to sin was to be placed outside the Church. After the Pope decreed the Donatist position to be in opposition to the teaching of the Church, these same heretics began to look upon the Sacraments of all orthodox Christians as invalid.

In light of this understanding of Christian history, I still question the impact of the Donatist crisis on Eastern Sacramental theology. For the Latin Church the reaction to Donatism is pivotal. I suspect that it is not so, and understandably, to the Greek Church given the very geographically limited impact of Donatism.

Gaufridus said...

...we Orthodox would respond that the origins of the crisis that precipitated the need for Trent was the separation of the Western Church from Holy Orthodoxy...

To which we Catholics would respond, "Bullshit."


Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum.

Ad Orientem said...

Scranton Priest wrote…
“How do the Orthodox view the problem Donatism? Did the Donatist heresy affect Eastern theological thought at all?”

It did affect Eastern thought but probably less so than in the West for reasons mentioned in your post & elsewhere including geographic isolation. To Orthodoxy not all sin separates us from the Church. Heresy is the formal repudiation of the Church and its teachings. Thus heresy would place one outside of the church while private sin would not. The Donatists held that the personal corruption of clergy interrupted the grace of their Mysteries. In this sense there is little difference between Eastern and Western thought. However in the early medieval period under the influence of the various scholastic theologians mentioned in a previous post the West began to extend it understanding of the condemnation of Donatism to include even heresy. This would bring it into line with the evolving Roman understanding of the nature of sin and grace as propounded by Blessed +Augustine, which was never accepted in the East.

A more contemporary issue which has resurrected the debate over Donatism in Orthodoxy is the various claims of the so called Old Calendarists. Some of these have repudiated the Holy Mysteries of the new Calendarists and even other Old Calendar jurisdictions who are in communion with those following the new. Also there remain some radical “True Orthodox” groups (schismatics IMO) who repudiate the Mysteries of the Russian Church on the grounds of its cooperation with the militant atheists during the Soviet period. With the reconciliation of the Russian Church Abroad and the Russian Church the radical Old Calendarists are finding themselves further isolated. The internal debate over these issues has cooled dramatically in recent years. But at one time it was very hot and often was characterized by uncharitable comments by the various parties. Many of these groups are also characterized by their fierce opposition to what they term the heresy of ecumenism.

bedwere said...

I, as Catholic, would rather respond that I respectfully disagree with ad orientem.


Et cum spiritu tuo.

Juan Manuel Soria said...

Dear Ad Orientem:

The statement says clearly "presumed -presunti- bishops". So you see validly ordained bishops where the Holy See only sees "presumed bishops".

This statements reflects the thought of former Cardinal Ratzinger (and Vatican II ordinary magisterium -properly Lumen Gentium doctrine-) regarding ecclesial communion , a modernist theological theory in the traditionalist ideology.

Regards,

Ad Orientem said...

JMS,
An interesting comment. I was under the impression that Rome still held that Holy Orders were irrevocable. Perhaps I was wrong. I will look into the matter more closely. As for my comment you may have misunderstood. I was presenting what I thought was the Roman position on this issue. My own position is the Orthodox one. They are a bunch of layman playing dress up.

Regards,
John

Sixtus V said...

JMS is presenting his own heretical/schismatic spin on LG. He has more in common with Milingo then he is aware.

Juan Manuel Soria said...

Dear New Catholic:

I am accused now of being heretic and schismatic, and there is no argument;what will you do?

Regards,

Jordan Potter said...

"So you see validly ordained bishops where the Holy See only sees 'presumed bishops'."

To me, it seems you see invalidly ordained bishops where the Holy See sees "presumed bishops." The Vatican has neither affirmed nor denied the validity of the ordinations, but has explicitly rejected them as illegal and therefore does not recognise them.

It must be remembered that Milingo claims his reordaining these men has transformed them into bishops in good standing with the Roman Catholic Church. It has done no such thing, but has done the opposite. That is why the Holy See says it does not recognise the ordinations nor will it recognise the ordinations of any men (or women) conducted by these four men. The Holy See has rejected Milingo's claim that they are Roman Catholic bishops, but has not said whether or not the ordinations are valid. To judge whether or not they are valid would require more information than the Holy See has at this time (or had at the time the ordinations were announced).

With Peter said...
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With Peter said...

Ad Orientem- I think you have a gross misunderstanding of scholastic theology, how it originated and what purpose it served. The fathers, east and west, multiplied diverse typological and symbological interpretations of divine revelation. These fathers, moreover, had obtained such a reputation for wisdom and sanctity that the truth of their writing could not be questioned. And yet they often developed divergent strands of symbolism to contradictory conclusions. Peter Abelard stands out as a figure who built his career on emphasizing these apparent contradictions.

The scholastic method was developed by St. Anselm and perfected by St. Thomas in order to answer a great multiplicity of objections as directly and concisely as possible. It is perhaps the greatest didactic innovation in human history and it was placed in direct service of defending “the faith which comes to us from the apostles.” The method does set aside the circuitous imagery and beautiful rambling mystagogy of the fathers in favor of a sharper, leaner, more rigorous and intellectually mature logic. But it is either ignorant or disingenuous to blame Protestant desacramentalization on scholastic theology, which developed very precise concepts and terminology (e.g. transubstantiation) in order to protect the true meaning of the sacraments against the ever encroaching materialism of Abelard, Berengarius, the Albigenses, Waldensians, nominalists and John Hus.

In other words, Ad Orientem, you are blaming the doctor for the disease simply because of their proximity to one another. As for your interpretation of Augustine, I think you are being confused by the diversity of terms which we use to describe very similar concepts that are primitively held by the Orthodox. Again, the Orthodox were mercifully spared the plague of the British monk Pelagius, but neither have you received the pedagogical grace through which the Holy Spirit taught and delivered the Catholic Church. I think the encounter of Orthodoxy with Islam has caused it to become rather skeptical and self-righteous in its relationship with the west and overly cynical in its approach to Catholic theology. This is understandable, but still wrong.

Juan Manuel Soria said...

Dear Jordan:

Precisely, the new point in this statement is that the Holy See made a negative presumption about the episcopal character of ordenants who denied only a disciplinary issue as celibacy.

The statement of the Holy See ("MOREOVER ... and the following) is saying much more than necessary to this kind of cases. This is the new, not the automathic excommunions.

Regards,

With Peter said...
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With Peter said...

JMS- Nope, not new. This was precisely the response to the Thuc ordinations and I would not be surprised if there was a tradition dating back long before this. Did Milingo have a co-consecrator? At any rate, it seems very reminiscent of the Thuc ordinations, although with Milingo I don't see as strong a case favoring the mental incapacity of the ordaining bishop.

I agree with Jordan Potter. The Holy See seems to be definitively condemning the act without definitively answering the question of validity. For juridical purposes (i.e. canonical status), the validity of these ordinations is not assumed. But this isn’t the same thing as a denial of validity. It seems to me that the Holy See might want to avoid investigating these ordinations. If they are found to be invalid, it will add credibility to this worthless movement by allowing them to play the martyr. If, however, if they are found to be valid, it will also add credibility for obvious reasons. It is best to condemn the movement while being as disinterested as possible.

If one wishes to form an opinion about the validity of these ordinations, one would need to investigate the circumstances in which they happened. Did Milingo meet the juridical standards for knowledge and freedom at the time of the act? Were his ordinands baptized men who met these same juridical standards? Did he perform the sacramental gesture? Did his consecratory prayer specify (1) the office or power that was being conferred and (2) that the grace was being poured out on the ones presenting themselves to receive the sacrament? If the answers to these four questions are all “yes” it is definitely irrational and probably heretical to deny the validity of these ordinations.

One cannot appeal to the Church’s position to settle this question because the Church has refused to answer a single of these four questions.

With Peter said...

Bona Gratia- "So why did it take the Vatican five years (after his Moonie marriage and resultant scandal) to dispose of this guy's title of archbishop? I mean, really!"

The Church is both careful and charitable, two qualities noticably absent in your condemnation of the Vatican.

Juan Manuel Soria said...

Dear WithPeter:

What you said is exactly what I said: "the validity of these ordinations is not assumed".

So it could be irrational -and probably heretical- to deny the validity of these ordinations. But it could be irrational -and probably heretical- to assume -PRACTICALLY- the validity of these ordinations, making a judgement in a complex issue when the Holy See did not say nothing.

Thus, bishops like this are only presumed bishops and no more than that. No bishops at all. You can not consider a bishop a person who is not considered by THE CHURCH a bishop.

Regards,

With Peter said...

JMS- "No bishops at all"

With this statement you are DENYING the validity of the ordinations and thus distorting the Church's position, which neither affirms nor DENIES this validity.

They are not "presumed" bishops (i.e. with a connotation prejudicially favoring validity); they are "supposed" bishops (i.e. a purely hypothetical connotation, "for the sake of argument"...).

What we are speaking about--and what disturbs us in your position--are the Church's irreformably defined criteria for judging the validity of a sacrament, which you seem to be calling into question.

Are you honestly suggesting that all four of my above-asked questions can be answered "yes" and that a valid ordination might not result? If so, this would not be a defense of the Church, but an attack against her historical origin and theological foundation.

Regardless of his canonical status, one can consider a man to be a bishop who has been validly ordained as one. At one and the same time, the question remains open until the Church closes it. In other words, it doesn't matter how you or I answer those four questions: It matters how Peter answers them (if he ever chooses to do that).

With Peter said...

Ad Orientem- sorry, a couple of polemical points-

“To Orthodoxy not all sin separates us from the Church.” This makes sense juridically (i.e. visible membership), but absolutely no sense theologically (i.e. mystical membership). If sin is “that which separates us from God,” then it separates us from Christ, and if from Christ then from his body. I was under the impression that the Orthodox rejected the errors of Nestorius. Am I to be corrected? Have they now adopted his rejection of the communication of idioms. I invite you to please, please take a close look at Romans 6:18. All sin separates us in varying ways and to varying degrees from God and from the Church. The private sinner is a desecrated temple or white-washed tomb whereas the heretic is destroyed temple or a rotten corpse. One looks better than the other, but both are dead. By associating ultimate membership in the Church with orthodoxy rather than sanctity, you really disfigure both the New Testament and your own best traditions.

“But they [the Copts] are certainly closer to us than Rome is at present.” This is both stunning to me and smacks a bit of betrayal. How could he who once cried, “Peter has spoken through Leo!” now say, “We have more in common with Dioscorus”? You who once said, “Peter speaks through Agotho!” do you now cozy up with Sergius? Have the Greeks fallen so far and forgotten so much?

It seems that "Orthodoxy" ain’t what it used to be. You blame scholastic theology for the Protestant Reformation and you make nice with Nestorius and Dioscorus. How far will you take the ideology of "East is east and west is west and never the twain shall meet"? Is Arius starting to look cute and cuddly? How about Apollinaris and Eutyches?

MacK said...

After all that straining at gnats we could perhaps agree that Milingo was certainly un-Catholic in his behaviour and entirely disobedient to his religious vows. We certainly will not be attending any of his services, communions, confirmations or the like.

The fact it took several years to sort this out is due to the fact that the post-conciliar tendancy has been to tolerate deviation from the norm unless it is from the traditional part of The Church. In any case, I must warmly congratulate The Holy Father on his decisiveness.

Let us hope he can be as decisive with the Neo-Catechumenal Way which is a psychologically intoxicating blend of novelty and disobedience. It also threatens to be more resistant than Milingo. Significant that the previous Holy Father gave it his personal blessing. The diocese from which I originally hail was disinfected from this devisive and disruptive group after several years of manoeuvering.

Juan Manuel Soria said...

Dear WithPeter:

My statement "no bishops at all" is a practical statement. Submissive with the Holy See I do not recognize these bishops as real bishops til the definitive judgement of the Holy See.

Your four "yes" answers are an irreformable defined criteria for judging the validity of a sacrament but, within that criteria, with the theological doctrine of Pius XII "Mystici Corporis Christi" encyclic some other "yes" of the ordenants may result necessary for a valid ordination. This is not an attack against the historical origin and theological foundation of the Church, but an organic development of the same sacramental dogma. Development not took in account but some supposed "orthodox" illicit and heretical "bishops" in recent years.

Regards,

Ad Orientem said...

With Peter wrote…
“Ad Orientem- sorry, a couple of polemical points-“

Sigh… And here we were getting along so nicely. Very well. I am wearing my asbestos briefs. You may flame away when ready. However you will pardon me if I decline to reply in kind. I feel that polemics have rarely added anything of value to a serious discussion about serious things.

“To Orthodoxy not all sin separates us from the Church.” This makes sense juridically (i.e. visible membership), but absolutely no sense theologically (i.e. mystical membership). If sin is “that which separates us from God,” then it separates us from Christ, and if from Christ then from his body.”

I think you are approaching the topic of sin from the Roman (and therefore Augustinian) perspective. The Orthodox concept of sin is not “juridical.” It is seen as a missing of the mark. We do not have the legalistic approach to sin and its relationship to grace (which is also seen differently) that exists in the RCC.

“I was under the impression that the Orthodox rejected the errors of Nestorius.”

I am unsure if you are remarkably ill informed about Orthodox theology regarding sin and grace or you are simply attempting to be provocative. In any case you have clearly missed the crux of that which divides us. It is not our understanding of the Second Person of the Holy Trinity (Nestorius). It is our understanding of the Third Person. The principal defect in your position is your grasp of grace. Romans view grace as a created energy serving as an intermediary between God and man that derives from the anti-Pelagian writings of Blessed +Augustine. We on the other hand understand Grace to be the uncreated energies of God Himself. Once you begin to look at things from the non-Augustinian point of view then you will see how the entire of Western Christian thought was turned around. I would strongly encourage you to read a good essay on the subject of grace from an Orthodox perspective. You may or may not agree with it. But it will I think help to explain our rejection of so much that came out of the West in the last millennium.

“This is both stunning to me and smacks a bit of betrayal. How could he who once cried, “Peter has spoken through Leo!” now say, “We have more in common with Dioscorus”? You who once said, “Peter speaks through Agotho!” do you now cozy up with Sergius? Have the Greeks fallen so far and forgotten so much?”

The oft quoted acclamation of Leo’s epistle at Chalcedon is merely one of many examples of why floralegia is generally disdained in serious academic discourse on theology. Such quotes (both East & West have volumes of them) can not be seriously considered by themselves. They must be taken in context. Leo’s epistle was one of the great apologies for Orthodoxy. St. +Leo the Great is hailed as one of the principal defenders of the Orthodox faith. The acclamation was a recognition that in that instance he spoke for Orthodox Christianity like a lion. It was not an acknowledgment that such would always be the case or that he and all his successors had some special charism unique to his office. Please refrain from quotes like this. It is time consuming to reply to them and it serves no purpose since as I already noted we can all produce quotes which out of context advance our respective causes. It is also something that is generally frowned on in serious debate. Even Rome has stopped throwing them at us. It’s not polite to try and be more Catholic than the Pope 

As for how we can hold that we are closer to the non-Chalcedonians that should be quite simple when you look at the dogmatic theology created by Rome over the last thousand years or so. Look at the decrees of Vatican I. While I am certain you are perfectly comfortable with them, you need to remember they are outright heresy to the Eastern Churches. That if nothing else is why I am highly skeptical of restoration of communion. For communion to be restored one of our churches would have to cease to be. If we entered into communion with Rome without a clear repudiation of the canons of Vat. I then we would cease to be Orthodox. And if you took anything even remotely close to the steps necessary for us to say, “OK we can see you once again as our sister church in the Orthodox faith, and we welcome the See of Peter back as Primus inter Pares…” then you would have ceased to be Roman Catholic.

The simple truth is that the developments in the Western Church have gone past the point of putting things back together again. It might have been possible back in the early Middle Ages. But a combination of secular politics, pig headed stubbornness (on the part of people in both churches) and the non negotiable demand for total surrender and submission to the papal monarchy made it impossible. Too much innovation has come since then and Rome can not back track, nor would its serious adherents want it to. I think Patriarch Bartholomew said it rather well when he despaired of the goal of restored communion in a speech to your co-religionists in Washington some years ago. He said we have become ontologically different.

This does not mean I think Roman Catholics are evil people or that Rome is the root of all that’s wrong in the world (though I know some people on our side of the fence for whom a certain Tuesday in 1204 might as well have been yesterday). It means that we need to be realistic about the nature of our current and future relationship and the limits thereof. There is a great deal I admire about the Roman Church. The very clear ethical stands on the great issues of the modern age, the unwavering defense of life, and the clear opposition to the twin threats which confront both East and West… Secular Humanism and Islamic Fascism. The great efforts made to alleviate human suffering in the form of charity are another area worthy of great praise. In all of these things I see room for cooperation. And maybe, long after we are dust, the cooperation in these fields will harness the necessary grace for pride and discordance to be set aside and to restore the once undivided Church. But barring a miracle of God I do not see that happening while I walk the Earth.

As for the closing paragraph in your last post to me, I am content to let that stand on its own merits.

ICXC
John

With Peter said...

Ad Orientem- I respect your reply, but what about the interpretation of scholastic method that I proposed to you? Did you see the less polemical and more important first post I directed to you? I think this provides a foundation for understanding the developments in the western Church which make easterners so uncomfortable.

With regard to sin and grace, I think your dismissal of Augustine is unfair because it take no account of the relationship between his theology and that of St. Paul. St. Augustine certainly perceived sin as a “missing of the mark” and I have never understood him to mean that grace is a “created energy.” My understanding of Augustine’s theology is that grace is part and parcel of God himself: It is the gift of his uncreated self. Certainly scholastic theology emphasized an important Augustinian distinction based on the effect of grace (actual vs. sanctifying), but this is beside the point.

Not all sin definitively separates one from God and the Church. Westerns developed the very precise terminology between venial and mortal sins for precisely this purpose and very precise subjective criteria for determining whether a grave sin is indeed mortal. This language (or at least the emphasis and dogmatism) is admittedly foreign to both Scripture on the one hand and Orthodox theology on the other, but this doesn’t make it either contradictory or heretical. This would be mean enacting very problematic dogmas.

The Christological dimensions of Nestorius’ heresy accents his failure to acknowledge the communicatio idiomata. What is true for Jesus is true for God, ergo Mary is the “mother of God.” If it is admitted that the Church is the body of Christ, there is a clearly ECCLESIOLOGICAL dimension to Nestorius’ heresy. What does this euphemism mean, “to miss the mark”? What does it mean “to miss” and what is “the mark”? Breaking the law of God, acting contrary to his will: define it any way you want, but it will have implications for one’s relationship with the Church. A certain amount of Augustine’s thought is inescapable because of his dependence on God’s revelation and the validity of his logic.

Finally, two last points: You misunderstood the nature of my citing the Councils of Chalcedon and Constantinople III (Agatho). My point was not that all easterners acknowledged in one acclamation our papal theology up to and including the canons and decrees of Vatican I, but that (1) you acknowledged that the bishop of Rome is the successor to Peter and (2) we both continue to hold to a common patrimony of the seven councils. As such - and here one unfortunately cannot speak truthfully without a degree of polemics - your assertion that you hold more in common with the non-Chalcedonians smacks of a provincial and historical betrayal of our common patrimony. Let me end with a question:

To commit heresy means denying an article of revelation, therefore, which article of Christian faith do you think is denied by the Roman Catholic Church in asserting her understanding of Peter’s primacy?

With Peter said...
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With Peter said...

JMS- The Church clearly does not recognize nor intends in the future to recognize these ordinations, therefore to recognize them (other than as a speculative hypothesis) would demonstrate that one does not belong to the Church.

In other words, I think we are in complete agreement and based on this interpretation, I support the truth all your previous posts (although I still think that "Modernist within Traditionalism" line was a bit silly).

Peace,

Jordan Potter said...

It's very true that the restoration of union between the Catholic Church and the majority of Eastern Churches that have not yet reconciled with the Catholic Church is highly unlikely in the short term, and would require one side of the other to abandon some of its beliefs. Of course the Catholic Church will never abandon its Petrine doctrines, whereas the history of the East shows periods when those doctrines were accepted and periods when they were rejected, so if history is any guide, it is possible that some day the Eastern Orthodox Churches will return to what history records to have been the faith of their ancestors. Such a thing can't happen now, though, for so many reasons, not least of which is that, given the current problems besetting the Catholic Church, we're just not worthy at this time to receive the blessing of reunion with our Eastern brothers.

FranzJosf said...

My two cents: The Sacrament of Orders is a revealed truth. The Church cannot regulate the Holy Ghost. Where a bishop in the Apostolic Succession consecrates with proper form (Roman Pontifical, in the Latin Rite, with the laying on of hands), matter (baptised male), and intends to do what the Church does (in this case to consecrate a bishop) we have a valid bishop. Period. The Church, of course, has everything to say about the discipline of bishops and where and how they may perform episcopal functions.

With Peter said...

Yes, FranzJosf, you are absolutely correct, but I think what the Church has done--and what JMS is defending--is this: What Milingo has done is so despicable and divisive, that the Church can't even look at him. Yeah, his orders might be valid, but to affirm this would require the Church to take a close look at the circumstances and events of these ordinations. And the Church is unwilling to do this for now and for the foreseeable future.

Therefore, valid or not, we do not recognize these ordinations.

FranzJosf said...

Yes, Peter, I agree with you. There just seemed to be confusion on this thread between canonical standing (legal/disciplinary) and sacramental status (validity). Then there was further confusion about 'supposed' and 'recognize.' I was at first confused by 'supposed' thinking of the sarcastic meaning rather than the more literal 'presumed' which was intended.

These kinds of things have happened in the relatively recent history of the Church: Old Catholics, Polish National Church, National Church of Brazil.

Apart from the danger to their souls, I'm interested in how this plays out politically, how this precedent is interpreted and received by the modernists, progressives, and other leftist malcontents.

With Peter said...

Well spoken, franzjosf, but I do think "presumed" is a wrong interpretation of "supposed." Presumption implies that one is positing something as true, but admitting fallibility, whereas supposition involves an assumption made for the purpose of argument and by the same token NOT posited as true. Applied to this specific case, I think the Church is "supposing" validity, but "presuming" invalidity. I think the distinction is fairly important.

JMS- I have something far more important to ask you. You implied in an above post that MCC (1943) brought about a theological development in evaluating the validity of sacraments, i.e. that there are other questions in addition to my four that are crucial in the Chruch's decision making process. Before this, you made a similarly vague allusion to Lumen Gentium. Can you please be more specific in citing and interpreting these documents?

I think there has been less theological development here than you are implying. In other words, the twentieth century--and these two documents in particular--added a great deal to the Church's understanding of ecclesiology by applying a sacramental understanding to the Church (LG 1, 14-17), but added very little to the theology of the sacraments.

In this regard, the most significant development was in understanding how the grace of the sacaments can operate in circumstances where invincible ignorance prevents their visible manifestation (I am thinking especially of the Feeney affair and its impact on Vatican II). But this has absolutely no bearing on the criteria for evaluating sacramental validity.

If anything, things previously thought necessary in some circles are no longer so thought. This would mean fewer, more exact criteria, not more numerous and more complicated ones.

I want to understand your position, can you help me?

Juan Manuel Soria said...

Dear WithPeter:

I am thousands kilometers from my home and books now (and this for two weeks).

I could answer you briefly then if you have patience.

Regards,

FranzJosf said...

Peter: ZING! Frankly, it was a pleasure to read the clarity of your definitions. You've nailed it.

Ad Orientem said...

With Peter etc,
It has been a very long day and I have only just gotten home and noted your post. I will endeavor to reply tomorrow as I am too tired to do so tonight. Begging your indulgence, I remain...

Yours cordially,
John

Matt said...

with_peter,

excellent analysis. It seems to me that there is no good reason for the Church to make a judgement on the sacramental validity of the ordinations. This is a different situation from the SSPX, the orthodox or the CPA (Chinese schismatic Church). The Church has no desire to lend any support or comfort to Milingo's group.

With Peter said...

John and Juan, by all means take the time you need. I'm not trying to "score points" or "win an argument." I truly want to know your positions accurately in order to respond to them with fairness.

With Peter said...
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With Peter said...

Ad Orientem- Sorry, one more note on Donatism. As the heresy took shape, the Donatists would absurdly claim that if the minister committed even the least sin it would invalidate the sacraments. Originally, however, it was a question of public apostasy, of the "traditors" who handed over sacred books under threat of persecution (Diocletian, ca. 303 AD).

As Donatists and Catholics came to reject one another's position as heretical, each had to decide whether to respect one another's sacraments. The Donatists, obviously, would repeat the sacraments whenever Catholics would convert to their ranks. Catholics, however, honored Donatist sacraments. Thus setting dogmatic criteria and an historical precedent for acknowledging the validity of sacraments performed by heretics/schismatics who scrupulously preserve the form, matter and intention of the sacrament.

You must remember the Lord's teaching about those who cast out demons in his name while not being counted among the ranks of the Apostles. The Spirit blows where he will, i.e. the power company can provide energy even where it is least expected.

It is true, however, that unless one is invincibly ignorant of his heretical or schismatic condition, these admirably valid sacraments are powerless to sanctify those who receive them (viz. your power company analogy). In conscience and true concern for your soul - and not out of any desire to offend you - I must confess that this is true in your own personal case, John.

In Christ,

MacK said...

Milingo - Milingere - Milinxi - Milinctum.