Denial of Roman Catholic Sacraments


I recently learned that certain people from the Orthodox do not affirm the validity of Catholic sacramemts, nor do they affirm the indellible nature of Holy Orders. How do we counter this? Quotes from ecumenical councils?


Certain people say lots of things.

This has zero effect on revealed truth.


I realize this, but I need an argument to use in apologetics.


Which Orthodox? It’s hardly as uniformed a faith as Roman Catholicism and what one Orthodox priest may do and believe, another may not. My grandpa as a diocesan seminarian in a Benedictine seminary in the 1950s would periodically receive communion (the group of them) from the the Orthodox parish down the road from the seminary.


You can argue with the intellect, but not with the ego.

Ego divides. Ego separates. Ego justifies separation.


@ServusDei1 , from what source did you learn this ?


There is only one reason why some Orthodox may affirm the non-validity of Catholic sacraments, and that is because we are not in communion. This goes back to a pretty old divergence in teaching regarding the operation of sacraments. St. Cyprian of Carthage’s sacramental theology entailed sacraments being only through the conduit of the Church, and so anyone not in communion with the Church could not have valid sacraments.

St. Augustine developed a different idea where he made a categorical distinction between validity and licity/regularity/legitimacy. So as long as certain things are fulfilled, a schismatic/heretic can have valid sacraments (albeit illicitly).

Now the West at least in the modern day has wholesale accepted the Augustinian view of sacraments over St. Cyprian, hence why Catholics today affirm with validity of Eastern Orthodox/Oriental Orthodox sacraments with little debate.

Although the Augustian view has at least been more popular in Russia centuries past, generally Orthodox hold to a more Cyprianic view. But nevertheless, this is an area of theology that hasn’t been definitively clarified binding on the entire Church, hence why some Orthodox lean more Augustinian or Cyprianic with room for disagreement. Also, neither is there any pressing need to clarify which is correct, since there’s very rare cases an Orthodox would possibly need to ever receive sacraments outside our communion.

So if you want to argue against Orthodox why Catholic sacraments are valid, you would need to show why the Augustianian view of sacramental theology is correct over the Cyprianic view.

And the indelible mark of Holy Orders is a whole nother discussion.


The Orthodox hold huge grudges and have long memories.

We said we’re sorry.


We pray for them and ignore their erroneous ideas.


I guess I would ask the question on whether this is a matter of apologetics, a reasoned defense of the hope in which we have in Jesus Christ, or a disagreement about adiaphora?


I find it very interesting when men think theology with pride over and against what God has divinely revealed to His Church.

What man in his right mind “thinks” he has any power to remove a valid baptism, from one of God’s children. What man dares believe that he alone can tell God, who is worthy of God’s covenant and who is not. The Sacraments are what binds believers into the New and everlasting Covenant as One in God.

Matthew 19;6…" what God has joined together, no human being must separate.”
We need to remind some of the Orthodox Church’s who allow for a sacramental marriage to be divorced.


I don’t think its realistic to expect someone to admit they are wrong right away.

Probably the best idea is just talk to them, and listen to their objections. Once you hear their objections, give a thoughtful response. I don’t think that a boiler plate response is really available or useful for this kind of discussion.

Be aware, we Catholics state that Baptist or evangelical sacraments aren’t valid either. Just be aware and sensitive if you have this kind of discussion.


Catholics accept Baptist and evangelical baptisms as valid if the Trinitarian language is used.

2014 Catholic list of Valid-Invalid Baptisms


Find out what will convince them, maybe ecumenical councils won’t bring them around. You have to pray for people, and plus, God converts people, not arguments from smart ol’ you.


As far as I know, there is no consensus among the Orthodox Churches. Some allow the Orthodox faithful to receive Communion and other sacraments in the Catholic Rite when there is no Orthodox celebration available while others don’t.


That’s true, but Baptist ordination is invalid as well as Baptist communion.


Yes, that’s correct. Baptism, and marriage between two people who were not Catholic or former Catholic, seem to be the only sacraments that translate over as valid.


Your math is off a bit.
Lutherans, who make up the second largest grouping of Protestants (70-90 million) believe as doctrine the real presence.
Anglicans, while not technically Protestant are often considered so, have roughly 85 million members worldwide, most of whom believe in the real presence, some even accepting of Transubstaniation.
While not the majority, these two traditions make up significantly more than one tenth of one percent.


Real presence: by the speaking of the verba and the power of the Holy Spirit, the bread and wine are the true body and blood of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Your original comment, “0.1% of. Prots claim to belive in real. Presence”, was about what they believe, not about any question of validity.


It is accurate that the Catholic Church considers our orders and Lutheran orders invalid and therefore our Eucharist invalid.
It is accurate that some Lutheran and Anglican groups have effectively made their own orders and sacraments invalid by ordaining women.

It is inaccurate to state that less than 1% of western non-Catholics do not believe in the real presence.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit