The Church’s teaching on the necessity for a sacrament to be validly effected is as follows:
- Must have valid form (words)
- Must have valid matter
- Must have a valid person particular to the sacrament (example, validly ordained priest for Holy Eucharist, Confession, etc.)
- The person performing the Sacramental Rite must have the intent of doing what the Church does
My question is, what is the background or explanation as to why the Church teaches that the Eucharistic consecrations of schismatics are valid while proper jurisdiction is required for valid absolution of sins to take place?
In other words, if we understand the Sacraments as being directly tied to Our Lord, and that someone cutting himself off from unity to the Sovereign Pontiff also does the same ipso facto with Our Lord, then why would Christ effectively condescend to make Himself present to schismatics in the Blessed Sacrament but not also allow them to retain the authority to forgive or retain sins?
What further comes to mind is Mark 9:38-39:
John answered him, saying: Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name, who followeth not us, and we forbade him.
But Jesus said: Do not forbid him. For there is no man that doth a miracle in my name, and can soon speak ill of me.
This obviously has to do with exorcisms, but imagine a scenario where a lay person comes to a priest and genuinely desires to seek forgiveness for his sins.
The priest happens to be schismatic, let us use Eastern Orthodox for example. The priest therefore has no “jurisdiction.”
If the person seeking forgiveness truly wishes to be forgiven and is by his own account, conscience and mind doing it by the appropriate channels (versus just getting up and saying “well, God loves me and forgives me!”), and the priest of the Eastern Orthodox has the sincere intent to do what the Church does…how do we mesh that with Mark 8:38-39 and the fact that all the criteria for a valid sacrament are being met?
Also, am I correct in my understanding that the Eastern Orthodox absolutions would therefore be invalid since they are schismatic and have no jurisdiction? And that therefore anyone who commits a mortal sin at any point in his life is therefore not absolved and committing weekly if not daily sacrilege by receiving the Eucharist?
Appreciate your considerations