Schism and valid sacraments

I am a simple man with a simple mind… but I am wondering why the Catholic Church grants the EO church has valid sacraments, i.e. a valid priesthood, but the EO doesn’t feel that Catholic Church has valid sacraments… Is there some difference in the way they view the priesthood?

Also, do you think that it’s a stumbling block for EO evangelization efforts of Protestants?

BTW, I have no bones to pick, not trying to be polemic, just on a faith journey like everyone else would like to see the church breathing with both lungs.

Actually the EO view on Catholic sacraments is that we don’t know if they are valid or not. We don’t say that they are, and we don’t say that they aren’t, we say that we don’t know. Although some Orthodox might say that they think Catholic sacraments are or aren’t valid, all they can say for sure is that our (EO) sacraments are valid.

So how do they know that theirs are valid but not sure that Catholics aren’t? Is it a matter of who excommunicated who first? On that same vein why would the Patriarch attend Mass with BP16 if he didn’t believe it was valid – is that like giving the implicit acknowledgement that the Mass was valid?

The EO are sure that their sacraments are valid because they believe in the EO Church. They’re not sure about the RCs sacraments because they do not believe in the RC Church. or else they would be RC.

Well, one difference I see is that one church views themselves as having the right to affirm or deny the validity of another communion’s Sacraments based on its own intrinsic superiority.

“Valid but illicit” is hardly a compliment.

The Church has both lungs, and they’re working just fine. A better picture for you to use might be the Vatican on a ventilator, needing a lung transplant from Holy Orthodoxy. But, of course, some might find that to be rude. :wink:

Rome is not in a position were they have to say that the EO are heretics in order to justify her independence from them. The EO, on the other hand, could not lawfully exist apart from inter-communion with Rome unless they hold a position that Rome is heretical. So, the EO must struggle with the issue of whether of not sacraments are grace-filled in a heretical church; whereas Rome must struggle with whether or not sacraments are valid in a schismatic church. Rome can find it alot easier to say there are true sacraments in a schism then the EO can say that there are true sacraments in a heresy.

Just to make sure no one thinks that I personally think Rome is in heresy, let me say that do not think that the EO are in schism nor do I think that Rome has any mortal heresies. There are mortal heresies and venial heresies just as there are mortal & venial sins. Both RC & EO have venial heresies, but neither have any mortal heresies. This being the case the EO have no right to not inter-communion with Rome, and if they do inter-commune with Rome they are then canonically obligated to recognize all the sacraments of the Church of Rome. - But the EO value there liberty so much that this would not happen unless it happened in such a way that the EO could continue to be fully self-governing.

I don’t think the EO view Catholic sacraments as invalid. Do you have a reference for that?

The EO do teach that Catholic sacraments are not allowed/equivalent as a substitution for their own sacraments. Meaning, while Catholics validly receive sacraments (in limited conditions, as specified by canon law), the EO do not grant their faithful the same option with respect to sacraments.

The Church I read about from the beginning is the Catholic Church.

Ignatius Bp of Antioch

Polycarp Bp of Smyrna his Martyrdom

Irenaeus Bp of Lyons [/FONT] ,

Lactantius (Therefore it is the Catholic Church alone which retains true worship.)

etc etc etc.

I have heard it explained in the following way, particularly in regard to the Eucharist:

The Catholic Church believes that ordination grants the bishop the power to change the bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ. This power still exists, even if the bishop breaks communion with the Catholic Church. By the laying on of hands, the bishop can pass this power on to others, and “valid” sacraments can continue, as long as the succession is maintained. This is why, from a Catholic point of view, the Orthodox can still have a genuine Eucharist.

By contrast, the Orthodox Church believes that the sacraments belong to the Church and work within the Church. If a bishop leaves the Church, he does not take his sacramental power with him, and he is essentially a schismatic layman. This is why, from an Orthodox point of view, the Catholics may or may not have a genuine Eucharist. There is not an absolute statement on this, but this is why the Orthodox cannot state that the Catholic Church has genuine sacraments. They are not trying to be mean. They cannot reciprocate the Catholic Church’s affirming view of their sacraments, because they have a different idea of how this sacramental power is maintained.

Again, that is just my understanding, and it may be incorrect.

My :twocents: here. The ‘name’ of the Church should be the ‘Catholic’ Church not the ‘Orthodox’ Church! I think the Orthodox end up putting too much to-do about the need to being ‘orthodox’ because we started using that word as the name of the Church. There is something to be said for a balance in all things. The right balance should be of 4 marks: One, Holy, Catholic, & Apostolic. Of course it is important to be orthodox, but maybe not at the expense these 4. If we Orthodox really believe we have the one true church then we should call it the ‘Catholic’ Church, indeed! :blush:

Hmmm… very interesting. Thanks!

Does bring up the obvious question about “what is a church?” It seems too that the RC understanding would facilitate schism by Protestants… i.e. several priests could split off and still have have transubstantiation…

I personally like the EO theology on that subject – makes the community more important than the indiviual and the individual can’t survive without the community.

It will take some work on your part, but I know how you can call yourself Catholic :wink:

I think there would be a number of definitions:

  1. The body of Christ and those baptized into it. Those who participate within the Church Triumphant.
  2. A building of worship

3 (the one that will likely be the answer you’re looking for). A religious group that exhibits full communion with itself. Basically, the Catholic Church in your town would be in full communion with the Vatican. While the Anglican church in your town would be in communion with it’s see. While the local non-denominationalists are likely in communion with themselves.


EO are considered “churches” by the Catholic Church.

You didn’t answer my other question…can you?

Yes… I wasn’t calling that into question…

How about this answer the EO aren’t sure if the RCC has apostolic succession and thus aren’t sure of the status of the sacraments.

The EO does believe the RCC has apostolic succession, and is sure of the validity of the sacraments.

from my discussions with members of the EO this is not the understanding I have :confused:

The EO do not know if the RCC sacraments are valid.

Based on what? The Canon Law for Eastern Churches seems to support the validity of Roman Catholic sacraments.

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