Valid holy orders outside Catholic church

I had a question concerning the validity of holy orders outside of churches in communion with Rome. I understand that Anglican priests are not considered to be validly ordained because the Anglican Church is in schism with Rome, but the Eastern Orthodox clergy are considered validly ordained yet they’ve been in schism for 400 years longer than Anglicans. I don’t get this, if one is not valid why aren’t both invalid?

Schism does not per se make a Sacrament invalid, neither does heresy.

The Anglicans do not have valid orders because they long ago changed the form for the sacrament; form is one thing required for validity. Also, then lack the requisite intention (for a number of reasons). But I would say that Anglicans, like other Protestants, do not see priests as having that special separate role that the Catholic Church teaches. The declaration that Anglican orders are null and void is considered an example of a dogmatic fact, an infallible judgment of the prudential order.

The Orthodox believe in all seven Sacraments, and they have the same view of the priesthood as Catholics. They are not in the same situation as the Anglicans because their form and intention remains valid, from a Catholic point of view. The Catholic Church has stated that the Orthodox have all seven Sacraments.

It isn’t because they are in schism but that they didn’t retain a valid ordained priesthood
Thomas Cranmer under King Henry VIII, changed the form or words for the sacrament of Holy Orders. The understanding of the priesthood changed that excluded the sense of the priest offering sacrifice to God, a crucial distinction which would later cause the Catholic Church to declare that the priestly orders of the Church of England were “absolutely null and utterly void”… Their priesthood became invalid. To add to the confusion some of the Anglicans in recent times have been ordained by valid Bishops of the splinter group Old Catholics making their ordination valid in the eyes of the Church.

Oh I thought it was the schism caused be Henry viii that caused their orders to be invalidated. Thanks for the clarification

Which is why the Catholic Church’s view is so confusing. The Anglican view is that priests do have a special separate role just as Catholic clergy do. The form of Anglican ordination and the episcopate is not that different from the Catholic form and includes the laying of hands by a bishop. In fact as I understand it the big objection from the Catholic side is primarily that the bishops in the Anglican line of the episcopate do not have valid consecration, and thus cannot confer holy orders (despite Anglican claims to the contrary, which are backed by some compelling evidence I’d add).

I don’t have very much knowledge pertaining to this area, but wouldn’t the periods in history where there was a more Calvinist leaning in the Church of England have had more clergy that would not have had a “Catholic” view of ordination and that in turn could affect the bishops’ ability to consecrate new bishops? Again, I don’t know, but that’s just the thought that came to my mind.

Regardless, even if the Anglicans did have valid Holy Orders, their now “ordaining” women as priests and bishops would likely change that down the line, since a female “bishop” wouldn’t be able to actually ordain priests or consecrate bishops. And, in turn, any male priest “ordained” by a female “bishop” would not be able to be made an actual bishop, thus could not validly ordain further clergy, &c, &c.

My understanding is that the Polish National Catholic Church (U.S.) has valid orders and apostolic succession.

When Henry VIII broke from Rome, his priests and bishops were validly ordained, and continued to be.

The break in apostolic succession started with Edward VI with he promulgated a new rite of ordination. The Catholic Church deemed this form defective and an indicator that they did not intend to ordain according to what the Catholic Church did. This is where their invalid Holy Orders begin.

As a general rule, all Anglican ministers who become Catholic priests are ordained according to the absolute form.

Also I thought that for the consecration of a bishop to be valid it must be approved by the pope. That’s why the Sspx priests and bishops were excommunicated by Pope John Paul II, I find it doubtful that the patriarchs of Constantinople have sought the approval of the Pope for 900 years every time they or their other bishops consecrated a new bishop. If the bishops are not valid then the priests they ordain are not so then the sacraments by these priests are not. I just don’t see how this works out that the Eastern Orthodox still have valid priests and sacraments

Valid, no.

Licit (according to the law), yes.

If a bishop with valid Orders consecrates a priest or another bishop, it is 100% valid. If he does so without permission, it is illicit and likely to wind up with consequences.

Excommunicated for disobedience. But their Orders, and therefore their consecrations, remain valid-- a cursory reading of any of the Vatican documents on SSPX will show this such as ability to attend Mass at SSPX chapels, rulings on their sacraments, etc.

You are confusing licety with validity. They are not the same thing.

Required for liciety, i.e. for it to be legal. Not validity. For Catholics, any bishop who ordains another bishop without Papal mandate incurs an automatic excommunication, as is the ordained bishop. But the ordained bishop is indeed validly ordained. The SSPX bishops are validly therefore ordained.

So are the bishops of the Orthodox churches validly ordained as well because they never lost apostolic succession. They have changed neither the rite nor their intention. And since they’re not Catholic, they’re not bound by Catholic canon law, which means the Pope has no power to excommunicate them.

I guess that’s where I was confused, I assumed if something was illicit then it was also invalid. I think I’ve got it now

Licit/illicit = legal vs. illegal.
Valid/invalid = happens vs. does not happen

The Syriac Orthodox (I believe they are Oriental Orthodox) does (correct me if I am wrong)

It’s not because of schism, it’s because they themselves changed their ordination so that their priests and bishops no longer received valid ordination. From that point on, there were no longer valid bishops able to consecrate men to the sacrificial ministerial priesthood.

Well, the Orthodox view Sacraments a bit different. Orthodox do not teach that there are exactly 7 Sacraments, Orthodox do not like to specify their number, Orthodox say that every cleric effect is Holy Sacrament. St John Chrysostom teaches us that all Sacraments are part of One Whole Sacrament which is God’s gift to the faithful People through His Church.

This 7 Sacraments thing comes from the Roman-Catholic Council of Trent if i am not wrong.

I think your understanding is false I used to have an Eastern Orthodox professor who is also an Eastern Orthodox priest and they usually use the term mystery as they do in Eastern Christian churches as far as I know instead of the term sacrament and there are in fact seven even with them.

With regard to the Anglicans, from what I’ve read, the issue was with their early reformers, who changed their ordination rites for the very purpose of no longer doing what the Church does. This is called the “principle of positive exclusion.” By doing so they broke the line of succession, so it was to no avail when they later re-amended their rites to be more in line with the historical Church. That being, some Anglicans have received orders from groups with valid orders, so each case has to be looked at individually now.

A good read on this is “Anglican Orders and Defect of Intention” by Francis Clark, SJ in 1956.

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