CWN: Orthodox bishop shares Communion with Catholics

This is in from CWN.  I think it is interesting in light of discussion on this blog about Catholics seeking out the Orthodox in times of serious spiritual necessity and how that might be a model for how we think of Communion from SSPX chapels.

Orthodox bishop shares Communion with Catholics

Timisoara , May. 27, 2008 (CWNews.com) – A Romanian Orthodox bishop has shared Communion with Catholics, causing a sensation in a country where Byzantine Catholics and Orthodox have a history of tense relations.

At the consecration of the Queen of Peace parish church in Timisoara on May 25, Orthodox Metropolitan Nicolae Corneanu of Banat asked to share Communion. The Orthodox metropolitan approached the altar and received the Eucharist from his own hand.

Romanian Catholic Bishop Alexandru Mesian of Lugoj was the celebrant of the Divine Liturgy in the Byzantine Catholic church; Archbishop Francisco-Javier Lozano, the apostolic nuncio to Romania, was also present.

Although Orthodox and Catholic bishops often join in ecumenical services, and occasionally participate in each other’s liturgical ceremonies, they do not share Communion– an indication of the breach in ecclesial communion between the Orthodox churches and the Holy See. In Romania, tensions between the Orthodox Church and the Eastern-rite Romanian Catholic Church have been pronounced, adding to the surprise created by Metropolitan Corneanu’s action.

With some Orthodox believers outraged by the metropolitan’s sharing Communion with Catholic bishops, the Orthodox Patriarchate of Romania issued a statement saying that at the next meeting of the Orthodox synod, in July, Metropolitan Corneanu "may be asked to give an appropriate explanation" for his action.

The statement from the Orthodox patriarchate went on to say that ecumenical relations with the Catholic Church, "already quite fragile, cannot be helped, but are rather complicated," by sharing in Communion.

Metropolitan Corneanu– who was one of the first Orthodox bishops to admit that he had cooperated with the secret police under the Communist regime– has a record of friendship with Romanian Catholics. He was among the few Orthodox leaders prepared to return church properties that had been seized by the Communist government from Catholic ownership in 1948 and handed over to Orthodox control.

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120 Responses to CWN: Orthodox bishop shares Communion with Catholics

  1. Paul says:

    This is an outrage. Someone who rejects the Catholic Church and her Divine teaching approaches the altar and receives Holy Communion – and it’s permitted by Canon Law.

    What a disgrace. What a sacrilege. [And you are not the judge of this. – Fr. Z]

    The Sour Grapes Award

  2. Cody says:

    Although the incidents are unrelated, this reminds me of the incident where Pope Paul VI kissed the feet of Metropolitan Melito in 1975.

    Out of all things, that’s something I’ve never found on a sedevacantist site, though I’m sure it’s out there.

  3. I wouldn’t go so far as to call this act sacreligious, as they have valid orders, and amidst the puppet “Masses”, something of this sort is more disappointing rather than sacrilegous.

    I don’t see the grave necessity in this situation for the Orthodox Bishop to receieve at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

    I long for the day that the East and the West re-unite.

  4. Andy says:

    Paul, I can understand your disgust but our Church (the Catholic Church)
    permits Orthodox faithful to share communion provided they get permission from
    their bishop, He is the bishop, he asked, we gave. How is that sacrilege?

  5. RJackson says:

    I’ll be the first one to say that without consideration of any theological issue whatsoever or any consideration of canon law I am thrilled by this. I know, I know.. I’m still thrilled.

  6. Michael says:

    Far from an outrage, this Bishop has not rejected the Catholic Church, he has been one of his Church most vocally embracing of Her. May this be the first fruits of mutual recognition!
    Paul, it is way above your paygrade to be judgmental of the Bishop when the proper juridical and canonical authorities were present and accepting of him! It is far more outrageous to commune ex-Latin Rite Catholic priests turned sedevacantist and fill-in-the-blank ‘other’ clergy who have willfully and openly rejected the Holy Father, than this bishop who has embraced the Catholic Church from an opposite road much further traveled. It’s the difference between one who traveled from New York to visit you in Chicago, knowing his New York compatriots will give him a trashing when he returns versus one who refused to meet you while living next door, just because he didn’t like your selection of home furnishings!

  7. Joe says:

    I am not sure exactly how I feel about this. “That they may all be one…”; also, every time I am talking about the faith among Christians I feel like I have to almost always put in a disclaimer in to the effect of, “generally other Christians believe this/that, but the Orthodox Churches are very much like us”. We have a long way to go, and communion is and symbolizes union, but I don’t think we are so far off. Russia was the 800 pound gorilla missing from the bulk of the Ravenna Conference but I think we can look to its discussions to forge the way back to One Apostolic Church.

    I think a good start would be to acknowledge the theological value for the Filioque, not forget it, but discard it in all our liturgies. We need to grow up as a Latin Church and realize the Niceno-Constanipolitan form is the more ancient formula of the (Episcopal) Fathers-and no less accurate than the Creed with the Filioque.

    In Essentials Unity, In Non-Essentials Liberty, In All Things Charity.

    Just my sinful two cents.

  8. SFCM Organist says:

    An Orthodox metropolitan archbishop approaches the chalice and is received as an equal to the bishops in communion with the Pope of Rome. This is an incredible gesture on the part of Rome: It sends the message that our belief in the validity of their orders is not mere lip-service.

    Why exactly the Metropolitan decided to do this is another matter. Maybe his reception of the Eucharist at a liturgy offered in communion with the Pope of Rome signifies that he, too, is now in communion with us? What a wonderful miracle that would be! Why assume that this is a sacrilege?

  9. Paul says:

    “How is that sacrilege?”

    If a priest knowlingly gives Holy Communion to someone who rejects the Catholic faith, he has committed sacrilege.

    This Orthodox Bishop presumably rejects the filioque, the immaculate conception, and Papal supremacy. Are these not dogmatic articles of the Catholic faith? Is it not gravely sinful to reject them?

    The fact is that this Bishop is a public heretic and schismatic. To permit him to receive Holy Communion is sacrilege.

  10. Paul says:

    “Far from an outrage, this Bishop has not rejected the Catholic Church”

    The Filioque. The Immaculate Conception. Papal Supremacy.

    Are these articles of the Catholic faith or not? Is it sinful to reject them or not?

    It’s at times like these that I can’t help but agree with Bishop Williamson. Modernists simply engage in mushy thinking. Reasonable argument escapes them.

  11. D.V.M. says:

    I agree that it’s a scandal. If the Bishop truly embraced the Church, he would convert. And once in communion, he could receive Holy Communion.

  12. adriatikus says:

    Indeed. This is outrageous, not for some, but for many Orthodox believers. He is the same bishop who, one year ago, almost denied the existence of devils on national television (asserting that the source of evil is to be searched within each man, while blaming the devil leads to superstitions). But he is also the first bishop to recognize in 1990 he has been a Securitate (political police) collaborator. This bought him credit in the eyes of the civil society as an act of courage (there are very few public figures who did it, especially so early). I think his act is to be re-evaluated in the light of the new event (it may reveal opportunism). Now the Patriarch is aware of the tensions the event is raising, so the declaration on the Patriarchy website is extremely cautious. This is a test for him (many see him way too ecumenist) and I hope he will not let the issue in limbo (which sadly is not uncommon in this part of the world).

  13. I do not think it can be said that an “Orthodox Bishop presumably rejects the filioque, the immaculate conception, and Papal supremacy.”
    In regard to the filioque, some accept it as explained by Florence, wherein from is equivalent to through, and the Spirit comes from both Father and Son as from one principle. It was opposition to the unilateral addition of the filioque to the creed by the Carolingian Church that led to the invention of theological reasons to oppose it. The Pope only mandated it in the Creed of the Roman Mass in the 11th century. Thus, John Paul II’s permission not to use it where it has not been traditional can have a profound impact on restoring unity.
    The rejection of the Immaculate Conception is often not a rejection of the dogma, but the way it was promulgated. Many Greek Fathers believed in the Immaculate Conception.
    Papal supremacy has been the key issue. But, as Orthodox theologians become more familiar with the Latin Fathers, and the Pope’s shed some of the imperial ceremonies that accrued when they had to assume control of the Papal States, I think they will find the official teaching in seed form within the writings of the Greek Fathers.

  14. Yaqoob says:

    If you think that the Romanian Metropolitan should not be given the sacraments for whatever reason, I think there are two problems. First administering sacraments is permitted to the Orthodox according to Canon 844.3 and secondly a lay person simply does not have the authority to make such a judgment in any case.

    If we believe that the Catholic Church is true (and are soo keen to defend it and call everyone else a heretic etc) then I think we should also repose TRUST in it and not disregard its Canon Law like this.

  15. Paul says:

    “I do not think it can be said that an “Orthodox Bishop presumably rejects the filioque, the immaculate conception, and Papal supremacy.”

    Then why on earth doesn’t he convert??

  16. schoolman says:

    If Fr. Z is correct, and there is some similarity here with the case of the SSPX, then I see no need for outrage. It seemed like a humble expression of a desire to be in true communion with the Roman Catholic Church.

  17. Paul says:

    “If we believe that the Catholic Church is true (and are soo keen to defend it and call everyone else a heretic etc) then I think we should also repose TRUST in it and not disregard its Canon Law like this.”

    If we believe that the Catholic Church is the true church, we will hold the Catholic faith as laid down by her through the centuries. It is the constant teaching of the Church that you cannot reject Catholic doctrine and receive Holy Communion.

    Obviously, the very fact that Canon 844 exists is a tremendous scandal. It’s an invitation to sacrilege, and an unspeakable shame. When I first saw it, I couldn’t believe it.

    I may not have the authority to promulgate a new Code of Canon Law, but I can tell the difference between right and wrong. The faithful have every responsibility to fight against the error which motivated this Canon.

  18. Paul says:

    “If Fr. Z is correct, and there is some similarity here with the case of the SSPX, then I see no need for outrage. It seemed like a humble expression of a desire to be in true communion with the Roman Catholic Church.”

    Members of the SSPX hold the Catholic faith. The Orthodox do not.

    When did this become a matter of dispute? When did the Immaculate Conception cease to be Catholic dogma?

  19. Paul:

    Holy Mother Church does n ot agree with your judgment concerning the Orthodox. “Roma locuta est; causa finita est.”

  20. schoolman says:

    Imagine Bishop Fellay attending a TLM being offered by Cardinal Castrillon, for example. Suppose that the Bishop was suddenly moved to take communion at the Mass. Such a gesture would indicate a certain desire for communion with the Holy See — even as there remain certain outstanding issues of dissagreement. Perhaps we are seeing something similar here — but it has had much more time (centuries) to mature.

  21. Limbo says:

    Pray to St. Leopold Mandic that East and West can be united.
    His feast day is May 12th.
    This year it fell on the day after Pentecost – remember the good news of that day ? Bishops and 3000 laity united to the Church !

  22. If this Orthodox prelate is prepared to receive Christ who comes through the Church then he is also prepared to accept the Church through which the Eucharistic Christ comes to him.

    This may just be the first step in his road to true and authentic communion with the universal Church and conversations might be ongoing at this time about that very thing. This is one purpose of the apostolic delegate of the Holy Father in that country, to promote communion where there is observed to be a hint of an opening to it.

    Ut unum sint!

  23. EDG says:

    I don’t see why people are shocked. Many of the issues between the Orthodox and the Catholics have already been resolved on a formal theological level, and in any case, Catholics have long been permitted to go to Communion in Orthodox churches. During the really bad times of post Vat-II lunacy, many Catholics attended Orthodox churches, and this was also allowed if necessary for one’s salvation – which it clearly was. The problem is that the Orthodox would refuse to give Communion to the Catholics, although from the Catholic point of view, one could fulfill one’s obligation by attending an Orthodox liturgy. In other words, the lifting of the mutual excommunications never made it to the parish level. Looks like this is changing. Laus Deo!

  24. Paul says:

    “Holy Mother Church does n ot agree with your judgment concerning the Orthodox. “Roma locuta est; causa finita est.”

    Father,

    I know. It’s a scandal.

  25. Larry says:

    Outrage? I believe that a Metropolitan in the Orthodox Churc is well aware of what constitutes heresy and sacrilege and I don’t think he is about to give in to the temptation. Therefore I believe that the Metropolitan accepts the truths of the Faith and he has born witness to this fact by his action. It is by the courageous actions of indiviuals that the stalemate created by commitees will be dealt with. Perhaps the Metropolitan will be excommunicated by his Church. If he is he will have a ready home in the Roman Catholic Church. It would be nice if some of you would at least try to practice the Gospel and “judge not that you be not judged.” May God help us and have mercy on us all!

  26. Paul says:

    “I don’t see why people are shocked. Many of the issues between the Orthodox and the Catholics have already been resolved on a formal theological level, and in any case.”

    Then why don’t the Orthodox renounce their errors and return to the Church? This is the sensible Canon:

    “It is forbidden to administer the sacraments of the Church to heretics or schismatics, even though they err in good faith and ask for them, unless they have first renounced their errors and been reconciled with the Church.” – Canon 731 §2, 1917 Code of Canon Law

    AMEN!

  27. Paul says:

    “Imagine Bishop Fellay attending a TLM being offered by Cardinal Castrillon, for example. Suppose that the Bishop was suddenly moved to take communion at the Mass. Such a gesture would indicate a certain desire for communion with the Holy See—even as there remain certain outstanding issues of dissagreement. Perhaps we are seeing something similar here—but it has had much more time (centuries) to mature.”

    The difference is, Bishop Fellay holds the Catholic faith. This Orthodox Bishop does not.

  28. Paul says:

    “Therefore I believe that the Metropolitan accepts the truths of the Faith and he has born witness to this fact by his action.”

    This is fantasy. If this Bishop believed the Catholic faith, he would convert to the Catholic Church.

    Why do seemingly orthodox Catholics go so mushy on this point? Is there something ambiguous about holding the Catholic faith? Is the Catholic faith just some big amorphous idea, or does it have clearly defined doctrines? If it has doctrines, is it not gravely sinful to reject them? If we are conscious of grave sin, should we not refrain from receiving Holy Communion?

  29. Jordanes says:

    Anyone else here see the irony in a layman who doesn’t submit to the Church’s authority, but arrogates to himself the right to take issue with the laws of the Church, complaining about Communion being given to a bishop who might not submit to the Church’s authority?

  30. Jordanes says:

    Canon 731 §2, 1917 Code of Canon Law

    “1917,” as in “not a law of the Church any longer,” because what Peter bound on earth was bound in heaven, and what he loosed on earth is loosed in heaven.

    The difference is, Bishop Fellay holds the Catholic faith. This Orthodox Bishop does not.

    Can we be so sure of that? And isn’t that a judgment that is above your pay scale to make?

  31. Paul says:

    “Anyone else here see the irony in a layman who doesn’t submit to the Church’s authority, but arrogates to himself the right to take issue with the laws of the Church, complaining about Communion being given to a bishop who might not submit to the Church’s authority?”

    I knew the ad hominem would start in earnest once it became obvious that I had won the argument.

    I submit to the Church’s authority. Canon 844 is a law of the Church, truly promulgated by a Pope. An Orthodox may receive communion in a Catholic Church. I disagree with this law.

    Disagreeing with a law of the Church does not somehow render one non-Catholic. I think this law is an invitation to sacrilege, but that hardly means that I think it isn’t a law.

  32. Michael says:

    Paul – first the 1917 Code is not the current Code. Second, this bishop should he convert (big jump here..), would NOT be Roman Catholic, he would be Romanian Catholic. Third, he has NOT rejected the Catholic faith nor union with the Pope. To REJECT something means having it in the first place – that is what separates him from the SSPX. The SSPX *HAD* the fullness of Truth and dropped essentials for what they perceived to be important reasons (I am not judging their motives..). The people born into Orthodoxy never HAD full union with the Pope, nor all these other things you mention. How can he REJECT something he never had?? Fourth and finally, the way he would interpret the teachings of that Catholic faith do not have to conform to your views, they do not have to be interpreted in the Latin Tradition either. If and when he chooses to become Catholic, he would make a Profession or even by formally Con-celebrating the Eucharist with the Romanian Bishops – this decision is up to the Holy Synod of the Romanian Catholic Church. This is the way it’s done in the East. Please stop imposing your personal views over and above worldwide orthodox Catholicism.

  33. Paul says:

    “Can we be so sure of that?”

    No. It can only be reasonably inferred. Holy Communion should not be administered to this Bishop until he is unambiguously reunited with the Catholic Church.

  34. Paul says:

    “Paul – first the 1917 Code is not the current Code.”

    No it’s not. It’s disturbing, though, that modern Catholics actually disagree with the Canon I quoted. Heretics and schismatics may now receive Holy Communion. I can hardly think of a greater scandal.

    “Second, this bishop should he convert (big jump here..), would NOT be Roman Catholic, he would be Romanian Catholic.”

    Did I say otherwise? A Catholic is a Catholic. Romanian Catholics hold the Catholic faith, and assent to every article of Catholic doctrine.

    “Third, he has NOT rejected the Catholic faith nor union with the Pope. To REJECT something means having it in the first place”

    No. It doesn’t.

    It means being aware of something and consciously refusing to accept it. Are you seriously arguing that his Bishop is not aware of Catholic doctrine?

    “Fourth and finally, the way he would interpret the teachings of that Catholic faith do not have to conform to your views, they do not have to be interpreted in the Latin Tradition either. If and when he chooses to become Catholic, he would make a Profession or even by formally Con-celebrating the Eucharist with the Romanian Bishops – this decision is up to the Holy Synod of the Romanian Catholic Church. This is the way it’s done in the East. Please stop imposing your personal views over and above worldwide orthodox Catholicism.”

    It’s God who imposes the Catholic faith on humanity – not me. It is He who created the obligation to hold the Catholic faith unambiguously and in its fullness – not me.

  35. schoolman says:

    “The difference is, Bishop Fellay holds the Catholic faith. This Orthodox Bishop does not.”

    Paul, both the SSPX and the Orthodox claim to maintain “doctrinal” differences with Peter and the Holy See. So, if you are going to paint the Orthodox as “heretics” then you would be constrained to include the SSPX into the same category.

  36. TNCath says:

    I just don’t know what to think about this. This seems to open the door for a lot of other irregular situations and makes me uneasy. I’d be interested to hear what the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline for the Sacraments would say about this. I wonder if they got this cleared ahead of time with Cardinal Arinze. If it’s ok with them, then fine, but it does seem to be inconsistent with past practice.

  37. Paul says:

    “Paul, both the SSPX and the Orthodox claim to maintain “doctrinal” differences with Peter and the Holy See. So, if you are going to paint the Orthodox as “heretics” then you would be constrained to include the SSPX into the same category.”

    The SSPX holds the Catholic faith as it was defined before the Second Vatican Council. Nothing the Church taught before the council was heresy.

    The reason that the SSPX claim to have doctrinal differences with the Church is that they erroneously believe that the Second Vatican Council contradicts Catholic doctrine.

    The Orthodox, on the other had, explicitly reject infallibly defined doctrines of the Church. There is no comparison between their situations.

  38. RJackson says:

    There is a difference between someone who has a member of the Church and schismed and someone who has always been a member of a Church which is in schism. The Archbishop never schismed because he was (presumably) never in full communion with the Holy See. Huge difference. To have the fullness of the truth and to disobey it (Bishop Fellay) is very different from never having been in full communion to begin with.

  39. Paul says:

    “If it’s ok with them, then fine, but it does seem to be inconsistent with past practice.”

    Why would it be fine for heretics and schismatics to receive Holy Communion just because the Cardinal says so??? Why do I feel like I’m in the twilight zone?

  40. Paul says:

    “There is a difference between someone who has a member of the Church and schismed and someone who has always been a member of a Church which is in schism. The Archbishop never schismed because he was (presumably) never in full communion with the Holy See. Huge difference. To have the fullness of the truth and to disobey it (Bishop Fellay) is very different from never having been in full communion to begin with.”

    Morally, there is absolutely no distinction between the two. You’re either in the Church, or you’re not. If you’re not in it, you should not receive Holy Communion. Period.

  41. Gavin says:

    I am fairly certain that the Orthodox are welcome to receive at Catholic altars by Catholic discipline, but that their own canons do not allow them to commune with the “heterodox” as they call us. As another example, the members of the Polish National Catholic Church may commune in Catholic parishes even though they are a schismatic communion which denies papal infallibility (having broken off after Vatican I).

    Paul says otherwise. The question then becomes, whom do we listen to: Paul or the Church that has the God-given authority to decide who may or may not commune?

  42. Paul says:

    “Paul says otherwise. The question then becomes, whom do we listen to: Paul or the Church that has the God-given authority to decide who may or may not commune?”

    No. You misunderstand.

    I don’t say otherwise. Heretics and schismatics may lawfully commune in Catholic Churches, according the legitimate law of the Church.

    I disagree with this law. Disagreeing with this law is hardly tantamount to denything the authority of the lawmaker. This accusation is a distraction thrown up because there is absolutely no sound refutation to my arguments. Those who do not accept the Catholic faith should not receive Communion in a Catholic Church. Period.

  43. schoolman says:

    Paul, and yet the Church has never held that the doctrinal differences of the Orthodox amounted to “heresy”, as such. The same can be said of the doctrinal differences that exist between the SSPX and the Holy See.

  44. abg3 says:

    Amen Paul, Amen.

  45. Padre Steve says:

    Maybe we will soon see more of the Orthodox moving closer and closer
    to unity with the Roman Catholic Church. We need to continue to pray for that.
    I know it was a dream that Pope John Paul II worked toward. God bless! Padre STeve

  46. Paul says:

    “Paul, and yet the Church has never held that the doctrinal differences of the Orthodox amounted to “heresy”, as such.”

    This is incorrect. The Catholic Church has held that the Eastern Orthodox Churches are guilty of heresy.

    The Orthodox reject certain infallibly defined articles of the Catholic faith. Do you seriously disagree?

    If the Orthodox hold the Catholic faith, why don’t they sign a declaration tomorrow which says that they accept the filioque, the immaculate conception, and papal supremacy? Are these not part of the Catholic faith?

  47. Lori Ann says:

    “It’s God who imposes the Catholic faith on humanity – not me.”

    Paul, no, God does not impose the Catholic faith. He loves us into the True Church with gentle persistence.

    You are very concerned with winning an argument. From all of my reading of the above comments, I would say that it is obvious, at least to me, that others have a much stronger argument.

    I am afraid that the only message I am getting from your posts is that you have an ax to grind and are not really concerned with hearing the truth.

    Please prayerfully consider what many others have been trying to express to you. I pray for your understanding. I mean no malice in posting this.

  48. adamsaj says:

    “This is an outrage. Someone who rejects the Catholic Church and her Divine teaching approaches the altar and receives Holy Communion – and it’s permitted by Canon Law.

    What a disgrace. What a sacrilege.”

    First, let’s keep in mind that this is a validly ordained bishop who receives Holy Communion every time he celebrates the Divine Liturgy. The only thing that is unusual about this is that it is done within the Church which has the further meaning of unity. Now, this might be scandalous if it is taken to mean “it is OK to be Orthodox” but that is not how this will be taken. It was the bishop who broke (Orthodox) canon law; he was the one making the bold statement, not us! Clearly he is the one trying to send the message that “it is OK to be Catholic” to the Orthodox world. This is not a scandal, it is a great victory for Catholicism.

    “The SSPX holds the Catholic faith as it was defined before the Second Vatican Council. Nothing the Church taught before the council was heresy.

    The reason that the SSPX claim to have doctrinal differences with the Church is that they erroneously believe that the Second Vatican Council contradicts Catholic doctrine.”

    so what?

    The Orthodox hold the Catholic faith as it was defined before whatever council defined the doctrines you mention. Nothing the Church taught before this council was heresy either.

    The reason that the Orthodox claim to have doctrinal differences with the Church is that they erroneously believe that whatever council that was contradicts Catholic doctrine.

    you have done nothing but prove scoolman’s point.

  49. Michael says:

    Two points are relevant here: (1) whether an Orthodox Bishop is permitted by his own Church to receive Holy Communion from a Catholic minister, and (2) whether a Catholic minister may give Holy Communion to an Orthodox faithful.

    Regarding (1), according to the Greek Orthodox monk Kallistos, now the Metropolitan in the UK, “until unity in the faith has been achieved, there can be no communion in the sacraments”. A “non-Orthodox Christians, if entirely cut of from ministration in their own Church, are allowed with special permission to receive communion from an Orthodox priest”, but the “Orthodox are forbidden to receive communion from any but a priest of their own Church” (T. Ware: The Orthodox Church, 1972, p. 319).

    So, according to Father Kallistos, the Orthodox Metropolitan has violated the discipline of his own Church, which can’t be helpful in ecumenical relations between us and them.

    Regarding (2), the ecumenical directory of 1993, no.125, re-articulates what is stipulated in the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches 1990, Can. 671, Par.3 (and in the Canon Law of the Western Church 1983): “Catholic minister may lawfully administer the …Eucharist to members of the Eastern Churches who ask for” it “ and are properly disposed”, but “due consideration should be given to the discipline of the Eastern Churches for their own faithful and any suggestion of proselytism should be avoided.”

    So, the Catholic minister may administer to an Orthodox in principle, but in this particular case it all depends on how the Orthodox discipline is interpreted (what Father Kallistos says is not necessarily the Orthodox position), and for this the Orthodox Metropolitan was competent to decide. In the Orthodox Church, he is ultimately his own “boss”: that is why he might be asked by his Synod for not more than an explanation.

    But if he has violated their discipline, the Catholic Bishop has co-operated in this violation, and thus has violated Canon 671.

    For information, Metropolitan Kallistos has subsequently revised the book he wrote as Father Kallistos, but I do not know whether the revision affected the passage referred to above.

  50. Paul says:

    “You are very concerned with winning an argument. From all of my reading of the above comments, I would say that it is obvious, at least to me, that others have a much stronger argument.”

    The only argument I’ve seen is: “Rome says it’s ok, so it must be so”. In their minds, if Rome said adultery was ok tomorrow, that would make it just fine.

    There’s no argument there.

    People who do not believe the Catholic faith should not receive Holy Communion. Unless it can be demonstrated that the Orthodox hold the Catholic faith, there is no way to soundly argue that they should be able to receive Holy Communion.

  51. Paul says:

    “First, let’s keep in mind that this is a validly ordained bishop who receives Holy Communion every time he celebrates the Divine Liturgy.”

    So because a sacrilege occurs in his Church, it should also be sanctioned in the Catholic Church? You call the public profanation of the Body and Blood of Christ a victory?

    This isn’t scandalous because it promotes religious indifferentism. It’s scandalous because it’s sacrilege. It’s the reception of Holy Communion by a non-Catholic – something repugnant to the Catholic faith and to the constant discipline of the Church from its founding.

    “The Orthodox hold the Catholic faith as it was defined before whatever council defined the doctrines you mention. Nothing the Church taught before this council was heresy either.”

    If the SSPX were guilty of heresy, it wouldn’t change the fact that the Orthodox are guilty of it also. Let’s just suppose that the SSPX rejects some article of Catholic doctrine and move on so we can discuss the issue at hand.

    The Orthodox deny certain doctrines of the Catholic faith.

    Do you disagree? If you disagree, then convince me otherwise. Present evidence that explains how they hold every article of the Catholic faith, including the Immaculate Conception.

    If you can’t do this, then you simply have no argument. Those who do not hold the Catholic faith should not receive Holy Communion in a Catholic Church.

  52. patrick finley says:

    I think what some people forget is that.. the schisms that exist between east and west are much more then a rejection of rome. And it gets complicated depending on which national church one is dealing with. Some are hung up on the creed. Others trace it back to the phoebus/ignatius affair.

    Many of these orthodox churches, aside from either or both of the above details, hold to the true faith. I think its the same reason many of them are coming back to the church. IN fact if you talk to alot of orthodox people (which in st. louis we have a pretty active greek orthodox community), they refer to the Bishop of Rome as a “first among equals” Now granted, there are heretical sects too. Going back to the great schism that occured with phoebus, and the murder of ignatius, well yeah thats heresy.

    These people arent “Protestants” .. They never really protested the catholic church. They think of themselves as being apart of the same church since the begging, so its a very different approach then say luther or someone like that. In fact, I recall from the history a joint excommunication. So again its a very unique set of circumstances.

    But consider the fact these churches hold seven sacraments, have a fierce marian devotion, and believe in the trinity as was taught at Nicene. That, aside from a few doctrinal issues, makes them very close to being catholic. Many of the things we defined as dogma, our brothers in faith believe, they simply deamed that no dogma was needed, as it came to them both as a matter of faith and of reason (IE imacculate conception. That always existed in church thinking, it was just recently defined as dogma though). Alot of these orthodox churches, didnt so much follow constantinople as much as they identified themselves as Romanian, or Russian orthodox churches. So again the circumstances are very complicated

    I would say in the end, its up to the Holy Father to Decide, and through his delegate the bishops. Pray for these people, that they can all be so courageous as this metropolitan was. In the end, being Catholic involves submission and humility. Sumission to the doctrine of Rome and the Papacy, Humility to accept it.

  53. Larry says:

    Paul,
    Not only do you want to win an argument but you fail to recognize that you are not the judge who determines who is a heretic or schismatic. Furthermore you use the 1917 CCL which ceased to exist in 1983 except for those provisions that were included in the 1983 code. The citation you make is not in the 1983 Code. In addition you misuse the terms hereitic and schismatic. The Metropolitan has not been brought before the Roman Church and questioned about his belief and stubornly refused to recant. At least I never heard of his trial. Next you state that God imposed the Catholic Faith on us. The Gospel does not put it quite that way, and in fact that would deny our freedom. Christ established His Church through Baptism in the Name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. He commanded his apostles to teach all he had commmanded and that those who believed and were baptised would be saved and those who rejected it would be condemned. Now I’m sure you feel that the Orthodox are outside of the Church; but, that is not precisely how Rome sees it. What is being argued here is one man, a bishop in the Orthodox Church who asked and received Holy Communion at a Catholic Divine Liturgy. None of us really knows what was said by him to the Catholic Bishop nor do we know what was said to him. So it is quite improper to jump to the conclusion that this is a great sin. Al the very least we are called on to be charitable, and think the best. As soon as Cardinal Levada resigns and Pope Benedict appoints you as Prefect of the Congregation you might be able to hurl forth your judgement and have it mean something; but, you’re still going to have to hold a trial for the Metropolitan before you can pass judgement, and by then maybe we’ll all before the JUDGE Who really counts and we can see how HE sorts it out! Peace.

  54. adamsaj says:

    “In their minds, if Rome said adultery was ok tomorrow, that would make it just fine.”

    That is an impossible scenario and, as such, carries absolutely no weight in this discussion.

  55. Paul says:

    “Not only do you want to win an argument but you fail to recognize that you are not the judge who determines who is a heretic or schismatic. Furthermore you use the 1917 CCL which ceased to exist in 1983 except for those provisions that were included in the 1983 code. The citation you make is not in the 1983 Code. In addition you misuse the terms hereitic and schismatic. The Metropolitan has not been brought before the Roman Church and questioned about his belief and stubornly refused to recant. At least I never heard of his trial. Next you state that God imposed the Catholic Faith on us. The Gospel does not put it quite that way, and in fact that would deny our freedom. Christ established His Church through Baptism in the Name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. He commanded his apostles to teach all he had commmanded and that those who believed and were baptised would be saved and those who rejected it would be condemned. Now I’m sure you feel that the Orthodox are outside of the Church; but, that is not precisely how Rome sees it. What is being argued here is one man, a bishop in the Orthodox Church who asked and received Holy Communion at a Catholic Divine Liturgy. None of us really knows what was said by him to the Catholic Bishop nor do we know what was said to him. So it is quite improper to jump to the conclusion that this is a great sin. Al the very least we are called on to be charitable, and think the best. As soon as Cardinal Levada resigns and Pope Benedict appoints you as Prefect of the Congregation you might be able to hurl forth your judgement and have it mean something; but, you’re still going to have to hold a trial for the Metropolitan before you can pass judgement, and by then maybe we’ll all before the JUDGE Who really counts and we can see how HE sorts it out! Peace.”

    All the modernist rambling and obfuscation in the world doesn’t change the fact that someone who rejects the Catholic faith should not receive Holy Communion in a Catholic Church.

    Since the Orthodox do not hold the Catholic faith, they should not receive Communion. It’s that simple.

  56. Nick says:

    I am sure that the professional participants in the ecumenical movement will debate these points endlessly over Port and cigars, but the fact remains that the Church, the Bride of Christ, can not be divided. Both the Roman Catholic and the Orthodox Churches in their heart of hearts each considers itself to be THE Church Christ founded, not lungs, not mistaken. Consequently Paul is correct in that after all is said and done this is a matter of schism and heresy, of truth and falsehood, of right and wrong. The Orthodox Church has a long list of what it considers to be Roman Catholic heresies, innovations and pretensions, only beginning with Papal primacy. It is much better to be honest about this than confuse the issue with unnecessary sensational sentimental acts. This is a serious business. As has been pointed out: Communion is the ultimate sign of a shared faith. It will be interesting to see how the Synod of the Romanian Patriarchate responds assuming the bishop chooses to remain Orthodox.

  57. boredoftheworld says:

    From all of my reading of the above comments, I would say that it is obvious, at least to me, that others have a much stronger argument.

    Strangely enough I came here to write the opposite. For me, Paul has made the point that there are certain things that we either believe or we do not, and if we do not then why are we even bothering with all of this other aggravation? Do we believe that it is necessary to hold the Catholic Faith whole and entire in order to be saved or is there some menu of which I’m unaware? And does “whole and entire” include the prudential judgments of the Bishop of Rome?

    Does “the Catholic Faith” boil down to: “The Vicar of Christ governs the Church by fiat”? More than any other that’s the question I want answered. But I don’t know, is it wrong to pray “Lord make me blissfully ignorant”? I suspect it is.

    Intercommunion is not a step on the path to unity, it IS unity. If the word “sacrilege” is to have any meaning at all, then THIS action was sacrilege at its most fundamental: the temple has been robbed… that’s what sacrilege MEANS for goodness sake, it’s the definition of the word. One would think with all the latinists milling around here it wouldn’t take someone who hasn’t studied Latin in 20 years to point out that the sacer has been, um, legered.

    EITHER THAT, or this was a public profession of the Catholic Faith and submission to the Roman Church… that’s what was required of the rest of us before we could receive from a Catholic altar wasn’t it? If that’s the case then by all means, let all the people rejoice.

    I had to actually say “yes” to the Immaculate Conception, Purgatory, the Indissolubility of marriage, the Filioque, the infallibility of the Pope, the right use of marriage and a whole host of other doctrines and dogmas, explicitly and without reservation or nuance before I was allowed to even consider presenting myself for Holy Communion. Have we dropped all that?

    I don’t see a contradiction in saying that had I known 15 years ago what I know now I never would have entered the Church because I never would have taken it seriously. But I’m here now and there’s no place else to go, that’s either painfully joyous or joyously painful depending on the news of any given day.

    Many of the comments in this discussion are baffling to me. I think someone recommended that we actually discard the filioque and “grow up”. Others have pointed out that objections to this event are above our paygrade, that seems like an invitation to intellectual suicide.

    But “God does not impose the Catholic faith. He loves us into the True Church with gentle persistence.” convinced me that we have arrived at the tower of babel and no longer speak the same language among ourselves. Of course God imposes the Catholic Faith, it’s like the law of gravity, it’s there whether we like it or not and to disregard it is to plunge to our death. And as concerns the idea of gentle persistence… as someone who was driven into the Church by a sledgehammer I can say there was nothing gentle about it. That doesn’t mean He wasn’t gentle with you, it means that you’re being subjective in the one area where objectivity matters the most.

  58. Phil says:

    Thank you all for this excellent discussion. I did not know about the “incident”, but thanks to your posts, I have been able to learn much regarding what Canon law says about communion and the Orthodox.

    It appears to me as quite interesting that a person who pictures himself as an “orthodox catholic” (no pun intended here) is questioning the authority of the Church on that matter, and openly disagrees with Canon law. According to his own terms, if he were to apply these consistently, would this not make him, ipso facto, a heretic? I am just asking this question because his position appears rather inconsistent to me, but of course I am not the one to decide who is heretic, and who is not. That said, it appears certain that there is a clear lack of charity, but instead much anger, in his ways — and this, if not of heresy, makes me think of sin.

    Phil

  59. So, could someone tell us the PRECISE (non-)relationship of the Romanian Orthodox to those who were excommunicated in 1054 by Papal legates, but only invalidly, since, by the time the Papal legates arrived to do their thing, the Pope had already died?

    And didn’t the excommunication coming from the Orthodox direction affect only the legates themselves? I mean, were the Romanian crowd part of that scenario, really?

    And then, that being invalid and not general, did they and Rome exchange further excommunications? And, if so, were these not annulled twice in following centuries?

    And if further rupture continued, did the nullifcation of “excommunications” in 1965 have no juridical effect?

    Who speaks for whom?

    So, for such a broad audience, names and dates and locations and heaps of canonical wisdom would be helpful in such a discussion.

    To the point: Are we talking about a reconciliation within the Church much in the same way with the SSPX crowd, who, apart from the bishops, and taking a hint from Summorum Pontificum, are merely in an irregular canonical situation, but not excommunicated?

    And Nick, isn’t that Port and STILTON and Cigars, necessitating more Port and more Cigars? You’re right, of course, in that this is more than some emotion about excommunications. This is also the case with the SSPX.

    What aggravates all is that so many of the Latin Rite bishops tolerate and even promote the destruction of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, replacing it with theatrical performances which, just to twist the knife in the heart, are poorly acted, danced and sung.

    People say that its other issues, not the Liturgy, which is important. But that is not true. ALL other discussions hinge on whether one perceives that the Holy Sacrifice has been rejected or obscured by someone else. The Holy Sacrifice is not irrelevant to anything.

    As someone once said, “Save the Liturgy, save the world.”

    Cheers!

  60. boredoftheworld says:

    Truth is the heart of Charity, I would rather be told the truth in blunt manner so it can be clearly apprehended than have it wrapped up in molasses, is that odd?

    I’m teaching basic math to two of my children and one of them is having the hardest time accepting that a dime is ALWAYS worth ten cents. It’s not that she can’t understand that I’m always going to say it’s ten cents, it’s that she actually rejects the idea that it has to be that way. At what point would it be charitable of me to say “ok kiddo, have it your way, dimes are wild”? I didn’t determine that a dime is worth ten cents, I’m merely passing on what I was taught.

    To carry the example to an extreme we’re now being told that a dime is worth eleventy-two cents.

    We need to seriously consider what “questioning the authority of the Church” actually means, I don’t think it’s reasonable to conclude that it means disagreeing with a prudential judgment of a Pope.

    Reading anger into internet postings and then equating it with sin seems rather judgmental of the person rather than of the ideas being expressed. Isn’t that an ad hominem attack, going after the person rather than the position?

  61. Phillip says:

    I forgot who said it, but as an old saying once goes “if one interprets something as the color black, but the Church says it is white, then one must believe.” Think it might’ve been Fr. Corapi. Paul, even if you do not fully understand that Orthodox may receive our communion, you must believe it to be right. Just pray to the Lord to open your mind, to understand, and to agree and submit to it.

  62. Of course, I would hope that no one would read into what I said above as saying that heresy promoted by whatever INDIVIDUAL is unimportant. Again, who speaks for whom? If a bishop denies the Trinity, for example, does that mean that all those holding him to be their bihsop also deny the Trinity? No, it doesn’t. There is hope, is there not? Cheers!

  63. Tom says:

    “…eleventy-two cents…” I love it. What I hate about these arguments is that I’m always forced to sympathise with those who are standing against the actions – and often the words – of the Hierarchy (and not always just indivudual members of the Hierarchy either).

    What I just can’t get over is how few people there are who are saying what we all know perfectly well would have been – and actually was said – by the Popes until 1958. That’s not to say that 1958+ there haven’t been Popes who are perfectly entitled to exercise their office. It’s just a huge concern that there is still this – dreadful phrase – hermenutic of discontinuity. Either the world began in 1958 or it didn’t. It sounds to me as if the dime just became eleventy-two round about then. I’ll stick with my reductionist ten-cent dime.

  64. Warren Anderson says:

    Both the SSPX and the Orthodox suffer from the same virus – disobedience. Both groups will have to answer to the Lord. And, we Catholics will have to answer for what we have done, or failed to do, with regards to restoring communion. There can be no avoiding the truth; there is no fooling God. The Church is clear on who can receive the Eucharistic Lord. What is bound on earth is bound in heaven. People, clergy and laity alike, should not avoid the truth while engaged in dialogue. Our Holy Father Benedict XVI has wisely said that ever so plainly. What is clear is this: the schism between Catholics and Orthodox exists for real reasons. Any premature sharing in the Eucharist glosses over the real problems that exist. Of course, who doesn’t want the Church to be united? Christ wills us to be one. The Catholic Church is one! Prior to converting I innocently received the Eucharist, once. The parish in which I was received via the RCIA program was very liberal. By contrast, my sponsor being a faithful Catholic, informed me shortly thereafter with kind words spoken firmly that what I was not to receive the Eucharist until being received into the Church. The joy of receiving the Lord after proper preparation was overwhelming. To receive Christ truly Present, the Body and Blood of Christ is, 24 years later, no less profound. Unless there is a necessity as defined by the Canons, people should wait and not receive the Lord as if to force the hand of God. There is certainly much more praying that can and should be done to help heal the divisions between Christians in preparation for that great day.

  65. Thorfinn says:

    If only you knew even a little of the history of this place, where every city, village and terrain feature has names in at least three languages and where certain words, such as some expressed here in this forum, have been the cause of untold sorrow and death for a thousand years and more. Then you would know what a huge risk this man took by doing this. For an Orthodox bishop to do this is stunning but also a huge gesture of acceptance, and a plea for reconciliation. Did you not read Fr. Z’s article Quantum potes tantum aude? Don’t you think this man just now did as much as he dared? The old words have produced nothing but hate and death. If you knew anything at all about these people you would say, let’s rather pray for their healing and reconciliation in Christ. Pray that good will come from this.

  66. Michael says:

    With regard to the provisions of the Canon Low, I would add the following remarks to what I posted on 27th May:

    Ad Joe of St.Therese. He maintains that there was no “grave necessity for the Orthodox Bishop to receive communion”. That would be required of Protestants. No grave necessity is required from the Orthodox; only that they ask of their own accord, and that they have a right disposition.

    Ad Andy. He thinks that the Catholic Church requires from the Orthodox that “they get permission from their bishop”. But from what I have quoted from Fr. Kallistos, it appears that an Orthodox would never get such permission. And yet, the Canon Law insists that “due consideration should be given to the discipline of the Eastern Churches for their own faithful and any suggestion of proselytism should be avoided.” I think that this Canon has to be further explained, because it seems to contain two irreconcilable stipulations: the communion may be given to an Orthodox if he asks and is properly disposed, but how can he be properly disposed if he violates his own discipline? In practice, it is likely that the Orthodox bishops differ in their interpretation of their general principle of no intercommunion as far as the Orthodox recipients are concerned, and that our Canon Law makes a provision for it.

    Ad Paul. He quotes Canon 731 §2, of 1917 Code of Canon Law which forbids administration of sacraments to heretics or schismatics, even though they err in good faith and ask for them, unless they have first renounced their errors and been reconciled with the Church; but he does not realize that this Canon has been superseded, and is now valid only in so far as it is reconcilable with the new code.

  67. Andrew says:

    Paul: ‘It’s disturbing, though, that modern Catholics actually disagree with the Canon I quoted. Heretics and schismatics may now receive Holy Communion. I can hardly think of a greater scandal.’

    With your words and – more importantly – your tone and attitudes, you may well be verging on heresy and schism.

  68. John Enright says:

    I read through this entire thread, and I have to confess, it illustrates just how simple and ridiculous Catholics and Orthodox have behaved toward each other throughout the past millennium. The outrage of some posters concerning whether an Orthodox bishop evinced a lack of discretion in receiving the Holy Eucharist during Mass is disconcerting. Both disciplines, Roman and Orthodox, believe in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. Consequently, this argument is akin to saying to our Orthodox brothers “This is OUR Eucharist, and you can’t have it. Go receive YOUR own Eucharist.” Of course, the Bishop could have done just that, and in either case, he would have received Christ because Christ is truly present in BOTH instances. The entire controversy reeks of provincialism.

    Rather than attack the Bishop, I applaud his personal effort to bridge the gap between the West and the East.

  69. Volpius says:

    This is a disgrace, I am very upset by this, a schismatic receiving the body and blood of our Lord from the Church what a scandal! So cheaply do we give away our most precious treasure!

  70. patrick finley says:

    The eucharist is not a possession. It is a Gift. To act like we somehow “own” it is to be no better then the Bishops who dont give it the due respect, that faith and reason both demand. Always treat it as the Gift of Gifts from our Lord, for that is what it is.

  71. Chris Molter says:

    “This is a disgrace, I am very upset by this, a schismatic receiving the body and blood of our Lord from the Church what a scandal! So cheaply do we give away our most precious treasure!”

    I think this has been covered already. The Bishop himself consecrates the Eucharist probably daily. THE Eucharist, as in the exact same valid sacrament that we have in our Churches. Or do you disagree and separate yourself from the Catholic Church?

  72. Seminarian says:

    I just do not understand the problem here, they receive the real Eucharist everyday already, how does it change anything by where it was consecrated? Really? It is the same body and blood.

    Also, people need to be a bit more forgiving of the Orthodox. Yes, they are not in perfect union with the Church, however most of the theological issues have been resolved and the real hindrance is snobby laity who never understand more then they want to. We SACKED Constantinople, what is they had done the same to Rome and we were in their shoes?

    This is what we need, and we need the laity to pray for the Bishop instead of acting like little Churches of their own.

  73. giovanni says:

    This is rather a silly argument, which takes us away from the interesting discussion Fr Z proposed. Whether you like it or not, it remains that the Orthodox hold apostolic succession, yes there are some differences in interpretation, but none in the essentials. Part of the problem is that for our Orthodox brethern, there is no explicit unity of belief, but nonetheless, in all central matters of the Faith, they hold what comes down to us from the apostles.

    Amature theologians attacking things they have no understanding of is no help. I can only quote that great theologian of our times, Yogi Berra: a nickel ain’t worth a dime anymore! Please pass the port and a nice big Havana.

  74. It’s troubling to read so many of these posts. Perhaps the finest point someone made was, intercommunion isn’t a STEP towards unity, it IS unity.

    Disturbing indeed that for some it always boils down to the worse sort of ultramontanism, and, in matters Eastern, an almost pathological need to cover up and tidy up certain dogmas, practices, etc. (watch out for phrases like, “only the 11th century”). The Filioque clause was “only added in the 11th century”. Oh, I see. Nothing after the 1000s is really traditional. Bugnini would be proud.

  75. Tom says:

    Folks, this is how far we’ve come (or gone)…

    Stage 1. Quicumque vult salvus esse, ante omnia opus est, ut teneat catholicam fidem: Quam nisi quisque integram inviolatamque servaverit, absque dubio in aeternam peribit.

    Stage 2. Ecce panis angelorum, non mittendis canibus..

    Stage 3. “If only you knew even a little of the history of this place”, “personal effort to bridge the gap”, “the theological issues have been resolved and the real hindrance is snobby laity”, “differences in interpretation, but none in the essentials”, etc., etc…

    I guess our modern ears hear just a difference of tone and nuance instead of any real difference of opinion. Surely, it would be awfully integralist of us to see any difference beteen the fashions of our day and the positions of the past.

  76. Tom says:

    No one has sufficiently answered Paul’s fundamental point: the scandal involved in publicly administering the Sacrament to a schismatic bishop, a member of a sect that obstinately refuses unity with Rome, that formally denies Divinely revealed dogmas such as Papal Infallibility, and many of whose branches formally allow contraception and serial divorce and remarriage.

    None of this is to denigrate the subjective intention or person of this bishop, only to point out the incongruity of administring the Sacrament of Unity to one in formal disunity.

    Comparisons to the SSPX are inapposite, since that group is not, according to Roman authorities, in schism, nor does it formally deny any article of Divine Faith.

    Canon Law, which serves the good of souls, cannot make a scandal into a good action.

    The fact that this schismatic bishop has orders and validly confects the Eucharist does not alter the analysis. A validly ordained priest could confect the Sacrament in any number of illicit, improper ways. This does not entitle one to automatic access to the Sacrament as validly and licitly confected by Christ’s only legitmate ministers.

  77. Tom says:

    “they receive the real Eucharist everyday already, how does it change anything by where it was consecrated”

    At the risk of endowing such a blindingly strange question with some validity, let me ask the poster if they would consider receiving communion from a perfectly valid consecration at a Black Mass (yes, yes, the Orthodox are not Satanists, I know that) to be as blameless as permitting a schismatic, and a formal schismatic at that, from receiving the Blessed Sacrament in a Catholic Church? Or is it, as above, just that we only enforce the rules when it’s someone we don’t like personally?

    What I don’t understand – and this is a genuine lack of knowledge, not merely rhetoricaly – is how people can expect ordinary pew fodder to have to go to Confession, be free of Mortal Sin and the attachment to Sin, but they think that it’s okay for formal Schismatics, however jolly nice they are as people, to just receive Holy Communion without any of the preparations that any ordinary Catholic will have to make.

    I am baffled by the idea that God has changed the rules in the case of schimatics that one need not submit to auricular Confession of all Mortal Sins to be in a state of Grace.

    Either denying the Authority of the Pope and Articles of the Faith (even the ‘theoretical ones’ that don’t get in the way at dinner parties) is a sin or it isn’t. Even if a non-Catholic, or rather, a schismatic, approaches to receive Holy Communion, surely he is under the same obligations not to commit a sacrilegious Communion as the rest of us. Surely the only ways to purge that are public recantation or auricular confession (with a dispensation in the case of a reserved sin).

    What troubles me most of all is how we can dismiss the ‘theoretical’ Articles of the Faith so blithely. If, for example, this Bishop, good man that he is, was an advocate of abortion – and a co-operator with the Communists surely participated in the sin by some means – most of these otherwise good people who are posting like indifferentists on this issue would be up in arms and decrying the sacrilege.

    The ‘theoretical’ Articles of the Faith are vital. We must accept the Catholic Faith whole and entire, as St. Athanasius says. It’s not merely a question of presenting a common front and being nice to each other. At least, it shouldn’t be. If it is about purely outward things, we have reduced communion (in the sense of association) to a matter of political cosiness and personal preferences.

  78. Cathy Dawson says:

    Phillip,

    I think Fr. Corapi might have been quoting St. Ignatius of Loyala from The
    Spiritual Exercises – “What seems to me white I will believe black if the
    hierarchical Church so defines. For I must be convinced that in Christ our
    Lord, the bridegroom, and in His spouse the Church, only one Spirit holds sway,
    which governs and rules for the salvation of souls. For it is by the same
    Spirit and Lord who gave the Ten Commandments that our Holy Mother Church is
    ruled and governed.” I have no idea who is right or wrong in the discussion
    about Orthodox Communion. I just thought Phillip might like to have that quote.

    I will say this: Speaking angrily or mildly doesn’t necessarily make what a
    person says correct or incorrect. I think the argument that Traditionalists are
    angry, therefore they are sinning, therefore they are wrong has some holes in it.

  79. Jordanes says:

    Paul said: I submit to the Church’s authority. Canon 844 is a law of the Church, truly promulgated by a Pope. An Orthodox may receive communion in a Catholic Church. I disagree with this law.

    That’s nice. So, now that we’re clear that the Church says one thing and you say something else, do you have anything else to say? Or are you just going to keep posting essentially the same comment, worded slightly differently, again and again and again?

    Disagreeing with a law of the Church does not somehow render one non-Catholic.

    It doesn’t necessarily render one a docile Catholic either.

    I think this law is an invitation to sacrilege, but that hardly means that I think it isn’t a law.

    You’re not thinking clearly. If you think this law is an invitation to sacrilege, then you think there is something wrong with the law, which means you don’t think the law is really a law — which fits with your preference for an annulled canon of the Church.

    What’s really at issue here is that you think this particular bishop is a heretic and schismatic and therefore shouldn’t have been given Communion. I haven’t found anybody here disagreeing with you that people who don’t hold the faith whole and entire shouldn’t be given Communion. But you don’t actually know that this bishop is a heretic and schismatic — you’ve just concluded that he is, even though it’s the Church’s job, not yours, to make any such judgment. He could be a heretic and schismatic, at least materially if not formally. But then so could you, for all we know. Should we make that assumption in the absence of all the facts, and without the Church having had something to say about it?

    You’re concerned about scandal, but it’s not just scandalous for someone whose adherence to the faith is questionable to receive Communion — it’s also scandalous for a layman, apparently a Catholic, to judge the Church’s canon law.

  80. Patrick says:

    Tom,

    “If, for example, this Bishop, good man that he is, was an advocate of abortion – and a co-operator with the Communists surely participated in the sin by some means – most of these otherwise good people who are posting like indifferentists on this issue would be up in arms and decrying the sacrilege.”

    Good point. It comes down to this: Does the Orthodox Archbishop persist in manifest grave sin and therefore he is forbidden to receive Communion (can. 915)? And to draw in Fr. Z’s point about the SSPX…it would seem that if it was Bishop Fellay instead of the Orthodox bishop, that would present a huge problem with can. 915. Bishop Fellay is excommunicated and yet he continues to celebrate Mass, which is a serious offense. It would seem, then that Bp. Fellay persists in manifest grave sin, whereas the Orthodox bishop does not (since he is not excommunicated in the same sense).

    Thanks

  81. giovanni says:

    When did this become a general free-for-all attacking the Orthodox Churches? No one doubts the very serious problems to unity. The Metropolitan presented himself for communion, and was not refused. I, at least, made no comment about the wisdom or appropriateness of his doing so. But to make broad allegations serves no purpose. The true scandal is the division of Christian churches. The healing of division is not furthered by unfounded (and uninformed) attacks.

  82. Um…

    I mean… what about the history and import of excommunications or the dropping of them?

    Or is it that we wouldn’t want the facts to get in the way?

  83. Since the report was published re: Orthodox Metropolitan Nicolae reception of Holy Communion in a Romanian Catholic Church I have read both Catholic and Orthodox responses to the event. The notable characteristic of these comments is the degree of outrage expressed by both Orthodox and Catholic respondents.

    First let me say as an Orthodox priest, His Eminence’s actions are unacceptable. As was posted here already, intercommunion is the goal, not the means, of reconciling East and West. And yes, Metropolitan Nicolae’s actions are scandalous suggest as they do that reconciliation is accomplished when it is not. As one of my spiritual sons wrote me, his actions are analogous to fornication–in both cases, the action is wrong not necessarily because of bad intention, but because it is premature.

    That said, however, I find it not at all encouraging that many who have offered their view of things–and again Catholics and Orthodox–seem quite comfortable, enthusiastic even, in pointing out the theological shortcomings of the other side. Catholics call the Orthodox heretics and schismatics, and many of the Orthodox return the favor. But the fact of the matter is, and this has been pointed on this site, those making the charges are addressing issue well above their pay grade. For the Orthodox, the questions raised by Metropolitan Nicolae’s actions will be answered by the Holy Synod of the Romanian Orthodox Church. And, I presume, there will be some like conversation in the Catholic Church.

    Yes, Metropolitan Nicolae’s actions were unacceptable. But certainly his actions are no less acceptable then the bile that is being spread by polemicists on both side who seem more than willing to throw caution, to saying nothing of charity, to the wind in the interest of scoring points for their own team.

    In Christ,

    +Fr Gregory

  84. boredoftheworld says:

    I mean… what about the history and import of excommunications or the dropping of them?

    Or is it that we wouldn’t want the facts to get in the way?

    That reminds me, didn’t JPII and the Orthodox Patriarch of Constantinople concelebrate. Given that, the rest of this seems inconsequential.

  85. boredoftheworld says:

    Catholics call the Orthodox heretics and schismatics, and many of the Orthodox return the favor. But the fact of the matter is, and this has been pointed on this site, those making the charges are addressing issue well above their pay grade.

    Is applying what we’ve been taught beyond our pay grade? Is the Holy Faith a theory or are we supposed to actually DO something with it? The whole point of being taught “this is heresy” is so the faithful can avoid it when they see it and to call the people who profess it to reject it. Isn’t it?

    The Roman Church taught me certain things I have to believe and certain things I must deny, not just to be “in communion” but to attain salvation. Further, I was taught that there are certain formulas that are condemned explicitly as heresy.

    I am somewhat confused by the idea that if I were to begin promoting these views I would be excommunicated and publicly condemned as an heretic and of course denied Holy Communion and at the same time we have this incident which demonstrates either a double standard (to which I suppose I wouldn’t really object if only the people in authority would admit to it) or a rejection of what I was expected to accept when I entered the Catholic Church.

    If “the Church” no longer believes any of this stuff I would at least like the courtesy of a memo to that effect so I can stop wasting my time and money.

    I don’t think it’s mean or uncharitable of Orthodox Christians to think I profess heresy for accepting the Catholic Faith. If they’re right it’s not uncharitable, it’s the truth.

  86. Bored,

    No they did not concelebrate the Liturgy of the Eucharist. And when the Creed was said it was done without the filioque clause. Regarding some of the zealots on both side of the Tiber, often they generate far more heat than light!

  87. The point is not that the Orthodox and Catholic Churches have differences in our profession of faith. It is rather the rather ease with which one side or the other accuses the other of heresy. I think Hieromonk Gregory has put his finger on the issue, the zealots on both sides tend to generate more heat than light by their intemperate use of language.

  88. Tom, et al.:

    Concerning Paul’s claim that the Orthodox bishop is disqualified from sharing the Eucharist because he is, quote, a heretic and a schismatic, and his unhappiness with Canon 844.3…

    This canon did not, of course, materialize out of thin air, there is a huge amount of theological and specifically ecclesiological reasoning behind it. I would ask Paul if–before he pontificated on this subject so repeatedly and so assertively, has he investigated this whole subject?

    I grant the material he would need to study is voluminous and not easy to digest, but the long and short of it is that a huge amount of theological reflection has been going on for quite some time — I mean centuries! — concerning the exact status of the Orthodox in relation to the Catholic Church.

    I am not fully qualified to present these matters sufficiently, particularly in this forum, but as I say, anyone who wants to investigate them may do so with a little effort. So what follows is really the best I can do with a laptop and from memory…

    > Are the Orthodox heretics? The answer is no.

    > But what about the stance of the Orthodox Churches on papal infallibility, the Immaculate Conception, the filioque, etc.? These matters are under study, or have been for some time. As I understand it, the Catholic Church has thus far judged that because the Orthodox use a very different philosophical and theological method, their differences on something like the Immaculate Conception are not necessarily a rejection of truth, but a different understanding of the same basic truth. Certainly this is the same with the filioque. My sense, regarding papal infallibility, is that the Catholic Church has not determined that the Orthodox really disagree with the substance of the doctrine, but rather with the formulation and the process by which the matter was defined.

    If I “read” the approach of the Holy See on this correctly, there is a charity at work here–Rome does not presume the Orthodox to be heretics who must prove themselves faithful, but rather, given the context of all that Orthodoxy is, the presumption is the opposite. Many Catholics–perhaps not Paul or folks here–approach the Orthodox using the same categories of thought they apply to the problems between the Catholic Faith and Protestant movements. This is understandable but flawed.

    One of the key points that those who really know this subject make is as follows: until fairly recently, Catholic and Orthodox were still, to some degree, in communion. Here’s where a little history complicates things. Many mistakenly believe that AD 1054 marked some seismic shift in relations between Rome and the Orthodox sees. Not so! Yes, something important happened in 1054, but nonetheless, intercommunion persisted after this date, and the interruptions in communion that came after, were frequent enough before–so less changed in actual theological relation, and even practical relation, in AD 1054, than we often suppose. I recall that many Orthodox churches were in communion with Rome up until recent centuries. The actual history is very complicated.

    And the thing is, we Catholics insist–we must!–that the Catholic Faith has not substantially changed, right? So if it was possible for the Orthodox to be in communion with the Holy See in AD 1000, and AD 1500 (after the filioque and before the definitions of the Immaculate Conception and papal infallibility), then why can’t the Orthodox be deemed still to be in communion with us, on the same basis? Has the Catholic Faith changed? If so, the Orthodox’ basic critique of the West is correct! However, if our explanation–that we have simply amplified what was always there–is correct, then if it was true the Orthodox were in communion then, then they can be in communion now, along more or less the same lines. I.e., some of these differences can be understood as not differences in substance, but expression.

    Related to this is the idea that it is possible and reasonable for the pope as bishop of Rome to be understood giving definition to particular teachings that especially apply in the Latin Church; that while we maintain he has universal jurisdiction, that doesn’t mean he always has to exercise it; thus, some diversity can be tolerated on matters such as the papacy and Mary, as long as a more fundamental unity is at work. Again, the filioque is a case in point. The Holy See’s basic position I think is that East and West believe essentially the same thing, or their formulations are compatible, with or without the filioque; thus, Eastern Churches in communion with Rome profess the Creed without the filioque, yet they are good Catholics. You might say we are “hoisted on our own (theological) petard”: it is our basic contention that the definition of papal infallibility at Vatican I does not, in fact, add anything to the Deposit of Faith. Ergo, the Faith was unchanged by this declaration; ergo, the pope did not, in 1870, say anything new!

    There is a very tantalizing suggestion that will cause some heads to spin, but here goes: the Orthodox and Catholics never did, in fact, cease to be in communion! Meaning that while its certainly true Catholics and Orthodox did stop sharing communion, there never arose an underlying necessity for that, and the decision to refrain was simply mistaken; and thus, from a purely theological basis, there is nothing that demands this mistake to continue.

    Is this all heady stuff, hard to digest? Of course! Are the Catholics and Orthodox theologians and prelates who are engaged in this ongoing theological study and dialogue all modernists and lowest-common-denominator ecumenists? Hardly. There are very profound questions at issue, and the “they are heretics and schismatics” argument simply doesn’t hold up in light of actual facts of belief and history.

    Now, I have no idea who Paul is, so I can’t say whether he has the credentials to evaluate the whole body of theological reflection to which I’m referring in so cursory a fashion; but if he really is qualified to weigh it all and find it wanting, it would be good of him to make those credentials known. I certainly do not consider myself qualified to make such a sweeping assessment of these matters, so yes, to a great degree, I repose trust in the Holy See and in the Lord whose vicar the pope is.

  89. Trey says:

    “Anyone else here see the irony in a layman who doesn’t submit to the Church’s authority, but arrogates to himself the right to take issue with the laws of the Church, complaining about Communion being given to a bishop who might not submit to the Church’s authority?”

    Another example of someone trying to be more Catholic than the Church…

    “Yes, Metropolitan Nicolae’s actions were unacceptable. But certainly his actions are no less acceptable then the bile that is being spread by polemicists on both side who seem more than willing to throw caution, to saying nothing of charity, to the wind in the interest of scoring points for their own team.”

    Amen. Amen.

  90. giovanni says:

    bored,

    In addition to what the good Father wrote, you could also start by reading the relevant sections of the catechism and the second Vatican council documents, and the encyclical letter of the late Holy Father, Ut Unum Sint.

    Cheers!

  91. Scott Smith says:

    Communion within the One Church of Jesus Christ consists of the oneness of the Faith, the Sacraments and Governance under the Successor of St. Peter.

    Therefore, there exists a single Church of Christ, which subsists in the Catholic Church, governed by the Successor of Peter and by the Bishops in communion with him. The Churches which, while not existing in perfect communion with the Catholic Church, remain united to her by means of the closest bonds, that is, by apostolic succession and a valid Eucharist, are true particular Churches. Therefore, the Church of Christ is present and operative also in these Churches, even though they lack full communion with the Catholic Church, since they do not accept the Catholic doctrine of the Primacy, which, according to the will of God, the Bishop of Rome objectively has and exercises over the entire Church. (Dominus Jesus)

    United but not one, much like the territories of the United States are united but not states thereof.

    As far as the scandal is concerned, it is acknowledged that the Bishop, not in full communion while yet acting in full communion is an issue. However, what is the greater scandal: receiving communion while not in perfect communion, or not being in full communion to begin with? We take for granted that there are particular churches that are not one with the Catholic Church. We take for granted that there are elements of the one true Church scattered about. This is the scandal.

  92. patrick f says:

    someone said it already, they have the same apostolic sucession we do.

    also keep in mind, even the “greek catholic” churches, though in union with rome give it their own spin, because it is tradition. Was this metropolitan in error? Not one person on this thread can truly answer that. What matters is what was going on in his heart. Its established there are canon laws in effect to this matter, and none of those laws seem to have been broken. The only person (and granted I dont totally know that particular church’s structure) that would have been above him is the Patriarch of constantinople. Perhaps he did have the permission, perhaps not. Surely his being a bishop granted him that. also the Romanian Catholic Bishop, obviously knew who he was. You dont become metropolitan of a territory and the diocesan catholic bishop have no clue who you are. IN the end, I think this is a matter for the pope to decide, and for us to let The Holy Spirit unfold before us.

  93. John Cassian says:

    I think Fr Martin’s comment highlights a rather significant problem. Participants in this discussion who quickly invoke the theological topics of filioque, papal supremacy, and the Immaculate Conception do not seem to exhibit any fundamental understanding of those topics. They also seem to show no real understanding of ecclesiology, either East or West, and seem to view the Orthodox as merely “liturgical Protestants,” whose only real option for reconciliation is individual conversion.

    Perhaps those who hold the opinion that the Orthodox are “heretics” can give us a more detailed explanation of this position. Why is it that Cappadocian relations of origin are not valid for describing Trinitarian procession? Why does an “energetic filioque” contradict the revealed dogma of the Church? What is the current state of Orthodox understanding of the Panagia Theotokos – is it a uniformly-held dogma that contradicts the dogma of the IC? And what is the dogma of the IC? Is the theological framework of Scotus a necessary part of this dogma, or are there other ways of understanding it? And given that all Catholics are dogmatically bound to assent that the order of bishops is “the subject of supreme and full power over the universal Church” (Lumen Gentium), how does the Orthodox understanding of ecclesiology differ from this formulation? Is this difference of necessity, or merely accidental?

  94. boredoftheworld says:

    In addition to what the good Father wrote, you could also start by reading the relevant sections of the catechism and the second Vatican council documents, and the encyclical letter of the late Holy Father, Ut Unum Sint.

    I think I’ve just been sent back to kindergarten. :)

    While reading up on this subject I noticed “The Russians uphold the validity of baptism administered by Catholics or Protestants; the Greeks say such baptism is invalid.” from the old Catholic Encyclopedia. I assume that these kinds of issues have long since been resolved?

  95. magdalen says:

    I think St. Leopoldo Mandic would be pleased; he offered his life for
    the reunification of east and west. By the way, his feast is now on
    July 30th. He is one of my favorites. I recommend everyone to learn of this
    humble and holy Franciscan who died in 1943 if my memory is correct.

    Luckily it is not up to me how these ecumenical things go but I support
    the Holy Father and his methods. I also hope for reunification after
    nearly 1000 years. Our Holy Father Pope John Paul II also greatly
    desired for the Church to ‘breathe with both lungs’. I hope this will
    come to pass in our lifetimes. And I am not getting any younger so I
    hope it will be soon.

    Ave Maria!

  96. Caper says:

    “Certainly this is the same with the filioque. My sense, regarding papal infallibility, is that the Catholic Church has not determined that the Orthodox really disagree with the substance of the doctrine, but rather with the formulation and the process by which the matter was defined.

    Fr. Fox — it’s not just that they don’t say “filique” in their language — they
    claim that *we* are at error for *our* formulation. They do more than “affirm
    the Greek equivalent” — they *reject* the Latin equivalent. And when it comes
    to Papal Supremacy, it is very difficult to see how one can accept the doctrine
    while rejecting formulation and process — the doctrine concerns formulation
    and process, i.e. procedure, after all.

    “And the thing is, we Catholics insist—we must!—that the Catholic Faith has not substantially changed, right? So if it was possible for the Orthodox to be in communion with the Holy See in AD 1000, and AD 1500 (after the filioque and before the definitions of the Immaculate Conception and papal infallibility), then why can’t the Orthodox be deemed still to be in communion with us, on the same basis? ”

    This involves flawed terminology. There are the Orthodox (i.e. Catholics who
    lived in the East before the schism) and the “orthodox” (sic) schismatics of
    today. They are not the same. Father, you are correct: the Catholic Church
    has not changed. But the *Easterners* have changed — they went from being
    Catholics to being schismatics and heretics, when they rejected the Latin
    dogma of Filioque and Papal Supremacy. Now, you would think that if all of this
    was just theological confusion, then Florence would of solved it. No. The
    schismatics *deny* that they the mean the same thing when they say “dia uiou”
    as when we say “filioque.” Are there some “orthodox” (sic) who say they mean
    the same thing? Sure, but there are “orthodox” who say lots of things, none of
    it authoritative. So, it is invalid to draw comparisons between pre-1054 (or
    whenever the schism went into effect in a given area) and post-1054 situations,
    because the people before that were Catholics and the ones afterward schismatics
    and, indeed, heretics. “They” are not continuous with the pre-schism Church. (No,
    that does not affect Apostolic Succession. Their orders are valid. But even
    some heretics have that.)

  97. Caper says:

    My apologies for several misspellings in the last post.

  98. Caper says:

    Oh, and obviously I didn\’t mean to say that the Filioque, etc., were \”Latin\” dogma.

    So, Fr. Fox, I think that you fail to take into account the substantial difference
    between the orthodox, Catholic Churches of the pre-Schism East and the sectarian,
    schismatic, heretical (though not yet formally condemned on that score) religion
    currently practiced there. The situation is different not because we\’ve changed,
    but because they have. Santayana said that he didn\’t believe in God, but he believed
    Mary was His Mother. Fr. Adrian Fortescue says of the Greek intelligentsia of
    his day that they may not have believed in the Father, or the Son, or the Holy
    Spirit, but they all believed that the Spirit proceeded from the Father and NOT
    from the Son. His point was that the schismatics had made the rejection of the
    Filioque (as heresy, and to reject an orthodox position as heretical is to be a
    heretic yourself) a *foundational* doctrine of their church. Certainly before
    Photius and his sectaries, no one in the East held such a position. So there is
    a before and an after.

  99. Michael says:

    Since there are so many experts, I’ll ask a question (but don’t answer if it is “above your paygrade”)

    Canon 844.3 reads:
    Catholic ministers administer the sacraments of penance, Eucharist, and anointing of the sick licitly to members of Eastern Churches which do not have full communion with the Catholic Church if they seek such on their own accord and are properly disposed. This is also valid for members of other Churches which in the judgment of the Apostolic See are in the same condition in regard to the sacraments as these Eastern Churches.(http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG1104/__P2T.HTM)

    So what specifically, does the phrase “and are properly disposed” entail? Does not “properly disposed” at least mean “in a state of grace”? If so, how can one who objectively, publicly and explicitly rejects an inafallibly defined dogma be in a state of grace without first renouncing their error? True, the Bishop may have done so privately, but is that sufficient? If a private renunciation is adequate and you are willing to give him the benefit of the doubt, then there is no basis for any objections to “Catholic” polititians who publicly support abortion from receiving communion.

  100. Caper:

    As I said in my longish post above, I am simply trying to relay, in a summary fashion some sense of the deeper theological discussions on this question. I am not an expert in this field, and no doubt I am not expressing the matter with sufficient subtlety. But since none of this was even brought up, I thought I’d at least try to convey some of the underlying issues that gave rise to Canon 844.3.

    Someone, perhaps not you, referred to “they” — meaning I think the Orthodox corporately and “their” response to Catholic understandings on particular doctrines. Here is one of the issues: we who are in communion with the Holy See have a clear sense of how to resolve these questions, and how to express what we believe corporately. This is a key problem in our dialogue with the Orthodox Churches. There is no comparable, parallel structure, related to the fact that the Orthodox have a fundamentally different approach in all matters, and they always have. That can be really mystifying and frustrating for us Romans when we encounter it–we expect the Orthodox to grapple with these things in a way akin to how we do it, and when they don’t…are they heretics?

    I’ll say it again: as I understand how Rome sees the matter, Rome does not deem them heretics, and seems even to hold back from calling them schismatics.

    Anyone who wants to become familiar with this very interesting, but very dizzying area of theological reflection, can go here and learn about conferences held every year, with some theological and ecclesiological heavy-hitters. I went once, and a lot of what I’m sharing comes out of that experience.

    I really think the more familiar people become with these issues, the less prone they will be to simple, declarative statements about these matters.

  101. John Cassian says:

    “Certainly before Photius and his sectaries, no one in the East held such a position.”

    Not to repeat myself, but this is exactly the sort of problem that arises when argument takes precedence over understanding. Even a cursory study of the filioque problem would reveal that the Orthodox trace their triadological position to the Cappadocian Fathers and Athanasius. The Orthodox may have many grave deficiencies, but discontinuity with the patristic tradition is not among them.

  102. Jordanes says:

    Michael asked: If so, how can one who objectively, publicly and explicitly rejects an inafallibly defined dogma be in a state of grace without first renouncing their error?

    Do we know that describes this bishop?

    True, the Bishop may have done so privately, but is that sufficient?

    Perhaps, if it’s even necessary in this case.

    If a private renunciation is adequate and you are willing to give him the benefit of the doubt, then there is no basis for any objections to “Catholic” polititians who publicly support abortion from receiving communion.

    That doesn’t follow at all. We can examine and judge a politician’s public record, and if we have done so, it is appropriate to raise an objection if said politician has acted publicly in a way that is contrary to a purported private reconciliation.

  103. Michael says:

    “We can examine and judge a politician’s public record, and if we have done so, it is appropriate to raise an objection if said politician has acted publicly in a way that is contrary to a purported private reconciliation”

    But we cannot examine and judge a sect’s public declarations about what they believe and safely presume that a Bishop of that sect also believes what he publicly says he believes?

  104. John Enright says:

    Michael said:
    “So what specifically, does the phrase “and are properly disposed” entail? Does not “properly disposed” at least mean “in a state of grace”? If so, how can one who objectively, publicly and explicitly rejects an inafallibly [sic] defined dogma be in a state of grace without first renouncing their error?”

    You’re asking whether the test to be applied, i.e. whether the communicant is “properly disposed,” is an objective test which entails the disposition of a reasonable person in the communicant’s position irrespective of personal desire, or a subjective test relating to the communicant’s own personal disposition. Since nobody is in a position to peer into the Bishop’s soul or can have absolute knowledge of his personal intentions, the subjective test tends to support the reception of the Eucharist by the Bishop. If objectivity is the measure of lawfulness, the answer is ambiguous at best.

  105. patrick says:

    Disclaimer : I am no expert, just a humble layman who reads alot.

    Properly disposed of, and please one of our Priests that frequent’s this chime in, again I am not a voice of authority, Properly disposed I believe refers to being in a state of grace, one that anyone who approaches the Eucharist should be in. Since they have seven Sacraments, confess their sins to a priest/bishop, then they could be in that “properly disposed” state could they not?

    As far as the public pronunciation, I would expect him no more to “publicly” pronounce it, then I would the weekly confession goer to go up into the ambo and pronounce everything he had ever done, which would have put him out of grace. Remember the bit about beware those who pray loudly in the streets. Granted he is a public figure, but I dont think that necessitates he publically pronounce it. He isnt representative of all orthodox in that case, just himself. It would be different if his whole flock had come up with him I think, the impossibility that that is.

  106. Jordanes says:

    Michael asked: But we cannot examine and judge a sect’s public declarations about what they believe and safely presume that a Bishop of that sect also believes what he publicly says he believes?

    The Romanian Orthodox Church is not a sect, Michael, it’s a genuine church. And no, we cannot presume that an Orthodox bishop is a heretic and a schismatic. Indeed, we cannot presume that of any Christian, and most of all not an Orthodox bishop.

  107. Nick says:

    Two photos of the matter at hand: http://www.greco-catolica.org:80/a357-La-Timisoara-s-a-intamplat-o-minune.aspx Perhaps it would be helpful to better understand the Orthodox perspective. The Orthodox Church historically attests that it holds the pure faith of the Apostles unadulterated, the Apostolic Faith, the timeless Faith that Jesus Christ gave to the Apostles that can not be tampered with. Dared not be tampered with. It historically considers that the Roman Catholic Church continually adds on to the Apostolic Faith (I believe Papal fiat was mentioned) and that Protestants continually subtract from the Apostolic Faith. It considers that Protestantism is the logical development of Roman Catholicism where each individual basically becomes his own pope. Regardless of changes in Western Canon Law I doubt it is helpful to present to the Orthodox a Roman Catholic Church that is so fluid, where what was believed and held yesterday is not exactly so today. On more or less the same , was it only me that thought it bizarre that the Dominican Order gave the Archbishop of Canterbury permission to say an Anglican Eucharist on the altar of Santa Sabina’s with the friars in attendance when the Anglicans have a church in Rome?

  108. John says:

    Fr. Z,

    I find this topic “Communicatio in Sacris” very suspect. There can be no communion until an abjuration of errors and profession of faith is taken. The Schismatic Byzantines hold to the line of Marcus Eugenicus who rejected the Florentine Union. They have to renounce him and Photios to get Communion. I recently came across a new book on the topic which with solid scholarship demonstrated the consistent teaching that it is forbidden by Divine Law to participate in Communion with non-Catholics. Even the traditional-branch of Eastern Orthodox condemn CiC as Apostasy. They cite all the Latin and Greek Fathers who taught on the matter.

    Are we to break with the Tradition of the Church for the sake of joining into false unity?

    I won’t!

    I think people need some education on this matter of pseudo-Ecumenism:

    http://www.amazon.com/Communicatio-Sacris-William-DeTucci/dp/143570388X

    In Our Lady,

    John

  109. John Enright says:

    John said: “I recently came across a new book on the topic which with solid scholarship demonstrated the consistent teaching that it is forbidden by Divine Law to participate in Communion with non-Catholics.”

    The idea that the Orthodox Bishop “is forbidden by Divine Law” to receive the Eucharist at a Catholic Divine Liturgy is completely inconsistent with Canon 844.3 which states:

    Catholic ministers administer the sacraments of penance, Eucharist, and anointing of the sick licitly to members of Eastern Churches which do not have full communion with the Catholic Church if they seek such on their own accord and are properly disposed. This is also valid for members of other Churches which in the judgment of the Apostolic See are in the same condition in regard to the sacraments as these Eastern Churches.

    Do you mean to imply that the Pope John Paul II, in promulgating this provision, was in error?

  110. I would have sworn the whole problem with the filioque wasn’t the filioque, BUT the fact that it was added to the Creed by us (the Latins).

    The Eastern Churches don’t use the filioque in their version of the Creed which is absolutely fine. They believe it, it’s just something that’s not expressed.

    I’m not sure of which heresy that was going around at the addition of the filioque to the Creed (or I’m too lazy to think of it, correct me if I’m wrong), but I beleive that’s the reason the filioque was there, just for clarification purposes. Granted I’m of the opinion that it should be there (it just works with Chanting and Latin)

    I believe the solution to re-unification is actually simpler than a lot of people think, the problem, we’re fallen human beings and pride gets in the way.

    I know that the Orthodox don’t like the Peterine Primacy for example. But if they understand how it’s supposed to work Servus Servorum Dei, just like the washing of the feet, I think that could go a long ways in reuniting the East and the West together. The Pope isn’t a dictator (hence why you don’t see any mandates from the Pope coming down about Communion in the Hand (which needs to go, and will be gone soemtime within the next 5-10 years), Church Architecture, etc), because the Pope being the CEO of an organization is the wrong picture, and something that I often think is misunderstood amongst Catholics, Orthodox and Protestant alike.

  111. Nick says:

    I would not hold my breath for the Orthodox to renounce either St. Photios the Great or St. Mark of Ephesus. The Orthodox understanding of Apostolic Succession is different from the Roman Catholic understanding. After all, Judas had Apostolic Succession.

  112. John says:

    Yes! C 884.3 contradicts C. 1258 in 1917.

    Sorry folks – that is what Intercommunion is. I will not have any part with that Schism.

    The Greeks Schismatics are NOT Orthodox nor Catholic.

    In Eugene IV

    John

  113. P. H. Reardon says:

    I have always believed that 1054 should be understood mainly as a temper tantrum, vividly illustrating the Thomistic doctrine that schism is a violation of charity.

    It is very sad to read these unkind, angry comments about the incident in Romania. It seems that the temper tantrum of 1054 is quite current and ripe.

  114. John Enright says:

    I investigated the book mentioned by John entitled Communicatio in Sacris, written by William De Tucci, and found some interesting things.
    1. This is the author’s website: http://www.billdetucci.com/. As you can see from the homepage, its devoted to “An all out and out Guitar Instrumental CD of Monster Guitar Playing.” No mention of the book is contained on any of the pages therein, although, there is a page entitled My Roman Catholicism;

    2. He apparently operates a second site which DOES mention the book located at http://www.vladcatholic.com. Prominently displayed there is an image of (the real) Dracula. According to the Vlad Dracula III page, “Mr. William J. DeTucci will begin work shortly (Spring 2008)on a New title that will deal with Vlad Dracula III, his involvment in the Pseudo-Orthodox Church, his Conversion to Roman Catholicism, his War against the Muslims, his approval of Pope Pius II, and the false myths about him.”

    3. I’ve never heard of him, and curiously, there have been no reviews of the book by any Catholic or secular publication, which is very unusual since authors routinely send courtesy copies to reviewers prior to publication. Nevertheless, the web contains a number of interesting things to say about the author, almost all of which link directly to a site where the book can be purchased:

    Jean-de Arc of the Red Rose said:

    I recently read this book that relates to this game, not sure if anyone heard of it? It is called “Communicatio in Sacris,” by a Knight of Rome and Doctor of Theology named Dr. William DeTucci (I think he studied at the École Biblique in Jerusalem). Anyhow if anyone knows about this book and could talk about its relationship with the Crusades and the Greek Schism, I would appreciate that greatly! Here you can browse the book “Communicatio in Sacris” here:

    http://www.lulu.com/content/1753466

    In Richard the Lionhearted,

    Jean-de Arc of the Red Rose

    On another site, these comments appear:

    Mel Gibson does Communicatio In Sacris wrote:

    I read this new book that exposes Mel Gibson (and also Anti-Semitic Scientologist Tom Cruise) who are involved with the Crime “Communicatio in Sacris,” and I was wondering if there is a Conference covering this yet?

    You can browse the book of Dr. William DeTucci (a trained Theologian from the Lateran in Rome, I believe) on this site:

    http://www.lulu.com/content

    I hope this helps your research!

    Cheers,
    Gary Giuffre

    On the same page, this comment appears:

    Mel Gibson is a big liar and Judaizer! I saw him go into the infamous “Most Holy Family Monastery” and he received the Sacraments from some sketchy schismatic bishop (Malachi Martin)? That Monastery is run by a bastard son of a Jewish Rabbi. I also interviewed his father Hutton Gibson, he seems more conservative than his son, so I would not jump to conclusions.

    I read the book “Communicatio in Sacris: The Roman Catholic Church against Intercommunion with non-Catholics.” by Dr. DeTucci (I thought DeTucci also studied at the Angelicum besides the Lateran? Maybe he has 2 Doctorates?); you can preview of the book here:

    http://www.vladcatholic.com

    I highly recommend this book to anyone wondering about what this “Latin Mass Movement” is all about and also indeed how Mel Gibson, Tom Cruise, and the like are getting involved as leaders. I hope Dr. DeTucci puts out a video production (DVD), I would love to help him profit from that venture.

    It’s Excellent!

    Sincerely in St. Jude,
    J. Maffei

    Here’s what a “High Anglican Bishop” said about the book:
    Bobby,

    Thanks for the information on “Communicatio in Sacris,” by Dr. William DeTucci – what a great Roman Scholar!

    I am High Anglican Bishop, who has valid lines from the Orthodox Churches. However, I just got the book you mentioned, and I am thinking of converting like Tony Blair.

    Wow – this http://www.vladcatholic.com really revealed to me the Ancient Faith of England which Roman of course!

    Cheers in the Lord,
    Most Reverend

    Posted By: DrBishopJoseph | January 06 2008 at 12:18 AM

    This is apparently from the publisherLulu.com itself:

    Well, this controversy has recently received a special treatment my a very scholarly author, Dr. William DeTucci (I think from the Pontificio Istituto Orientale in Rome). I bought the book “Communicatio in Sacris: The Roman Catholic Church against Intercommunion of non-Catholics” recently on Lulu MarketPlace:

    http://www.lulu.com/content/1431544

    In case your are browsing for it at Barnes & Noble, try looking up:

    ISBN: 978-1-4357-0388-9

    Interestingly, the poster identifies himself as “Communicatio in Sacris” and the name is hyper-linked to the sales page for the book on the publisher’s site! (According to the website, Lulu.com is a self-publishing entity!)

    4. There are a host of other blog entries on a variety of blogs which mention the book all of which provide a link to the sales page. The entries are all ostensibly by different individuals who curiously pose the same question “Have you seen this book?”

    5. Notice that the author is variously described as a theologian from: École Biblique in Jerusalem; “the Lateran in Rome;” “the Angelicum.” In several, he is designated “Dr.”

    It seems to me that this is just a liturgical “pump and dump” scheme over the internet, and if so, wire fraud could be involved.

  115. Michael says:

    “The Romanian Orthodox Church is not a sect, Michael, it’s a genuine church. And no, we cannot presume that an Orthodox bishop is a heretic and a schismatic. Indeed, we cannot presume that of any Christian, and most of all not an Orthodox bishop.”

    Yes, I know its not a sect. I aplogize for using a shorthand notation in the interest of brevity. I find the remainder of your statement odd though. What the Romanian Orthodox Church believes and teaches is easily knowable. You are saying that it is unreasonable to assume that a Bishop in the Romanian Orthodox Church truly believes what his church teaches. In an ironic twist, in order for me to avoid presuming that he is a heretic, I must presume that he is lying.

    Perhaps the difficulty lies in our failure to distinguish between the subjective and the objective. I do not have, nor have I claimed to have, the ability to “peer into the Bishop’s soul” and therby judge his moral culpability. I can take him at his word though, and objectively compare what the Bishop claims to believe with what has been infallibly taught by the Catholic Church.

  116. Jordanes says:

    Well, now that we’ve heard from a member of the Society of Pope Eugenius IV, does anyone else care to weigh in? ;-)

  117. Jordanes says:

    Michael said: What the Romanian Orthodox Church believes and teaches is easily knowable. You are saying that it is unreasonable to assume that a Bishop in the Romanian Orthodox Church truly believes what his church teaches. In an ironic twist, in order for me to avoid presuming that he is a heretic, I must presume that he is lying.

    I’m afraid it’s not a simple dichotomy of “heretic” or “liar.” For one, it’s not safe to assume that a bishop who has a strong and praiseworthy track record of support for ecumenical dialogue, who evidently desires the reconciliation of Catholics and Orthodox, is a manifest heretic — especially when the Church hasn’t said he is. Nor can we unhesitatingly affirm that adherence to the faith of the Romanian Orthodox Church is necessarily incompatible to the Catholic faith: the point of the dialogue is to work out differences and misunderstandings.

    I can take him at his word though, and objectively compare what the Bishop claims to believe with what has been infallibly taught by the Catholic Church.

    Perhaps you can supply some examples of his denial and obstinate rejection of what has been infallibly taught by the Church. I don’t doubt that there can be such evidence, since he is an Orthodox bishop after all, but we cannot presume anything.

  118. John Enright says:

    The poster named “John” is pushing the book Communicatio in Sacris. The hyper-link on his name takes you to the Amazon.com page which sells the book. Be honest, John, are you Bill DeTucci a/k/a Dr. William J. DeTucci of (a) École Biblique in Jerusalem; (b) the Lateran in Rome;” (c) the Angelicum; and/or (d) the Pontificio Istituto Orientale in Rome? What is a “Knight of Rome?” Are your pseudonyms Jean-de Arc of the Red Rose, Gary Giuffre, DrBishopJoseph (the “High Anglican Bishop”) and many others? How many doctorates do you have, if any? How’s the guitar business going?

    To Fr. Z: I apologize in advance if you find this offensive. However, this book business is very suspect at best, and I believe that your blog is being spammed by the author of the book.

  119. I would not hold my breath for the Orthodox to renounce either St. Photios the Great or St. Mark of Ephesus. The Orthodox understanding of Apostolic Succession is different from the Roman Catholic understanding. After all, Judas had Apostolic Succession.

    Sometimes, that can be confused for different refelctions upon the same thing. There have always been two schools of thought East and West.

    Eg: Assumption of Mary into heaven. The dogma basically says that Mar was assumed Body and Soul into heaven. How that happened. The East describes it as Dormation of our Lady (that she was asleep as this happened). The West traditionally to my understanding was that Mary died and was then assumed into heaven. Whos correct? It’s irrelevnt, because the Dogma purposely leaves the question blank.

    I’m of the opinion that we have a ton to learn from the East. We both need one another it’s just getting more and more obvious day by day.

  120. John E: You think I might find it offensive and you post it anyway?