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Posts by Balt

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  • The Longing for the Ungoverned Life: Reflections on the 2012 General Election.

    11/09/2012 2:39:58 PM PST · 1 of 2
  • The Truth about The Church's Teaching about Contraception.

    02/07/2012 12:05:48 PM PST · 1 of 13
  • The Bishops Chickens Coming Home to Roost.

    02/07/2012 11:59:26 AM PST · 1 of 17
  • Why I Believe the Beatification of John Paul II is a Mistake.

    03/25/2011 10:24:59 PM PDT · 1 of 54
    I haven't posted my stuff here in a long time; but I thought I'd post this one, if for no other reason than to see a good fireworks show. :)
  • Larry the Vatican II Guy gets a lesson on conscience.

    12/17/2010 1:31:01 AM PST · 2 of 3
    Balt to Balt

    You can also find all the videos at my Facebook page:

  • Larry the Vatican II Guy gets a lesson on conscience.

    12/17/2010 1:29:40 AM PST · 1 of 3
  • Larry the Vatican II Guy gets a lesson in ad orientam worship

    12/16/2010 1:24:15 AM PST · 1 of 4
  • Roman Catholics debating the new translation of their Mass.

    12/15/2010 12:33:22 AM PST · 2 of 6
    Balt to Balt

    Click on the link to see the film.

  • Roman Catholics debating the new translation of their Mass.

    12/15/2010 12:32:30 AM PST · 1 of 6
  • It's not (necessarily) a heresy to reject the making of a bishop as a participation in Holy Orders

    10/27/2010 2:22:39 PM PDT · 15 of 18
    Balt to triumphant values
    I used the word "consecration" because that's the term the Orthodox Church uses and there it is considered a Mystery or Sacrament if you will.

    That's what I thought. But I would want you to check with someone in authority in your Church before you declare without hesitation that your Church definitely views episcopal consecration as a participation in Holy Orders. Some Orthodox Churches do, others do not. Most are in the same situation as Catholicism in this regard: namely, that they simply don't know for sure.

    This is the tedious Catholic legalism that Orthodox theologians and representatives attending ecumenical gatherings with Catholics so often criticize.

    Without wanting to seem patronizing, that might be the general sense of many (though not all) Orthodox laity; but these matters are often discussed in Orthodox theological circles whether you like it or not, depending on the jurisdiction. Nor were these kinds of discussions unknown in the pre-schismatic Church, when East and West were still in communion. I would be careful about adopting an anti-intellectual attitude, which I've seen some Orthodox (and Catholic) lay people fall back on when they simply don't want to engage an issue seriously. There's a great temptation, when one doesn't have enough theological or historical background, to simply say that it's all sophistry.

    "Bound Powers theory"? It sounds like something that would spring forth from a Harvard Con Law professor.

    Regardless of how it sounds, it's just a way of identifying an idea which has its origins in the Fathers of the Church, and which has been bounced around ever since ... accepted by almost everyone, then rejected by almost everyone ... now being considered again. Again, don't fall into the trap of believing that thinking is somehow irreverent.

  • It's not (necessarily) a heresy to reject the making of a bishop as a participation in Holy Orders

    10/27/2010 8:23:03 AM PDT · 13 of 18
    Balt to old republic
    Let me know what you think. It would be interesting to hear your thoughts on the subject.

    I'll try as best I can.

    IIRC, it is interesting to note that the actual text of the Council never explicitly defines the number of major and minor Orders to seven nor even says that the list itself is an exhaustive list of all of the orders. As far as I can tell, the decree also isn't particularly clear about which Orders confer an indelible character upon the soul....with the exception of those who receive ordination to be a "sacerdos."

    Exactly; and that was part of the point of my article. Both councils (Trent and Vatican II) spoke as if these matter had already been settled, but didn't bother to mention who settled them and when. Certainly, neither council took it upon itself to do so, as your citation from Trent indicates. That's why I'm maintaining that these matters are still open for debate.

    In the old pre-1969 Latin ordination of priests and bishops, the powers conferred by Holy Orders were made clear as to what priests could do. (The powers conferred were actually explicitly listed in the rite of ordination. The current post-1969 Rite of Ordination in the Latin Church is very vague on this point.) In any case, the Older form of ordination for presbyters in the Latin Church does not seem to have given a fullness of authority to the presbyters. Bishops are also distinguished in an order of their own in Trent when it calls the bishops another "grade" of the Ecclesiastical Hierarchy.

    Again, you are correct; but I'm not sure I would ascribe the kind of clarity to it that you are. While the old ordination rite lists what the priest can do (and, by ommission, what he can't, though that may be an assumption), it doesn't tell us why. In other words, does the ordination rite for a priest not mention the power to ordain because that power is not being confered, or because that power, present in the sacrament per se is being "held bound", to be released (not confered) should the man be raised to the episcopate? You are also correct that, generally speaking, the new rite is much less clear; but, at the same time, I have some aversion to using a liturgical rite to define dogma. Liturgy should reflect the teaching of the Church; but there is no guarantee that it does so, as liturgical rites are not dogmatically declaritive in themselves. For example, the new rite for the "ordination" of a bishop contains the words, "Raise this, your son, to the fullness of the priesthood." Obviously, as a proponent of the Bound Powers Theory, I'm not accepting that at face value. And, as you mention, we don't know exactly what is meant by the word "grade". Does it refer to a fuller participation in the sacrament, or does it simply refer to a "rank" which has nothing to do with a sacrament? A perusal of the relatio of the Council of Trent would seem to indicate that, not only were the council fathers not sure themselves, but suggests that they deliberately decided not to be clearer on the matter because they did not want to teach definitively on this issue. In other words, neither council wanted to "man up" and actually define it one way of the other. Each choose a "point of view" so to speak, and ran with it, teaching it as if it had already be settled, but with full knowledge that it, in fact, was not settled.

    Wherefore, the holy council declares that, besides the other ecclesiastical grades, the bishops, who have succeeded the Apostles, principally belong to this hierarchical order, and have been placed, as the same Apostle says, by the Holy Ghost to rule the Church of God;[11] that they are superior to priests, administer the sacrament of confirmation,[12] ordain ministers of the Church, and can perform many other functions over which those of an inferior order have no power.

    This citation you give from Trent is, of course, the most convincing that I'm wrong; particularly the last sentence, which seems to indicate that those of inferior rank have "no power." That would seem to settle it; but, as one of my seminary professors said, "quarum functionum potestatem reliqui inferioris Ordinis nullam habent", is not necessarily immune to interpretation. For example, if one subscribes to the Bound Powers Theory, then the ability of the Magisterium to "hold bound" powers sacramentally confered would fit into this language. Remember that the Bound Powers Theory would still maintain that a priest who attempts to ordain without authorization does so invalidly, not just illicitly. Likewise, notice on the citation from Trent that it includes in the "powers" not available to those of inferior rank, it mentions Confirmation; yet, do we not know that Confirmation can be administered by any priest to a soul in danger of death, or to anyone with the delegation of the bishop? In the Eastern Church in which I serve, this sacrament is routinely given to all children at their baptism. So, whatever Trent means by "power", I would tend to say that it doesn't mean that the sacramental power has not been confered, but that it is forbidden, or, in the case of ordination, actually held bound as pertains even to validity.

    Canon 7. If anyone says that bishops are not superior to priests, or that they have not the power to confirm and ordain, or that the power which they have is common to them and to priests, or that orders conferred by them without the consent or call of the people or of the secular power are invalid, or that those who have been neither rightly ordained nor sent by ecclesiastical and canonical authority, but come from elsewhere, are lawful ministers of the word and of the sacraments, let him be anathema.

    This would seem to seal the deal, as it were; however, when this matter was raised in the seminary, it was pointed out that the emphatic language of the Canons was in response to a state of confussion in the Church (not unlike today), in which everyone thought everything was up for grabs. As my professor said, "The fact that Trent says you're anathema for saying it, doesn't necessary mean you're wrong; just that you're anathema."

    So, I would still tend to agree with him that one is still free to accept either point of view until such time as someone actually defines the issue in an unambiguous way. Of course, I may be totally washed up about this issue; but I thought it was worth exploring in light of the Holy Father's devotion to St. Augustine. I know this doesn't answer all the points you made; but I hope it's enough to let you know I appreciate the discussion.

  • It's not (necessarily) a heresy to reject the making of a bishop as a participation in Holy Orders

    10/26/2010 6:32:01 PM PDT · 11 of 18
    Balt to Legatus
    That's not a can of worms, that's a cargo container.

    Indeed! I agree. And, in all honesty, I should point out that, even in the long history of the Bound Powers Theory (which was generally accepted for centuries), no one ever suggested it. I just thought I'd throw it in and see if anyone excommunicated me. :)

  • It's not (necessarily) a heresy to reject the making of a bishop as a participation in Holy Orders

    10/26/2010 6:29:26 PM PDT · 10 of 18
    Balt to sitetest
    If the consecrations by Archbishop Milingo are invalid, why is it generally conceded that those by Archbishop Lefebvre are not?

    My all-too-short answer, for what it's worth, would be that two different men were pope when these events occured: one a Thomist and the other an Augustinian.

    I can think of a reason or two. I can also think why Archbishop Milingo’s consecrations aren't valid, as well, without resorting to the Bound Powers theory that you present.

    I've actually heard a few of them, myself; and such arguments are not without merit. So, I'm not saying you're wrong. There may, indeed, be other factors that distinguish the two as far as validity is concerned.

  • It's not (necessarily) a heresy to reject the making of a bishop as a participation in Holy Orders

    10/26/2010 6:25:29 PM PDT · 9 of 18
    Balt to cotton
    My answer was ‘no’. He has already received the sacrament of Holy Orders, he now receives the consecration to fuller authority in that ‘Order’.

    That, in fact, would be a primative way of expressing the Bound Powers Theory; but, understand that, since Vatican II, the general consensus (with which I am disagreeing) has been that the sacrament is imparted in three distinct degrees: Deacon, Priest and Bishop. During the middle ages, up to and including the Council of Trent, the sacrament was viewed as being divided into the three degrees of Sub-deacon, Deacon and Priest.

    Whether the sacrament needs to be divided into three degrees at all is an open question, as far as I'm concerned. The point I'm trying to make is this: just because Vatican II uses the word "ordination" to refer to the making of a bishop, doesn't mean that anyone has to accept that as a matter of faith. Vatican II certainly "teaches" that making a bishop participates in Holy Orders, just as Trent "taught" that it does not. But neither council bothered to actually define the matter. Thus, it seems to me, that the question is still open for debate.

  • It's not (necessarily) a heresy to reject the making of a bishop as a participation in Holy Orders

    10/26/2010 6:17:27 PM PDT · 8 of 18
    Balt to triumphant values
    The consecration is forever valid and irrevocable. The Catholics recognize all Eastern Orthodox consecrations as valid.

    I think you may have missed something important in what I was saying, probably because I was speaking in a Catholic way, using the Catholic meanings of the words. Using the Catholic definition of the terms, it makes no sense to speak of the "validity" of a consecration, since a consecration, unlike an ordination, does not have sacramental effets. Your comment would seem to indicate that you're using the word "consecration" to mean what a Catholic means by "ordination".

    A simple consecration is neither valid nor invalid, since it does not impart any supernatural effects. That's the whole point of my article: that the making of a bishop is not a participation in any sacrament.

  • It's not (necessarily) a heresy to reject the making of a bishop as a participation in Holy Orders

    10/26/2010 10:29:06 AM PDT · 1 of 18
  • Anne Rice quits Christianity -- but not Christ

    07/30/2010 12:19:46 PM PDT · 78 of 121
    Balt to JAKraig
    Whether or not you believe the marriage is indissoluble, it great to have a pope with keys to undo the marriage on earth and in heaven. That is of course if you believe the pope has those keys.

    You clearly did not read my response to Mr. K. carefully. In any case, no one believes the Pope has "keys" to dissolve a valid marriage. What the Church does possess is the ability to determine, based on the objective criteria of what constitutes a valid marriage, whether a particular union was, in fact, a valid marriage. A decree of nullity does not dissolve a valid marriage; it is a declaration which states that, after investigation, what was believed to have been a valid marriage was not because certain conditions required for any marriage to be valid did not exist at the time the marriage occured, and that this deficiency was unknown to the parties involved at the time.

  • Anne Rice quits Christianity -- but not Christ

    07/30/2010 11:42:45 AM PDT · 74 of 121
    Balt to Mr. K
    I quit the organized ‘church’ years ago, when I got divorced. I was still pretty active and concerned with those things so I went to see them about what to do if I was divorced, but wanted to have a church wedding again if I got married again. They said no, it was so terrible, it’s not allowed, and etc etc etc.... but if I gave them $400 it would be OK. Something about that just didnt feel right any more.

    Allow me to translate: "I got divorced, and asked if I could marry again in Church. I was told that, since marriage is indisoluble, I could petition for a decree of nullity, which would involve an investigation of whether my first marriage was, in fact, valid to begin with, and with the understanding that my case would be determined on the evidence presented with no guarantees. Since the good people who work in the marriage tribunal do so full time, those making such a petition are asked to remit a filing fee, with the understanding that no one is denied the opportunity to make a petition solely on the grounds that they can't afford the fee. In my particular diocese, that fee is $400. Since it's an involved process which takes a lot of time and effort on my part, it's much easier for me to simply quit the Church, and misrepresent what I was told."

  • [CATHOLIC CAUCUS] What makes Jesus present in the Eucharist: broadening one's view.

    07/30/2010 10:55:26 AM PDT · 1 of 3
  • [CATHOLIC CAUCUS] Can we Correct the Leadership Gap in the Catholic Church?

    07/30/2010 10:50:17 AM PDT · 1 of 1
    This essay was lifted and reworked from my previous blog, "Priestly Pugilist."