Marriage and Divorce in the Orthodox Church
#11
(10-05-2021, 05:27 PM)Nisse Wrote: The many pastoral guidelines that allow us Orthodox to make exceptions from living out this belief to its full, are simply our way of trying to navigate when we are too weak to keep the commandments.
God gives us grace that we can keep all his commandments, provided we pray. Hence the adulterer has no excuse.
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#12
(10-06-2021, 04:32 PM)Melkite Wrote:
(10-06-2021, 04:07 PM)NoliTardare Wrote: Interesting question. I think only on earth. As we all know, the Church is divided into three sectors, the Militant, the Expiating (purgatory) and the Triumphant (Paradise) Churches. The Pope is here to guide the Militant Church in the fight. When he dies, he dies just like everybody else and can end up in any of the other two churches or to hell. The only authority in the other two Churches is God. Therefore the Pope retains no authority whatsoever after his death. However, there's only one Militant Church that can truly help you against sin. Choosing other Churches (Orthodox, Protestants, ...) is like choosing a weak third-rate army to engage the fight against sin when you can have the glorious army Jesus Christ founded and trusted to Peter.

The reason I ask is because if the pope is only the head of the Church on earth, then it means Christ is the ultimate head of the Church (we already believe this) but also the only head of the whole Church.  If the Pope is Christ's regent only for the Church Militant, then it would be incorrect to say that those who do not acknowledge the Roman Pontiff as their head do not belong to the Church, because the Church Triumphant and Expiating would not recognize him as their head, and their salvation would not be in danger because of this.

Yes, but then if one calls himself Christian he will, at some point read the Gospel, the word of Jesus Christ himself (ipsissima verba). The Gospel is very straightforward: you are Peter and here is my church and here's the keys. So Jesus founded the Militant Church and said Peter (the Pope) is the head of it. After one's death, the soul can either join hell or join the Church. You can join the Church in this life. Otherwise you can hope to join it after your death. If you join the Church in this life, you have more chances to be saved in the battle's aftermath. If you spend all your life playing the maverick with the Orthodox or the protestant struggling to prove you're right and the only Earthly institution founded by Jesus Christ is wrong... Well... you'll not be rewarded for that.
"We thought we could stay healthy in a sick world" - Pope.
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#13
(10-06-2021, 02:12 PM)SacraCor714 Wrote:
(10-05-2021, 05:27 PM)Nisse Wrote: The many pastoral guidelines that allow us Orthodox to make exceptions from living out this belief to its full, are simply our way of trying to navigate the brokenness of this world, when we are too weak to keep the commandments. It feels like an ugly thing to say, but it is the truth, just like it is the truth that we only pray certain hours of the day, when we are too weak to pray unceasingly, like the Apostle taught us. 

I personally pray to God that my wife and I will remain faithful, belonging only to each other, as we awake in His Kingdom.

Would you mind elaborating on this sentiment further? Pardon my ignorance, but it sounds like you were saying that the orthodox seem to make exceptions for people because we are too weak to follow the law of God. It seems to me then, that this would allow a multitude of sins to be excused because we are just “too weak to follow God‘s law.

On a more personal note, I am glad that the Catholic Church does not allow us to entertain the possibility of divorce. I fear that if there were the possibility of divorce in the Catholic Church, lots of people, myself included, would take the easy route rather than trying to work out the problems in our marriage. When you know that divorce is not an option, ever, you are forced to sit down, face your marriage head on, and confront your problems. When you realize that your marriage is until death, you are much more inclined to work harder at it. “ I am going to be with this person for 65 more years, so I’d better love them and make things work.“


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Dear SacraCor, 

I will try to elaborate a little, as best as I can.

It should firstly be pointed out that for us Orthodox, marriage is eternal; the marriage ritual contain both prayers concerning our journey with God in time, but also participation is His coming Kingdom, beyond time as we know it. I cannot speak for others, but I certainly do not think of leaving my wife as "permitted". It is perhaps even more important to point out, however, that it is marriage itself that is the sacrament, not only the ritual that initiated it.

When I speak of not being able to fulfill the commandments, I speak of the brokenness of this world in general. This reality of sin is taken into account by Christians everywhere, in all sorts of situations. We allow keeping an army or a police force, despite it traditionally being canonically punishable to kill, even in war. We also bring each other to trial, compete against each other for jobs and other positions etc. None of this would be, if it were not for sin. 

Marriage is not to be dissolved, but it is a fact that it sometimes is anyway. We corrupt the sacrament, when we corrupt our marriages. The question is how to deal with it when it has already happened. Catholics tend to argue that the marriage is still in place, for as long as the "contract" is still valid, despite there being no love or Christian communion between the spouses (it could even be just cruelty). The Orthodox position is that the marriage can be considered dissolved, if there is no chance of restoring it. Such instances could be when one of the spouses are molesting the children, cases of continual infidelity, abuse etc. The solution for us is not pretending there is a marriage in any Christian meaning of the word, i.e. a mini-church, but something that must be dealt with, caused by the fact that we are unable to keep the simple commandmends of love, compassion and fidelity etc. This is not agreeing to divorce, it is something different. 

The approach to this matter has differed between the East and the West long before our breaking of communion, and I personally dislike it being used as an excuse to look down one another, although I am biased and personally prefer the attitude of my own Church to the Roman...
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#14
(10-06-2021, 02:12 PM)SacraCor714 Wrote: On a more personal note, I am glad that the Catholic Church does not allow us to entertain the possibility of divorce.

I thought that the Catholic Church does allow divorce and remarriage in the cases of the Pauline Privilege and the Petrine Privilege. Further, Jesus said: Luke 16:18 “Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery, and the man who marries a divorced woman commits adultery." but did Jesus make any distinction between a civil divorce and a Church granted divorce? The Catholic tribunal requires the couple to get a divorce before applying for the annulment. This is a requirement and is not optional. According to Cardinal Kasper: " there are situations in which such annulments are helpful and can be made. But take the case of a couple who are ten years married and have children, in the first years they had a happy marriage, but for different reasons the marriage fell apart. This marriage was a reality, and to say it was canonically null and void does not make sense to me. This is an abstract canonical construction. It’s divorce in a Catholic way, in a dishonest way.
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#15
(10-06-2021, 04:54 PM)Marmot Wrote:
(10-05-2021, 05:27 PM)Nisse Wrote: The many pastoral guidelines that allow us Orthodox to make exceptions from living out this belief to its full, are simply our way of trying to navigate when we are too weak to keep the commandments.
God gives us grace that we can keep all his commandments, provided we pray. Hence the adulterer has  no excuse.

Maybe I misunderstand something, but if you keep the commandments, you must love God above all else and your neighbor as your self? If so, you must levitate past the confession straight to communion.
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#16
(10-06-2021, 06:17 PM)Nisse Wrote:
(10-06-2021, 04:54 PM)Marmot Wrote:
(10-05-2021, 05:27 PM)Nisse Wrote: The many pastoral guidelines that allow us Orthodox to make exceptions from living out this belief to its full, are simply our way of trying to navigate when we are too weak to keep the commandments.
God gives us grace that we can keep all his commandments, provided we pray. Hence the adulterer has  no excuse.

Maybe I misunderstand something, but if you keep the commandments, you must love God above all else and your neighbor as your self? If so, you must levitate past the confession straight to communion.
Indeed, how many of us can go a whole day without sinning in some fashion or other?
"Sometimes you're the windshield.  Sometimes you're the bug."~Mark Knopfler (?)
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#17
(10-06-2021, 05:22 PM)Nisse Wrote: Marriage is not to be dissolved, but it is a fact that it sometimes is anyway. We corrupt the sacrament, when we corrupt our marriages. The question is how to deal with it when it has already happened. Catholics tend to argue that the marriage is still in place, for as long as the "contract" is still valid, despite there being no love or Christian communion between the spouses (it could even be just cruelty). The Orthodox position is that the marriage can be considered dissolved, if there is no chance of restoring it. Such instances could be when one of the spouses are molesting the children, cases of continual infidelity, abuse etc. The solution for us is not pretending there is a marriage in any Christian meaning of the word, i.e. a mini-church, but something that must be dealt with, caused by the fact that we are unable to keep the simple commandmends of love, compassion and fidelity etc. This is not agreeing to divorce, it is something different. 

It isn't like the Catholic Church's position is that a spouse must remain in the same household as an abusive, unfaithful spouse.  A civil divorce can be tolerated in such situations, though from the Church's perspective this is more like a permanent legal separation that protects the abused or abandoned spouse.  If one wants to consider the marriage "dissolved" in some sense as a result of terrible sins, okay.  But the problem is really the issue of remarriage, is it not?  A sacramental marriage might in practice be dead, but the sacrament is still valid.  It seems to me, and I'm not trying to look down on the Orthodox, that the Orthodox position is agreeing to divorce, even if it roots that agreement in a particular theological or pastoral reasoning.  Thinking of it as dissolving a marriage doesn't change that, as even secular courts will often refer to divorce petitions as a petition for a dissolution of marriage.
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#18
(10-06-2021, 06:17 PM)Nisse Wrote: Maybe I misunderstand something, but if you keep the commandments, you must love God above all else and your neighbor as your self? If so, you must levitate past the confession straight to communion.
This fails to distinguish between mortal and venial sin, and also between deliberate and indeliberate sin.

Ordinarily we cannot avoid committing some venial sin, but we can indeed, with God's grace, avoid mortal sin altogether. Saying someone is "too weak to keep the commandments" when referring to adultery (grave matter) amounts to saying either that God commands the impossible, or that his commandments are not commandments strictly so called, but counsels. Neither solution is admissible. We are indeed too weak to keep the commandments by our own strength, but with the strength of God those who pray can most certainly keep all the commandments all of the time insofar as their deliberate acts as concerned.
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#19
(10-06-2021, 08:53 AM)Melkite Wrote: Is the Roman Pontiff also the head of the Church in heaven and purgatory?  Or does his authority extend only to the Church on earth?
The Pope is commonly and justly called "Vicar of Christ upon earth". Christ clearly has no use for a vicar where He is visibly present.

The common teaching, and the position held by St. Bonaventure, St. Thomas and St. Robert Bellarmine regarding the souls in Purgatory, is that the Pope can only apply indulgences to them "by way of suffrage", that is, not by absolution as with the Church Mililtant.
Bellarmine Wrote:If therefore we can offer our prayers and our satisfactions in behalf of those detained in purgatory, because we are members of the great body of Christ, why may not the Vicar of Christ apply to the same souls the superabundant satisfaction of Christ and his saints--of which he is the dispenser?
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#20
(10-06-2021, 04:32 PM)Melkite Wrote: The reason I ask is because if the pope is only the head of the Church on earth, then it means Christ is the ultimate head of the Church (we already believe this) but also the only head of the whole Church.  If the Pope is Christ's regent only for the Church Militant, then it would be incorrect to say that those who do not acknowledge the Roman Pontiff as their head do not belong to the Church, because the Church Triumphant and Expiating would not recognize him as their head, and their salvation would not be in danger because of this.
The members of the Church in Purgatory and in Heaven would still recognize the Pope as being head of the same Church of which they are members. There is not one Church on Earth and another in Heaven, although the role of the Pope is not the same in both places.

Determining the Church membership of those who do not live on Earth falls outside the scope of that article of the Catechism. This is obvious because there is no need to establish rules for whether those in Purgatory and in Heaven are members of the Church (they are, else they wouldn't be there).
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