Wednesday, 14 March 2012


There are no Sacraments outside the Church. You cannot have ''valid,'' albeit ''illicit,'' Sacraments which do not confer Grace. Otherwise, what would be the point of the Sacrament?

2011 equivalent.


  1. Very true. But isn't that a rather dangerous line of thought for someone not especially connected to any particular church of the catholic (small 'c') tradition?

  2. John, I guess you're right. Actually I published this post a year ago, and it eventually reached 53 comments (which, if I remember, I had to put a stop to). My purpose in publishing it today is to see how many comments I can attract one year later. It seems that a lot of my readers have gone away somewhere!

  3. A Sacrament does confer grace if it is validly celebrated and the subject is not explicitly unwilling to receive the grace. ''Illicitness'' does not in any way constrain God's grace in the Sacrament.

  4. Albertus
    Heterodox sacraments may or may not confirm some sort of grace. They do not however do that which the Church does. The West has reduced the sacraments to magic. Right Matter + Right Form = Sacrament.


    The sacraments are the instruments of divine grace. They belong to the Church and function properly only within the Church by and through the cooperation of the Holy Spirit. Those operating outside the church, even when they have an orthodox sacramental understanding or intent are like a house that is not connected to the power station. It doesn't matter if they have all the wiring correct. Unless they are linked to the power station when they flip the light switch, it will still be dark.

  5. Patricius
    If you are blogging for ratings, you are doing it for the wrong reasons and probably should just stop. You are (I presume) blogging because you think you have something to say. Say your peace and and don't worry about who is or is not reading.

    I can't remember the last time I looked at my blog stats.

  6. Your reader stats are down because your blog, while still of a high quality, is not as lively as it was a year ago. I daresay you are back on the road to popery ;)


  7. Ad Orientem,
    i am Catholic, therefore adhere to the western understanding, naturally... And i find it to be more logical, more charitable, less arrogant and more in tune with Christ's Gospel. I, as does my Church, consider Eastern Orthodox Sacraments to be valid celebrations of Christ's presence and as true channels of grace as those of the Catholic Church. All Estern Orthodox clergy whom I know likewise consider the Sacraments of the Catholic Church, and thus which i celebrate, to be equal to their own.

  8. Albertus,

    At least it should prove to the Eastern Orthodox that we are not papolators. They reject the pope yet we consider that the sacramental grace of the true Church operates in them.

    I once considered becoming Eastern Orthodox. But depending on which bishop/jurisdiction I hooked my lines to, I would be variously re-chrismated or rebaptised. To many EO, we are unbaptised pagans, to others we constitute a "sister Church", and there are opinions at every point in between. Most of their modern schisms have been over hierarchs' accommodation to the Big Western Bad Guy in whose shadow they are. It's a big mess.

    It's nice to see the Pope and the Ecumenical Patriarch be so chummy, but I think most Catholics fail to realize that Batholomew's treating the Pope as not only a baptised Christian but as a real bishop has made him persona non grata in much of the Eastern Orthodox world.

  9. James,
    you make a very good point: if were were really papolators, (which most of us are not), then we would hardly recognise the Sacraments of Churches not in Communion with the Pope, would we?