aA
aA
aA
aA
aA
aA
History of the Christian Church, Volume V: The Middle Ages. A.D. 1049-1294.
« Prev Extreme Unction, Ordination, and Marriage Next »

§ 119. Extreme Unction, Ordination, and Marriage.


Extreme Unction,—unctio infirmorum,—the fifth in the list of the sacraments, is administered to those who are in peril of death, and is supposed to be referred to by James 5:14. "Is any among you sick? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord." The earlier view, represented by Hugo of St. Victor, Peter the Lombard, and also by Bonaventura, was that the sacrament is of Apostolic institution. Thomas Aquinas traced it directly to Christ. Many things, he said, were spoken by Christ to the Apostles which are not contained in the Gospels.17621762    Supplem., XXIX. 3, Migne, IV. 1027.eft after penance, and to heal the body. It may be repeated. Extreme unction as well as the eucharist is to be denied to children on the ground that their bodily diseases are not caused by sin.17631763    Th. Aq., Supplem., XXXII. 4, Migne. IV. 1038; Bonaventura, Brevil., VI. 11, Peltier’s ed., VII. 326.17641764    Cologne, 1279; Lambeth, 1330, etc.e element used is oil, consecrated by the bishop, and it is to be touched to the eyes, ears, nostrils, lips, hands, feet, and loins.

Ordination conveys sacramental grace to seven orders of the ministry: presbyters, deacons, subdeacons, acolytes, exorcists, lectors, and ostiarii or door-keepers. These seven correspond to the seven graces of the Spirit mentioned in 1 Cor. 12. The first three orders were instituted by Christ; the last four by the Church.17651765    P. Lombardus, Sent., IV. XXIV. 9; Hugo of St. Victor, De sacr., II. 2, 5; Th. Aq., Supplem., XXXVII. 2, Migne, IV. 1056; Bonavent., Brevil., VI. 12.s no sacramental character. The Schoolmen do not fail to insist upon the superior dignity of the bishop, but sacramental grace is exhibited in its highest form in empowering the priest to celebrate the mass. For the sake of "fulness" there are placed above the priesthood, the episcopate, patriarchate, and papacy.17661766    Per modum complementi superponitur episcopatus, etc., Bonavent., Brevil., VI. 12. P. Lombardus, Sent., XXIV. 9, Migne, p. 904, speaks of a fourfold rank of bishops, viz. patriarchs, archbishops, metropolitans, and bishops. These, he says, are not orders but "the names of dignities and offices." The teaching of Duns Scotus is uncertain. In one place he asserts the episcopate must be a distinct order, the eighth, because the bishop alone can administer several of the sacraments. See Seeberg, p. 441. On the other hand, he quotes Jerome to show that the episcopate was instituted by the Church and is not a matter of divine law. See Schwane, p. 684. It is still unsettled by canon law whether the episcopate is a separate order or not. See Friedberg, Kirchenrecht, p. 150. The council of Trent did not formally decide the question, though it speaks of the hierarchy of bishops, priests, and deacons. See Schaff, Creeds, II. 186 sqq. Innocent III. placed the subdeacon among the major orders. Friedberg, p. 150. According to Philip Hergenröther, Kathol. Kirchenrecht, pp. 208 sq., the episcopate is at the present time universally regarded in the Rom. Cath. Church as a distinct clerical order.

The tonsure, a requirement for admittance to orders, is a sign of rule and perfection, for it is made in a circle. It also indicates that the mind is withdrawn from temporal things and fixed upon the contemplation of divine things.17671767    Th. Aq., Supplem., XL. 1, Migne, 1071; Bonaventura, Brevil., VI. 12, Peltier’s ed., 327. The synods of London 1102, Soissons 1078, Rouen 1190, Fourth Lateran 1215, etc., decreed the tonsure must not be concealed.

According to Thomas Aquinas, there is more reason for regarding ordination a sacrament than for ascribing a sacramental character to the other six sacred ordinances, for ordination confers the power of administering the others. Its efficacious potency resides chiefly with the person dispensing the sacrament.17681768    Th. Aq., Supplem., XXXIV. 4, 5, Migne, 1045 sq., efficacia principaliter residet penes eum qui sacramentum dispensat.ferred to by Councils or Schoolmen in this period.17691769    Schwane, p. 681, says there was no development in the ritual of ordination during the Middle Ages. Thomas Aquinas refers to the imposition of hands only incidentally in his chapters on penance. Summa, III. 84, 3, Migne, IV. 850. The council of Florence, 1438, enjoined that the chalice and paten should be given at the consecration to some of the orders.

Ordination confers an indelible character upon those admitted to any of the orders. Its virtue is not affected by the character of the person ordained.17701770    Th. Aq., Supplem., XXXVI. I, Migne, IV. 1051, si malus ordinatur nihilominus ordinationem habet.

As for the validity of the sacramental acts of heretic and schismatic clergymen, great difference of opinion existed. The problem was so difficult as to appear to Gratian and Peter the Lombard insoluble or almost so. The difficulty was increased by the acts of Councils, condemning as invalid the ordinations of anti-popes and the ordinations performed by bishops whom anti-popes had appointed.17711771    For example the 9th (Hefele, V. 380) and 11th oecumenical Councils pronounced such judgment, naming the anti-popes. So also the synod of Piacenza, 1095, which declared invalid the ordinations of Wibert and other bishops. the sacrament. Schismatic or heretic bishops retain the power; otherwise when such a bishop is reconciled to the Church, he would be ordained over again, which is not the case.17721772    Th. Aq., Supplem., XXXIX. 2, Migne, 1065. Episcopus in haeresin lapsus ... non amisit potestatem quam habebat ordines conferendi. Thomas is most emphatic on this question and goes on: Omnis protestas quae datur cum aliqua consecratione, nulla casu contingente tolli protest, etc .... Unde cum episcopalisprotestas cum quadam consecratione detur, oportet quod perpetuo maneat quantumcumque aliquis peccet, vel ab ecclesia praecidatur. episcopate receives no sacramental grace, so, as bishop, he possesses no indelible character. He is ordained not directly for God but for the mystical body of Christ. And those whom a schismatic bishop ordains do not in reality receive ordination, for they are ordained in the face of the prohibition of the Church.

As far as we can understand the Angelic doctor’s position it is: the Church may withdraw from a bishop his right to confer orders while at the same time he retains the episcopal power to confer them. He insisted most strenuously on the permanence of the "bishop’s power" received at consecration. The solution of the problem is of far-reaching importance, for it has a bearing on the sacramental efficacy of the acts of many priests who have been cut off from the Latin Church and the ecclesiastical titles of schismatic bodies, such as the Old-Catholics and the Jansenist Church of Holland.

Marriage has the last place among the sacraments because it has the least of spirituality connected with it.17731773    Th. Aq., Summa, III. 65, 2, Migne, IV. 598, quia minimum habet de spiritualitate. first, the bed was undefiled, conception was without passion, and parturition without pain. Since the fall, marriage has become a remedy against lust and a medicine for unholy desire.17741774    Abaelard, Theol Christ., 31, conjugium non confert aliquod donum sicut cetera sacramenta faciunt sed tamen mali remedium est ... datur propter incontinentiam refraenendam. Hugo of St. Vict., De sacr., II. 11. 3, Migne, p.481, conjugium ante peccatum ad officium, post peccatum ad remedium. Alanus ab Insulis, Reg. Theol., 114, Migne’s ed., p. 681, conjugium sacramentum remedii contra incontinentiam. So also, Bonaventura, Brevil., Vl. 13; Th. Aq., Supplem., XLII. 2, Migne, IV. 1084; Summa, LXI. 2, Migne, p. 558.e a sacrament, it signifies, in addition, the union of Christ and the Church and the union of two natures in one person. The Vulgate’s false translation of Ephes. 5:31, "this is a great sacrament," confirmed the Schoolmen in placing matrimony among the sacraments. That which constitutes the sacramental element is the verbal consent of the parties, and also, as Thomas Aquinas thought, the priest’s Benediction.17751775    Th. Aq., Supplem., XLII. 1, Migne, IV. 1083, benedictio sacerdotis quae est quoddam sacramentale.

Thomas was inclined to permit marriage for boys after the age of fourteen and girls after the age of twelve.17761776    These were supposed to be the "years of discretion." Supplem., LVIII. 5, Migne, IV. 1165. The synod of Nismes, 1096, forbade the marriage of girls under twelve. For cases of the marriage of princesses under twelve, see Eicken, pp. 448 sq.17771777    "Just as the offspring of animals follow the nature of the mother. " Thomas instances the mule, Supplem., LII. 4, Migne, 1127.presentation, and couched in the lines which Bonaventura and Thomas Aquinas quote:—


error, conditio, votum, cognatio crimen,

cultus disparitas,17781778    This refers to a marriage in which one party is a Catholic and the other a heretic, Jew, or infidel.

si sis affinis, si forte coire nequibis

haec socianda vetant connubia, facta retractant.

The Fourth Lateran modified some of the more severe restrictions of marriage within the limits of consanguinity, but declared children illegitimate whose parents were within the forbidden limits, even though the ceremony were performed in the church. The Councils of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries give frequent rules for marriage. They were to be performed before the Church and only after public announcement. The children of parties marrying unbelievers and the offspring of clandestine marriages were made illegitimate.17791779    Synods of London 1102, 1125, 1200, Fourth Lateran 1215, Treves 1227, Magdeburg 1261, etc. The synod of London, 1200, forbade either man or wife taking a long journey without the other’s consent. Thomas Aquinas took the position that marriages between a believer and an unbeliever are not to be allowed because they prevent the education and training of children in the worship of God, which is one of the chief objects of the sacrament. Supplem., LIX. 1, Migne, IV. 1167.

Death dissolves marriage and the surviving party has the right to marry again to the fourth time or even more often. Otherwise the marriage bond is perpetual—vinculum matrimonii est perpetuum. This follows from two considerations: marriage involves the training of the children and is a symbol of the union between Christ and the Church. Matrimony becomes absolutely binding only upon copulation. Before that has taken place, one party or the other may go into an order and in this case the other party has the right to marry again.

Divorce was allowed for one cause only, fornication. The Schoolmen supported this position from the words of Christ. Divorce, however, is a separation, not a release with license to marry again. Marriage can never be annulled by the act of man. What God hath joined together, no man can put asunder.17801780    Th. Aq., Supplem., LXI. 2, Migne, IV. 1177. Thomas asserts that, before the carnalis copula takes place, the bond is a spiritual one and it may be broken by either party becoming spiritually dead, dying to the world and living unto God in a convent. After copulation the bond between man and wife is a carnal tie—vinculum carnale —and can be broken only by the death of the body.17811781    Th. Aq., Supplem., LXII. 5, Migne, IV. 1184, non licet uni, altero vivente, ad aliam copulam transire. Either party may, however, enter a convent without seeking the consent of the other. and subsequent marriages are a sacrament as the first marriage is.



« Prev Extreme Unction, Ordination, and Marriage Next »

Advertisements


| Define | Popups: Login | Register | Prev Next | Help |