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Teke
Nov 4th 2007, 10:00 PM
Can any Roman Catholics explain their church's understanding of dispensations and grace?
Dispensing of grace, what that means in RC.
Dispensations of grace, what that means in RC.

RSiscoe
Nov 4th 2007, 10:12 PM
Can any Roman Catholics explain their church's understanding of dispensations and grace?
Dispensing of grace, what that means in RC.
Dispensations of grace, what that means in RC.

I don't think we use those terms. A "dispensation" is when someone is given permission to act contrary to a particular law. For example, let's say that we are required to fast on a particular day. If a person has to medical condition that prevents them from fasting, they would be given a dispensation from that particular law. Here's an article on that subject: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/05041a.htm

But I don't think that is what you mean by dispensation. Maybe if you could define the term, I will be able to determine what the Catholic Churches position is on that point. Maybe we just use a different term to discribe it?

When you use the term "dispensing of grace" are you referring to sanctifying grace that is communicated through the Sacraments? Or does it have a different meaning alltogether?

Teke
Nov 5th 2007, 05:09 PM
RSiscoe you have stated exactly what I mean by dispensation and dispensing of grace in Roman catholicism. I am leaving it up to the RC's to explain themselves in this, as I am not RC.

RSiscoe
Nov 5th 2007, 07:50 PM
RSiscoe you have stated exactly what I mean by dispensation and dispensing of grace in Roman catholicism. I am leaving it up to the RC's to explain themselves in this, as I am not RC.

I think I understand what you are asking. You are asking what Catholics understand by the dispensing of grace. I'll be surprised if the Orthodox have a different understanding than us on this point. Basically, grace (and here I am referring to "sanctifying grace", which is a participation in the Divine Life of God) is communicated to us through the sacraments.

We first receive this grace when we are born again through baptism. Original sin is washed away, supernatural life is infused into the souls, and we are spiritually reborn becoming "adopted" children of God. At this point, we truly possess the indwelling Holy Ghost. The word "grace", or "Charity" is nothing less than the Holy Ghost Himself who dwells within us.

Through confirmation, we receive a greater participation in the Holy Ghost, and an increase in the "gifts" of the Holy Ghost: fortitude, knowledge, peity, fear of the lord, council, wisdom and understanding.

If a person falls from grace through sin, they can again obtain the state of grace through confession, which, like Baptism bring a spiritually dead soul to life. In the parables of the 5 loaves and 2 fishes (which signify the 7 sacraments), the "2 fishes" signify baptism and confession - the two sacraments that give supernatural life, signified by the "fish" (Jesus).

There is another special grace that is received through the sacrament of Matrimony. This grace provides extra help for the marriage state.

So far, the grace we have been talking about is sactifying grace, but there is another kind of grace is known as "actual grace". This is not the indwelling Holy Ghost, but rather inspirations of the Holy Ghost. Actual grace has two functions: It enlightens us to some particular truth and inclines the will in the right direction.

Only true Christians can have sanctifying grace (the indwelling Holy Ghost), but everyone receives actual grace. The purpose of actual grace is to draw men to God.

Is that the answer you wer looking for?

Teke
Nov 5th 2007, 08:21 PM
Yes, please continue.
Eastern Orthodox do not have "sacraments", we call them mysteries, referring to gifts. ie. God gave gifts to men

How does dispensation of grace work for divorce?

pnewton
Nov 5th 2007, 09:19 PM
The only dispensation I am aware of revolves around the marriage. Marriage in the Catholic Church is set in a sacramental setting, so there are certain rules to follow. However, most of these can be have a dispensation, as long as the validity of the marriage remains intact.

Divorce is acceptable even amoung validly married couples. However, this is considered a civil affair only, neccessary for the protection of children, spouse or assets.

I wonder if you are referring to annulments. That is where a marriage is examined to see if it was a valid marriage. If not, a certificate of nullity is issued.

RSiscoe
Nov 5th 2007, 10:24 PM
Yes, please continue.
Eastern Orthodox do not have "sacraments", we call them mysteries, referring to gifts. ie. God gave gifts to men

Mysteries are the same thing as sacraments. If I am not mistaken, the Greek word Musterion is translated into Latin as Sacramentum and then into English as Sacrament, which means "mystery". The words "sacrament" and "mystery" have the same substantial meaning.


How does dispensation of grace work for divorce?

Well, when we speak of the marriage bond there are two levels: there is a natural bond, and a supernatural bond.

Non-Christians can have a true marriage, but it only produces a natural bond.

A "sacramental marriage" produces a supernatural bond which "no man can put ussunder". Sacramental marriage is discussed in Ephesians 5 which says marriage "is a great sacrament; but I speak in Christ and in the church". Some translations will call it a "mystery" rather than a sacrament, but, again, both words mean the same thing.

Now, if a sacramental marriage has taken place there is no divorce. It is not possible since "what God has joined together, let no man put usunder". The only thing that will disolve a sacramental bond is death. It is only "death that doth them part". A person might obtain a civil "divoroce" from the State, but in God's eyes the two remain married which is why Jesus calls the second marriage adultery.

On the natural level the bond can be disolved. This is why divorce was allowed during the Old Testament, since marriage at that time was only a natural bond. "But from the begnining it was not so", and Jesus restored marriage to its original sacramental state. In the New Testament, the disolving of a natural bond is known as the Pauline Priviledge and is based on Pauls teaching in 1 Cor 7.

Now back to your question. You asked how the dispensing of grace works with divorce. I'm not exactly sure what you mean, or if what I wrote above answers the question. Maybe you mean what happens with respect to grace when a person is divoiced?

Divorce in and of itself is not strictly forbidden and is not sinful. Only divorce and remarriage is sinful. It is possible for a person to be divorced and still partake in the sacraments. The bond with their "former" spouse remains, but they no longer live with them as husband and wife. This does not prevent them from receiving the sacraments.

But, if a person obtains a civil divorce and marries another person they are in a state of adultery. As such, they would not be able to be forgiven or partake in the sacraments unless and until they repented. All sins can be forgiven, so if they repented of the second "marriage" and separated, they could receive forgiveness and again be able to receive grace through the "mysteries".

This can often be very difficult if the person has been in the "marriage" for a long time, and even more so if kids are involved. That is one reason it is so bad for the State to allow divorce as it does. It can put people in a very difficult position should they later want to do the right thing.

One solution is for the two people to live together without practicing marital relations. Many people have done this, and many people are doing it now. I personally know some people who are in a second "marriage" and are living this way right now to avoid sin.

I don't know if that is what you were looking for. If not, ask a specific question and I will try to answer it.

Teke
Nov 5th 2007, 11:52 PM
I have a friend who is or was an RC. She was divorced (some years ago) and talked about dispensation and so forth, but she was excommunicated from the church. (she is married)

Of course I told her there is no such thing in Orthodoxy and she could still attend a church and receive communion once she converts to Orthodoxy, should she decide to do so.

I just wanted to get some more insight into this particular procedure of the RC.

RSiscoe
Nov 6th 2007, 12:11 AM
I have a friend who is or was an RC. She was divorced (some years ago) and talked about dispensation and so forth, but she was excommunicated from the church. (she is married)[/quote=]

OK. In this context "dispensation" usually referrs to a an exception to the rule that requires Catholics to marry Catholics. If a Catholic wants to marry a non-Catholic, a "dispensation" is granted as long as the non-Catholic agrees to have the child raised as a Catholic.

Also, she may not have been excomminucated. A lot of people think that divorce automatically brings about excommunication, but that penalty was eleminated in 1977. If she was divorced after that, she did not incur excommunication.

[quote=] Of course I told her there is no such thing in Orthodoxy and she could still attend a church and receive communion once she converts to Orthodoxy, should she decide to do so.

I just wanted to get some more insight into this particular procedure of the RC.

I didn't know the Orthodox allowed divorce and remarriage.

Teke
Nov 7th 2007, 08:10 PM
[QUOTE=Teke;1431870]I have a friend who is or was an RC. She was divorced (some years ago) and talked about dispensation and so forth, but she was excommunicated from the church. (she is married)[/quote=]

OK. In this context "dispensation" usually referrs to a an exception to the rule that requires Catholics to marry Catholics. If a Catholic wants to marry a non-Catholic, a "dispensation" is granted as long as the non-Catholic agrees to have the child raised as a Catholic.

Also, she may not have been excomminucated. A lot of people think that divorce automatically brings about excommunication, but that penalty was eleminated in 1977. If she was divorced after that, she did not incur excommunication.

Well her first divorce would likely have been before 1977. She is in her 3rd marriage presently. Her first marriage was to a RC, I don't know about the second one. (I try not to pry to much in peoples personal business, so I didn't ask).

I believe there was some other things involved which have to do with what is required by the RC church ie. tithing of some sort
But she knows she was definitely excommunicated.
Are you telling me the RC doesn't excommunicate people any longer, for any reason?


I didn't know the Orthodox allowed divorce and remarriage.

They grant economia in certain instances, like abuse, both mental and physcial. Illness, such as non recoverable both physically and mentally. IOW it depends on the situation.

pnewton
Nov 7th 2007, 08:37 PM
tithing of some sort
But she knows she was definitely excommunicated.
Are you telling me the RC doesn't excommunicate people any longer, for any reason?
It wasn't tithing. No set level of giving is required or monitored. However, excommnication does still exist as a disciplinary penalty, just not for divorce.

Teke
Nov 7th 2007, 09:19 PM
No set level of giving is required or monitored.

I don't know about "required", but it definitely is monitored. I know quite a few RC who have talked about that. But I never really understood it all.
One of my RC friends said, "Catholics don't get upset about things like corrupt clergy as much as anyone messing with the money."
I do understand the remark about corrupt clergy, as even in Orthodoxy the state of the clergy doesn't make the church holy or not. Meaning it doesn't effect the Eucharist.;)

RSiscoe
Nov 7th 2007, 10:00 PM
I don't know about "required", but it definitely is monitored. I know quite a few RC who have talked about that. But I never really understood it all.

One of my RC friends said, "Catholics don't get upset about things like corrupt clergy as much as anyone messing with the money."

I'm not sure what why he said that. My experience is exactly the opposite. I don't think I have ever heard a sermon about giving money to the Church. There have been a few times during the announcements that the Priest has mentioned that they are doing this or that repair to the Church and asked that people consider helping out if they can, but generally money is never mentioned.

I've heard of many polls which show that Catholics give a lot less than those in other denominations. My reaction to this has always been that the reason is because we are never encouraged or asked to give more. It is just not something that is talked about.

In listening to the radio I have have heard a lot of Protestant ministers give sermons about giving more to their church. This is not something that happens in the Catholic Church... at least not that I have ever heard.

As far as keeping records. The Church I go to does keep records for tax purorses. At the end of the year they send me a form showing how much I have given.

From my experience I can say with all honesty that the Catholic Church does not put pressure on the laity to give more than they want to give. We are required to help support the Church, but there is no percentage or fixed amount that is required. It is completely left up to the individual and no pressure is put on them. One more reason to be a Catholic :lol:

pnewton
Nov 7th 2007, 10:01 PM
I don't know about "required", but it definitely is monitored. I know quite a few RC who have talked about that. But I never really understood it all.
I only know of the Churches I attended. There is no more monitoring than in a Baptist or independent Church at the local level. One can give anonymously, or not at all. We have several that give very little because of extreme poverty, but then are generous with their time.

On a diocesan level, giving in each parish is monitored and each parish must forward a percentage on to the diocese. But I only know of how things operate here. In any case, no one can be excommunicated for this.