Chapter 4

Juridical Interpretation
of Theological Categories


I. Principle.

The main inspiring principle of Dombois’ typical theological analyses is that theology uses juridical categories and analogies.1 This goes back to the fact that the Gospel itself describes the relationship between God and man in juridical terms.2 To come to full understanding of these terms theology will have to take into account and analyse their juridical background and meaning.

It is not surprising that this is the fact since Gods’ relationship to the world and to man is only to be seen as

1 I:10.
2 I:90.


a reign and is therefore in itself a reality which has to be thought about in terms of claim and acknowledgment and of grace.3 Furthermore, in this relationship God addresses man, who can only be fully addressed if his institutionality is included; the institutionality also leads to phenomena which are to be analyzed in the same terms.

A problem is that if theology studies juridical terms used in Scripture or theological tradition, it reflects upon them from the standpoint of identifying law with law of justice or even normative law, taking up the change in juridical theories since the 12th century. This becomes apparent in the limitation of its concept of justice to justitia distributiva and justitia commutativa which refer to law of justice, although the Christian concept of justice is first and foremost that of justitia salutifera for which grace and law are not opposites but come together in law of grace.4


II. Covenant and Testament.

Juridical actions are actions between two or more persons. This presupposes a community between the persons involved. This is true also for the juridical relationship between

3 I:124.
4 I:186; 188-189.


God and man. Because of the fact that God and man are absolutely incomparable, the community that exist between them is called into existence by God. It is gift, grace. Man as receiver of this community is even not pre-existent to it but is created as such within the same act. The words that Holy Scriptures uses to indicate the community all express and emphasize tis. The Hebrew berith and the Greek diathêkê do not describe a pact or treaty between equal partners but a personal institutional act through which the less important party is given a part in the power of the more important one; this act obligates the former to gratitude and to certain obligations toward the latter. The Latin testamentum also emphasizes unilateral institution but not so much as heir or child of God — which are expressed with other words like hyothesia, which means adoption — but rather as a foundation5 the object of which is Jesus Christ and the beneficiary of which is man. He has to accept the gift before he receives the claims that go with it; this acceptance is acknowledging God’s claim on man.6

5 Foundation here means what the Code of Canon Law refers to as universitas rerum.
6 I:97-104; 107-108.


III. Representation.

People who are not present to one another still can communicate through representation. Representative and represented are not equal, the former is subject to the latter. But still the representative has some liberty in fulfilling his duty and has to adapt his mandate to the particular circumstances and to the addressee. If the addressee does not acknowledge the representative as such, the mandate is still valid but has no effect.7

Representation plays a role in the sacraments which represent Christ’s actions and in the official ministers of the Church who represent Christ. The official ministers are instituted into their positions through an act of personal institution. In the way the official ministers fulfill their duty of representing Christ other juridical phenomena can be recognized like the institutions of messenger, herald, envoy or witness. Important is the institution of witness.

Witnesses are used on the one hand within trials to guarantee both the trustworthiness of one of the parties and the truth of certain statements, and on the other hand within the drafting of documents to guarantee the right tradition of the documents. In the same way the witnesses of Christ guarantee the trustworthiness of Christ, the

7 I:104-107.


truth of His message and the right tradition of Holy Scripture. The theological usage of the concept of witness makes clear that the Church, which is the process of witnessing, and the Gospel, the message which is witnessed to, cannot be reduced to one another, just as representative and represented cannot be reduced to one another.8


IV. Work and Merit.

The relationship between God and man is not like a contract for work but like a labor contract. In a contract for work one is engaged to produce a product which will only be accepted and paid for if the product is according to the wishes of the contractor. The product man will deliver to God will always be deficient. In a labor-relationship one is paid for one’s best effort, regardless of the result of the labor. The employment relationship is also a personal relationship with free engagement on both sides. The way man is in service of God reflects the same aspects of rewarding regardless of the deficiency of the result of the labor and of not being a slave-relationship but one freely agreed upon by man. Man cannot merit anything from God — merit (Verdienst) being a concept related to work of contract — whatever He

8 I:114-122.


gives us is His free gift, also the acknowledgment of our work.9 Merit does not bring God’s grace, but service.10


V. Justification and Grace.

The classical Lutheran way of understanding justification brings in the juridical notion of trial. Therefore it is obvious that to come to more precise understanding of how justification takes place juridical concepts and juridical analysis have to be used.

In a trial not only the truth of an alleged crime and its possible punishment are at stake but also the place of the accused within the juridical community. If one is found guilty one loses one’s juridical status within the community; the one who is acquitted is restored to full membership. Not just the fact that one is innocent is the foundation for renewed membership but also en even predominantly the acquitting sentence itself. This sheds light on the fact that man is not punished with death: it

9 To understand this well one must realize that this acknowledgment has become part of the ongoing relationship of grace — Gottesdienst, liturgy in the broad sense — and is not an act of God which is to be waited for in each individual case.
10 I:124-132; III:40. The German word for labor is Dienst, i.e. “service”. The word “service” is reflected by the word Gottesdienst. With the translation using the word “liturgy”, the reference to service and the juridical connotations that are mentioned here are unfortunately lost.


is not so much based upon the non-existent innocence of man but upon God’s acquitting sentence itself that is the basis for his new status.11

God’s self-giving in the incarnation of His Son and the Son’s obedience unto death are attributed to man so as to make sure man will not be found guilty and punished. To understand the attribution of someone else’s action the juridical concept of intercession can be used. In intercession an innocent person intercedes for someone found guilty and pleads for the latter, identifying with that person; the execution of the punishment, then, would also hurt the one who intercedes and would therefore be unjust. Thereby the punishment is turned away from the guilty person because of the action of the innocent one. To be able to profit from the intercession the accused has to give up all claim to innocence and self-justification. The justification within the trial of man before God is therefore not going back to a restored old community but a new eschatological community, based upon the intercession and attribution of Christ’s merit.12

The acquitting of man which creates a relationship between God and man is not an individual happening but connects the individual with the universal Church with her realm of obligations and responsibilities. “Justification

11 III:41-42.
12 III:42-43; 45.


connects ipso facto the affected one with all those who take part and will take part in the same identification.”13 Church is an integral existential part of the process and not just a possibility left to the justified man to take up or not. Community with Christ includes community with a concrete ecclesiastical community. Justification happens within the ecclesiastical community and at the same time incorporates into it.14

The social dimension of justification is not at all self-evident to Lutheran thinking. On the contrary, Church is seen by Lutherans as a post-factum gathering of Christians that beforehand — individually — have been saved through justification. Therefore it is apparent that this is a central and most important step in Dombois’ theory. Part of his reasoning in this context is to realize that justification is grace and that grace, being a juridical concept, has a distinct juridical meaning too.15

In the theological notion of grace many aspects of the juridical concept can be recognized. It is not an object but a process, the initiative for which comes from God, a

13 “Rechtfertigung verbindet ipso facto den Betroffenen mit allen, die an der gleichen Identifikation teilhaben und teilnehmen werden.” (III:46)
14 II:184-185; III:46-48.
15 Cf. Chapter 2, Paragraph I and Chapter 5, Paragraph III.


superior power; it restores a broken relationship; it is not the result of merit on the part of the graced but of a free gift; it has to be accepted and then creates a personal relationship between God and man. With grace is also given the fact that it brings with it law of grace, i.e. the obligations toward the superior that are due out of gratitude. Since grace bringt a new status and is therefore clearly a personal institution — namely into being a child of God — it also has to have effect on third parties (Drittwirkung).16 Salvific grace, i.e. the grace that justification grants, therefore not only restores the relationship with God (restitutio coram Deo) but also institutes as member of the Church, the community within which the restitutio takes place.17


VI. Sacraments in General.

Sacraments are, according to Dombois, to be seen in terms of grace as a process. They are not objects that in fact are something else than what they look like. “In the sacramental action we are not met by something untrue,

16 Cf. Chapter 2, Paragraph II.
17 I:189-204; III:30; 37-40. It is deplorable that Dombois does not work out this pivotal point of his theory in a more clear and convincing way.


rather by truth in the form of reality.”18 Sacraments do not communicate grace as an object outside of themselves, but in the sacraments the community between God and man takes place. “The sacraments bestow the new community of salvation upon man in a concrete fashion.”19 Jesus’ disciples and the official ministers of the Church are representing Christ when they administer the sacraments. Through the sacraments God’s self-giving in Christ is mediated concretely to a human being, which mediating can only be done within the Christian community.20

By looking at the juridical meaning of the word sacrament, the way in which sacraments mediate Christ’s sacrifice to man can be made clearer. Tertullian introduced the term sacramentum for the Greek mystêrion. Its original meaning in Roman Law is that of a pledge that had to be left at the temple at the beginning of a sacred lawsuit; the one who lost the lawsuit forfeited the pledge to the temple. The origin of this phenomenon was the fact that previously the one who falsely accused someone else in a sacred lawsuit had to pay with his life if the accusation was found to be untrue; later the pledge

18 “Im sakramentalen Geschehen begegnet uns nicht etwas Unwahres, vielmehr die Wahrheit in der Form der Wirklichkeit.” (III:297)
19 “Die Sakramente wenden die neue Heilsgemeinschaft konkret dem Menschen zu.” (I:244)
20 I:106-107; 191; 203; 238; 243-245; 468-469; III:64-66; 321.


took the place of the accusor.

Another more recent meaning in Tertullian’s days was that of oath of enlistment. Probably this meaning came from the fact that the enlisting soldier would get a sacramentum from his superior which could be a sum of money as a first part of his pay; with this pledge the superior obligated himself to fulfill his part of the obligations that came with the military relationship between soldier and commander. It is the handing over of the sacramentum and the oath of enlistment — which was called sacramentum accipere — that brings the obligation into being, like in Roman law the handing over of an object brings about the real contracts.

In the process of salvation Christ gives himself as a pledge which will take the place of man who otherwise will lose his life in the trial before God; this makes Christ sacramentum in the first meaning. Through the sacraments this act of Christ is made present and again calls into being the eschatological relationship between God and man to which God obligated Himself: this refers to sacramentum in the second meaning.21

Originally sacramentum, like mystêrion, meant all the actions of the Church. After the 12th century the word was used in a restrictive way for certain signifying actions which went together with a concentration on what

21 I:132-139; 439; III:43-44.


they meant for the individual.22 The Church has to concretize and shape the individual sacraments but cannot change their fundamental structure in which the communal and institutional aspects are essential.23


VI. Sacraments in Particular.

a. Baptism.

The sacrament of baptism, through which the grace of justification is directed to a concrete person, makes that person into a persona coram Deo and also into a member of the Church. Justification and the institutional action that creates community are one. “Baptism together with the forgiving of sins has to be understood as incorporation.”24 It is true that justification takes place through faith alone, but the act of faith is a process that is completed and realized in baptism, which identifies the baptismal candidate with Christ in His death and resurrection and makes the newly baptized take part in the kainê diathêkê, the New Covenant.25

Baptism is not a facultative sign of an inwardly

22 I:447-448; 460-462.
23 III:179-180; 300-301.
24 “Es muss die Taufe ... samt der Sündenvergebung als Inkorporation verstanden werden.” (I:524).
25 I:306-310; 524; III:54-56; 59-63.


completed act of faith. The process of coming to faith goes through the stages of missionary preaching, the decision of the candidate to accept the faith, the decision to accept the person for baptism and the baptism itself. The decision to baptize is a jurisdictional26 decision about the presence of the working of the Holy Spirit in the candidate; if the decision is positive, baptism cannot be refused. When asked about it before the act of baptism, the candidate submits to God’s Lordship by professing the faith and thereby also confesses the sin of having wandered away from this Lordship. This is not entering into a contract with mutual rights and obligations but it is being instituted, i.e. accepting a change in status that brings about a community. The baptized is taken up into community with God; baptism is the pledge that expresses God’s self-obligation toward this community as answer to the self-giving of the baptized.27

Baptism and profession of faith normally belong together. But the old tradition of baptizing infants still exists and in addition it is possible that someone is baptized although the inner act of faith is lacking.

26 The concept of jurisdiction refers to the fact that some actions in the church need an official minister because they have a direct influence on the status of a person within the community. Cf. Paragraph IX.
27 I:238; 296-306; 310-319.


First of all we have to realize that the practice of baptizing infants comes from sociological circumstances that brought with them the fact that conversion was seen as an act of a family or a group in which the infants participated. Infant baptism and adult baptism that was not be preceded by an act of personal faith were to be followed by it. But still, it is the act of baptism that brings about the membership in the Church even if the personal act of faith does not follow. This is clear from the fact that the baptism can be realized by the personal faith of the merely baptized at any time without the necessity of repeating baptism. Therefore any baptized person has an absolute claim to mutual acknowledgement as Christian in the universal Church.28

b. Confirmation.

Baptism give full membership in the Church and gives full rights to receive the sacraments, e.g. the Eucharist. The fact that infant baptism has to be followed by catechesis is an obligation which follows from baptism itself. It might be conceivable that an older age would be required for full active rights in the community, e.g. to be a godparent, but not an extra sacrament like confirmation. Mission to be an active Christian in a concrete way has to be given and accepted in a conscious way; confirmation as

28 I:320-325; 328-332; II:195; III:66-67.


a kind of blessing could be developed to be such a mission, but the sacramental requirement can only be the one of baptism which gives full membership in the Church.29

c. Eucharist.

The Eucharistic celebration “is the place where the community with the Lord through the hand of the one who acts finds its most dense realization.”30 It needs a presider who represents Christ. The presider’s role is not just functional, he also has to make jurisdictional decisions as to who belongs to the community and is allowed to partake in the Eucharist and who does not. “Baptism grounds membership in the body of Christ, the Eucharist presupposed and renews it.”31 This is how the power of the keys32 plays a role in the eucharist, too.

29 I:340-353.
30 “... ist der Ort, wo die Gemeinschaft mit dem Herrn durch die Hand des Handelnden ihre dichteste Verwirklichung findet.” (I:604)
31 “Die Taufe begründet die Gliedschaft am Leibe Christi, das Abendmahl setzt sie voraus und erneuert sie.” (III:45)
32 With the concept of the power of the keys Dombois indicates the fact that the one who is asked to administer a sacrament has the power and the task to make the jurisdictional decision to admit someone to that sacrament or not. The concept therefore not only refers to the sacrament of reconciliation. Implicitly granting or refusal of any sacrament is a decision about the person’s position within the community, which does not necessarily reflect the fact of being justified by God or not. (I:973; 979-980) Cf. Paragraph IX.


Furthermore, the Holy Spirit is working in the coming together of the community. Despite the development of the private mass,33 it has to be said that the Eucharist cannot be separated from the congregation.34

d. Marriage.

Marriage is certainly not linked up with salvation in the way baptism and Eucharist are. It is an image of God’s relationship with the Church. The protestant churches question whether marriage is a sacrament. Whether one sees it as a sacrament or not depends upon one’s definition of sacrament. In any case “marriage is not a private contract between two isolated individual persons, but at all times it has been and still is in a mutual relationship with a bigger social entity, which gives it foundation and a public character.”35 The ecclesiastical community has to make the jurisdictional decision about the eligibility of two people who intend to marry before it can allow them to do so. The decision checks the

33 This development during the Middle Ages is another sign of the reduction of the sacraments to objects which can be given by the official ministers to the faithful instead of understanding them as actions, instituting processes which involve the community as a whole. (I:376-383)
34 I:367-368; 384-398; 603-604.
35 “Die Ehe ist nicht ein Privatvertrag zwischen zwei isolierten Einzelpersonen, sondern steht von jeher bis heute in Wechselbeziehung zu einem sozialen Grossverband, der sie trägt und ihr Character der Öffentlichkeit verleiht.” (I:655-656)


absence of marriage impediments and the presence of readiness to live up to God’s commandments. The cooperation of the Church has to do with the public character of the marriage and the fact that the Holy Spirit is believed to have brought the two together. Divine and human institutional action come together.36

e. Ordination.

The ritual of ordination has three elements which we can find through analysis of the ordination rituals in the different confessional churches, although not every confessional church will have all three of them. The first element is a reference to an act of election to the ordination, either by the community or the ordaining official minister. The second element is a reference to the working of the Holy Spirit, like the imposition of hands. The third element is the conferral of an ecclesiastical office.37

Election38 by the community belonged to ordination in the old Church, but the election was not an arbitrary process; rather it was the judgment of the community about

36 I:628-634; 641-644; 647-650; 659-670; 971.
37 I:495-512; 559-565.
38 Dombois often calls this “vocation”, thereby not in the first place referring to the inner experience of the candidate, although this also plays into this element since the election is a discernment about the working of the Holy Spirit.


the question whether or not a candidate for ordination was called by God. The development of absolute ordination made the election by a community impossible, so that the role of election, giving a jurisdictional decision about the working of the Holy Spirit in the candidate, had to be taken over by the ordaining official minister. It is the proper right and duty of the Church to choose its candidates for ordination, since this choosing is a process of discernment which cannot be entrusted to an authority outside of the Church, e.g. the civil authority.39

Through ordination the Spirit is given. God is free to give His presence or not, but since He has promised His Spirit when the Church prays to Him in the faith that He will grant His Spirit, the action of the ordaining minister grants the Spirit to the ordained. The Spirit is the Spirit of leadership in the community and the Spirit of unity that connects with the universal Church. The imposition of hands by the ordaining minister brings together both the representation of the community and the representation of the universal Church.40

Although they are separated from one another by the development of absolute ordination — strictly forbidden by the Council of Chalcedon — ordination and office belong together. The process of ordination is completed in the

39 I:483-484; 488-490; 560-561; III:109.
40 I:479-480; 772-776; 788.


conferral of an office. Public functioning as an ordained minister is possible only after receiving a mission, another jurisdictional decision.41

Since ordination is ordination to a service to the community that represents Christ, the notion of the priesthood of the faithful is not a helpful concept. Every confessional church needs and indeed has some sort of ordination to that service.42 Therefore, together with baptism and eucharist, ordination is a universal institution.43

f. Reconciliation.

Sin separates the sinner from the community of Christ. The official jurisdictional decision can be made to excommunicate the sinner in order to keep the community clean. The excommunication is undertaken by mandate and representation of Christ by the official minister on account of that minister’s power of the keys.

If the individual Christian confesses his sins only secretly before God, there is no administration of grace to that sinner by the community through another human being:

41 I:548-553; 567; 578-89.
42 Dombois calls this aspect of representation of Christ within the community the necessary “facing” (Gegenüber) of the community. Cf. Paragraph IX.
43 II:156-157; III:266-267; 325-328. Cf. also Paragraph IX.


furthermore the social dimension of sin is not regarded. One cannot do for oneself things that are essential for one’s position within the Church. To be reintegrated into the community the sinner has to confess his sins and has to be absolved from them and incorporated again into the community. This is an official jurisdictional decision also. The whole process is an institutional one which has to be undertaken by an official minister in the community, who has the power of the keys. Through absolution the Word and God’s justice are made concrete for a specific individual and his place within the community is thus determined.44

g. Sacrament of the Sick.

The sacrament of the sick has developed from being a communal act of healing on both a physical and a spiritual level. Being a sort of blessing, its character is close to that of confirmation. In the course of its development, however, it acquired an element of reconciliation. Therefore it is reserved to the official minister who can make a jurisdictional decision on account of having the power of the keys.45

44 I:293-296; 601; 732-739; 741-755; 757-759; 973; III:151.
45 I:762-767.


VIII. Preaching and Profession of Faith.

Preaching the Word is a follow-up of the mission-commandment of Christ: it is done by mandate and in representation of Christ. It can be addressed either to non-baptized people, challenging and calling for an act of faith on the part of the listener, or to baptized people. The function of preaching, especially when done within the liturgy, includes a jurisdictional element, since it functions to congregate, integrate and lead the community and also to point out sin and thereby exclude the sinner from the community. Therefore, although every Christian is called to proclaim the Word, the official preaching has to be entrusted to an official minister.46

When God’s word is directed to man, it has to be acknowledged and it claims this acknowledgment. The acknowledgment is the profession of faith which makes man God’s partner. The profession of faith47 acknowledges God’s Lordship over the world and accepts the New Covenant in Christ’s death on the cross. The profession of faith bears witness to the community that was founded by God. It takes place within liturgy and is part of the liturgical-sacramental action of the Church. The subject of the

46 I:368-374; 602.
47 Profession of faith doesn’t mean the (objective) creed but the act of professing the faith within liturgy (I:55-56)


profession of faith is not the individual but the Church. The confessing Christian only exists as such within the community.48

The liturgical profession of faith is made to God, but at the same time it can address man when it is meant to be missionary, or it can address heretics when it is meant to be dogmatic. These three aspects belong together and all three are present when a creed as an official profession of faith is formulated. Because of its communal character a creed has to be received by the universal Church. Traditionally only by a jurisdictional decision of an ecumenical council could a creed that is binding for all be formulated, since, through its dogmatic aspect, it had an excluding function toward heresy and heretics.49


IX. Office.

Dombois emphasizes that “the office in the Church is not simply a function and a product of the community but always stands independently facing it.”50 The juridical institutional structure of grace makes clear that the Church needs official ministers to grant grace through her

48 I:677-687.
49 I:696-714.
50 “... das Amt nicht einfach Funktion und Hervorbringung der Gemeinde ist, sondern ihr immer auch eigenständig gegenübersteht.” (I:70-71)


institutional actions. Christ commanded His disciples to perform specific salvific actions to others, which action one cannot perform for oneself. Granting justification to someone is representing God’s self-giving in Christ to that concrete person, and it has to be done by another concrete person within the context of a Christian community and in the form of incorporation into that community. Christ is the one who really is acting in this process and He does so through the representation by the official minister. The decisions about incorporation into the community and, if necessary, reconciliation with it are jurisdictional decisions that — normally — have to be made by official ministers who “face” the community and vicariously act vice Christi.51

Leading the Church occurs through preaching52 and through administering the sacraments. Both are institutional actions of the Church that grant grace. They belong together: preaching takes place in a sacramental context and sacraments need the explaining Word of the Gospel. There is a dialectical relationship between the two that can be illustrated by the fact that initial preaching announces God’s forgiveness; the sacrament of baptism grants the new institution by

51 I:192; 237-239; 243-244; 252-259; 439; 605-606; 612-613; III:144-145; 361-362; 398; 411.
52 From here on I use “preaching” to indicate both preaching and profession of faith as its acceptance.


incorporating into the Church; the preaching after baptism prevents one from falling out of the community; and the Eucharist and reconciliation preserve membership in the community. All these actions refer to representation of Christ and His mission-commandment, i.e. all of them have a jurisdictional aspect so that all of them need to be undertaken by an official minister.53

The fact that there are official ministers in the Church does not deny that the Spirit gives his special gifts to every Christian, which charismata enable then for and charge them with a concrete service to the community. The gifts of the Spirit are different for each Christian. The priesthood of the faithful can be understood as the fact that every Christian is called to a specific service. In talking about the official ministers in the community, however, we are referring to the gift of leadership, the special calling to represent Christ as a “facing” (Gegenüber) of the community. The official ministry has as main aspects preaching the Word and administering the sacraments, but it also may include leading the liturgy as a primus inter pares and diaconal service. If they are not functioning in a leadership role, the official ministers are acting in non-official services to the community.54

53 I:263-264; 398; 404-409; 418-241; 424; 691; 760-761; III:66-67; 258-259; 274, nt. 11.
54 I:247-252; 259-262.


The office has a particular and a universal aspect. It both gathers the local community as such and connects the local community with the universal Church. Through the official minister the universal Church is present in the local community. All the official ministers and their communities are founded upon the presence of the Lord and the working of the Holy Spirit. This means that there is a fundamental equality amongst the official ministers, but also that full legitimacy can only be attained by and official minister who is in community with the universal Church.55

The Father sent the Son and the Son sent the apostles and through them the official ministers within the community to represent Him. The individual ecclesiastical community therefore does not give itself its offices and official ministers, but they come from the traditio of the Holy Spirit who is the one who actually calls both the universal Church and the individual community into being. Just as the congregated local community must exist within the universal Church, so also must its official ministers refer to the universal Church. Apostolic succession which legitimates official ministry means that the offices and the official ministers represent the universal Church, i.e. the community of churches in the individual ecclesiastical

55 III:156-163; 191-192; 201-202.


community.56 It is a combination of personal sacramental mandate through ordination and kerygmatic jurisdictional57 mandate through fidelity to the tradition of the Gospel, i.e. the apostolic teaching. The sign of an unbroken line of imposition of hands, part of the sacramental mandate which refers to the unity of the Church, cannot take the place of subjection, every time anew, to the teaching of the apostles. Both personal sacramental mandate and the apostolic teaching have to be handed down to the official minister to guarantee the

56 An example of this is to be found in the fact that in the Catholic Church a bishop is normally ordained by three bishops as representatives of the universal Church and that in the protestant churches the ordination or installation of a new minister is usually done by several neighboring pastors.
57 Dombois links jurisdiction up with kerygma in the sense of the right apostolic teaching. In the light of what is said in Paragraph VIII, I presume that apostolic teaching here means the Christian teaching that the confessional churches agree upon, which would come down to the important creeds of the ecumenical councils. Because of the links Dombois sees between jurisdiction and apostolic tradition, in his opinion, heretics can have apostolic succession on a sacramental level and can celebrate the sacraments validly, although, being separated from the apostolic teaching, they lack jurisdictional succession (I:781-782). Accepting this link would mean that the authority to make the jurisdictional decisions that have to be made in administering the sacraments and in preaching, depends on the doctrinal position of the minister. It is, according to Dombois, only after the 11th century that the working of the Holy Spirit is considered to be present only if certain regulations — of transcendental canon law — are observed; and this view leads to a mor rigid understanding of jurisdiction and a linking of it with legitimation by the Pope who grants jurisdiction to the bishops who grant jurisdiction to their priests (II:118-119).


apostolic tradition.58

58 I:524-525; 773-779; 784; 789-802; 808-809. The Catholic Church emphasizes the need of valid sacramental ordination for the existence of apostolic succession; the protestant churches, on the other hand, emphasize the need of handing down the true apostolic teaching (successio est evangelium).