ECONOMY

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ECONOMY - (oikonomia) 1) the management of a household. In theology the term refers first of all to God's providence as the divinity extends itself beyond the inner life of the Trinity: all that pertains to the created worlds and to the divine actions taken on their behalf and for their salvation. The supreme example of the divine economy is therefore the Incarnation,- the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. From the risen Christ comes the gift of the Holy Spirit, and in the latter the presence in the fallen world of the Kingdom of God, -  the Church. As the Church exists in a fallen world,its fundamental concern must be the salvation of the souls whom it embraces.

2) Actions taken by the Church in the person of its officers (bishops, and by extension priests) for the redemption of individual believers in the sphere of Canon Law. While representing the Church's governing of souls and communication of grace, the canons are never in themselves absolute. They may be enforced literally, kat'akribeian, or with discretion, kat 'oikonomian, depending on the discernment of the needs of the particular soul.  "Economy" of canonical application can therefore mean either a loosening of the canonical prescriptions (akin to the western term: "dispensation"), or the  imposition of a discipline stricter than that which the canons provide.

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