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Author Topic: Is NFP etc allowed?  (Read 7668 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: June 26, 2004, 07:02:15 AM »

It has been made clear to me many times that Orthodoxy generally forbids artificial birth control (condoms, sterilization etc), at least as a way of completely preventing conception. Sure, some liberal priests may say okay, spouses can wear a condom if they don't want children etc but generally what I've been told is that conception is part of a God-ordained plan for marriage and artificial birth control is a grave sin (though some priests will tolerate it after several kids as a "necessary evil" or something, but again this is controversial). Abstinence from sex is an option (indeed some saints etc have been married and had a "platonic" relationship with no sex, it's been done) but sex with birth control isn't in orthodoxy, except MAYBE after a few kids etc. Even that may be a sin.

But suppose there is a couple who still doesn't want kids. Are they allowed to use "natural family planning"/the rythm method, I.E. to have sex exclusively on days when the woman is least likely to conceive? That way, they are not physically stopping conception, just making it less likely to happen by deciding when exactly to do it. Does Orthodoxy permit it?

If permissible, is NFP an effective method for birth control?

This is not meant to be a debate on whether or not one should have kids, just a plain determination of whether these "natural" methods for a kind of birth control are sinful or not.
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« Reply #1 on: June 28, 2004, 11:05:08 PM »

May I suggest you find a good spiritual father and discuss these things with him.  Matters of sexual relations, especially as it pertains to the other thread you started on this general area, are best discussed with your spiritual father first.
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« Reply #2 on: June 28, 2004, 11:44:39 PM »

www.orthodoxnfp.org
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« Reply #3 on: July 07, 2004, 05:12:42 PM »

NFP is a very good method for making sure that the conception of a child does not take place. So, if that's your goal, and your Priest gives you the ok, it's probably your best bet as a christian.
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« Reply #4 on: July 07, 2004, 08:00:38 PM »

There appears to be a range of opinion on the admissibility of NFP.  I think a principle accepted by nearly all Orthodox who write on the subject is that a marriage must be open to the possibility of new life, but the particular way, and possible exceptions, are generally left to the discretion of one's spiritual father, acting in concord with the bishop.
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« Reply #5 on: July 16, 2004, 03:54:28 AM »

Dear Brothers and Sisters of Christ,

I am very encouraged by the posts on this thread.  May God bless you all for your openess to Him and to new life in Chirstian Marriage.  On the issue of the acceptabillity of NFP in Orthodox Chrisitanity, it can be pointed out that the Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras endorsed the encyclical of Pope Paul VI, Humanae Vitae which stated that NFP was an acceptable pratice if used for the proper motives.  So here is at least one hierarch of the Orthodox Church who acknowledged NFP as legitimate.  I have a small treatise on this topic for those who are interested, in which I collected a lot of this kind of information for the consideration of others.  Its titled:  Is Contraception Orthodox?  and can be found at:

http://www.geocities.com/derghazar/tradition.html

Thanks again for the encouraging posts.
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« Reply #6 on: July 16, 2004, 04:48:07 PM »

Im new to this sight and found it quite interesting. I am Greek Orthodox born and raised, and am the son of Priest. In reading this, about contraception, one question came to mind. I have often been taught that contraception (birth control pills, condoms....not abortions obviously) are acceptable within a marriage because God made us co-creators when it comes to human life. If we are to believe that this is true, why is it wrong then to dictate when you will be having a baby?
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« Reply #7 on: July 16, 2004, 07:07:44 PM »

me,

Some child spacing may be warrented by sincere Christian concerns.  Birth control pills are out because they are abortofacient, and condemns are really not good because they do not allow insemination to occur--the unitive and procreative aspects of sex really shouldn't be separated.  Natural family planning, or ABSTENTION from sex, is better, because it involves NOT HAVING SEX rather than having sex but using fake methods to trick the body into not getting pregnant.  I am unconvinced with the idea that NFP is the same thing as contraception (which I regard as horribly sinful, and find some writings, by for instance Frs Harakas and Meyendorff, to be extremely off the mark) because with NFP you *avoid having sex*, which I wonder how you can say is sinful!  Now if you have a *contraceptive mentality*, in that you want to permanently avoid children via NFP, I think this is equally sinful, but not the same thing as getting one's tubes tied, using condomns, or birth control pills.

NFP also helps strengthen marital communication.  I really recommend it; it is quite a nice system.

Because I want people to know I am not writing this theoretically, I am a student at a seminary and my wife is a student at law school. It really wouldn't be good for us to get pregnant.  But we are open to God's will. If we conceive, we conceive; we would look forward to the challenge.  We don't even use NFP, although we believe it would be permissible in our circumstances.  I would also say NFP would be acceptable if the wife is in danger of disease should a pregnancy occur.

The bottom line with me is this: I am really disturbed by the trend, even among Orthodox, to simply assume that it *doesn't matter* if we use contraception.  If someone out of genuine pastoral ideas comes to the conclusion that it is necessary, I will not judge them, although in general I find contraception revulting, but I expect that anyone reaching such a decision--and they must be a very small minority--will have seriously considered their reasoning.  "I don't feel like having another kid so we'll go on the pill" is simply NOT ACCEPTABLE.

It should be noted that the OCA's policy on contraception precludes use of the pill, since it can cause abortions (by preventing the implantation of a human embryo).

anastasios
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« Reply #8 on: July 17, 2004, 07:32:51 AM »

 I am unconvinced with the idea that NFP is the same thing as contraception (which I regard as horribly sinful, and find some writings, by for instance Frs Harakas and Meyendorff, to be extremely off the mark) because with NFP you *avoid having sex*, which I wonder how you can say is sinful!  

I know you don't agree with me here, but from my perspective it is quite possible to use NFP in the same contraceptive mentality way as other non-calendar-based methods.  It is entirely possible, perhaps likely, that it is the Holy Spirit who moves married couples to have sex to begin with.  When we feel "in the mood" we should not discount the possibility that, in the context of marriage and when it is not a sexual fasting time, the Holy Spirit is involved in what is essentially a sacred action.  Now, if we choose, through the misuse of our own knowledge of biology, armed with traqcking charts for the past few months and a calendar, to ignore the call of the Holy Spirit to have sex with our spouse becaue having sex on THIS day runs a higher risk of a pregnancy (which we do not want at this time), then we are placing our own will before God's will and committing an inherently contraceptive act.  The fact that the act involves abstention from sex is beside the point and irrelevant really because in the context of marriage God wants us to have sex ... in the context of marriage abstention from sex is not the preferred action, and to suggest that it is is simply to import a monastic type of attitude towards sex into marriage where it is out of place.  

So as I see it morally NFP, when used to prevent a pregnancy, is on the same moral ground in terms of the moral decision to defy the will of God by ignoring the call to have sex when that sex is likely to result in a pregnancy.

If you are totally open to the call of the Holy Spirit to have sex in your marriage, you really shouldn't be ignoring that call on days that are inconvenient for you because they may result in a pregnancy.  That's not being open to the will of God, in my opinion, and it is therefore spurious to draw distinctions between that kind of mental process and the use of condoms.  The birth control pill, because it can cause abortion, is in a different category, it is not only contraceptive but also abortificient.

If you believe that a couple has the ability to choose when to become pregnant because the couple are the stewards of God's gift of biological creativity, then it does not seem to me that there is much of a distinction between NFP (again, when used to avoid pregnancy) and condoms, from the moral perspective.  If you believe that the couple is simply the vessel of God's will and not a steward, and that the couple must remain at all times open to pregnancy, then NFP is as equally condemned as are condoms because in both cases we are placing our human wills before God's will.  So it really comes down to how you view the role of the married couple in the context of biological creativity.

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« Reply #9 on: July 17, 2004, 10:29:59 AM »

Anastasios,

The question is, would (and do) the fathers have a hard time consider NFP contraception? First, it is the mindset (wanting to avoid children) and not the methods that the Fathers disallowed. However, secondly, even when speaking of the methods, from what I can tell, at least some Fathers did dissallow the same principle that NFP uses (ie. timing the women's cycle so as to have the couple having sex when she can't get pregnant). You say that it's not having sex, so you can't see how it's bad. As I said on the Cafe, there's a good abstaining, and a bad abstaining. Just like witholding sex from a partner for your own wants can be (though not always is) selfish and wrong, so is staying away from sex for the wants and needs of two people sometimes selfish and wrong. It all depends on the reasons. Not all abstaining is pleasing to God! Smiley
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« Reply #10 on: July 17, 2004, 11:31:42 AM »

Dear Brendan 3,

You sound curiously like a Brendan I"ve had similar discussions with on another board.

Your arguments don't make a lot of sesne to me.  I pray it is not because I am not trying to understand them.  You seem to go out of your way to try and place the two ways of avoiding pregnancy (NFP and Artificial Birth Control) on the same level.  You do this by speculating that our sexual appetites and passions are an inspiration of the Holy Spirit (something I'd be very interested in seeing Patristic or Biblical support for).  You say because our sexual desires are divinely inspiried, to avoid them in any form (either through abstinence or by putting on a condom) are equally sinful.  Yet you do not state the final logical conclusion of your arguments.  I.e., both should be excluded by faithful Christian couples because of their sinfulness.  Why do you not state this logical conclusion?  I can only surmise it is because the whole jist of your argument is to weaken the case for NFP so that in your conscience it is acceptable to use ABC.  But you know that two wrongs don't make a right.  Therefore I think your argument fails.

Even a neophyte can recognize that the discipline involved in NFP is far more in accord with the spirit of Orthodox spirituality than is the very permissvie and life-stiffling contraceptive life-style.  Be careful not to "kick against the goad" here brother.  Anyone with an open heart who sits down and studies the teaching of the Fathers on Christian sexuality and the case for NFP, cannot but see a moral difference between NFP and ABC.  Many, many Orthodox now realize this and, without an infallible dictate, are already choosing this harder and narrower road.  God bless them for it.  This is not to say that NFP is perfect, but it is a far better alternative than ABC.  It requires discipline, self-sacrifice, self-denial, communication between the couple, serious commitment, and many other things that putting on a condom does not (I'm surprised you even make the comparison -have you ever even attempted NFP?).

And ofcourse like all of God's good gifts (as Anastasios has already stated above) NFP can be abused and used wrongly.  No one denies this.
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« Reply #11 on: July 17, 2004, 12:01:23 PM »

Anastasios,

The question is, would (and do) the fathers have a hard time consider NFP contraception? First, it is the mindset (wanting to avoid children) and not the methods that the Fathers disallowed.

reply:  I am surprised you write this.  The Fathers spoke not only of intentions but also very explicitly about the methods.

However, secondly, even when speaking of the methods, from what I can tell, at least some Fathers did dissallow the same principle that NFP uses (ie. timing the women's cycle so as to have the couple having sex when she can't get pregnant). You say that it's not having sex, so you can't see how it's bad. As I said on the Cafe, there's a good abstaining, and a bad abstaining. Just like witholding sex from a partner for your own wants can be (though not always is) selfish and wrong, so is staying away from sex for the wants and needs of two people sometimes selfish and wrong. It all depends on the reasons. Not all abstaining is pleasing to God! Smiley

reply:  Anastasios arlready stated in his reply that NFP can be used wrongly, so lets all avoid beating that dead horse.   Smiley  Here are some excerpts from the treatise "Is Contraception Orthoodox?" from  http://www.geocities.com/derghazar/tradition.html  which may speak to your question:

The Latin philosopher and apologist, Lactantius Firmianus, (A.D. 240-320) in A.D. 307 attested to the Christian belief that abstinence is the only licit means of limiting family size. He spoke of those who "complain of the scantiness of their means, and allege that they have not enough for bringing up more children, as though, in truth, their means were in [their] power... or God did not daily make the rich poor and the poor rich. Wherefore, if any one on any account of poverty shall be unable to bring up children, it is better to abstain from relations with his wife... the genital [generating] part of the body, as the name itself teaches, has been received by us for no other purpose than the generation of offspring" (Divine Institutions 6.23.18).

Noonan gives us a further explanation of this view from its chief proponents, the Latin Father, Lactantius and the Greek Father, St. John Chrysostom:

“In the late third century Lactantius gave value to the Pauline purpose of intercourse as remedy for incontinence (1 Cor. 7:5).  He wrote, “Whoever cannot control his affections, let him keep them within the limits of a lawful bed.”  The passage by itself would be ambiguous, but Lactantius went on to discuss intercourse in pregnancy.  God has made other female animals reject their mates when pregnant, but He ‘has made woman suffer her husband lest, when their wives repel them, husbands be driven by lust to seek elsewhere and so doing not keep the glory of chastity” (Divine Institutes 6.23.13,26).  Based on Lactantius’ other writings, Noonan notes it is obvious that, “Lactantius would have rejected any intentional frustration of the normal purpose [of intercourse, i.e. pro-creation].”

Noonan also records,

 “In the fourth century, St. John Chrysostom defended the Pauline view... preaching at Constantinople, Chrysostom taught,‘There are two reasons why marriage was instituted, that we may live chastely and that we may become parents.’  Today, after the Resurrection, a Christian may become a parent spiritually, ‘so there is one occasion for marriage, that we may not commit fornication’ (On those Words of the Apostle, “On Account of Fornication,” PG 51:213).  In taking this view, Chrysostom indicated that intercourse in old age is not blamable, although it is presumably not procreative; intercourse in pregnancy and by the sterile are implicitly justified by his doctrine.” (Contraception, p.78)

St. Chrysostom also states that the purpose of marriage is “for companionship and the procreation of children” (Homily 5 on 1 Thessalonians, PG 62:426).  Noonan explains how the purpose of intercourse is summed up by the great “Golden-Mouthed.”  “Boldly, without nuances, Chrysostom stated a belief which will be hidden in many Christian views of marital intercourse.  The generative act is sacral.  To interfere with it -so runs the implicit corollary here- would be to attack the work of God... Chrysostom regards contraception as worse than homicide, a mutilation of nature.” (Contraception, p. 78-79).
This second view, therefore, if contemplated, presents for us a rule to be followed.  Sex may be engaged in not only for the intention of procreation but also for the good, companionship, and communion of the couple.  But, this can only be done in a way that does not frustrate either end or purpose of marital intercourse, the unitive or pro-creative.  This view, manifested by these two Fathers of East and West, happens to be the precise one taken up and affirmed by the Pope of Rome, Paul VI, (of blessed memory) in his encyclical letter Humanae Vitae (A.D. 1968).  Keeping in mind that the Patriarch of Constantinople, Athenagoras, declared this encyclical to be the authentic doctrine shared by the Orthodox, we can use it to gain insights into the practical application of this doctrine for all Eastern Christians...  

So, based on the above Patristic statements, these principals are recognizable:

1.  Marital relations are given us not only for new life but also to keep us from sin (i.e. acting on sexual impulses which the Fathers DO NOT attritute to Divine inspiration)
2.  The only licit means of limiting a family size is by abstaining from marital intercourse
3.  Sex can be engaged in even if conception is not naturally physically possible (i.e. sex during pregnancy).

These three principals are the foundations of the science known as NFP.

Christians abstain from sex (during fertile periods) but make use of marital relations during non-fertile periods as a means of preventing fornication or adultery.  Its just that simple.

Yet I cannot present the full argument here as it is laid out in the study I mention above.  So, I'll stop here and if anyone is interested they can check it out for themselves.  Or there are Orthodox websites which are also helpful like:

http://www.paratheke.net/stephanos/

I hope some of this is helpful to some...
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« Reply #12 on: July 17, 2004, 12:25:49 PM »

... speculating that our sexual appetites and passions are an inspiration of the Holy Spirit (something I'd be very interested in seeing Patristic or Biblical support for).

I think they are. Do you think God would tell Adam and Even to "be fruitful and multiply" and yet NOT give them the sexual appetite and passions NEEDED to do so? That makes absolutely no sense.

To me, NFP is Birth Control. If God is giving you the idea to want to have sex when your wife is fertile, and you resist that idea, you are performing Birth Control.

It does not matter to me one way or the other -- my Priest tells people that if you don't want to have chilldren then don't get pregnant in the first plasce. That he sees nothing wrong with using Birth Control.
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« Reply #13 on: July 17, 2004, 12:38:33 PM »

Yes, Tom, but we are not Adam and Eve, nor are we living in Paradise anymore.  St. John Chrysostom clearly implies this in his above comments about how we must struggle and deal with our sexual desires.  If your priest tells you using condoms is fine, and this settles it for you, then by all means... do your thing.  The subject goes a little deeper than this for me and it requires a little more thought and reflection.
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« Reply #14 on: July 17, 2004, 02:24:54 PM »

Found this on goarch.org it seems that no one really knows for sure if its appropriate or not.

http://www.goarch.org/en/ourfaith/articles/article8076.asp

FERTILITY CONTROL

Fertility control, or contraception, is the practice by which mechanical, chemical, or other means are used, either before or after a sexual act, in order to prevent fertilization of the ovum by the sperm, thus circumventing the possible consequences of the sexual act - the conception and ultimate birth of a child.

General agreement exists among Orthodox writers on the following two points:

since at least one of the purposes of marriage is the birth of children, a couple acts immorally when it consistently uses contraceptive methods to avoid the birth of any children, if there are not extenuating circumstances;
contraception is also immoral when used to encourage the practice of fornication and adultery.
Less agreement exists among Eastern Orthodox authors on the issue of contraception within marriage for the spacing of children or for the limitation of the number of children. Some authors take a negative view and count any use of contraceptive methods within or outside of marriage as immoral (Papacostas, pp. 13-18; Gabriel Dionysiatou). These authors tend to emphasize as the primary and almost exclusive purpose of marriage the birth of children and their upbringing. They tend to consider any other exercise of the sexual function as the submission of this holy act to unworthy purposes, i.e., pleasure-seeking, passion, and bodily gratification, which are held to be inappropriate for the Christian growing in spiritual perfection. These teachers hold that the only alternative is sexual abstinence in marriage, which, though difficult, is both desirable and possible through the aid of the grace of God. It must be noted also that, for these writers, abortion and contraception are closely tied together, and often little or no distinction is made between the two. Further, it is hard to discern in their writings any difference in judgment between those who use contraceptive methods so as to have no children and those who use them to space and limit the number of children.

Other Orthodox writers have challenged this view by seriously questioning the Orthodoxy of the exclusive and all-controlling role of the procreative purpose of marriage (Zaphiris; Constantelos, 1975). Some note the inconsistency of the advocacy of sexual continence in marriage with the scriptural teaching that one of the purposes of marriage is to permit the ethical fulfillment of sexual drives, so as to avoid fornication and adultery (1 Cor. 7:1-7). Most authors, however, emphasize the sacramental nature of marriage and its place within the framework of Christian anthropology, seeing the sexual relationship of husband and wife as one aspect of the mutual growth of the couple in love and unity. This approach readily adapts itself to an ethical position that would not only permit but also enjoin sexual relationships of husband and wife for their own sake as expressions of mutual love. Such a view clearly would support the use of contraceptive practices for the purpose of spacing and limiting children so as to permit greater freedom of the couple in the expression of their mutual love.

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« Reply #15 on: July 18, 2004, 07:24:53 AM »

“Your arguments don't make a lot of sesne to me.”

Well, as I noted, some would disagree with what I wrote.  That is to be expected.  There is much disagreement about these issues.

“You do this by speculating that our sexual appetites and passions are an inspiration of the Holy Spirit (something I'd be very interested in seeing Patristic or Biblical support for).”

Tom has mentioned Genesis.  Sex in the context of marriage is holy and sacred.  As Bishop Kallistos has written, our “passions” are not in themselves intrinsically evil or undesirable, but they need to be channeled in the proper direction.  The proper channelling for sexual passion is marital sex GǪ sexual desire and passion for one’s spouse is not a “passion” that we struggle against, it is a sacred passion ordained by God.  To view it otherwise denigrates the entire institution of marriage and monasticizes our view of marital sexuality.  In fact, St. Paul himself tells us not to deny each other in marriage (in terms of sexual availability) other than for periods of intense prayer, but to give ourselves to each other physically in marriage as much as our spouse wishes.  This is wholly inconsistent with any notion that marital sex is a passion that must be struggled against.  Much mischief has come from that idea and its inherent suggestion that married couples are to emulate monastics in their approach to life and sexuality.

“Yet you do not state the final logical conclusion of your arguments.  I.e., both should be excluded by faithful Christian couples because of their sinfulness.  Why do you not state this logical conclusion?”

Because some may reach that conclusion and others may not.  As I said at the end of my note, the conclusion that you reach is probably colored by the view you have of Christian marriage and the role of Christian spouses in the creation of life.  If you believe that you must always be open to becoming pregnant, and that we are passive recipients of God’s will in this regard, then I think that you can’t make a moral distinction between condoms and NFP, because in both cases you are putting your own will ahead of God’s will.  If you believe that you are the steward, and are able to exercise prudent stewardship over the gifts God gives, including the gift of fecundity and children, then you may believe that using a non-abortificient birth control method would be permissible, and if this is the case there is again no meaningful moral distinction to be made between NFP and condoms.  In essence, my own personal view is closer to the latter, and pretty much matches what the OCA has promulgated on this topic.

“Even a neophyte can recognize that the discipline involved in NFP is far more in accord with the spirit of Orthodox spirituality than is the very permissvie and life-stiffling contraceptive life-style.”

I don’t see it that way.  When you are actively doing NFP to avoid a pregnancy, you spend much time, energy and focus on contracepting GǪ you take measurements, chart them over a series of months, compare them with the calendar, discuss what days may be the least fertile best bets for sexual activity, plan your sexual activity so as to occur on infertile dates, etc. GǪ all of that time, energy, focus and communication is contraceptive in nature, is focused on contacepting.  In fact, when you’re using NFP to avoid a pregnancy, you are focusing on your contraceptive attitude every single day, a few times a day GǪ you become much more contraceptive-centered, and it seeps into your brain more thoroughly, than with other methods.  I can’t imagine something that is more like a “contraceptive lifestyle” than focusing so much time and energy and focus on contraceptive decisions on a daily basis as is the case when using NFP to avoid a pregnancy.  Of course, if you are using NFP to time sexual activity so as to have children, then you aren’t using it to contracept GǪ but if you’re using it that way then there is no discussion about “birth control” at all.  If however, you are using it to avoid a pregnancy, the so-called “discipline” and “communication” that are a part of NFP are all contraceptive in nature GǪ I may grant that it is a more abstinence-oriented and communication-oriented method of contraception, but that’s all, and these elements are not relevant to the morality of the decision to contracept because sexual abstinence per se in the marital context is not a virtue and communication, when that communication is about contraceptive acts, is not much of a virtue either, again, if you believe that we are the passive recipients of God's will and must always be open to pregnancy in our marital sexual activity (which tends to be the perspective of the supporters of NFP, paradoxically).

“I'm surprised you even make the comparison -have you ever even attempted NFP?”

Yes, and it felt much more contraceptive to me than a condom did, because we were actively focused on a daily basis on contraception, as I noted above.
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« Reply #16 on: July 18, 2004, 07:29:27 AM »

So then, which of the Fathers describe abstaining from sex in order to not have children as sinful?

A note about Adam and Eve: there is a strong tradition from the Fathers that had they not fallen, they would have reproduced in some way that did not include sex, some less carnal and apparently more spiritual way.
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« Reply #17 on: July 18, 2004, 07:38:05 AM »

"Do not refuse one another except perhaps by agreement for a season, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again lest Satan tempt you through lack of self-control"  1 Cor. 7: 5.

Of course Paul had a very negative view of sexuality in general, so he couches this in terms of "cession, not command".  But it is highly enlightening that even someone who was as down on sexuality as Paul was (who thought the end of the world was just around the proverbial corner) encourages married couples not to abstain from sex other than for limited periods.  Coming from Paul, this endrosement of marital sexuality has even greater power and force, because in general he is so negative about sex.
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« Reply #18 on: July 18, 2004, 08:24:53 AM »

Thank you for your reply.  I'll keep this short because I have pretty much stated everything I wanted/needed and I don't have the time or desire to prolong this into a long debate.

1.  I never stated sexual desire was evil.  I know some hold this view.  I do not.  The use of NFP is not a result of such view.

2.  As far as struggling with sexual desire (which is not in itself evil).  Of course we all struggle with it.  This is why St. Paul says what he does (lest Satan tempt you).  Its proper application is within marriage.  Yet even this can be abused, misused and over-indulged.  Sex within marriage is not meant to be a free-for-all and should also have its proper limits.

3.My view is primarily colored by the witness of the Fathers.  I can't get around what they taught.  No one who gives them serious consideration can come away thinking contraception is good and perfectly acceptable.  To do this, the Fathers must be put aside and ignored.  NFP is not perfect, and still might even be regrettable, but -at least- it is an effort not to buy whole-sale into the contraceptive-culture we live in.   It is certainly counter-cultural.  As for NFP making you more contraceptive in mentality, Janet E. Smith of "One More Soul" organization has a tape cassette called "Contraception, Why Not." In it she explains why this is not really the case.  Yes, NFP can be used with a contraceptive mentality, as you even noted in your personal experience.  But it doesn't have to be used this way.  Indeed, some use it to pin-point the fertile time in order to conceive.

Finally, I'd like to say that I know this is a hard teaching.  In today's culture when "everybody's doing it" even many within the Church, it is hard to resist.  Not only is the teaching hard to accept, it is even more difficult to practice.  I'd be deceiving you if I didn't say that I've struggled to put it into practice at times (especially in the year following a pregnancy when you don't really know when a woman is fertile).  As Brendan noted, it takes much energy and effort.  Even the Pope of Rome noted this in his historic encyclical.  But I think there's something there, something significant when one sits down, drops his defences, and listens to a full presentation on this topic.  God bless those of you within our Orthodox Church who strive to follow it.  May God bless those of you who have really gave it an honest chance in your heart, by studying the Fathers and the arguments for NFP's superiority over ABC, and still, honestly don't see it.  Part of being a Christian is remaining open to God's truth and this is something we all must struggle to do.

Thank you all for allowing me to be part of the dialogue.
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« Reply #19 on: July 18, 2004, 03:29:10 PM »

So then, which of the Fathers describe abstaining from sex in order to not have children as sinful?

A note about Adam and Eve: there is a strong tradition from the Fathers that had they not fallen, they would have reproduced in some way that did not include sex, some less carnal and apparently more spiritual way.

Bah! More utter nonsense. When I hear this type of stuff it drives me crazy. There IS no other reason why male and female sexual organs were created as they were EXCEPT to deliver the male seed into the the woman and make it intensly ENJOYABLE!


The why didn't God make us like he made the birds, where the male and female organs OUTWARDLY are the same and copulation is performed by rubbing the two orifice together in what has been termed "an anal kiss". There is no penetration of the male organ.

Or do the Holy fathers ALSO believe that initially Male and Female sexual organs were the same PRIOR to the fall and after the fall God said "Opps! Guess I better give you a little spear there Adam!"

 Roll Eyes
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« Reply #20 on: July 19, 2004, 10:47:46 AM »

Tom - remember that in Genesis, when  God cast Adam and Eve out of Paradise, He gave them coats of skin - He gave them a more carnal body than the one they had originally had in Paradise. Things changed big time with the Fall and the Fathers seem to say a lot about this.
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« Reply #21 on: July 19, 2004, 10:54:38 AM »

Tom - remember that in Genesis, when  God cast Adam and Eve out of Paradise, He gave them coats of skin - He gave them a more carnal body than the one they had originally had in Paradise. Things changed big time with the Fall and the Fathers seem to say a lot about this.

Soooo....are you supporting the idea that God changed Adam and Eve's sex organs after the Fall to enable them to procreate "more dirty"?

Cause if he did, that would mean that God changed his mind, or corrected an oversight on hsi part. I mean, God MUST have known that Man would fall.
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« Reply #22 on: July 19, 2004, 10:57:44 AM »

What I think is interesting, having myself read most of the sources quoted today in Orthodox circles on these subjects, is that everyone uses the sources, but no one seems to have read them! Smiley Noonan, for instance, says point blank how odd it is that the first major authority in the Church to speak on the subject of contraception condemned the only method today allowed by Catholics (and some Orthodox), ie. a timing/rhythm/NFP method. I bet you won't see Orthodox Priests like Fr. John (who I like, FWIW Smiley ), or Catholic apologists like Dave Armstrong, giving those particular quotes.  And there are very many quotes that people today avoid--like the one by St. John Chrysostom, when preaching in Antioch, in which he says that there is only one reason for having sex; if you want to know what the reason is, read the book that everyone quotes (ie. Noonan's), for he gives the passage of Chrysostom's in it. Orthodox and Protestants and Catholics go on and on in their quotes of Noonan, anti-Augustinian writers, Fr. John, or whoever, always choosing the quotes that they agree with... but never seem to face the hard truth of what the Fathers actually said. It would be a lie to say that the Fathers said that there were only two reasons for sex (avoiding fornication and procreation)--although some Fathers--including St. John at one time--were that strict. However, that being said, I challenge people to gather together quotes from the Fathers in which other reasons for having sex are mentioned. Such quotes are few and far between. That doesn't make them irrelevant, but it should point to something, if we are ready to listen. I also challenge people to explore not the letter of the fathers, but the spirit. What exactly were the Fathers speaking against? And would they say today? What do they say today? I really need to learn to avoid these conversations, I get so passionate!  Lips Sealed I apologize for that.
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« Reply #23 on: July 19, 2004, 11:35:31 AM »

I agree with you Paradosis.

The picking and choosing of specific SENTENCES out of one Saints entire writings is why Orthodoxy is so splintered.

Anyone can find almost anything to "justify" schism by utilizing this method.

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« Reply #24 on: July 20, 2004, 06:08:35 PM »

Dear Paradosis,

I will reply once to your digs which seem pointed my way.

I'm wondering what have you to be passionate about?  The the whole world and the far majority in the Church agree with you all that contraception is acceptable.  Only a small minority of legalistic, Pharisaic, selective quoters like myself, think that Holy Tradition is clear that contraceptive pratices miss the mark of Christian life.  You can easily write us off as freak fundamentalist, religious fanatics and go about your happy way.

I'm familiar with Patristic quotes which people use to support contraception.  I deal with this topic in my above mentioned paper.  As for the Pope's declarations... why do you make this an important part of the question?  I thought this was an Orthodox forum.

The difference between you and me (from the tone of your last reply) is that I'm still open to chaning my position on contraception if I can see reason to.  From reading your words, you don't seem that open.  It doesn't matter to me, because its not my mission to convince anyone.  I'm just trying to be open to God's truth.

peace,


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« Reply #25 on: July 20, 2004, 06:29:29 PM »

By the way,

I looked up the quote you refer to.  Apparently you were referring to St. Augustine's condemnation of the Manicheans for their attept of using sterile periods to prevent conception.  But surely you read the next paragraph which clarifies how Noonan understood St. Augustine's words:

"Yet Augustine's words are confined by a context.  It is against men who would prevent all procreation that his biting phrases are deployed.  The Manichean concern 'lest a soul be implicated in the flesh ' is an objetion to every act of generation."

Any thoughts on this?
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« Reply #26 on: March 06, 2009, 03:09:17 PM »

Forgive me for bringing up such a very old thread, but I have some rather simple questions about this "debate." Let me pose some scenarios that y'all can respond to for me. And please know that I'm not entirelytrying to play devil's advocate here. I'm a recent convert to Orthodoxy just trying to get some honest answers. Honestly, some of what's been written above goes a little over my head, so maybe putting my concerns in these types of questions can help get me some answers. *May all of you reading this have a blessed Lent*

1) What does an Orthodox married couple do if they are sitting around one evening and wish to have marital relations, and the woman realizes that it's been, say, 3 weeks since her last menstrual period? Even someone with casual limited knowledge of her cycle would know that she's most likely in an infertile time of her cycle. Does that, then, preclude having relations because she knows she won't conceive during that instance of the conjugal act?

2) Would it logically follow that if forbidding NFP because one is knowingly having sex during an infertile time that one should, perhaps, use NFP to ensure that the couple only has relations during a fertile period? If it's a sin to willfully abstain during fertile periods does that mean we are to abstain during periods that we know are infertile?

3) Let's say a couple has 1 child and doesn't want any more. Period. No more kids. Let's also say that they have been blessed with the amazing willpower to abstain from sex completely and live as "brother and sister." Doesn't that also fall under the sin of avoid God's command to "be fruitful and multiply?"

I acknowledge that my questions carry with them the baggage of Western logic and legalism. Bear with me.  Smiley
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« Reply #27 on: March 06, 2009, 03:48:08 PM »

Hi,

I'll try answering #3, but I'll also reiterate that these are questions that should really be taken up with a spiritual father because they fall under pastoral concerns.

If a couple is going to live as brother and sister without marital relations IN ORDER to avoid having more children, and not to glorify God by living in a monastic way, then it is sinful.  They wouldn't be living chastely, even though they aren't sleeping together, because to be chaste is to be wholeminded.   To be wholeminded about marriage is to acknowledge that it is both procreative AND unitive.  The marital act is not strictly for making babies, it is also to join the bodies and hearts of the married couple, and increase their love for God and each other.  So to begin living as brother and sister just to avoid kids is not Christian, but to live as brother and sister by mutual consent and to devote their lives to prayer can be a way of glorifying God.

Just because they are blessed with willpower to abstain doesn't make it holy; our society is filled with people who have the willpower to abstain from carbs...does that mean they are fasting or sculpting their abs?
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« Reply #28 on: March 07, 2009, 08:42:44 AM »

si2008, thanks for your reply. I realize these are all pastoral concerns but I'm just trying to wrap my head around the discussion as a whole. I'm just trying to get a grasp on the debate in more practical, rather than theological or Patristic, terms.

It is repeated over and over again that the conjugal act should be both unitive and procreative. I guess my question, more specifically, is that if that's the case, are we then expected to make sure that we only engage in marital sex during times of fertility? I know that's not actually the expectation, but it seems to be the logical result if we're to make sure our acts are open to the possibility of a child.

Even a couple who is not practicing NFP or even the less rigid and "scientific" Rhythm or Standard Days Method can be reasonably aware of periods of both fertility and infertility. Is it the Christian ideal that they abstain during those periods of natural infertility during the month and save their relations for times when it's more likely that they conceive a child?

I've got more questions but I'll save them for later.  Wink

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« Reply #29 on: March 07, 2009, 08:57:32 AM »

NFP is allowed but it is really a dead duck in the water.  People are just not interested in using it.    The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) reported a few years back that they  estimate that only between 2% and 3% of childbearing Catholic couples use  it.  The remaining 97% use methods of contraception forbidden by their  Church and seen as gravely sinful.  So I would say, being very pragmatic, that if the Vatican with its very sophisticated educational techniques on family planning cannot persuade more than 3% of its married couples to use NFP you won't find too many Orthodox using it.

Source :: Theresa Notare, the Assistant Director of the Diocesan Development Program for NFP and secretariat for pro-life activities for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).

from
http://www.holyspiritinteractive.net/features/prolife/article_05.asp

"You can probably guess-timate that 2 or 3 percent of Catholic women use it [Natural Family Planning]," says Theresa Notare, assistant director of the Diocesan Development Program for NFP and secretariat for pro-life activities for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB)."


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« Reply #30 on: March 07, 2009, 09:04:57 AM »

Oh, I'd probably put the same number (2-3%) in Orthodox circles, too.  Unfortunately I've encountered too many people who are "too smart" for the faith, and who won't leave so much up to chance.
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« Reply #31 on: March 07, 2009, 09:12:25 AM »

OK, my first post here was about NFP.  Now, if you'll allow me, I'll address the "..etc..." in the thread title.

The Orthodox Churches don't tend to put out statements such as the Vatican does -papal encyclicals, bulls, curial statements, etc. But in the year 2000 the Russian Orthodox Church felt the need to proclaim some basic Christian principles for the guidance of the Russian people after the country's depressing 70 years of repression by the atheistic powers. A Millennial Synod which gathred all of Russia' bishops was held in Moscow and it promulgated a major statement on the Church and modern society "Bases of the Social Concept of the Russian Orthodox Church."

The Russian Orthodox Church allows non-abortive contraception and speaks of it in the Millennial Statement from the Synod of Bishops.

BASES OF THE SOCIAL CONCEPT OF THE RUSSIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH

XII. 3. Among the problems which need a religious and moral assessment is that of contraception. Some contraceptives have an abortive effect, interrupting artificially the life of the embryo on the very first stages of his life. Therefore, the same judgements are applicable to the use of them as to abortion. But other means, which do not involve interrupting an already conceived life, cannot be equated with abortion in the least. In defining their attitude to the non-abortive contraceptives, Christian spouses should remember that human reproduction is one of the principal purposes of the divinely established marital union (see, X. 4). The deliberate refusal of childbirth on egoistic grounds devalues marriage and is a definite sin.

Section XII.3 of the 2000 Synodal document

"BASES OF THE SOCIAL CONCEPT
OF THE RUSSIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH"
http://3saints.com/ustav_mp_russ_english.html

also here

http://www.incommunion.org/articles/the-orthodox-church-and-society/introduction

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« Reply #32 on: March 07, 2009, 09:13:40 AM »

Unfortunately I've encountered too many people who are "too smart" for the faith, and who won't leave so much up to chance.

What exactly do you mean by, "too smart for the faith"?
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« Reply #33 on: March 07, 2009, 09:46:33 AM »

NFP is allowed but it is really a dead duck in the water.  People are just not interested in using it.    The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) reported a few years back that they  estimate that only between 2% and 3% of childbearing Catholic couples use  it.  The remaining 97% use methods of contraception forbidden by their  Church and seen as gravely sinful.  So I would say, being very pragmatic, that if the Vatican with its very sophisticated educational techniques on family planning cannot persuade more than 3% of its married couples to use NFP you won't find too many Orthodox using it.

Source :: Theresa Notare, the Assistant Director of the Diocesan Development Program for NFP and secretariat for pro-life activities for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).

from
http://www.holyspiritinteractive.net/features/prolife/article_05.asp

"You can probably guess-timate that 2 or 3 percent of Catholic women use it [Natural Family Planning]," says Theresa Notare, assistant director of the Diocesan Development Program for NFP and secretariat for pro-life activities for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB)."




I don't know about how much Orthodox are into it, but 2 of the 3 parishes I've been at there was firm support and advocation for it.  My ex wife was, unfortunately, one of those "too smart for the faith" (IOW too sophisticated, too intelligent, too...).  Part of why she is my ex wife: there's a certain mentality that goes along ABC most of the time (and another with NFP).  Btw, NFP works better than the ABC.
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« Reply #34 on: March 07, 2009, 09:55:21 AM »

si2008, thanks for your reply. I realize these are all pastoral concerns but I'm just trying to wrap my head around the discussion as a whole. I'm just trying to get a grasp on the debate in more practical, rather than theological or Patristic, terms.

It is repeated over and over again that the conjugal act should be both unitive and procreative. I guess my question, more specifically, is that if that's the case, are we then expected to make sure that we only engage in marital sex during times of fertility? I know that's not actually the expectation, but it seems to be the logical result if we're to make sure our acts are open to the possibility of a child.

How is this a more practical, rather than theological or Patristic terms, question? Praticality has no position on the morality of the likelihood of conception. Just like sex during fertility is not a guarentee of procreation, the unitive doesn't have to expect a guarantee of fertility.  If it was, infertile couples could never engage, something St. John Chrysostom, for instance, discounts.

Contrast us with the Mormons, who believe in the preexistence of souls.  One of their "prophets" stated that they should go into their wives only when they received a personal revelation or their wives told them they were fertile.

Marriages don't exist to produce children (sorry St. Jerome).  Marriages are an end unto themselves, which naturally result in children.

Quote
Even a couple who is not practicing NFP or even the less rigid and "scientific" Rhythm or Standard Days Method can be reasonably aware of periods of both fertility and infertility. Is it the Christian ideal that they abstain during those periods of natural infertility during the month and save their relations for times when it's more likely that they conceive a child?

I've got more questions but I'll save them for later.  Wink


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« Reply #35 on: March 07, 2009, 12:59:33 PM »

Unfortunately I've encountered too many people who are "too smart" for the faith, and who won't leave so much up to chance.

What exactly do you mean by, "too smart for the faith"?

They feel that Orthodoxy is riddled with beliefs and practices that are products of an unenlightened age, and now that we 'know better' on many fronts, that the beliefs and practices are no longer relevant or useful.  Things like artificial contraception (Church doesn't like, but they do), using one Communion spoon (church likes, but they don't), celibacy (church likes, but they don't) and abstinence, etc.
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« Reply #36 on: March 07, 2009, 01:06:35 PM »

It is repeated over and over again that the conjugal act should be both unitive and procreative. I guess my question, more specifically, is that if that's the case, are we then expected to make sure that we only engage in marital sex during times of fertility? I know that's not actually the expectation, but it seems to be the logical result if we're to make sure our acts are open to the possibility of a child.

Even a couple who is not practicing NFP or even the less rigid and "scientific" Rhythm or Standard Days Method can be reasonably aware of periods of both fertility and infertility. Is it the Christian ideal that they abstain during those periods of natural infertility during the month and save their relations for times when it's more likely that they conceive a child?

I've got more questions but I'll save them for later.  Wink

The real problem arises when couples NEVER have sex during fertile periods, avoiding the possibility of conception altogether.  This is self-centered and frowned upon.  Otherwise, the statement "sex is a unitive and procreative act" isn't limiting the scope to "sex must in each and every instance be unitive and open for procreation" - if this were the case, sex during infertile periods would be forbidden, which it is not.  There are going to be times when it isn't procreative or possible to be procreative, and times when it may or may not be unitive.  But it must be open to at least one at all times.
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« Reply #37 on: March 07, 2009, 01:24:57 PM »

Father Bless!

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The Russian Orthodox Church allows non-abortive contraception and speaks of it in the Millennial Statement from the Synod of Bishops.

I have read the social concept document several times (specifically the point you mentioned). I'm not sure that non-abortive contraceptive are uniformally allowed. I don't see that in the text, nor have I found an online source that says that it is uniformally allowed. I have seen some texts online that refer to oikonimia as justification if your spiritual father recommends contraception.


Quote
XII. 3. Among the problems which need a religious and moral assessment is that of contraception. Some contraceptives have an abortive effect, interrupting artificially the life of the embryo on the very first stages of his life. Therefore, the same judgements are applicable to the use of them as to abortion. But other means, which do not involve interrupting an already conceived life, cannot be equated with abortion in the least. In defining their attitude to the non-abortive contraceptives, Christian spouses should remember that human reproduction is one of the principal purposes of the divinely established marital union (see, X. 4). The deliberate refusal of childbirth on egoistic grounds devalues marriage and is a definite sin.

At the same time, spouses are responsible before God for the comprehensive upbringing of their children. One of the ways to be responsible for their birth is to restrain themselves from sexual relations for a time. However, Christian spouses should remember the words of St. Paul addressed to them: Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency (1 Cor. 7:5). Clearly, spouses should make such decisions mutually on the counsel of their spiritual father. The latter should take into account, with pastoral prudence, the concrete living conditions of the couple, their age, health, degree of spiritual maturity and many other circumstances. In doing so, he should distinguish those who can hold the high demands of continence from those to whom it is not given (Mt. 19:11), taking care above all of the preservation and consolidation of the family.

The Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church in its Decision of December 28, 1998, instructed the clergy serving as spiritual guides that it is inadmissible to coerce or induce the flock to… refuse conjugal relations in marriage. It also reminded the pastors of the need to show special chastity and special pastoral prudence in discussing with the flock the questions involved in particular aspects of their family life.
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Irish Hermit
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« Reply #38 on: March 07, 2009, 04:52:32 PM »

I have read the social concept document several times (specifically the point you mentioned). I'm not sure that non-abortive contraceptive are uniformally allowed. I don't see that in the text, nor have I found an online source that says that it is uniformally allowed. I have seen some texts online that refer to oikonimia as justification if your spiritual father recommends contraception.

I am not sure what you mean by "uniformally"?

Contraception is meant to be used sparingly and for a cogent reason, to space children, to protect the health of the woman, etc.

It should also be used in consultation with your parish priest, but in actual practice people often omit to discuss it with him.

I see that you are in the OCA (and congratulations on your reception.  May God bless it.)   Haven't the OCA bishops issued guidelines on the use of contraception?   It would be interesting to see them.

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« Reply #39 on: March 07, 2009, 06:10:14 PM »

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I am not sure what you mean by "uniformally"?

Being  babe in Orthodoxy, I don't have the vocabulary that I should. I meant by uniformally that there is a clearly defined and upheld stance on it. For example, incest and abortion are clearly condemned by the Orthodox Chruch, uniformally.

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Contraception is meant to be used sparingly and for a cogent reason, to space children, to protect the health of the woman, etc.
It should also be used in consultation with your parish priest, but in actual practice people often omit to discuss it with him.

I don't know what contraception is meant to be used for, but I can say what it is typically used for by both Christians and Non-Christians. That is, to avoid pregnancy, but still have intercourse.

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I see that you are in the OCA (and congratulations on your reception.  May God bless it.)   Haven't the OCA bishops issued guidelines on the use of contraception?   It would be interesting to see them.

Thank you Father, both my wife and I were received in January.

I have heard that guidelines were issued and I think I might have read them a while back on oca.org, but I'm not sure. I did find this in a search:
http://www.oca.org/QA.asp?ID=147&SID=3

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The control of the conception of a child by any means is also condemned by the Church if it means the lack of fulfillment in the family, the hatred of children, the fear of responsibility, the desire for sexual pleasure as purely fleshly, lustful satisfaction, etc.

Again, however, married people practicing birth control are not necessarily deprived of Holy Communion, if in conscience before God and with the blessing of their spiritual father, they are convinced that their motives are not entirely unworthy. Here again, however, such a couple cannot pretend to justify themselves in the light of the absolute perfection of the Kingdom of God.

This is in the Q and A, so I don't consider it a authoritative statement per se. I have garnered a little from orthodoxinfo.com which seems to post articles that speak against contraception for any reason.

I can on recommend that an Orthodox Christian speak with his spiritual father/parish priest if such a reason to use contraception arose. I would most definitely speak to my spiritual father/parish priest in such a case.

I hope I cleared up my previous post.
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« Reply #40 on: March 07, 2009, 06:20:51 PM »

I meant by uniformally that there is a clearly defined and upheld stance on it. For example, incest and abortion are clearly condemned by the Orthodox Chruch, uniformally.

I would say that there is a uniform approach among the bishops.  I am aware of two bishops who condemn contraception - one is the Greek bishop of Florina (Augustinos?) and the other is Bishop Artemije of Prizren.  He even condemns NFP as gravely sinful.  By taking this position Bp Artemije is probably the only bishop who adheres, totally, to the patristic position.  Do people know of other bishops who refuse any form of contraception to their flock?

So, across the board, I would say that there is a uniform position.

PS: it goes without saying that people are expected to make *responsible* use of contraception.   The intention to completely avoid children is grossly sinful.  It constitutes grounds for divorce in Orthiodoxy.


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« Reply #41 on: March 07, 2009, 11:52:31 PM »

I meant by uniformally that there is a clearly defined and upheld stance on it. For example, incest and abortion are clearly condemned by the Orthodox Chruch, uniformally.

I would say that there is a uniform approach among the bishops.  I am aware of two bishops who condemn contraception - one is the Greek bishop of Florina (Augustinos?) and the other is Bishop Artemije of Prizren.  He even condemns NFP as gravely sinful.  By taking this position Bp Artemije is probably the only bishop who adheres, totally, to the patristic position.  Do people know of other bishops who refuse any form of contraception to their flock?

So, across the board, I would say that there is a uniform position.
Two bishops constitute a uniform position?
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« Reply #42 on: March 08, 2009, 01:06:16 AM »

I meant by uniformally that there is a clearly defined and upheld stance on it. For example, incest and abortion are clearly condemned by the Orthodox Chruch, uniformally.

I would say that there is a uniform approach among the bishops.  I am aware of two bishops who condemn contraception - one is the Greek bishop of Florina (Augustinos?) and the other is Bishop Artemije of Prizren.  He even condemns NFP as gravely sinful.  By taking this position Bp Artemije is probably the only bishop who adheres, totally, to the patristic position.  Do people know of other bishops who refuse any form of contraception to their flock?

So, across the board, I would say that there is a uniform position.
Two bishops constitute a uniform position?

Sorry if I scrunched my thoughts up too much.

Of course two bishops do not constitute a uniform position.  But their opposition highlights the uniform position of the rest of the bishops.
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« Reply #43 on: March 08, 2009, 11:09:43 AM »

The real problem arises when couples NEVER have sex during fertile periods, avoiding the possibility of conception altogether.  This is self-centered and frowned upon.  Otherwise, the statement "sex is a unitive and procreative act" isn't limiting the scope to "sex must in each and every instance be unitive and open for procreation" - if this were the case, sex during infertile periods would be forbidden, which it is not.  There are going to be times when it isn't procreative or possible to be procreative, and times when it may or may not be unitive.  But it must be open to at least one at all times.

This seems to make sense to me. I think for myself, and only for myself -- I'm not judging anyone who uses NFP -- I would feel like using NFP would foster a spirit of contraception in my spiritual life. It just seems like a lot of time is spent tracking, planning, and calculating in order to know exactly when you can have sex without getting pregnant. Maybe, to me, it seems that NFP might take unfair advantage of natural periods of infertility while less "exact" methods such as Rhythm and SDM are more in line with properly using what we know about reproductive biology. Is my logic flawed in thinking that?

I acknowledge that the ideal position is that if you don't want to conceive a child at the moment, then abstain from sex. In that regard, I can understand how proponents of NFP would say that they are simply abstaining during the "right times." Can the argument be made that God created a woman with monthly periods of infertility for a reason?
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« Reply #44 on: April 17, 2011, 11:57:08 AM »


NFP is allowed but it is really a dead duck in the water.  People are just not interested in using it.    The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) reported a few years back that they  estimate that only between 2% and 3% of childbearing Catholic couples use  it.  The remaining 97% use methods of contraception forbidden by their  Church and seen as gravely sinful.  So I would say, being very pragmatic, that if the Vatican with its very sophisticated educational techniques on family planning cannot persuade more than 3% of its married couples to use NFP you won't find too many Orthodox using it.

Source :: Theresa Notare, the Assistant Director of the Diocesan Development Program for NFP and secretariat for pro-life activities for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).

from
http://www.holyspiritinteractive.net/features/prolife/article_05.asp

"You can probably guess-timate that 2 or 3 percent of Catholic women use it [Natural Family Planning]," says Theresa Notare, assistant director of the Diocesan Development Program for NFP and secretariat for pro-life activities for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB)."


Well, glory be, a study of contraception among Catholics in the States which *completely* verifies the statistics which I have been giving for years past.  Catholics on the forum have always derided me for presenting these statistics and made out that I have no idea at all of what I am speaking.

But here it is - confirmation in a study released a week ago.  Its results agree 100% with what I have always said.

Most Catholics use birth control: study
 Updated: Apr 13, 2011 6:28 PM ET

BOSTON — Some 98% of sexually active Catholic women in the United States have
used contraceptive methods banned by the church, research published on Wednesday
showed.

A new report from the Guttmacher Institute, the nonprofit sexual health research
organization, shows that only 2 percent of Catholic women, even those who
regularly attend church, rely on natural family planning.

Go to....

http://life.nationalpost.com/2011/04/13/most-catholics-use-birth-control-study/
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