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Moderated Forums => Faith Issues => Topic started by: Tikhon.of.Colorado on March 08, 2010, 09:18:38 PM

Title: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Tikhon.of.Colorado on March 08, 2010, 09:18:38 PM
Hello, all.  this last Sunday my priest gave a sermon on lust.  he said that the church demands a monogamos, heterosexual union.  but he also said that when we participate in intercourse, we should only doso with the intention of pro-creation.  this does not make sence, as I thought that the churchpermits contraception.  would someone please explain this?
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: SolEX01 on March 08, 2010, 09:23:44 PM
I would ask why would your Priest give a sermon on lust on the third Sunday of Lent, the Elevation of the Holy Cross?   ???
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Tikhon.of.Colorado on March 08, 2010, 09:26:05 PM
I would ask why would your Priest give a sermon on lust on the third Sunday of Lent, the Elevation of the Holy Cross?   ???

that struck me as rather odd aswell.  he said he was giving a series on the seven vices.  I went to a service in another town that same day, and the priest said "and you all should of heard about the cross in today's sermon".  he then went on to tell an amusing story about a bublee bee, lol.

Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: ytterbiumanalyst on March 08, 2010, 09:29:54 PM
Yes, you should have heard about the Cross. Some people would just rather talk about sex....
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Tikhon.of.Colorado on March 08, 2010, 09:31:33 PM
but what exactly is the Orthodox Christian view on contraception?
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Irish Hermit on March 08, 2010, 09:54:54 PM
Hello, all.  this last Sunday my priest gave a sermon on lust.  he said that the church demands a monogamos, heterosexual union.  but he also said that when we participate in intercourse, we should only doso with the intention of pro-creation.  this does not make sence, as I thought that the churchpermits contraception.  would someone please explain this?

The bishops of the OCA deal with Birth Control in this letter to the flock

http://www.oca.org/DOCencyclical.asp?SID=12&ID=4
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: SolEX01 on March 09, 2010, 12:30:03 AM
I would ask why would your Priest give a sermon on lust on the third Sunday of Lent, the Elevation of the Holy Cross?   ???

that struck me as rather odd aswell.  he said he was giving a series on the seven vices.  I went to a service in another town that same day, and the priest said "and you all should of heard about the cross in today's sermon".  he then went on to tell an amusing story about a bublee bee, lol.

How can you attend two Services in different towns in the same day, assuming that one happens to be Orthodox?  Something is not adding up here.   ???  I know some Assemblies of God Churches start their services at 7 PM and they don't follow the Orthodox Christian Calendar.   :)
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Tikhon.of.Colorado on March 09, 2010, 12:33:41 AM
I would ask why would your Priest give a sermon on lust on the third Sunday of Lent, the Elevation of the Holy Cross?   ???

that struck me as rather odd aswell.  he said he was giving a series on the seven vices.  I went to a service in another town that same day, and the priest said "and you all should of heard about the cross in today's sermon".  he then went on to tell an amusing story about a bublee bee, lol.

How can you attend two Services in different towns in the same day, assuming that one happens to be Orthodox?  Something is not adding up here.   ???  I know some Assemblies of God Churches start their services at 7 PM and they don't follow the Orthodox Christian Calendar.   :)

we have a thing called "mission vespers" on sunday nights tis month.  we attend our regular church on Sunday morning for liturgy, and attend a service in another town, a vespers service with a sermon, at about 5-6pm.  it's really very fun.  I had no idea that I had so many Orthodox brothers an sisters in Colorado.  quite a learning experience.
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: SolEX01 on March 09, 2010, 12:51:34 AM
I would ask why would your Priest give a sermon on lust on the third Sunday of Lent, the Elevation of the Holy Cross?   ???

that struck me as rather odd aswell.  he said he was giving a series on the seven vices.  I went to a service in another town that same day, and the priest said "and you all should of heard about the cross in today's sermon".  he then went on to tell an amusing story about a bublee bee, lol.

How can you attend two Services in different towns in the same day, assuming that one happens to be Orthodox?  Something is not adding up here.   ???  I know some Assemblies of God Churches start their services at 7 PM and they don't follow the Orthodox Christian Calendar.   :)

we have a thing called "mission vespers" on sunday nights tis month.  we attend our regular church on Sunday morning for liturgy, and attend a service in another town, a vespers service with a sermon, at about 5-6pm.  it's really very fun.  I had no idea that I had so many Orthodox brothers an sisters in Colorado.  quite a learning experience.

OK ... You attended two Orthodox Churches on the 3rd Sunday of Lent; the Morning Sermon didn't talk about the Cross and the Vespers sermon ... technically speaking, didn't have to talk about the Cross.  I realize that you are young; However, can you differentiate between your "home" Church vs. attending another Orthodox Church?

Forgive me if I'm not addressing your topic on what the Church has said about contraception (which has been discussed many times on this forum).  My concern is that you're listening to a number of different messages from a number of different Orthodox Churches which is creating confusion in your mind (please correct me if I'm wrong).   :angel:
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Tikhon.of.Colorado on March 09, 2010, 12:55:54 AM
I would ask why would your Priest give a sermon on lust on the third Sunday of Lent, the Elevation of the Holy Cross?   ???

that struck me as rather odd aswell.  he said he was giving a series on the seven vices.  I went to a service in another town that same day, and the priest said "and you all should of heard about the cross in today's sermon".  he then went on to tell an amusing story about a bublee bee, lol.

How can you attend two Services in different towns in the same day, assuming that one happens to be Orthodox?  Something is not adding up here.   ???  I know some Assemblies of God Churches start their services at 7 PM and they don't follow the Orthodox Christian Calendar.   :)

we have a thing called "mission vespers" on sunday nights tis month.  we attend our regular church on Sunday morning for liturgy, and attend a service in another town, a vespers service with a sermon, at about 5-6pm.  it's really very fun.  I had no idea that I had so many Orthodox brothers an sisters in Colorado.  quite a learning experience.

OK ... You attended two Orthodox Churches on the 3rd Sunday of Lent; the Morning Sermon didn't talk about the Cross and the Vespers sermon ... technically speaking, didn't have to talk about the Cross.  I realize that you are young; However, can you differentiate between your "home" Church vs. attending another Orthodox Church?

Forgive me if I'm not addressing your topic on what the Church has said about contraception (which has been discussed many times on this forum).  My concern is that you're listening to a number of different messages from a number of different Orthodox Churches which is creating confusion in your mind (please correct me if I'm wrong).   :angel:

I know just what you mean.  in fact, I was disgussing this very thing with my priest's mother.  my home church, really does feel like home.  ours is the only one I'v seen that has icons hung, not painted on the walls.  ours is also the oldest building I've been to.  the two different topics of the day, however, do confuse me.  I'll adress this with my spiritual father at our next catechism class.
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: SolEX01 on March 09, 2010, 01:01:21 AM
I know just what you mean.  in fact, I was disgussing this very thing with my priest's mother.  my home church, really does feel like home.  ours is the only one I'v seen that has icons hung, not painted on the walls.  ours is also the oldest building I've been to.  the two different topics of the day, however, do confuse me.  I'll adress this with my spiritual father at our next catechism class.

Your spiritual father will help greatly even if he was the one preaching about lust last Sunday.   :-\

With lust, you can put that burden at the foot of Christ's cross if that is a weight you can't bear by yourself.

Whether you attend an OCA, Greek, Antiochian, Western Rite Antiochian, or other Orthodox Church, you will see some similarities and some differences.  You may not understand them, yet, as you learn about Orthodoxy, you will see many similarities in faith and few outward differences like language.   :)

Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Tikhon.of.Colorado on March 09, 2010, 01:05:42 AM
I know just what you mean.  in fact, I was disgussing this very thing with my priest's mother.  my home church, really does feel like home.  ours is the only one I'v seen that has icons hung, not painted on the walls.  ours is also the oldest building I've been to.  the two different topics of the day, however, do confuse me.  I'll adress this with my spiritual father at our next catechism class.

Your spiritual father will help greatly even if he was the one preaching about lust last Sunday.   :-\

With lust, you can put that burden at the foot of Christ's cross if that is a weight you can't bear by yourself.

Whether you attend an OCA, Greek, Antiochian, Western Rite Antiochian, or other Orthodox Church, you will see some similarities and some differences.  You may not understand them, yet, as you learn about Orthodoxy, you will see many similarities in faith and few outward differences like language.   :)



I know just what you mean.  my church is an OCA church, aswell are two of the churches I've traveled to.  I attended a Greek church.  it was beautiful...but it sure was a bit different.  instead of saying "Lord have mercy" we also said (I apologize to the Greeks in advance for my bad spelling) "Gediason"".  it was wonderful!
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Alveus Lacuna on March 09, 2010, 01:23:58 AM
instead of saying "Lord have mercy" we also said (I apologize to the Greeks in advance for my bad spelling) "Gediason"".

Close.  It's "Kyrie Eleison", and it's the most universal Christian prayer throughout the world.
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Tikhon.of.Colorado on March 09, 2010, 01:27:15 AM
instead of saying "Lord have mercy" we also said (I apologize to the Greeks in advance for my bad spelling) "Gediason"".

Close.  It's "Kyrie Eleison", and it's the most universal Christian prayer throughout the world.

thanks so much for the correction!

how do you say "Christ is risen"?
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: PeterTheAleut on March 09, 2010, 01:53:23 AM
Hello, all.  this last Sunday my priest gave a sermon on lust.  he said that the church demands a monogamos, heterosexual union.  but he also said that when we participate in intercourse, we should only doso with the intention of pro-creation.  this does not make sence, as I thought that the churchpermits contraception.  would someone please explain this?
The view I read quite recently on this forum is that the Orthodox Church neither permits nor forbids artificial birth control.  In short, we recognize the ideal that all marital relations should be open to the possibility of procreation, which makes us hesitant to permit birth control as though it were something good.  But our priests and bishops also realize that we live in a fallen world where it may be wise to permit birth control as a concession to human weakness or the pressure of outside circumstances in order to not drive a couple away from Christ and the Church.  Either way, the decision to permit or forbid the use of contraceptives is a decision a pastor must make for each individual couple in consultation with that couple and based on their needs.  There is no "one-size-fits-all" approach to this matter.

I may not be explaining our position all that well, but this is the gist of what I understand it to be.
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Michał on March 09, 2010, 04:06:45 AM
The bishops of the OCA deal with Birth Control in this letter to the flock

http://www.oca.org/DOCencyclical.asp?SID=12&ID=4

MP's document dealing, among other things, with contraception is also worth reading: http://orthodoxeurope.org/page/3/14.aspx (see: point XII. 3.).
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Irish Hermit on March 09, 2010, 06:03:22 AM
There is a consensus among the Russian, Greek, Serbian, Romanian and Antiochian Churches (I cannot speak for the other Churches since I have never had the opportunity to become acquainted with their teaching on this matter.)

The above Orthodox Churches allow contraception when

1.  it is non-abortive

2.  it is for grave and justifiable reasons

3.  it is for a limited time
.........(although health consideration may influence this)

4  it is used with the blessing of the parish priest or spiritual father or mother
.........(although this is not strictly necessary)

Fr Ambrose
Russian Orthodox Church (Abroad)
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Alpo on March 09, 2010, 08:13:37 AM
There is a consensus among the Russian, Greek, Serbian, Romanian and Antiochian Churches (I cannot speak for the other Churches since I have never had the opportunity to become acquainted with their teaching on this matter.)

Are there any online documents about the stances of Greek, Serbian, Romanian and Antiochian Churches, Father? Not that I'd doubt your word but I'd still like to be able to point out more specific source than a random message in a random forum if asked.
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Irish Hermit on March 09, 2010, 08:25:46 AM
There is a consensus among the Russian, Greek, Serbian, Romanian and Antiochian Churches (I cannot speak for the other Churches since I have never had the opportunity to become acquainted with their teaching on this matter.)

Are there any online documents about the stances of Greek, Serbian, Romanian and Antiochian Churches, Father? Not that I'd doubt your word but I'd still like to be able to point out more specific source than a random message in a random forum if asked.

Dear Alpo,

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 gathered 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://www.mospat.ru/en/documents/social-concepts/xii/
also here
http://www.incommunion.org/articles/the-orthodox-church-and-society/introduction

-oOo-
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Alpo on March 09, 2010, 10:59:25 AM
The Orthodox Churches don't tend to put out statements such as the Vatican does -papal encyclicals, bulls, curial statements, etc.

Yes, I was aware of that and that's the very reason for my inquiry. I became to wonder whether I've been wrong. Apparently not. Well, thanks for the answer anyway. :P
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Heorhij on March 09, 2010, 11:39:27 AM
Hello, all.  this last Sunday my priest gave a sermon on lust.  he said that the church demands a monogamos, heterosexual union.  but he also said that when we participate in intercourse, we should only doso with the intention of pro-creation.  this does not make sence, as I thought that the churchpermits contraception.  would someone please explain this?

Your priest is simply wrong.
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: PeterTheAleut on March 09, 2010, 12:47:33 PM
Hello, all.  this last Sunday my priest gave a sermon on lust.  he said that the church demands a monogamos, heterosexual union.  but he also said that when we participate in intercourse, we should only doso with the intention of pro-creation.  this does not make sence, as I thought that the churchpermits contraception.  would someone please explain this?

Your priest is simply wrong.
How so?
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Heorhij on March 09, 2010, 01:19:48 PM
Hello, all.  this last Sunday my priest gave a sermon on lust.  he said that the church demands a monogamos, heterosexual union.  but he also said that when we participate in intercourse, we should only doso with the intention of pro-creation.  this does not make sence, as I thought that the churchpermits contraception.  would someone please explain this?

Your priest is simply wrong.
How so?

Teaching that married couples should have sex only with the intention to procreate.
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Tikhon.of.Colorado on March 11, 2010, 07:02:19 PM
Hello, all.  this last Sunday my priest gave a sermon on lust.  he said that the church demands a monogamos, heterosexual union.  but he also said that when we participate in intercourse, we should only doso with the intention of pro-creation.  this does not make sence, as I thought that the churchpermits contraception.  would someone please explain this?

Your priest is simply wrong.
How so?

Teaching that married couples should have sex only with the intention to procreate.

I really would't go so far as to say he's wrong as he is a very intellegent and holy man.  this is exactly what has confused me!  if the church says that using contraception is OK,thatn there is clearly no intention of procreation there.  I really need to ask him about this.
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Michał on March 11, 2010, 08:33:02 PM
Your priest is simply wrong.
How so?

Teaching that married couples should have sex only with the intention to procreate.

Such a teaching seems to be not compatible with Orthodox teleology.
Quote
In Orthodoxy, the telos of a given act . . . is always to be subject to the telos of the person. Likewise, within Orthodoxy the telos of the person is not determined by the perceived telos of the acts appropriate to that person. Orthodoxy is not bottom up in its anthropology. Thus the logic: sex is meant, finally, for procreation; as a married man I am to have sex; thus my sexual activity is meant, finally, for procreation - does not work in Orthodoxy. Within Orthodoxy the "telos" of the given act is derivative of the telos of the person or persons involved. I am finally meant for salvation. My wife is finally meant for salvation. As two who have become one our marriage is to serve us as we are , finally, being saved. Sex within our marriage is to serve our telos. We are not meant to serve the "telos" of a given act. Thus God's soteriological personalism frees us from natural determinisms. This does not mean that we ignore or reject nature, quite the contrary. God intends to save me as a man, and to save my wife as a woman, and our salvation must be worked out in its proper course. But my sex and what is natural to it is meant to serve me, I am not meant to serve it.
Source: http://ochlophobist.blogspot.com/2007_02_01_archive.html



. . .the church says that using contraception is OK. . .

That's oversimplification.
Quote
The control of the conception of a child by any means is . . . 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.
Source: http://www.oca.org/QA.asp?ID=147&SID=3
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: jckstraw72 on March 11, 2010, 09:57:13 PM
i dont know if there is any "official" stance, but your priest seems to be pretty in line with all the earliest Fathers and theologians
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Irish Hermit on March 11, 2010, 10:31:55 PM
i dont know if there is any "official" stance, but your priest seems to be pretty in line with all the earliest Fathers and theologians

Out of line really....

Although we do not have an extensive amount of material from the Fathers on this topic we do have enough to know that they had two requisites..

The conjugal act must take place with the

1. intention to conceive

2. possibility to conceive.
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: ytterbiumanalyst on March 12, 2010, 12:27:22 PM
^ Is that so? The material Michael quoted from Orthodox sources seems to say just the opposite. Why should we then believe you at your word with no sources to back up what you're saying?
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Heorhij on March 12, 2010, 12:33:04 PM
i dont know if there is any "official" stance, but your priest seems to be pretty in line with all the earliest Fathers and theologians

Out of line really....

Although we do not have an extensive amount of material from the Fathers on this topic we do have enough to know that they had two requisites..

The conjugal act must take place with the

1. intention to conceive

2. possibility to conceive.

So, no woman in menopause should engage in sexual acts with her husband? No pregnant woman, even at very early stages of pregnancy? No lactating woman? No woman who underwent hysterectomy? No woman (or man) who is as androgine?
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Fr. George on March 12, 2010, 12:47:08 PM
So, no woman in menopause should engage in sexual acts with her husband? No pregnant woman, even at very early stages of pregnancy? No lactating woman? No woman who underwent hysterectomy? No woman (or man) who is as androgine? 

Women in menopause: Anna, & Elizabeth, & Sarah.  It's possible.
Pregnant women: Actually, the Fathers say that the man should abstain from sex with his wife during pregnancy, because they thought it could lead to miscarriage (and if it did, then the man & woman would have a penance for doing things that led to their child's death).  Only now do we know that this is generally not the case - so I don't know what our position is.
Lactating women: our doctors told us that indeed it was possible for a lactating woman to get pregnant.
Hysterectomy: obvious.
Androgine: I was actually hearing on the radio yesterday about an androgine who has kids.  I think, though, this is quite rare, no (that they can have children)?
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: ialmisry on March 12, 2010, 12:51:19 PM
Lactating women: our doctors told us that indeed it was possible for a lactating woman to get pregnant.

I can personally attest to that.
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Heorhij on March 12, 2010, 12:53:30 PM
Hysterectomy: obvious.

Father, obvious what? No intercourse, forbidden?
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Fr. George on March 12, 2010, 01:06:44 PM
Hysterectomy: obvious.
Father, obvious what? No intercourse, forbidden?

No - in the context of my post, I was giving examples of how situations you presented as being unable to conceive were not so.  Hysterectomy, however, is an obvious "no, one can't conceive."  I'm staying out of the conversation this time (viz a viz contraception) because (a) people don't listen to good advice if it doesn't agree with their preconceived notions, and (b) this is a dicey issue to begin with.
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: HandmaidenofGod on March 12, 2010, 01:49:32 PM
Women in menopause: Anna, & Elizabeth, & Sarah.  It's possible.
Pregnant women: Actually, the Fathers say that the man should abstain from sex with his wife during pregnancy, because they thought it could lead to miscarriage (and if it did, then the man & woman would have a penance for doing things that led to their child's death).  Only now do we know that this is generally not the case - so I don't know what our position is.
Lactating women: our doctors told us that indeed it was possible for a lactating woman to get pregnant.
Hysterectomy: obvious.
Androgine: I was actually hearing on the radio yesterday about an androgine who has kids.  I think, though, this is quite rare, no (that they can have children)?

On a recent trip to the doctor I had to fill out the usual paperwork that goes along with a doctor's visit. In the Medical History section it asks whether or not the patient is using any forms of Birth Control. The form specifically states "Nursing is NOT a form of contraception!"  :laugh:  :laugh:
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: ialmisry on March 12, 2010, 02:08:26 PM
Hysterectomy: obvious.
Father, obvious what? No intercourse, forbidden?

No - in the context of my post, I was giving examples of how situations you presented as being unable to conceive were not so.  Hysterectomy, however, is an obvious "no, one can't conceive."  I'm staying out of the conversation this time (viz a viz contraception) because (a) people don't listen to good advice if it doesn't agree with their preconceived notions, and (b) this is a dicey issue to begin with.

Actually, she can conceive (it has happened), but can't carry to term, for obvious reasons.
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Irish Hermit on March 12, 2010, 04:59:32 PM
^ Is that so? The material Michael quoted from Orthodox sources seems to say just the opposite. Why should we then believe you at your word with no sources to back up what you're saying?

Dear Professor,

Absolutely no need to believe me of course.

I am too lazy to resubmit the sources and citations.  They are in other contraception threads.

But by all means go with Michael's opposite sources if he has submitted such.
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Irish Hermit on March 12, 2010, 05:07:09 PM
i dont know if there is any "official" stance, but your priest seems to be pretty in line with all the earliest Fathers and theologians

Out of line really....

Although we do not have an extensive amount of material from the Fathers on this topic we do have enough to know that they had two requisites..

The conjugal act must take place with the

1. intention to conceive

2. possibility to conceive.

So, no woman in menopause should engage in sexual acts with her husband? No pregnant woman, even at very early stages of pregnancy? No lactating woman? No woman who underwent hysterectomy? No woman (or man) who is as androgine?


As I have piointed out we have little material from the Fathers on this matter but what we do have shows that they were sharply against sexual intercourse in all the situations you have described.   They saw them as simply an exercise in lust.

The one exception to the Fathers' opinion is Saint John Chrysostom who speaks of what we would now call unitive sex as being of at least equal value with procreative sex.

Citations are already in the Forum's archives many times over.
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Heorhij on March 12, 2010, 05:13:57 PM
i dont know if there is any "official" stance, but your priest seems to be pretty in line with all the earliest Fathers and theologians

Out of line really....

Although we do not have an extensive amount of material from the Fathers on this topic we do have enough to know that they had two requisites..

The conjugal act must take place with the

1. intention to conceive

2. possibility to conceive.

So, no woman in menopause should engage in sexual acts with her husband? No pregnant woman, even at very early stages of pregnancy? No lactating woman? No woman who underwent hysterectomy? No woman (or man) who is as androgine?


As I have piointed out we have little material from the Fathers on this matter but what we do have shows that they were sharply against sexual intercourse in all the situations you have described.   They saw them as simply an exercise in lust.

The one exception to the Fathers' opinion is Saint John Chrysostom who speaks of what we would now call unitive sex as being of at least equal value with procreative sex.

Citations are already in the Forum's archives many times over.

Thank you, Father. To me, it's just sad. I cannot understand, how one can not value, appreciate unitive sex in marriage and consider it in ANY case an "exercise in lust." That's dehumanizing... For yet another time, I cannot but think that Fathers were, in some respects, strange people, to put it mildly.

I wonder, did they (the Fathers) even understand that there is a GIVING aspect in marital conjugation, not merely receiving? And that the giving is, in the case of couples that live together long enough and truly love each other, indeed the most precious, unique, un-replaceable giving of the gift of oneself?

Probably not...
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: ytterbiumanalyst on March 12, 2010, 06:41:32 PM
i dont know if there is any "official" stance, but your priest seems to be pretty in line with all the earliest Fathers and theologians

Out of line really....

Although we do not have an extensive amount of material from the Fathers on this topic we do have enough to know that they had two requisites..

The conjugal act must take place with the

1. intention to conceive

2. possibility to conceive.

So, no woman in menopause should engage in sexual acts with her husband? No pregnant woman, even at very early stages of pregnancy? No lactating woman? No woman who underwent hysterectomy? No woman (or man) who is as androgine?


As I have piointed out we have little material from the Fathers on this matter but what we do have shows that they were sharply against sexual intercourse in all the situations you have described.   They saw them as simply an exercise in lust.

The one exception to the Fathers' opinion is Saint John Chrysostom who speaks of what we would now call unitive sex as being of at least equal value with procreative sex.

Citations are already in the Forum's archives many times over.
So...will you or won't you provide sources for the claims you made that these unnamed Fathers said?
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Irish Hermit on March 12, 2010, 06:49:29 PM
Professor, one of our priests was browsing the site.  Until a few years ago he was resident in Washington.  He says he was astounded to see on OC.net a picture of Senator Chris Dodd who is not only a Roman Catholic politician but he is also a pro-abortion senator.  Apparently he is in favour of that most evil and gruesome ways of killing children - induced partial birth followed by killing with scissors stabbed into the base of the skull.  Now that I know that it kind of makes me gag to see your avatar.
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: ytterbiumanalyst on March 12, 2010, 06:56:46 PM
Professor, one of our priests was browsing the site.  Until a few years ago he was resident in Washington.  He says he was astounded to see on OC.net a picture of Senator Chris Dodd who is not only a Roman Catholic politician but he is also a pro-abortion senator.  Apparently he is in favour of that most evil and gruesome ways of killing children - induced partial birth followed by killing with scissors stabbed into the base of the skull.  Now that I know that it kind of makes me gag to see your avatar.
Hmm...I see. I won't discuss politics here, but I will say that I find your summation of the Senator to be rather one-sided. I assure you that he is my current avatar for reasons completely unrelated to abortion. If you want to know my reasoning, PM me; it's rather off-topic here.

But I will ask you again: Will you or won't you provide sources for the claims you made about these unnamed Fathers?
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Irish Hermit on March 12, 2010, 07:06:48 PM
Professor, one of our priests was browsing the site.  Until a few years ago he was resident in Washington.  He says he was astounded to see on OC.net a picture of Senator Chris Dodd who is not only a Roman Catholic politician but he is also a pro-abortion senator.  Apparently he is in favour of that most evil and gruesome ways of killing children - induced partial birth followed by killing with scissors stabbed into the base of the skull.  Now that I know that it kind of makes me gag to see your avatar.
Hmm...I see. I won't discuss politics here, but I will say that I find your summation of the Senator to be rather one-sided. I assure you that he is my current avatar for reasons completely unrelated to abortion. If you want to know my reasoning, PM me; it's rather off-topic here.


The portrayal of a pro-abortion senator as your avatar could be seen as a political statement and whatever reasons you may have for promoting him, his promotion of the partial birth killing of babies negates them all. 
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: ytterbiumanalyst on March 12, 2010, 07:09:34 PM
Professor, one of our priests was browsing the site.  Until a few years ago he was resident in Washington.  He says he was astounded to see on OC.net a picture of Senator Chris Dodd who is not only a Roman Catholic politician but he is also a pro-abortion senator.  Apparently he is in favour of that most evil and gruesome ways of killing children - induced partial birth followed by killing with scissors stabbed into the base of the skull.  Now that I know that it kind of makes me gag to see your avatar.
Hmm...I see. I won't discuss politics here, but I will say that I find your summation of the Senator to be rather one-sided. I assure you that he is my current avatar for reasons completely unrelated to abortion. If you want to know my reasoning, PM me; it's rather off-topic here.
The portrayal of a pro-abortion senator as your avatar could be seen as a political statement and whatever reasons you may have for promoting him, his promotion of the partial birth killing of babies negates them all. 
It's not a political statement. I don't give a rat's behind what the government does about abortion. In my mind, all politicians are pro-choice, because none of them has done or will ever do a single thing to end it. That's all I'm going to say here. PM me if you want to know my reasoning, PM me.
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Irish Hermit on March 12, 2010, 07:28:04 PM
Professor, one of our priests was browsing the site.  Until a few years ago he was resident in Washington.  He says he was astounded to see on OC.net a picture of Senator Chris Dodd who is not only a Roman Catholic politician but he is also a pro-abortion senator.  Apparently he is in favour of that most evil and gruesome ways of killing children - induced partial birth followed by killing with scissors stabbed into the base of the skull.  Now that I know that it kind of makes me gag to see your avatar.
Hmm...I see. I won't discuss politics here, but I will say that I find your summation of the Senator to be rather one-sided. I assure you that he is my current avatar for reasons completely unrelated to abortion. If you want to know my reasoning, PM me; it's rather off-topic here.
The portrayal of a pro-abortion senator as your avatar could be seen as a political statement and whatever reasons you may have for promoting him, his promotion of the partial birth killing of babies negates them all. 
It's not a political statement. I don't give a rat's behind what the government does about abortion. In my mind, all politicians are pro-choice, because none of them has done or will ever do a single thing to end it. That's all I'm going to say here. PM me if you want to know my reasoning, PM me.

Why should I PM you privately when *you* are making a public and political promotion of Senator Chris Dodd with your avatar, in every message you post?   We are in a thread concerned with human reproduction issues and what people see is your support of a pro-abortion politician.
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: ytterbiumanalyst on March 12, 2010, 07:38:04 PM
I'm not going to continue down this tangent with you, because as you say, we are concerned here with contraception. You know what to do if you wish to continue it. But what I'm really concerned with is not what people do in their bedrooms, as I think prying into that is rather perverted. I'm really just concerned with your claim that "Fathers"--and you have not been more specific than that--have said no one should have sex without the intention and capability of reproducing. I really just want you to substantiate that claim. I've asked you twice now as an ordinary poster, and you have instead brought up irrelevant points instead of answering the question. So now I feel I have no choice but to make a formal moderator's request.

Irish Hermit, I request that you provide sources for the statements you have made that "the Fathers" say no one should have sex without the intention and capability of reproducing. Please find one quotation from an Orthodox Father or Mother that supports your position. You have 48 hours, at the expiration of which further moderatorial action will be considered.
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: PeterTheAleut on March 12, 2010, 07:42:40 PM
Irish Hermit,

ytterbiumanalyst is permitted to use the photo of a politician in his avatar if he chooses, as long as he doesn't submit posts with political content on any of the public boards.  If you have a problem with this, then please send a PM to Fr. Chris or one of the global moderators to protest.  Do not derail threads by complaining about a poster's choice of avatar publicly.  I will not tolerate any more discussion of this issue here.

- PeterTheAleut
Faith Issues Section Moderator
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Irish Hermit on March 12, 2010, 07:47:20 PM
I'm not going to continue down this tangent with you, because as you say, we are concerned here with contraception. You know what to do if you wish to continue it. But what I'm really concerned with is not what people do in their bedrooms, as I think prying into that is rather perverted. I'm really just concerned with your claim that "Fathers"--and you have not been more specific than that--have said no one should have sex without the intention and capability of reproducing. I really just want you to substantiate that claim. I've asked you twice now as an ordinary poster, and you have instead brought up irrelevant points instead of answering the question. So now I feel I have no choice but to make a formal moderator's request.

Irish Hermit, I request that you provide sources for the statements you have made that "the Fathers" say no one should have sex without the intention and capability of reproducing. Please find one quotation from an Orthodox Father or Mother that supports your position. You have 48 hours, at the expiration of which further moderatorial action will be considered.

"But I wonder why he [the heretic Jovinianus] set Judah and Tamar before us for an example, unless perchance even harlots give him pleasure; or Onan, who was slain because he grudged his brother seed. Does he imagine that we approve of any sexual intercourse except for the procreation of children?"
Saint Hieronymous, " Against Jovinian" 19

Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: ytterbiumanalyst on March 12, 2010, 07:48:22 PM
I'm not going to continue down this tangent with you, because as you say, we are concerned here with contraception. You know what to do if you wish to continue it. But what I'm really concerned with is not what people do in their bedrooms, as I think prying into that is rather perverted. I'm really just concerned with your claim that "Fathers"--and you have not been more specific than that--have said no one should have sex without the intention and capability of reproducing. I really just want you to substantiate that claim. I've asked you twice now as an ordinary poster, and you have instead brought up irrelevant points instead of answering the question. So now I feel I have no choice but to make a formal moderator's request.

Irish Hermit, I request that you provide sources for the statements you have made that "the Fathers" say no one should have sex without the intention and capability of reproducing. Please find one quotation from an Orthodox Father or Mother that supports your position. You have 48 hours, at the expiration of which further moderatorial action will be considered.

"But I wonder why he [the heretic Jovinianus] set Judah and Tamar before us for an example, unless perchance even harlots give him pleasure; or Onan, who was slain because he grudged his brother seed. Does he imagine that we approve of any sexual intercourse except for the procreation of children?"
Saint Hieronymous, " Against Jovinian" 19
Thank you. Claim substantiated, and moderator's request fulfilled.
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: jckstraw72 on March 12, 2010, 07:53:48 PM
a simple Google search brought these up:

Letter of Barnabas

Moreover, he [Moses] has rightly detested the weasel [Lev. 11:29]. For he means, "Thou shalt not be like to those whom we hear of as committing wickedness with the mouth with the body through uncleanness [orally consummated sex]; nor shalt thou be joined to those impure women who commit iniquity with the mouth with the body through uncleanness" (Letter of Barnabas 10:8 [A.D. 74]).

Clement of Alexandria

Because of its divine institution for the propagation of man, the seed is not to be vainly ejaculated, nor is it to be damaged, nor is it to be wasted (The Instructor of Children 2:10:91:2 [A.D. 191]).

To have coitus other than to procreate children is to do injury to nature (ibid. 2:10:95:3).

Hippolytus

[Christian women with male concubines], on account of their prominent ancestry and great property, the so-called faithful want no children from slaves or lowborn commoners, they use drugs of sterility [oral contraceptives] or bind themselves tightly in order to expel a fetus which has already been engendered [abortion] (Refutation of All Heresies 9:7 [A.D. 225]).

Lactantius

[Some] 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 (Divine Institutes 6:20 [A.D. 307]).

God gave us eyes not to see and desire pleasure, but to see acts to be performed for the needs of life; so too, 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 (ibid. 6:23:18).

Epiphanius

They [certain Egyptian heretics] exercise genital acts, yet prevent the conceiving of children. Not in order to produce offspring, but to satisfy lust, are they eager for corruption (Medicine Chest Against Heresies 26:5:2 [A.D. 375]).

John Chrysostom

[l]n truth, all men know that they who are under the power of this disease [the sin of covetousness] are wearied even of their father's old age [wishing him to die so they can inherit]; and that which is sweet) and universally desirable, the having of children, they esteem grievous and unwelcome. Many at least with this view have even paid money to be childless, and have mutilated nature, not only killing the newborn, but even acting to prevent their beginning to live [sterilization] (Homilies on Matthew 28:5 [A.D. 391]).

Why do you sow where the field is eager to destroy the fruit, where there are medicines of sterility [oral contraceptives], where there is murder before birth?. . . Indeed, it is something worse than murder, and I do not know what to call it; for she does not kill what is formed but prevents its formation. What then? Do you condemn the gift of God and Fight with his [natural] laws? (Homilies on Romans 24 [A.D. 391]).

Jerome

But I wonder why he [the heretic Jovinianus] set Judah and Tamar before us for an example, unless perchance even harlots give him pleasure; or Onan, who was slain because he grudged his brother seed. Does he imagine that we approve of any sexual intercourse except for the procreation of children? (Against Jovinian 1:19 [A.D. 393]).

You may see a number of women who are widows before they are wives. Others, indeed, will drink sterility [oral contraceptives] and murder a man not yet born, [and some commit abortion] (Letters 22:13 [A.D. 396]).

Augustine

This proves that you [Manicheans] approve of having a wife, not for the procreation of children, but for the gratification of passion. In marriage, as the marriage law declares, the man and woman come together for the procreation of children. Therefore, whoever makes the procreation of children a greater sin than copulation, forbids marriage and makes the woman not a wife but a mistress, who for some gifts presented to her, is joined to the man to gratify his passion (The Morals of the Manichees 18:65 [A.D. 388]).

You [Manicheans] make your auditors adulterers of their wives when they take care lest the women with whom they copulate conceive. They take wives according to the laws of matrimony by tablets announcing that the marriage is contracted to procreate children; and then, fearing because of your [religious] law [against childbearing] . . . they copulate in a shameful union only to satisfy lust for their wives. They are unwilling to have children, on whose account alone marriages are made. How is it, then, that you are not those prohibiting marriage, as the apostle predicted of you so long ago [I Tim. 4:1-4], when you try to take from marriage what marriage is? When this is taken away, husbands are shameful lovers, wives are harlots, bridal chambers are brothels, fathers-in-law are pimps (Against Faustus 15:7 [A.D. 400]).

For thus the eternal law, that is, the will of God creator of all creatures, taking counsel for the conservation of natural order, not to serve lust, but to see to the preservation of the race, permits the delight of mortal flesh to be released from the control of reason in copulation only to propagate progeny (ibid. 22:30).

Caesarius

Who is he who cannot warn that no woman may take a potion [an oral contraceptive or an abortifacient] so that she is unable to conceive or condemns in herself the nature which God willed to be fecund? As often as she could have conceived or given birth, of that many homicides she will be held guilty, and, unless she undergoes suitable penance, she will be damned by eternal death in hell. If a women does not wish to have children, let her enter into a religious agreement with her husband; for chastity is the sole sterility of a Christian woman (Sermons 1:12 [A.D. 522]).
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: ytterbiumanalyst on March 12, 2010, 08:04:44 PM
^ All the more reason why it was an easy request to fulfill. But fulfilled it is, and I will leave this discussion now. I'd rather not discuss sex.
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: PeterTheAleut on March 12, 2010, 08:10:58 PM
a simple Google search brought these up:

Letter of Barnabas

Moreover, he [Moses] has rightly detested the weasel [Lev. 11:29]. For he means, "Thou shalt not be like to those whom we hear of as committing wickedness with the mouth with the body through uncleanness [orally consummated sex]; nor shalt thou be joined to those impure women who commit iniquity with the mouth with the body through uncleanness" (Letter of Barnabas 10:8 [A.D. 74]).

Clement of Alexandria

Because of its divine institution for the propagation of man, the seed is not to be vainly ejaculated, nor is it to be damaged, nor is it to be wasted (The Instructor of Children 2:10:91:2 [A.D. 191]).

To have coitus other than to procreate children is to do injury to nature (ibid. 2:10:95:3).

Hippolytus

[Christian women with male concubines], on account of their prominent ancestry and great property, the so-called faithful want no children from slaves or lowborn commoners, they use drugs of sterility [oral contraceptives] or bind themselves tightly in order to expel a fetus which has already been engendered [abortion] (Refutation of All Heresies 9:7 [A.D. 225]).

Lactantius

[Some] 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 (Divine Institutes 6:20 [A.D. 307]).

God gave us eyes not to see and desire pleasure, but to see acts to be performed for the needs of life; so too, 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 (ibid. 6:23:18).

Epiphanius

They [certain Egyptian heretics] exercise genital acts, yet prevent the conceiving of children. Not in order to produce offspring, but to satisfy lust, are they eager for corruption (Medicine Chest Against Heresies 26:5:2 [A.D. 375]).

John Chrysostom

[l]n truth, all men know that they who are under the power of this disease [the sin of covetousness] are wearied even of their father's old age [wishing him to die so they can inherit]; and that which is sweet) and universally desirable, the having of children, they esteem grievous and unwelcome. Many at least with this view have even paid money to be childless, and have mutilated nature, not only killing the newborn, but even acting to prevent their beginning to live [sterilization] (Homilies on Matthew 28:5 [A.D. 391]).

Why do you sow where the field is eager to destroy the fruit, where there are medicines of sterility [oral contraceptives], where there is murder before birth?. . . Indeed, it is something worse than murder, and I do not know what to call it; for she does not kill what is formed but prevents its formation. What then? Do you condemn the gift of God and Fight with his [natural] laws? (Homilies on Romans 24 [A.D. 391]).

Jerome

But I wonder why he [the heretic Jovinianus] set Judah and Tamar before us for an example, unless perchance even harlots give him pleasure; or Onan, who was slain because he grudged his brother seed. Does he imagine that we approve of any sexual intercourse except for the procreation of children? (Against Jovinian 1:19 [A.D. 393]).

You may see a number of women who are widows before they are wives. Others, indeed, will drink sterility [oral contraceptives] and murder a man not yet born, [and some commit abortion] (Letters 22:13 [A.D. 396]).

Augustine

This proves that you [Manicheans] approve of having a wife, not for the procreation of children, but for the gratification of passion. In marriage, as the marriage law declares, the man and woman come together for the procreation of children. Therefore, whoever makes the procreation of children a greater sin than copulation, forbids marriage and makes the woman not a wife but a mistress, who for some gifts presented to her, is joined to the man to gratify his passion (The Morals of the Manichees 18:65 [A.D. 388]).

You [Manicheans] make your auditors adulterers of their wives when they take care lest the women with whom they copulate conceive. They take wives according to the laws of matrimony by tablets announcing that the marriage is contracted to procreate children; and then, fearing because of your [religious] law [against childbearing] . . . they copulate in a shameful union only to satisfy lust for their wives. They are unwilling to have children, on whose account alone marriages are made. How is it, then, that you are not those prohibiting marriage, as the apostle predicted of you so long ago [I Tim. 4:1-4], when you try to take from marriage what marriage is? When this is taken away, husbands are shameful lovers, wives are harlots, bridal chambers are brothels, fathers-in-law are pimps (Against Faustus 15:7 [A.D. 400]).

For thus the eternal law, that is, the will of God creator of all creatures, taking counsel for the conservation of natural order, not to serve lust, but to see to the preservation of the race, permits the delight of mortal flesh to be released from the control of reason in copulation only to propagate progeny (ibid. 22:30).

Caesarius

Who is he who cannot warn that no woman may take a potion [an oral contraceptive or an abortifacient] so that she is unable to conceive or condemns in herself the nature which God willed to be fecund? As often as she could have conceived or given birth, of that many homicides she will be held guilty, and, unless she undergoes suitable penance, she will be damned by eternal death in hell. If a women does not wish to have children, let her enter into a religious agreement with her husband; for chastity is the sole sterility of a Christian woman (Sermons 1:12 [A.D. 522]).
Yes, it's already been established that many of the Fathers taught that marital relations were honorable only so far as the motive was procreation, thus ruling out contraception as evil.  The question put before us, though, is whether all the Fathers (to use your words) or just "the Fathers" (without qualification, thus implying patristic consensus, as Irish Hermit insinuated) taught this.
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: jckstraw72 on March 12, 2010, 08:12:30 PM
yes i know, you demand 100% percent unanimity on everything, but im not sure what beliefs that could actually leave you with ....
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Irish Hermit on March 12, 2010, 08:19:20 PM
a simple Google search brought these up:

Letter of Barnabas

Moreover, he [Moses] has rightly detested the weasel [Lev. 11:29]. For he means, "Thou shalt not be like to those whom we hear of as committing wickedness with the mouth with the body through uncleanness [orally consummated sex]; nor shalt thou be joined to those impure women who commit iniquity with the mouth with the body through uncleanness" (Letter of Barnabas 10:8 [A.D. 74]).

Clement of Alexandria

Because of its divine institution for the propagation of man, the seed is not to be vainly ejaculated, nor is it to be damaged, nor is it to be wasted (The Instructor of Children 2:10:91:2 [A.D. 191]).

To have coitus other than to procreate children is to do injury to nature (ibid. 2:10:95:3).

Hippolytus

[Christian women with male concubines], on account of their prominent ancestry and great property, the so-called faithful want no children from slaves or lowborn commoners, they use drugs of sterility [oral contraceptives] or bind themselves tightly in order to expel a fetus which has already been engendered [abortion] (Refutation of All Heresies 9:7 [A.D. 225]).

Lactantius

[Some] 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 (Divine Institutes 6:20 [A.D. 307]).

God gave us eyes not to see and desire pleasure, but to see acts to be performed for the needs of life; so too, 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 (ibid. 6:23:18).

Epiphanius

They [certain Egyptian heretics] exercise genital acts, yet prevent the conceiving of children. Not in order to produce offspring, but to satisfy lust, are they eager for corruption (Medicine Chest Against Heresies 26:5:2 [A.D. 375]).

John Chrysostom

[l]n truth, all men know that they who are under the power of this disease [the sin of covetousness] are wearied even of their father's old age [wishing him to die so they can inherit]; and that which is sweet) and universally desirable, the having of children, they esteem grievous and unwelcome. Many at least with this view have even paid money to be childless, and have mutilated nature, not only killing the newborn, but even acting to prevent their beginning to live [sterilization] (Homilies on Matthew 28:5 [A.D. 391]).

Why do you sow where the field is eager to destroy the fruit, where there are medicines of sterility [oral contraceptives], where there is murder before birth?. . . Indeed, it is something worse than murder, and I do not know what to call it; for she does not kill what is formed but prevents its formation. What then? Do you condemn the gift of God and Fight with his [natural] laws? (Homilies on Romans 24 [A.D. 391]).

Jerome

But I wonder why he [the heretic Jovinianus] set Judah and Tamar before us for an example, unless perchance even harlots give him pleasure; or Onan, who was slain because he grudged his brother seed. Does he imagine that we approve of any sexual intercourse except for the procreation of children? (Against Jovinian 1:19 [A.D. 393]).

You may see a number of women who are widows before they are wives. Others, indeed, will drink sterility [oral contraceptives] and murder a man not yet born, [and some commit abortion] (Letters 22:13 [A.D. 396]).

Augustine

This proves that you [Manicheans] approve of having a wife, not for the procreation of children, but for the gratification of passion. In marriage, as the marriage law declares, the man and woman come together for the procreation of children. Therefore, whoever makes the procreation of children a greater sin than copulation, forbids marriage and makes the woman not a wife but a mistress, who for some gifts presented to her, is joined to the man to gratify his passion (The Morals of the Manichees 18:65 [A.D. 388]).

You [Manicheans] make your auditors adulterers of their wives when they take care lest the women with whom they copulate conceive. They take wives according to the laws of matrimony by tablets announcing that the marriage is contracted to procreate children; and then, fearing because of your [religious] law [against childbearing] . . . they copulate in a shameful union only to satisfy lust for their wives. They are unwilling to have children, on whose account alone marriages are made. How is it, then, that you are not those prohibiting marriage, as the apostle predicted of you so long ago [I Tim. 4:1-4], when you try to take from marriage what marriage is? When this is taken away, husbands are shameful lovers, wives are harlots, bridal chambers are brothels, fathers-in-law are pimps (Against Faustus 15:7 [A.D. 400]).

For thus the eternal law, that is, the will of God creator of all creatures, taking counsel for the conservation of natural order, not to serve lust, but to see to the preservation of the race, permits the delight of mortal flesh to be released from the control of reason in copulation only to propagate progeny (ibid. 22:30).

Caesarius

Who is he who cannot warn that no woman may take a potion [an oral contraceptive or an abortifacient] so that she is unable to conceive or condemns in herself the nature which God willed to be fecund? As often as she could have conceived or given birth, of that many homicides she will be held guilty, and, unless she undergoes suitable penance, she will be damned by eternal death in hell. If a women does not wish to have children, let her enter into a religious agreement with her husband; for chastity is the sole sterility of a Christian woman (Sermons 1:12 [A.D. 522]).
Yes, it's already been established that many of the Fathers taught that marital relations were honorable only so far as the motive was procreation, thus ruling out contraception as evil.  The question put before us, though, is whether all the Fathers (to use your words) or just "the Fathers" (without qualification, thus implying patristic consensus, as Irish Hermit insinuated) taught this.

Irish Hermit insinuated nothing!   But I think that the use of the emotive word "insinuated" wants to insinuate something about me?

Irish Hermit has already stated here and many times elsewhere that the paucity of patristic writings on this matter makes it difficult to say we have a consensus.  The sample range of the Holy Fathers is not wide enough.   And indeed the Church has rejected the teaching that we do have from the Fathers.  The Church has chosen to go with Saint John Chrysostom and his teaching of the value of unitive sex as well as the value of procreative sex.
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: PeterTheAleut on March 12, 2010, 08:24:52 PM
yes i know, you demand 100% percent unanimity on everything, but im not sure what beliefs that could actually leave you with ....
Yes, that's the joy of my faith.  There are very few beliefs about which I'm so dogmatic that I need to win a fight to preach them. ;)
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: jckstraw72 on March 12, 2010, 08:32:09 PM
well to each his own i suppose. the joy of my faith is that its not up to me, bc id screw it up.
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: PeterTheAleut on March 12, 2010, 09:16:09 PM
well to each his own i suppose. the joy of my faith is that its not up to me, bc id screw it up.
Indeed!  That's why I try not to define a whole bunch of dogmatic positions that just don't need defined. ;)
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: jckstraw72 on March 13, 2010, 02:11:54 PM
ah, but YOU have decided that they dont need defined, whereas our Fathers and Saints have said quite a bit about them! If they spill so much ink on any given topic, we should accept that it matters, rather than re-examining everything through our secularist 21st century lenses that we all have on at times.
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: PeterTheAleut on March 13, 2010, 03:11:59 PM
ah, but YOU have decided that they dont need defined, whereas our Fathers and Saints have said quite a bit about them!
No doubt they have, but they're not the ones synthesizing their disparate statements into a unified dogmatic corpus on this thread.  You are.

If they spill so much ink on any given topic, we should accept that it matters, rather than re-examining everything through our secularist 21st century lenses that we all have on at times.
Yes, we should accept that it matters, but not in the way you think it matters.  What are you trying to prove here, anyway?  That the Church has proclaimed contraception evil and that no priest or bishop has any authority to grant economy to individual couples on this matter?  We all--well, most of us--agree that the Church sees contraception as less than ideal.  The question is about how this perspective is to be applied to specific couples facing specific circumstances.  Can you answer that?
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: jckstraw72 on March 13, 2010, 09:02:35 PM
ah, but YOU have decided that they dont need defined, whereas our Fathers and Saints have said quite a bit about them!
No doubt they have, but they're not the ones synthesizing their disparate statements into a unified dogmatic corpus on this thread.  You are.

no, on this thread i merely did a Google search and copy and pasted the quotes that someone else asked for.

If they spill so much ink on any given topic, we should accept that it matters, rather than re-examining everything through our secularist 21st century lenses that we all have on at times.
Yes, we should accept that it matters, but not in the way you think it matters.  What are you trying to prove here, anyway?  That the Church has proclaimed contraception evil and that no priest or bishop has any authority to grant economy to individual couples on this matter?  We all--well, most of us--agree that the Church sees contraception as less than ideal.  The question is about how this perspective is to be applied to specific couples facing specific circumstances.  Can you answer that?
[/quote]

my point is simple: look to Tradition on any matter having to do with faith, not to ourselves and our culture.
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Heorhij on March 13, 2010, 09:13:27 PM
i dont know if there is any "official" stance, but your priest seems to be pretty in line with all the earliest Fathers and theologians

Out of line really....

Although we do not have an extensive amount of material from the Fathers on this topic we do have enough to know that they had two requisites..

The conjugal act must take place with the

1. intention to conceive

2. possibility to conceive.

So, no woman in menopause should engage in sexual acts with her husband? No pregnant woman, even at very early stages of pregnancy? No lactating woman? No woman who underwent hysterectomy? No woman (or man) who is as androgine?


As I have piointed out we have little material from the Fathers on this matter but what we do have shows that they were sharply against sexual intercourse in all the situations you have described.   They saw them as simply an exercise in lust.

The one exception to the Fathers' opinion is Saint John Chrysostom who speaks of what we would now call unitive sex as being of at least equal value with procreative sex.

Citations are already in the Forum's archives many times over.

Thank you, Father. To me, it's just sad. I cannot understand, how one can not value, appreciate unitive sex in marriage and consider it in ANY case an "exercise in lust." That's dehumanizing... For yet another time, I cannot but think that Fathers were, in some respects, strange people, to put it mildly.

I wonder, did they (the Fathers) even understand that there is a GIVING aspect in marital conjugation, not merely receiving? And that the giving is, in the case of couples that live together long enough and truly love each other, indeed the most precious, unique, un-replaceable giving of the gift of oneself?

Probably not...

Funny (or strange) that my remark caused no discussion whatsoever. People kept hitting each other regarding the points they had made, but my point was never addressed.
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Punch on March 13, 2010, 11:04:44 PM
i dont know if there is any "official" stance, but your priest seems to be pretty in line with all the earliest Fathers and theologians

Out of line really....

Although we do not have an extensive amount of material from the Fathers on this topic we do have enough to know that they had two requisites..

The conjugal act must take place with the

1. intention to conceive

2. possibility to conceive.

So, no woman in menopause should engage in sexual acts with her husband? No pregnant woman, even at very early stages of pregnancy? No lactating woman? No woman who underwent hysterectomy? No woman (or man) who is as androgine?


As I have piointed out we have little material from the Fathers on this matter but what we do have shows that they were sharply against sexual intercourse in all the situations you have described.   They saw them as simply an exercise in lust.

The one exception to the Fathers' opinion is Saint John Chrysostom who speaks of what we would now call unitive sex as being of at least equal value with procreative sex.

Citations are already in the Forum's archives many times over.

Thank you, Father. To me, it's just sad. I cannot understand, how one can not value, appreciate unitive sex in marriage and consider it in ANY case an "exercise in lust." That's dehumanizing... For yet another time, I cannot but think that Fathers were, in some respects, strange people, to put it mildly.

I wonder, did they (the Fathers) even understand that there is a GIVING aspect in marital conjugation, not merely receiving? And that the giving is, in the case of couples that live together long enough and truly love each other, indeed the most precious, unique, un-replaceable giving of the gift of oneself?

Probably not...

Funny (or strange) that my remark caused no discussion whatsoever. People kept hitting each other regarding the points they had made, but my point was never addressed.

Sorry.  I think the problem was that you were right on the money, which is less entertaining than watching a bunch of pseudo-intellectuals blinding themselves with their own aura.
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: PeterTheAleut on March 13, 2010, 11:26:05 PM
my point is simple: look to Tradition on any matter having to do with faith, not to ourselves and our culture.
I think this thread has been about looking to Tradition for answers to the question of the OP, though.
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Gebre Menfes Kidus on May 12, 2010, 05:47:54 AM
CONTEXT NOTE:  The following continuation of this thread split off from here:  Marital sex is a sin in Orthodoxy? (http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,27516.0.html)  -PtA



The problem with any form of aritificial "birth control" is that it is essentially an anti-life act. Sex between man and wife is not only for procreation (it is also for intimate marital pleasure and for fighting worldly temptations, as Asteriktos said), but it must not be artficially separated from procreation. Since there are natural means of "family planning," artificial barriers to the conception of life are antithetical to God's plan for sex and marrige.


Selam
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Heorhij on May 12, 2010, 08:14:54 AM
Unfortunately, what Gebre expressed above seems to be a rather prevalent view among the Orthodox clergy and laity. At least on the Internet forums.  ;D

Personally, as I wrote many times, I believe it's a bunch of BS.  :'( (But that's just me.)

Most importantly, however, - there is no "one-size-fits-it-all" dogma about non-abortive contraception in Orthodoxy. It is PRINCIPALLY a PASTORAL issue, NOT a dogmatic one. There are no papal encyclicas that are "binding" to us, Orthodox, in regards of when do we have children after we marry, how many children we have, how do we "space" our children etc. etc. etc. Instead, for us there are our priests, whom we are supposed to ask for their blessing for what we have in mind regarding our plans to have or not to have children.
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: chrevbel on May 12, 2010, 04:15:55 PM
Unfortunately, what Gebre expressed above seems to be a rather prevalent view among the Orthodox clergy and laity. At least on the Internet forums.  ;D
Personally, as I wrote many times, I believe it's a bunch of BS.  :'( (But that's just me.)
No, it's not just you.  I also believe it is a bunch of bunk.
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Rosehip on May 12, 2010, 04:29:26 PM
I'm not married, but am firmly in Heorhij's camp on this one!
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: HandmaidenofGod on May 12, 2010, 04:41:45 PM
Unfortunately, what Gebre expressed above seems to be a rather prevalent view among the Orthodox clergy and laity. At least on the Internet forums.  ;D

Personally, as I wrote many times, I believe it's a bunch of BS.  :'( (But that's just me.)

Most importantly, however, - there is no "one-size-fits-it-all" dogma about non-abortive contraception in Orthodoxy. It is PRINCIPALLY a PASTORAL issue, NOT a dogmatic one. There are no papal encyclicas that are "binding" to us, Orthodox, in regards of when do we have children after we marry, how many children we have, how do we "space" our children etc. etc. etc. Instead, for us there are our priests, whom we are supposed to ask for their blessing for what we have in mind regarding our plans to have or not to have children.

Amen!
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Gebre Menfes Kidus on May 12, 2010, 05:03:06 PM
For those of you that have remarked that my comments are "bunk," please tell me what I have said that is contradictory to biblical and apostolic teaching. Here are my comments again, and I will break them down so as to afford others the opportunity to demonstrate exactly how I am in opposition to the Teachings of my Church. I am certainly prepared to repent if I have stated anything heretical.

1. The problem with any form of aritificial "birth control" is that it is essentially an anti-life act. ("Contraception" by definition means "against or contrary to procreation." Thus artificial birth control is inherently an anti life action.)

2. Sex between man and wife is not only for procreation (it is also for intimate marital pleasure and for fighting worldly temptations, as Asteriktos said)... (Why is this bunk? Do you think that sex is only for procreation and not for pleasure and intimacy between man and wife? That would seem to be the Catholic view, not the Orthodox one.)

3. ...but it must not be artficially separated from procreation. (Do you think that God's purpose for sex within marriage is strictly pleasure? Then why marry? If the only purpose for sex is pleasure, then fornicate freely. But this doesn't seem to be the Orthodox view either. I would consider it the hedonist view.)

4. Since there are natural means of "family planning," artificial barriers to the conception of life are antithetical to God's plan for sex and marriage. (Please notice that I have never indicated that married people must have children, or that they must have many children. There are natural ways of preventing the conception of a child without using articficial "contraception." These natural means do require a modicum of self discipline and restraint, which again are things that seem quite compatible with Orthodoxy.)


Selam
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: chrevbel on May 12, 2010, 05:08:17 PM
For those of you that have remarked... 
You seem to be enamored with the term artificial.  How, precisely, are you defining that term, if you want to be precise and analytical with this whole discussion?
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Gebre Menfes Kidus on May 12, 2010, 05:19:23 PM
For those of you that have remarked... 
You seem to be enamored with the term artificial.  How, precisely, are you defining that term, if you want to be precise and analytical with this whole discussion?

Artificial as in unnatural, i.e. condoms, pills, devices, contraptions, chemicals, etc. Anything that is done prior to or after sexual intimacies for the specific purpose of precluding conception.


Selam
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Alveus Lacuna on May 12, 2010, 05:22:55 PM
The problem with any form of artificial "birth control" is that it is essentially an anti-life act.("Contraception" by definition means "against or contrary to procreation." Thus artificial birth control is inherently an anti life action.)

Why is natural birth control OK?
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Heorhij on May 12, 2010, 05:28:57 PM
For those of you that have remarked that my comments are "bunk," please tell me what I have said that is contradictory to biblical and apostolic teaching. Here are my comments again, and I will break them down so as to afford others the opportunity to demonstrate exactly how I am in opposition to the Teachings of my Church. I am certainly prepared to repent if I have stated anything heretical.

1. The problem with any form of aritificial "birth control" is that it is essentially an anti-life act. ("Contraception" by definition means "against or contrary to procreation." Thus artificial birth control is inherently an anti life action.)

2. Sex between man and wife is not only for procreation (it is also for intimate marital pleasure and for fighting worldly temptations, as Asteriktos said)... (Why is this bunk? Do you think that sex is only for procreation and not for pleasure and intimacy between man and wife? That would seem to be the Catholic view, not the Orthodox one.)

3. ...but it must not be artficially separated from procreation. (Do you think that God's purpose for sex within marriage is strictly pleasure? Then why marry? If the only purpose for sex is pleasure, then fornicate freely. But this doesn't seem to be the Orthodox view either. I would consider it the hedonist view.)

4. Since there are natural means of "family planning," artificial barriers to the conception of life are antithetical to God's plan for sex and marriage. (Please notice that I have never indicated that married people must have children, or that they must have many children. There are natural ways of preventing the conception of a child without using articficial "contraception." These natural means do require a modicum of self discipline and restraint, which again are things that seem quite compatible with Orthodoxy.)


Selam

Gebre, I am sorry if I hit a nerve. No, you did not contradict Biblical or apostolic teaching. But the thing is, neither the writers of the Bible nor the holy Apostles knew about modern contraceptive techniques. They also knew nothing about antibiotics, cars, planes, tanks, computers etc. So they could not possibly write or teach something about Provera or vasectomy one way or another. There are no Biblical or apostolic teachings about antibiotics, cars, computers, Provera, or vasectomy.:)

What I called "bunch of BS" is the view that any contraception except the so-called natural (?) family planning is "anti-life." The reason for this scepticism of mine about this view is simply that married couples sometimes have sex with conscious wish to NOT have children right now, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that by any human or Biblical or Apostolic or whatever standard. The sexual act in this case is for the sole purpose of giving yourself as a gift to your spouse. This act sustains marriage not any worse than the act WITH a desire to conceive. If I use condom, I don't kill any life. If my wife takes Provera, she does not kill any life either. It's exactly the same as having sex on days when there is no ovulation. Except, of course, there is more probability that your wish to NOT conceive a child will be fulfilled if you use a condom instead of playing a "Russian roulette" of this so-called "natural" family planning.

But again, it's just me. I do not represent Orthodoxy when I say this, just my own thoughts.
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: chrevbel on May 12, 2010, 05:29:33 PM
How, precisely, are you defining that term...
Artificial as in unnatural, i.e. condoms, pills, devices, contraptions, chemicals, etc.
And here is the first inconsistency.  Not all chemicals are unnatural.  Not all condoms are unnatural (ever heard of fish skin?)  You'll have to do better than that.  An inconsistent argument is always the easiest to defend.

Quote
Anything that is done prior to or after sexual intimacies for the specific purpose of precluding conception.

Anything is a pretty broad category.  Does this include mental activity?  Such as realizing that waiting a few days would likely avoid conception?  Because that's what I thought you meant earlier by natural means
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Gebre Menfes Kidus on May 12, 2010, 05:40:23 PM
The problem with any form of artificial "birth control" is that it is essentially an anti-life act.("Contraception" by definition means "against or contrary to procreation." Thus artificial birth control is inherently an anti life action.)

Why is natural birth control OK?


I'm not really sure what my Church's teaching on that is. Without getting too graphic, let's just say that there are two primary forms of "natural" birth control. One form is condemned in the Old Testament (see Genesis 38:9-10), and may in fact be considered unnatural. I'm not sure. But the other form - sometimes called the "rhythm method" - is quite natural and quite effective.

Natural birth control does not seek to interfere with the divine inherent purpose for the natural will and order. It respects God and honors creation. Artificial birth control is a kind of sexaul bulimia nervosa. We want the physical pleasure without the natural and spritual benfits that were intended to accompany that pleasure.


Selam
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Heorhij on May 12, 2010, 05:43:26 PM
Quote
Anything that is done prior to or after sexual intimacies for the specific purpose of precluding conception.

Anything is a pretty broad category.  Does this include mental activity?  Such as realizing that waiting a few days would likely avoid conception?  Because that's what I thought you meant earlier by natural means

Exactly! I have always wondered, why in the world avoiding sex on those days when conception is most likely is "natural," while making any day a day when conception is highly unlikely "unnatural." Because the latter is achieved by a pharmaceutical intervention? Well, then drinking coffee in the morning is "unnatural," either, and contradicts the Apostolic teachings. (BTW, I am joking of course, but Mormons very seriously believe that it is indeed so. :))
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Alveus Lacuna on May 12, 2010, 05:44:00 PM
Natural birth control does not seek to interfere with the divine inherent purpose for the natural will and order. It respects God and honors creation. Artificial birth control is a kind of sexual bulimia nervosa. We want the physical pleasure without the natural and spiritual benefits that were intended to accompany that pleasure.

How is any kind of "control" not an "interference"?
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: chrevbel on May 12, 2010, 05:45:05 PM
Artificial birth control is a kind of sexaul bulimia nervosa. We want the physical pleasure without the natural and spritual benfits that were intended to accompany that pleasure.
How certain are you that this is the only motivation for using what you call artificial birth control?
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Gebre Menfes Kidus on May 12, 2010, 05:49:28 PM
How, precisely, are you defining that term...
Artificial as in unnatural, i.e. condoms, pills, devices, contraptions, chemicals, etc.
And here is the first inconsistency.  Not all chemicals are unnatural.  Not all condoms are unnatural (ever heard of fish skin?)  You'll have to do better than that.  An inconsistent argument is always the easiest to defend.

Quote
Anything that is done prior to or after sexual intimacies for the specific purpose of precluding conception.

Anything is a pretty broad category.  Does this include mental activity?  Such as realizing that waiting a few days would likely avoid conception?  Because that's what I thought you meant earlier by natural means

The highlighted words indicate an act or actions, not mere thoughts.

I knew you were trying to trap me, but your trap was unsuccessful. I specifically clarified what I mean by "artificial," and my comments belied no inconsistencies. You can parse my words and play games of semantics, but I was very clear. However, if you want an official answer, then consult the Teachings of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church on the matter.  


Selam
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Gebre Menfes Kidus on May 12, 2010, 05:52:13 PM
Natural birth control does not seek to interfere with the divine inherent purpose for the natural will and order. It respects God and honors creation. Artificial birth control is a kind of sexual bulimia nervosa. We want the physical pleasure without the natural and spiritual benefits that were intended to accompany that pleasure.

How is any kind of "control" not an "interference"?

Because self control is not an interference but rather the path to theosis.


Selam
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Alveus Lacuna on May 12, 2010, 05:54:24 PM
How certain are you that this is the only motivation for using what you call artificial birth control?

Indeed. Let's posit that, for example, a woman undergoes multiple cesarean sections because there are multiple complications with the vaginal deliveries of several infants. After having two or three of these, her doctor informs her that to have additional children would endanger her life and safety, because her uterine wall will likely rupture from the multiple incisions. In other words, it would be suicide to have anymore kids.

Are her and the husband then forever forbidden to engage in sexual activity, knowing that they would have to use some form on contraception (be it a vasectomy or at least condoms) to ensure the safety of the wife's life? In this scenario, it has nothing to do with avoiding children, but rather has to do with protecting life while seeking to retain the intimate bonds of affection in marital relations.
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Alveus Lacuna on May 12, 2010, 05:55:27 PM
Because self control is not an interference but rather the path to theosis.

When you control yourself you are interfering with your sinful inclinations. Are you not getting my point?
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Gebre Menfes Kidus on May 12, 2010, 05:55:45 PM
Artificial birth control is a kind of sexaul bulimia nervosa. We want the physical pleasure without the natural and spritual benfits that were intended to accompany that pleasure.
How certain are you that this is the only motivation for using what you call artificial birth control?


It is not the only motivation, but I am very certain that in this society it is the primary motivation. I am also certain that most Christians have been negatively effected by the standards of society, especially in the area of sexuality. And this forum provides ample evidence.


Selam
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Gebre Menfes Kidus on May 12, 2010, 05:57:59 PM
How certain are you that this is the only motivation for using what you call artificial birth control?

Indeed. Let's posit that, for example, a woman undergoes multiple cesarean sections because there are multiple complications with the vaginal deliveries of several infants. After having two or three of these, her doctor informs her that to have additional children would endanger her life and safety, because her uterine wall will likely rupture from the multiple incisions. In other words, it would be suicide to have anymore kids.

Are her and the husband then forever forbidden to engage in sexual activity, knowing that the would have to use some form on contraception (be it a vasectomy or at least condoms) to ensure the safety of the wife's life? In this scenario, it has nothing to do with avoiding children, but rather has to do with protecting life.

And I never asserted that this is the only motivation for artificial birth control.

A few more posts and they'll be saying I advocate female cirucmcision!


Selam
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: chrevbel on May 12, 2010, 06:01:40 PM
The highlighted words indicate an act or actions, not mere thoughts.
And I thought it was clear that I was implying the act of waiting, but perhaps it was not.

Quote
I knew you were trying to trap me, but your trap was unsuccessful. I specifically clarified what I mean by "artificial," and my comments belied no inconsistencies. You can parse my words and play games of semantics, but I was very clear. However, if you want an official answer, then consult the Teachings of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church on the matter.
No, I wasn't trying to trap at all, merely to understand.  But if your final answer is to squawk about semantics and point me to the official answer, then that's fine; we're probably done.

Do please realize, however, that your original response wasn't citing the Ethiopian Orthodox Church teachings.  It was simply signed GMK.  If you don't wish your thoughts to be analyzed, then I'd recommend you not present them as your own.

Regards.
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Gebre Menfes Kidus on May 12, 2010, 06:03:20 PM
Because self control is not an interference but rather the path to theosis.

When you control yourself you are interfering with your sinful inclinations. Are you not getting my point?

I get your point. And my point is that natural birth control is not interfering with God's plan for sexuality. The rhythm method involves self-coltrol, which is a good thing. Also, when married couples use natural means of not conceiving out of altruistic motivations, then this is also a good thing.  


Selam
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Alveus Lacuna on May 12, 2010, 06:03:43 PM
And I never asserted that this is the only motivation for artificial birth control.

A few more posts and they'll be saying I advocate female circumcision!

Not at all. You seemed to be saying that all forms of artificial birth control are wrong in all situations. I was providing a situation where I would think that they would be perfectly acceptable. But there are many other individual situations which would require such considerations. This is why this is considered to be a pastoral issue. You seem to making a blanket condemnation which doesn't seem fair to me, that's all.

Peace be with you.
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Gebre Menfes Kidus on May 12, 2010, 06:05:35 PM
The highlighted words indicate an act or actions, not mere thoughts.
And I thought it was clear that I was implying the act of waiting, but perhaps it was not.

Quote
I knew you were trying to trap me, but your trap was unsuccessful. I specifically clarified what I mean by "artificial," and my comments belied no inconsistencies. You can parse my words and play games of semantics, but I was very clear. However, if you want an official answer, then consult the Teachings of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church on the matter.
No, I wasn't trying to trap at all, merely to understand.  But if your final answer is to squawk about semantics and point me to the official answer, then that's fine; we're probably done.

Do please realize, however, that your original response wasn't citing the Ethiopian Orthodox Church teachings.  It was simply signed GMK.  If you don't wish your thoughts to be analyzed, then I'd recommend you not present them as your own.

Regards.

I am willing to discuss it, as I have been. Still waiting for someone to show me how my original comments are heretical or out of line with Orthodox teaching.


Selam
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Alveus Lacuna on May 12, 2010, 06:10:15 PM
Because self control is not an interference but rather the path to theosis.
When you control yourself you are interfering with your sinful inclinations. Are you not getting my point?
I get your point. And my point is that natural birth control is not interfering with God's plan for sexuality. The rhythm method involves self-control, which is a good thing.

My point is that control = interference in this situation. Perhaps I'm making a false equivalent. At any rate, your resolute line of control being acceptable at the "mental" level but not the physical/material one just seems inconsistent to me. It would seem like to be highly principled and consistent in this matter one would have to always be rolling the dice every time they had relations, not keeping track to be certain "when it's safe."
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Alveus Lacuna on May 12, 2010, 06:13:19 PM
Still waiting for someone to show me how my original comments are heretical or out of line with Orthodox teaching.

Your line of thinking can work within Orthodoxy, but it seems to be a matter of opinion rather than fact. You are stating that artificial contraceptives are categorically wrong and unnatural, but I just don't see how that is true in every situation. It seems true in some or even most situations to me, but certainly not all.
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: chrevbel on May 12, 2010, 06:15:17 PM
Still waiting for someone to show me how my original comments are heretical or out of line with Orthodox teaching.
I'm certain that I never said, nor do I think anyone has said, that your comments or thoughts are heretical. You stated them, however, in a way that clearly implied you considered them to be absolutely true.

But absoluteness has an extremely elusive quality to it, as my questions about your definition of artificial quickly demonstrated.  The OP asked a question about our faith.  Your answer was clearly intended to communicate that there is only one correct answer.  With that conclusion, I vehemently disagree.
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Gebre Menfes Kidus on May 12, 2010, 06:17:08 PM
How certain are you that this is the only motivation for using what you call artificial birth control?

Indeed. Let's posit that, for example, a woman undergoes multiple cesarean sections because there are multiple complications with the vaginal deliveries of several infants. After having two or three of these, her doctor informs her that to have additional children would endanger her life and safety, because her uterine wall will likely rupture from the multiple incisions. In other words, it would be suicide to have anymore kids.

Are her and the husband then forever forbidden to engage in sexual activity, knowing that they would have to use some form on contraception (be it a vasectomy or at least condoms) to ensure the safety of the wife's life? In this scenario, it has nothing to do with avoiding children, but rather has to do with protecting life while seeking to retain the intimate bonds of affection in marital relations.

First, you continue to assume that artificial birth control is the only effective means of precluding conception. That's a false assumption.

Second, if impregnating my wife would cause her death, then I would not have sexual relations with her anymore. How selfish would I be to take that chance? It would be better to abstain from sex and trust in God. He can work wonders you know, and perhaps my wife would be healed of her condition and be able to bear children once again. But if I had a vasectomy, then what?

You see, anytime we go against God's natural will and order, we cause ourselves harm. That's my point.

Rather than looking at it from the negative ("God forbids this and that," etc), we should look at it from the positive. Life is a blessing, children are a blessing, sex is a blessing, marriage is a blessing- and they all go together. Satan always wants us to see God and His laws as burdens, but they are actually liberations.


Selam
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Asteriktos on May 12, 2010, 06:24:44 PM
I am willing to discuss it, as I have been. Still waiting for someone to show me how my original comments are heretical or out of line with Orthodox teaching.

I don't think I can speak to "Orthodox teaching" anymore as every Orthodox seems to have a different opinion!  :D However, so far as I have read, the Church Fathers did not make distinctions such as natural vs. artificial or active vs. passive. Those who spoke against contraception spoke against the act of having sex with the intention of avoiding the creation of a child. The condemnation, when it was made, included "natural" birth control methods known to the ancients along with the "artificial" ones. It was the intention that the Fathers focused on, not the method. If your intention was to have sex while avoiding the possibility (or probability) or procreation, then (if they spoke on the subject at all) they considered you in the wrong. If my computer hadn't died I could supply you with some quotes, but alas, all my files were lost a few months ago, and I still haven't recovered the data.
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Gebre Menfes Kidus on May 12, 2010, 06:25:46 PM
Still waiting for someone to show me how my original comments are heretical or out of line with Orthodox teaching.
I'm certain that I never said, nor do I think anyone has said, that your comments or thoughts are heretical. You stated them, however, in a way that clearly implied you considered them to be absolutely true.

But absoluteness has an extremely elusive quality to it, as my questions about your definition of artificial quickly demonstrated.  The OP asked a question about our faith.  Your answer was clearly intended to communicate that there is only one correct answer.  With that conclusion, I vehemently disagree.

Chrevbel and Alveus,

I am not a Pope. I never made any statements about what is "always wrong in any or every situation." I simply stated what is natural and unnatural, and that artificial forms of birth control stem from an anti-life mentality. I gave an opinion which I believe is very Orthodox, and I said that I will recant if I am promoting anything heretical.  


Selam
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Gebre Menfes Kidus on May 12, 2010, 06:30:17 PM
I am willing to discuss it, as I have been. Still waiting for someone to show me how my original comments are heretical or out of line with Orthodox teaching.

I don't think I can speak to "Orthodox teaching" anymore as every Orthodox seems to have a different opinion!  :D However, so far as I have read, the Church Fathers did not make distinctions such as natural vs. artificial or active vs. passive. Those who spoke against contraception spoke against the act of having sex with the intention of avoiding the creation of a child. The condemnation, when it was made, included "natural" birth control methods known to the ancients along with the "artificial" ones. It was the intention that the Fathers focused on, not the method. If your intention was to have sex while avoiding the possibility (or probability) or procreation, then (if they spoke on the subject at all) they considered you in the wrong. If my computer hadn't died I could supply you with some quotes, but alas, all my files were lost a few months ago, and I still haven't recovered the data.


Right. That's why I said earlier that I'm not sure what my Church teaches regrding natural birth control. I think you are correct about the intentions, which is really the crux of my point. Satan is always trying to plant seeds in our minds that Life is bad, babies are burdens, children are chores, etc. So I think that we have to fight against that. I definitely struggle with it myself.


Selam
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: chrevbel on May 12, 2010, 06:33:22 PM
I never made any statements about what is "always wrong in any or every situation."
Fair enough.  In what hypothetical situation would you consider condom use to be acceptable?  In what hypothetical situation would you consider taking birth control pills to be acceptable?
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Gebre Menfes Kidus on May 12, 2010, 06:43:44 PM
I never made any statements about what is "always wrong in any or every situation."
Fair enough.  In what hypothetical situation would you consider condom use to be acceptable?  In what hypothetical situation would you consider taking birth control pills to be acceptable?


None. But I am not the Pope. I am only an Ethiopian Orthodox Christian, promoting the beliefs of my Church. Most people here are EO, and maybe their Churches teach that artificial birth control is a subjective matter to be decided by married couples and their Priests. But I believe in the objective Teachings of my Faith, without apology.


Selam
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: HandmaidenofGod on May 12, 2010, 07:56:05 PM
For those of you that have remarked that my comments are "bunk," please tell me what I have said that is contradictory to biblical and apostolic teaching. Here are my comments again, and I will break them down so as to afford others the opportunity to demonstrate exactly how I am in opposition to the Teachings of my Church. I am certainly prepared to repent if I have stated anything heretical.

1. The problem with any form of aritificial "birth control" is that it is essentially an anti-life act. ("Contraception" by definition means "against or contrary to procreation." Thus artificial birth control is inherently an anti life action.)

2. Sex between man and wife is not only for procreation (it is also for intimate marital pleasure and for fighting worldly temptations, as Asteriktos said)... (Why is this bunk? Do you think that sex is only for procreation and not for pleasure and intimacy between man and wife? That would seem to be the Catholic view, not the Orthodox one.)

3. ...but it must not be artficially separated from procreation. (Do you think that God's purpose for sex within marriage is strictly pleasure? Then why marry? If the only purpose for sex is pleasure, then fornicate freely. But this doesn't seem to be the Orthodox view either. I would consider it the hedonist view.)

4. Since there are natural means of "family planning," artificial barriers to the conception of life are antithetical to God's plan for sex and marriage. (Please notice that I have never indicated that married people must have children, or that they must have many children. There are natural ways of preventing the conception of a child without using articficial "contraception." These natural means do require a modicum of self discipline and restraint, which again are things that seem quite compatible with Orthodoxy.)


Selam

Gebre,

It's not what you say is a bunch of "bunk." I just believe that it's a pastoral issue because this is not a black and white issue.

What do you say to the couple who has been told if the woman gets pregnant, she will die because her heart can't handle a pregnancy?

What do you say to the couple who keeps getting pregnant even while using "natural methods" but can't afford to feed anymore children?

I am not looking for you to answer these questions but to realize that the Church recognizes the need for economia, and that internet forums are not the place to seek advice on such a sensitive topic. It may be easy to just say to a couple "abstain from sex," but to a young couple (or any married couple) that is a very harsh statement. To tell a man that he may never be intimate with his wife for fear of causing her death could be destructive to the relationship.

Just because one recognizes the need for condoms does not make one anti-life. I think to paint someone with such a broad brush is unfair.

You have said yourself that you see things as black and white. The Orthodox Church, however, does not. That is why our priests may exercise economia, and may provide grace for the situation.

You don't have to agree with me, but I would caution you against passing judgment on those who disagree with you as "anti-life."

In XC,

Maureen
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Gebre Menfes Kidus on May 12, 2010, 08:02:12 PM
For those of you that have remarked that my comments are "bunk," please tell me what I have said that is contradictory to biblical and apostolic teaching. Here are my comments again, and I will break them down so as to afford others the opportunity to demonstrate exactly how I am in opposition to the Teachings of my Church. I am certainly prepared to repent if I have stated anything heretical.

1. The problem with any form of aritificial "birth control" is that it is essentially an anti-life act. ("Contraception" by definition means "against or contrary to procreation." Thus artificial birth control is inherently an anti life action.)

2. Sex between man and wife is not only for procreation (it is also for intimate marital pleasure and for fighting worldly temptations, as Asteriktos said)... (Why is this bunk? Do you think that sex is only for procreation and not for pleasure and intimacy between man and wife? That would seem to be the Catholic view, not the Orthodox one.)

3. ...but it must not be artficially separated from procreation. (Do you think that God's purpose for sex within marriage is strictly pleasure? Then why marry? If the only purpose for sex is pleasure, then fornicate freely. But this doesn't seem to be the Orthodox view either. I would consider it the hedonist view.)

4. Since there are natural means of "family planning," artificial barriers to the conception of life are antithetical to God's plan for sex and marriage. (Please notice that I have never indicated that married people must have children, or that they must have many children. There are natural ways of preventing the conception of a child without using articficial "contraception." These natural means do require a modicum of self discipline and restraint, which again are things that seem quite compatible with Orthodoxy.)


Selam

Gebre,

It's not what you say is a bunch of "bunk." I just believe that it's a pastoral issue because this is not a black and white issue.

What do you say to the couple who has been told if the woman gets pregnant, she will die because her heart can't handle a pregnancy?

What do you say to the couple who keeps getting pregnant even while using "natural methods" but can't afford to feed anymore children?

I am not looking for you to answer these questions but to realize that the Church recognizes the need for economia, and that internet forums are not the place to seek advice on such a sensitive topic.

Just because one recognizes the need for condoms does not make one anti-life. I think to paint someone with such a broad brush is unfair.

You have said yourself that you see things as black and white. The Orthodox Church, however, does not. That is why our priests may exercise economia, and may provide grace for the situation.

You don't have to agree with me, but I would caution you against passing judgment on those who disagree with you as "anti-life."

In XC,

Maureen

I am not passing judgment on anyone. I am pointing out the objective fact that by definition "contraception" is an act that is "against conception," i.e. against the creation of life.

As for the hypotheticals about pregnancy endagering the life of the mother, I said earlier:

If impregnating my wife would cause her death, then I would not have sexual relations with her anymore. How selfish would I be to take that chance? It would be better to abstain from sex and trust in God. He can work wonders you know, and perhaps my wife would be healed of her condition and be able to bear children once again. But if I had a vasectomy, then what?


Selam
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: HandmaidenofGod on May 12, 2010, 08:08:06 PM
I am not passing judgment on anyone. I am pointing out the objective fact that by definition "contraception" is an act that is "against conception," i.e. against the creation of life.

As for the hypotheticals about pregnancy endagering the life of the mother, I said earlier:

If impregnating my wife would cause her death, then I would not have sexual relations with her anymore. How selfish would I be to take that chance? It would be better to abstain from sex and trust in God. He can work wonders you know, and perhaps my wife would be healed of her condition and be able to bear children once again. But if I had a vasectomy, then what?


Selam

Glory to God that you are strong enough to be willing to abstain from your wife!

But not everyone is.

That is my point. You are seeing things through your tunnel and applying things directly to your life.

What about everyone else?

In any given parish, you will have people such as yourself, who are on fire for their faith, spiritually strong, and able to handle such a burden. You have others who are less strong. And then you have others who are so weak, they are practically crippled.

The Church must administer to each according to their needs.

I understand that contraception is against the creation of life. No one has stated otherwise. Sometimes, it is wiser for us to prevent the creation of life than to bring it into the world to potentially create death. This is why we have Spiritual Fathers. To help navigate us on the road of life with difficult issues such as this.
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Shlomlokh on May 12, 2010, 08:54:20 PM
For those of you that have remarked that my comments are "bunk," please tell me what I have said that is contradictory to biblical and apostolic teaching. Here are my comments again, and I will break them down so as to afford others the opportunity to demonstrate exactly how I am in opposition to the Teachings of my Church. I am certainly prepared to repent if I have stated anything heretical.

1. The problem with any form of aritificial "birth control" is that it is essentially an anti-life act. ("Contraception" by definition means "against or contrary to procreation." Thus artificial birth control is inherently an anti life action.)

2. Sex between man and wife is not only for procreation (it is also for intimate marital pleasure and for fighting worldly temptations, as Asteriktos said)... (Why is this bunk? Do you think that sex is only for procreation and not for pleasure and intimacy between man and wife? That would seem to be the Catholic view, not the Orthodox one.)

3. ...but it must not be artficially separated from procreation. (Do you think that God's purpose for sex within marriage is strictly pleasure? Then why marry? If the only purpose for sex is pleasure, then fornicate freely. But this doesn't seem to be the Orthodox view either. I would consider it the hedonist view.)

4. Since there are natural means of "family planning," artificial barriers to the conception of life are antithetical to God's plan for sex and marriage. (Please notice that I have never indicated that married people must have children, or that they must have many children. There are natural ways of preventing the conception of a child without using articficial "contraception." These natural means do require a modicum of self discipline and restraint, which again are things that seem quite compatible with Orthodoxy.)


Selam
A wonderful Orthodox reply.  :)

In Christ,
Andrew
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: deusveritasest on May 12, 2010, 09:03:35 PM
The problem with any form of aritificial "birth control" is that it is essentially an anti-life act.

Termination of life and prevention of perpetuation of life are entirely different realities. Contraception does not involve termination of life. Thus, it cannot be treated as if it is in the same umbrella as abortion, state sponsored execution, war, euthanasia, or any of the other issues actually related to termination of life. Some of the reasons against terminating life cannot apply to contraception.
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: deusveritasest on May 12, 2010, 09:06:19 PM
I am certainly prepared to repent if I have stated anything heretical.

You haven't stated anything heretical. Rather, what you have done is dogmatize a theologumenon.
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: deusveritasest on May 12, 2010, 09:09:13 PM
(Do you think that God's purpose for sex within marriage is strictly pleasure? Then why marry? If the only purpose for sex is pleasure, then fornicate freely. But this doesn't seem to be the Orthodox view either. I would consider it the hedonist view.)

Actually, neither pleasure nor procreation are the qualities that justify marriage. They could both very easily be accomplished through promiscuity. It is rather the third fundamental quality, unity of the two through intimacy, which is what justifies marriage and orients pleasure and procreation in a proper context.
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: deusveritasest on May 12, 2010, 09:14:06 PM
4. Since there are natural means of "family planning," artificial barriers to the conception of life are antithetical to God's plan for sex and marriage. (Please notice that I have never indicated that married people must have children, or that they must have many children. There are natural ways of preventing the conception of a child without using articficial "contraception." These natural means do require a modicum of self discipline and restraint, which again are things that seem quite compatible with Orthodoxy.)

You actually think God intended people to use the natural rhythms of the menstrual cycle to avoid conception, another natural aspect of certain other rhythms of the cycle?
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: deusveritasest on May 12, 2010, 09:18:27 PM
We want the physical pleasure without the natural and spritual benfits that were intended to accompany that pleasure.

1. What natural benefits? Surely you must not be talking about conception,b ecause you just said it was fine to intentionally avoid conception through the rhythm method.

2. What spiritual benefits exactly are you talking about and how does the use of condoms prevent them?
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: deusveritasest on May 12, 2010, 09:24:11 PM
It is not the only motivation, but I am very certain that in this society it is the primary motivation.

Perhaps among the unmarried. But why would people bother to marry if pleasure was all they were looking for? Promiscuity is much more effective if pleasure is all you're looking for.
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: deusveritasest on May 12, 2010, 09:27:05 PM
Because self control is not an interference but rather the path to theosis.

When you control yourself you are interfering with your sinful inclinations. Are you not getting my point?

I get your point. And my point is that natural birth control is not interfering with God's plan for sexuality. The rhythm method involves self-coltrol, which is a good thing. Also, when married couples use natural means of not conceiving out of altruistic motivations, then this is also a good thing.  


Selam

How could avoiding having children through "natural" by inherently any more altruistic than avoiding children through "unnatural" means? The intention appears to be exactly the same.
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: deusveritasest on May 12, 2010, 09:33:28 PM
babies are burdens

Babies are burdens, from what I have seen. Regarding them as only that is wrong. Letting that quality overwhelm the others is wrong. However, it is none the less it is one among various qualities of what babies mean to parents. They require a vast amount of time and resources. And sometimes people have the sufficient time and resources to be life partners to each other but not to take care of children (or a certain number thereof) on top of that. My conclusion to that is that it would be better for married folks to not bring new life into the world that cannot be sufficiently taken care of.
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: deusveritasest on May 12, 2010, 09:36:20 PM
I never made any statements about what is "always wrong in any or every situation."
Fair enough.  In what hypothetical situation would you consider condom use to be acceptable?  In what hypothetical situation would you consider taking birth control pills to be acceptable?


None. But I am not the Pope. I am only an Ethiopian Orthodox Christian, promoting the beliefs of my Church. Most people here are EO, and maybe their Churches teach that artificial birth control is a subjective matter to be decided by married couples and their Priests. But I believe in the objective Teachings of my Faith, without apology.


Selam

The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, in comparison to the whole communion of orthodox churches (whether that be the OO or the EO as well), is liable to error. Its teachings, thus, as well as the teachings of any particular church, should be open to criticism, even by those belonging to them.
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Gebre Menfes Kidus on May 12, 2010, 09:37:57 PM


In any given parish, you will have people such as yourself, who are on fire for their faith, spiritually strong, and able to handle such a burden. You have others who are less strong. And then you have others who are so weak, they are practically crippled.

The Church must administer to each according to their needs.

I understand that contraception is against the creation of life. No one has stated otherwise. Sometimes, it is wiser for us to prevent the creation of life than to bring it into the world to potentially create death. This is why we have Spiritual Fathers. To help navigate us on the road of life with difficult issues such as this.

Wow. Really? So those who are not spritually strong enough to avoid sin should be accommodated to our weaknesses? I thought the Church calls us to holiness and provides the Sacramental graces to help us attain holiness. But you seem to be saying the opposite. If we are unable to resist temptation, then perhaps our Priest can minister to us according to our needs and give us certain exceptions. You are really advocating a relativistic spirituality that is quite unOrthodox.

Now let's look at your statement: "Sometimes, it is wiser for us to prevent the creation of life than to bring it into the world to potentially create death." So you would allow a negative potential to cause you to thwart a positive reality? The conception of any human life is a positive reality, regardless of the circumstances of conception.


Selam
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: deusveritasest on May 12, 2010, 09:41:17 PM
So those who are not spritually strong enough to avoid sin should be accommodated to our weaknesses?

I think you are constructing a straw man fallacy here. She never said she was recognizing it as sin.
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Gebre Menfes Kidus on May 12, 2010, 09:42:36 PM
I never made any statements about what is "always wrong in any or every situation."
Fair enough.  In what hypothetical situation would you consider condom use to be acceptable?  In what hypothetical situation would you consider taking birth control pills to be acceptable?


None. But I am not the Pope. I am only an Ethiopian Orthodox Christian, promoting the beliefs of my Church. Most people here are EO, and maybe their Churches teach that artificial birth control is a subjective matter to be decided by married couples and their Priests. But I believe in the objective Teachings of my Faith, without apology.


Selam

The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, in comparison to the whole communion of orthodox churches (whether that be the OO or the EO as well), is liable to error. Its teachings, thus, as well as the teachings of any particular church, should be open to criticism, even by those belonging to them.


The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church is not "any particular church." You are free to believe what you want, but you cannot be a faithful member of the EOTC and hold views that are contrary to its Teachings and Tradition. It is not you or I that detemine whether or not the Church is in error. It is the Church that determines whether we are in error.


Selam
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Gebre Menfes Kidus on May 12, 2010, 09:45:41 PM
So those who are not spritually strong enough to avoid sin should be accommodated to our weaknesses?

I think you are constructing a straw man fallacy here. She never said she was recognizing it as sin.

Well let me ask you then: If you knew that impregnating your wife would result in her death, and you knew that no form of birth control is 100% effective, and you still had sex with her kowing there's a chance that she could become pregant and die, then that would be pretty selfish and sinful would it not?


Selam
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Gebre Menfes Kidus on May 12, 2010, 09:49:54 PM
babies are burdens

Babies are burdens, from what I have seen. Regarding them as only that is wrong. Letting that quality overwhelm the others is wrong. However, it is none the less it is one among various qualities of what babies mean to parents. They require a vast amount of time and resources. And sometimes people have the sufficient time and resources to be life partners to each other but not to take care of children (or a certain number thereof) on top of that. My conclusion to that is that it would be better for married folks to not bring new life into the world that cannot be sufficiently taken care of.

We are all burdens, if you want to see it from such a negative viewpoint. Satan loves this mindset, and it's what drives abortion. Over population paranoia, "every child a wanted child," etc. But I never see any of these people volunteering to eradicte themselves from existence. Somehow they don't see themselves as burdens, but the innocent little babies are.


Selam
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Gebre Menfes Kidus on May 12, 2010, 09:52:22 PM
Because self control is not an interference but rather the path to theosis.

When you control yourself you are interfering with your sinful inclinations. Are you not getting my point?

I get your point. And my point is that natural birth control is not interfering with God's plan for sexuality. The rhythm method involves self-coltrol, which is a good thing. Also, when married couples use natural means of not conceiving out of altruistic motivations, then this is also a good thing.  


Selam

How could avoiding having children through "natural" by inherently any more altruistic than avoiding children through "unnatural" means? The intention appears to be exactly the same.

Because the rhythm method, for example, requires self control and self denial, which are altruistic qualities.


Selam
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: deusveritasest on May 12, 2010, 09:53:33 PM
So those who are not spritually strong enough to avoid sin should be accommodated to our weaknesses?

I think you are constructing a straw man fallacy here. She never said she was recognizing it as sin.

Well let me ask you then: If you knew that impregnating your wife would result in her death, and you knew that no form of birth control is 100% effective, and you still had sex with her kowing there's a chance that she could become pregant and die, then that would be pretty selfish and sinful would it not?


Selam

This must be entirely hypothetical, as I have no wife.

I think that would be walking a fine line between the reliability of birth control and the slim chance of pregnancy using it. Obviously it would have to be talked over with one's wife. It should probably be decided by consensus. However, there would definitely be merit in not having vaginal intercourse anymore.
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: deusveritasest on May 12, 2010, 09:54:37 PM
Because self control is not an interference but rather the path to theosis.

When you control yourself you are interfering with your sinful inclinations. Are you not getting my point?

I get your point. And my point is that natural birth control is not interfering with God's plan for sexuality. The rhythm method involves self-coltrol, which is a good thing. Also, when married couples use natural means of not conceiving out of altruistic motivations, then this is also a good thing.  


Selam

How could avoiding having children through "natural" by inherently any more altruistic than avoiding children through "unnatural" means? The intention appears to be exactly the same.

Because the rhythm method, for example, requires self control and self denial, which are altruistic qualities.


Selam

The basic intention behind both is avoiding conception.
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Gebre Menfes Kidus on May 12, 2010, 09:58:15 PM
It is not the only motivation, but I am very certain that in this society it is the primary motivation.

Perhaps among the unmarried. But why would people bother to marry if pleasure was all they were looking for? Promiscuity is much more effective if pleasure is all you're looking for.

The divorce rate amongst professing Christians is parrallel to that of unbelievers. Most married Christians use some form of artificial birth control As I said, the sexual standards of society have permeated the consciousness of Christians, and the results speak for themselves.

Divorce is the result of people no longer being "satisfied" by their spouse. So many Christians marry for pleasure, be it sexual or otherwise. And then when their married existence ceases to be pleasurable, they divorce. Birth control is perahps the clearest indicator of this phenomena.



Selam
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: deusveritasest on May 12, 2010, 09:59:06 PM
The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church is not "any particular church."

In the same sense that the Coptic Orthodox, Syriac Orthodox, and Armenian Apostolic churches are particular churches liable to error, so is the EOTC.

You are free to believe what you want, but you cannot be a faithful member of the EOTC and hold views that are contrary to its Teachings and Tradition.

I think if you could support the notion that you were supported by the more common teachings of the other OO churches, I do not think it would be erroneous to challenge one's particular church's teachings.

It is not you or I that detemine whether or not the Church is in error. It is the Church that determines whether we are in error.

The EOTC is not the Church. It is part of the Church.
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Gebre Menfes Kidus on May 12, 2010, 10:01:21 PM
Because self control is not an interference but rather the path to theosis.

When you control yourself you are interfering with your sinful inclinations. Are you not getting my point?

I get your point. And my point is that natural birth control is not interfering with God's plan for sexuality. The rhythm method involves self-coltrol, which is a good thing. Also, when married couples use natural means of not conceiving out of altruistic motivations, then this is also a good thing.  


Selam

How could avoiding having children through "natural" by inherently any more altruistic than avoiding children through "unnatural" means? The intention appears to be exactly the same.

Because the rhythm method, for example, requires self control and self denial, which are altruistic qualities.


Selam

The basic intention behind both is avoiding conception.


You are talking about intention. My comments about altruism addressed motivation. The intention may be the same, but the motivation can determine whether or not the action is righteous.


Selam
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Gebre Menfes Kidus on May 12, 2010, 10:07:34 PM
The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church is not "any particular church."

In the same sense that the Coptic Orthodox, Syriac Orthodox, and Armenian Apostolic churches are particular churches liable to error, so is the EOTC.

You are free to believe what you want, but you cannot be a faithful member of the EOTC and hold views that are contrary to its Teachings and Tradition.

I think if you could support the notion that you were supported by the more common teachings of the other OO churches, I do not think it would be erroneous to challenge one's particular church's teachings.

It is not you or I that detemine whether or not the Church is in error. It is the Church that determines whether we are in error.

The EOTC is not the Church. It is part of the Church.


If anyone wants to provide me with OO teachings that contradict my position, then fine.

We can challenge the Church's Teachings or we can conform to them. Which one we do will detemine whether or not we are a Christians.



Selam
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Blissfully Unaware on May 12, 2010, 11:11:54 PM
This thread sure got a lot of post since I last checked it!

Thanks everyone for their posts. I have another question. What about the "pull-out" method. No one has mentioned it so far.

And sorry for asking all these personal questions. I just feel weird as a female asking my male priest some of this stuff.

And for the record, I did do a search on this topic on this website, but then the ones I found in the search just told the OP to do a search! So I had trouble finding any info.
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: SolEX01 on May 12, 2010, 11:22:14 PM
This thread sure got a lot of post since I last checked it!

Thanks everyone for their posts. I have another question. What about the "pull-out" method. No one has mentioned it so far.

What you ask has been thoroughly covered in this thread - just replace "birth control" with "pull out."   ;)

And sorry for asking all these personal questions. I just feel weird as a female asking my male priest some of this stuff.

Would asking a female monastic help you ease your discomfort?   ???

And for the record, I did do a search on this topic on this website, but then the ones I found in the search just told the OP to do a search! So I had trouble finding any info.

A lot of people have great discomfort talking about human sexuality for it quickly deteriorates into controversial topics (some of which are under moratorium) on this board.  I wouldn't use this board to discuss sexual concerns - my $0.01 worth.
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: HandmaidenofGod on May 12, 2010, 11:41:39 PM
Wow. Really? So those who are not spritually strong enough to avoid sin should be accommodated to our weaknesses? I thought the Church calls us to holiness and provides the Sacramental graces to help us attain holiness. But you seem to be saying the opposite. If we are unable to resist temptation, then perhaps our Priest can minister to us according to our needs and give us certain exceptions. You are really advocating a relativistic spirituality that is quite unOrthodox.

Actually I am advocating a spirituality that is quite Orthodox. It's the Orthodox principle of economia. Something which seems to be foreign to you.

During Great Lent, are we not advised to seek counsel from our Spiritual Father before beginning any sort of fast? Are we not admonished to not judge our brother based on how they may fast?

If a Spiritual Father is willing to excercise economia or akribeia in terms of diet, knowing how spiritually beneficial or damaging such a thing would be, would he not be willing to use the same principles in counseling a married couple on birth control?

Now let's look at your statement: "Sometimes, it is wiser for us to prevent the creation of life than to bring it into the world to potentially create death." So you would allow a negative potential to cause you to thwart a positive reality? The conception of any human life is a positive reality, regardless of the circumstances of conception.

Selam

I'm sorry, but the death of the mother is not a positive reality. I'm sorry you see it as such. 
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Gebre Menfes Kidus on May 12, 2010, 11:48:26 PM

I'm sorry, but the death of the mother is not a positive reality. I'm sorry you see it as such. 

You are talking about a potential, not a reality.


Selam
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: PeterTheAleut on May 13, 2010, 12:00:05 AM
This thread started out with the question of whether marital sex is seen as sinful.  How did it become yet another discussion of contraception? ???
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: HandmaidenofGod on May 13, 2010, 12:01:00 AM

I'm sorry, but the death of the mother is not a positive reality. I'm sorry you see it as such. 

You are talking about a potential, not a reality.


Selam

No, I'm talking about reality. My head isn't in the clouds. My feet are planted firmly on the ground.
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: HandmaidenofGod on May 13, 2010, 12:01:35 AM

Would asking a female monastic help you ease your discomfort?   ???


Absolutely :) I would be happy to ask a female monastic but I am new to Orthodoxy and didn't know where I would find one. I have only met the priest and several deacons. I'm not sure how I would find a female monastic.

If you PM me, I would be happy to help you find one. :)
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Quinault on May 13, 2010, 12:12:42 AM
To be frank- the pull out method is horrible in my opinion.

First- the success rate of that method (as in the ability to actually avoid conception) is VERY bad- pre-ejaculate can impregnate you (I know many a woman with babies as proof of that!)

Second- it is a mood killer. I won't go further then that because the specifics of sex really don't need to be discussed.


All that said- NFP, rhythm and calendar methods of birth control are three VERY different methods. NFP or "fertility awareness" is a great deal of work for the wife. If you want to know more about it read "Take charge of your fertility." My husband and I have used this method for about 10 years and we have 4 children ages 8, almost 5, almost 3 and almost 1. You can ovulate twice in a cycle, my two youngest are proof of that ;) Calendar/rhythm is mostly about counting and since most women don't adhere to the "average" cycle where you ovulate on day "x" the failure rate of this type of pregnancy avoidance is higher then NFP/fertility awareness.

If you combine fertility awareness with a barrier method during fertile periods then you don't have to avoid very often. Otherwise there would likely be at least 2 weeks out of the month when you would have to avoid since the menstrual cycle is around a week and you have to avoid for a few days as your fertile signals start to ramp, while you are fertile and for a few days after. Women tend to have an increase in libido during fertile periods, so avoiding during that time can be (for some) a very difficult thing to do. And with fertility signals sometimes being a "gray" area (if you read the book you would understand more what I mean. There are "fertile" signs, "possibly getting fertile" kind of signs and "not fertile" signs that a woman's body gives.)

Gebre- you speak like men are the only ones that want to have sex! That isn't the case! :laugh: When you avoid during fertile periods you are depriving BOTH people.
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Blissfully Unaware on May 13, 2010, 12:18:54 AM

Gebre- you speak like men are the only ones that want to have sex! That isn't the case! :laugh: When you avoid during fertile periods you are depriving BOTH people.

 :laugh: Well said Quinault. Many people thought I was a man at first when I posted this thread. But as a female convert hoping to find an Orthodox husband it was very important to me to know what the general consensus is on this topic.
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Gebre Menfes Kidus on May 13, 2010, 01:31:53 AM

Gebre- you speak like men are the only ones that want to have sex! That isn't the case! :laugh: When you avoid during fertile periods you are depriving BOTH people.

 :laugh: Well said Quinault. Many people thought I was a man at first when I posted this thread. But as a female convert hoping to find an Orthodox husband it was very important to me to know what the general consensus is on this topic.


Nothing I have said in any way indicates that I think men are the only ones who want to have sex! I am married, and my wife and I have three children and one on the way. So, at the risk of sounding arrogant, I know that my wife enjoys sex very much.


Selam
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Quinault on May 13, 2010, 02:32:33 AM
You spoke of how you would be selfish if you continued to have sex with your wife if she had a health condition that would kill her if she was to get pregnant. You didn't say that the BOTH of you would be selfish. You don't take into account the concept that the wife may not WANT to be in a celibate marriage because of a health condition.
If impregnating my wife would cause her death, then I would not have sexual relations with her anymore. How selfish would I be to take that chance? It would be better to abstain from sex and trust in God. He can work wonders you know, and perhaps my wife would be healed of her condition and be able to bear children once again. But if I had a vasectomy, then what?


Selam
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Robert W on May 13, 2010, 09:47:22 AM
Thank you HandmaidenofGod and Quinault for your excellent posts. Too often discussions like these are entirely dominated by men (me included) who cannot see things from the viewpoint of the wife and mother.
It is not the men that has to wrestle with questions of their own life and death when health concerns complicate things in a marriage.
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: SolEX01 on May 13, 2010, 10:53:42 AM
Nothing I have said in any way indicates that I think men are the only ones who want to have sex! I am married, and my wife and I have three children and one on the way. So, at the risk of sounding arrogant, I know that my wife enjoys sex very much.

Those who exalt their marital relationships will be humbled at some point.   ;)
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: EofK on May 13, 2010, 11:07:58 AM
I have to agree with Quinault here:  NFP sounds really good until you try practicing it.  It takes an enormous amount of monitoring, self-control, and communication with your partner.  That's not to say that those things immediately rule NFP out as a possibility and indeed, I think it's a good way (used in conjunction with a barrier contraceptive) to be more responsible and not violate the teachings of the church.  However, biology is often unpredictable.  As much as one can monitor, abstain, etc., there is always the possibility that the calculations are off or the wife misread her body's cues and to me, it is irresponsible in this current economic and sociological climate to just leave it up to chance whether pregnancy occurs.  Do not think I am saying that children are a burden or are unwanted when they are conceived, because I believe they are wonderful and I thank God for the two I have now.  I am saying that medically and financially speaking, sometimes it is better to prevent pregnancy than to become unable to care for yourself and your children.
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Heorhij on May 13, 2010, 11:49:27 AM
I have to agree with Quinault here:  NFP sounds really good until you try practicing it.  It takes an enormous amount of monitoring, self-control, and communication with your partner.  That's not to say that those things immediately rule NFP out as a possibility and indeed, I think it's a good way (used in conjunction with a barrier contraceptive) to be more responsible and not violate the teachings of the church.  However, biology is often unpredictable.  As much as one can monitor, abstain, etc., there is always the possibility that the calculations are off or the wife misread her body's cues and to me, it is irresponsible in this current economic and sociological climate to just leave it up to chance whether pregnancy occurs.  Do not think I am saying that children are a burden or are unwanted when they are conceived, because I believe they are wonderful and I thank God for the two I have now.  I am saying that medically and financially speaking, sometimes it is better to prevent pregnancy than to become unable to care for yourself and your children.

Amen. Thank you, sister. :) I would add, "than to become unable to realize your potential, squander your talents, live a life you actually do not want to live." (That does not mean that NO woman should be a mother of six or eight or twelve children, but some women should not be.)
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Irish Hermit on May 13, 2010, 12:01:57 PM
I have to agree with Quinault here:  NFP sounds really good until you try practicing it.  It takes an enormous amount of monitoring, self-control, and communication with your partner.  That's not to say that those things immediately rule NFP out as a possibility...

NFP is a dead duck in the water.....  The Conference of Catholic Bishops in the United States reports that an estimated 2-3% of married Catholic couples use it.   The rest simply don't.  

Given the immense effort that the Catholic Church invests into persuading its people to use NFP, I think that the 2-3% statistic really says it all.  Catholics won't use it.
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Papist on May 13, 2010, 12:05:32 PM
I have to agree with Quinault here:  NFP sounds really good until you try practicing it.  It takes an enormous amount of monitoring, self-control, and communication with your partner.  That's not to say that those things immediately rule NFP out as a possibility...

NFP is a dead duck in the water.....  The Conference of Catholic Bishops in the United States reports that an estimated 2-3% of married Catholic couples use it.   The rest simply don't.  

Given the immense effort that the Catholic Church invests into persuading its people to use NFP, I think that the 2-3% statistic really says it all.  Catholics won't use it.
I guess we have a problem of faith in the USA.
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Keble on May 13, 2010, 04:08:37 PM
NFP is a dead duck in the water.....  The Conference of Catholic Bishops in the United States reports that an estimated 2-3% of married Catholic couples use it.   The rest simply don't.  

Given the immense effort that the Catholic Church invests into persuading its people to use NFP, I think that the 2-3% statistic really says it all.  Catholics won't use it.
I guess we have a problem of faith in the USA.

Faith in what? I think what it says is that American Catholics exercise a sort of casuistry here and reject the (celibate) hierarchy's teaching for a variety of reasons.
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Heorhij on May 13, 2010, 04:12:02 PM
NFP is a dead duck in the water.....  The Conference of Catholic Bishops in the United States reports that an estimated 2-3% of married Catholic couples use it.   The rest simply don't.  

Given the immense effort that the Catholic Church invests into persuading its people to use NFP, I think that the 2-3% statistic really says it all.  Catholics won't use it.
I guess we have a problem of faith in the USA.

Faith in what? I think what it says is that American Catholics exercise a sort of casuistry here and reject the (celibate) hierarchy's teaching for a variety of reasons.


Same thing Orthodox, and not only American. Whoever is sane.
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Gebre Menfes Kidus on May 13, 2010, 05:03:15 PM
Nothing I have said in any way indicates that I think men are the only ones who want to have sex! I am married, and my wife and I have three children and one on the way. So, at the risk of sounding arrogant, I know that my wife enjoys sex very much.

Those who exalt their marital relationships will be humbled at some point.   ;)

I'm exalting marriage, not my own marital relationship. But I do exalt God, who has blessed our marriage. My comments were made in defense of accusations that I imply that women don't enjoy sex.


Selam
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Gebre Menfes Kidus on May 13, 2010, 05:09:48 PM
Too often discussions like these are entirely dominated by men (me included) who cannot see things from the viewpoint of the wife and mother. It is not the men that has to wrestle with questions of their own life and death when health concerns complicate things in a marriage.


Unless I am missing something, women are as free to post on this forum as men.

From an Orthodox perspective, marriage means that man and woman become "one flesh;" therefore the questions of sexuality, life, and death do not merely effect the woman. Whatever happens to my wife affects me profoundly. Seems to me that you have been successfully brainwashed by the "her body, her choice" feminist propaganda.


Selam


Selam
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Gebre Menfes Kidus on May 13, 2010, 05:18:16 PM
I have to agree with Quinault here:  NFP sounds really good until you try practicing it.  It takes an enormous amount of monitoring, self-control, and communication with your partner.  That's not to say that those things immediately rule NFP out as a possibility and indeed, I think it's a good way (used in conjunction with a barrier contraceptive) to be more responsible and not violate the teachings of the church.  However, biology is often unpredictable.  As much as one can monitor, abstain, etc., there is always the possibility that the calculations are off or the wife misread her body's cues and to me, it is irresponsible in this current economic and sociological climate to just leave it up to chance whether pregnancy occurs.  Do not think I am saying that children are a burden or are unwanted when they are conceived, because I believe they are wonderful and I thank God for the two I have now.  I am saying that medically and financially speaking, sometimes it is better to prevent pregnancy than to become unable to care for yourself and your children.

If you think you shouldn't have children, then don't have sex. If you think sex is vital to your marriage, then don't fear having children. But we have to stop separating physical pleasure, emotional intimacy, and procreation. St. Paul says that it is good for married people to abstain from sex sometimes. So, if you are convinced that your children will suffer and die if you have them, then abstain from sexual relations until you feel otherwise. But if you believe that God will provide, then don't fear; enjoy sex with your spouse and rejoice in all the wonderful things that your sexual union will produce. And don't forget that the Church exists to help us when we need it. I've never heard of an Orthodox Church allowing the children of one of it's members to starve to death.


Selam
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Heorhij on May 13, 2010, 05:24:52 PM
If you think you shouldn't have children, then don't have sex.

Gebre, but why, WHY? Sex is so important for marriage. Sex sustains marriage. Sexless marriages are usually catastrophic. Giving yourself as a gift in bodily union with your spouse - isn't it wonderful, precious? And also NEEDED? Even if I CONSCIOUSLY, WILLINGLY desire for more children NOT to be born in my marriage?
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Fr. George on May 13, 2010, 05:34:22 PM
Too often discussions like these are entirely dominated by men (me included) who cannot see things from the viewpoint of the wife and mother.
It is not the men that has to wrestle with questions of their own life and death when health concerns complicate things in a marriage.

There is a 4.1:1 male:female ratio on this forum, so it is natural that every discussion here would be dominated (at least by volume) by the male perspective.
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Gebre Menfes Kidus on May 13, 2010, 06:10:40 PM
If you think you shouldn't have children, then don't have sex.

Gebre, but why, WHY? Sex is so important for marriage. Sex sustains marriage. Sexless marriages are usually catastrophic. Giving yourself as a gift in bodily union with your spouse - isn't it wonderful, precious? And also NEEDED? Even if I CONSCIOUSLY, WILLINGLY desire for more children NOT to be born in my marriage?


I agree with you, Heorhij, that sex within marriage is not sinful but needful. My concern is that worldly philosophies have influenced our Christian understanding about the purpose and value of human sexuality. We seem to think we know better than God, Who designed sex and intended it to be a great blessing for us. We essentially tell God, "I'll take this part of sex, but I don't want the other part." I think we do a disservice to sexuality and to ourselves when we adopt such an attitude. I also think we dishonor God.

I struggle with it myself. Even with the wonderful children we have and the joy and blessing that they are to us, my wife and I still feel like we shouldn't have more. This society has conditioned me to feel guilty about having children. And I find myself worrying about how we will provide for them, etc. And then I have to shake myself and realize that mindset is from satan, who is the enemy of Life and the hater of children.

Brother, God has BLESSED me! All these people with their fancy houses and nice cars looking at me like I'm the fool. But the Psalmist says, "Behold, children are the Lord's inheritance; the fruit of the womb, His reward. Like arrows in the hand of a mighty one, so are the children of those who were outcasts. Blessed in the man whose quiver is full, he will not be ashamed when he speaks to his enemies at the gate." [Psalm 127:3-5]

I also know that our children have solidified our marriage and brought my wife and I closer to each other. I always feel the greatest sense of intimacy during her pregnancies, and no intimacy or joy can come close to those times when I held her hand and coaxed her through the deliveries of our children. So you see, the intimacies, joys, and pleasures of sexuality trascend the mere physical act. Why sould we want to deny ourselves of the entirety of God's intended blessings for sexuality?


Selam
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Heorhij on May 13, 2010, 06:32:07 PM
If you think you shouldn't have children, then don't have sex.

Gebre, but why, WHY? Sex is so important for marriage. Sex sustains marriage. Sexless marriages are usually catastrophic. Giving yourself as a gift in bodily union with your spouse - isn't it wonderful, precious? And also NEEDED? Even if I CONSCIOUSLY, WILLINGLY desire for more children NOT to be born in my marriage?


I agree with you, Heorhij, that sex within marriage is not sinful but needful. My concern is that worldly philosophies have influenced our Christian understanding about the purpose and value of human sexuality. We seem to think we know better than God, Who designed sex and intended it to be a great blessing for us. We essentially tell God, "I'll take this part of sex, but I don't want the other part." I think we do a disservice to sexuality and to ourselves when we adopt such an attitude. I also think we dishonor God.

I don't. I think God placed humans higher than animals. Animals mate for procreation, also having pleasure while doing it. Humans love their spouses and give themselves as a unique, un-replaceable, most precious gift in sexual union. Children can be born as a result of it, or not. It is not FOR having children that we engage in sexual relationship with our spouses. It is for THEM. And I think it's normal and it's what God intends for us.

I struggle with it myself. Even with the wonderful children we have and the joy and blessing that they are to us, my wife and I still feel like we shouldn't have more. This society has conditioned me to feel guilty about having children. And I find myself worrying about how we will provide for them, etc. And then I have to shake myself and realize that mindset is from satan, who is the enemy of Life and the hater of children.

I don't think the society conditions us to feel guilty about having children. Rather, it is increasingly difficult to have many children and care for them adequately. Some people want that, making great sacrifices - and that's great, my hat off to them. Other people do not want to have many children but, rather, want to have two or one or even none, and this is because their priority is something else, not children. Or their prioroty is their two childdren. or their one child. And that's fine, too. It is not necessarily selfish.

Brother, God has BLESSED me! All these people with their fancy houses and nice cars looking at me like I'm the fool. But the Psalmist says, "Behold, children are the Lord's inheritance; the fruit of the womb, His reward. Like arrows in the hand of a mighty one, so are the children of those who were outcasts. Blessed in the man whose quiver is full, he will not be ashamed when he speaks to his enemies at the gate." [Psalm 127:3-5]

But of course children are a blessing, who argues with that. However, different people are blessed differently. Pierre and Marie Curie were blessed differently...

I also know that our children have solidified our marriage and brought my wife and I closer to each other. I always feel the greatest sense of intimacy during her pregnancies, and no intimacy or joy can come close to those times when I held her hand and coaxed her through the deliveries of our children. So you see, the intimacies, joys, and pleasures of sexuality trascend the mere physical act. Why sould we want to deny ourselves of the entirety of God's intended blessings for sexuality?

I am sure there were intimacies, joys, and pleasures of sexuality, of the unique human sexuality, in Pierre and Marie Curie's marriage... :)
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Gebre Menfes Kidus on May 13, 2010, 07:02:10 PM
If you think you shouldn't have children, then don't have sex.

Gebre, but why, WHY? Sex is so important for marriage. Sex sustains marriage. Sexless marriages are usually catastrophic. Giving yourself as a gift in bodily union with your spouse - isn't it wonderful, precious? And also NEEDED? Even if I CONSCIOUSLY, WILLINGLY desire for more children NOT to be born in my marriage?


I agree with you, Heorhij, that sex within marriage is not sinful but needful. My concern is that worldly philosophies have influenced our Christian understanding about the purpose and value of human sexuality. We seem to think we know better than God, Who designed sex and intended it to be a great blessing for us. We essentially tell God, "I'll take this part of sex, but I don't want the other part." I think we do a disservice to sexuality and to ourselves when we adopt such an attitude. I also think we dishonor God.

I don't. I think God placed humans higher than animals. Animals mate for procreation, also having pleasure while doing it. Humans love their spouses and give themselves as a unique, un-replaceable, most precious gift in sexual union. Children can be born as a result of it, or not. It is not FOR having children that we engage in sexual relationship with our spouses. It is for THEM. And I think it's normal and it's what God intends for us.

I struggle with it myself. Even with the wonderful children we have and the joy and blessing that they are to us, my wife and I still feel like we shouldn't have more. This society has conditioned me to feel guilty about having children. And I find myself worrying about how we will provide for them, etc. And then I have to shake myself and realize that mindset is from satan, who is the enemy of Life and the hater of children.

I don't think the society conditions us to feel guilty about having children. Rather, it is increasingly difficult to have many children and care for them adequately. Some people want that, making great sacrifices - and that's great, my hat off to them. Other people do not want to have many children but, rather, want to have two or one or even none, and this is because their priority is something else, not children. Or their prioroty is their two childdren. or their one child. And that's fine, too. It is not necessarily selfish.

Brother, God has BLESSED me! All these people with their fancy houses and nice cars looking at me like I'm the fool. But the Psalmist says, "Behold, children are the Lord's inheritance; the fruit of the womb, His reward. Like arrows in the hand of a mighty one, so are the children of those who were outcasts. Blessed in the man whose quiver is full, he will not be ashamed when he speaks to his enemies at the gate." [Psalm 127:3-5]

But of course children are a blessing, who argues with that. However, different people are blessed differently. Pierre and Marie Curie were blessed differently...

I also know that our children have solidified our marriage and brought my wife and I closer to each other. I always feel the greatest sense of intimacy during her pregnancies, and no intimacy or joy can come close to those times when I held her hand and coaxed her through the deliveries of our children. So you see, the intimacies, joys, and pleasures of sexuality trascend the mere physical act. Why sould we want to deny ourselves of the entirety of God's intended blessings for sexuality?

I am sure there were intimacies, joys, and pleasures of sexuality, of the unique human sexuality, in Pierre and Marie Curie's marriage... :)


Forgive my ignorance, but I don't know who Pierre and Marie Cuire are.  :-[

I think the divorce rate, the abortion rate, the STD rate, the child abuse rate, and many other things indicate that we grossly misunderstand God's intention and plan for sexuality and marriage. The evidence speaks for itself. Some find pleasure in fornication; some find pleasure in mere copulation; but I find pleasure in procreation.  :) Call me an animal if you want to.


Selam  
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Rosehip on May 13, 2010, 07:12:05 PM
So, it seems to me, Gebre, that you have the world divided neatly into two categories: those lucky souls like yourself who are capable of procreating and therefore, are permitted to have sex, and those pathetic losers, who, for whatever tragic reason, are not capable of procreating, and therefore, are forever banned from experiencing the joys of human intimacy with their spouses.  :'(
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Gebre Menfes Kidus on May 13, 2010, 07:52:36 PM
So, it seems to me, Gebre, that you have the world divided neatly into two categories: those lucky souls like yourself who are capable of procreating and therefore, are permitted to have sex, and those pathetic losers, who, for whatever tragic reason, are not capable of procreating, and therefore, are forever banned from experiencing the joys of human intimacy with their spouses.  :'(


 ???  How you could possibly derive such an idea from anything I have said is beyond comprehension.


Selam
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Rosehip on May 13, 2010, 08:14:39 PM
Forgive me if I misunderstood, Gebre, but it seems to me you are promoting something like sex is only to be for procreative purposes, etc. I've also understood that some Orthodox people have this notion that, if a couple is not able to procreate, then they might as well live together as brother and sister, which seems terribly sad and unchristian to me. But I hope I am mistaken and that you do not subscribe to this devastatingly sad viewpoint.
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Quinault on May 13, 2010, 09:07:33 PM
The problem with your line of logic/thought is that it means that sex is only permissible when it is open to life. If a woman/man is infertile then they should not be having sex. You likely will say something along the lines of- well, as long as they don't do anything to prevent conception it it open to life. But there are many women and men out there now that are incapable of having children that are not wed yet. Your logic would mean that those that are incapable of procreating should not wed.  And once a couple is beyond childbearing years they need not have sex because it can not be procreative. Again, you will likely say that as long as it is "open to life" that it is OK. But that is a sort of stupid argument. How can a woman without a womb *like my mother in-law*  be "open to life? Or a woman without any ovaries *like my mother,* or a man that knows that he has low sperm count and poor motility *like my brother in law* possibly  entertain the concept that they are "open to life" when it is IMPOSSIBLE to conceive.?

Sex is NOT primarily for procreation. This is quite a dead horse and it was beaten to death years ago by others and within the last 2 years by me. I would rather have you look thru some of the tabs to the thread then plagiarize myself.

In short- either sex has a dual purpose of procreation and unity, or it has a single purpose of procreation with the benefit of unity. You seem to be espousing the later Gebre. If sex has a dual purpose then some amount of pregnancy prevention should be allowed and infertile sex should be allowed. Otherwise you are sounding VERY Roman Catholic to me.
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Iconodule on May 13, 2010, 09:12:36 PM
It was the intention that the Fathers focused on, not the method. If your intention was to have sex while avoiding the possibility (or probability) or procreation, then (if they spoke on the subject at all) they considered you in the wrong.

Yes. And I consider them to be in the wrong on this matter, entirely.
I think these Holy Fathers have spoken against the greater consensus of the Church in this matter.

That's a very interesting point. I think I agree with you. Unfortunately, this "broader consensus" is pretty voiceless, or conformist to the "wisdom of the Fathers," or brainwashed to a certain extent.

In other words, this "broader consensus" is a fantasy you've concocted for ideological ends, like the "revolutionary Proletariat" in the mind of the Marxist. The masses are too "brainwashed" and "conformist" to bring it to realization.

I don't think this thread is dominated by the "male perspective" so much as the (crypto) Protestant perspective.
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Ebor on May 13, 2010, 09:24:00 PM
Forgive my ignorance, but I don't know who Pierre and Marie Cuire are.  :-[


Pierre and Marie (nee Sklodowska) Curie: A married couple who were brilliant scientists in physics and chemistry.  They worked with radioactivity and were the discoverers of Radium. They won a Nobel Prize together. Marie later won another Nobel Prize after her husband's tragic death in a street accident. They were devoted to each other and had two daughters

http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/physics/laureates/1903/marie-curie-bio.html
http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/physics/laureates/1903/pierre-curie-bio.html



Ebor
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Gebre Menfes Kidus on May 13, 2010, 10:01:21 PM
The problem with your line of logic/thought is that it means that sex is only permissible when it is open to life. If a woman/man is infertile then they should not be having sex. You likely will say something along the lines of- well, as long as they don't do anything to prevent conception it it open to life. But there are many women and men out there now that are incapable of having children that are not wed yet. Your logic would mean that those that are incapable of procreating should not wed.  And once a couple is beyond childbearing years they need not have sex because it can not be procreative. Again, you will likely say that as long as it is "open to life" that it is OK. But that is a sort of stupid argument. How can a woman without a womb *like my mother in-law*  be "open to life? Or a woman without any ovaries *like my mother,* or a man that knows that he has low sperm count and poor motility *like my brother in law* possibly  entertain the concept that they are "open to life" when it is IMPOSSIBLE to conceive.?

Sex is NOT primarily for procreation. This is quite a dead horse and it was beaten to death years ago by others and within the last 2 years by me. I would rather have you look thru some of the tabs to the thread then plagiarize myself.

In short- either sex has a dual purpose of procreation and unity, or it has a single purpose of procreation with the benefit of unity. You seem to be espousing the later Gebre. If sex has a dual purpose then some amount of pregnancy prevention should be allowed and infertile sex should be allowed. Otherwise you are sounding VERY Roman Catholic to me.


Just read my words and don't assume things. Some of you want me to say something I'm not saying. I've been very clear that sex is not only for procreation.


Selam
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Blissfully Unaware on May 13, 2010, 10:34:20 PM
Hi everyone, OP here  :D

After reading the 100+ posts on this topic, I am going to conclude that the ideas on this issue are diverse and unique to each individual. When God willing I find someone to marry, I will have this discussion with him and see how he feels about it.

Gebre, but why, WHY? Sex is so important for marriage. Sex sustains marriage. Sexless marriages are usually catastrophic. Giving yourself as a gift in bodily union with your spouse - isn't it wonderful, precious? And also NEEDED? Even if I CONSCIOUSLY, WILLINGLY desire for more children NOT to be born in my marriage?

That was a beautiful quote Heorhij, I couldn't agree more. I hope I find a husband who shares this view!
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Heorhij on May 14, 2010, 08:29:44 AM
It was the intention that the Fathers focused on, not the method. If your intention was to have sex while avoiding the possibility (or probability) or procreation, then (if they spoke on the subject at all) they considered you in the wrong.

Yes. And I consider them to be in the wrong on this matter, entirely.
I think these Holy Fathers have spoken against the greater consensus of the Church in this matter.

That's a very interesting point. I think I agree with you. Unfortunately, this "broader consensus" is pretty voiceless, or conformist to the "wisdom of the Fathers," or brainwashed to a certain extent.

In other words, this "broader consensus" is a fantasy you've concocted for ideological ends, like the "revolutionary Proletariat" in the mind of the Marxist. The masses are too "brainwashed" and "conformist" to bring it to realization.

Ah, another reader of my heart. :)

No, this is not a Marxist speaking in me. Just plain observation. Married people may arrive to the conclusion that teachings about sex as something necessarily open to procreation or else sinful is a terrible, dehumanizing, destructive teaching. I did. I know that I am not alone. Moreover, I suspect that there are millions of people who are like me. So, because I have these observations and these thoughts, I make my hypothesis about people within the Church being brainwashed or forced into being silent on these matters - otherwise, there would be already a different teaching.

I don't think this thread is dominated by the "male perspective" so much as the (crypto) Protestant perspective.

Fine, I don't mind being viewed as a very bad Orthodox in certain issues.
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Heorhij on May 14, 2010, 08:31:48 AM
Hi everyone, OP here  :D

After reading the 100+ posts on this topic, I am going to conclude that the ideas on this issue are diverse and unique to each individual. When God willing I find someone to marry, I will have this discussion with him and see how he feels about it.

Gebre, but why, WHY? Sex is so important for marriage. Sex sustains marriage. Sexless marriages are usually catastrophic. Giving yourself as a gift in bodily union with your spouse - isn't it wonderful, precious? And also NEEDED? Even if I CONSCIOUSLY, WILLINGLY desire for more children NOT to be born in my marriage?

That was a beautiful quote Heorhij, I couldn't agree more. I hope I find a husband who shares this view!

Thank you, dear OP sister.:) "Seek, and you shall find." "Grant this, o Lord."
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Heorhij on May 14, 2010, 09:04:40 AM
Forgive my ignorance, but I don't know who Pierre and Marie Cuire are.  :-[


Pierre and Marie (nee Sklodowska) Curie: A married couple who were brilliant scientists in physics and chemistry.  They worked with radioactivity and were the discoverers of Radium. They won a Nobel Prize together. Marie later won another Nobel Prize after her husband's tragic death in a street accident. They were devoted to each other and had two daughters

http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/physics/laureates/1903/marie-curie-bio.html
http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/physics/laureates/1903/pierre-curie-bio.html



Ebor

Thank you, Ebor. Yes, they were both wonderful scientists, physicists. I just used them as an example of a married couple for whom home and many children were not a priority, obviously. BTW, one of their daughters, Irene Joliot-Curie, also became an outstanding scientist and a Nobel prize winner in chemistry. She and her husband Frederic (who also signed his name as Joliot-Curie) had two children, and again the children became outstanding scientists (daughter a physicist and son a biologist).
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: calligraphqueen on May 17, 2010, 02:31:42 PM
I have to agree with Quinault here:  NFP sounds really good until you try practicing it.  It takes an enormous amount of monitoring, self-control, and communication with your partner.  That's not to say that those things immediately rule NFP out as a possibility and indeed, I think it's a good way (used in conjunction with a barrier contraceptive) to be more responsible and not violate the teachings of the church.  However, biology is often unpredictable.  As much as one can monitor, abstain, etc., there is always the possibility that the calculations are off or the wife misread her body's cues and to me, it is irresponsible in this current economic and sociological climate to just leave it up to chance whether pregnancy occurs.  Do not think I am saying that children are a burden or are unwanted when they are conceived, because I believe they are wonderful and I thank God for the two I have now.  I am saying that medically and financially speaking, sometimes it is better to prevent pregnancy than to become unable to care for yourself and your children.

Not to mention at NFP does NOT work when the woman ovulates more than once a month, which seems to be indicated in a larger proportion of women than once believed.  ;D

Sometimes it does become necessary to prevent pregnancy, but without resorting to chemical abortificient methods to do so. I think that is the point where the father's began making note, as women have been using various plants and ingredients to induce abortions long before Sanger came along with that ''marvelous'' little pill. The idea in society is to do anything, or ingest anything that will prevent a person from having to be 'burdened' with the care of a child. That is only because sexuality has left the safety and sanctity of marriage to be a sport. It would, even aside from Church sanctions towards virginity and purity, be more beneficial to remain chaste until marriage. Chastity serves a person physically, emotionally and spiritually-its just incredibly difficult to maintain.
As far as sex within marriage, the only Orthodox rules about it is that folks were expected to refrain from physical intimacy before Communion and during fasting periods. Not so much as to be a wet blanket, but to focus on the person's spiritual growth OVER the physical pleasures of life. Its not fun of course, especially when you and your partner get hardly any time together of any sort.
Each situation is different, so speaking to one's priest whenever a unique situation comes up would be of great merit. We did that whole 'quiverful' thing as protestants, where folks actually trust God for their family size and take His commandments to multiply literally. Some are quite intent of this lifestyle of faith, and I can't fault them. For us life went willy shortly before our conversion when one of our children started to regress. Come to find out she has a rare genetic but non hereditary condition. So while its not like we would have another child with the disorder, our care for this specific child is financially overwhelming. And it always will be. Our priest said he could not ''condone'' a surgery for dh, but would ask for forgiveness on his behalf if he went that direction. I don't believe ORthodoxy is about being rigid or hardlined. Most of the rules we see, however poorly explained when posts devolve on here, are meant for our spiritual gain over the long haul. We do the best we can.

and besides, some of us have done our part already. Its time for the younger set to make some Orthodox babies... :P
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Quinault on May 17, 2010, 03:07:47 PM
I would be happy to have a couple more Orthodox babies! I don't think that is likely, so hopefully I can adopt a couple more native american children and raise them in the Orthodox church :D
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: HandmaidenofGod on May 17, 2010, 04:09:30 PM
LOL, that's one way to increase parish membership; every married couple adopts a child and raises them Orthodox.

Instant membership growth in every parish!!

 :laugh:  :laugh:  :laugh:
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: calligraphqueen on May 17, 2010, 05:13:55 PM
That does sound like a plan! despite our current family size I would still love to adopt.  Trouble is our parish is so tiny there are no prospects for marriage within several hours. We need a family retreat for our Orthodox kids to meet once we adopt them, as I have heard round these parts that Orthodox spouses are hard to find.
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: xuxana on May 17, 2010, 07:48:24 PM
Unfortunately, what Gebre expressed above seems to be a rather prevalent view among the Orthodox clergy and laity. At least on the Internet forums.  ;D

Personally, as I wrote many times, I believe it's a bunch of BS.  :'( (But that's just me.)

Most importantly, however, - there is no "one-size-fits-it-all" dogma about non-abortive contraception in Orthodoxy. It is PRINCIPALLY a PASTORAL issue, NOT a dogmatic one. There are no papal encyclicas that are "binding" to us, Orthodox, in regards of when do we have children after we marry, how many children we have, how do we "space" our children etc. etc. etc. Instead, for us there are our priests, whom we are supposed to ask for their blessing for what we have in mind regarding our plans to have or not to have children.
QFT

like totally.
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Quinault on May 17, 2010, 09:01:34 PM
That does sound like a plan! despite our current family size I would still love to adopt.  Trouble is our parish is so tiny there are no prospects for marriage within several hours. We need a family retreat for our Orthodox kids to meet once we adopt them, as I have heard round these parts that Orthodox spouses are hard to find.

I would be really happy if there were more events in our area for Orthodox families and kids. There are a few but they are REALLY expensive.
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Gebre Menfes Kidus on May 19, 2010, 08:34:28 PM
Unfortunately, what Gebre expressed above seems to be a rather prevalent view among the Orthodox clergy and laity. At least on the Internet forums.  ;D

Personally, as I wrote many times, I believe it's a bunch of BS.  :'( (But that's just me.)

Most importantly, however, - there is no "one-size-fits-it-all" dogma about non-abortive contraception in Orthodoxy. It is PRINCIPALLY a PASTORAL issue, NOT a dogmatic one. There are no papal encyclicas that are "binding" to us, Orthodox, in regards of when do we have children after we marry, how many children we have, how do we "space" our children etc. etc. etc. Instead, for us there are our priests, whom we are supposed to ask for their blessing for what we have in mind regarding our plans to have or not to have children.
QFT

like totally.


It is really quite simple. Life is a blessing, not a curse. In this fallen world, there will never be perfect or ideal circumstances in which to conceive and give birth to children. There are proven and effective means of not conceiving for those who feel it is best not to have children. But the use of artificial birth control is an action that is contrary to Life. When it doesn't work (and no birth control methods are 100% effective), then what? People then perceive the conceived child as a problem rather than a blessing.

Unless someone can provide me with Patristic texts or Church Teachings that specifically advocate articifial birth control as appropriate for Orthodox Christians, then I will continue to condemn it as contrary to the Teachings and Traditions of the Orthodox Church. Individual Priests and Bishops may have subjective opinions about the matter, but their opinions do not override 2,000 years of Church Teaching on the matter.

But if you prove me wrong then I will concede. But so far, the arguments against my position on this matter have all been based on subjective interpretations rather than objective Church Tradition. You advocates of birth control are sounding quite Protestant to me. ;)


Selam
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Marc1152 on May 19, 2010, 08:44:39 PM

Quote
And you can not use condoms

That's a discussion that need to take place between you, your wife, and your priest.


Thanks for your reply. Also, I am a female, and unmarried (I'm asking this before I convert), and I don't want to ask my priest because I feel like it would not be appropriate to ask him about this.

I'd have to ask a priest if I could use condoms???

Please don't worry about this and certainly don't let this stop you from converting.

There is no Puritanical Moral Code loose within our Parishes. Yes, restraint of passions is a good thing to practice but I think you will find us to be only conservative on this point... not nuts.
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: PeterTheAleut on May 20, 2010, 12:12:16 AM
Unless someone can provide me with Patristic texts or Church Teachings that specifically advocate articifial birth control as appropriate for Orthodox Christians, then I will continue to condemn it as contrary to the Teachings and Traditions of the Orthodox Church. Individual Priests and Bishops may have subjective opinions about the matter, but their opinions do not override 2,000 years of Church Teaching on the matter.
But when you present your interpretation of our Tradition on an Internet discussion board, your condemnation of artificial birth control comes across as an unnecessarily dogmatic opinion.  Why should your interpretation of Tradition trump the interpretation of Tradition that guides the pastoral practice of so many of our priests and bishops?  Are you somehow more qualified to interpret Tradition for us than they?
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Gebre Menfes Kidus on May 20, 2010, 12:39:13 AM
Unless someone can provide me with Patristic texts or Church Teachings that specifically advocate articifial birth control as appropriate for Orthodox Christians, then I will continue to condemn it as contrary to the Teachings and Traditions of the Orthodox Church. Individual Priests and Bishops may have subjective opinions about the matter, but their opinions do not override 2,000 years of Church Teaching on the matter.
But when you present your interpretation of our Tradition on an Internet discussion board, your condemnation of artificial birth control comes across as an unnecessarily dogmatic opinion.  Why should your interpretation of Tradition trump the interpretation of Tradition that guides the pastoral practice of so many of our priests and bishops?  Are you somehow more qualified to interpret Tradition for us than they?

Neither my interpretation nor the interpretation of Priests and Bishops trumps the 2,000 year old interpetation of the Church. That's why I said that I will gladly stand corrected if anyone can provide me with Patristic texts or Church canons that clearly advocate or condone the use of artificial birth control. My opinion on the matter is based on objective ecclesiastical Teaching and Tradition, not on my own subjective ideas.


Selam
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: PeterTheAleut on May 20, 2010, 01:00:40 AM
Unless someone can provide me with Patristic texts or Church Teachings that specifically advocate articifial birth control as appropriate for Orthodox Christians, then I will continue to condemn it as contrary to the Teachings and Traditions of the Orthodox Church. Individual Priests and Bishops may have subjective opinions about the matter, but their opinions do not override 2,000 years of Church Teaching on the matter.
But when you present your interpretation of our Tradition on an Internet discussion board, your condemnation of artificial birth control comes across as an unnecessarily dogmatic opinion.  Why should your interpretation of Tradition trump the interpretation of Tradition that guides the pastoral practice of so many of our priests and bishops?  Are you somehow more qualified to interpret Tradition for us than they?

Neither my interpretation nor the interpretation of Priests and Bishops trumps the 2,000 year old interpetation of the Church. That's why I said that I will gladly stand corrected if anyone can provide me with Patristic texts or Church canons that clearly advocate or condone the use of artificial birth control. My opinion on the matter is based on objective ecclesiastical Teaching and Tradition, not on my own subjective ideas.
You're missing my point, though.  You continue to present your condemnation of artificial birth control--that is to say, your interpretation of Tradition--as though it IS the 2,000-year-old Tradition of the Church.  I don't doubt that you base your opinion solely on Holy Tradition and not on any subjective ideas, but the fact remains that your opinion is still your opinion and that others will base their opinions solely on Holy Tradition and still disagree with you.  If you believe the most logical conclusion from Holy Tradition is to condemn artificial birth control and you and your wife strive to live according to this dictate, then I commend you for your zeal to live in perfect integrity with your Christian conscience--I'm not even going to try to prove you wrong, simply because the Fathers have traditionally spoken against artificial birth control.  Just recognize that when you present such strong beliefs on an Internet discussion board, you do well to respect the opinions of others by not being so dogmatic in how you state yours.  You seem to overlook the fact, which others have stated here, that the Church has also blessed priests and bishops to exercise pastoral discernment and apply the Church's traditional stand on ABC with less strictness than you may like.
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Gebre Menfes Kidus on May 20, 2010, 01:09:51 AM
Unless someone can provide me with Patristic texts or Church Teachings that specifically advocate articifial birth control as appropriate for Orthodox Christians, then I will continue to condemn it as contrary to the Teachings and Traditions of the Orthodox Church. Individual Priests and Bishops may have subjective opinions about the matter, but their opinions do not override 2,000 years of Church Teaching on the matter.
But when you present your interpretation of our Tradition on an Internet discussion board, your condemnation of artificial birth control comes across as an unnecessarily dogmatic opinion.  Why should your interpretation of Tradition trump the interpretation of Tradition that guides the pastoral practice of so many of our priests and bishops?  Are you somehow more qualified to interpret Tradition for us than they?

Neither my interpretation nor the interpretation of Priests and Bishops trumps the 2,000 year old interpetation of the Church. That's why I said that I will gladly stand corrected if anyone can provide me with Patristic texts or Church canons that clearly advocate or condone the use of artificial birth control. My opinion on the matter is based on objective ecclesiastical Teaching and Tradition, not on my own subjective ideas.
You're missing my point, though.  You're presenting your condemnation of artificial birth control--that is to say, your interpretation of Tradition--as though it IS the 2,000-year-old Tradition of the Church.  I don't doubt that you base your opinion solely on Holy Tradition and not on any subjective ideas, but the fact remains that your opinion is still your opinion and that others will base their opinions solely on Holy Tradition and still disagree with you.  If you believe the most logical conclusion from Holy Tradition is to condemn artificial birth control and you and your wife strive to live according to this dictate, then I commend you for your zeal to live in perfect integrity with your Christian conscience--I'm not even going to try to prove you wrong, simply because the Fathers have traditionally condemned artificial birth control.  Just recognize that when you present such strong beliefs on an Internet discussion board, you do well to respect the opinions of others by not being so dogmatic in how you state yours.  You seem to overlook the fact, which others have stated here, that priests and bishops may need to exercise pastoral discernment and apply the Church's traditional stand on ABC with less strictness than you may like.


Respectfully, I have repeatedly stated that I am open to ecclesiastical evidence that proves my position is erroneous. Regarding matters of morality, the Church is often if not always dogmatic. Just because certain Orthodox Priests, Bishops, and laymen choose to ignore the dogmatic Teachings of the Church does not mean that I shall do the same. Quite frankly, I will never respect any ideologies or human opinions that undermine the sanctity of human Life.

Orthodoxy is not Protestantism, where individuals pick and choose the "church" that suits their own subjective belief system.


Selam
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: PeterTheAleut on May 20, 2010, 01:22:18 AM
Unless someone can provide me with Patristic texts or Church Teachings that specifically advocate articifial birth control as appropriate for Orthodox Christians, then I will continue to condemn it as contrary to the Teachings and Traditions of the Orthodox Church. Individual Priests and Bishops may have subjective opinions about the matter, but their opinions do not override 2,000 years of Church Teaching on the matter.
But when you present your interpretation of our Tradition on an Internet discussion board, your condemnation of artificial birth control comes across as an unnecessarily dogmatic opinion.  Why should your interpretation of Tradition trump the interpretation of Tradition that guides the pastoral practice of so many of our priests and bishops?  Are you somehow more qualified to interpret Tradition for us than they?

Neither my interpretation nor the interpretation of Priests and Bishops trumps the 2,000 year old interpetation of the Church. That's why I said that I will gladly stand corrected if anyone can provide me with Patristic texts or Church canons that clearly advocate or condone the use of artificial birth control. My opinion on the matter is based on objective ecclesiastical Teaching and Tradition, not on my own subjective ideas.
You're missing my point, though.  You're presenting your condemnation of artificial birth control--that is to say, your interpretation of Tradition--as though it IS the 2,000-year-old Tradition of the Church.  I don't doubt that you base your opinion solely on Holy Tradition and not on any subjective ideas, but the fact remains that your opinion is still your opinion and that others will base their opinions solely on Holy Tradition and still disagree with you.  If you believe the most logical conclusion from Holy Tradition is to condemn artificial birth control and you and your wife strive to live according to this dictate, then I commend you for your zeal to live in perfect integrity with your Christian conscience--I'm not even going to try to prove you wrong, simply because the Fathers have traditionally condemned artificial birth control.  Just recognize that when you present such strong beliefs on an Internet discussion board, you do well to respect the opinions of others by not being so dogmatic in how you state yours.  You seem to overlook the fact, which others have stated here, that priests and bishops may need to exercise pastoral discernment and apply the Church's traditional stand on ABC with less strictness than you may like.


Respectfully, I have repeatedly stated that I am open to ecclesiastical evidence that proves my position is erroneous.
What's the point in us doing so?  You're position is NOT erroneous; it's just too strict.

Regarding matters of morality, the Church is often if not always dogmatic.
And, more importantly, pastoral.

Just because certain Orthodox Priests, Bishops, and laymen choose to ignore the dogmatic Teachings of the Church does not mean that I shall do the same.
Please do not interpret the pastoral practice of oikonomia in such a demeaning way as to accuse those pastors who practice it of ignoring the dogmatic teachings of the Church.

Quite frankly, I will never respect any ideologies or human opinions that undermine the sanctity of human Life.
And no one's asking you to do so.

Orthodoxy is not Protestantism, where individuals pick and choose the "church" that suits their own subjective belief system.
Oikonomia is not about individuals picking and choosing whatever suits their own subjective belief systems.  It's about pastors discerning specific spiritual needs and applying the discipline of the Church in ways that offer the most salvific benefit to each individual and family under their care so that, if possible, all might be saved.  I'm sorry if you can't understand this concept, but you can at least stop condemning it.
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Gebre Menfes Kidus on May 20, 2010, 04:00:14 AM
My replies below in red:

Unless someone can provide me with Patristic texts or Church Teachings that specifically advocate articifial birth control as appropriate for Orthodox Christians, then I will continue to condemn it as contrary to the Teachings and Traditions of the Orthodox Church. Individual Priests and Bishops may have subjective opinions about the matter, but their opinions do not override 2,000 years of Church Teaching on the matter.
But when you present your interpretation of our Tradition on an Internet discussion board, your condemnation of artificial birth control comes across as an unnecessarily dogmatic opinion.  Why should your interpretation of Tradition trump the interpretation of Tradition that guides the pastoral practice of so many of our priests and bishops?  Are you somehow more qualified to interpret Tradition for us than they?

Neither my interpretation nor the interpretation of Priests and Bishops trumps the 2,000 year old interpetation of the Church. That's why I said that I will gladly stand corrected if anyone can provide me with Patristic texts or Church canons that clearly advocate or condone the use of artificial birth control. My opinion on the matter is based on objective ecclesiastical Teaching and Tradition, not on my own subjective ideas.
You're missing my point, though.  You're presenting your condemnation of artificial birth control--that is to say, your interpretation of Tradition--as though it IS the 2,000-year-old Tradition of the Church.  I don't doubt that you base your opinion solely on Holy Tradition and not on any subjective ideas, but the fact remains that your opinion is still your opinion and that others will base their opinions solely on Holy Tradition and still disagree with you.  If you believe the most logical conclusion from Holy Tradition is to condemn artificial birth control and you and your wife strive to live according to this dictate, then I commend you for your zeal to live in perfect integrity with your Christian conscience--I'm not even going to try to prove you wrong, simply because the Fathers have traditionally condemned artificial birth control.  Just recognize that when you present such strong beliefs on an Internet discussion board, you do well to respect the opinions of others by not being so dogmatic in how you state yours.  You seem to overlook the fact, which others have stated here, that priests and bishops may need to exercise pastoral discernment and apply the Church's traditional stand on ABC with less strictness than you may like.


Respectfully, I have repeatedly stated that I am open to ecclesiastical evidence that proves my position is erroneous.
What's the point in us doing so?  You're position is NOT erroneous; it's just too strict.


So you are the arbiter of what is too strict?


Regarding matters of morality, the Church is often if not always dogmatic.
And, more importantly, pastoral.


A) This is a subjective comment.
B) Your comment promotes a false dichotomy. The pastoral role of the Church is never opposed to the dogmas of the Church. In fact, the pastoral role is to guide and assist us lay people in adhering to the dogmas of the Church, not to absolve us of our responsibility to live according to the dogmas of the Church.


Just because certain Orthodox Priests, Bishops, and laymen choose to ignore the dogmatic Teachings of the Church does not mean that I shall do the same.
Please do not interpret the pastoral practice of oikonomia in such a demeaning way as to accuse those pastors who practice it of ignoring the dogmatic teachings of the Church.


I do not demean those Bishops and Priests who practice true "oikonomia." But sadly, some in the name of "oikonomia" demean themselves by elevating their own subjective ideals over and above that which the Church has historically and consistently taught.

Quite frankly, I will never respect any ideologies or human opinions that undermine the sanctity of human Life.
And no one's asking you to do so.

Orthodoxy is not Protestantism, where individuals pick and choose the "church" that suits their own subjective belief system.
Oikonomia is not about individuals picking and choosing whatever suits their own subjective belief systems.  It's about pastors discerning specific spiritual needs and applying the discipline of the Church in ways that offer the most salvific benefit to each individual and family under their care so that, if possible, all might be saved.  I'm sorry if you can't understand this concept, but you can at least stop condemning it.


You are severely perverting the meaning of "Oikonomia." Salvation is not the result of "defining deviancy down." The moral laws of the Church are not subject to negotiation. In this world of moral relativism, the Orthodox Church is the objective Light of the world. Priests are not supposed to adjust the Church's morality according to the whims and desires of the individual members of their parishes. Instead, Priests are supposed to encourage, exhort, love, and inspire the members of their flock to live according to the Teachings of the Faith.


Selam
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: PeterTheAleut on May 20, 2010, 04:42:23 AM
Unless someone can provide me with Patristic texts or Church Teachings that specifically advocate articifial birth control as appropriate for Orthodox Christians, then I will continue to condemn it as contrary to the Teachings and Traditions of the Orthodox Church. Individual Priests and Bishops may have subjective opinions about the matter, but their opinions do not override 2,000 years of Church Teaching on the matter.
But when you present your interpretation of our Tradition on an Internet discussion board, your condemnation of artificial birth control comes across as an unnecessarily dogmatic opinion.  Why should your interpretation of Tradition trump the interpretation of Tradition that guides the pastoral practice of so many of our priests and bishops?  Are you somehow more qualified to interpret Tradition for us than they?

Neither my interpretation nor the interpretation of Priests and Bishops trumps the 2,000 year old interpetation of the Church. That's why I said that I will gladly stand corrected if anyone can provide me with Patristic texts or Church canons that clearly advocate or condone the use of artificial birth control. My opinion on the matter is based on objective ecclesiastical Teaching and Tradition, not on my own subjective ideas.
You're missing my point, though.  You're presenting your condemnation of artificial birth control--that is to say, your interpretation of Tradition--as though it IS the 2,000-year-old Tradition of the Church.  I don't doubt that you base your opinion solely on Holy Tradition and not on any subjective ideas, but the fact remains that your opinion is still your opinion and that others will base their opinions solely on Holy Tradition and still disagree with you.  If you believe the most logical conclusion from Holy Tradition is to condemn artificial birth control and you and your wife strive to live according to this dictate, then I commend you for your zeal to live in perfect integrity with your Christian conscience--I'm not even going to try to prove you wrong, simply because the Fathers have traditionally condemned artificial birth control.  Just recognize that when you present such strong beliefs on an Internet discussion board, you do well to respect the opinions of others by not being so dogmatic in how you state yours.  You seem to overlook the fact, which others have stated here, that priests and bishops may need to exercise pastoral discernment and apply the Church's traditional stand on ABC with less strictness than you may like.


Respectfully, I have repeatedly stated that I am open to ecclesiastical evidence that proves my position is erroneous.
What's the point in us doing so?  You're position is NOT erroneous; it's just too strict.

So you are the arbiter of what is too strict?
Why do you ask?  You seem to be setting yourself up as the arbiter of what proper pastoral practice is regarding ABC.  Am I not permitted to say you're being too strict?

Regarding matters of morality, the Church is often if not always dogmatic.
And, more importantly, pastoral.

A) This is a subjective comment.
How so?  I think my comment no more subjective than your comment that the Church is often if not always dogmatic.

B) Your comment promotes a false dichotomy.
How so?  My use of the conjunction "AND" logically puts forth a "BOTH-AND" relationship (i.e., the Church is BOTH dogmatic AND pastoral), not an "EITHER-OR" dichotomy.

The pastoral role of the Church is never opposed to the dogmas of the Church.
I never said they were.  You're putting words into my mouth.  Please stop.

In fact, the pastoral role is to guide and assist us lay people in adhering to the dogmas of the Church, not to absolve us of our responsibility to live according to the dogmas of the Church.
But whoever elevated an opposition to artificial birth control to the level of dogma?

Just because certain Orthodox Priests, Bishops, and laymen choose to ignore the dogmatic Teachings of the Church does not mean that I shall do the same.
Please do not interpret the pastoral practice of oikonomia in such a demeaning way as to accuse those pastors who practice it of ignoring the dogmatic teachings of the Church.

I do not demean those Bishops and Priests who practice true "oikonomia." But sadly, some in the name of "oikonomia" demean themselves by elevating their own subjective ideals over and above that which the Church has historically and consistently taught.
Really?  Can you give me examples?

Quite frankly, I will never respect any ideologies or human opinions that undermine the sanctity of human Life.
And no one's asking you to do so.

Orthodoxy is not Protestantism, where individuals pick and choose the "church" that suits their own subjective belief system.
Oikonomia is not about individuals picking and choosing whatever suits their own subjective belief systems.  It's about pastors discerning specific spiritual needs and applying the discipline of the Church in ways that offer the most salvific benefit to each individual and family under their care so that, if possible, all might be saved.  I'm sorry if you can't understand this concept, but you can at least stop condemning it.


You are severely perverting the meaning of "Oikonomia." Salvation is not the result of "defining deviancy down."
Again, you're putting words into my mouth, for I never defined oikonomia as "defining deviancy down".  That is purely your judgment of what I said--a judgment that totally discredits spiritual discernment when it doesn't agree with your dogmaticism, btw.

The moral laws of the Church are not subject to negotiation.
Who's defining opposition to ABC as an unbreakable moral law of the Church?  Can you give me evidence that the Church ever did call her opposition (if I may use such a strong word in this context) to ABC an unbreakable moral law?  (Note the key word: "unbreakable".)

In this world of moral relativism, the Orthodox Church is the objective Light of the world. Priests are not supposed to adjust the Church's morality according to the whims and desires of the individual members of their parishes.
Again, I never said that.  Please read carefully what I actually write and not what you want me to say.

Instead, Priests are supposed to encourage, exhort, love, and inspire the members of their flock to live according to the Teachings of the Faith.
Of course they are!  I never denied that.  If you would actually read what I write and stop putting words into my mouth, you'd actually see that.
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Gebre Menfes Kidus on May 20, 2010, 04:56:04 AM
Unless someone can provide me with Patristic texts or Church Teachings that specifically advocate articifial birth control as appropriate for Orthodox Christians, then I will continue to condemn it as contrary to the Teachings and Traditions of the Orthodox Church. Individual Priests and Bishops may have subjective opinions about the matter, but their opinions do not override 2,000 years of Church Teaching on the matter.
But when you present your interpretation of our Tradition on an Internet discussion board, your condemnation of artificial birth control comes across as an unnecessarily dogmatic opinion.  Why should your interpretation of Tradition trump the interpretation of Tradition that guides the pastoral practice of so many of our priests and bishops?  Are you somehow more qualified to interpret Tradition for us than they?

Neither my interpretation nor the interpretation of Priests and Bishops trumps the 2,000 year old interpetation of the Church. That's why I said that I will gladly stand corrected if anyone can provide me with Patristic texts or Church canons that clearly advocate or condone the use of artificial birth control. My opinion on the matter is based on objective ecclesiastical Teaching and Tradition, not on my own subjective ideas.
You're missing my point, though.  You're presenting your condemnation of artificial birth control--that is to say, your interpretation of Tradition--as though it IS the 2,000-year-old Tradition of the Church.  I don't doubt that you base your opinion solely on Holy Tradition and not on any subjective ideas, but the fact remains that your opinion is still your opinion and that others will base their opinions solely on Holy Tradition and still disagree with you.  If you believe the most logical conclusion from Holy Tradition is to condemn artificial birth control and you and your wife strive to live according to this dictate, then I commend you for your zeal to live in perfect integrity with your Christian conscience--I'm not even going to try to prove you wrong, simply because the Fathers have traditionally condemned artificial birth control.  Just recognize that when you present such strong beliefs on an Internet discussion board, you do well to respect the opinions of others by not being so dogmatic in how you state yours.  You seem to overlook the fact, which others have stated here, that priests and bishops may need to exercise pastoral discernment and apply the Church's traditional stand on ABC with less strictness than you may like.


Respectfully, I have repeatedly stated that I am open to ecclesiastical evidence that proves my position is erroneous.
What's the point in us doing so?  You're position is NOT erroneous; it's just too strict.

So you are the arbiter of what is too strict?
Why do you ask?  You seem to be setting yourself up to be the arbiter of what proper pastoral practice is regarding ABC.  Am I not permitted to say you're being too strict?

Regarding matters of morality, the Church is often if not always dogmatic.
And, more importantly, pastoral.

A) This is a subjective comment.
How so?  I think my comment no more subjective than your comment that the Church is often if not always dogmatic.

B) Your comment promotes a false dichotomy.
How so?  My use of the conjunction "AND" logically puts forth a "BOTH-AND" relationship (i.e., the Church is BOTH dogmatic AND pastoral), not an "EITHER-OR" dichotomy.

The pastoral role of the Church is never opposed to the dogmas of the Church.
I never said they were.  You're putting words into my mouth.  Please stop.

In fact, the pastoral role is to guide and assist us lay people in adhering to the dogmas of the Church, not to absolve us of our responsibility to live according to the dogmas of the Church.
But whoever elevated an opposition to artificial birth control to the level of dogma?

Just because certain Orthodox Priests, Bishops, and laymen choose to ignore the dogmatic Teachings of the Church does not mean that I shall do the same.
Please do not interpret the pastoral practice of oikonomia in such a demeaning way as to accuse those pastors who practice it of ignoring the dogmatic teachings of the Church.

I do not demean those Bishops and Priests who practice true "oikonomia." But sadly, some in the name of "oikonomia" demean themselves by elevating their own subjective ideals over and above that which the Church has historically and consistently taught.
Really?  Can you give me examples?

Quite frankly, I will never respect any ideologies or human opinions that undermine the sanctity of human Life.
And no one's asking you to do so.

Orthodoxy is not Protestantism, where individuals pick and choose the "church" that suits their own subjective belief system.
Oikonomia is not about individuals picking and choosing whatever suits their own subjective belief systems.  It's about pastors discerning specific spiritual needs and applying the discipline of the Church in ways that offer the most salvific benefit to each individual and family under their care so that, if possible, all might be saved.  I'm sorry if you can't understand this concept, but you can at least stop condemning it.


You are severely perverting the meaning of "Oikonomia." Salvation is not the result of "defining deviancy down."
Again, you're putting words into my mouth, for I never defined oikonomia as "defining deviancy down".  That is purely your judgment of what I said--a judgment that totally discredits spiritual discernment when it doesn't agree with your dogmaticism, btw.

The moral laws of the Church are not subject to negotiation.
Who's defining opposition to ABC as an unbreakable moral law of the Church?  Can you give me evidence that the Church ever did call her opposition (if I may use such a strong word in this context) to ABC an unbreakable moral law?  (Note the key word: "unbreakable".)

In this world of moral relativism, the Orthodox Church is the objective Light of the world. Priests are not supposed to adjust the Church's morality according to the whims and desires of the individual members of their parishes.
Again, I never said that.  Please read carefully what I actually write and not what you want me to say.

Instead, Priests are supposed to encourage, exhort, love, and inspire the members of their flock to live according to the Teachings of the Faith.
Of course they are!  I never denied that.  If you would actually read what I write and stop putting words into my mouth, you'd actually see that.

The burden of proof is on you my friend. I have put no words into your mouth. As I have repeatedly said, I am willing to recant my views if anyone can provide me with evidence that the 2,000 year old Teachings and Traditions of the Church include the advocacy or condoning of artificial birth control. And if the proscriptions against artificial birth control are "breakable," then please provide me with a council, canon, or ecclesiastical decree that officially declared artificial birth control as a matter left to the subjective decisions of married couples and their priests.


Selam
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: PeterTheAleut on May 20, 2010, 05:27:22 AM
Unless someone can provide me with Patristic texts or Church Teachings that specifically advocate articifial birth control as appropriate for Orthodox Christians, then I will continue to condemn it as contrary to the Teachings and Traditions of the Orthodox Church. Individual Priests and Bishops may have subjective opinions about the matter, but their opinions do not override 2,000 years of Church Teaching on the matter.
But when you present your interpretation of our Tradition on an Internet discussion board, your condemnation of artificial birth control comes across as an unnecessarily dogmatic opinion.  Why should your interpretation of Tradition trump the interpretation of Tradition that guides the pastoral practice of so many of our priests and bishops?  Are you somehow more qualified to interpret Tradition for us than they?

Neither my interpretation nor the interpretation of Priests and Bishops trumps the 2,000 year old interpetation of the Church. That's why I said that I will gladly stand corrected if anyone can provide me with Patristic texts or Church canons that clearly advocate or condone the use of artificial birth control. My opinion on the matter is based on objective ecclesiastical Teaching and Tradition, not on my own subjective ideas.
You're missing my point, though.  You're presenting your condemnation of artificial birth control--that is to say, your interpretation of Tradition--as though it IS the 2,000-year-old Tradition of the Church.  I don't doubt that you base your opinion solely on Holy Tradition and not on any subjective ideas, but the fact remains that your opinion is still your opinion and that others will base their opinions solely on Holy Tradition and still disagree with you.  If you believe the most logical conclusion from Holy Tradition is to condemn artificial birth control and you and your wife strive to live according to this dictate, then I commend you for your zeal to live in perfect integrity with your Christian conscience--I'm not even going to try to prove you wrong, simply because the Fathers have traditionally condemned artificial birth control.  Just recognize that when you present such strong beliefs on an Internet discussion board, you do well to respect the opinions of others by not being so dogmatic in how you state yours.  You seem to overlook the fact, which others have stated here, that priests and bishops may need to exercise pastoral discernment and apply the Church's traditional stand on ABC with less strictness than you may like.


Respectfully, I have repeatedly stated that I am open to ecclesiastical evidence that proves my position is erroneous.
What's the point in us doing so?  You're position is NOT erroneous; it's just too strict.

So you are the arbiter of what is too strict?
Why do you ask?  You seem to be setting yourself up to be the arbiter of what proper pastoral practice is regarding ABC.  Am I not permitted to say you're being too strict?

Regarding matters of morality, the Church is often if not always dogmatic.
And, more importantly, pastoral.

A) This is a subjective comment.
How so?  I think my comment no more subjective than your comment that the Church is often if not always dogmatic.

B) Your comment promotes a false dichotomy.
How so?  My use of the conjunction "AND" logically puts forth a "BOTH-AND" relationship (i.e., the Church is BOTH dogmatic AND pastoral), not an "EITHER-OR" dichotomy.

The pastoral role of the Church is never opposed to the dogmas of the Church.
I never said they were.  You're putting words into my mouth.  Please stop.

In fact, the pastoral role is to guide and assist us lay people in adhering to the dogmas of the Church, not to absolve us of our responsibility to live according to the dogmas of the Church.
But whoever elevated an opposition to artificial birth control to the level of dogma?

Just because certain Orthodox Priests, Bishops, and laymen choose to ignore the dogmatic Teachings of the Church does not mean that I shall do the same.
Please do not interpret the pastoral practice of oikonomia in such a demeaning way as to accuse those pastors who practice it of ignoring the dogmatic teachings of the Church.

I do not demean those Bishops and Priests who practice true "oikonomia." But sadly, some in the name of "oikonomia" demean themselves by elevating their own subjective ideals over and above that which the Church has historically and consistently taught.
Really?  Can you give me examples?

Quite frankly, I will never respect any ideologies or human opinions that undermine the sanctity of human Life.
And no one's asking you to do so.

Orthodoxy is not Protestantism, where individuals pick and choose the "church" that suits their own subjective belief system.
Oikonomia is not about individuals picking and choosing whatever suits their own subjective belief systems.  It's about pastors discerning specific spiritual needs and applying the discipline of the Church in ways that offer the most salvific benefit to each individual and family under their care so that, if possible, all might be saved.  I'm sorry if you can't understand this concept, but you can at least stop condemning it.


You are severely perverting the meaning of "Oikonomia." Salvation is not the result of "defining deviancy down."
Again, you're putting words into my mouth, for I never defined oikonomia as "defining deviancy down".  That is purely your judgment of what I said--a judgment that totally discredits spiritual discernment when it doesn't agree with your dogmaticism, btw.

The moral laws of the Church are not subject to negotiation.
Who's defining opposition to ABC as an unbreakable moral law of the Church?  Can you give me evidence that the Church ever did call her opposition (if I may use such a strong word in this context) to ABC an unbreakable moral law?  (Note the key word: "unbreakable".)

In this world of moral relativism, the Orthodox Church is the objective Light of the world. Priests are not supposed to adjust the Church's morality according to the whims and desires of the individual members of their parishes.
Again, I never said that.  Please read carefully what I actually write and not what you want me to say.

Instead, Priests are supposed to encourage, exhort, love, and inspire the members of their flock to live according to the Teachings of the Faith.
Of course they are!  I never denied that.  If you would actually read what I write and stop putting words into my mouth, you'd actually see that.

The burden of proof is on you my friend. I have put no words into your mouth.
Gebre, let ME be the arbiter of when you are putting words into my mouth.  I know what I write and what I intend to communicate, so it is I alone who knows when and how I'm being misunderstood.  That said, you have a nasty habit of putting words into my mouth when we debate, and this is but the latest example.

As I have repeatedly said, I am willing to recant my views if anyone can provide me with evidence that the 2,000 year old Teachings and Traditions of the Church include the advocacy or condoning of artificial birth control. And if the proscriptions against artificial birth control are "breakable," then please provide me with a council, canon, or ecclesiastical decree that officially declared artificial birth control as a matter left to the subjective decisions of married couples and their priests.
Now I do think it relevant to ask:  which Church?  Would you respect the word of Chalcedonian churches as having any authority on this matter?


As I said earlier, I will say it again.
1.  If you believe so strongly that the Church forbids the use of artificial contraceptives, and if you and your wife agree to not use them, DON'T USE THEM.  I'm not telling you to ever violate your Christian conscience on this issue.
2.  If you want to state as your belief that the Church has traditionally opposed the use of artificial contraceptives and you want to explain why you believe this without judging those who disagree, feel free to do so, for that's what this forum is for.
3.  What you're doing here to poison this debate, however, is you're attributing your belief to the Tradition of the Church without owning this belief as merely your own interpretation of that Tradition, and you're judging and demeaning those priests and bishops who permit the use of artificial contraceptives (by only specific families or by all couples in their flock, it doesn't matter) as though they were elevating their own subjective whims over the moral laws of the Church and "defining deviancy down".  It's this dogmaticism that refuses to grant any respect to those who disagree--more correctly, who grant dispensations to specific couples for pastoral reasons--that I'm criticizing, and nothing more.
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Gebre Menfes Kidus on May 20, 2010, 05:42:00 AM
Unless someone can provide me with Patristic texts or Church Teachings that specifically advocate articifial birth control as appropriate for Orthodox Christians, then I will continue to condemn it as contrary to the Teachings and Traditions of the Orthodox Church. Individual Priests and Bishops may have subjective opinions about the matter, but their opinions do not override 2,000 years of Church Teaching on the matter.
But when you present your interpretation of our Tradition on an Internet discussion board, your condemnation of artificial birth control comes across as an unnecessarily dogmatic opinion.  Why should your interpretation of Tradition trump the interpretation of Tradition that guides the pastoral practice of so many of our priests and bishops?  Are you somehow more qualified to interpret Tradition for us than they?

Neither my interpretation nor the interpretation of Priests and Bishops trumps the 2,000 year old interpetation of the Church. That's why I said that I will gladly stand corrected if anyone can provide me with Patristic texts or Church canons that clearly advocate or condone the use of artificial birth control. My opinion on the matter is based on objective ecclesiastical Teaching and Tradition, not on my own subjective ideas.
You're missing my point, though.  You're presenting your condemnation of artificial birth control--that is to say, your interpretation of Tradition--as though it IS the 2,000-year-old Tradition of the Church.  I don't doubt that you base your opinion solely on Holy Tradition and not on any subjective ideas, but the fact remains that your opinion is still your opinion and that others will base their opinions solely on Holy Tradition and still disagree with you.  If you believe the most logical conclusion from Holy Tradition is to condemn artificial birth control and you and your wife strive to live according to this dictate, then I commend you for your zeal to live in perfect integrity with your Christian conscience--I'm not even going to try to prove you wrong, simply because the Fathers have traditionally condemned artificial birth control.  Just recognize that when you present such strong beliefs on an Internet discussion board, you do well to respect the opinions of others by not being so dogmatic in how you state yours.  You seem to overlook the fact, which others have stated here, that priests and bishops may need to exercise pastoral discernment and apply the Church's traditional stand on ABC with less strictness than you may like.


Respectfully, I have repeatedly stated that I am open to ecclesiastical evidence that proves my position is erroneous.
What's the point in us doing so?  You're position is NOT erroneous; it's just too strict.

So you are the arbiter of what is too strict?
Why do you ask?  You seem to be setting yourself up to be the arbiter of what proper pastoral practice is regarding ABC.  Am I not permitted to say you're being too strict?

Regarding matters of morality, the Church is often if not always dogmatic.
And, more importantly, pastoral.

A) This is a subjective comment.
How so?  I think my comment no more subjective than your comment that the Church is often if not always dogmatic.

B) Your comment promotes a false dichotomy.
How so?  My use of the conjunction "AND" logically puts forth a "BOTH-AND" relationship (i.e., the Church is BOTH dogmatic AND pastoral), not an "EITHER-OR" dichotomy.

The pastoral role of the Church is never opposed to the dogmas of the Church.
I never said they were.  You're putting words into my mouth.  Please stop.

In fact, the pastoral role is to guide and assist us lay people in adhering to the dogmas of the Church, not to absolve us of our responsibility to live according to the dogmas of the Church.
But whoever elevated an opposition to artificial birth control to the level of dogma?

Just because certain Orthodox Priests, Bishops, and laymen choose to ignore the dogmatic Teachings of the Church does not mean that I shall do the same.
Please do not interpret the pastoral practice of oikonomia in such a demeaning way as to accuse those pastors who practice it of ignoring the dogmatic teachings of the Church.

I do not demean those Bishops and Priests who practice true "oikonomia." But sadly, some in the name of "oikonomia" demean themselves by elevating their own subjective ideals over and above that which the Church has historically and consistently taught.
Really?  Can you give me examples?

Quite frankly, I will never respect any ideologies or human opinions that undermine the sanctity of human Life.
And no one's asking you to do so.

Orthodoxy is not Protestantism, where individuals pick and choose the "church" that suits their own subjective belief system.
Oikonomia is not about individuals picking and choosing whatever suits their own subjective belief systems.  It's about pastors discerning specific spiritual needs and applying the discipline of the Church in ways that offer the most salvific benefit to each individual and family under their care so that, if possible, all might be saved.  I'm sorry if you can't understand this concept, but you can at least stop condemning it.


You are severely perverting the meaning of "Oikonomia." Salvation is not the result of "defining deviancy down."
Again, you're putting words into my mouth, for I never defined oikonomia as "defining deviancy down".  That is purely your judgment of what I said--a judgment that totally discredits spiritual discernment when it doesn't agree with your dogmaticism, btw.

The moral laws of the Church are not subject to negotiation.
Who's defining opposition to ABC as an unbreakable moral law of the Church?  Can you give me evidence that the Church ever did call her opposition (if I may use such a strong word in this context) to ABC an unbreakable moral law?  (Note the key word: "unbreakable".)

In this world of moral relativism, the Orthodox Church is the objective Light of the world. Priests are not supposed to adjust the Church's morality according to the whims and desires of the individual members of their parishes.
Again, I never said that.  Please read carefully what I actually write and not what you want me to say.

Instead, Priests are supposed to encourage, exhort, love, and inspire the members of their flock to live according to the Teachings of the Faith.
Of course they are!  I never denied that.  If you would actually read what I write and stop putting words into my mouth, you'd actually see that.

The burden of proof is on you my friend. I have put no words into your mouth.
Gebre, let ME be the arbiter of when you are putting words into my mouth.  I know what I write and what I intend to communicate, so it is I alone who knows when and how I'm being misunderstood.  That said, you have a nasty habit of putting words into my mouth when we debate, and this is but the latest example.

As I have repeatedly said, I am willing to recant my views if anyone can provide me with evidence that the 2,000 year old Teachings and Traditions of the Church include the advocacy or condoning of artificial birth control. And if the proscriptions against artificial birth control are "breakable," then please provide me with a council, canon, or ecclesiastical decree that officially declared artificial birth control as a matter left to the subjective decisions of married couples and their priests.
Now I do think it relevant to ask:  which Church?  Would you respect the word of Chalcedonian churches as having any authority on this matter?


As I said earlier, I will say it again.
1.  If you believe so strongly that the Church forbids the use of artificial contraceptives, and if you and your wife agree to not use them, DON'T USE THEM.  I'm not telling you to ever violate your Christian conscience on this issue.
2.  If you want to state as your belief that the Church has traditionally opposed the use of artificial contraceptives and you want to explain why you believe this without judging those who disagree, feel free to do so, for that's what this forum is for.
3.  What you're doing here to poison this debate, however, is you're attributing your belief to the Tradition of the Church without owning this belief as merely your own interpretation of that Tradition, and you're judging and demeaning those priests and bishops who permit the use of artificial contraceptives (by only specific families or by all couples in their flock, it doesn't matter) as though they were elevating their own subjective whims over the moral laws of the Church and "defining deviancy down".  It's this dogmaticism that refuses to grant any respect to those who disagree--more correctly, who grant dispensations to specific couples for pastoral reasons--that I'm criticizing, and nothing more.

I'm not buying into your relativism Peter, nor to your unfounded accusations that I put words in your mouth. Can you say "projection?"

You know where I stand. Give me ecclesiastical evidence that proves my position wrong, and I will accept it. But relativistic emotionalism won't persuade me.

Now let's not derail this thread any further by another Peter vs. Gebre "mano y mano." I thought we were past all that. ;)


Selam
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Heorhij on May 20, 2010, 11:18:36 AM
The moral laws of the Church are not subject to negotiation. In this world of moral relativism,

But there are NO "moral laws of the Church" on the issue of non-abortive contraception. They simply do not exist.
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: NorthernPines on May 20, 2010, 11:53:11 AM

Unless someone can provide me with Patristic texts or Church Teachings that specifically advocate articifial birth control as appropriate for Orthodox Christians, then I will continue to condemn it as contrary to the Teachings and Traditions of the Orthodox Church.

I must say, that is quite an unusual position to take. The Church fathers never advocated the use of computers either. So why are you not assuming computer use is contrary to Orthodox Tradition?
True, the Fathers didn't know about PCs, they had not been invented yet, but bathing and washing DID exist, and many of them were specifically against washing before eating because they perceived it as being too "Jewish" a thing to do.  Does that mean you do not bath or wash your hands? Or does your common sense tell you that the Church fathers were just flat out wrong on that particular issue?

Again, you might argue that the Fathers didn't know of the existence of tiny invisible animals all around us that cause sickness and disease. And if they had known, then their opinion of washing before eating might have been altered. (unlikely but it's possible) However if advancement in scientific knowledge, and the way the world actually is in reality takes precedence over the Church fathers (which I think it should and in fact does for most of us most of the time, except in matters of sexuality), then your argument about preventative contraception falls to pieces. Why? Because the Church fathers retained an understanding of conception which is demonstrably false.

Why were they against preventative contraception? well, because the best "science" of the time said that a man only had so much sperm to go around, and if he wasted it, he could "run out" and then no longer have children. Science tells us this medieval understanding of contraception is simply absurd, so why should we continue to adhere to such absurdities? We no longer hold to the idea washing one's hands before eating is sinful because it's "too Jewish"...(even if it is a "Jewish thing" to do, it's still right because of those tiny invisible critters crawling on your skin) why hold on to this issue and not any number of other issues? How about the Father's "scientific and spiritual" prognosis of miscarriages? We don't accept that kind of nonsense anymore because we now know much more about the human body.

Quote
Individual Priests and Bishops may have subjective opinions about the matter, but their opinions do not override 2,000 years of Church Teaching on the matter.

How's Pope Shenouda III for an authority on the issue? Seeing as how you're OO, and Pope Shenouda III is OO, and the Ethiopian Church has strong connections with the Coptic Church, is he a high enough level of authority for you?

I cannot find the specific article at the moment, (I'll keep looking) but I'm 99.99999% positive Pope Shenouda III has said many a time, that preventative contraception is perfectly acceptable within marriage. It's in one, if not a number of his books with the title (or something close to) So many years with the problems of the People, I just cannot remember which volume as there are like 6 or 7 volumes at this point and I can't go searching through them all. Hopefully someone will know the exact location of his statements and can post them.

I fully understand and respect the position you and many others take. And that's fine. I certainly don't want you to do something your conscience tells you is somehow wrong, but there ARE sound arguments from the other side, and arguing them doesn't make one a "Protestant" and even if it does, well the truth is Luther and even modern day Protestants managed to get some things right, whether we like it not. Or put another way, a valid argument is not invalidated just because a person or group we don't like makes the argument.

Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Gebre Menfes Kidus on May 20, 2010, 08:02:09 PM

Unless someone can provide me with Patristic texts or Church Teachings that specifically advocate articifial birth control as appropriate for Orthodox Christians, then I will continue to condemn it as contrary to the Teachings and Traditions of the Orthodox Church.

I must say, that is quite an unusual position to take. The Church fathers never advocated the use of computers either. So why are you not assuming computer use is contrary to Orthodox Tradition?

The Father's never spoke out against child pornography either, so I guess child pornography is an issue that is best left to individuals and their Priests.


Selam
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: jckstraw72 on May 20, 2010, 08:38:29 PM
St. Clement of Alexandria says that a characteristic of true Christians is that once they have had children they live as brothers and sisters. just throwing that out there ... have fun!
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Gebre Menfes Kidus on May 20, 2010, 08:57:25 PM
St. Clement of Alexandria says that a characteristic of true Christians is that once they have had children they live as brothers and sisters. just throwing that out there ... have fun!


  "Because of its divine institution for the propagation of man, the seed is not to be vainly ejaculated, nor is it to be damaged, nor is it to be wasted." (The Instructor of Children 2:10:91:2). -Clement of Alexandria-



Selam
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: jckstraw72 on May 20, 2010, 09:00:44 PM
St. Clement is hardcore!
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Gebre Menfes Kidus on May 20, 2010, 09:21:20 PM
I found this helpful and worthy of consideration. Not sure who the author is.


Nature

Contraception is wrong because it’s a deliberate violation of the design God built into the human race, often referred to as "natural law." The natural law purpose of sex is procreation. The pleasure that sexual intercourse provides is an additional blessing from God, intended to offer the possibility of new life while strengthening the bond of intimacy, respect, and love between husband and wife. The loving environment this bond creates is the perfect setting for nurturing children.

But sexual pleasure within marriage becomes unnatural, and even harmful to the spouses, when it is used in a way that deliberately excludes the basic purpose of sex, which is procreation. God’s gift of the sex act, along with its pleasure and intimacy, must not be abused by deliberately frustrating its natural end—procreation.

 
Scripture

Is contraception a modern invention? Hardly! Birth control has been around for millennia. Scrolls found in Egypt, dating to 1900 B.C., describe ancient methods of birth control that were later practiced in the Roman empire during the apostolic age. Wool that absorbed sperm, poisons that fumigated the uterus, potions, and other methods were used to prevent conception. In some centuries, even condoms were used (though made out of animal skin rather than latex).

The Bible mentions at least one form of contraception specifically and condemns it. Coitus interruptus, was used by Onan to avoid fulfilling his duty according to the ancient Jewish law of fathering children for one’s dead brother. "Judah said to Onan, ‘Go in to your brother’s wife, and perform the duty of a brother-in-law to her, and raise up offspring for your brother.’ But Onan knew that the offspring would not be his; so when he went in to his brother’s wife he spilled the semen on the ground, lest he should give offspring to his brother. And what he did was displeasing in the sight of the Lord, and he slew him also" (Gen. 38:8–10).

The biblical penalty for not giving your brother’s widow children was public humiliation, not death (Deut. 25:7–10). But Onan received death as punishment for his crime. This means his crime was more than simply not fulfilling the duty of a brother-in-law. He lost his life because he violated natural law, as Jewish and Christian commentators have always understood. For this reason, certain forms of contraception have historically been known as "Onanism," after the man who practiced it....

Contraception was so far outside the biblical mindset and so obviously wrong that it did not need the frequent condemnations other sins did. Scripture condemns the practice when it mentions it. Once a moral principle has been established in the Bible, every possible application of it need not be mentioned. For example, the general principle that theft is wrong was clearly established in Scripture; but there’s no need to provide an exhaustive list of every kind of theft. Similarly, since the principle that contraception is wrong has been established by being condemned when it’s mentioned in the Bible, every particular form of contraception does not need to be dealt with in Scripture in order for us to see that it is condemned.

 
Apostolic Tradition

The biblical teaching that birth control is wrong is found even more explicitly among the Church Fathers, who recognized the biblical and natural law principles underlying the condemnation.

In A.D. 195, Clement of Alexandria wrote, "Because of its divine institution for the propagation of man, the seed is not to be vainly ejaculated, nor is it to be damaged, nor is it to be wasted" (The Instructor of Children 2:10:91:2).

Hippolytus of Rome wrote in 255 that "on account of their prominent ancestry and great property, the so-called faithful [certain Christian women who had affairs with male servants] want no children from slaves or lowborn commoners, [so] they use drugs of sterility or bind themselves tightly in order to expel a fetus which has already been engendered" (Refutation of All Heresies 9:12).

Around 307 Lactantius explained that some "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" (Divine Institutes 6:20).

The First Council of Nicaea, the first ecumenical council and the one that defined Christ’s divinity, declared in 325, "If anyone in sound health has castrated himself, it behooves that such a one, if enrolled among the clergy, should cease [from his ministry], and that from henceforth no such person should be promoted. But, as it is evident that this is said of those who willfully do the thing and presume to castrate themselves, so if any have been made eunuchs by barbarians, or by their masters, and should otherwise be found worthy, such men this canon admits to the clergy" (Canon 1).

Augustine wrote in 419, "I am supposing, then, although you are not lying [with your wife] for the sake of procreating offspring, you are not for the sake of lust obstructing their procreation by an evil prayer or an evil deed. Those who do this, although they are called husband and wife, are not; nor do they retain any reality of marriage, but with a respectable name cover a shame. Sometimes this lustful cruelty, or cruel lust, comes to this, that they even procure poisons of sterility [oral contraceptives]" (Marriage and Concupiscence 1:15:17).



Selam

Post edited to comply with moratorium.--YtterbiumAnalyst
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: LBK on May 20, 2010, 09:28:37 PM
Quote
For this reason, certain forms of contraception have historically been known as "Onanism,"


On the contrary. Onanism is another word for masturbation.
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Gebre Menfes Kidus on May 20, 2010, 09:35:50 PM
Quote
For this reason, certain forms of contraception have historically been known as "Onanism,"


On the contrary. Onanism is another word for masturbation.

Wrong. Read the sentence again. "Certain forms of contraception..."


Selam
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: PeterTheAleut on May 20, 2010, 11:22:50 PM
I found this helpful and worthy of consideration.
Where did you find it?  I hope you'll give us a link.

Not sure who the author is.
Then why should we trust this essay if we can't question the author?

Nature

Contraception is wrong because it’s a deliberate violation of the design God built into the human race, often referred to as "natural law." The natural law purpose of sex is procreation. The pleasure that sexual intercourse provides is an additional blessing from God, intended to offer the possibility of new life while strengthening the bond of intimacy, respect, and love between husband and wife. The loving environment this bond creates is the perfect setting for nurturing children.

But sexual pleasure within marriage becomes unnatural, and even harmful to the spouses, when it is used in a way that deliberately excludes the basic purpose of sex, which is procreation. God’s gift of the sex act, along with its pleasure and intimacy, must not be abused by deliberately frustrating its natural end—procreation.


Scripture

Is contraception a modern invention? Hardly! Birth control has been around for millennia. Scrolls found in Egypt, dating to 1900 B.C., describe ancient methods of birth control that were later practiced in the Roman empire during the apostolic age. Wool that absorbed sperm, poisons that fumigated the uterus, potions, and other methods were used to prevent conception. In some centuries, even condoms were used (though made out of animal skin rather than latex).

The Bible mentions at least one form of contraception specifically and condemns it. Coitus interruptus, was used by Onan to avoid fulfilling his duty according to the ancient Jewish law of fathering children for one’s dead brother. "Judah said to Onan, ‘Go in to your brother’s wife, and perform the duty of a brother-in-law to her, and raise up offspring for your brother.’ But Onan knew that the offspring would not be his; so when he went in to his brother’s wife he spilled the semen on the ground, lest he should give offspring to his brother. And what he did was displeasing in the sight of the Lord, and he slew him also" (Gen. 38:8–10).

The biblical penalty for not giving your brother’s widow children was public humiliation, not death (Deut. 25:7–10). But Onan received death as punishment for his crime. This means his crime was more than simply not fulfilling the duty of a brother-in-law. He lost his life because he violated natural law, as Jewish and Christian commentators have always understood. For this reason, certain forms of contraception have historically been known as "Onanism," after the man who practiced it....

Contraception was so far outside the biblical mindset and so obviously wrong that it did not need the frequent condemnations other sins did. Scripture condemns the practice when it mentions it. Once a moral principle has been established in the Bible, every possible application of it need not be mentioned. For example, the general principle that theft is wrong was clearly established in Scripture; but there’s no need to provide an exhaustive list of every kind of theft. Similarly, since the principle that contraception is wrong has been established by being condemned when it’s mentioned in the Bible, every particular form of contraception does not need to be dealt with in Scripture in order for us to see that it is condemned.


Apostolic Tradition

The biblical teaching that birth control is wrong is found even more explicitly among the Church Fathers, who recognized the biblical and natural law principles underlying the condemnation.

In A.D. 195, Clement of Alexandria wrote, "Because of its divine institution for the propagation of man, the seed is not to be vainly ejaculated, nor is it to be damaged, nor is it to be wasted" (The Instructor of Children 2:10:91:2).

Hippolytus of Rome wrote in 255 that "on account of their prominent ancestry and great property, the so-called faithful [certain Christian women who had affairs with male servants] want no children from slaves or lowborn commoners, [so] they use drugs of sterility or bind themselves tightly in order to expel a fetus which has already been engendered" (Refutation of All Heresies 9:12).

Around 307 Lactantius explained that some "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" (Divine Institutes 6:20).

The First Council of Nicaea, the first ecumenical council and the one that defined Christ’s divinity, declared in 325, "If anyone in sound health has castrated himself, it behooves that such a one, if enrolled among the clergy, should cease [from his ministry], and that from henceforth no such person should be promoted. But, as it is evident that this is said of those who willfully do the thing and presume to castrate themselves, so if any have been made eunuchs by barbarians, or by their masters, and should otherwise be found worthy, such men this canon admits to the clergy" (Canon 1).

Augustine wrote in 419, "I am supposing, then, although you are not lying [with your wife] for the sake of procreating offspring, you are not for the sake of lust obstructing their procreation by an evil prayer or an evil deed. Those who do this, although they are called husband and wife, are not; nor do they retain any reality of marriage, but with a respectable name cover a shame. Sometimes this lustful cruelty, or cruel lust, comes to this, that they even procure poisons of sterility [oral contraceptives]" (Marriage and Concupiscence 1:15:17).



Selam
Still fighting the straw man, Gebre?

It seems that you're also quite good at putting your word into the mouth of the Church and claiming it's absolute truth.  Your words in this argument aren't wrong; they're just your words.

Quotation edited to agree with edit to the source.--YtterbiumAnalyst
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: SolEX01 on May 20, 2010, 11:35:06 PM
I found this helpful and worthy of consideration.
Where did you find it?  I hope you'll give us a link.

The source for Reply #145 is the encyclical letter, Humanae Vitae, by Pope Paul VI issued in 1968.   
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: PeterTheAleut on May 20, 2010, 11:40:45 PM
I would also like to know something else, Gebre.  You identify the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church as "the Church".  You have repeatedly stated on a number of issues that you take the dogmatic authority of the EOTC to be absolute and that you willingly submit to her teachings without question.  I understand that the EOTC tends to be quite strict, in many regards stricter than the EO, on a number of praxis issues.  Why, then, must the strictness of the EOTC be exalted as though it's the Tradition of the entire universal Church, such that there's no wiggle room for the exercise of discernment in pastoral application of our moral rules in the EO churches?
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Gebre Menfes Kidus on May 21, 2010, 12:35:55 AM
I would also like to know something else, Gebre.  You identify the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church as "the Church".  You have repeatedly stated on a number of issues that you take the dogmatic authority of the EOTC to be absolute and that you willingly submit to her teachings without question.  I understand that the EOTC tends to be quite strict, in many regards stricter than the EO, on a number of praxis issues.  Why, then, must the strictness of the EOTC be exalted as though it's the Tradition of the entire universal Church, such that there's no wiggle room for the exercise of discernment in pastoral application of our moral rules in the EO churches?

Do what you want Peter. I have no authority to prevent you from exercising your freedom of choice. Find the Priest and Church that accommodates your subjective views and have fun. I have given you arguments from nature, Scripture, and apostolic Tradition. I have repeatedly said that if you have ecclesiastical evidence that refutes my position, then I am willing to reconsider. But you have failed to even try to provide such evidence. I'm not the Pope brother. But perhaps you shouldn't be so dogmatic about insisting that all Orthodox Christians accept your subjective view that birth control is simply a matter between married couples and their Priests- that is, unless you have clear apostolic evidence to support such a dogmatic position.


Selam


Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: PeterTheAleut on May 21, 2010, 12:44:08 AM
I would also like to know something else, Gebre.  You identify the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church as "the Church".  You have repeatedly stated on a number of issues that you take the dogmatic authority of the EOTC to be absolute and that you willingly submit to her teachings without question.  I understand that the EOTC tends to be quite strict, in many regards stricter than the EO, on a number of praxis issues.  Why, then, must the strictness of the EOTC be exalted as though it's the Tradition of the entire universal Church, such that there's no wiggle room for the exercise of discernment in pastoral application of our moral rules in the EO churches?

Do what you want Peter. I have no authority to prevent you from exercising your freedom of choice. Find the Priest and Church that accommodates your subjective views and have fun. I have given you arguments from nature, Scripture, and apostolic Tradition. I have repeatedly said that if you have ecclesiastical evidence that refutes my position, then I am willing to reconsider. But you have failed to even try to provide such evidence. I'm not the Pope brother. But perhaps you shouldn't be so dogmatic about insisting that all Orthodox Christians accept your subjective view that birth control is simply a matter between married couples and their Priests- that is, unless you have clear apostolic evidence to support such a dogmatic position.
Trying to turn the tables around, eh?  The problem with this tactic is that I've never asserted any belief outside of the belief that you're too strict and that you're poisoning this discussion with your dogmaticism and your unwillingness to listen, a belief that I gladly defend as merely my opinion.  Therefore, I have nothing to prove. ;)
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: jckstraw72 on May 21, 2010, 12:50:24 AM
I would also like to know something else, Gebre.  You identify the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church as "the Church".  You have repeatedly stated on a number of issues that you take the dogmatic authority of the EOTC to be absolute and that you willingly submit to her teachings without question.  I understand that the EOTC tends to be quite strict, in many regards stricter than the EO, on a number of praxis issues.  Why, then, must the strictness of the EOTC be exalted as though it's the Tradition of the entire universal Church, such that there's no wiggle room for the exercise of discernment in pastoral application of our moral rules in the EO churches?

Do what you want Peter. I have no authority to prevent you from exercising your freedom of choice. Find the Priest and Church that accommodates your subjective views and have fun. I have given you arguments from nature, Scripture, and apostolic Tradition. I have repeatedly said that if you have ecclesiastical evidence that refutes my position, then I am willing to reconsider. But you have failed to even try to provide such evidence. I'm not the Pope brother. But perhaps you shouldn't be so dogmatic about insisting that all Orthodox Christians accept your subjective view that birth control is simply a matter between married couples and their Priests- that is, unless you have clear apostolic evidence to support such a dogmatic position.
Trying to turn the tables around, eh?  The problem with this approach is that I've never asserted any belief outside of the belief that you're too strict and that you're poisoning this discussion with your dogmaticism and your unwillingness to listen, a belief that I gladly defend as merely my opinion.  Therefore, I have nothing to prove. ;)

well youre asserting that he's too strict rather than being right on the money ... i think he wants you to demonstrate that ...
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: PeterTheAleut on May 21, 2010, 01:38:11 AM
I would also like to know something else, Gebre.  You identify the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church as "the Church".  You have repeatedly stated on a number of issues that you take the dogmatic authority of the EOTC to be absolute and that you willingly submit to her teachings without question.  I understand that the EOTC tends to be quite strict, in many regards stricter than the EO, on a number of praxis issues.  Why, then, must the strictness of the EOTC be exalted as though it's the Tradition of the entire universal Church, such that there's no wiggle room for the exercise of discernment in pastoral application of our moral rules in the EO churches?

Do what you want Peter. I have no authority to prevent you from exercising your freedom of choice. Find the Priest and Church that accommodates your subjective views and have fun. I have given you arguments from nature, Scripture, and apostolic Tradition. I have repeatedly said that if you have ecclesiastical evidence that refutes my position, then I am willing to reconsider. But you have failed to even try to provide such evidence. I'm not the Pope brother. But perhaps you shouldn't be so dogmatic about insisting that all Orthodox Christians accept your subjective view that birth control is simply a matter between married couples and their Priests- that is, unless you have clear apostolic evidence to support such a dogmatic position.
Trying to turn the tables around, eh?  The problem with this approach is that I've never asserted any belief outside of the belief that you're too strict and that you're poisoning this discussion with your dogmaticism and your unwillingness to listen, a belief that I gladly defend as merely my opinion.  Therefore, I have nothing to prove. ;)

well youre asserting that he's too strict rather than being right on the money ... i think he wants you to demonstrate that ...
Nah.  That's not what he says he wants people to demonstrate, since he started his "prove me wrong" racket before I even started posting on this thread, and he hasn't changed his tune yet.
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: jckstraw72 on May 21, 2010, 01:57:16 AM
I would also like to know something else, Gebre.  You identify the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church as "the Church".  You have repeatedly stated on a number of issues that you take the dogmatic authority of the EOTC to be absolute and that you willingly submit to her teachings without question.  I understand that the EOTC tends to be quite strict, in many regards stricter than the EO, on a number of praxis issues.  Why, then, must the strictness of the EOTC be exalted as though it's the Tradition of the entire universal Church, such that there's no wiggle room for the exercise of discernment in pastoral application of our moral rules in the EO churches?

Do what you want Peter. I have no authority to prevent you from exercising your freedom of choice. Find the Priest and Church that accommodates your subjective views and have fun. I have given you arguments from nature, Scripture, and apostolic Tradition. I have repeatedly said that if you have ecclesiastical evidence that refutes my position, then I am willing to reconsider. But you have failed to even try to provide such evidence. I'm not the Pope brother. But perhaps you shouldn't be so dogmatic about insisting that all Orthodox Christians accept your subjective view that birth control is simply a matter between married couples and their Priests- that is, unless you have clear apostolic evidence to support such a dogmatic position.
Trying to turn the tables around, eh?  The problem with this approach is that I've never asserted any belief outside of the belief that you're too strict and that you're poisoning this discussion with your dogmaticism and your unwillingness to listen, a belief that I gladly defend as merely my opinion.  Therefore, I have nothing to prove. ;)

well youre asserting that he's too strict rather than being right on the money ... i think he wants you to demonstrate that ...
Nah.  That's not what he says he wants people to demonstrate, since he started his "prove me wrong" racket before I even started posting on this thread, and he hasn't changed his tune yet.

right, well from what ive seen from my skimming of this thread is that he puts forth his evidence for why he believes what he believes and others say he's wrong so he asks where does the Church show him wrong? seems like the obvious question for him to put forth when told that he's wrong ...
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Quinault on May 21, 2010, 02:04:00 AM
Skim a little more.
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: PeterTheAleut on May 21, 2010, 02:11:53 AM
I would also like to know something else, Gebre.  You identify the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church as "the Church".  You have repeatedly stated on a number of issues that you take the dogmatic authority of the EOTC to be absolute and that you willingly submit to her teachings without question.  I understand that the EOTC tends to be quite strict, in many regards stricter than the EO, on a number of praxis issues.  Why, then, must the strictness of the EOTC be exalted as though it's the Tradition of the entire universal Church, such that there's no wiggle room for the exercise of discernment in pastoral application of our moral rules in the EO churches?

Do what you want Peter. I have no authority to prevent you from exercising your freedom of choice. Find the Priest and Church that accommodates your subjective views and have fun. I have given you arguments from nature, Scripture, and apostolic Tradition. I have repeatedly said that if you have ecclesiastical evidence that refutes my position, then I am willing to reconsider. But you have failed to even try to provide such evidence. I'm not the Pope brother. But perhaps you shouldn't be so dogmatic about insisting that all Orthodox Christians accept your subjective view that birth control is simply a matter between married couples and their Priests- that is, unless you have clear apostolic evidence to support such a dogmatic position.
Trying to turn the tables around, eh?  The problem with this approach is that I've never asserted any belief outside of the belief that you're too strict and that you're poisoning this discussion with your dogmaticism and your unwillingness to listen, a belief that I gladly defend as merely my opinion.  Therefore, I have nothing to prove. ;)

well youre asserting that he's too strict rather than being right on the money ... i think he wants you to demonstrate that ...
Nah.  That's not what he says he wants people to demonstrate, since he started his "prove me wrong" racket before I even started posting on this thread, and he hasn't changed his tune yet.

right, well from what ive seen from my skimming of this thread is that he puts forth his evidence for why he believes what he believes and others say he's wrong so he asks where does the Church show him wrong? seems like the obvious question for him to put forth when told that he's wrong ...
Gebre started his "prove me wrong" refrain on the first page of this thread in an apparent reply to Heorhij, who called his strict dogmatic position BS.  Otherwise, I acknowledge that what you just said in your last post is fundamentally correct.  (I'm just not one of those who says Gebre's position is wrong--too strict, maybe, but not inconsistent with Tradition.)
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Heorhij on May 21, 2010, 08:06:29 AM
St. Clement of Alexandria says that a characteristic of true Christians is that once they have had children they live as brothers and sisters. just throwing that out there ... have fun!

And that's the "Moral Law of the Church" that Gebre means? Surely not?

My personal opinion (Greek "herese" or "yerese," pun intended) on this matter is that quotes from Fathers like the one above show us that certain things they said are ultimately stupid and should not be considered as the teachings we should live by. Sorry Fathers. :)
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Marc1152 on May 21, 2010, 10:44:46 AM
Unless someone can provide me with Patristic texts or Church Teachings that specifically advocate articifial birth control as appropriate for Orthodox Christians, then I will continue to condemn it as contrary to the Teachings and Traditions of the Orthodox Church. Individual Priests and Bishops may have subjective opinions about the matter, but their opinions do not override 2,000 years of Church Teaching on the matter.
But when you present your interpretation of our Tradition on an Internet discussion board, your condemnation of artificial birth control comes across as an unnecessarily dogmatic opinion.  Why should your interpretation of Tradition trump the interpretation of Tradition that guides the pastoral practice of so many of our priests and bishops?  Are you somehow more qualified to interpret Tradition for us than they?

Neither my interpretation nor the interpretation of Priests and Bishops trumps the 2,000 year old interpetation of the Church. That's why I said that I will gladly stand corrected if anyone can provide me with Patristic texts or Church canons that clearly advocate or condone the use of artificial birth control. My opinion on the matter is based on objective ecclesiastical Teaching and Tradition, not on my own subjective ideas.


Selam

As you probably know, cannons dont work like that. The don't say "It's fine to use birth control" rather they restrict something or another.

Your argument is specious.

Oh and birth control isnt "artificial".. any more than wearing clothing is artificial warmth...
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: jckstraw72 on May 21, 2010, 11:56:29 AM
St. Clement of Alexandria says that a characteristic of true Christians is that once they have had children they live as brothers and sisters. just throwing that out there ... have fun!

And that's the "Moral Law of the Church" that Gebre means? Surely not?

My personal opinion (Greek "herese" or "yerese," pun intended) on this matter is that quotes from Fathers like the one above show us that certain things they said are ultimately stupid and should not be considered as the teachings we should live by. Sorry Fathers. :)

you dont think its possible that perhaps they knew a lil more than you and i, cause, you know ... they kinda knew God more than we do ...?
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Heorhij on May 21, 2010, 12:23:53 PM
St. Clement of Alexandria says that a characteristic of true Christians is that once they have had children they live as brothers and sisters. just throwing that out there ... have fun!

And that's the "Moral Law of the Church" that Gebre means? Surely not?

My personal opinion (Greek "herese" or "yerese," pun intended) on this matter is that quotes from Fathers like the one above show us that certain things they said are ultimately stupid and should not be considered as the teachings we should live by. Sorry Fathers. :)

you dont think its possible that perhaps they knew a lil more than you and i, cause, you know ... they kinda knew God more than we do ...?

I don't know. Yes, I heard this argument - that "they were canonized by the Church for a good reason." And yet, when I read something like what you quoted, I can't help but think, "stupid, stupid, stupid. And evil...." Sorry.
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Quinault on May 21, 2010, 02:26:26 PM
I am waiting with baited breath for Gebre to break out into a Monty Python song.
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: cizinec on May 21, 2010, 03:09:25 PM
How certain are you that this is the only motivation for using what you call artificial birth control?

Indeed. Let's posit that, for example, a woman undergoes multiple cesarean sections because there are multiple complications with the vaginal deliveries of several infants. After having two or three of these, her doctor informs her that to have additional children would endanger her life and safety, because her uterine wall will likely rupture from the multiple incisions. In other words, it would be suicide to have anymore kids.

Are her and the husband then forever forbidden to engage in sexual activity, knowing that they would have to use some form on contraception (be it a vasectomy or at least condoms) to ensure the safety of the wife's life? In this scenario, it has nothing to do with avoiding children, but rather has to do with protecting life while seeking to retain the intimate bonds of affection in marital relations.

First, you continue to assume that artificial birth control is the only effective means of precluding conception. That's a false assumption.

Second, if impregnating my wife would cause her death, then I would not have sexual relations with her anymore. How selfish would I be to take that chance? It would be better to abstain from sex and trust in God. He can work wonders you know, and perhaps my wife would be healed of her condition and be able to bear children once again. But if I had a vasectomy, then what?

You see, anytime we go against God's natural will and order, we cause ourselves harm. That's my point.

Rather than looking at it from the negative ("God forbids this and that," etc), we should look at it from the positive. Life is a blessing, children are a blessing, sex is a blessing, marriage is a blessing- and they all go together. Satan always wants us to see God and His laws as burdens, but they are actually liberations.


Selam


HAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Get in that situation, bub, and watch your high and mighty opinion crumble to the ground.  You talk like it's the *man* who wants it.  So she wants it, the priest says do it, and I say, "Nope, sorry babe.  This guy on the internet said it would be selfish of me to listen to my priest." 

I'll stick with what my priest tells me.  I hope nobody on this forum who has a weak sense of their faith and is in that situation actually listens to you.
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: cizinec on May 21, 2010, 03:14:09 PM
I have to agree with Quinault here:  NFP sounds really good until you try practicing it.  It takes an enormous amount of monitoring, self-control, and communication with your partner.  That's not to say that those things immediately rule NFP out as a possibility...

NFP is a dead duck in the water.....  The Conference of Catholic Bishops in the United States reports that an estimated 2-3% of married Catholic couples use it.   The rest simply don't.  

Given the immense effort that the Catholic Church invests into persuading its people to use NFP, I think that the 2-3% statistic really says it all.  Catholics won't use it.

Don't sell it short.  Hippies nationwide are going to it.  I know.  I've been to Austin where all the Texas hippies go.

Ummm.  Oh yeah.  I use it.  It works great.  Don't tell anybody else from Texas or they'll think I'm a hippie.


I'm going to the range to shoot at some silhouettes now.
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: cizinec on May 21, 2010, 03:29:25 PM
I have to agree with Quinault here:  NFP sounds really good until you try practicing it.  It takes an enormous amount of monitoring, self-control, and communication with your partner.  That's not to say that those things immediately rule NFP out as a possibility and indeed, I think it's a good way (used in conjunction with a barrier contraceptive) to be more responsible and not violate the teachings of the church.  However, biology is often unpredictable.  As much as one can monitor, abstain, etc., there is always the possibility that the calculations are off or the wife misread her body's cues and to me, it is irresponsible in this current economic and sociological climate to just leave it up to chance whether pregnancy occurs.  Do not think I am saying that children are a burden or are unwanted when they are conceived, because I believe they are wonderful and I thank God for the two I have now.  I am saying that medically and financially speaking, sometimes it is better to prevent pregnancy than to become unable to care for yourself and your children.

Been using it for years, my friend, and used it as soon as we got married.  It worked for two years and then I decided it was bull and that one of us wasn't working.  BAM came one BAM BAM came two BAM BAM BAM came three BAM BAM BAM BAM came four  BAM BAM BAM BAM BAM came five.

Went back to it.  I do believe it works now and there's not much stopping us.  It's been a few years now.  Yeah.  I'm a slow learner.  Doctor said no more, as my wife has a condition that's pretty dangerous.  We lost our daughter when my wife went into labor.  Well, I tell you, NFP is mostly all we use (sometimes we use the conjunction thing, but not that often). 

If you ain't communicating enough to do NFP, brother, you got a whole other set of problems.  It ain't "enormous amounts."  "Hey honey."  "Hey yourself, you touch me tonight I'm gettin the frying pan."  "Okay.  Let's watch a Jackie Chan movie, then." "I'll make the popcorn."  Wow.  Tough.
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Quinault on May 21, 2010, 03:52:45 PM
I am glad it works for you. In my case I regularly ovulate twice in a cycle which is very difficult to track. As I said before, we have used this method for over ten years. But babies number #3 and #4 (while completely blessings!) are the result of multiple ovulations in a cycle. Our fourth is especially proof since my husband was gone most of that time period on deployment. Her due date was even very much up for debate because of this since there were less then a handful of days in which it would have been PHYSICALLY POSSIBLE to conceive her. And our 3rd child was literally conceived at a time when it should have been physically impossible to do so. He is really and truly a miracle baby. I love them both, but they are the reason we use NFP and....

But if you EVER use NFP in conjunction with a barrier method you are "violating God's law" according to Gebre and Pope John Paul.
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Shlomlokh on May 21, 2010, 03:53:51 PM
I found this helpful and worthy of consideration. Not sure who the author is.


Nature

Contraception is wrong because it’s a deliberate violation of the design God built into the human race, often referred to as "natural law." The natural law purpose of sex is procreation. The pleasure that sexual intercourse provides is an additional blessing from God, intended to offer the possibility of new life while strengthening the bond of intimacy, respect, and love between husband and wife. The loving environment this bond creates is the perfect setting for nurturing children.

But sexual pleasure within marriage becomes unnatural, and even harmful to the spouses, when it is used in a way that deliberately excludes the basic purpose of sex, which is procreation. God’s gift of the sex act, along with its pleasure and intimacy, must not be abused by deliberately frustrating its natural end—procreation.

 
Scripture

Is contraception a modern invention? Hardly! Birth control has been around for millennia. Scrolls found in Egypt, dating to 1900 B.C., describe ancient methods of birth control that were later practiced in the Roman empire during the apostolic age. Wool that absorbed sperm, poisons that fumigated the uterus, potions, and other methods were used to prevent conception. In some centuries, even condoms were used (though made out of animal skin rather than latex).

The Bible mentions at least one form of contraception specifically and condemns it. Coitus interruptus, was used by Onan to avoid fulfilling his duty according to the ancient Jewish law of fathering children for one’s dead brother. "Judah said to Onan, ‘Go in to your brother’s wife, and perform the duty of a brother-in-law to her, and raise up offspring for your brother.’ But Onan knew that the offspring would not be his; so when he went in to his brother’s wife he spilled the semen on the ground, lest he should give offspring to his brother. And what he did was displeasing in the sight of the Lord, and he slew him also" (Gen. 38:8–10).

The biblical penalty for not giving your brother’s widow children was public humiliation, not death (Deut. 25:7–10). But Onan received death as punishment for his crime. This means his crime was more than simply not fulfilling the duty of a brother-in-law. He lost his life because he violated natural law, as Jewish and Christian commentators have always understood. For this reason, certain forms of contraception have historically been known as "Onanism," after the man who practiced it, just as homosexuality has historically been known as "Sodomy," after the men of Sodom, who practiced that vice (cf. Gen. 19).

Contraception was so far outside the biblical mindset and so obviously wrong that it did not need the frequent condemnations other sins did. Scripture condemns the practice when it mentions it. Once a moral principle has been established in the Bible, every possible application of it need not be mentioned. For example, the general principle that theft is wrong was clearly established in Scripture; but there’s no need to provide an exhaustive list of every kind of theft. Similarly, since the principle that contraception is wrong has been established by being condemned when it’s mentioned in the Bible, every particular form of contraception does not need to be dealt with in Scripture in order for us to see that it is condemned.

 
Apostolic Tradition

The biblical teaching that birth control is wrong is found even more explicitly among the Church Fathers, who recognized the biblical and natural law principles underlying the condemnation.

In A.D. 195, Clement of Alexandria wrote, "Because of its divine institution for the propagation of man, the seed is not to be vainly ejaculated, nor is it to be damaged, nor is it to be wasted" (The Instructor of Children 2:10:91:2).

Hippolytus of Rome wrote in 255 that "on account of their prominent ancestry and great property, the so-called faithful [certain Christian women who had affairs with male servants] want no children from slaves or lowborn commoners, [so] they use drugs of sterility or bind themselves tightly in order to expel a fetus which has already been engendered" (Refutation of All Heresies 9:12).

Around 307 Lactantius explained that some "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" (Divine Institutes 6:20).

The First Council of Nicaea, the first ecumenical council and the one that defined Christ’s divinity, declared in 325, "If anyone in sound health has castrated himself, it behooves that such a one, if enrolled among the clergy, should cease [from his ministry], and that from henceforth no such person should be promoted. But, as it is evident that this is said of those who willfully do the thing and presume to castrate themselves, so if any have been made eunuchs by barbarians, or by their masters, and should otherwise be found worthy, such men this canon admits to the clergy" (Canon 1).

Augustine wrote in 419, "I am supposing, then, although you are not lying [with your wife] for the sake of procreating offspring, you are not for the sake of lust obstructing their procreation by an evil prayer or an evil deed. Those who do this, although they are called husband and wife, are not; nor do they retain any reality of marriage, but with a respectable name cover a shame. Sometimes this lustful cruelty, or cruel lust, comes to this, that they even procure poisons of sterility [oral contraceptives]" (Marriage and Concupiscence 1:15:17).



Selam

I'm with you on this one, Gebre. I recall Our Lord saying something along the lines of "be fruit and multiply" not "be fruitful and multiply, but feel free at any time to stop multiplying." Are you familiar with the documentary called "Demographic Winter"? It's fairly recent and was actually done by sociologists without  any type of "religious bias." We watched it in my biology class and it is really well done. The documentary is about how due to lack of reproduction (of which contraception is a huge factor), many nations are seeing their birth-rates plummet, which is quickly followed by their economy taking the same plummet. Look no further than Russia and Romania.

My priest had this to say when I was inquiring about Orthodoxy:
Quote
We have been taught that using contraceptives is not the way to have a Godly marriage, that children are a blessing from God, although you may run into some "modern liberal" Orthodox in America who ignore that. However, as Orthodox we also refrain from marital relations during fasting periods, i.e. Tuesday and Thursday nights (the eves of the Wed and Fri. fast), on any evening before receiving Holy Communion (such as Saturday evening and before the 12 Great Feast days), and during the entire time of the four fasts: Lent, Nativity Fast, Apostles Fast, and Dormition Fast. This adds up to more than half of the year that we abstain, and it seems to me upon cursory inspection that "large" Orthodox families are about half the size of "large" Catholic families. Also, you may know that while women are exclusively breastfeeding (on demand, no supplemental feedings) the hormones act as a natural birth control with about 98% effectiveness. Of course women are only fertile a few days every month, and abstinence during that time is a fairly effective method if needed. However, women are much more "interested" when they are fertile than at other times, so that has its frustrations. Basically though, we need and want more Orthodox babies and families for the sake of our souls (our spiritual growth and responsibility) and theirs.

I'll probably be blasted for this post judging from many of the other posters on this thread, but oh well!  ;)

In Christ,
Andrew
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Quinault on May 21, 2010, 03:55:45 PM
Except my eldest- all of our kids have been conceived when nursing ;)
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Heorhij on May 21, 2010, 04:06:28 PM
I am glad it works for you. In my case I regularly ovulate twice in a cycle which is very difficult to track. As I said before, we have used this method for over ten years. But babies number #3 and #4 (while completely blessings!) are the result of multiple ovulations in a cycle. Our fourth is especially proof since my husband was gone most of that time period on deployment. Her due date was even very much up for debate because of this since there were less then a handful of days in which it would have been PHYSICALLY POSSIBLE to conceive her. And our 3rd child was literally conceived at a time when it should have been physically impossible to do so. He is really and truly a miracle baby. I love them both, but they are the reason we use NFP and....

But if you EVER use NFP in conjunction with a barrier method you are "violating God's law" according to Gebre and Pope John Paul.

What really strikes me in the discussions about NFP is that people who are using it have the INTENTION not to conceive a child. I think this is what really matters, not that they are not putting some mechanical or pharmacological barrier to prevent conception. Their thoughts, desires, inclinations are still exactly the same as in those couples who use the pill or the barrier methods.

And it's terrible because it takes away the wonderful spontaneity of lovemaking... Turns marital relations into some sort of following a medical procedure: "no, honey, not today, let's watch the Jackie Chan movie," like Cizinec said. Not my idea of marriage.
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Papist on May 21, 2010, 04:13:21 PM
I am glad it works for you. In my case I regularly ovulate twice in a cycle which is very difficult to track. As I said before, we have used this method for over ten years. But babies number #3 and #4 (while completely blessings!) are the result of multiple ovulations in a cycle. Our fourth is especially proof since my husband was gone most of that time period on deployment. Her due date was even very much up for debate because of this since there were less then a handful of days in which it would have been PHYSICALLY POSSIBLE to conceive her. And our 3rd child was literally conceived at a time when it should have been physically impossible to do so. He is really and truly a miracle baby. I love them both, but they are the reason we use NFP and....

But if you EVER use NFP in conjunction with a barrier method you are "violating God's law" according to Gebre and Pope John Paul.

What really strikes me in the discussions about NFP is that people who are using it have the INTENTION not to conceive a child. I think this is what really matters, not that they are not putting some mechanical or pharmacological barrier to prevent conception. Their thoughts, desires, inclinations are still exactly the same as in those couples who use the pill or the barrier methods.

And it's terrible because it takes away the wonderful spontaneity of lovemaking... Turns marital relations into some sort of following a medical procedure: "no, honey, not today, let's watch the Jackie Chan movie," like Cizinec said. Not my idea of marriage.
Its not the same because those practicing NFP have to develop self control and master their passions. Those using artificial birth control just doing what they want when the want. Which practice is more Christian?
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Heorhij on May 21, 2010, 04:18:24 PM
I am glad it works for you. In my case I regularly ovulate twice in a cycle which is very difficult to track. As I said before, we have used this method for over ten years. But babies number #3 and #4 (while completely blessings!) are the result of multiple ovulations in a cycle. Our fourth is especially proof since my husband was gone most of that time period on deployment. Her due date was even very much up for debate because of this since there were less then a handful of days in which it would have been PHYSICALLY POSSIBLE to conceive her. And our 3rd child was literally conceived at a time when it should have been physically impossible to do so. He is really and truly a miracle baby. I love them both, but they are the reason we use NFP and....

But if you EVER use NFP in conjunction with a barrier method you are "violating God's law" according to Gebre and Pope John Paul.

What really strikes me in the discussions about NFP is that people who are using it have the INTENTION not to conceive a child. I think this is what really matters, not that they are not putting some mechanical or pharmacological barrier to prevent conception. Their thoughts, desires, inclinations are still exactly the same as in those couples who use the pill or the barrier methods.

And it's terrible because it takes away the wonderful spontaneity of lovemaking... Turns marital relations into some sort of following a medical procedure: "no, honey, not today, let's watch the Jackie Chan movie," like Cizinec said. Not my idea of marriage.
Its not the same because those practicing NFP have to develop self control and master their passions. Those using artificial birth control just doing what they want when the want. Which practice is more Christian?

If both members of the couple are believers (not my case), they have plenty of opportunity to learn to master their passions during fasts...
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Papist on May 21, 2010, 04:19:23 PM
I am glad it works for you. In my case I regularly ovulate twice in a cycle which is very difficult to track. As I said before, we have used this method for over ten years. But babies number #3 and #4 (while completely blessings!) are the result of multiple ovulations in a cycle. Our fourth is especially proof since my husband was gone most of that time period on deployment. Her due date was even very much up for debate because of this since there were less then a handful of days in which it would have been PHYSICALLY POSSIBLE to conceive her. And our 3rd child was literally conceived at a time when it should have been physically impossible to do so. He is really and truly a miracle baby. I love them both, but they are the reason we use NFP and....

But if you EVER use NFP in conjunction with a barrier method you are "violating God's law" according to Gebre and Pope John Paul.

What really strikes me in the discussions about NFP is that people who are using it have the INTENTION not to conceive a child. I think this is what really matters, not that they are not putting some mechanical or pharmacological barrier to prevent conception. Their thoughts, desires, inclinations are still exactly the same as in those couples who use the pill or the barrier methods.

And it's terrible because it takes away the wonderful spontaneity of lovemaking... Turns marital relations into some sort of following a medical procedure: "no, honey, not today, let's watch the Jackie Chan movie," like Cizinec said. Not my idea of marriage.
Its not the same because those practicing NFP have to develop self control and master their passions. Those using artificial birth control just doing what they want when the want. Which practice is more Christian?

If both members of the couple are believers (not my case), they have plenty of opportunity to learn to master their passions during fasts...
So master your passions... except in this one area where you don't feel like mastering your passions.
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Heorhij on May 21, 2010, 04:36:02 PM
I am glad it works for you. In my case I regularly ovulate twice in a cycle which is very difficult to track. As I said before, we have used this method for over ten years. But babies number #3 and #4 (while completely blessings!) are the result of multiple ovulations in a cycle. Our fourth is especially proof since my husband was gone most of that time period on deployment. Her due date was even very much up for debate because of this since there were less then a handful of days in which it would have been PHYSICALLY POSSIBLE to conceive her. And our 3rd child was literally conceived at a time when it should have been physically impossible to do so. He is really and truly a miracle baby. I love them both, but they are the reason we use NFP and....

But if you EVER use NFP in conjunction with a barrier method you are "violating God's law" according to Gebre and Pope John Paul.

What really strikes me in the discussions about NFP is that people who are using it have the INTENTION not to conceive a child. I think this is what really matters, not that they are not putting some mechanical or pharmacological barrier to prevent conception. Their thoughts, desires, inclinations are still exactly the same as in those couples who use the pill or the barrier methods.

And it's terrible because it takes away the wonderful spontaneity of lovemaking... Turns marital relations into some sort of following a medical procedure: "no, honey, not today, let's watch the Jackie Chan movie," like Cizinec said. Not my idea of marriage.
Its not the same because those practicing NFP have to develop self control and master their passions. Those using artificial birth control just doing what they want when the want. Which practice is more Christian?

If both members of the couple are believers (not my case), they have plenty of opportunity to learn to master their passions during fasts...
So master your passions... except in this one area where you don't feel like mastering your passions.

As a man who has been married for more than 26 years, I can tell you that sometimes mastering your passions means giving sexual satisfaction to your spouse whether you feel like it or not. :) "Mastering" in this delicate area is not necessarily negative.
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Shlomlokh on May 21, 2010, 05:03:45 PM
Except my eldest- all of our kids have been conceived when nursing ;)

Perhaps, it was the Lord's will?  ;)

In Christ,
Andrew
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Quinault on May 21, 2010, 05:17:48 PM
I am sure that they were the Lord's will. But to say that breastfeeding is 98% effective at keeping fertility at bay is a misconception. What he speaks of is something called ecological breastfeeding
http://www.physiciansforlife.org/content/view/1421/43/

But that is only effective for the first 6 months for most women, if that. And if you must work you can not practice ecological breastfeeding at all. Pumping does not release the same hormones as breastfeeding. So while some women that pump can have lactation induced extended ammorreha, that isn't something that pumping mothers can really count on. Not to mention if you don't co-sleep, ecological breastfeeding doesn't work.

I have practiced ecological breastfeeding with all of our children so far. But I don't think it should be as highly praised as it often is in NFP circles.
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Quinault on May 21, 2010, 05:21:05 PM
Here is a little essay of dissent on ecological breastfeeding
http://buildingcathedrals.blogspot.com/2008/06/ecological-breastfeeding-crunchy.html
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: PeterTheAleut on May 21, 2010, 06:04:46 PM
I am glad it works for you. In my case I regularly ovulate twice in a cycle which is very difficult to track. As I said before, we have used this method for over ten years. But babies number #3 and #4 (while completely blessings!) are the result of multiple ovulations in a cycle. Our fourth is especially proof since my husband was gone most of that time period on deployment. Her due date was even very much up for debate because of this since there were less then a handful of days in which it would have been PHYSICALLY POSSIBLE to conceive her. And our 3rd child was literally conceived at a time when it should have been physically impossible to do so. He is really and truly a miracle baby. I love them both, but they are the reason we use NFP and....

But if you EVER use NFP in conjunction with a barrier method you are "violating God's law" according to Gebre and Pope John Paul.

What really strikes me in the discussions about NFP is that people who are using it have the INTENTION not to conceive a child. I think this is what really matters, not that they are not putting some mechanical or pharmacological barrier to prevent conception. Their thoughts, desires, inclinations are still exactly the same as in those couples who use the pill or the barrier methods.

And it's terrible because it takes away the wonderful spontaneity of lovemaking... Turns marital relations into some sort of following a medical procedure: "no, honey, not today, let's watch the Jackie Chan movie," like Cizinec said. Not my idea of marriage.
Its not the same because those practicing NFP have to develop self control and master their passions. Those using artificial birth control just doing what they want when the want. Which practice is more Christian?
Christian?  According to whose standards?

Papist, If you want to discuss an RC view of contraceptives, I'm sure you'll find plenty of places to do so on the Orthodox-Catholic Board.  Otherwise, I ask that you please allow us Orthodox to discuss this matter from our Orthodox perspectives on the Orthodox Faith Issues board.  After all, the constraint was set in the very title of this thread.  Thank you in advance for your cooperation with this request.
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Keble on May 21, 2010, 10:28:19 PM
What really strikes me in the discussions about NFP is that people who are using it have the INTENTION not to conceive a child. I think this is what really matters, not that they are not putting some mechanical or pharmacological barrier to prevent conception. Their thoughts, desires, inclinations are still exactly the same as in those couples who use the pill or the barrier methods.

Well, and there's nothing particularly natural about using calendars or thermometers or the like to determine periods of infertility.
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: cizinec on May 22, 2010, 07:20:15 PM
I am glad it works for you. In my case I regularly ovulate twice in a cycle which is very difficult to track. As I said before, we have used this method for over ten years. But babies number #3 and #4 (while completely blessings!) are the result of multiple ovulations in a cycle. Our fourth is especially proof since my husband was gone most of that time period on deployment. Her due date was even very much up for debate because of this since there were less then a handful of days in which it would have been PHYSICALLY POSSIBLE to conceive her. And our 3rd child was literally conceived at a time when it should have been physically impossible to do so. He is really and truly a miracle baby. I love them both, but they are the reason we use NFP and....

But if you EVER use NFP in conjunction with a barrier method you are "violating God's law" according to Gebre and Pope John Paul.

That's funny!  We got our last one that way too!  My wife had a double ovulation, which is *not* the norm for her and while she was breastfeeding.  Talk about a surprise.  That's why we tend to use both, although sometimes not, depending on certain things. 

Don't worry about these crazies on here.  You got a priest.  It sounds like you've got a mighty fine man and kids.  Are you from Texas?
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Quinault on May 22, 2010, 07:33:14 PM
No, I am not from Texas (and I will not expound on my views about Texas from my brief visit there). I am a proud indigenous pacific northwesterner.
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: cizinec on May 22, 2010, 08:42:55 PM
No, I am not from Texas (and I will not expound on my views about Texas from my brief visit there). I am a proud indigenous pacific northwesterner.

LOL.  Well, be careful.  You probably didn't see much of it and, if you stay for too long, the whole world starts making sense.  When that happens, you'd better get out before you become one.  My mom is from Lincoln City (I think it was Culver City when she lived there) and my dad is from Salem.  I lived in Oregon when I was a kid.  Land of milk and honey.  Nice place.  I'd move there, but I don't think I could cope with the way folks act in public.  My dad has been here so long, he can't move back.  He's semi-retired and he won't even think about moving into Oklahoma or Arkansas.  Too far north.  If you haven't been there, btw, don't knock it.  Arkansas and Oklahoma have some amazingly beautiful places that you've never heard of.  I think the locals like it that way.

I've visited some nice Serbian Orthodox churches in Oregon, but their choirs aren't as good as ours.   ;D  In fact, I think I'll start a thread on our new church.

Concerning EO's view on contraception, I think the consensus has been that you should ask your priest and let the internet prophets alone.  It's always good to see real people who have had real pastoral issues stand up to the pontifical expostulations of the young and the superdox.  Folks that come on here need to know that they should get their answers from their local priest.
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Quinault on May 22, 2010, 08:59:12 PM
My husband attended his MOS training in San Angelo Texas. I saw enough to never want to go back. I am far too crunchy to live there without blowing my top. Literally there was trash EVERYWHERE. The fire ants, and life threatening heat (I start getting heat exhaustion once the temp is higher than 95 or so)....I could go on. But I will always reserve a special hatred for the water in San Angelo. You take a shower and have a film of something greasy all over you. No one drinks the water there. I am sure it is better elsewhere, San Angelo is just horrible, you couldn't pay me to live there.

My best friend moved to Oklahoma after living up here on Whidbey Island. She is depressed with how incredibly flat it is. My mother's family moved from Oklahoma to Oregon and never looked back.

I was raised in OR, Salem for the most part. I need to live near the western coast with lots of green. I prefer to have more gloom so I can have more green. I can drive to a rainforest, desert or mountain/volcano in any direction in 1-3 hours. If we ever moved, it would be to Alaska. Right now we live in the puget sound.
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: ialmisry on May 22, 2010, 09:44:22 PM
No, I am not from Texas (and I will not expound on my views about Texas from my brief visit there). I am a proud indigenous pacific northwesterner.
Can't speak for the Pacific NW, but I love TX. Haven't been to San Angelo, though. Almost everywhere else, except the extreme southern parts.  I heartily concure on OK: nothing to look back at.

We used NFP to conceive our first.  Our second was a suprise (at least to me.  She thought him a mistake, and treats him so >:( :-[ :'()
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: ialmisry on May 22, 2010, 09:45:20 PM
St. Clement of Alexandria says that a characteristic of true Christians is that once they have had children they live as brothers and sisters. just throwing that out there ... have fun!
St. Clement didn't always know what he was talking about.
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: rakovsky on June 11, 2010, 09:00:05 PM
Hello, all.  this last Sunday my priest gave a sermon on lust.  he said that the church demands a monogamos, heterosexual union.  but he also said that when we participate in intercourse, we should only doso with the intention of pro-creation.  this does not make sence, as I thought that the churchpermits contraception.  would someone please explain this?

Your priest is simply wrong.
How so?

Teaching that married couples should have sex only with the intention to procreate.

I really would't go so far as to say he's wrong as he is a very intellegent and holy man.  this is exactly what has confused me!  if the church says that using contraception is OK,thatn there is clearly no intention of procreation there.  I really need to ask him about this.

We had a discussion about this in our OCF group a few meetings ago. We didn't actually come to a conclusion about the nature of married love etc.

What else did your priest say?

Hal
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Irish Hermit on June 11, 2010, 09:12:26 PM
There is a consensus among the Russian, Greek, Serbian, Romanian and Antiochian Churches (I cannot speak for the other Churches since I have never had the opportunity to become acquainted with their teaching on this matter.)

The above Orthodox Churches allow contraception when

1.  it is non-abortive

2.  it is for grave and justifiable reasons

3.  it is for a limited time
.........(although health consideration may influence this)

4  it is used with the blessing of the parish priest or spiritual father or mother
.........(although this is not strictly necessary)

Fr Ambrose
Russian Orthodox Church (Abroad)

Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: rakovsky on June 11, 2010, 09:21:07 PM
Justifiable like whether I am justifiably not present for a liturgy?

"allows [nonabortive contraception] when it is for grave and justifiable reasons" I am trying to think of any time that would be the case.

I am also curious to know what was trevor72694's priest's view.

Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Irish Hermit on June 11, 2010, 09:27:32 PM
Justifiable like whether I am justifiably not present for a liturgy?

"allows [nonabortive contraception] when it is for grave and justifiable reasons" I am trying to think of any time that would be the case.



Two examples from my own experience....

1.  Husband and wife are homeless and living on the streets

2.  Wife has already had five children and the gynecologist judges that carrying and birthing another one could be a serious threat to her life.
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Irish Hermit on June 11, 2010, 09:32:10 PM
A video clip of comments by Metropolitan Jonah on contraception

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=thIzxgBw2xM&feature=youtube_gdata

I cannot see it because dial-up is too slow.

What is he saying?
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: rakovsky on June 11, 2010, 09:52:18 PM
Justifiable like whether I am justifiably not present for a liturgy?

"allows [nonabortive contraception] when it is for grave and justifiable reasons" I am trying to think of any time that would be the case

Two examples from my own experience....

1.  Husband and wife are homeless and living on the streets

2.  Wife has already had five children and the gynecologist judges that carrying and birthing another one could be a serious threat to her life.

I.e. you can only have sex with contraceptives if it becomes life threatening or you have no financial means to raise kids.

If you are healthy and have financial means and want to have sex, you are going to make babies, 5, 6 .........

This is the caricature painted of the Catholic church, minus 2 tiny exceptions.
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Gebre Menfes Kidus on June 11, 2010, 09:53:51 PM
A video clip of comments by Metropolitan Jonah on contraception

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=thIzxgBw2xM&feature=youtube_gdata

I cannot see it because dial-up is too slow.

What is he saying?


I thought it was very good. He said very clearly that the Fathers were consistent in opposing birth control and contraception. He said that the Orthodox teaching on contraception is the same as the Catholic teaching, except that in extremely rare circumstances a married couple's spiritual father may permit the use of non-abortifacient forms of birth control. He said that married couples should welcome life and embrace children. Marriage is supposed to help us conquer selfishness, and having children is a great way to do that. He also rhetorically asked when birth control is ever an unselfish act. (I know that some people can make arguments for the use of contraception as unselfish, but in general it is mostly used for selfish purposes.) I liked what he said very much.


Selam

Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: rakovsky on June 11, 2010, 10:05:28 PM
The interview says:

Quote
We need to stand up for marriage between a man and a woman. We need to build families. The teaching of the Russian Orthodox Church regarding contraception IS NO DIFFERENT THAN THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH. That is applied by a spiritual father in each specific situation it is not a blanket thing. The ideal for Orthodx is to have as many children as God opens us to. Every aspect of spiritual life is based on this one thing overcoming selfishness. Having kids is one excellent way to overcome selfishness. Contraception is wrong. However the Orthodox church doesn't have the same discipline as the Roman Catholic Church regarding it. It is up to the spiritual father. Normally the couple should be TOTALLY OPEN to the gift of receiving children. If you have already had 5 and you can't deal with more, then talk to your spiritual father and ask. Sex is the highest mode of communion between a husband and a wife. In other words, if contraception is going to be used, how can it be used unselfishly. [The voice intonation to me was not an agitated rhetorical question but a soft-ending statement that the main concern is how to use contraception unselfishly.] Morning after pill the church does not accept.

The statement suggested to me both absolutism where we should have as many kids as we practically can, and more reasonable and flexible, where a spiritual father can at least allow me and my wife to have sex using contraceptives if he chooses, and that having 5 or more kids already would be a good reason.

Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Irish Hermit on June 11, 2010, 10:31:27 PM

He said that the Orthodox teaching on contraception is the same as the Catholic teaching,



Oh, I do hope he is wrong about that (**See below).  The Catholic teaching is a piece of esoterica which is quite ignored in the lives of the Catholic faithful.    It places them in a position of moral hypocrisy and of the possibility of damnation (since the teaching is that using contraception is per se an intrinsic evil and a mortal sin.)

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops reveals that it estimates that 97% of Catholic marrieds simply ignore the teaching and use forms of birth control considered gravely sinful by their Church.  A mere 2-3% are believed to use the Natural Family Planning method approved by the Catholic Church.

** The 2000 Millennial Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church issued a statement on church life and morals and contemporary problems which includes a section on birth control.  Essentially is allows it under the conditions I outlined earlier.
Title: TOTALLY OPEN to the gift of receiving children.
Post by: rakovsky on June 11, 2010, 10:45:52 PM
How seriously do we take this?

(http://images.teamsugar.com/files/upl1/10/107379/04_2009/b7ab28c3d0883211_585633_1_ftc_dp.xlarge.jpg)


Interview with Michelle Duggar

http://www.lilsugar.com/Interview-Michelle-Duggar-Mother-18-Children-Part-I-2725840 (http://www.lilsugar.com/Interview-Michelle-Duggar-Mother-18-Children-Part-I-2725840)

Quote
The mom and dad took time away from their family to chat with me via phone about their new book, The Duggars: 20 and Counting!, and the topics — marriage, raising children, conservative values, financial freedom, and faith. After suffering a miscarriage, Michelle and Jim Bob, who are religious, chose to forgo the birth control they had been using and leave it up to God to decide how many children they would have. Aside from helping build the home they live in, the Duggar kids have been taught everything from plumbing to tile work and learned about politics while sitting in on committee meetings when their father was a state legislator in Arkansas.

The family has alot of money, a huge house, and alot of kids.
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Heorhij on June 11, 2010, 11:23:54 PM
I haven't followed this (or other "sexual") threads for a considerable time... Tonight, I glanced at this thread, and again, I saw this, "when it is for GRAVE (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) reasons..."

Ahhhh. YOU - whoever you are, - will judge, whether MY and MY WIFE'S reasons are "grave????????"

And who the... mmmm... you think you are?

Bishops? MONKS???????

This will bury us (the Church), if we don't stop this.

Time to do something about this madness.



Post modified to enforce compliance with the Moratorium.  -PtA
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Irish Hermit on June 11, 2010, 11:37:57 PM
I haven't followed this (or other "sexual") threads for a considerable time... Tonight, I glanced at this thread, and again, I saw this, "when it is for GRAVE (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) reasons..."

Ahhhh. YOU - whoever you are, - will judge, whether MY and MY WIFE'S reasons are "grave????????"

And who the... mmmm... you think you are?

Bishops? MONKS???????

This will bury us (the Church), if we don't stop this.

Time to do something about this madness.

Please go back and read my post (post 224.)  I made it very clear that people are not obliged to consult their parish priest. I would say that most don't.  They make their own decisions.
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: rakovsky on June 12, 2010, 12:13:50 AM
Please go back and read my post (post 224.)  I made it very clear that people are not obliged to consult their parish priest.

Your Post 224 says:
Quote
The above Orthodox Churches allow contraception when
2.  it is for grave and justifiable reasons [(you described this as extreme financial or life-threatening situations)]
4  it is used with the blessing of the parish priest or spiritual father or mother
.........(although this is not strictly necessary)

Fr Ambrose, You said the "The 2000 Millennial Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church statement on birth control" allows contraceptives under these conditions, but where does it say the parish priest's blessing for you to use contraceptives isn't necessary?

The OCA says:
"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."
http://www.oca.org/QA.asp?ID=147&SID=3 (http://www.oca.org/QA.asp?ID=147&SID=3)


Metropolitan Jonah said "The ideal for Orthodx is to have as many children as God opens us to." What if I feel that God only opens me up to having 2 or 3 kids?

It sounds like I might be wrong: "If you have already had 5 and you can't deal with more, then talk to your spiritual father and ask."

This is the Dugan family model, where a strong, healthy, wealthy, homeschooling family believes they should have as many kids as possible because they can deal with them. And yes they are so able to deal with them that they can even homeschool them all.

(http://blog.beliefnet.com/stuffchristianculturelikes/duggar/duggars3.jpg)
http://blog.beliefnet.com/stuffchristianculturelikes/duggar/duggars3.jpg

Ahhhh. YOU - whoever you are, - will judge, whether MY and MY WIFE'S reasons are "grave????????"

And who the... mmmm... you think you are?

Bishops? MONKS???????

This will bury us (the Church), if we don't stop this.

Time to do something about this madness.


Yes I am trying to emphasize the more extreme parts, but it does sound this way.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=47P59ha9k9s (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=47P59ha9k9s)

Please tell me this is very inaccurate.
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: PeterTheAleut on June 12, 2010, 12:25:38 AM
There is a consensus among the Russian, Greek, Serbian, Romanian and Antiochian Churches (I cannot speak for the other Churches since I have never had the opportunity to become acquainted with their teaching on this matter.)

The above Orthodox Churches allow contraception when

1.  it is non-abortive

2.  it is for grave and justifiable reasons

3.  it is for a limited time
.........(although health consideration may influence this)

4  it is used with the blessing of the parish priest or spiritual father or mother
.........(although this is not strictly necessary)

Fr Ambrose
Russian Orthodox Church (Abroad)


I'm curious to see where this information has been posted on an official Web site of one of these churches.
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Irish Hermit on June 12, 2010, 12:39:17 AM
There is a consensus among the Russian, Greek, Serbian, Romanian and Antiochian Churches (I cannot speak for the other Churches since I have never had the opportunity to become acquainted with their teaching on this matter.)

The above Orthodox Churches allow contraception when

1.  it is non-abortive

2.  it is for grave and justifiable reasons

3.  it is for a limited time
.........(although health consideration may influence this)

4  it is used with the blessing of the parish priest or spiritual father or mother
.........(although this is not strictly necessary)

Fr Ambrose
Russian Orthodox Church (Abroad)


I'm curious to see where this information has been posted on an official Web site of one of these churches.

Dear Peter,

As I have shared, this is what I know from personal acquaintance with brother priests of the Russian, Greek, Serbian, Romanian  and Antiochian Churches.  I have not looked for it on websites but I would also like to see what is on the Net. For example, although Metropolitan Jonah commences with a confusing statement that Orthodox teaching is the same as Catholicism, he then proceeds to nuance it by saying the "discipline" for the Orthodox is different and he appears to end up with what I have written.   But if people are in doubt about what I have written, and how to understand the Metropolotan, and if it impacts their conjugal life they really must check it out with their priest or their bishop.
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: rakovsky on June 12, 2010, 12:50:42 AM
Fr. Ambrose:

Thank you for pointing to the Millenial Synod Statement.

It goes a long way to give the priest discretion, especially where some people don't have the demands of continence. But I am confused about the difference between egoistical and nonegoistical refusal of childbirth? I assume this means sex with the person where there is no love.

Quote
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.
http://www.mospat.ru/en/documents/social-concepts/xii/

It sounds like the magic number 5 is Metr. Jonah's personal advice, the wiki source you cited sounds good, Fr. Ambrose.
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Irish Hermit on June 12, 2010, 12:54:14 AM
There is a consensus among the Russian, Greek, Serbian, Romanian and Antiochian Churches (I cannot speak for the other Churches since I have never had the opportunity to become acquainted with their teaching on this matter.)

The above Orthodox Churches allow contraception when

1.  it is non-abortive

2.  it is for grave and justifiable reasons

3.  it is for a limited time
.........(although health consideration may influence this)

4  it is used with the blessing of the parish priest or spiritual father or mother
.........(although this is not strictly necessary)

Fr Ambrose
Russian Orthodox Church (Abroad)


I'm curious to see where this information has been posted on an official Web site of one of these churches.

From orthodoxwiki (http://orthodoxwiki.org/Contraception)

"There are those who teach that non-abortifacient contraception is acceptable if it is used with the blessing of one's spiritual father, and if it is not used simply to avoid having children for purely selfish reasons. The statement on marriage and family from the 10th All-American Council of the Orthodox Church in America (http://www.oca.org/DOCmarriage.asp?ID=19) follows along these lines, as does "The Bases of the Social Concept of the Russian Orthodox Church," (http://orthodoxeurope.org/page/3/14.aspx) section XII. 3, which was approved by the 2000 Council of the Russian Orthodox Church"

Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Irish Hermit on June 12, 2010, 12:58:12 AM
Please go back and read my post (post 224.)  I made it very clear that people are not obliged to consult their parish priest.

Your Post 224 says:
Quote
The above Orthodox Churches allow contraception when
2.  it is for grave and justifiable reasons [(you described this as extreme financial or life-threatening situations)]
4  it is used with the blessing of the parish priest or spiritual father or mother
.........(although this is not strictly necessary)

Fr Ambrose, You said the "The 2000 Millennial Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church statement on birth control" allows contraceptives under these conditions, but where does it say the parish priest's blessing for you to use contraceptives isn't necessary?

The majority of Orthodox couples do not discuss contraception with their parish priest nor ask his blessing.  It is just a fact of parish life.
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Gebre Menfes Kidus on June 12, 2010, 01:04:06 AM
Those who oppose life oppose themselves. Some rejoice in material things, but I rejoice in my offspring. Every time we've been pregnant, certain people cast their negativity and discouragement against us. But God has the last laugh. It ain't easy, but I wouldn't trade my children for anything in the world. So go ahead and enslave yourselves to prophylactics, poisons, and pills. It's your choice; and I'm sure you can always find a Priest to give you his "blessing." But we reap what we sow, and you won't reap fruit if you don't sow seeds. Waste away in your barren desert if you so choose. But I'm telling you, these garden delights sure are sweet. Glory to God! More Life!


Selam
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Irish Hermit on June 12, 2010, 01:09:23 AM
Those who oppose life oppose themselves. Some rejoice in material things, but I rejoice in my offspring. Every time we've been pregnant, certain people cast their negativity and discouragement against us. But God has the last laugh. It ain't easy, but I wouldn't trade my children for anything in the world. So go ahead and enslave yourselves to profalactics, poisons, and pills. It's your choice; and I'm sure you can always find a Priest to give you his "blessing." But we reap what we sow, and you won't reap fruit if you don't sow seeds. Waste away in your barren desert if you so choose. But I'm telling you, these garden delights sure are sweet. Glory to God! More Life!


Selam

May your children outnumber the Duggars! 

Imagine if all our Orthodox families could be like them.  In no time we would loose our anxiety in Western Europe and Eastern Europe about being outbred by Muslims and in no time at all we would be buying up all the empty Catholic churches throughout the land.
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Gebre Menfes Kidus on June 12, 2010, 01:17:20 AM
Those who oppose life oppose themselves. Some rejoice in material things, but I rejoice in my offspring. Every time we've been pregnant, certain people cast their negativity and discouragement against us. But God has the last laugh. It ain't easy, but I wouldn't trade my children for anything in the world. So go ahead and enslave yourselves to profalactics, poisons, and pills. It's your choice; and I'm sure you can always find a Priest to give you his "blessing." But we reap what we sow, and you won't reap fruit if you don't sow seeds. Waste away in your barren desert if you so choose. But I'm telling you, these garden delights sure are sweet. Glory to God! More Life!


Selam

May your children outnumber the Duggars! 

Imagine if all our Orthodox families could be like them.  In no time we would loose our anxiety in Western Europe and Eastern Europe about being outbred by Muslims and in no time at all we would be buying up all the empty Catholic churches throughout the land.

Thank you brother!


Selam
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: rakovsky on June 12, 2010, 01:24:25 AM
In practical terms it would be good for some communities. But I don't like setting 5 or more kids as an absolute rule for everyone everywhere. I think some places in Africa probably have overbreeding problems, with all due respect, in the sense that people are starving because they are very poor and don't have much food. An Ethiopian girl told me this was just propaganda by the Ethiopian government to get money, but I think there is probably some truth to it from the pictures I saw.

And if not, then I still admit the possibility that overbreeding could happen. Rabbits in Australia overbreed.


Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Gebre Menfes Kidus on June 12, 2010, 01:29:59 AM
In practical terms it would be good for some communities. But I don't like setting 5 or more kids as an absolute rule for everyone everywhere. I think some places in Asia and Africa do have overbreeding problems, with all due respect.

Yeah, I would never say anyone has to have a certain amount of children. But I just fight down the demonic philosophies and practices that oppose, negate, or prevent life. I also have to respectfully say that I don't subscribe to the "overpopulation" and "overbreeding" propaganda. Humanbeings are not vermin that must be controlled, in spite of Margaret Sanger's tragically effective efforts to convince society otherwise.


Selam
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: rakovsky on June 19, 2010, 02:23:20 AM
May you have a happy family!

-Hal
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Shanghaiski on June 21, 2010, 11:41:50 AM
A friend of mind who is a pious Greek and  well acquainted with the ancient and modern fathers says that, in Greece, at least, those who use birth control are only allowed to commune at most four times a year--Christmas, Pascha, Dormition, and one other feast I don't remember which.
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Jetavan on June 21, 2010, 11:51:09 AM
What if an Orthodox couple decide to have 1 or 2 children, and then remain celibate, all without using birth-control?
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Shanghaiski on June 21, 2010, 12:05:15 PM
There's no law against abstention, as long as both parties agree.
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: augustin717 on June 21, 2010, 12:40:00 PM
The more traditional Orthodox-i.e. uninfected by modern or Protestant ideas- classify contraception as a sin. I'm thinking of Fr. Cleopa, for instance.
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: David Carroll on June 21, 2010, 12:50:01 PM
But soon there won't be enough food to feed everyone.  Millions will starve to death.  Could someone please point to me how such an action is "life-affirming"?

Not to mention that it would be cruel and foolish to try to raise eight children on 8 bucks an hour (yes, I know there's a lot of socio-economic elitism in the Orthodox Church, but some of us actually DO work for a living.)
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Jetavan on June 21, 2010, 12:56:48 PM
I know there's a lot of socio-economic elitism in the Orthodox Church....
There is?
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: David Carroll on June 21, 2010, 01:00:05 PM
Big time.  I've noticed that if you're not a doctor or a lawyer, then you're pretty much viewed as a scumbag.  At least the Orthodox Churches around where I live.
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Jetavan on June 21, 2010, 01:02:08 PM
Big time.  I've noticed that if you're not a doctor or a lawyer, then you're pretty much viewed as a scumbag.  At least the Orthodox Churches around where I live.
Must be an immigrant thing.
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: David Carroll on June 21, 2010, 01:05:27 PM
I better give forums a rest for a couple days.  I'm starting to het onery. ???
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: augustin717 on June 21, 2010, 01:06:56 PM
Big time.  I've noticed that if you're not a doctor or a lawyer, then you're pretty much viewed as a scumbag.  At least the Orthodox Churches around where I live.
Must be an immigrant thing.
So, you think most immigrants are lawyers and doctors? ::)
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Jetavan on June 21, 2010, 01:22:08 PM
Big time.  I've noticed that if you're not a doctor or a lawyer, then you're pretty much viewed as a scumbag.  At least the Orthodox Churches around where I live.
Must be an immigrant thing.
So, you think most immigrants are lawyers and doctors? ::)
Only if they've gone to law or med school. ;)
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Heorhij on June 21, 2010, 01:57:21 PM
A friend of mind who is a pious Greek and  well acquainted with the ancient and modern fathers says that, in Greece, at least, those who use birth control are only allowed to commune at most four times a year--Christmas, Pascha, Dormition, and one other feast I don't remember which.

Why would they advertise their use of birth control? I think that's silly.
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Heorhij on June 21, 2010, 01:58:50 PM
In practical terms it would be good for some communities. But I don't like setting 5 or more kids as an absolute rule for everyone everywhere. I think some places in Africa probably have overbreeding problems, with all due respect, in the sense that people are starving because they are very poor and don't have much food. An Ethiopian girl told me this was just propaganda by the Ethiopian government to get money, but I think there is probably some truth to it from the pictures I saw.

And if not, then I still admit the possibility that overbreeding could happen. Rabbits in Australia overbreed.




I think I am less concerned about overbreeding than about the members of the couple who has many children not realizing their talents because of the heavy burden of supporting their children.
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Shanghaiski on June 21, 2010, 02:00:58 PM
I think we've got a lot of misperceptions going on. As for the Malthusian overpopulation craze, that idea is on the wane. The birth rates of industrialized nations are in decline and more recent stats show that countries with large populations have stabilized. While there have been local famines and shortages, globally more food is produced than can be consumed. There are many factors at work, here--subsidies, unforeseen consequences of regional and global trade agreements, education, rise in the standard of living globally, etc.

I think what is the key issue here, with contraception, is that the primary purpose of sex is the creation of children. There's no law against sexual abstinence, but it is a matter of grave concern if a couple wants to have the sex without having the children. And there are many reasons to have children, and as many as God gives.

As for socio-economic elitism in Orthodoxy, this is utterly ridiculous. There's no more of it in Orthodoxy than anywhere else in America. Perhaps it is an American problem, but I think that view would be less than accurate and certainly not generous.
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Shanghaiski on June 21, 2010, 02:03:18 PM
A friend of mind who is a pious Greek and  well acquainted with the ancient and modern fathers says that, in Greece, at least, those who use birth control are only allowed to commune at most four times a year--Christmas, Pascha, Dormition, and one other feast I don't remember which.

Why would they advertise their use of birth control? I think that's silly.

They confess this to their spiritual father. The rule is pretty standard and traditional there, at least.
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Heorhij on June 21, 2010, 03:11:55 PM
There's no law against sexual abstinence, but it is a matter of grave concern if a couple wants to have the sex without having the children.

Why? Whose concern?

And there are many reasons to have children, and as many as God gives.

Does God give children?

Aren't there much more compelling reasons to have few children (1-2), and provide for them well, and also - very importantly - develop your own talents, for both the man and the woman, rather than spending all your time on the children and yet failing to really provide for them at the end?
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Heorhij on June 21, 2010, 03:13:58 PM
A friend of mind who is a pious Greek and  well acquainted with the ancient and modern fathers says that, in Greece, at least, those who use birth control are only allowed to commune at most four times a year--Christmas, Pascha, Dormition, and one other feast I don't remember which.

Why would they advertise their use of birth control? I think that's silly.

They confess this to their spiritual father. The rule is pretty standard and traditional there, at least.

What else do they confess?

If I had concerns about using contraceptives, I would ask Fr. Chris's blessing. But I DO NOT have any concerns. So I would consider it utterly stupid and inhumane to load him with "problems" like my use of this and that in the bedroom...
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Shanghaiski on June 21, 2010, 03:18:51 PM
There's no law against sexual abstinence, but it is a matter of grave concern if a couple wants to have the sex without having the children.

Why? Whose concern?

And there are many reasons to have children, and as many as God gives.

Does God give children?

Aren't there much more compelling reasons to have few children (1-2), and provide for them well, and also - very importantly - develop your own talents, for both the man and the woman, rather than spending all your time on the children and yet failing to really provide for them at the end?


The concern is pastoral, and a concern of the Church.

The Scriptures say that children are a gift of God.
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Shanghaiski on June 21, 2010, 03:21:05 PM
A friend of mind who is a pious Greek and  well acquainted with the ancient and modern fathers says that, in Greece, at least, those who use birth control are only allowed to commune at most four times a year--Christmas, Pascha, Dormition, and one other feast I don't remember which.

Why would they advertise their use of birth control? I think that's silly.

They confess this to their spiritual father. The rule is pretty standard and traditional there, at least.

What else do they confess?

If I had concerns about using contraceptives, I would ask Fr. Chris's blessing. But I DO NOT have any concerns. So I would consider it utterly stupid and inhumane to load him with "problems" like my use of this and that in the bedroom...

It's a matter of conscience. Maybe their spiritual fathers ask them. I don't know. As for what you do, personally, that's for your conscience. As I see it, the thread is about the teaching of the Church, not about what individuals do.
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: David Carroll on June 21, 2010, 03:34:50 PM
I think we've got a lot of misperceptions going on. As for the Malthusian overpopulation craze, that idea is on the wane. The birth rates of industrialized nations are in decline and more recent stats show that countries with large populations have stabilized. While there have been local famines and shortages, globally more food is produced than can be consumed. There are many factors at work, here--subsidies, unforeseen consequences of regional and global trade agreements, education, rise in the standard of living globally, etc.

I think what is the key issue here, with contraception, is that the primary purpose of sex is the creation of children. There's no law against sexual abstinence, but it is a matter of grave concern if a couple wants to have the sex without having the children. And there are many reasons to have children, and as many as God gives.

As for socio-economic elitism in Orthodoxy, this is utterly ridiculous. There's no more of it in Orthodoxy than anywhere else in America. Perhaps it is an American problem, but I think that view would be less than accurate and certainly not generous.

I doubt that your use of words like "Malthusianism" is going to garner as high as an opinion of you as you have of your own self.
 

You're absolutely wrong that elitism is no more of a problem in Orthodoxy than anywhere else.  I have been attending churches of all shapes and sizes since I was a zygote.  And I have NEVER encountered ANY elitism of ANY sort until I walked into an Orthodox Church.  But my guess is that you yourself are a wealthy professional (judging by your readily apparent pomp and pretense) and therefore wouldn't notice.

And, per
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Shanghaiski on June 21, 2010, 03:42:48 PM
Again, the misperceptions.
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: GiC on June 21, 2010, 03:49:37 PM
I think we've got a lot of misperceptions going on. As for the Malthusian overpopulation craze, that idea is on the wane. The birth rates of industrialized nations are in decline and more recent stats show that countries with large populations have stabilized. While there have been local famines and shortages, globally more food is produced than can be consumed. There are many factors at work, here--subsidies, unforeseen consequences of regional and global trade agreements, education, rise in the standard of living globally, etc.

Yes, food can be pretty readily produced with modern agriculture, food shortages are only a concern in the third world; but it's hardly the only resource of concern. The one of most concern that pops into my mind is energy. We can barely keep up with the energy demands of modern society and more people use more energy resources as readily as they use more food. In fact, starvation in the third world can probably be attributed more to energy shortages than food shortages. We produce enough food to feed the world, but the cost of transporting it from, say, the United States, the number one exporter of agricultural products, to Africa is prohibitive, especially when people in Africa can't afford to pay for the food. Recently, when oil went up to nearly $150 a barrel, an estimated million people starved to death because the UN had to reduce food shipments due to budgetary concerns.

Instability in the petroleum market has hardly helped things, it may lead to the development of renewable energy, but those forms of energy are even more expensive. We can talk about reducing energy usage, but any meaningful restrictions would stifle the economy and lead to even greater problems. The fact is that energy is a limited resource that our society relies upon and it being stretched to the limit because there are too many people: overpopulation.

Families that have too many kids may have to rely on the government to help support them, thus causing economic injury to the rest of society. Kids may be denied educational opportunities because their parents have too many children and cannot afford to help them; this reduces their overall earning potential and reduces their potential contribution to our economy. Jobs are also limited, some may expand with the population, but jobs such as mining, farming, fishing, and most jobs that deal with the acquisition of raw materials (which, with the exception of farming, tend to be some of the better blue collared jobs) are limited not by the overall population but by the availability of a specific resource. And many industrial jobs can also be limited by the availability of these resources.

Combine this with the increasing automation of many industries, the demand for labour itself, the demand for extra people, is greatly diminishing (consider how many people today are required to farm ten thousand acres of corn compared to farming the same amount 150 years ago). In some fields, a couple people today can do the work that would require thousands two hundred years ago.

At the end of the day, there are many limited resources, not just food, and they all must be taken into account in considering a sustainable population. And despite the problems with decreasing a population (disproportionate costs to care for the elderly, restructuring economies to work more efficiently), in some instances it's more than worth the temporary difficulties. The United States may be sustainable with 300 million people, though we'd probably all have a higher standard of living if the population were half that, and I question if it's sustainable with 600 million people. Countries like China are not sustainable with their current population, in a country with some of the most fertile land on earth, they still struggle to fight off starvation in some of the poorer regions. The Netherlands has reclaimed a quarter of their country from the Sea, but land is still a scarce resource causing cramped and overpriced living conditions, their current population is barely sustainable, population growth would not be.

Quote
I think what is the key issue here, with contraception, is that the primary purpose of sex is the creation of children. There's no law against sexual abstinence, but it is a matter of grave concern if a couple wants to have the sex without having the children. And there are many reasons to have children, and as many as God gives.

As for socio-economic elitism in Orthodoxy, this is utterly ridiculous. There's no more of it in Orthodoxy than anywhere else in America. Perhaps it is an American problem, but I think that view would be less than accurate and certainly not generous.

Why does this make a certain song from Monte Python's The Meaning of Life pop into my head? Now I'm stuck with it...thanks a lot...;)
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Heorhij on June 21, 2010, 04:20:57 PM
The concern is pastoral, and a concern of the Church.

Does it mean that every priest must actively ask his spiritual children, do they use contraceptives or not?

The Scriptures say that children are a gift of God.

So is food, but it is still up to you how much of it to eat. :)
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Heorhij on June 21, 2010, 04:23:17 PM
As I see it, the thread is about the teaching of the Church, not about what individuals do.

The Church has no unified teaching on contraception or contraceptives. People make it up and sell it as "the teaching of the Church."
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Shanghaiski on June 21, 2010, 04:26:56 PM
As I see it, the thread is about the teaching of the Church, not about what individuals do.

The Church has no unified teaching on contraception or contraceptives. People make it up and sell it as "the teaching of the Church."

According to your opinion. Anyway, if it were as you say, it would be all the more reason to discuss the teaching of our Orthodox authorities--the ancient and modern fathers. Of course, it's a moot point if one acknowledges no such authority.
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Irish Hermit on June 21, 2010, 05:31:14 PM
As I see it, the thread is about the teaching of the Church, not about what individuals do.

The Church has no unified teaching on contraception or contraceptives. People make it up and sell it as "the teaching of the Church."

I think this is a bit inaccurate.  A broad range of consensus exists.

See message 224 at

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,26316.msg444704.html#msg444704
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Heorhij on June 21, 2010, 05:31:25 PM
As I see it, the thread is about the teaching of the Church, not about what individuals do.

The Church has no unified teaching on contraception or contraceptives. People make it up and sell it as "the teaching of the Church."

According to your opinion. Anyway, if it were as you say, it would be all the more reason to discuss the teaching of our Orthodox authorities--the ancient and modern fathers. Of course, it's a moot point if one acknowledges no such authority.

I certainly acknowledge their authority in matters of faith. But I really think that there is no such thing as a thorough, unified teaching of the Church on marital contraception. That's exactly the reason why this whole thing is viewed as a pastoral issue. And yet, we constantly return to this topic on this site - exactly because some people just WANT to construct a "teaching of the Church" on contraception, using various proof texts from Fathers.
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Heorhij on June 21, 2010, 05:32:36 PM
As I see it, the thread is about the teaching of the Church, not about what individuals do.

The Church has no unified teaching on contraception or contraceptives. People make it up and sell it as "the teaching of the Church."

I think this is a bit inaccurate.  A broad range of consensus exists.

See message 224 at

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,26316.msg444704.html#msg444704


Thank you, Father, but isn't the definition of "grave and justifiable reasons" subjective?
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Irish Hermit on June 21, 2010, 05:58:13 PM
As I see it, the thread is about the teaching of the Church, not about what individuals do.

The Church has no unified teaching on contraception or contraceptives. People make it up and sell it as "the teaching of the Church."

I think this is a bit inaccurate.  A broad range of consensus exists.

See message 224 at

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,26316.msg444704.html#msg444704


Thank you, Father, but isn't the definition of "grave and justifiable reasons" subjective?

Perhaps if you told us of discrepancies you are aware of, we could look at them.

I know that two Orthodox bishops forbid all contraception including Natural Family Planning, Bishop Artemije of Kosovo and Bishop Avgustinos of Florina (but they stand out like sore thumbs because they are the exceptions.)  There are also the peculiarities of some of the advice given by some Greek monks in the States who are disciples of Fr Ephraim but I don't know the details and I have read that the Greek bishops are trying to put a stop to this.

Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Heorhij on June 21, 2010, 06:33:52 PM
As I see it, the thread is about the teaching of the Church, not about what individuals do.

The Church has no unified teaching on contraception or contraceptives. People make it up and sell it as "the teaching of the Church."

I think this is a bit inaccurate.  A broad range of consensus exists.

See message 224 at

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,26316.msg444704.html#msg444704


Thank you, Father, but isn't the definition of "grave and justifiable reasons" subjective?

Perhaps if you told us of discrepancies you are aware of, we could look at them.

I know that two Orthodox bishops forbid all contraception including Natural Family Planning, Bishop Artemije of Kosovo and Bishop Avgustinos of Florina (but they stand out like sore thumbs because they are the exceptions.)  There are also the peculiarities of some of the advice given by some Greek monks in the States who are disciples of Fr Ephraim but I don't know the details and I have read that the Greek bishops are trying to put a stop to this.



But this, I guess, only proves my point, i.e. that there is no unified teaching of the *CHURCH* on marital contraception. Am I wrong?
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Irish Hermit on June 21, 2010, 06:46:21 PM

But this, I guess, only proves my point, i.e. that there is no unified teaching of the *CHURCH* on marital contraception. Am I wrong?

The 230 bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church have a unified teaching which they declared to the faithful in Section XII.3 of the important 2000 Synodal document

"BASES OF THE SOCIAL CONCEPT
OF THE RUSSIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH"


http://www.patriarchia.ru/db/text/419128.html

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

Is there any part of this teaching which your Church (GOA?) would dispute?

Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Heorhij on June 21, 2010, 07:04:54 PM

But this, I guess, only proves my point, i.e. that there is no unified teaching of the *CHURCH* on marital contraception. Am I wrong?

The 230 bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church have a unified teaching which they declared to the faithful in Section XII.3 of the important 2000 Synodal document

"BASES OF THE SOCIAL CONCEPT
OF THE RUSSIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH"


http://www.patriarchia.ru/db/text/419128.html

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

Is there any part of this teaching which your Church (GOA?) would dispute?



Perhaps not (although I am not really that well educated in these matters). This paragraph, for example, I see as very wise and kind, and I accept it completely:

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.

(Except, of course, it opens a Pandora's box about what's "egoistic" and what's not. If my wife and I used non-abortive contraception because we were both at the very start of our careers in science and worked crazy hours, were we "egoistic?" If we used non-abortive contraception because when our daughter was born, all three of us lived, till she reached 5.5 years of age, in a one-room (not "one bedroom," but one room) apartment, were we "egoistic?" And so on and so forth...)
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Irish Hermit on June 21, 2010, 07:13:37 PM

 sin.

(Except, of course, it opens a Pandora's box about what's "egoistic" and what's not. If my wife and I used non-abortive contraception because we were both at the very start of our careers in science and worked crazy hours, were we "egoistic?" If we used non-abortive contraception because when our daughter was born, all three of us lived, till she reached 5.5 years of age, in a one-room (not "one bedroom," but one room) apartment, were we "egoistic?" And so on and so forth...)

Dear Heorhij,

These are the kind of personal concerns and scruples which should not be addressed on a public forum but they should be taken to your priest or your spiritual counsellor who knows you and all the complexity of your personal history.  The heart of every man is a great mystery and it is foolish and even dangerous to try and heal it by Internet.   God bless you and your wife.

Fr Ambrose
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Heorhij on June 21, 2010, 07:45:01 PM

 sin.

(Except, of course, it opens a Pandora's box about what's "egoistic" and what's not. If my wife and I used non-abortive contraception because we were both at the very start of our careers in science and worked crazy hours, were we "egoistic?" If we used non-abortive contraception because when our daughter was born, all three of us lived, till she reached 5.5 years of age, in a one-room (not "one bedroom," but one room) apartment, were we "egoistic?" And so on and so forth...)

Dear Heorhij,

These are the kind of personal concerns and scruples which should not be addressed on a public forum but they should be taken to your priest or your spiritual counsellor who knows you and all the complexity of your personal history.  The heart of every man is a great mystery and it is foolish and even dangerous to try and heal it by Internet.   God bless you and your wife.

Fr Ambrose

Thank you, Father. I know. But again, that, I believe, PROVES my point that there is no "one-size-fits-it-all" unified teaching of the whole Church on things like contraception. I have been trying to express this thought for a few years already on this forum, and yet, threads under this title continue to appear, and people always bring in some proof texts that, allegedly, are saying that contraception is sinful, "anti-life," etc.

My questions were rhetorical. I was not looking for any Internet healing.:) I KNOW that I did not sin when I only tried to protect my wife from hell of having another child (or, worse, another miscarriage) 20-15 years ago. Thank you for your kindness though.
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Irish Hermit on June 21, 2010, 07:57:43 PM

Thank you, Father. I know. But again, that, I believe, PROVES my point that there is no "one-size-fits-it-all" unified teaching of the whole Church on things like contraception. I have been trying to express this thought for a few years already on this forum, and yet, threads under this title continue to appear, and people always bring in some proof texts that, allegedly, are saying that contraception is sinful, "anti-life," etc.

Husbands and wives have the right to refuse to use contraception, although this worries me immensely if it means the wife places herself in danger of death while she is carrying or giving birth.  It also worries me when the husband is infected with AIDS and no protection is taken for the sake of the wife.

I am actually not sure if the husband has the moral right to endanger the health and life of his wife.  Well, I *am* sure and the answer is No, he doesn't.
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Heorhij on June 22, 2010, 08:20:08 AM

Thank you, Father. I know. But again, that, I believe, PROVES my point that there is no "one-size-fits-it-all" unified teaching of the whole Church on things like contraception. I have been trying to express this thought for a few years already on this forum, and yet, threads under this title continue to appear, and people always bring in some proof texts that, allegedly, are saying that contraception is sinful, "anti-life," etc.

Husbands and wives have the right to refuse to use contraception, although this worries me immensely if it means the wife places herself in danger of death while she is carrying or giving birth.  It also worries me when the husband is infected with AIDS and no protection is taken for the sake of the wife.

I am actually not sure if the husband has the moral right to endanger the health and life of his wife.  Well, I *am* sure and the answer is No, he doesn't.

My thoughts exactly. And that's where we differ from the Roman Catholic Church, AFAIK. Their response to your thoughts would be, "since the Pope says that contraception is sinful, it IS sinful. So, if you don't want to infect your wife or otherwise endanger her, just don't have sex."

Most unfortunately, this is also the attitude of so many posters who are Orthodox and write to various Internet fora. And that was (and is), I am afraid, the attitude of some Orthodox clergy. The same old story about what's "natural" and what's not, and how the couple must be "open for procreation," etc.
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Gebre Menfes Kidus on June 22, 2010, 11:28:31 PM

Thank you, Father. I know. But again, that, I believe, PROVES my point that there is no "one-size-fits-it-all" unified teaching of the whole Church on things like contraception. I have been trying to express this thought for a few years already on this forum, and yet, threads under this title continue to appear, and people always bring in some proof texts that, allegedly, are saying that contraception is sinful, "anti-life," etc.

Husbands and wives have the right to refuse to use contraception, although this worries me immensely if it means the wife places herself in danger of death while she is carrying or giving birth.  It also worries me when the husband is infected with AIDS and no protection is taken for the sake of the wife.

I am actually not sure if the husband has the moral right to endanger the health and life of his wife.  Well, I *am* sure and the answer is No, he doesn't.

My thoughts exactly. And that's where we differ from the Roman Catholic Church, AFAIK. Their response to your thoughts would be, "since the Pope says that contraception is sinful, it IS sinful. So, if you don't want to infect your wife or otherwise endanger her, just don't have sex."

Most unfortunately, this is also the attitude of so many posters who are Orthodox and write to various Internet fora. And that was (and is), I am afraid, the attitude of some Orthodox clergy. The same old story about what's "natural" and what's not, and how the couple must be "open for procreation," etc.

Married couples that do not want to have children do not have to have sex. And if they want to have sex without procreating, then there are means of doing so without relying on artificial birth control. We are not animals; we are human beings. We have been offered the divine grace that allows us to control our passions and bring them into submission in order that we may benefit our souls. The married life involves great spiritual struggle. Giving birth and raising children is a struggle. Choosing celibacy within marriage is a struggle. Choosing to cooperate within marriage to subdue the passions and have sexual relations only during those times when pregnancy is least likely to occur is a struggle. Dying in maternity or childbirth is a struggle, and perhaps one of the most Christ-like struggles of all- for Our Lord said that greater love has no man that he lay down his life for another. But if we attempt to evade struggle by seeking to reduce sex to a mere act of physical and emotional pleasure, then we miss both the opportunity for divine struggle within marriage and the opportunity to enjoy with our spouse greater depths of the mystical experience of Christ.


Selam
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: rakovsky on June 26, 2010, 12:56:34 AM

The Scriptures say that children are a gift of God.

So is food, but it is still up to you how much of it to eat. :)

Apparently not. They actually have a rule saying that you are not supposed to eat until you are full.  Sigh.
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: ialmisry on November 10, 2010, 02:10:17 PM
Your priest is simply wrong.
How so?

Teaching that married couples should have sex only with the intention to procreate.

Such a teaching seems to be not compatible with Orthodox teleology.
Quote
In Orthodoxy, the telos of a given act . . . is always to be subject to the telos of the person. Likewise, within Orthodoxy the telos of the person is not determined by the perceived telos of the acts appropriate to that person. Orthodoxy is not bottom up in its anthropology. Thus the logic: sex is meant, finally, for procreation; as a married man I am to have sex; thus my sexual activity is meant, finally, for procreation - does not work in Orthodoxy. Within Orthodoxy the "telos" of the given act is derivative of the telos of the person or persons involved. I am finally meant for salvation. My wife is finally meant for salvation. As two who have become one our marriage is to serve us as we are , finally, being saved. Sex within our marriage is to serve our telos. We are not meant to serve the "telos" of a given act. Thus God's soteriological personalism frees us from natural determinisms. This does not mean that we ignore or reject nature, quite the contrary. God intends to save me as a man, and to save my wife as a woman, and our salvation must be worked out in its proper course. But my sex and what is natural to it is meant to serve me, I am not meant to serve it.
Source: http://ochlophobist.blogspot.com/2007_02_01_archive.html



. . .the church says that using contraception is OK. . .

That's oversimplification.
Quote
The control of the conception of a child by any means is . . . 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.
Source: http://www.oca.org/QA.asp?ID=147&SID=3
It seems the Ochlophobist never finished the series on contraception.
http://ochlophobist.blogspot.com/2007/02/orthodoxy-and-contraception-part-i.html
http://ochlophobist.blogspot.com/2007/02/orthodoxy-and-contraception-part-ii.html
http://ochlophobist.blogspot.com/2007/02/pansexualism-101a.html
which is unfortunate.

One thing he floats which is intreaguing, the idea the Orthodox Christians would embrace "one child more," having one child more than they think they should have.
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: bearpaws on April 15, 2014, 08:20:25 PM
"Natural" definition (lack of artificial.. anything) is very flawed when you consider biology, lack of a full understanding of the implications of the biology of reproduction slaughters it.
If you really want to be fully natural and believe that God made a cycle to control your sexual life, you should have sex only on fertile days. There is absolutely NOTHING natural about having sex with a woman when she is infertile, her whole body is preparing for another round and every single organ says "NOPE" to sex. Going against the nature but trying to convince yourself it's "natural", or using contraception like pills, it's all the same from biological point of view, i.e. tricking organism contrary to what it's purpose in this moment (pill actually less, since you have sex when body is ready for it, derp).

Intention is extremely important in Christianity, and artificial contraception in healthy marriages without superiority complex and views on sainthood before death (like some in this thread, not showing fingers  ::)), will enhance mutual love, if used properly for spacing children or protecting health, not avoiding kids entirely. Sex in Orthodoxy, as I understand it, does not have many goals at once, it has many goals as they are necessary. Sometimes it is, like st. Paul said, to kill lust, the burning. Should we just keep lusting, watching other women (I won't even remind dat Jesus quote..) and let satan play with the mind while you wait for the right moment to actually release your lust (not quite)"naturally", just for the lust's sake instead of use what God provided and love your wife whether both of you want it.



Yes, I'm an archaeologist.
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Gebre Menfes Kidus on April 15, 2014, 11:57:42 PM
"Natural" definition (lack of artificial.. anything) is very flawed when you consider biology, lack of a full understanding of the implications of the biology of reproduction slaughters it.
If you really want to be fully natural and believe that God made a cycle to control your sexual life, you should have sex only on fertile days. There is absolutely NOTHING natural about having sex with a woman when she is infertile, her whole body is preparing for another round and every single organ says "NOPE" to sex. Going against the nature but trying to convince yourself it's "natural", or using contraception like pills, it's all the same from biological point of view, i.e. tricking organism contrary to what it's purpose in this moment (pill actually less, since you have sex when body is ready for it, derp).

Intention is extremely important in Christianity, and artificial contraception in healthy marriages without superiority complex and views on sainthood before death (like some in this thread, not showing fingers  ::)), will enhance mutual love, if used properly for spacing children or protecting health, not avoiding kids entirely. Sex in Orthodoxy, as I understand it, does not have many goals at once, it has many goals as they are necessary. Sometimes it is, like st. Paul said, to kill lust, the burning. Should we just keep lusting, watching other women (I won't even remind dat Jesus quote..) and let satan play with the mind while you wait for the right moment to actually release your lust (not quite)"naturally", just for the lust's sake instead of use what God provided and love your wife whether both of you want it.



Yes, I'm an archaeologist.


I don't disagree with your points. However, we also need to be wary of an "all or nothing" approach. Having sexual relations when the wife is infertile without using artificial prophylactic methods is still much more natural than using condoms, etc. We should still strive for the ideal even though we may fall short of the ideal.


Selam
Title: Re: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?
Post by: Quinault on April 16, 2014, 06:20:59 PM
Your priest is simply wrong.
How so?

Teaching that married couples should have sex only with the intention to procreate.

Such a teaching seems to be not compatible with Orthodox teleology.
Quote
In Orthodoxy, the telos of a given act . . . is always to be subject to the telos of the person. Likewise, within Orthodoxy the telos of the person is not determined by the perceived telos of the acts appropriate to that person. Orthodoxy is not bottom up in its anthropology. Thus the logic: sex is meant, finally, for procreation; as a married man I am to have sex; thus my sexual activity is meant, finally, for procreation - does not work in Orthodoxy. Within Orthodoxy the "telos" of the given act is derivative of the telos of the person or persons involved. I am finally meant for salvation. My wife is finally meant for salvation. As two who have become one our marriage is to serve us as we are , finally, being saved. Sex within our marriage is to serve our telos. We are not meant to serve the "telos" of a given act. Thus God's soteriological personalism frees us from natural determinisms. This does not mean that we ignore or reject nature, quite the contrary. God intends to save me as a man, and to save my wife as a woman, and our salvation must be worked out in its proper course. But my sex and what is natural to it is meant to serve me, I am not meant to serve it.
Source: http://ochlophobist.blogspot.com/2007_02_01_archive.html



. . .the church says that using contraception is OK. . .

That's oversimplification.
Quote
The control of the conception of a child by any means is . . . 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.
Source: http://www.oca.org/QA.asp?ID=147&SID=3
It seems the Ochlophobist never finished the series on contraception.
http://ochlophobist.blogspot.com/2007/02/orthodoxy-and-contraception-part-i.html
http://ochlophobist.blogspot.com/2007/02/orthodoxy-and-contraception-part-ii.html
http://ochlophobist.blogspot.com/2007/02/pansexualism-101a.html
which is unfortunate.

One thing he floats which is intreaguing, the idea the Orthodox Christians would embrace "one child more," having one child more than they think they should have.

It seems all those posts are gone now. Does anyone know if they are archived somewhere?