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Question: Do you believe that fornication is a mortal sin??
Yes - 28 (66.7%)
No - 14 (33.3%)
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« on: March 18, 2007, 05:01:22 PM »

Since becoming Orthodox 3 years ago, I have noticed many Orthodox have a very lax attitude towards fornication. Coming from a very conservative Anglo-Catholic background, I had always believed that fornication was a "mortal sin" (for lack of a better term). Is it just me, or is the church permissive with communicants who fornicate? What do the holy cannons say about the issue? Is there a pentence required for this sin?? I am just curious.
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« Reply #1 on: March 18, 2007, 05:14:02 PM »

I have been surprised by the weak attitude of some pastors towards fornication, which is a grave sin (I am not judging anyone who is struggling with this sin and honestly trying to repent of it, but am analyzing the effectiveness of a lax pastoral response, which in my opinion often has the opposite effect intended).

If one commits fornication, technically he is to be excommunicated and can never be a priest.  Again, this is in the context of the canons which are not sticks but guidelines (c.f. Trullo canon 102). But the reason I cite that is that it shows that this sin is ranked very high in the list of sins, which seemed to be your question. Again, there may be circumstances where a priest uses economy on someone for some reason but as a rule to be lax seems counter-productive.

Anastasios
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« Reply #2 on: March 18, 2007, 05:30:07 PM »

I think excommunication might be a little bit...extreme. But confession must certainly be sought.
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« Reply #3 on: March 18, 2007, 05:31:02 PM »

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I have been surprised by the weak attitude of some pastors towards fornication, which is a grave sin (I am not judging anyone who is struggling with this sin and honestly trying to repent of it, but am analyzing the effectiveness of a lax pastoral response, which in my opinion often has the opposite effect intended).

I completley agree with you Anastasios. I understand if a person has fallen, and is seriously wanting to repent, but the permissive attitude does not seem to bring about any type of repentance; moreover, it seems to communicate to others that it is not a big deal. Surley continuing in such a sin has to be extreemly harmful to a persons salvation.
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« Reply #4 on: March 18, 2007, 05:34:55 PM »

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I think excommunication might be a little bit...extreme. But confession must certainly be sought.

Excommunication, from my understanding, is to bring about healing to a person. It is not necessarily a means of punishment. If a person continues in the sin of fornication even after going to confession, should the person recieve the Body and Blood of Christ?? Wouldn't taking communion be spiritually harmful to a person who refuses to turn away from such a severe sin???
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« Reply #5 on: March 18, 2007, 05:46:03 PM »

Excommunication is routinely given out in traditional Orthodox countries. it is not like in other Churches where it is formal and usually lasts a long time--sometimes one can be excommunicated for as little as one week.  The point is to teach the penitent that his sins are severe.  Someone who confessed "a serious sin" on Mt Athos told me he received a year of excommunication and it was one of the most beneficial things that ever happened to him, but it was really hard.  In other cases, someone coming back to the church after years may be told that what he did was terrible BUT he will not be witheld communion because of the effect it would have in chasing him away. So it is really a matter of pastoral praxis, but the issue is when laxity becomes de rigeur.
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« Reply #6 on: March 18, 2007, 07:54:53 PM »

Since becoming Orthodox 3 years ago, I have noticed many Orthodox have a very lax attitude towards fornication. Coming from a very conservative Anglo-Catholic background, I had always believed that fornication was a "mortal sin" (for lack of a better term). Is it just me, or is the church permissive with communicants who fornicate? What do the holy cannons say about the issue? Is there a pentence required for this sin?? I am just curious.

It is my understanding that fornication in an absolute sense is as serious a sin as anything else; but it is considered more serious than others because of its effect on the community: unlike lying or stealing, for example, fornication involves the transmission of disease, the possibiliy of child conception and family issues (engagement and dating breakups, strife with parents, inheritence issues, etc.), emotional issues with both people and their significant others (if they are dating or engaged).  Fornication can have a major effect on the community of believers, and thus the method of dealing with it includes excommunication, which not only has the personal effect of attempting to show a person the gravity of their action and bring them back into closer communion with Christ than before they had sinned, but also has the communal aspect of separating one who has harmed the community from the family of worship, in order to protect the Body and to make the person a better member once they re-enter.

Now, of course, many Orthodox don't consider fornication (not Adultery, which is still considered very very serious) that bad simply because society doesn't consider it that bad (see: the number of out-of-wedlock children born in Orthodox countries and the number of Abortions).  Combine that with how casually dating sex is considered in this country, and it is understandable that the average person probably doesn't think it's as serious as they would have, say, a hundred years ago.

Considering this shift in the general populace, it is also understandable that fewer people are being excommunicated for the sin, considering that the worshipping community doesn't seem to be as affected.  I'm not saying this is better or worse, just making an observation.  In the end, Spiritual Fathers who take their vocations seriously do indeed excommunicate people for fornication when needed - and if it's not beneficial they don't, and those who don't take their vocations seriously have more to answer for God than just that.
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« Reply #7 on: March 18, 2007, 08:10:21 PM »

...the possibiliy of child conception and family issues

This concept of fornication as a mortal sin is simply a cultural issue of property and control rights of the father over the daughters. Religion has simply been used as an excuse.
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« Reply #8 on: March 18, 2007, 08:36:37 PM »

It's about time that we started discussing these issues in Orthodoxy. You rarely hear anything pertaining to fornication in the church and I have to wonder why our priest and bishops never discuss such matters. In fact, I can’t even recall this being talked about once since I have been Orthodox by the various priest I have had the opportunity to listen to.  There seems to be a stark contrast between the Roman Catholic Church and even Protestantism where they have no problem telling their parishioners that fornication is a mortal sin. The other night I was watching EWTN and caught a homily given by Father John Corapi. He was discussing the seriousness of sexuality sins/impurity and bluntly said that you will be cut off from God by engaging in such activities. Even more serious are those that put themselves in further judgment when they walk up and take communion. It was a relief to actually hear a priest so profoundly educate his parishioners on such important matters, its too bad that it had to be a Roman Catholic priest and not Orthodox. This is something that has always bothered me about Orthodoxy and have to wonder why the 'silence' on such important matters that could put an individuals salvation in jeopardy.   
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« Reply #9 on: March 18, 2007, 08:42:26 PM »

This concept of fornication as a mortal sin is simply a cultural issue of property and control rights of the father over the daughters. Religion has simply been used as an excuse.

Tom,

Premarital sex is harmful to those who engage in it psychologically, emotionally, and spiritually.  While sexually we seem to be interested in many different partners, as part of our animal tendencies and fallen nature, spiritually and emotionally man longs for a partner that will support him or herself, in most cases.  Premarital sex and fornication creates too many problems to be considered good--it exacerbates the problems of people finding a good spouse because when you are busy fornicating you are usually not thinking clear enough about the person to make good choices, etc.

The Church bans this activity not because of property rights (although that was and is a good corollary reason--we taxpayers still pay for the effects of pregnancies whether via welfare or stated-funded abortions or through insurance we pay for teenagers on contraception so I think it is fair to keep this on the table).  The Church, in 2000 years, has amassed more wisdom than the average person who learns through trial and error. The facts remain clear: engaging in this behavior leads to hurt and impedes spiritual and emotional development, and as such, it is a grave error and rightfully not permitted.

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« Reply #10 on: March 18, 2007, 09:06:54 PM »

What sin is not a mortal sin?

I've had the pleasure and honour of studying under the guidance of H.E. Archbishop Stylianos who stated only a week or two ago something to the effect of: "What difference does it make if you drown under 1 metre of water, or if you drown under 50 metres of water? If you drown, you drown...you die, and that's all that matters."

I do, nevertheless, appreciate the emphasis others have placed on the extra-personal implications of fornication. I also agree that "spiritual recovery" may require alot more effort and energy given its "addictive" nature, and the tendency for the desires and the fulfillment thereof to seem consistent with our physiology.
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« Reply #11 on: March 18, 2007, 09:10:17 PM »

The Church, in 2000 years, has amassed more wisdom than the average person who learns through trial and error.
Very true.
People want to find their own way through life and not listen to the wisdom accrued through the ages. You can't force people in Christianity- you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink- and I think this is also part of the Wisdom of the Orthodox Church today. Like a good Mother, basically, she says to her children: "This is what I know is the best way for you, but you don't believe me, so what can I do? The only way you are going to learn is by your mistakes, but I'll still be here if you realize you were wrong and you want to come home." Some people may view this as "laxness", but I think it shows a much better understanding of the fallen human condition than a constant nagging and threatening approach which leads to neurosis and an even worse rebellion to the point where the child never returns home.
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« Reply #12 on: March 18, 2007, 09:17:34 PM »

Premarital sex is harmful to those who engage in it psychologically, emotionally, and spiritually. 

This is WAY too general of a statement to be applied to todays environment. Although I do agree that in the past when young women were denied any sort of life outside of their father/husband, this statement is probably 100% correct in the impact of premarital sex on the young woman. It completely ruined her future.

However, nowadays with the ability of a women to make a life for herself without the support of a father/husband these outdated rules need to be see for what they were: Ensuring the marketability of the young woman.

From the words of a wise sage: "C'mon and do it, Do it, Do it till your satisfied!"  Cheesy
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« Reply #13 on: March 18, 2007, 10:04:22 PM »

This concept of fornication as a mortal sin is simply a cultural issue of property and control rights of the father over the daughters. Religion has simply been used as an excuse.
Codswhollop.
The psychology of men and women is different, and is reflected in the different part they play in the sexual act. Women are receptive, nurturing. Men are ejaculatory. Women view sex as an expression of intimacy and love. Men mainly need to just get their rocks off. The problem is that many young women will have sex because they believe the young man truly loves them, and they young man probably thinks that he does love her, but the reality is that he will move on to the next partner, and she'll be left feeling decieved and used.
So, Tom, it could also be that your denial of the sinful nature of fornication is simply because you as a man want women to be available for you to use for your pleasure at your whim and then discarded.
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« Reply #14 on: March 18, 2007, 11:29:22 PM »

So, Tom, it could also be that your denial of the sinful nature of fornication is simply because you as a man want women to be available for you to use for your pleasure at your whim and then discarded.

Cold.

But basically you have backed up my point - this is an issue that does not come from the idea that God objects to an unmarried woman who has had sex with a man. It is really a "do unto others issue"

God created pleasure for us to enjoy. If a woman today decides, of her own free will, that she wants to experience pleasure, why would that be a sin? Simply because a bunch of men wanted to impose THEIR morals during a specific period in history in order to protect their property?

And to protect then from themselves? Silly, emotional, girls! What's next, a 2010 Church Canon saying it is a sin to not wear a seatbelt?Huh



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« Reply #15 on: March 19, 2007, 12:42:25 AM »

The psychology of men and women is different, and is reflected in the different part they play in the sexual act. Women are receptive, nurturing. Men are ejaculatory. Women view sex as an expression of intimacy and love. Men mainly need to just get their rocks off. The problem is that many young women will have sex because they believe the young man truly loves them, and they young man probably thinks that he does love her, but the reality is that he will move on to the next partner, and she'll be left feeling decieved and used.

George,

The consequences are much worse than feeling deceived or used. How about having to deal with stress, eating disorders, depression, cutting oneself, and of course, sexually transmitted diseases. I included this article to illustrate the problems.


Unprotected

By Mona Charen

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Meet the liberated college woman. You may pity her.

"Unprotected" is a hard slap at the sexual free-for-all that prevails on American campuses and throughout American life. The author, revealed since publication as Dr. Miriam Grossman, a psychiatrist at the student health service at UCLA, was hesitant to put her name on this book. The orthodoxy within the academic world is a strict one, and those who transgress often pay with their jobs. Let's hope for her sake, but particularly for her patients' well being, that she is not punished for her heterodox views.

What does Dr. Grossman believe that is so dangerous to admit? Well, start with ordinary sex. She believes that casual, promiscuous sex is tough on many women. They are hard-wired to bond with those they have sex with (the hormone oxytocin is implicated), and she sees countless female students reporting stress, eating disorders and even depression for reasons they cannot understand. After all, the world sells them on the notion that sex is pure recreation, that the "hook-up" culture is natural and even empowering to women, and that love and sex are two completely different things.


She describes a 19-year-old, "Heather," who is depressed. She has a "friend with benefits," but only with the help of psychotherapy is she able to acknowledge that the relationship is causing her pain. She'd like to do things with him, like see movies or go out for dinner, but he is interested only in sex. Dr. Grossman helps Heather to see that her needs are being neglected.

Another student, "Olivia," is devastated after her first serious boyfriend breaks up with her. Her grades suffer, she weeps constantly and suffers a relapse of an eating disorder, making herself vomit up to six times a day. "'Why, doctor,' she asked, 'why do they tell you how to protect your body -- from herpes and pregnancy -- but they don't tell you what it does to your heart?'"

And that may be the least of it. Health service physicians and nurses at UCLA and other colleges actually cheerlead for promiscuity. The author points to goaskalice.com, a question and answer service of the Columbia University Health Education Program. A man who was considering a menage a trois was told, after a few advisories about discussing the matter with his wife, "As far as where to find a third, often personal ads are placed in local alternative newspapers for people seeking different types of sexual encounters. And, don't forget to think about people you know as possibilities. . . . Have fun and BE SAFE!" The site also offers tips on how to clean a cat-o'-nine-tails between uses and advice on drinking urine. At the University of Missouri, "external water sports" is described as one form of "safer sex." (Hint: It has nothing to do with swimming pools.)


"Stacey" is paying a heavy price. An athlete and vegetarian who avoided preservatives, sodas and nicotine, and prided herself on discipline and a low body mass index, Stacey showed up at the health service after repeatedly cutting her forearms. Dr. Grossman reports that such self-injurious behavior is epidemic on campuses.


Stacey, it seems, had been diagnosed with HPV, a sexually transmitted disease. And while college health brochures and women's magazines suggest that the virus is no big deal, that's rubbish. In some cases it can lead to cancer. In every case it requires time-consuming and emotionally draining tests. And 43 percent of college women get it. Stacey's strain can lead to cancer, so she must be tested every six months for the rest of her life. Chlamydia, which is difficult to detect and cure, can cause infertility. Each year, 3 million women are treated for it. An unknown number never get treatment.


American campuses are, for the most part, laboratories of liberalism. You want an abortion? No problem. But if you grieve afterward, your pain is ignored or delegitimized. Dr. Grossman does not contest that most women may be emotionally fine after undergoing an abortion, but notes that a significant minority, perhaps 20 percent, do suffer depression and other symptoms afterward. Yet the politically correct position is to deny this medical reality.


No effort is spared to teach young people about the dangers of smoking, saturated fat, "unsafe sex" and even osteoporosis. But no one tells young women that if they want to be mothers they would do well to plan their careers around the unavoidable biological fact of declining fertility after age 35. The establishment encourages the fiction that women can expect to remain fertile well into their 40s.


It's sad that this book is so necessary, but all the more welcome for that. Buy it for yourself, for your sons, but especially for your daughters.

http://jewishworldreview.com/cols/charen010507.php3
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« Reply #16 on: March 19, 2007, 01:17:22 AM »

Just my luck, I'm away from my computer for a day and I miss a wonderful opportunity to shock and scandal...and TomS gets to have all the fun. Though I'll now do my part to magnify the scandal.

First of all, Toms, thanks for being the voice of reason in a sea of insanity...not that this is any deviation from the norm...it's good to see you posting again. Wink

The fact of the matter is that TomS' argument is not only historically and culturally accurate, it's also legally and canonically accurate.

From the The Julian Law on Adultery, codified in the Digests of Justinian, Book XLVIII, Title v, Section 20, which quotes Papinianus, On Adultery, Book I, we read,

Quote
The right is granted to the father to kill a man who commits adultery with his daughter while she is under his control. Therefore no other relative can legally do this, nor can a son under paternal control, who is a father, do so with impunity.

And lest there be any confusion as to whether this refers to adultery alone, Book L, Title xvi (concerning the signification of terms), Section 101, quotes Modestinus, Differences, Book VI stating,

Quote
Some authorities think that a distinction exists between fornication and adultery, because adultery is committed with a married woman, and fornication with a widow. The Julian Law on Adultery, however, uses this term indiscriminately.

In fact, this right, which underlines more so than any other right the role of paterfamilias in the issue of fornication, grants the aforementioned right to a faither regardless of the marital status of his daughter, for Book XLVIII, Title v, Section 22, Subsection 4 states,

Quote
Hence the father, and not the husband, has the right to kill the woman and every adulterer; for the reason that, in general, paternal affection is solicitous for the interests of the children, but the heat and impetuosity of the husband, who decides too quickly, should be restrained.

And to further illustrate that this is not merely an excuse for those unable to control their tempers to get away with murder, ibidem, Section 23, Subsection 4 states,

Quote
Where the law says, "He may kill his daughter at once;" this must be understood to mean that having to-day killed the adulterer he can not reserve his daughter to be killed subsequently; for he should kill both of them with one blow and one attack, and be inflamed by the same resentment against both. But if, without any connivance on his part, his daughter should take to flight, while he is killing the adulterer, and she should be caught and put to death some hours afterwards by her father, who pursued her, he will be considered to have killed her immediately.

Thus we see very clearly laid out in the case of fornication (and adultery), the father filled with 'paternal affection is solicitous for the interests of the children' is given power of life and death in the case of his daughter's marital value comprable to those generally associated with the protection of property rights in the Twelve Tables, such as the right to kill the person violating his property rights (including his daughter) if caught in the act, but if caught afterwards he is required to go through the formal legal proceedings before the court, as is also the case if one discovers who stole his property after the act has been completed.

Canonically, however, distinction between adultery and fornication is well understood, for adultery is an offense against the husband (and possibly the father as well) and fornication is an offence against the father alone. No one less than St. Basil, who is called the Great, said in his 21st 'pastoral' canon,

Quote
If any man cohabiting with a woman fails afterwards to rest content with inatrimony and falls into fornication, we judge such a man to be a fornicator, and we consider him to deserve even more in the way of penances. We have not, however, any Canon by which to task him with the charge of adultery if the sin is committed with a woman free from marriage. For an adulteress, it says, being defiled shall be defiled, and shall not return to her husband. And 'anyone who keeps an adulteress is foolish and impious.' One, however, who has committed fornication cannot be denied the right to cohabit with his wife. So that a wife must accept her husband when he returns from fornication, but a husband must send a defiled wife away from his home.'

Thus we see established in the above canon that a married man who sleeps with a woman who is not his wife, but neither is the wife of any other man, is not an adulterer, for he has not offended another husband, he has only offended the father and thus is merely guilty of fornication, and as such his wife does not even have the right to divorce him...though if the opposite were to occur, the wife sleeping with an unmarried man, she would be an adulterer and, thus, he would be required to divorce her (yes, the canons do mandate divorce at times, so much for our high view of marriage)...Well, so much for the theory that these rules were designed to protect women from the evolutionary tendencies of men...the only exclusive limitations seem to be placed on women; it's just a typical dogmatization of a misogynistic cultural practice.

Fortunately for us as Orthodox Christians, our Canons are not cast in stone and their interpretations can evolve to reflect the cultural realities of a given society. Since the legal bases for property rights over other human beings, especially over children and spouses, are no longer valid, thanks to the great philosophers and visionaries of the enlightenment, we must logically conclude that the legal principles that were derived from these assumptions are likewise no longer valid.

Thus, to appeal to ancient canons on fornication and adultery today is as anachronistic as appealing to canons restricting the riding of horses by clerics. They are an embarrassing reminder of a dark page in the Church and World's history, and simply have no place in our modern society.
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« Reply #17 on: March 19, 2007, 01:27:36 AM »

The consequences are much worse than feeling deceived or used. How about having to deal with stress, eating disorders, depression, cutting oneself, and of course, sexually transmitted diseases.

How prevalent are these problems? If your going to cry about the evils sex generates, please have the statistics to back it up. The only one of these problems I know to be well documented is STD's (as well as AIDS), but in that case condoms (as well as various medications for certain STD's, and let's not forget the HPV Vaccine) are proven to be quite effective in prevention. With proper safe sex practices the risks are minimal.

Quote
I included this article to illustrate the problems.

An 'article' full of anecdotal stories and assumed but unproven claims of causality...I'm sure you could do better than that if you tried, unless you have some good quality original research with proper controls to present, let's stick to academic journals.
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« Reply #18 on: March 19, 2007, 02:34:07 AM »

Hey greek,

It sounds to me like you think that fornication and adultry are no big deal. Am I wrong? I thought the Bible said that fornicators and adulterers will not inherit the kingdom of God? I guess the Bible was only relevant to people back in that day.

The church must not bend on morality no matter what the given state of morality is in society. Adultry and fornication are unbecoming of a Christian. It is one thing for a person to fall and repent, it is quite another for a person to live an immoral life style. It is the Priests job to guide the sinner on the path of salvation. When clergy are lax on the issue of sexual immorality, it sends a message to the faithful that it is alright. This breeds more immorality, and destroys the salvation of many.

The church is supposed to be the light of the world. It is disappointing when sexual immorality is allowed to run rampent in the church. When the world sees this and the hetrodox see this, it causes them to question the validity of our faith. I know this first hand.

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« Reply #19 on: March 19, 2007, 02:43:29 AM »

I fear you have misunderstood the nature of my argument. I did not say that the Church's morality should always reflect society's morality; rather I said that the legal presuppositions on which the prohibitions against fornication and adultery were based are now understood, by both society and the Church, to be invalid. Neither the Church nor society would insist upon protecting the concept of property rights over other humans. Because of this, the canons and laws based upon these legal presuppositions can no longer be said to be valid.

The canons and laws against fornication and adultery are not inapplicable because fornication and adultery are common place in our society, the canons and laws against fornication and adultery are inapplicable because we as a Church and as a society have rejected the concept of humans as property and ownership of the same.
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« Reply #20 on: March 19, 2007, 05:21:08 AM »

Quote
I fear you have misunderstood the nature of my argument. I did not say that the Church's morality should always reflect society's morality; rather I said that the legal presuppositions on which the prohibitions against fornication and adultery were based are now understood, by both society and the Church, to be invalid. Neither the Church nor society would insist upon protecting the concept of property rights over other humans. Because of this, the canons and laws based upon these legal presuppositions can no longer be said to be valid.

The canons and laws against fornication and adultery are not inapplicable because fornication and adultery are common place in our society, the canons and laws against fornication and adultery are inapplicable because we as a Church and as a society have rejected the concept of humans as property and ownership of the same.

This sounds like a red herring to me. So what are you going to tell your daughters then? It's ok to fornicate because the church may have had some bad cannons to begin with, or ones that may not be applicable today. What about the body being the temple of the Holy Spirit and living a chaste virtuous life? What about commitment and having respect for others? Do these values no longer hold true today because everyone wants to whore around? These values are clearly seen throughout the bible and it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure it out. There are not only spiritual consequences to engaging in such dangerous behavior, but other devastating physical things such as diseases & STD's. I know that in the area I live, the transmission of STD's is reaching close to 40%, especially among those who are younger. Many of these STD's not only affect the individual for life, there are consequences for the whole community. Our local paper has highlighted this problem many times. If people can no longer find holiness and good examples in the church, where are they supposed to find it? Maybe they can turn to the Hindu's or Buddhist whole still extol such principles in practice and their societies. This seriously makes me question if I would want to raise my children in the Orthodox Church if this is indicative of the attitude throughout the whole church. Why is it that Rome can clearly teach Christian theology & morality through catechesis but we can't.... Roll Eyes 

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« Reply #21 on: March 19, 2007, 05:45:51 AM »

I included this article to illustrate the problems.
Thanks for that article, Tamara. I'm glad that someone else sees a link between the "sexual revolution" in our culture and the indisputable and unprecedented upsurge  in neurotic and psycho-affective problems among young women such as eating disorders, self mutilation, obsessive-compulsive behaviours, depression etc. And what's more, it's heartening to hear this coming from women.

this is an issue that does not come from the idea that God objects to an unmarried woman who has had sex with a man. It is really a "do unto others issue".
Yes, I agree, it's a "do unto others issue", but I think it's a "do unto others" issue which does come from God. I know that isn't a fashionable thought, and you would probably rather that I talk in naturalistic terms as though God were functionally irrelevant, but that's not possible in this case.

God created pleasure for us to enjoy.
Absolutely. And I agree with you that sex is fun for both men and women and is created by God. The same God Who created our eyes and ears also created our genitals, hormones and neurotransmitters. The thing is, though, He knows how everything works and how He wired us.

If a woman today decides, of her own free will, that she wants to experience pleasure, why would that be a sin?
To answer this, we have to understand the Orthodox view of sin. Sin is an "illness" in the same way that influenza is an illness. In the case of influenza, the homoeostasis of the body is thrown out of whack in response to an invading organism- so, the hypothalamus which normally regulates your body temperature switches it's thermostat up and you get a fever. In other words, the body is behaving abnormally and contrary to it's proper functioning. In the same way, sin is the abnormal (or as the Fathers say: "contranatural") use of Human Nature. And not only is it a misuse of our own Human Nature, but also someone else's. "Every sin that a man doeth is outside the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body." (1 Corinthians 6:18)
Men and women are wired differently. Women equate sex with love and nurturing. This isn't simply an "emotional" thing, it's actually a physiological thing, related in part to their higher levels of the hormone Oxytocin. Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus- that's the reality. What you want is for women to think about things like men do, and they simply cannot; just as you cannot think about things the way a woman does. Men and women need each other. The article Tamara posted above comes from a Jewish source, and in Judaism, the ritual of the Shabbat Kiddush (the Sabbath Blessing) clearly acknowledges the different roles of men and women. The Husband/Father blesses the wine and the challah (leaven bread) for the family, because men are programmed to provide for the physical needs of the their families, and the Wife/Mother lights and blesses the Sabbath candles, because it is the woman who is programmed to bring insight, wisdom, and warmth into the family. Separately, they could only provide either the bodily needs or the psycho-emotional needs of the family, but together they provide everything that's needed for the physical, spiritual, mental and emotional wellbeing of the family.

Simply because a bunch of men wanted to impose THEIR morals during a specific period in history in order to protect their property?
This again....You seem a bit stuck on this erroneous thought.
Thankfully, here in Australia, sex education in public schools recently began including gender differences. Young girls in the last few years are being taught that "having sex doesn't mean he loves you", and this in in response to the scientific findings of the differences between how the genders view sex, and in recognition of the fact that females are wired to equate sex with a lifelong bond and partnership. What you are saying is that women must live in a world where their natural desire for a life partner must be denied or suppressed for them to be able to get on...and we wonder why they're suddenly becoming neurotic in unprecedented numbers with eating disorders, self mutilation, depression etc...... Tom, can't you see that you as a man are now imposing your morals on women and telling them how they should live out their femininity?
Fornication is a sin (in the Orthodox sense of "illness") because it's a misuse of the created purpose and nature of sexual intercourse which is to establish and strengthen the bond between a man and a woman who become "one flesh" as the Scriptures say. The message to men is clear: "don't toy with women's affections". And the message to women is: "If you want to have sex because you think he will love you always, then get him to prove it first."

Tom, I should hasten to add that I think the judicial view of sin as a "debt" owed to God is also wrong. If young people make a mistake, it's a mistake, and the Orthodox Church views it as illness requiring medicine and loving therapy. To tell them that they now owe a "debt" to God because they have fornicated creates just as much neurosis as anything else. Even if there was a debt, it was paid by Christ anyway Who alone could have possibly paid it. To put people in the psychological situation of "owing a debt" they cannot possibly pay not only sets them up for neurosis, it's heresy. And the classic example is the famous occultist, Aleistair Crowley, the son of strict Plymouth Brethren whose mother called him "the Beast" when she caught him masturbating and he turned to the occult and died a heroin addict at age 72 after a lifetime of embracing bizarre occult practices and philosophies.
Contrast this with the Orthodox view that our created nature is inherently good, but due to the Fall, we tend to easily misuse it. I wonder what Crowley might have become if his mother had explained this view instead of her Puritanist one? 
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« Reply #22 on: March 19, 2007, 06:43:03 AM »

I don't think GiC said that fornication is fine.  I think GiC is saying that the canons behind fornication seem to imply opinions that seem to demean women.

Instead, perhaps new canons can be developed, like no communion for six months, whether man or woman.

Correct me if I'm wrong.

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« Reply #23 on: March 19, 2007, 07:54:28 AM »

Codswhollop.
The psychology of men and women is different, and is reflected in the different part they play in the sexual act. Women are receptive, nurturing. Men are ejaculatory. Women view sex as an expression of intimacy and love. Men mainly need to just get their rocks off. The problem is that many young women will have sex because they believe the young man truly loves them, and they young man probably thinks that he does love her, but the reality is that he will move on to the next partner, and she'll be left feeling decieved and used.


While true for me personally and probably plenty of other women, you can't generalize like that.  I've known women just as predatory as men, and plenty of men that feel the way I do.  At this point in my life I wish I'd done things a bit differently, but well, I didn't.  I think that is the true value of confession...because it gives you a way to make peace with things you may have done, so you can get on with life.  I mean what's the point of going to church and trying at all if you are going to go straight to hell because you had one too many everclears and woke up next to some random frat guy? (no I wasnt a slut, but there was a time or two. I'm not proud, but no point in beating about the bush)

Quote
The Husband/Father blesses the wine and the challah (leaven bread) for the family, because men are programmed to provide for the physical needs of the their families, and the Wife/Mother lights and blesses the Sabbath candles, because it is the woman who is programmed to bring insight, wisdom, and warmth into the family.

I take issue with that. Programmed? I'll ask my rabid feminist Jewish parents about that.  *snort*  If they are programmed for that, why was it my dad who did all the "womens work" and my mom who was the breadwinner a vast majority of the time?  Or my next door neighbor, for that matter, he's a stay at home dad.

edit: I did not mean to insult ozgeorge personally, it is the attitude I find sexist.  I apologize for my wording error.
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« Reply #24 on: March 19, 2007, 08:08:16 AM »

I take issue with that.
With the choice of word "programmed" or the the concept that men and women are psycho-emotionally (as well as physically) different? If the former, I apologise for the bad choice of word and accept your correction. If the latter, I'm sorry if you disagree, but I won't withdraw my opinion.

Don't be such a sexist. It's insulting.
By saying that men and women are wired differently or by using an inadequate word to describe it?
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« Reply #25 on: March 19, 2007, 08:46:32 AM »

The latter on both counts.  I think "programmed" implies that one sex cannot be more inclined to the attributes of the other when it really is a case by case thing.  I've known too many nurturing men and... I'm not too sure of the word I want, but my sister in law comes to mind.  She is a complete hard a@@.  I think there are a lot of ways we are different psych/emotionally based on sex, but I really dont think you can make that sweeping of a statement without noting that there are exceptions.  I don't necesaarily think that shabbat divisions are soley based on the nurturing (or lack thereof) attributes of the sexes, I think it is a whole different socio-cultural thing.

Thank you for your apology on the word choice.  Smiley
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« Reply #26 on: March 19, 2007, 08:56:48 AM »

I don't necesaarily think that shabbat divisions are soley based on the nurturing (or lack thereof) attributes of the sexes.
Now I take issue with the word "nurturing". Wink The challah and wine are just as nurturing as the candles. The difference is how they nurture. The candles shed light, provide insight....just as you have done with correcting my poor choice of words. Wink

BTW, on the subject of shabbat candle lighting, have you seen this: http://fridaylight.org/page/index.php?
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« Reply #27 on: March 19, 2007, 08:58:31 AM »

No I havent but I'll pass it on to Mom, it sounds like it is right up her alley.  Cheesy
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« Reply #28 on: March 19, 2007, 11:25:14 AM »

This again....You seem a bit stuck on this erroneous thought.
Thankfully, here in Australia, sex education in public schools recently began including gender differences. Young girls in the last few years are being taught that "having sex doesn't mean he loves you", and this in in response to the scientific findings of the differences between how the genders view sex, and in recognition of the fact that females are wired to equate sex with a lifelong bond and partnership. What you are saying is that women must live in a world where their natural desire for a life partner must be denied or suppressed for them to be able to get on...and we wonder why they're suddenly becoming neurotic in unprecedented numbers with eating disorders, self mutilation, depression etc...... Tom, can't you see that you as a man are now imposing your morals on women and telling them how they should live out their femininity?
Fornication is a sin (in the Orthodox sense of "illness") because it's a misuse of the created purpose and nature of sexual intercourse which is to establish and strengthen the bond between a man and a woman who become "one flesh" as the Scriptures say. The message to men is clear: "don't toy with women's affections". And the message to women is: "If you want to have sex because you think he will love you always, then get him to prove it first."

That's a nice theory about the Orthodox prohibitions against fornication and adultery...but as Basil 21 demonstrates, your idealistic approach is inconsonant with the traditional Orthodox canonical and legal approach. For the canons, in many ways protected promiscuous men from the charge of adultery and, as such, denied the wife any recourse in the case of marital infidelity. The canons only protect men from promiscuous women, reinforcing the concept that canonical prohibitions against adultery and fornication relate solely to the issue of property rights. The well-being of the woman and her rights and interests were an afterthought at best.
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« Reply #29 on: March 19, 2007, 11:39:04 AM »

When you finally get over the idea that "we have to believe everything we are told because the Church speaks for God" and start to look at the evolution of the Church's teachings over the years you can easily see the inconsistencies in this house of cards.

As a rule, Christian morals are fine and good to live by, but they are man-made morals, and not God's. So, if you want to say that the prohibition against fornication and adultery was created by the Church to help people live together and to protect young girls from being exploited - Like GiC, I got no PROBLEM with that.


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« Reply #30 on: March 19, 2007, 11:40:20 AM »

That's a nice theory about the Orthodox prohibitions against fornication and adultery...but as Basil 21 demonstrates...

I never mentioned the Canons did I? As far as I know, I only mentioned the Scriptures, and the Divine Commandments, and offered a suggestion as to why they might have been revealed (or weren't the Seventh Commandment of the Decalogue and Christ's teaching on adultery Divinely revealed?)
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« Reply #31 on: March 19, 2007, 11:49:57 AM »

As a rule, Christian morals are fine and good to live by, but they are man-made morals, and not God's.
How do we know anything about God, Tom, unless He reveals it to us? What you seem to be suggesting is that the Scriptures are not Divinely inspired, but simply man-made laws. So lets follow that to it's logical conclusion: If Scripture and Apostolic Tradition are not revealed truths but merely human conceptions, that means that God has never revealed Himself, and all we have to go on are human concepts. In other words, we worship not a Living Being, but simply an idea. God is functionally irrelevant.
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« Reply #32 on: March 19, 2007, 11:59:31 AM »

In other words, we worship not a Living Being, but simply an idea. God is functionally irrelevant.

That is correct.
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« Reply #33 on: March 19, 2007, 12:04:08 PM »

When you finally get over the idea that "we have to believe everything we are told because the Church speaks for God" and start to look at the evolution of the Church's teachings over the years you can easily see the inconsistencies in this house of cards.

As a rule, Christian morals are fine and good to live by, but they are man-made morals, and not God's. So, if you want to say that the prohibition against fornication and adultery was created by the Church to help people live together and to protect young girls from being exploited - Like GiC, I got no PROBLEM with that.




How should we examine the evolution? By reading the primary sources or, reading issues of Archaelogy Digest and Newsweek? Wink
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« Reply #34 on: March 19, 2007, 12:05:49 PM »

Ok fly in the ointment here. Is any one forgetting commandment #6 "thou shalt not commit adultery"?

Ok now I have read all of the arguements pro and con and historical and the respect of male property rights, blah blah blah blah blah and mind you I am no saint here, but in my humble opinion it best if all parties involved abstain from pre-marital sex to the best of their abilities and with the help of almighty God. I have said my peace, you rationalizers and theologians can now duke it out yourselves.

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« Reply #35 on: March 19, 2007, 12:07:01 PM »

George,

As a woman I agree with what you have written. You have it right about the oxytocin hormone too. It really kicks into high gear after you have your baby. The connection you feel to your little one is indescribable. Anyway, I think most women are hard-wired differently than men. My feminity and nurturing qualities are a part of my identity (which I love by the way). I have always resented a feminist society telling me I must behave in a more masculine way. I believe it is possible to retain one's feminity and modesty and still retain a strong self-esteem and a strong-will.

My father was about as clear as he could be about how men think about having sex. He warned my sister and me while we were young teenage girls. Fathers don't be afraid to warn your daughters and protect them. It really helped me having a father who was very honest about sex and who was protective but in a healthy way (you can't keep them in a glass cage). Even so I made a few mistakes while dating. But the mistakes I made were mine. In other words, no man was ever able to manipulate or coerce me into something I didn't want to do.
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« Reply #36 on: March 19, 2007, 12:09:13 PM »

That is correct.

Which is why I pre-emted you by saying:
  Yes, I agree, it's a "do unto others issue", but I think it's a "do unto others" issue which does come from God. I know that isn't a fashionable thought, and you would probably rather that I talk in naturalistic terms as though God were functionally irrelevant, but that's not possible in this case.

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« Reply #37 on: March 19, 2007, 12:09:30 PM »

Tamara There are times like this when I Absolutley love you. I have a little girl and "God willing" I am doing everything in my power to keep her on the straight and narrow. Men have a protective instinct over their families. God Bless Your Father.
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« Reply #38 on: March 19, 2007, 12:15:09 PM »

How should we examine the evolution? By reading the primary sources or, reading issues of Archaelogy Digest and Newsweek? Wink

Prmary sources? These primary sources are usally copies of copies.

And the answer is: All. In matters of history, the real truth usually does not reside in a specific document/documents. As I am sure you know, the victors write the history.
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« Reply #39 on: March 19, 2007, 12:16:23 PM »

The latter on both counts.  I think "programmed" implies that one sex cannot be more inclined to the attributes of the other when it really is a case by case thing.  I've known too many nurturing men and... I'm not too sure of the word I want, but my sister in law comes to mind.  She is a complete hard a@@.  I think there are a lot of ways we are different psych/emotionally based on sex, but I really dont think you can make that sweeping of a statement without noting that there are exceptions.  I don't necesaarily think that shabbat divisions are soley based on the nurturing (or lack thereof) attributes of the sexes, I think it is a whole different socio-cultural thing.

Thank you for making that point. I do believe that there are some biological differences but I believe them to be very fundamental such as agression levels related to hormones...the more complex emotions being discussed here are mostly phenotypical and socio-cultural in nature and there are more than enough exceptions to these generalizations undermine any attempts to derive universally applicable laws from the same.

Ultimatley, George, the picture your painting for us is one of stereotypes...it may be true in some cases, and there is some motivation behind it (largely cultural, no doubt), but it is hardly applicable to everyone; and to suggest that it is is rather insulting to those who do not fit your paradigm.
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« Reply #40 on: March 19, 2007, 12:24:22 PM »

Ultimatley, George, the picture your painting for us is one of stereotypes...
Then "feminine" and "masculine" are meaningless words.
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« Reply #41 on: March 19, 2007, 12:26:32 PM »

Ultimatley, George, the picture your painting for us is one of stereotypes...

Aww c'mon. he's a Aussie. Ya know, "Where women glow and men plunder?" or, possibly "blunder?"  Cheesy
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« Reply #42 on: March 19, 2007, 12:35:52 PM »

I don't think GiC said that fornication is fine.  I think GiC is saying that the canons behind fornication seem to imply opinions that seem to demean women.

Instead, perhaps new canons can be developed, like no communion for six months, whether man or woman.

Correct me if I'm wrong.

God bless.

I agree completely; there are good reasons to avoid fornication and adultery. However, we must realize that our traditional prohibitions and our traditional views of the offences are derived from property law (Roman and Jewish). What we need to do is reevaluate these 'sins' from a perspective that is free from the influences of property law. The concept of a contractual act (Marriage) legalizing sex (because was essentially a property transfer) is simply outdated. This does not mean that there is no value to commitment, but only that it cannot be viewed in our traditional framework. Ultimately we have changed the issue from one of property to one of humans, thus making it far more complex. I would submit that under this new framework, there are cases in which fornication is not sinful and cases where sex in the context of marriage is sinful (and no, I'm not talking about that fasting from sex during lent or the night before liturgy nonsense). Now, generally speaking, I would say that the old paradigms are mostly true, though for incomparably different reasons. But they are not exclusively true, and thus they should only be used with extreme care.
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« Reply #43 on: March 19, 2007, 12:38:40 PM »

I have a few general thoughts.

Having both a boy and a girl, it is obvious there are major differences in how we will handle issues like this with them.  The PC thing would be to say that isn't/shouldn't be the case, but it isn't the reality.  It's also not a Father/Daughter issue, but something for both parents to deal with for boys and girls.  I will also say based on what I've heard from some other parents with middle school aged kids that what I had considered issues that we would have to deal with in high school are now getting moved up in the timetable considerably.

I think I agree at least in part with what GreekChristian is saying.  It does seem to me that some of the attitudes of the church were developed with a perception of women that was not healthy or balanced.  I will also say that in what I've read of the church fathers, they had an almost total disregard for the value of sexual relations between a man and wife beyond simple procreation.  In other words they saw no unitive aspect to it, and thought fornication was very possible in sexual relations *between a married couple*.

In general I think the framework of this topic could be a mortal sin, in that preoccupation with such issues could lead us to destroy our own souls.

Lastly, I will also throw one thing out for consideration.  In at least two Orthodox parishes I've been around, people have looked the other way when it is readily apparent a certain lifestyle is preferred by at least some of the active members of the church.
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« Reply #44 on: March 19, 2007, 12:42:57 PM »

Then "feminine" and "masculine" are meaningless words.

They are not meaningless, they describe 'gender classes,' to quote Prof. Deborah Tannen. Ultimately they are socio-cultural distinctions that have developed roughly around gender, but not exclusively so. They are useful, but not the limiting distinctions that you would suggest.
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« Reply #45 on: March 19, 2007, 12:59:11 PM »

They are not meaningless, they describe 'gender classes,' to quote Prof. Deborah Tannen. Ultimately they are socio-cultural distinctions that have developed roughly around gender, but not exclusively so. They are useful, but not the limiting distinctions that you would suggest.
You're contradicting yourself. On the one hand you say they developed around gender, and on the other you say they are "ultimately" socio-cultural distinctions. The ultimate basis for them is one or the other- it can't be both.
"Male and female, He created them"...or did He? I suppose this is now up for question as well. Wink
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« Reply #46 on: March 19, 2007, 01:03:30 PM »

Having both a boy and a girl, it is obvious there are major differences in how we will handle issues like this with them.  The PC thing would be to say that isn't/shouldn't be the case, but it isn't the reality.  It's also not a Father/Daughter issue, but something for both parents to deal with for boys and girls.  I will also say based on what I've heard from some other parents with middle school aged kids that what I had considered issues that we would have to deal with in high school are now getting moved up in the timetable considerably.

Thanks for helping further my argument that the differences between the genders are primarily cultural.

Quote
In general I think the framework of this topic could be a mortal sin, in that preoccupation with such issues could lead us to destroy our own souls.

Our eternal soul is a small price to pay in the pursuit of knowledge Wink

Quote
Lastly, I will also throw one thing out for consideration.  In at least two Orthodox parishes I've been around, people have looked the other way when it is readily apparent a certain lifestyle is preferred by at least some of the active members of the church.

Active members in the parish? What about amongst the bishops? It goes much further than the parish council. Of course, considering the historic cultural context in which prohibitions against homosexuality developed (amongst the Greeks, at least, the great evil was that a male acted like a woman...hardly a basis for a modern moral objection), perhaps these too should be reconsidered.
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« Reply #47 on: March 19, 2007, 01:09:21 PM »

Active members in the parish? What about amongst the bishops? It goes much further than the parish council. Of course, considering the historic cultural context in which prohibitions against homosexuality developed (amongst the Greeks, at least, the great evil was that a male acted like a woman...hardly a basis for a modern moral objection), perhaps these too should be reconsidered.

This problem among the bishops is at the root of the scandal in the OCA. And it is also a problem in another jurisdiction.
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« Reply #48 on: March 19, 2007, 01:15:37 PM »

You're contradicting yourself. On the one hand you say they developed around gender, and on the other you say they are "ultimately" socio-cultural distinctions. The ultimate basis for them is one or the other- it can't be both.

In large part they developed as stereotypes and became self-fulfilling categories. Ultimately, I believe the development of the distinctinos can be reduced to the simple fact that males are more agressive than females do to excessive amounts of testosterone. A biological difference to be sure, but hardly one that justifies the complex categorization you are suggesting.

Quote
"Male and female, He created them"...or did He? I suppose this is now up for question as well. Wink

Purely biological distinctions...they do not justify socio-cultural restrictions and discrimination.
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« Reply #49 on: March 19, 2007, 01:16:56 PM »

And it is also a problem in another jurisdiction.

If this is the jurisdiction I believe you are suggesting...It really hasn't been a problem.
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« Reply #50 on: March 19, 2007, 01:20:40 PM »

If this is the jurisdiction I believe you are suggesting...It really hasn't been a problem.

Time will tell but let's just say another lay group has started another website for transparency and accountability from the bishops on the subject of sexual abuse. They can run but they can hide forever.
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« Reply #51 on: March 19, 2007, 01:25:14 PM »

Our eternal soul is a small price to pay in the pursuit of knowledge Wink

LOL Cheesy

GiC, its been a pleasure as always, so much so that I've only just realised it's nearly 4:30 am here!
Sadly I must ask to be excused and get to bed.
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« Reply #52 on: March 19, 2007, 01:28:27 PM »

I would submit that under this new framework, there are cases in which fornication is not sinful and cases where sex in the context of marriage is sinful (and no, I'm not talking about that fasting from sex during lent or the night before liturgy nonsense). Now, generally speaking, I would say that the old paradigms are mostly true, though for incomparably different reasons. But they are not exclusively true, and thus they should only be used with extreme care.

Okay...I wasn't all too surprised about Early Church interpretation of woman as "property rights", but now that quote right there's a Mae West affect.  That makes me curious for me to wonder what is it that will make fornication acceptable (and dare should I ask about sex within marriage unacceptable?).
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« Reply #53 on: March 19, 2007, 01:29:19 PM »

Quote
Purely biological distinctions...they do not justify socio-cultural restrictions and discrimination.

In modern anthropological/sociological discourse, male/female are biological distinctions, not gender labels.

As GiC adheres to these definitions (for the record, I do as well), PLEASE keep that in mind as this thread continues so it doesn't degenerate into a semantic argument, because we actually have a decent amount of discourse going on.

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« Reply #54 on: March 19, 2007, 01:30:34 PM »

Thanks for helping further my argument that the differences between the genders are primarily cultural.

The problem is I think there's too much subjectivity to say one way or another.  I believe men and women certainly are different as a result of theistic creation (and I'm a proponent of a literal understanding of genesis), but that our human culture (again a product of same process) frames and shapes our attitudes and that these can change.

I also willingly acknowledge that human culture is simply a fact of life in the church, and you can't always easily say "here's the God part and here's the culture part".
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« Reply #55 on: March 19, 2007, 02:03:05 PM »

Quote
    Lastly, I will also throw one thing out for consideration.  In at least two Orthodox parishes I've been around, people have looked the other way when it is readily apparent a certain lifestyle is preferred by at least some of the active members of the church.     

Preferred lifestyle is a polite way of stating what I think that some people on this blog have figured out. And why did those in power look the other way. Because the individuals involved were active in the parish with their time, talents and cash  - - -baby. (There's that money trail again.) Would those in power have looked the other way if these individuals were not as invloved with the parish (with time and cash) and shall we say a bit more flamboyant? Is there a double standard? One can only presume that a male and female who are "dating" may be involved sexually. But two men who live together, vacation together, commute to work together  . . . do I have to draw a diagram here?  Wink

I am familiar of what Welkodox is speaking about.
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« Reply #56 on: March 19, 2007, 02:28:41 PM »

Preferred lifestyle is a polite way of stating what I think that some people on this blog have figured out. And why did those in power look the other way. Because the individuals involved were active in the parish with their time, talents and cash  - - -baby.

And throughout HISTORY it has been this way in the Church. And yet people think that Truth is contained in these man-made institutions. Well, actually they DO contain truth - you just have to get past the fairy tales to see it.
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« Reply #57 on: March 19, 2007, 02:38:09 PM »

Quote
       you just have to get past the fairy tales to see it.   

I would not go so far as to call them fairy tales. I will however call it politics, which to me are a natural human phenomenea.  Wherever two people are together there are politics.
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« Reply #58 on: March 19, 2007, 02:39:08 PM »

The church militant has always been a hospital full of sinners. Christ established it for our healing while we live on this earth. So we can't excuse or rationalize the reasons for our own sins because others sin in the church, even if the others are well-to-do laity, priests, bishops etc.  
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« Reply #59 on: March 20, 2007, 11:06:39 PM »

I added a poll on this issue to get a general idea of how many of you view the seriousness of the sin of fornication. Feel free to participate in the poll. I look forward to viewing the results.
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« Reply #60 on: March 20, 2007, 11:15:37 PM »

And throughout HISTORY it has been this way in the Church. And yet people think that Truth is contained in these man-made institutions. Well, actually they DO contain truth - you just have to get past the fairy tales to see it.
Yes. It is time to get past the fairy tale that TomS or any other person can make up his own truth. Instead we need to submit to reality, to submit Jesus Christ, to turn AWAY from fornication and other impurities that damage our human nature. Those who speak otherwise are clearly dishonest with themselves.
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« Reply #61 on: March 20, 2007, 11:26:24 PM »

The papist sounds a little more Orthodox on this subject than many of the Orthodox on this site.
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« Reply #62 on: March 21, 2007, 01:46:57 AM »

The papist sounds a little more Orthodox on this subject than many of the Orthodox on this site.

Why - because he agrees with you?

I voted no...because it was never defined what a "mortal sin" is vs a non "mortal sin".  That terminology sounds like legalistic post schism RCism.  Sure, fornication is a heavy sin.  Sure, priests may not deal with it as harshly as they should.  Etc.  But that doesn't mean we're all a bunch of liberals that condone it.
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« Reply #63 on: March 21, 2007, 04:28:35 AM »

I voted no...because it was never defined what a "mortal sin" is vs a non "mortal sin".
Bravo! And I have joined you!
As you can see from my replies, I accept the Church's view that fornication is a serious sin, but I also accept the Church's teaching that there is no such thing as either a "mortal" or "venial" sin, so I voted "no" since they were the only choices given to me, and it was the only honest answer I could give. Wink
Had the question been worded "Do you think fornication is a serious sin?", I would have voted differently....I know, I'm way too pedantic!  But really, very few poll questions on this board ever give me the opportunity to cast a vote because of the way they are worded or the limited choices, so this time I've decided to take a stand!
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« Reply #64 on: March 21, 2007, 09:51:08 AM »

Well, there is no clear distinction between mortal vs. venial sins, but it is my understanding that some sins bar you from communion without confession while others do not bar you from communion automatically. So there is some degree that comes in to play.
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« Reply #65 on: March 21, 2007, 11:06:51 AM »

..some sins bar you from communion without confession while others do not bar you from communion automatically. So there is some degree that comes in to play.

Is it possibly dependant on how much you enjoyed it?  Wink
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« Reply #66 on: March 21, 2007, 12:38:45 PM »

Dear Orthodox Bagpiper,

I copied a reply from the OCA website in which Fr. John Matusiak answered this question about mortal sins. I did not answer your poll because being raised in the Orthodox Church, I never heard the term "mortal" sin used. Anyway, I hope this helps.  Smiley Tamara


In the Orthodox Church there are no "categories" of sin as found in the Christian West.
In the pre-Vatican II Roman Catholic catechism, sins were categorized as "mortal" and "venial." In this definition, a "mortal" sin was one which would prevent someone from entering heaven unless one confessed it before death. Not only were such things as pride, lust, and sloth on the list of "mortal" sins, but failing to attend Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation were also considered "mortal" sins. A "venial" sin, according to this line of thinking, did not jeopardize one's salvation. While stealing a car might be considered a "mortal" sin, stealing a candy bar was not. While a "venial" sin did not jeopardize one's salvation, it still needed to be confessed and still may have had time in purgatory attached to it. Another way to see this distinction in Roman Catholic teaching -- and here I simplifyy a tremendously complex line of reasoning -- is as follows: If one commits a mortal sin and dies before confessing it, one would go straight to hell. If one commits a venial sin and dies before confessing it, one would not go straight to hell, but would have to spend time in purgatory before entering heaven.

[The Orthodox Church does not accept the teaching on purgatory that developed in more recent times in Roman Catholicism.]

These categories do not exist in the Orthodox Church. Sin is sin.
The Greek word for sin, amartia, means "to miss the mark." As Christians, the "mark" or "target" for which we "aim" is a Christ-like life, one lived to the best of our ability in line with the teachings, precepts, and commandments of God. When we miss this mark, when we fail to hit this target, we sin. Murder is a sin. Pride and envy are sins. Stealing a car is a sin. Stealing a candy bar is a sin. Refusing to attend the Liturgy is a sin -- but so is attending the Liturgy with hatred for others.

Missing the mark is missing the mark. If we aim at the bullseye and miss, it makes no difference if it is by an inch or a yard. In both cases, we have failed to achieve that for which we strive.

In some Orthodox catechisms one finds lists of the "seven deadly sins." While there can be no doubt that these sins are deadly -- here deadly and "mortal" are synonymous, but "mortal" is not used in the same way as in the Roman Catholic "mortal" sin described above -- they are not "worse" in the ultimate sense than sins that are not on the list.
[In the quote from Fr. Harakas' book, the use of the word "mortal" should not be understood in the Roman Catholic definition of "mortal" outlined above. He clearly defines the term as meaning "unto death," or "deadly."]

For example, one would not find listening to rock and roll music on the list of deadly sins. However, a person who spends all of his or her time listening to such music, to the point that he or she ignores others, isolates himself or herself from people and other activities, and becomes controlled by his or her desire to listen to such music to the exclusion of other important aspects of life, can find himself or herself in a deadly and sinful condition. Listening to the music is not the sin; the music itself is not the sin; becoming obsessed with the music -- and ignoring other aspects of one's life or the importance of loving relationships with others -- is what is sinful.

I cannot produce a list of sins; there are countless things that, while not in and of themselves sinful, can lead one to sin. A list of sins implies that things not found on the list are not sinful. Such is not the case. A better way to look at sin would be the following: Are my actions, my thoughts, my attitudes, my material goods, etc. controlling me, or am I in control of them.
Here I will give you another example: It is not sinful to have a glass of wine or a can of beer. Allowing wine or beer to control me, however, is sinful. Why? Because I have the ability to control what I drink. At the same time, what I drink cannot control me -- unless, of course, I allow it to do so. It would be ridiculous to think that a can of beer can force itself down the throat of a person who does not want to drink it. Whether we speak of wine, beer, watching television, giving attention to our car, gossiping, or whatever -- we have the ability to control these things. What is sinful is allowing these things, which in and of themselves have no power of their own, to control us. What is even more sinful is when we fail to recognize that we are being controlled by something which, in reality, is within our control, or when we rationalize our sins by claiming "I just couldn't help it." Huh? Your television turned itself on and held you captive during nine hours of soap operas while you ignored the needs of your family or coworkers or neighbor?

Concerning Confession, having a list of deadly sins could, in fact, become an obstacle to genuine repentance. For example, imagine that you commit a sin. You look on the list and do not find it listed. It would be very easy to take the attitude that, since it is not on a list of deadly sins, it is not too serious. Hence, you do not feel the need to seek God's forgiveness right away. A week passes and you have completely forgotten about what you had done. You never sought God's forgiveness; as a result, you did not receive it, either. We should go to Confession when we sin -- at the very least, we should ask God to forgive us daily in our personal prayers. We should not see Confession as a time to confess only those sins which may be found on a list.

Rather than worry about developing a list of sins to avoid, it would be much wiser to make a list of virtues and attitudes and ministries to achieve. While it is good to avoid places of temptation, it is better to seek places of inspiration. While it is good to avoid individuals who may lead you to sin, it is better to seek out individuals who will lead you to virtue. While it is good to shun those things which tend to control us, it is better to seek self control over things which have no power over us unless we give them that power.

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« Reply #67 on: March 21, 2007, 02:27:50 PM »

Bravo! And I have joined you!
As you can see from my replies, I accept the Church's view that fornication is a serious sin, but I also accept the Church's teaching that there is no such thing as either a "mortal" or "venial" sin, so I voted "no" since they were the only choices given to me, and it was the only honest answer I could give. Wink
Had the question been worded "Do you think fornication is a serious sin?", I would have voted differently....I know, I'm way too pedantic!  But really, very few poll questions on this board ever give me the opportunity to cast a vote because of the way they are worded or the limited choices, so this time I've decided to take a stand!
I am not sure if you realize this but a mortal sin is by definition a SERIOIUS sin.
Many Blessings in Christ,
Chris
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« Reply #68 on: March 21, 2007, 02:48:43 PM »

I am not sure if you realize this but a mortal sin is by definition a SERIOIUS sin.
Many Blessings in Christ,
Chris
"Mortal" comes from the Latin "mort" (death). Mortal sins are "deadly" sins or "fatal" sins- that is, sins which lead to death, like a "mortal wound".
In the Orthodox Church, all sins lead to death. As my Archbishop was quoted on this thread as saying: "It makes no difference whether you drown under one metre of water or fifty metres of water."
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« Reply #69 on: March 21, 2007, 02:51:09 PM »

"Mortal" comes from the Latin "mort" (death). Mortal sins are "deadly" sins or "fatal" sins- that is, sins which lead to death, like a "mortal wound".
In the Orthodox Church, all sins lead to death. As my Archbishop was quoted on this thread as saying: "It makes no difference whether you drown under one metre of water or fifty metres of water."
I know what the word mortal means but thank you for taking the time to point that out. So, do you believe that you lose grace when you curse or have one to many drinks?
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« Reply #70 on: March 21, 2007, 03:02:18 PM »

So, do you believe that you lose grace when you curse or have one to many drinks?
We don't have this judicial view of sin. We have more of a pathological view of sin. Sin is an illness requiring treatment and therapy. Catching a cold is not anywhere near as serious as lung cancer, but unless we treat a cold carefully, it can become influenza then pneumonia, and eventually kill us even quicker than lung cancer can.
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« Reply #71 on: March 21, 2007, 08:40:31 PM »

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Is Fornication a Mortal Sin?

It sure will be if it involves one of my kids...    Cool
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« Reply #72 on: March 21, 2007, 09:09:20 PM »

It sure will be if it involves one of my kids...    Cool
LOL Cheesy
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« Reply #73 on: March 21, 2007, 09:57:09 PM »

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Is Fornication a Mortal Sin?

It sure will be if it involves one of my kids...   

Ha Ha. Amen.

Quote
Dear Orthodox Bagpiper,

I copied a reply from the OCA website in which Fr. John Matusiak answered this question about mortal sins. I did not answer your poll because being raised in the Orthodox Church, I never heard the term "mortal" sin used. Anyway, I hope this helps.   Tamara


Tamara,

Thank you for the article. I already knew that the church doesn't list sins as mortal or veinial as the RC's do.(even though I have heard some Orthodox theologians use this term). I used the term mortal merely to convey the seriousness of such a sin, not to inject RC theology. In fact, I some times use western lingo when talking with people because it is easier. For instance, I sometimes call the Divine Liturgy the Mass, or Christmation Confirmation, etc...

The point I was making is that fornication is a very serious sin. It bars a person from communion, and is very harmful to one's nous. Jesus and Saint Paul both preach about the seriousness of this sin. It is particularly harmful. It seems that many on this board want to act like fornication/adultry are not seriously damaging to one's nous, and that there are not heavy eternal consequences for such sin. Their attitudes are in contradiction to the words of Jesus and the saints. I think that some of the people who post on this board need a crash course on morality from Elder Cleopa of Sihastria (Romania).

As far as the poll goes, for those of you who don't like the word "mortal", vote yes if you think fornication is a very serious sin, and no if you don't think it is a big deal. You guys don't have to get caught up on the lingo. Just use common sense.
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« Reply #74 on: March 21, 2007, 10:20:21 PM »

We don't have this judicial view of sin. We have more of a pathological view of sin. Sin is an illness requiring treatment and therapy. Catching a cold is not anywhere near as serious as lung cancer, but unless we treat a cold carefully, it can become influenza then pneumonia, and eventually kill us even quicker than lung cancer can.
We also view sin as sickness. However, we view it as a crime against God as well. Anywho, if someone commits a minor sin like cursing do they need sacramental confession before recieving the Holy Eucharist?
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« Reply #75 on: March 21, 2007, 11:11:33 PM »

Anywho, if someone commits a minor sin like cursing do they need sacramental confession before recieving the Holy Eucharist?

There are a lot of factors potentially involved in this situation, and a simple 'yes' or 'no' answer cannot be given, imo.
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« Reply #76 on: March 21, 2007, 11:24:02 PM »

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Mortal" comes from the Latin "mort" (death). Mortal sins are "deadly" sins or "fatal" sins- that is, sins which lead to death, like a "mortal wound".
In the Orthodox Church, all sins lead to death.

Too bad that the Orthodox Church contradicts its own Holy Scriptures:
1 John 5:16 -17.
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« Reply #77 on: March 21, 2007, 11:43:55 PM »

Now we're voting on what is and isn't a sin? Great idea, it worked so well for the Episcopalians...

I assume everyone who has voted "no" or posted a comment here stating fornication is ok will go to this thread:

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,11322.0.html

and say that homosexual acts are ok too; what's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.
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« Reply #78 on: March 22, 2007, 04:58:39 AM »

As far as the poll goes, for those of you who don't like the word "mortal", vote yes if you think fornication is a very serious sin, and no if you don't think it is a big deal. You guys don't have to get caught up on the lingo. Just use common sense.
Sorry, it's a matter of principle now! You wouldn't sign a police statement which said one thing on the basis that you were told that it meant something else would you?
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« Reply #79 on: March 22, 2007, 05:03:11 AM »

I assume everyone who has voted "no" or posted a comment here stating fornication is ok will go to this thread:
Then you haven't read this thread, because if you had, you would know that some of us voted "no" over the issue of the term "mortal" sin in the poll question- myself included.
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« Reply #80 on: March 22, 2007, 06:54:08 AM »

Now we're voting on what is and isn't a sin? Great idea, it worked so well for the Episcopalians...

I assume everyone who has voted "no" or posted a comment here stating fornication is ok will go to this thread:

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,11322.0.html

and say that homosexual acts are ok too; what's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.

Why be so dramatic? 

THere are very few who don't think that Fornication is a sin (our agnostics or atheists).  The rest seem to agree it's a sin, but disagree as to the characterization / title of "mortal sin."  I mean, really, this is Orthodox Anthropology 101, why we don't use the phrasing "mortal sin" and whatnot.
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« Reply #81 on: March 22, 2007, 08:36:26 AM »

I mean, really, this is Orthodox Anthropology 101, why we don't use the phrasing "mortal sin" and whatnot.

True. This thread does not demonstrate that there is disagreement regarding if fornication is a sin. It does indicate that we do not classify sins as 'mortal' or 'venial', and thus with new terms being forced upon us the thread shows that not all of us here gathered agree with the use of these terms.
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« Reply #82 on: March 22, 2007, 09:14:06 AM »

with new terms being forced upon us the thread shows that not all of us here gathered agree with the use of these terms.
And whats more, what if these new terms turn out to be heresy? Which is worse: fornication or heresy? (How's that for dramatic Wink) But in fact, there is a serious element in this question. In The Sayings of the Desert Fathers, Abba Agathon accepted the accusation of being a fornicator, but would not accept the accusation of being a heretic, since that implies seperation from God:
"It was said concerning Abba Agathon that some monks came to find him having heard tell of his great discernment. Wanting to see if he would lose his temper they said to him 'Aren't you that Agathon who is said to be a fornicator and a proud man?' 'Yes, it is very true,' he answered. They resumed, 'Aren't you that Agathon who is always talking nonsense?' 'I am.' Again they said 'Aren't you Agathon the heretic?' But at that he replied 'I am not a heretic.' So they asked him, 'Tell us why you accepted everything we cast you, but repudiated this last insult.' He replied 'The first accusations I take to myself for that is good for my soul. But heresy is separation from God. Now I have no wish to be separated from God.' At this saying they were astonished at his discernment and returned, edified."
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« Reply #83 on: March 22, 2007, 10:28:53 AM »

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Sorry, it's a matter of principle now! You wouldn't sign a police statement which said one thing on the basis that you were told that it meant something else would you?

It's just an online poll, it's not that big of a deal george. The point is do you think that fornication is a grievious sin that seriously damages ones nous??? Do you think that a person who fornicates should recieve communion if they haven't seriously repented of this sin?? Is it highley immoral for a person, especially an Orthodox Christian to fornicate. That is what the issue is. What do you think?
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« Reply #84 on: March 22, 2007, 11:52:31 AM »

It's just an online poll, it's not that big of a deal george. The point is do you think that fornication is a grievious sin that seriously damages ones nous??? Do you think that a person who fornicates should recieve communion if they haven't seriously repented of this sin?? Is it highley immoral for a person, especially an Orthodox Christian to fornicate. That is what the issue is. What do you think?

If you don't want misinformation spread around, then stop using words that are misleading and just not Orthodox.  The semantics are more important than you think.  It should be apparent to you by now that most of us here are in agreement with your point, but your insistence on focusing on this sexual sin seems to betray a hanging on to Protetant baggage mentality.
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« Reply #85 on: March 22, 2007, 12:14:20 PM »

Ha Ha. Amen.

Tamara,

Thank you for the article. I already knew that the church doesn't list sins as mortal or veinial as the RC's do.(even though I have heard some Orthodox theologians use this term). I used the term mortal merely to convey the seriousness of such a sin, not to inject RC theology. In fact, I some times use western lingo when talking with people because it is easier. For instance, I sometimes call the Divine Liturgy the Mass, or Christmation Confirmation, etc...

The point I was making is that fornication is a very serious sin. It bars a person from communion, and is very harmful to one's nous. Jesus and Saint Paul both preach about the seriousness of this sin. It is particularly harmful. It seems that many on this board want to act like fornication/adultry are not seriously damaging to one's nous, and that there are not heavy eternal consequences for such sin. Their attitudes are in contradiction to the words of Jesus and the saints. I think that some of the people who post on this board need a crash course on morality from Elder Cleopa of Sihastria (Romania).

As far as the poll goes, for those of you who don't like the word "mortal", vote yes if you think fornication is a very serious sin, and no if you don't think it is a big deal. You guys don't have to get caught up on the lingo. Just use common sense.

Yes. I agree with you that fornication is very harmful to one's nous and it is a serious sin that would preclude one from taking Holy Communion. But I am very uncomfortable using western terms to describe what we believe. Words have the power to change our theology and so I have made an effort to use Orthodox terminology whenever I can.
Even the word "sacrament" does not carry the same meaning as the word "mystery" to describe the Eucharist, baptism, chrismation etc.

I think Demetrios G. has quote on his address block that defines what "Lord have mercy" means to the eastern mind (Kyrie, eleison', that is to say, 'Lord, soothe me, comfort me, take away my pain, show me your steadfast love.' Thus mercy does not refer so much to justice or acquittal, a very Western interpretation, but to the infinite loving-kindness of God, and his compassion for his suffering children.) Eleison comes from the old Greek word, eleos for oil. Oil was used as a healing agent and massaged into the wound.

I could go on and on with comparisons between Theophany vs. Epiphany, Pascha vs. Easter, Liturgy vs. mass, Logos vs. the Word, Divinization (Theosis) vs. Deification etc... I do not take our theological terminology lightly nor do I think it is interchangeable with western theological terminology.

Please understand, I am not trying to be difficult but I can see that the power of the words we use will effect what we believe.
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« Reply #86 on: March 22, 2007, 04:27:15 PM »

It's just an online poll, it's not that big of a deal george.
Oh good! So you don't care then that people vote "no" because Orthodoxy doesn't use terms like "mortal sin".

The point is do you think that fornication is a grievious sin that seriously damages ones nous??? Do you think that a person who fornicates should recieve communion if they haven't seriously repented of this sin?? Is it highley immoral for a person, especially an Orthodox Christian to fornicate. That is what the issue is. What do you think?
And this simply proves to me that when you say "mortal sin" you mean exactly in the judicial Roman Catholic/ Protestant sense, and that I was correct therefore to vote "no". Fornication is a serious sin, yes, but as for "seriously damaging the nous" and "shouldn't receive Communion" what has that to do with me? Why should I be scandalized when they take Communion because I don't think they're repentance is sincere enough? Why should I judge anyone? St. Mary of Egypt received Holy Communion on the very same day that she repented a life of fornication, debauchery and public sin as a common prostitute- should I have judged her as unworthy of Holy Communion for not having repented long enough to show the sincerity of her repentance?
Yes, fornication is a serious sin. Bagpiper, but leave it at that. Avoid this sin with all your might. But don't be scandalized if you think others have fallen in to it, and don't pass judgement on them.
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« Reply #87 on: March 22, 2007, 06:17:31 PM »

Unfortunately, there are probably very few Orthodox that do not shack up before marriage. I shake my head in disbelief when these people go up for communion also. At that point, what’s the point to even go to church if you are not going to take it seriously. Before I was even Orthodox, the majority of the young Orthodox people I met seemed to be doing this also. My ex - Greek Orthodox girlfriend was constantly pressuring me into having sex with her, thank God I resisted those temptations. Her friends at church seemed to be in similar predicaments and they thought I was weird or something for not wanting to mess around with my girlfriend. I was a protestant at the time going to an AG church and my ex & her friends skewed my perception of Orthodoxy initially because they were the first Orthodox people I met. Pre - marital sex is much less acceptable in many protestant denominations, so you can see why this was kind of a shock to me in some regards. It’s seems more rare these days that people are taking their faith seriously and are giving into the pressures of modernism. When I read some of the works of the monastics and how serious they took judgment & the soul after death, I have to wonder where this fits in with the way people in the church are living these days. In this day and age of comforts and relativism, people one day will wake up or either face a very harsh reality in the after - life that they will not be prepared for. It seems living the Christian life and engaging in spiritual work is much less desirable to many in recent times, thus the decline of the Christian west in my opinion.
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« Reply #88 on: March 22, 2007, 09:11:07 PM »

Quote
And this simply proves to me that when you say "mortal sin" you mean exactly in the judicial Roman Catholic/ Protestant sense, and that I was correct therefore to vote "no". Fornication is a serious sin, yes, but as for "seriously damaging the nous" and "shouldn't receive Communion" what has that to do with me? Why should I be scandalized when they take Communion because I don't think they're repentance is sincere enough? Why should I judge anyone? St. Mary of Egypt received Holy Communion on the very same day that she repented a life of fornication, debauchery and public sin as a common prostitute- should I have judged her as unworthy of Holy Communion for not having repented long enough to show the sincerity of her repentance?
Yes, fornication is a serious sin. Bagpiper, but leave it at that. Avoid this sin with all your might. But don't be scandalized if you think others have fallen in to it, and don't pass judgement on them.

George, you obviously didn't read my prior post clearly. As I said earlier, I don't believe in the RC theology of mortal and veinial sins; I used the term, like other Orthodox theologians I have read, to convey the seriousness of the sin. It is not judging anyone to say that it is wrong for cannonical people to recieve Holy Communion while living an immoral lifestyle. It is common sense. If you think otherwise, then you are in disagreement with the saints. I suggest you start reading the teachings of Elder Cleopa of Romania.

As far as Holy Mother Mary of Egypt, she is a good example to us all. She REPENTED of her sin. If she would have continued to partake of the mysteries while living a lifestyle of fornication and adultry, it would have been scandelous and wrong. You don't seem to realze this. Our sins also mysteriously affect others. When serious immorality such as fornication or adultry go on in the church, it hurts the whole church. It is not merely a personal sin. A priest who allows cannonical people to continue in the immoral lifestyle of fornication/adultry is irresponsible. He is not caring for their eternal soul.

I am happy if a person repents of this sin or lifestyle, and I hope one recieves healing. The point I am making is that the unrepentant are commiting a very serious sin that is extreemly damaging to one's nous. This is a sin that must be confessed before partaking of Holy Communion, no if's and's or but's! According to Elder Cleopa, you don't need a priest to tell you to stay away from communion when you fornicate, it is common sense. To partake of the Body and Blood of Christ while living in such a state of sin is to bring condemnation upon one's self.

Quote
Unfortunately, there are probably very few Orthodox that do not shack up before marriage. I shake my head in disbelief when these people go up for communion also. At that point, what’s the point to even go to church if you are not going to take it seriously. Before I was even Orthodox, the majority of the young Orthodox people I met seemed to be doing this also. My ex - Greek Orthodox girlfriend was constantly pressuring me into having sex with her, thank God I resisted those temptations. Her friends at church seemed to be in similar predicaments and they thought I was weird or something for not wanting to mess around with my girlfriend. I was a protestant at the time going to an AG church and my ex & her friends skewed my perception of Orthodoxy initially because they were the first Orthodox people I met. Pre - marital sex is much less acceptable in many protestant denominations, so you can see why this was kind of a shock to me in some regards. It’s seems more rare these days that people are taking their faith seriously and are giving into the pressures of modernism. When I read some of the works of the monastics and how serious they took judgment & the soul after death, I have to wonder where this fits in with the way people in the church are living these days. In this day and age of comforts and relativism, people one day will wake up or either face a very harsh reality in the after - life that they will not be prepared for. It seems living the Christian life and engaging in spiritual work is much less desirable to many in recent times, thus the decline of the Christian west in my opinion.

Nacho,

You are one of the Orthodox on this site that make sense. It is shameful how these Orthodox Christians you have been around in the past have acted. What kind of an example did that set for you as a hetrodox at the time??? These people are supposed to be the light of the world. What happens to salt when it looses it's saltiness?? This immorality seems to have become commonplace in much of the church. I am frustrated by it. Many protestants live a godlier lifestyle in their chastitly than a lot of Orthodox. I am glad that you became Orthodox  and are speaking the truth.
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« Reply #89 on: March 22, 2007, 10:23:26 PM »

You are one of the Orthodox on this site that make sense. It is shameful how these Orthodox Christians you have been around in the past have acted. What kind of an example did that set for you as a hetrodox at the time??? These people are supposed to be the light of the world. What happens to salt when it looses it's saltiness?? This immorality seems to have become commonplace in much of the church. I am frustrated by it. Many protestants live a godlier lifestyle in their chastitly than a lot of Orthodox. I am glad that you became Orthodox  and are speaking the truth.

The conduct of several Orthodox Christians is quite shameful indeed. In pride, vainglory, and prelest they condemn their fellow man, so that they may exalt themselves. They desire to be as God...like their dark master did before them; and in doing so they reject God to a degree of which atheists could only dream. They are men without love, save for themselves and their own glory, and are a shame to all who must bear their presence.

But how foolish of me to thing that pride, prelest, vainglory, and blasphemy could be even compared to an offence as great as infringing upon the Roman legal rights of the paterfamilias. Roll Eyes
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« Reply #90 on: March 22, 2007, 11:36:07 PM »

Quote
The conduct of several Orthodox Christians is quite shameful indeed. In pride, vainglory, and prelest they condemn their fellow man, so that they may exalt themselves. They desire to be as God...like their dark master did before them; and in doing so they reject God to a degree of which atheists could only dream. They are men without love, save for themselves and their own glory, and are a shame to all who must bear their presence.

But how foolish of me to thing that pride, prelest, vainglory, and blasphemy could be even compared to an offence as great as infringing upon the Roman legal rights of the paterfamilias.

Hey Greek,

Thanks for the judgement! Wink
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« Reply #91 on: March 22, 2007, 11:59:05 PM »

Quote
The conduct of several Orthodox Christians is quite shameful indeed. In pride, vainglory, and prelest they condemn their fellow man, so that they may exalt themselves. They desire to be as God...like their dark master did before them; and in doing so they reject God to a degree of which atheists could only dream. They are men without love, save for themselves and their own glory, and are a shame to all who must bear their presence.

But how foolish of me to thing that pride, prelest, vainglory, and blasphemy could be even compared to an offence as great as infringing upon the Roman legal rights of the paterfamilias

This post is totally ridiculous. So if someone makes a general observation about a valid problem in the church on the internet of all places they are exalting themselves... Roll Eyes Well dang, maybe I should have slept with my Orthodox girlfriend like some of you other hot shots may have done so that I wouldn't be so holy and exalted. I could be just like everyone else & just go with the flow & take communion like it's no big deal.

Greek, I can only dream of achieving the heights of your humility, your humbleness surpasses all. I guess my ole' judgemental self will get back to reading some of those rigid outdated monastic books and thinking about judging others. 

Quote
Hey Greek,

Thanks for the judgement!

Bagpiper, I couldn't have said it better myself! Who is judging who?
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« Reply #92 on: March 23, 2007, 04:46:24 AM »

This is a sin that must be confessed before partaking of Holy Communion, no if's and's or but's!
You missed the point of what I was saying about St. Mary of Egypt. She received Holy Communion on the evening of the day she stopped her fornication without Confessing. She did not Confess until she met St. Zossimas 47 years later. So if you say that fornication must be confessed before Holy Communion, you have just accused St. Mary of Egypt of sacrilege of the Holy Gifts. In your eyes, her repentance was inadequate because she did not Confess before Communion. You are being too judicial. In the Orthodox Church, Confession and Communion are two separate Mysteries which stand alone. We ask God to count us worthy of Communion, but in ourselves, none of us are.
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« Reply #93 on: March 23, 2007, 08:30:53 AM »

You guys - its Lent. I think the purple demons are having a field day with you all trading insults and jabs.

Let's see what we do agree on.

1) Fornication is wrong and is to be avoided at all costs.

2) If one falls into this sin he/she needs to stop and repent

3) Communion is to be received and confession is a must. The timing is what we are disagreeing on.
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« Reply #94 on: March 23, 2007, 09:33:54 AM »

The timing is what we are disagreeing on.
No, I disagree with that analysis. It is not the timing which is the issue, but the understanding of what sin is, and the understanding of what the Mystery of Repentance is, and the Understanding of what the Mystery of Communion is. In other words, they are doctrinal issues. The "timing" issue is merely symptomatic of this.
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« Reply #95 on: March 23, 2007, 10:26:58 AM »

Thanks for the judgement! Wink

Your welcome, anytime Wink
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« Reply #96 on: March 23, 2007, 10:34:42 AM »

This post is totally ridiculous. So if someone makes a general observation about a valid problem in the church on the internet of all places they are exalting themselves... Roll Eyes Well dang, maybe I should have slept with my Orthodox girlfriend like some of you other hot shots may have done so that I wouldn't be so holy and exalted. I could be just like everyone else & just go with the flow & take communion like it's no big deal.

If the alternative was some pride in having done the 'right thing' and the judgement of your neighbour who does not live up to your standard then, yes, by all means you should have slept with her. Even if it would have been a sin, it would have certainly been the lesser of two evils.

Quote
Greek, I can only dream of achieving the heights of your humility, your humbleness surpasses all. I guess my ole' judgemental self will get back to reading some of those rigid outdated monastic books and thinking about judging others. 

Heck, I'm not humble at all...throughout the day I'll ask myself, 'Is that person really worthy of being regarded as having the dignity of a human being?' and more often than not the answer is, no. Of course, there is one difference, I don't consider myself to be a humble, good, and moral person...I tried it once, but it didn't take. So, ultimately, the difference I'm getting at between me and you does not seem to be so much righteousness or morality, you're probably a more righteous and moral person than myself...ultimatley the difference is consistency.
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« Reply #97 on: March 24, 2007, 12:09:44 AM »

Quote
You missed the point of what I was saying about St. Mary of Egypt. She received Holy Communion on the evening of the day she stopped her fornication without Confessing. She did not Confess until she met St. Zossimas 47 years later. So if you say that fornication must be confessed before Holy Communion, you have just accused St. Mary of Egypt of sacrilege of the Holy Gifts. In your eyes, her repentance was inadequate because she did not Confess before Communion. You are being too judicial. In the Orthodox Church, Confession and Communion are two separate Mysteries which stand alone. We ask God to count us worthy of Communion, but in ourselves, none of us are.


George,

In Orthodoxy there are always exceptions to the rule; however, partaking of Holy Communion while living in such a manifest sin should not be done. You are not in disagreement with me, but with the teaching of the church and the Holy Saints. You need to read Elder Cleopa of Romania. Elder Cleopa will soon be cannonized as a Saint. He is a true theologian; a man full of grace and the Holy Spirit. He, like other saints and thelogians, would sharply disagree with you and Greek. If we were having this conversation with a spiritual elder, you two would be set straight.

According to your guys logic, a person could murder someone and recieve the Holy Mystery of Communion; The Precious Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus, without going to Confession first. Although they are two different Mysteries, a person is REQUIRED to go to Confession if one is going to continue to recieve Holy Communion. If you disagree with this, then you are in disagreement with the Holy Orthodox Church.
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« Reply #98 on: March 24, 2007, 12:50:57 AM »

a person is REQUIRED to go to Confession if one is going to continue to recieve Holy Communion. If you disagree with this, then you are in disagreement with the Holy Orthodox Church.
No, I'm only in disagreement with Elder Cleopa and the Slavic tradition. One is required to prepare themselves for Holy Communion with self examination, prayer, fasting, repentance, and part of this may include Confession, but Confession in itself is not a "requirement" for every partaking of Holy Communion. This is a Slavic tradition, not a universal tradition of the Church. So while I agree that one should not approach the Holy Gifts conscious of unrepented sins, I am not going to impose a Slavic tradition on them if they are not Slavic.
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« Reply #99 on: March 24, 2007, 03:41:29 PM »

Does Orthodoxy have "mortal" sin? I was taught that sin was missing the mark and all of us miss the mark and thus should view ourselves at the most sinful of all people so we do not judge others.

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« Reply #100 on: March 24, 2007, 04:01:37 PM »

Very true Thomas. But What George is trying to get at is that salvation is a realm that the heart has to be in. There is no perticular sin that can affect this realm because it's union with god. If I have time I will get into it later.
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« Reply #101 on: March 24, 2007, 08:07:08 PM »

Very true Thomas. But What George is trying to get at is that salvation is a realm that the heart has to be in. There is no perticular sin that can affect this realm because it's union with god. If I have time I will get into it later.

Demetrios,

I hope you have time because I will be interested in what you have to write. I love your tag line about the meaning of Kyrie Eleison.
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« Reply #102 on: March 24, 2007, 08:39:29 PM »

Quote
You need to read Elder Cleopa of Romania. Elder Cleopa will soon be cannonized as a Saint. He is a true theologian; a man full of grace and the Holy Spirit.

This I would hope for, and would note for George that there are many in the Greek tradition (as in the Romanian tradition of Elder Cleopa) who would agree with the Slavs. Not only the Athonites, but others. I have heard some call Father Maxime of Cyprus an Elder - I am in no position to say it is so (in fact, my own spiritual director wonders if we indeed have any Elders with us in these contemporary times.) But from a pastoral point of view, the canons of the Churches have the guideline that sexual sin does separate one from communion. Evangelically speaking, the Scriptures mark fornication (which includes all sexual sin) as the only sin "against the body". It is quite serious as it not only is soul-destroying, but directly affects the Church community as well. Consider what St. Paul had to say about those communities where sexual licentiousness had corrupted the Gospel. And, if folks are going to claim the saints of my heritage - such as St. Patrick, then they should not ignore their words: St. Patrick mentions virginity as the ideal condition and worthy enough to be persecuted to the death for. That same tradition also included excommunication as a penitent for a number of years with Lenten-like fasting for months on end as a cure for fornication. Having said that, as Nacho said, the winking at fornication that goes on in some places (note, far from all of Orthodoxy or Orthodoxy in America) is a scandal - not only to converts (I was raised AG as well), but also to cradle Orthodox who were raised in piety. There does indeed need to be a recovery of Orthopraxis and righteous living - in Russia, Greece, America - for the spiritual, communal, and *physical* health of all our members.
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« Reply #103 on: March 24, 2007, 09:07:09 PM »

Pre-marital and extra-marital fornication is always a mortal sin in the eyes of the Church. The Church does not change according to the times, though it may be compassionate and understanding of the difficulties people face in their spiritual lives.

On the other hand, there is no denying that we are sexual beings, especially in our younger years, and our loving God did not intend to make us suffer in putting us in the difficult situations we find ourselves in today when we live on our own, away from our parents' homes, because we are pursuing studies and/or careers until our late twenties or even our thirties--For those who must, a good option might be what was the norm in this country decades ago:seperate living quarters for men and women and chaperones. Instead, today's colleges encourage sexual temptation and fornication in co-ed dorms... and even dormitory co-ed bathrooms are not unusual! Ofcourse, we pay a fortune for our children to be put into these situations of temptation in the name of 'their higher education'.

Our God intended for us all, men and women, according to the Judaic tradition, to be married at a young age, which is  the time in which we are most sexual and most fertile. (The Mediterranean customs of past generations of young women marrying older men was also flawed, as it allowed for the double standard that men were allowed to fornicate outside marriage, whereas women were not. The Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches in their respective 'macho' cultures were both flawed in that they did not seem to preach male chastity enough, or even at all from what I know first hand.)

I believe that it may have been Frederica Mathews-Greene who wrote an article to the effect of what I have just said...going so far as to say that we Orthodox Christians should encourage our children to get married young, and that we parents should offer whatever support we can to this end. This is surely a difficult proposal in our society which frowns upon all of this (adult children living at home, college students studying at home, young marriage,  young parenthood, offering support to young marriage, and the ridicule and loneliness such young couples might feel amongst their peers, being 'counter culture', as it were....) but one which we should pray will take hold.

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« Reply #104 on: March 24, 2007, 09:32:27 PM »

The Church does not change according to the times....

A little historical research would be beneficial to you.
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« Reply #105 on: March 24, 2007, 09:36:31 PM »

Quote from: alice on Today at 09:07:09 PM
The Church does not change according to the times....

Tom said: A little historical research would be beneficial to you."

My dear brother in Christ, TomS,

A little diplomacy, politness and charity might, likewise be beneficial to you!  Smiley  

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According to the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, "the Orthodox Church remains faithful to the biblical and traditional norms regarding premarital sexual relations between men and women. The only appropriate and morally fitting place for the exercise of sexual relations, according to the teachings of the Church, is marriage."




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« Reply #106 on: March 24, 2007, 09:56:40 PM »

Quote
I believe that it may have been Frederica Mathews-Greene who wrote an article to the effect of what I have just said...going so far as to say that we Orthodox Christians should encourage our children to get married young, and that we parents should offer whatever support we can to this end.

Of course, you are right - when it comes to morality, the Church does not change with the times (though some laity, clergy, and even hierarchs may rebel against the morality of the Church. We should know that lesson better - Rome forgot it, and suffered the Reformation for the inability to deal with it when they should have. Sin begets division, and those whose sin makes the cause are as guilty as those who might schism due to sins of others. As the Scriptures say - better for those that they put a millstone around their neck and go into the sea than to cause others to stumble.) Long before I submitted to Orthodoxy, my family were sponsors for immigrants from the former Soviet Union. We also had quite close contact with Greek and Lebanese families in the community. The damage done to the perception of my kin with regards to Orthodoxy is quite great as there was indeed (and is) a remnant of that Roman 'paterfamilias' idea amongst contemporary folk of Eastern society: the women in the family as 'sexual property' of the father, but their males being expected and even respected for having mistresses. Folks outside of Anglo society may not realize - but having a mistress is *not* respectable or normal in our society. Nor is visiting prostitutes, 'shacking up', or casual sexual encounters. In fact, such abnormalities were normally hidden for shame as they were and are understood to be wrong. We don't need the moralism of groups such as the Puritans, but we also need to be more righteous than the Protestants (after all, Our Lord asked that we be more righteous than the Pharisees - and don't think they were normally hypocrites, most Pharisees as most Protestants are indeed morally upright people.)

I read that article of Khouria Frederica - and really had been thinking the same since I was a teenager. We've made our modern society (Eastern or Western) pure madness - marriage is something that can only be achieved after years of delayed maturation, wasted years of trying to find a mate on our own (and too often making the wrong choice which leads to divorce and/or conflict in the family), and only when individual wealth has even made marriage feasible (or marrying without it, and failing purely because of money matters.) We've really made it difficult to marry, difficult to stay married, but have the most hypercharged sexual society - I would argue far more than anything the Romans ever had.

On a tangent - I also agree that the old custom of older man marrying children was quite flawed. All the studies I've seen tend to agree that the longest lasting and most stable relationships is where the man is only slightly older - two to seven years. Any older than that, and it can be very harmful for both involved (especially the woman.) Having that little bit of time for the male to develop is important - it guarantees that he can indeed fulfill a role as provider, and more importantly - that he has time to mature to a mental level closer to the faster-maturing female (like it or not, males have slower development than females; physically, mentally, and emotionally.) The loss of an understanding of generational wealth also has bearing on the same situation. Successful marriage has much to do with the pragmatic economics of assets and income. Yet, in the past few generations most folk have squandered their inheritance and heritage. Not for nothing does it say that the wealth of an adulterer will be inherited by a strange people: my family suffers for it now. My grandfather was quite wealthy, and an adulterer. When he died, his mistress stole all of his assets - leaving neither his first wife, second wife, children, grand-children, or grand-children with *any* inheritance beyond some boxes of second-hand books ... and memories.

But - a word of encouragement. It *is* doable - one can make it to marriage without having participated in fornication. It gives a marriage a far better chance of success, as there is less fuel for temptation, less reason for suspicion or distrust to creep in, far less complications for emotional or physical damage.
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« Reply #107 on: March 24, 2007, 10:43:22 PM »

While I refuse to condemn fornication in the manner the Church traditionally did, neither do I condone it. For while it cannot be viewed as a violation of property rights it can be said to be a failing of our rational mind to overcome the biological impulses of our evolutionary past. It is an elevation of animal impulses over reasonable thought. However, the same can be said for marriages whose purposes is the legitimizing of sex (someone asked me earlier when sex within the context of marriage would be immoral; well, here's one example). And this seems to be what is here being suggested, marriage at a young age so ther is access to sex at a young age, this is nothing short of 'fornication in marriage.' The opportunity our society gives to mature, receive an education, and establish oneself in a career prior to marriage is a good and valuable one which should be encouraged rather than attacked. I've said it before and I'll say it again, 28 is a good age for marriage. Then when marriage does come, the primary purpose should be companionship and friendship, sex should merely be an afterthought as it is in no way essential to marriage. At any age any marriage established for the purpose of legalizing sex is nothing more than ritually condoned fornication.
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« Reply #108 on: March 24, 2007, 11:11:41 PM »

Except Christian theology has always seen sex in marriage as undefiling, and marriage as providing the legitimate outlet for sexual urges: "it is better to marry than to burn." East or West, the understanding had *always* been that virginity and continence were the perfection to strive for, but - if one was not strong enough to gain salvation in virginity, it was better to marry than to fornicate. Sex inside marriage is not fornication - fornication in marriage only comes from adultery (ie, 'alienation of affection'.) Of course, if one is referring to marriage based *purely* upon desire for sex without repurcussions from community (meaning family and/or church - as no one else cares nowadays), there is something wrong with that. Motive is important, but to call it fornication is another matter - more likely a 'wrongful marriage'. Historically, neither Orthodox priests nor Western clergy would give the sacrament of Matrimony to people who desired it only for practicing sexual relations without guilt.

The problem with late marriage (and 28 is late) is that it eats into the child-bearing years. One has far more energy in their 20s to deal with young children than in their 30s and 40s (I know this from experience!) Physically, pregnancy does far more damage to women if they are younger than 18 or older than 30. Damage to the chromosomes of the children increases to a great degree when the parents are over age 35. The reason why 28 *might* seem a good age is because our society has developed this artificial stage of life called 'adolescence' - roughly between 12 and 28. This societal construct of adolescence means that folk no longer behave like adults, nor take those responsibilities at an age that they are indeed capable of doing so - in their teens. In other words, teens and those in their 20s act like juveniles far longer than they should - and purely because it is expected of them. If we change conditions so expectations and behavior in maturity are restored to their normal time-frame, within the context of supportive community (from the family level up through the civic), and life-cycle within the ideal for our biology - then we'd have a good answer. And that answer is not late marriage or late childbearing - just a recipe for delinquency followed by birth defects.
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« Reply #109 on: March 24, 2007, 11:21:16 PM »

Aristibule and Alice,

Welcome to the thread, nice to have you here.  I agree with both of you 100%.

Quote
While I refuse to condemn fornication in the manner the Church traditionally did, neither do I condone it.

In other words, fornication isn't that big a deal. It's ok to shack up and recieve communion.

Quote
However, the same can be said for marriages whose purposes is the legitimizing of sex (someone asked me earlier when sex within the context of marriage would be immoral; well, here's one example). And this seems to be what is here being suggested, marriage at a young age so ther is access to sex at a young age, this is nothing short of 'fornication in marriage.' The opportunity our society gives to mature, receive an education, and establish oneself in a career prior to marriage is a good and valuable one which should be encouraged rather than attacked. I've said it before and I'll say it again, 28 is a good age for marriage. Then when marriage does come, the primary purpose should be companionship and friendship, sex should merely be an afterthought as it is in no way essential to marriage. At any age any marriage established for the purpose of legalizing sex is nothing more than ritually condoned fornication.

Once again you fall on the wrong side of the issue. St. Paul tells us in the Holy Bible that it is better to marry than to burn with lust. If a couple wants to stay together, but can't controll themselves, it is better to get married and have sex. This is Orthodox theology. I am convinced that the prolonged adolecense in our contemporary society is one of the problems with our culture. I full heartedly agree with aristibule.
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« Reply #110 on: March 24, 2007, 11:32:26 PM »

But from a pastoral point of view, the canons of the Churches have the guideline that sexual sin does separate one from communion.
I think you misunderstood me. What I am saying is the "Slavic custom" is the requirement of Confession before each Communion received.
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« Reply #111 on: March 25, 2007, 12:03:56 AM »

I think you misunderstood me. What I am saying is the "Slavic custom" is the requirement of Confession before each Communion received.

Ah, yes - I did misunderstand. Mea culpa.

The Slavic custom seems to have also included that often communion was only received a few times a year. I've seen Antiochians from Syria, Lebanon and Jordan also normally follow this same custom. It is also familar to those of us in the West. Probably why the debate has import is because in the West these traditions are in closer contact with each other than they had been in the past, and also because of the revival of the custom of more frequent communion (as Fr. Alexander Schmemann argued for.) Since communion must be received with the fear of God, preparation includes self-examination, fasting, and .. confession. Confession requires true contrition and the resolution to change behavior. Of course, we are to watch our own sins and not those of everyone around us - yet, some are weak. We have the responsibility to our weaker brethren not to make them stumble. Living openly in sin while communing? Those of us who do will have something to answer for at the Judgement.
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« Reply #112 on: March 25, 2007, 12:11:35 AM »

I don't believe that Orthodoxy has a list of specific mortal sins. There are however sins that can seriously affect our salvation if the are not repented. I have heard of murder, adultery & apostasy referred to in this way. Usually a serious (penance) is also involved. There are lesser sins that sometimes are habitual. These can also affect our salvation. These sins also need to be repented. Usually to a spiritual adviser that can help cure the illness through penance, prayer and an ascetic practice. In many cases these sins are a life long battle. The penance usually helps with the cure in that it's aposed to the sin. I'll give you an example of a penance. If one is lacking humility the S.A could give a penance for them to work as a telemarketer for 6 months. This is just and example offcourse. One can see how this penance is actually a very affective tool in helping to root out the sin. With much prayer, effort and god given grace one can cure the particular sin/sins they have a problem with. Even though many will take the temptation to the grave. They restrain from practicing it.
  
  Regarding sex. You have to get past the idea that sex is "good" or "bad". Sex is simply a condition of our fallen state. In one sense, everything about our fallen state is "bad" since it distorts the image of God with which we were created. God is not out to judge or punish us. He is out to heal us. Thus He gives us therapy. The purpose it to "undistort" that image and bring us to His likeness.
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« Reply #113 on: March 25, 2007, 12:52:37 AM »

Except Christian theology has always seen sex in marriage as undefiling, and marriage as providing the legitimate outlet for sexual urges: "it is better to marry than to burn." East or West, the understanding had *always* been that virginity and continence were the perfection to strive for, but - if one was not strong enough to gain salvation in virginity, it was better to marry than to fornicate. Sex inside marriage is not fornication - fornication in marriage only comes from adultery (ie, 'alienation of affection'.)

This Pauline theory about sexuality and marriage was likewise based on a view of marriage based on property rights, illustrating this he also said, 'The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife.' Now while Paul was somewhat revolutionary in extending the understanding of property rights within marriage to be mutual property rights (not merely rights of the husband), he still was solidly within the paradigm of marriage being an element of property and contract law.

I am not, by any means, the first to take issue with this understanding of marriage, Chrysostom spoke quite strongly against it and argued that sex was not even a legitimate reason, to say nothing of being a primary reason, for marriage in his treatise 'On Virginity.' Now, of course, my views and Chrysostom's views differ substantially on this issue, his goal was to discourage marriage period, whereas I have no intent to discourage it, but only to seek to insure that it is viewed in the proper context.

Furthermore, the eastern tradition is not nearly as aligned with your position as you believe it to be, such ideas as consummation being necessary to finalize a marriage is purely a popish invention, strongly rejected by eastern canonists. As I said above, Chrysostom rejected the notion that sexuality was in any way a central aspect of marriage. And numerous other saints would hgave agreed with him, including the Cappadocians...I would give more specific references but all my books are in boxes right now.

A liturgical fact that highlights this understanding is that traditionally the marriage crowns were not removed until one week after the wedding, and during this first week of marriage sexual intercourse was forbidden to the newly married couple. This is to say nothing of the long engagements that were generally required, generally lasting for years, and if the couple were to fornicate during this prolonged engagement, marriage between them was to be discouraged and they were to attempt to find other spouses (Basil 26).

Furthermore, there is precedence to call sex within marriage fornication, though in a slightly different context. When speaking of a third marriage Basil (4th Canon) says, 'As for those who are guilty of trigamy, they are excommunicated for the space of three years and often four years. For such a marriage is no longer to be called a marriage, but polygamy, or rather mitigated fornication.' So to insist that sex within a marriage formed under less than ideal circumstances is fornication is hardly a great deviation from the canonical tradition of the eastern Church.

Thus, since we have rejected the notion of property rights within marriage and have recognized the centrality of spiritual and non-sexual relationship (and insignificance of the sexual relationship), to insist that marriages based primarially on sex are fornication is hardly a great deviation from the customs of the Church...not that I feel bound to the same when considering matters of ethics. Sex for the purpose of fulfilling some animal desire rather than in the context of a close well-established relationship based on non-sexual love and attraction is fornication, plain and simple, regardless of what rituals you participated in or hoops you jumped through. Marriage does not legalize sex, and it only has meaning if the relationship in which sex would be morally acceptable already exists prior to the marriage itself.

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The problem with late marriage (and 28 is late) is that it eats into the child-bearing years. One has far more energy in their 20s to deal with young children than in their 30s and 40s (I know this from experience!) Physically, pregnancy does far more damage to women if they are younger than 18 or older than 30. Damage to the chromosomes of the children increases to a great degree when the parents are over age 35.

So have one kid at 28 and one at 30...but my concerns with the world's gross overpopulation are another topic for discussion (though, if you do actually go and read Chrysostom's 'On Virginity,' you might find that he could have agreed with me Wink)

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The reason why 28 *might* seem a good age is because our society has developed this artificial stage of life called 'adolescence' - roughly between 12 and 28. This societal construct of adolescence means that folk no longer behave like adults, nor take those responsibilities at an age that they are indeed capable of doing so - in their teens. In other words, teens and those in their 20s act like juveniles far longer than they should - and purely because it is expected of them.

There is a reason this developed in our society, we are no longer have an agricultural or even industrial economy...we have a professional economy. A college education is all but essential for success and economic stability, to say nothing of a secondary school education. Society has advanced, the intellectual requirements on it's members is far greater than it was at any other point in history; our society developed in the manner it did because it is tied to our economy, and just as participation in our economy requires greater rational abilities, so does proper participation in our society that is, in large part, derived from our economy.
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« Reply #114 on: March 25, 2007, 12:58:28 AM »

In other words, fornication isn't that big a deal. It's ok to shack up and recieve communion.

'When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.'

The only people who probably should not receive communion are those who believe that they are in such spiritual state that they should receive communion. The Christ came to heal the sick, those who are already well have no need of the Eucharist.
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« Reply #115 on: March 25, 2007, 01:13:13 AM »

'When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.'

The only people who probably should not receive communion are those who believe that they are in such spiritual state that they should receive communion. The Christ came to heal the sick, those who are already well have no need of the Eucharist.

I would agree with that only to a certain extent.  If people haven't confessed for about a year, let's say, then it's not really wise for someone to take the Eucharist, even if someone feels unworthy to take it.  The point is there should be a willing need to confess before taking communion (washing the feet before partaking of the Supper so to speak).

Earlier I asked you a question.  You mentioned that sex outside of marriage is justifiable (or as you say "fornication" although you define it differently).  What would be the justification?

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« Reply #116 on: March 25, 2007, 01:42:19 AM »

'When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.'

The only people who probably should not receive communion are those who believe that they are in such spiritual state that they should receive communion. The Christ came to heal the sick, those who are already well have no need of the Eucharist.

I Believe that verse was told to the Pharises because they considered themselves righteous. But I could be wrong offcourse. Was'nt it Christ that stated that no one is good except for god. In any event. I don't believe anyone should be kept away from communion. Spirtual medicine could only convict the heart of a sinner even worse than before communing. Making them go to confession sooner.
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« Reply #117 on: March 25, 2007, 01:51:26 AM »

The only people who probably should not receive communion are those who believe that they are in such spiritual state that they should receive communion. The Christ came to heal the sick, those who are already well have no need of the Eucharist.

I would completely agree here. And the spiritual state in which we must approach to receive Communion is "with fear of God, with faith and with love....", there is nothing in the liturgy which says we are to approach for Communion "sinless", in fact, the opposite is true, since we are Communed with the words: "The Servant of God N. partakes of the precious and holy Body and Blood of our Lord and God and Savior Jesus Christ unto forgiveness of his sins and unto life eternal." The incorrect spiritual state to approach the Chalice is having a self-righteous sense of sinlessness and worthiness like the Publican: "I am worthy to receive because I have confessed, but that fornicator over there is not worthy". If I approach the chalice like this, I stand condemned while the fornicator is forgiven.
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« Reply #118 on: March 25, 2007, 02:10:15 AM »

GIC, sorry, but that just looks to me like plenty of rationalization and vain philosophy. What's salvific about that approach? That St. John Chrysostom said one thing hardly matters: he isn't infallible. Even St. Augustine and St. Jerome disagreed with each other on Virginity and Marriage. But, making excuses for sin with the Fathers is a rather Talmudic approach to Patristics. That train of thought sounds suspiciously like the Lubavitchers who argue that the Torah allows for homosexual paedophilia based upon opinions of various Rabbis, and 'permitted interpretations' of Torah. Simply said - the Church *still* considers fornication a sin, and marriage a sacrament (and normal sex within marriage as outside judgement). There is also the fact that fornication, that is sexual relations outside of an exclusive monogamous heterosexual relationship, is physically, emotionally, and mentally damaging (not to mention spiritually damaging.) "Changing Mores" have nothing to do with it - the same thing existed through the past two millenia without being embraced by Christianity: 'hooking up', polygamy, divorce, homosexuality, pornography, pre-marital sex, temporary or trial marriage, 'open marriages', you name it... There is no good reason why the Church should change its stand - and it has not changed its stand on that issue. However, there have been abuses in the form of laity, clergy and hierarchy over the past two millenia who practiced sexual immorality - excuses for fornication are just more of the same as far as that goes. It's nothing the Medici Pope hasn't done before... *if* I buy your argument, there is nothing to restrain me from justifying all sorts of sexual behaviors that the Church considers Sin.

Quote
...he still was solidly within the paradigm of marriage being an element of property and contract law.

Like it or not, in the world we live in (that is, if you've noticed) marriage is *still* a legal contract involving property. It is the reality of American society where we live.

I'm willing to agree on population control: the wicked will perish, the upright will inherit. Better to leave the child-bearing to those called to it.

I do think it is a little odd that the role of the sacrament of Confession in Christian History is being overlooked - it has *always* been considered preparatory for communion and restoration from sin serious enough to separate one from God. The only difference is that for the first few centuries, Confession and Absolution could only be done *once*. Confession as a repeatable sacrament actually appears first in Ireland with the first Penitentials, and then spread there from the 'Ends of the Earth' back East. The understanding of repeatable confession was coupled with the idea of penance including periods of excommunication with fasting, praying of the Psalter, and separation from the environment and occasions of the sins being treated. Never has confession been considered a 'cure' or making 'sinless' - it is readmission to the strong medicine of the chalice. Approaching the sacrament of confession such would be no different than the Pentecostal Holiness doctrine of Sanctification. The point being, the Church has *always* had an understanding that the Chalice must be approached with preparation (rectification of our sins, fasting, prayers) - living right in itself is not salvific, nor enough in itself to commune. One must also have baptism to commune, and chrismation - if after that we sin, we need confession. There has also always been the understanding of the Bishop or Priest guarding the Chalice - those openly living in major sin, or holding to heresy or schism have always been kept from the Chalice.

Of course, that has little to nothing to do with whether one Christian is watching others in the Congregation and what they do. The fact is, the weak may and do such a thing - and we are charged to protect the weak. If we sin, and others know - but continue to commune (assuming the priest allows it), then we sin against our weaker brothers and sisters. Having said that - *no one* approaches the chalice as if they are worthy. As we say in our liturgy: "Lord, I am not worthy, that thou shouldst come under my roof: But speak the word only, and my soul shall be healed." Also, as the priest prays: "I will wash my hands in innocency, O Lord: And so will I go to thine Altar.  Cleanse Thou me from all pollution of mind and body, that I may in purity perform the holy work of the Lord." And there it is - purity is required of us by the Lord to approach Him, and he is the one that purifies. The answer then is not to judge those who are scandalized, but to repent and be purified.
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« Reply #119 on: March 25, 2007, 02:16:20 AM »

Earlier I asked you a question.  You mentioned that sex outside of marriage is justifiable (or as you say "fornication" although you define it differently).  What would be the justification?

The best example I could think of would be the flip side of inappropriate sex within marriage. For example, within the context of a common law marriage, or especially a civil marriage, which isn't recognized as a marriage within the Church, I do not believe that we could say that sexual intercourse is somehow immoral or fornication for the simple reason that they are not married in the eyes of the Church.
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« Reply #120 on: March 25, 2007, 02:43:05 AM »

GIC, sorry, but that just looks to me like plenty of rationalization and vain philosophy. What's salvific about that approach? That St. John Chrysostom said one thing hardly matters: he isn't infallible. Even St. Augustine and St. Jerome disagreed with each other on Virginity and Marriage. But, making excuses for sin with the Fathers is a rather Talmudic approach to Patristics. That train of thought sounds suspiciously like the Lubavitchers who argue that the Torah allows for homosexual paedophilia based upon opinions of various Rabbis, and 'permitted interpretations' of Torah. Simply said - the Church *still* considers fornication a sin, and marriage a sacrament (and normal sex within marriage as outside judgement). There is also the fact that fornication, that is sexual relations outside of an exclusive monogamous heterosexual relationship, is physically, emotionally, and mentally damaging (not to mention spiritually damaging.)

Have you not read a single thing I've written? I did not say that fornication was acceptable, I only said that the traditional condemnations are inappropriate...that doesn't mean that there are not other reasons why it is problematic. And I'm a bit curious claim that any sexual relationship outside an exclusive monogamous heterosexual relationship is physically, emotionally, and mentally damaging...do you have any research and statistical data to back that statement up? I fear I cannot accept it at face value.

Ultimately, I just want people to look at the issue with the complexity that is inherent in it. To say that fornication is acceptable or to say that fornication is wrong, period, is just too simplistic and because of that inaccurate.

Quote
"Changing Mores" have nothing to do with it - the same thing existed through the past two millenia without being embraced by Christianity: 'hooking up', polygamy, divorce, homosexuality, pornography, pre-marital sex, temporary or trial marriage, 'open marriages', you name it... There is no good reason why the Church should change its stand - and it has not changed its stand on that issue.

Please show me where I am arguing from 'changing mores'? The only changes I have pointed to are changes in matters of law. And from that I have discussed the implications of these changes on other legal principles derived from them. This is a discussion about law (Imperial, Canon, and Modern Civil) first and foremost.

Quote
Like it or not, in the world we live in (that is, if you've noticed) marriage is *still* a legal contract involving property. It is the reality of American society where we live.

But there is an inherent difference in modern legal approaches of western civilization and imperial law. Modern law relating to marriage only discusses property rights and ownership pertaining to things, Roman law viewed property rights as extending to the persons themselves (both the husband and wife, as the husband would, in some instances, become essentially the property of his father in law). It is this ownership of people in Roman law, contrasted with emancipation in modern western legal systems (which is also accepted by the Church), that is of chief concern in the discussion at hand.

Quote
I do think it is a little odd that the role of the sacrament of Confession in Christian History is being overlooked - it has *always* been considered preparatory for communion and restoration from sin serious enough to separate one from God. The only difference is that for the first few centuries, Confession and Absolution could only be done *once*.

Wait a second here, that was only the rule of a particular sect, they were called the Donatists...they were anathematized by the Church as heretics. The Church itself has always upheld the teachings of Christ on this matter:

'Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.'

Quote
The point being, the Church has *always* had an understanding that the Chalice must be approached with preparation (rectification of our sins, fasting, prayers) - living right in itself is not salvific, nor enough in itself to commune. One must also have baptism to commune, and chrismation - if after that we sin, we need confession. There has also always been the understanding of the Bishop or Priest guarding the Chalice - those openly living in major sin, or holding to heresy or schism have always been kept from the Chalice.

Those living in the greatest sins, such as pride, have long approached the chalice and even served the Eucharist from it, you seem to have a very skewed notion of what constitutes major sins...if we were compelled to order them, I would have to say that sexual sins are rather low on the list.

Quote
Of course, that has little to nothing to do with whether one Christian is watching others in the Congregation and what they do. The fact is, the weak may and do such a thing - and we are charged to protect the weak. If we sin, and others know - but continue to commune (assuming the priest allows it), then we sin against our weaker brothers and sisters.

So basically we protect them in their pride and prelest? We let them be content in far greater sins, lest their fantasy that Christ did not come for sinners but the righteous be shattered? Denying yourself the Eucharist in this case would be no service to your neighbour, rather it would encouragement for them to continue to live in grave sin.
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« Reply #121 on: March 25, 2007, 02:49:02 AM »

[quote'When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

The only people who probably should not receive communion are those who believe that they are in such spiritual state that they should receive communion. The Christ came to heal the sick, those who are already well have no need of the Eucharist.][/quote]

So if the only people who should not receive communion are "those who believe that they are in such spiritual state that they should receive communion" then by your logic it is ok for unrepentant fornicators (or even unrepentant murderers) to recieve communion. Interesting.........sounds like liberal episcopalian theology.
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« Reply #122 on: March 25, 2007, 03:05:24 AM »

So if the only people who should not receive communion are "those who believe that they are in such spiritual state that they should receive communion" then by your logic it is ok for unrepentant fornicators (or even unrepentant murderers) to recieve communion. Interesting.........sounds like liberal episcopalian theology.

If we truly believe in the healing power of the Eucharist, they I have no problem with such people partaking; for these are the people most in need of healing and forgiveness. Of course, if the Eucharist is nothing more than some special handshake for 'righteous and not in need of forgiveness and healing' club, then no they shouldn't partake of the Eucharist, but neither should anyone else.
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« Reply #123 on: March 25, 2007, 02:50:09 PM »

Demetrios,

I hope you have time because I will be interested in what you have to write. I love your tag line about the meaning of Kyrie Eleison.


Thank you Tamara. I will atempt to try and explain it. Bare with me if I fail to do so. First we must realize that the ultamite sin is pride. Pride is what the devil was cast out of heaven for, and the reason we were cast out of paradise. Everyday we are basiclly reliving the fall. Lets use balancing scales for this depiction. On one side of the scale there is the sin of pride. On the other side we place all the other sins. As we develop in our youth our scale tips to the pride side because we are the images of god. Because of this we start to build our selves up thinking were better than others and imediatley we begin our jeorney into a pride full state. This is a distorted view of  our image because were trying to be god our selves. Now that we have established our selves as gods other sins affect our lives. These sins actually help our pride by humbling us in our fall. They Humble us so that we become grounded. This side of the scale gets tipped and now we find our selves in dispare for our souls. But our pride may still get in the way of repenting. Throught the church we are restored to a balance between the two. This realm is salvation. The scales are always tipping back and forth through out our lives. If we are aware of our sins we can try and have a god pleasing life (humble). The true image of God. I hope this helps.
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« Reply #124 on: March 25, 2007, 03:12:53 PM »

If we truly believe in the healing power of the Eucharist, they I have no problem with such people partaking; for these are the people most in need of healing and forgiveness. Of course, if the Eucharist is nothing more than some special handshake for 'righteous and not in need of forgiveness and healing' club, then no they shouldn't partake of the Eucharist, but neither should anyone else.

And St Paul's talk of the unworthy partaking unto damnation? And dying as a result of it?

Obviously we must reject the two extremes: the extreme that says you have to be worthy to partake (no one is worthy ever) which results in no one communing hardly ever; and the extreme that GisC professes, which is that communion heals even people who have rejected God. Given your extremist universalist views this does not surprise me (in Church this morning I was listening to the canon of today's feast talking about the rich man being condemned to eternal flames & unending fire and I thought about your positions GisC)!) but the fact of the matter is that this is not some kind of supremacy club but a simple case of recognizing in humility that we are not always predisposed to receive holy communion.

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« Reply #125 on: March 25, 2007, 03:18:12 PM »

Quote
So if the only people who should not receive communion are "those who believe that they are in such spiritual state that they should receive communion" then by your logic it is ok for unrepentant fornicators (or even unrepentant murderers) to recieve communion. Interesting.........sounds like liberal episcopalian theology.

I'm just shaking my head in disbelief at this entire thread that there is even a debate about fornication and its implications. You are right Bagpiper, this thread is something that I would expect to find on an Episcopalian site. I'm surprised that this is even debatable among some Orthodox here no matter how flawed you might think the canons of the church & issues of property rights might be. On this issue, you don't even have to look at church history or what the church fathers say (for arguments sake), it's clearly condemned in the bible. This is the slippery slope that can lead to great heresies down the road when you start questioning the core teachings of the faith. This approach has been a disaster for the Episcopalians. They 'innocently' started with women's ordinations, now they are electing gay Bishops. Do we really want to start examining our faith in such a way? Some of you guys are making this way too complicated in my opinion. When your daughters & sons ask you what the church teaches, are you seriously going to sit there and tell them about church canons, property rights, civil & moral laws lol!  Grin   
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« Reply #126 on: March 25, 2007, 03:22:10 PM »

Quote
If we truly believe in the healing power of the Eucharist, they I have no problem with such people partaking; for these are the people most in need of healing and forgiveness. Of course, if the Eucharist is nothing more than some special handshake for 'righteous and not in need of forgiveness and healing' club, then no they shouldn't partake of the Eucharist, but neither should anyone else.

Are you sure you aren't reading from an episcopalian theology book? Any serious Orthodox obviously believes in the healing power of the Eucharist. It is also necessary for EVERYONE to prepare themselves to take it, and approach the Chalice in humility and REPENTANCE. This isn't an "either or argument". It is the teaching of the church. There are certian sins that a person needs to confess before partaking of Holy Communion. Murder and fornication are two of them. Saint Paul warns of people even dying after having partaken in an unworthy manner. Pride is a serious sin that everyone struggles with to one degree or another. We developed the ego after the fall of Adam and Eve. Everyone also judges to one degree or another until they reach Theosis; however, most serious believers continually repent of their pride and ego. They know that nobody is worthy to recieve Communion; however this does not necessarily bar one from partaking of Holy Communion like murder and adultry do. According to your reasoning, it is ok for anyone to partake of Holy Communion no matter what they did unless the think that they are worthy. Your view is clearly contrary to the techings of the Holy Elders. I would suggest that you start reading them brother.
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« Reply #127 on: March 25, 2007, 03:42:58 PM »

GiC is taking an extreme position, whether he actually believes that is another story. 

If you cut through the hyperbole and rhetoric, he makes a very valid point that those of us who go up to the Holy Eucharist thanking God that we aren't like those fornicators are in a deep spiritual sickness of our own.  Ultimately Orthodoxy is holistic and the start of the healing process is confession.

That being said, one of the things that has troubled me about Orthdoxy (in my area) is the lack of any real moral authority or ethical voice.  Most sermons focus on how to feel good and being spiritual.  On many moral issues the Orthodox Church simply has no voice (for instance birth control) and on others a complete blind eye is turned.  It is hard for those of us from a background where calling oneself Christian actually had some moral obligations attached to it.  So in a sense I agree with Orthodox Bagpiper and Nacho....but I think GiC does actually add a good reminder.
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« Reply #128 on: March 26, 2007, 03:35:29 AM »

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GiC is taking an extreme position, whether he actually believes that is another story. 

If you cut through the hyperbole and rhetoric, he makes a very valid point that those of us who go up to the Holy Eucharist thanking God that we aren't like those fornicators are in a deep spiritual sickness of our own.  Ultimately Orthodoxy is holistic and the start of the healing process is confession.

That being said, one of the things that has troubled me about Orthdoxy (in my area) is the lack of any real moral authority or ethical voice.  Most sermons focus on how to feel good and being spiritual.  On many moral issues the Orthodox Church simply has no voice (for instance birth control) and on others a complete blind eye is turned.  It is hard for those of us from a background where calling oneself Christian actually had some moral obligations attached to it.  So in a sense I agree with Orthodox Bagpiper and Nacho....but I think GiC does actually add a good reminder.


As I stated eariler, I don't think that any serious Orthodox thanks God that they aren't like the fornicators, or any other sinners for that fact. I would assume that is a given. I also assume that one approches the Holy Chalice in humility and repentance. I believe that I have laid out a balanced and reasonable approach to the issue; one that is in line with Holy scripture, tradition, the cannons and Holy Saints of the Church.

There is a moral obligation attatched to being a Christian. That does not mean that a person is 100% perfect, or has to be a pharasee, but it is extreem and unbalanced to say that there are no moral obligations; moreover, it is a false humility. We have the sacramento of confession to help us in our repentance and growth towards Theosis.

One of the shameful things about the Orthodox who live a lifestyle of immorality is that they repel many people away from the faith. I have seen this first hand. Many sincere Christians from protestant sects have said to me that they have a hard time beilieving the claims of Orthodoxy because of the highly immoral conduct of many of it's members. Sure, they may be judging, but they are also the weaker brother and we are obliged to show them the light and love of Christ.


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« Reply #129 on: March 26, 2007, 06:25:50 AM »

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One of the shameful things about the Orthodox who live a lifestyle of immorality is that they repel many people away from the faith. I have seen this first hand. Many sincere Christians from protestant sects have said to me that they have a hard time beilieving the claims of Orthodoxy because of the highly immoral conduct of many of it's members. Sure, they may be judging, but they are also the weaker brother and we are obliged to show them the light and love of Christ.

Good point Bagpiper. This is what precisely kept me away from initially joining the Orthodox Church for so long. As I stated earlier in this thread, my first experience of Orthodoxy was through my ex - Greek girlfriend who was constantly pressuring me to mess around with her. Allot of her friends at church were also very promiscuous. I actually had to explain to her why pre - marital sex was a horrible sin and that she should maybe seek the advice of her priest. Some of her friends thought I was some kind of ultra Christian whack job or something, but clearly these people were obviously wrong. Being part of the Assemblies of God at the time that stressed moral teachings and personal holiness, this was all quite a shock to me. With virtually no understanding of Orthodoxy at the time, I thought these people were like heretics or something clinging to cultural symbols of Christianity because they apparently were doing things contrary to how a Christian should conduct themselves. Its sad because I actually really enjoyed going to Liturgy with her and had no hang - ups with such things as icons, incense etc. like many Protestants have. What turned me off was the personal conduct of many of the Orthodox I met. After that whole ordeal I pretty much wrote off Orthodoxy because I didn't see to many examples of people striving towards holiness, though to be fair my experience was somewhat limited. A few years down the road, I saw things from a totally different angle when I attended an Antiochian Church that happened to also be a convert EOC Church. I spent over a year talking to the priest and many of the members of the church who made me feel very welcomed and comfortable. These people also took their faith very seriously; I give them much credit for my conversion. 

Quote
That being said, one of the things that has troubled me about Orthdoxy (in my area) is the lack of any real moral authority or ethical voice.  Most sermons focus on how to feel good and being spiritual.  On many moral issues the Orthodox Church simply has no voice (for instance birth control) and on others a complete blind eye is turned.  It is hard for those of us from a background where calling oneself Christian actually had some moral obligations attached to it.  So in a sense I agree with Orthodox Bagpiper and Nacho....but I think GiC does actually add a good reminder.

Νεκτάριος, this is truly something that has bothered me about Orthodoxy also. It's not in just your local area, but I have noticed this also where I'm at. I believe this is a systemic problem in the Orthodox Church. The lack of uniformity on such important moral teachings is badly needed in my opinion. How come Rome has it together and they can properly catechize their people? With the RC, you know where the Church stands on such important issues and they make it very clear over & over. I have never heard one homily by any Orthodox Priest or Bishop (I have heard many from various clergy) to this day that has even remotely touched upon fornication or adultery. I think something is seriously wrong.
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« Reply #130 on: March 26, 2007, 12:02:39 PM »

Our priests touches on it, as well as drunkenness, pornography, drugs, lying, stealing, etc in every sermon he preaches to denote how far we have all failed to  hit the mark and thus are sinners in need of Gods forgiveness and love.

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« Reply #131 on: March 26, 2007, 12:47:36 PM »

Quote from: Thomas
Our priests touches on it, as well as drunkenness, pornography, drugs, lying, stealing, etc in every sermon he preaches to denote how far we have all failed to  hit the mark and thus are sinners in need of Gods forgiveness and love.

Thomas

I think mine does too.
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« Reply #132 on: March 26, 2007, 03:15:48 PM »

That's great guys! I wish more Orthodox clergy would be brave enough to instruct their parishioners in such matters.
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« Reply #133 on: March 26, 2007, 05:31:17 PM »

That's great guys! I wish more Orthodox clergy would be brave enough to instruct their parishioners in such matters.
So we must treat very one as if they are sinners. The problem with this way of thinking in particular, is that the orthodox doctrine of making spiritual progress toward perfection, or deification, has been dropped off. Therefore, a moral understanding of salvation exists in it's place. Sounds like Protestanism to me.
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« Reply #134 on: March 26, 2007, 07:02:33 PM »

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So we must treat very one as if they are sinners. The problem with this way of thinking in particular, is that the orthodox doctrine of making spiritual progress toward perfection, or deification, has been dropped off. Therefore, a moral understanding of salvation exists in it's place. Sounds like Protestanism to me.

My undestanding is that the Eucharist is like a medicine, and the priest is like a physician. A physician does not give unlimited refills on medication because it can become harmful if not taken the right way or with other medications. That is why doctors require followups to and adjust treatments accordingly. I don't think it is about a "moral salvation". Deification does require morality. You are making a false dicatomy. Just like protestants say it's faith vs. works. We say it is faith and works. They don't have to be opposed. Morality does not have to be opposed to Deification, I think it goes hand and hand.
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« Reply #135 on: March 26, 2007, 07:40:45 PM »

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So we must treat very one as if they are sinners. The problem with this way of thinking in particular, is that the orthodox doctrine of making spiritual progress toward perfection, or deification, has been dropped off. Therefore, a moral understanding of salvation exists in it's place. Sounds like Protestanism to me.


 You must have not read the New Testament thoroughly enough then because it is peppered with the apostles admonishing the different local churches to live in a very holy manner. This makes up a good majority of the New Testament. So yes, personal conduct & living in a holy manner is attached to theois. There's really nothing Protestant about what I said, but just reinforcing the fact that as Christians we have a moral obligation to live up to what we are supposed to believe as Christians. The Priesthood is there to extol these virtues and encourage their parishioners to live out these principles. Does this even really have to be repeated over & over on an Orthodox forum? Physcologically, when people are participating in behavior or acts that they know are wrong, they still find the means to defend themselves. Maybe this explains why some people are defending something that goes against the grain of what the Church & Elders have always taught.
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« Reply #136 on: March 26, 2007, 08:04:42 PM »

That might be part of the problem - self-medication. Wink

GiC - I've course I've read what you've written, however I believe that you are in error in many particulars, as well as broadly across this discussion. I reassert that the traditional condemnations are appropriate and based upon more than ephemeral cultural custom. The 'claims' about the damage caused by abnormal sexuality are not 'claims' but agreement with the traditional understanding of marriage, relationships and sexuality as well as the claims of the better psychologists and physicians who are studying these matters (including my wife, God bless her.) Sex outside of a single exclusive relationship has not only a detrimental psychological and emotional impact, but physiological as well (changes to the body, not just the danger of STDs, never mind the detrimental changes that can happen with pregnancies that are unnoticed, unsupported, etc.) I don't care if you accept it at face value, and have to chuckle at demands for 'statistics' - I'm not going to throw out statistics, nor lies and d**n lies.  Cheesy

Also - complexity isn't the problem - most of us who are rejecting fornication hands down are fully aware of the complexity of the issue. In fact, aware enough to see aspects you seem to have missed. As regards law, property rights upon the spouse are still a matter of fact - at least in most jurisdictions. Men and women can be (and are) arrested for adultery. With civil law in our society (the USA) adultery laws are primarily about property rights upon the person of the spouse. As to their chattel, that differs a little more - in Florida, husband and wife have full claim on each others assets, property and debts. Other states like Oklahoma allow the retention of individual property. But, like it or not - there is in American family law an understanding of the spouse as 'property' of the other spouse, at the very least the spouse's 'affections' (energies and essences argument?)

There is also this strange idea that marriage outside of Orthodoxy is a sort of 'fornication'. The Church has not and does not treat this as so. (Unless this is some sectarian practice among some Greeks of which others of us are not aware.) In fact, I'm quite aware of Orthodox clergy who were ordained without having an 'Orthodox wedding' (some without even the 'blessing of the crowns' which those of us received by chrismation after the Russian tradition often had - not an 'Orthodox wedding', but the crowning added to what we already had.)  

Again, the Donatists are not what I refer to with the early Christian practice of penance. Before the Conciliar period it was the normative Apostolic practice that for serious sins, one only could take the sacrament of Reconciliation *once*. That has nothing at all to do with the practices of the Donatists, who held no such view - rather, their error was in not allowing reconcilation at all for certain sins. Using the text of 'seventy times seven' as a prooftext is wildly out of context in your argument. Forgiving one's brother has nothing to do with the historical practice of the rite of Reconciliation. Penance as it relates to that rite was always accompanied with excommunication while the penitent underwent ascetic practices to kill the root cause of the sin before the absolution and restoration to the communion of the Church - and that is/was the Orthodox way, not Donatist or any other sect.

You might have your own list of the 'greatest sins' - but, the Church has long considered sexual sin as amongst the greatest of the sins. In 1 Corinthians, the Apostle St. Paul is quite clear (as the Church has maintained since) that the sin of sexual immorality is the profanation of the Temple (the Body.) Throught the scriptures, Sexual Immorality is treated as the most heinious. Sins of sexual immorality *are* sins of Pride as well. Protecting the weaker brethren is not 'protect[ing] thm in their pride and prelest' (btw - I hope you know the English word for that - using the word 'prelest' doesn't make on 'more Orthodox'.) Rather, protecting the weaker brethren means we do not give them the example - if we sin openly and repeatedly, the weaker brethren could also think they may do as well - and so all restraint is thrown off. One could easily interpret your words as saying any who are not openly living in fornication are guilty of pride? There is also an assumption about 'denying oneself the Eucharist' - I don't see this in the Fathers. There is preparing for the Eucharist, which meant that 'frequent communion' was not the practice for those new to a community, nor for new Orthodox - for years in fact. At the end of it all - your approach is too dark and negative, there is no life in it.
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« Reply #137 on: March 26, 2007, 08:45:25 PM »


 You must have not read the New Testament thoroughly enough then because it is peppered with the apostles admonishing the different local churches to live in a very holy manner. This makes up a good majority of the New Testament. So yes, personal conduct & living in a holy manner is attached to theois. There's really nothing Protestant about what I said, but just reinforcing the fact that as Christians we have a moral obligation to live up to what we are supposed to believe as Christians. The Priesthood is there to extol these virtues and encourage their parishioners to live out these principles. Does this even really have to be repeated over & over on an Orthodox forum? Physiologically, when people are participating in behavior or acts that they know are wrong, they still find the means to defend themselves. Maybe this explains why some people are defending something that goes against the grain of what the Church & Elders have always taught.


I don't thing your getting the point. The law is written on peoples hearts. They know their sinners because their conscience convicts them. In time they may come foward for confession. Until that time what shall we do. We shall pray for there repentance. Your talking as if people don't know what's right and wrong. They do. Theosis is a personal jeorney and it starts within a person.
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« Reply #138 on: March 26, 2007, 08:59:15 PM »

Dear Aristibule,

I think you misunderstood GiC.  It's not the idea of "property" per say that he's against, it's the idea that the woman herself is considered a property alone, equal to any man's possessions.  My own Church for example took out a phrase a couple of decades ago that described the husband to take care of all of his possessions, which included his wife.  It's as if a woman is treated equally to her man's coffee mug.  That's what GiC is speaking against.  That rather than St. Paul's teaching that they both belong to each other, it was still emphasized that one belongs to another.

God bless.
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« Reply #139 on: March 26, 2007, 10:11:23 PM »

In the Episcopal church we had a saying about Confession;
"None must, all may, many should"

Bottom line, even if you don't think frequent Confession is neccesary, I'm sure it never hurt anyone's spiritual life.
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« Reply #140 on: March 26, 2007, 10:44:13 PM »

Mina:
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It's not the idea of "property" per say that he's against, it's the idea that the woman herself is considered a property alone, equal to any man's possessions.

I don't think I misunderstood him - GiC has in more than a few places set himself against the idea of spouses as 'property', even what he calls the 'Pauline theory' of equitable ownership of husband and wife. I've always been a bit baffled at the evolution of his arguments, particularly as they seem to be based on a rather selective collection of evidence. The entertainment is in that one never quite knows what he is going to contradict next.

I'm rather surprised that the Coptic church has edited its own liturgies. I'm very wary of such editing, as they too often are based upon whim and even more often upon misunderstanding of the many reasons why the original texts might read a certain way. Too often liturgical changes have come about because of arguments that were internally consistent within a closed system, but damaged the whole because they lacked a full understanding of the elements which they removed or modified. At a certain point, there has to be a submission to tradition - not only as the continued guidance of our Fathers and Mothers, but also with the humility that we don't know everything. As such, I think it is best to err on the side of tradition rather than fashion and whim. I trust the author over the editor, and don't trust most folk enough to do the editing: then again, I'm not infatuated with the idea of "Progress".

The thread went down this tangent anyway - mostly because the original question is not in 'Eastern language' â„¢. That simply means in some local theological traditions (which includes the Eastern Roman Empire), the concept of 'Mortal Sins' was never as fully developed as *some* in the West. That being said, there is in Orthodoxy an understanding of fornication as a sin that brings death: spiritual and physical. After Canon V of the 7th Ecumenical Council, in part (emphasis my own): "IT is a sin unto death when men incorrigibly continue in their sin, ... which can apply to any sin indulged in without corrective action. The other tangent about whether or not one should confess fornication before communing seems to assume the Holy Sacrifice as the *only* sacrament that is 'unto the healing of soul and body, and the forgiveness of sins'. The sacraments should not (really cannot) be viewed in isolation one from another - the form part of a whole. One needs baptism, chrismation, confession, someone in Holy Orders - all of it to even receive the Eucharist.
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« Reply #141 on: March 26, 2007, 10:53:50 PM »

Well, I guess you can say that the Liturgy and Prayers are no different than the Bible or the Holy Fathers.  Inspired, but not inerrant.  Yes, of course I agree we have to be wary.  It is without a doubt that what was written was believed by our fathers, and we have to take every precaution not to question their wisdom.

But like I treat my own father.  I love him to death, and I learn so much from him, but I don't agree with everything he says or does, even though he's the conscience yelling into my ear.

But I think at this point, it is justified, since it contradicts St. Paul's belief of "mutual ownership," and it would be quite unwise to pray in a society in words that wrongly lower the equal status of a woman.

God bless.
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« Reply #142 on: March 26, 2007, 11:10:11 PM »

One observation regarding this thread:
St. Paul distinguishes between the the written law and the law of love or of the spirit. The Orthodox view of theosis is more compatible with the second view of course. But the law of love and the path of theosis work best under the direction of a spiritual father.

the problem for Orthodoxy today is that there are very few real staretzs, real spiritual fathers. I think part of the eventual difference between the West and East may have been in the rapidly changing west under seige by barbarians, they found themselves in such social upheaval to have also lost the presence of spiritual fathers in sufficient numbers to impact the Church, so they became more written law oriented and legalistic (a natural propensity for Romans to begin with, to concentrate on law - as opposed to the more philosophical Greeks).

In the stable East such crisis didn't exist. And even under the severe persecutions the Eastern Church has endured, such problems don't tend to exist because persecuted Christians are not generally slouching toward immorality.

But in a rapidly changing social climate, even one where suffering exists (by conquest from barbarian invaders) but not necessarily suffering for the faith, the flock lose their inner moral compass and the
Church had to give them firmer footing or standards to guide them. Whether the actual practices given were the wisest or best is another matter. Historically we saw the bitter fruit of their abuse (the reformation).

In our rapidly changing culture and sub-cultures and multi-cultures of the 21st century, plus its extreme materialism, sensuality and personal autonomy and secularism, the question is, for Joe Orthodox in the pew, who really doesn't "get" much about this talk of theosis, and who has largely assimilated to western culture, how do we give him and his wife and kids some firm standards and convictions and still remain Orthodox? How do we not create layers of mortal and venial sins, strict and highly standardized guidelines for attending confession ala the Latin Church or making people just feel guilty ala conservative protestantism.  Especially in the absence of many real spiritual fathers, or staretzky?

That's one thought of mine after reading this thread.

The other is that if you want to make any progress in theosis, getting your libido under control, along with your carnal thoughts and desires is square one, along with prayer, reading the Bible and the Fathers and attending liturgy. If you can't/don't/won't do that, then forget about theosis.

If pride becomes a problem, God can deal with your pride. But it's ridiculous to think I can't worry about my lust, or my sleeping around because it might make me spiritually proud. That would be the ultimate LOL if it weren't so pathetic!

Spiritual Pride can only become a sin of someone already living a moral life. It's deadly serious and could cost one one's salvation but circumventing it by living in immorality is ludicrous.

I know it is very difficult for young people and when they are in committed relationships they may think they will eventually get married, so they take liberties with one another. All I can say is don't be too quick to make such rationalizations because the truth is you will probably be making the same rationalization several times with several different partners over the years. And when you do marry, you will regret it.

Also, if Orthodox young people want to be truly counter-cultural and stand up for their faith over against
western culture, what could be more counter-cultural than making a stand against the sensuality of current society?
And against the sex-as-the-god-we-worship attitude of western popular culture that proliferates in songs, commercials, movies and enteretainment? What could be more counter-cultural than living chaste and virtuous lives.?

Finally, any attempt to try to justify hooking up, sleeping around etc. for an Orthodox Christian is just looking for loopholes or excuses. And the attempt to do so does begin to look (and smell) suspiciously like liberal, mainline protestantism.
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« Reply #143 on: March 27, 2007, 12:49:38 AM »

Brother Aidan,

I appreciate how well you have articulated your point. I agree with you 100%. Thanks for participating on this thread.
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« Reply #144 on: April 10, 2007, 03:59:18 PM »

This is a good topic. I'm glad a few have had the courage to bring it up.

I didn't have the time or patience to read through the whole thread, so accept my apologies if I restate the stated.

It was mention in a previous post that sex is 'utilized' by the female and male genders for different reasons. I would like to add that in my experience in working with youth, that those differences are not so clear any longer. Many females are engaging in casual sex just for the sex or to 'get their rocks off', while it has been my experience in the way that boys react to such behavior of their girlfriends or girls that they have feelings for, i.e. emotional outbursts, violence, murder etc. that it suggests to me that sex for males may also be 'utilized' by them as some form of emotional crutch.

On a personal note: I have had experiences where I have had genuine, nonsexual, love for another female, which would turn sexual tension. It seems that love in general has been corrupted by the 'enemy' in that it is difficult for many of us to deal with love and not have it 'translated' into sex or the need to express this love through the sexual process. Just my two cents worth.

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« Reply #145 on: April 10, 2007, 05:55:45 PM »

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This is a good topic. I'm glad a few have had the courage to bring it up.

Yes, it really needs to be discussed more often seeing that traditional Orthodox lands are suffering from widespread decadence and apathy. I think this is in part do to the devastating effect communism had on many eastern European countries. The church probably still has not fully recovered in some of these countries to this day due to severe persecution and destruction of church property. I do feel that Orthodox people in general were much more pious before communism in terms of practing their faith, and you really get a sense of this when reading some of the literature from that time period. People today are just so apathetic about the Christian faith (I think this cuts across all denominations), and I feel that the monastics are becoming the last refuge of practicing true genuine Christianity. People like to compartmentalize the faith so to speak, once they step out of church into the world they forget who they really are. I do think that just about everyone struggles with this from time to time; I would hope that the Church will continue to stand strong against some of the ill effects of modernism. Just look at the headaches it has caused the Roman Church.   
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« Reply #146 on: April 10, 2007, 07:20:50 PM »

Yes, it really needs to be discussed more often seeing that traditional Orthodox lands are suffering from widespread decadence and apathy. I think this is in part do to the devastating effect communism had on many eastern European countries. The church probably still has not fully recovered in some of these countries to this day due to severe persecution and destruction of church property. I do feel that Orthodox people in general were much more pious before communism in terms of practing their faith, and you really get a sense of this when reading some of the literature from that time period.

If this were true then the effect you describe would be seen only in post-communist states; yet this is not so. Amongst the Orthodox consider Greece and Cyprus, and amongst other Christians one need only look to western Europe to see examples where European culture has evolved over the last 100 years. I would submit that it is the natural intellectual evolution of the human race in the face of technological and economic progress and improvements in standard of living. When life is hard people look for redemption in death, when life is good one can be content in the present.
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« Reply #147 on: April 10, 2007, 07:33:14 PM »

If this were true then the effect you describe would be seen only in post-communist states; yet this is not so. Amongst the Orthodox consider Greece and Cyprus, and amongst other Christians one need only look to western Europe to see examples where European culture has evolved over the last 100 years. I would submit that it is the natural intellectual evolution of the human race in the face of technological and economic progress and improvements in standard of living. When life is hard people look for redemption in death, when life is good one can be content in the present.

And you honestly believe what you just wrote, or are you playing 'what's his name's' advocate?  Smiley
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« Reply #148 on: April 10, 2007, 08:38:58 PM »

And you honestly believe what you just wrote, or are you playing 'what's his name's' advocate?  Smiley

I believe that what I wrote was an objective sociological analysis of European culture. Do you disagree with the above analysis? If so, in what way?
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« Reply #149 on: April 10, 2007, 09:01:14 PM »

Quote
If this were true then the effect you describe would be seen only in post-communist states; yet this is not so. Amongst the Orthodox consider Greece and Cyprus, and amongst other Christians one need only look to western Europe to see examples where European culture has evolved over the last 100 years. I would submit that it is the natural intellectual evolution of the human race in the face of technological and economic progress and improvements in standard of living. When life is hard people look for redemption in death, when life is good one can be content in the present.

I can agree and disagree to a certain extent with what you are saying. You are right, with such great technological advances in the last 100 years our way of living has dramatically changed. I would also agree that people look towards the afterlife when this life is hard. I would have to disagree though with the prevailing sentiment that do to such great recent 'evolutionary' advancements, people no longer need fulfillment in religious faith (if that's what you are saying). Technology and modernism will never fill the void and yearning that mankind seeks in a deeper 'personal' relationship when seeking salvation outside of themselves. I think most recognize this need at some point in time. 
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« Reply #150 on: April 11, 2007, 12:01:23 PM »

I believe that what I wrote was an objective sociological analysis of European culture. Do you disagree with the above analysis? If so, in what way?

No, I don't disagree totally. I believe a good example would be Ireland. Prior to Erie's economic stablization, more faithful admitted to attending mass/services or spoke of being more spiritual. Today, I would suspect that since the economy is better, people have stopped going to Church so much.

I just don't get the correlation that if someone has more money he/she is more or less moral.
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« Reply #151 on: April 11, 2007, 01:55:09 PM »

Think about it this way. When you're poor what else is there to do. In the USA African Americans are known to have long church services lasting several hours filled with songs, preaching and fellowshipping. Think about it. In their past most were very poor. Church was a place to worship, mark the rhythms of seasons, meet friends, make friends, find spouses, receive charity, etc.  The more money you make the more "entertainment" that you can afford and in todays world there are entertainment, and I might add, spiritual venues vying for our attention. The richer you become the more disciplined in a sense you need to become in spiritual matters. Also wealth brings with it a sense of invincibility in that, I can do whatever I want.  When you poor, you are more vulnerable and more apt to be aware of your dependence on God for all things.
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« Reply #152 on: April 11, 2007, 02:57:21 PM »

Think about it this way. When you're poor what else is there to do. In the USA African Americans are known to have long church services lasting several hours filled with songs, preaching and fellowshipping. Think about it. In their past most were very poor. Church was a place to worship, mark the rhythms of seasons, meet friends, make friends, find spouses, receive charity, etc.  The more money you make the more "entertainment" that you can afford and in todays world there are entertainment, and I might add, spiritual venues vying for our attention. The richer you become the more disciplined in a sense you need to become in spiritual matters. Also wealth brings with it a sense of invincibility in that, I can do whatever I want.  When you poor, you are more vulnerable and more apt to be aware of your dependence on God for all things.

Actually, put this way I don't agree. And we were talking about fornication as a mortal sin. Let me put my spin on it then. Perhaps there are higher birth rates (and abortion) among the poor, but that does not denote more fornication. It may indicate less access to birth control. Let's look at the levels of sexual addiction, pedophilia, extra marital affairs among those who are more 'financial content' ... 
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« Reply #153 on: December 25, 2012, 06:38:28 AM »

What is Fornication?

Is it unmarried sex between a man and a woman? Masturbation? Or different sexual practices except sex?
Perhaps it's better to ask: From which moment fornication starts?
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