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Question: Do you believe that fornication is a mortal sin??
Yes - 28 (66.7%)
No - 14 (33.3%)
Total Voters: 42

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Author Topic: Is Fornication a Mortal Sin?  (Read 26361 times) Average Rating: 0
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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:
Quote
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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