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NDHoosier
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« on: September 04, 2003, 12:54:38 AM »

God willing, on September 8 (old calendar)/September 21, the feast of the Nativity of the Most Holy Theotokos, I will be received into Orthodoxy via the Mystery of Holy Baptism at Joy of All Who Sorrow Orthodox Church in Indianapolis, Indiana.  I will take the name of Matthew (already my middle name - it makes it easier).  This will be exactly one week after my 35th birthday.

Then I'm going back to Fargo, ND to convert all those Catholics and Lutherans!

OK, so I'm kidding about that last part...

Your prayers are requested and appreciated.

Wayne Matthew Syvinski
"NDHoosier"

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« Reply #1 on: September 04, 2003, 01:08:49 AM »

Great news to hear!

Can I ask what jurisidction you will be joining? And if it isn't too personal, were you baptised previously?

Bobby
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« Reply #2 on: September 04, 2003, 01:13:28 AM »

Great news to hear!

Can I ask what jurisidction you will be joining? And if it isn't too personal, were you baptised previously?

Bobby

No problem.   Jurisdiction is Bulgarian Patriarchate (Metropolitan JOSEPH).  I was baptized previously as a Roman Catholic.
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« Reply #3 on: September 04, 2003, 01:18:14 AM »

Wow, you are getting rebaptized?

I find that really fascinating. I don't mean to sound condescending in any way.

Can I ask why you are getting rebaptized? Was it something you opted or something that your spritual father or bishop said?


Bobby

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« Reply #4 on: September 04, 2003, 01:32:51 AM »

Again, no problem.

I asked for baptism.

1.  A complete break with Catholicism:  It's pretty hard to imaging a more definitive break than accepting another church's baptism.

2.  A new start:  I have a lot of stuff in my life I would rather leave behind.  This will help me do that.  I want to carry as little baggage into Orthodoxy as possible.

3.  I wanted my conversion to Orthodoxy to be questioned by no one.

4.  Since I believe that Orthodoxy contains the fullness of grace, why settle for a baptism that may or may not have grace?

I realize that reception by chrismation fills any grace lacking.  I don't consider those recieved via chrismation any less Orthodox than those baptized.  The exercise of economia is the bishop's judgment call, not mine.  However, as for me, I wanted to start at square one.
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« Reply #5 on: September 04, 2003, 09:42:49 AM »

The Orthodox rebaptise!? Don't the Orthodox accept trinitarian baptisims of the Catholic and other nicean Churches?
Rebaptism in the Catholic Church is considered a denial baptismal grace, of the Holy Spirit's ability to do his part in the life of a baptised Christian and baptismal regeneration. I'm supprized.

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Polycarp
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« Reply #6 on: September 04, 2003, 10:07:08 AM »

The Orthodox rebaptise!? Don't the Orthodox accept trinitarian baptisims of the Catholic and other nicean Churches?
Rebaptism in the Catholic Church is considered a denial baptismal grace, of the Holy Spirit's ability to do his part in the life of a baptised Christian and baptismal regeneration. I'm supprized.

Peace,
Polycarp

Dear Polycarp,

A strict Orthodox view of the issue says that only the Orthodox Church is the true Church, and so the true sacraments can only exist within the true Church.  Hence, the very least you can technically say is that the sacraments of the Roman Catholics and other groups who may very well do triple immersion and baptise with the Trinitarian formula is that the validity of their baptism is doubtful or questionable.  One could keep the strict view and say they are without grace, and so only Orthodox sacraments have grace and are the true sacraments.  This has a lot to do with the Orthodox Church's belief that it is the true Church, and not in the first place (from my understanding) on matters of form, matter, intent, etc.  Converts from the Roman Catholic Church can be received by Chrismation, or even in some Churches by Confession and Communion, but even Baptism could be asked for and given because of this belief of the Orthodox Church.
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« Reply #7 on: September 04, 2003, 10:23:16 AM »

I thought that the Orthodox and Catholic Churches have issued decrees that recognized eachothers Churches and sacraments etc. Did I get it wrong? Or was it only the Catholic Church which said it recognizes the Orthodox?

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Polycarp
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« Reply #8 on: September 04, 2003, 10:29:55 AM »

Saint Polycarp,

Much like at the "Council" of Florence, some Orthodox today also say things that Orthodoxy doesn't teach/allow for. You got it right: some people claiming to be Orthodox theologians have said that Catholic sacraments (and other heterodox sacraments) were valid.
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« Reply #9 on: September 04, 2003, 10:33:39 AM »

So then who speaks for the Orthodox with one voice? Who has made the "official" Orthodox statement regarding the validity of the Western Church's sacraments etc?

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Polycarp
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« Reply #10 on: September 04, 2003, 10:50:17 AM »

Jesus Christ. I know that will sound either arrogant, a non-answer, or just something that begs other questions. But that's the answer, nonetheless.
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« Reply #11 on: September 04, 2003, 11:03:15 AM »

Actually that is the final answer isn't it?
Yet what you are saying is that there is no way for a believer to really know for sure whether they are in the Church or not till it's too late.
This dosen't sound like the way the Church is supposed to teach. The Church is supposed to teach with authority and with one voice.
One Lord one faith. The pillar and suport of the truth etc.

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Polycarp
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« Reply #12 on: September 04, 2003, 12:16:25 PM »

So then who speaks for the Orthodox with one voice? Who has made the "official" Orthodox statement regarding the validity of the Western Church's sacraments etc?

Peace,
Polycarp

Good question!

Quote
From Paradosis (in answer to the question above): Jesus Christ. I know that will sound either arrogant, a non-answer, or just something that begs other questions. But that's the answer, nonetheless.

You were right when you said that sounds like a non-answer.

Quote
From St. Polycarp: Actually that is the final answer isn't it?
Yet what you are saying is that there is no way for a believer to really know for sure whether they are in the Church or not till it's too late.
This dosen't sound like the way the Church is supposed to teach. The Church is supposed to teach with authority and with one voice.
One Lord one faith. The pillar and suport of the truth etc.

Peace,
Polycarp

Good points.

We apparently just don't have definitive answers to some questions (or anyone on earth to ask who can answer with authority).
 
 
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« Reply #13 on: September 04, 2003, 12:19:54 PM »

One Lord, One Faith, One Church, One Baptism.

Polycarp, despite the "agreements" among professional ecumenistic theologians such as at Balamand (which, AFAIK, no Orthodox Synod of Bishops has officially accepted), the Orthodox Church believes herself--and only herself--to be the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, the ONE Body of Christ.  "Valid" sacraments then, in Orthodox belief, cannot be performed outside the One True (Orthodox) Church, the ONE Body of Christ.  Therefore, when one is accepted into the Orthodox Church by Holy Baptism, it simply means that whatever happened previously--such as "baptism" in another denomination, even if that denomination be the Roman Catholic Church, is not recognized as Sacramental in the *strict* Orthodox view.  Some Orthodox Churches are less strict and receive Roman Catholics (and others) who have maintained an outward form of Trinitarian baptism through the Mystery of Holy Chrismation, thereby filling with Grace the empty form of Baptism given outside the (Orthodox) Church--Chrismation completes Baptism sacramentally (Baptism-Chrismation is sometimes called a "di-une" Mystery as they are always administered together in the Orthodox Church).  The Church exercises "ekonomia" in this regard--she is the guardian of the sacramental Mysteries.  This may be hard to hear, particularly for a Roman Catholic, but that's the way it is, and I would be less than honest to tell you otherwise.

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« Reply #14 on: September 04, 2003, 12:25:00 PM »

Thanks for being honest.  Wink

But this confirms that Orthodoxy isn't a Church but many affiliated Churches. They don't teach athoratativly and don't teach uniformly.
What happened to the one faith one baptism? What happened to the One in the One Holy Catholic and apostolic Church?

Peace,
Polycarp
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« Reply #15 on: September 04, 2003, 12:38:49 PM »

Thanks for being honest.  Wink

But this confirms that Orthodoxy isn't a Church but many affiliated Churches. They don't teach athoratativly and don't teach uniformly.
What happened to the one faith one baptism? What happened to the One in the One Holy Catholic and apostolic Church?

Peace,
Polycarp

Polycarp, the same Orthodox Faith is taught and believed by all Orthodox Christians everywhere.  The Faith is uniform.  The *administration* of sacraments, however, allows for diversity under different conditions through the exercise of "ekonomia.*   This in no way alters the Church's Faith!  (Even within the Roman Church the "sacraments" are administered differently according to the differing Eastern and Western Rites, and the Eastern Rites admit married men to the priesthood as a given everywhere "supposedly" (hah!) Grin, while the Western Rite does not.)

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« Reply #16 on: September 04, 2003, 12:46:30 PM »

Hypo -

I could be wrong, but I don't think that is what Polycarp's question was about.

He was referring to the lifting of Orthodox and RC anathemas and excommunications and the recognition of validity in each other's sacraments. If some Orthodox prelates have done this, and other Orthodox maintain that RC sacraments are graceless and invalid, then which set of Orthodox is right?

Who speaks with authority?

One or more patriarchs involved in rapprochement with the RCC or others who disagree with them?
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« Reply #17 on: September 04, 2003, 01:05:15 PM »

Hypo -

I could be wrong, but I don't that is what Polycarp's question was about.

He was referring to the lifting of Orthodox and RC anathemas and excommunications and the recognition of validity in each other's sacraments. If some Orthodox prelates have done this, and other Orthodox maintain that RC sacraments are graceless and invalid, then which set of Orthodox is right?

Who speaks with authority?

One or more patriarchs involved in rapprochement with the RCC or others who disagree with them?

The lifting of anathemas was "personal," an act of ecumenical "good will."  It did not end the separation of the RCC from the Orthodox Church.  It did not speak for or have the support of the entire Orthodox Church, Brother Linus.

Most Orthodox do not recognize the validity of sacraments outside the Orthodox Church.  All the "laos," of whom the bishops are also members, are responsible for upholding the Faith.   You will find, I think, that many, if not most, Orthodox (with the possible exception of those in the GOA), do not agree with their bishops on the subject of ecumenism, mutual recognition of sacraments, etc.  I know for certain that my OCA parish does not, and I hardly think it's the exception.

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« Reply #18 on: September 04, 2003, 01:06:18 PM »

Polycarp, the same Orthodox Faith is taught and believed by all Orthodox Christians everywhere.  The Faith is uniform.

 Huh

It would be better to try not to wallpaper over these issues.
 
Or, maybe you agree with the teaching of the Non-Chalcedonian Orthodox Churches? Or is it that you don't include those Orthodox Churches in your "all Orthodox Christians" generalization.
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« Reply #19 on: September 04, 2003, 01:14:08 PM »

Tom, *this* is an EASTERN Orthodox thread.   When I use the appellation "Orthodox" here, I mean it only to include EASTERN Orthodox.  

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« Reply #20 on: September 04, 2003, 01:24:29 PM »

But that is precisely Saint Polycarp's point. There are multiple Orthodox Churches that teach different things.

And let's be truthful, even the Eastern Orthodox Churches do not agree on all teachings.
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« Reply #21 on: September 04, 2003, 01:37:36 PM »

But that is precisely Saint Polycarp's point. There are multiple Orthodox Churches that teach different things.

And let's be truthful, even the Eastern Orthodox Churches do not agree on all teachings.

The difference between the Chalcedonian/Byzantine and Non-Chalcedonian Orthodox Churches is in differing approaches to Christology.  To date, I have not read anywhere that there are any other substantial differences, and even this difference is increasingly being seen by many to be no substantial difference at all.  Whether you believe that personally or not, I leave that to the individual after much prayer and study.  Be that as it may, in all other ways, both Churches believe the same things.  So yes, you can talk about two different Churches (multiple is a stretch, in my opinion), but even this I think is not really accurate.  My point basically is that if you're going to argue Christology, then yes, you can speak of two different Churches I suppose.  But in all other matters, both Churches (maybe it is better to say both sides?) agree.

It is hard to express this idea, and I'm not really happy with how I've worded this explanation, but that's the best I can do for now.      

As for all EO Churches not agreeing on all the teachings, it depends on what you're talking about.  The temptation for us is to break things up into neat little categories, but the truth is that it isn't always that easy.  We shouldn't shy away from this reality, but we should try to work with it.
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« Reply #22 on: September 04, 2003, 02:38:17 PM »

Saint Polycarp,

When the Churches were united, St. Cyprian received converts by baptism and Pope Stephen by confession.  They differed but in the end St. Cyprian said that all bishops have the right to exercise their authority in their sphere, and ultimately God will judge.  Sometimes, we just can't have uniform practice.  That does not mean we have a different faith or lack of teaching authority.

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« Reply #23 on: September 04, 2003, 03:10:47 PM »

No, not affiliated Churches, but a communion of worshipping communities gathered around their bishops. This has always been the structure of the Church, see St Ignatius' letters from the very beginning of the 2nd century.

The Church is a communion, not an organisation or an institition. It is a living body with Christ as its head. It grows and lives together as does the body, where it is a fruitless question to ask why an ear is not a hand. In different contexts and circumstances different answers to practical questions are practiced because the Church is alive.

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« Reply #24 on: September 04, 2003, 03:26:50 PM »

The question I had was based on the fact that the Orthodox do not have unity in teaching on important matters regarding faith and morals. Thus this undermines the claim of being the "true Church" especially when they are denying the validity of other apostolic Churches.
For example on another thread the issue of artifical contraception is being discussed. The Orthodox do not have a uniform teaching regarding this ( and other)  issue(s). Either it is a sin or it isn't. The "true Church" can't teach error. All Christians taught artifical contraception was a sin till the Angligans changed their minds in the 1930's. Now the protestants have all changed their minds and it seems some Orthodox have too. When did God change his mind? Christ the same yesterday, today and tommrow.
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« Reply #25 on: September 04, 2003, 03:41:34 PM »

The question I had was based on the fact that the Orthodox do not have unity in teaching on important matters regarding faith and morals. Thus this undermines the claim of being the "true Church" especially when they are denying the validity of other apostolic Churches.


  Orthodoxy DOES have a unified teaching on Faith and MOrals based on the Scripture and the Holy Tradition of the Fathers and the Councils.

      As Peter Farrington said above, the Church is not an "institution" with a need for a rigid "Magisterium" but the Living Body of Christ.
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« Reply #26 on: September 04, 2003, 03:49:36 PM »

Ok then what is the "offical" teaching of the Church regarding the use of artificial contraceptives. Where can I find the Church's "official" teaching explaining what it is and why it is taught from scripture and tradition?
How can I know if I am sinning or not if I use artifical contraception?

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« Reply #27 on: September 04, 2003, 04:10:27 PM »

You should ask your father of confession and/or your bishop. Orthodoxy is not a system to be mastered but a family with spiritual parents to give advice.

What if there is no 'right' answer on a subject, but only a pastoral answer.

There is a difference between doctrine - which can be explained in human words to a degree and in which clarity and precision are required - and the practice of a life, which is always provisional.

You are asking for hard and fast rules that must apply to everyone. Life isn't like that. The scriptures have many occassions when a teaching is given and then the words 'this is a hard saying' follow.

Take fasting. The ideal practice for my Church is 210 days of fasting each year. Yet I do not manage to achieve that goal yet. Nevertheless I am taught to be encouraged because year in year my practice gets better as I gain more control of myself. But even when I fast 210 days a year I know that I have barely begun to understand what 'true' fasting is. Abstaining from food is hardly the beginning. There are countless millions who fast of necessity more than I do in the world because they have no food at all.

This is so with all of the 'rules' of the spiritual life. They are not fixed laws that we either pass or fail - because we have all failed and fail and fall short of the glory of God. They are goals and ambitions and means not ends.

So finding THE law about contraception is meaningless in Orthodoxy. The goal is clear, but the practice will vary from person to person as they live their spiritual lives in the care of their spiritual fathers because we are all at different places in our lives. There is always a balance between where people are going and what they can bear. Is it better for an Orthodox man married to a non-Orthodox woman to cause grave difficulties, perhaps breakdown, in their married life just so that the rule about contraception is followed? Or should a priest, when consulted, take the situation into account and offer the 'best' advice possible in such circumstances?

And is the tradition of the Church 'against' contraception, or 'for' the welcoming of the blessing of children in a marriage?

So Orthodox practice is not clear-cut, nor should it be. It's aim is the transformation of people not the meeting of rules.

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« Reply #28 on: September 04, 2003, 04:24:40 PM »

I see what you are saying, but it is the responsibility of the Church to guide us. The Church can't tell us it's ok to sin. However the Church can say artifical contraception is a sin and give the reasons for her teaching even knowing that many faithfull can not follow the teaching. That is where the pastoral part comes in. For some there may be compelling reasons to admit they can't follow this kind of teaching and thus with pastoral direction choos the "lesser of two evils".
This thread started with the fact that a baptised Catholic was converting to Orthodoxy and wanted to be re-baptised. This is considered a denial of the grace of baptism and of the work of the Holy Spirit in the Catholic Church. Thus we do not rebaptise unless there is reason to believe a person didn't have a valid trinitarian baptism.
Then an Orthodox posted said some Orthodox don't recognize anything regarding Catholic sacraments including baptism while other Orthodox do recognize Catholic sacraments. This brought up the question of the Orthodox claim of being the true Church inspite of the lack of unity in teachings of the various Orthodox Churches.
I used artifical contraception to illustrate the lack of a sound unified teaching from those who claim to be the true Church in a matter of morals that almost all modern Christians are faced with.
It's gotten off on a tangent. Sorry.  Tongue

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« Reply #29 on: September 04, 2003, 04:28:21 PM »

<surface>

The apostolic faith is clear-cut on contraception: no.

It won't let people dodge reality - objectively, if one is fertile but can't support kids, one has no business having sex, which if one isn't married means, since in our shared worldview sex is banned outside of marriage, one has no business being married.

(This doesn't exactly apply to those older than childbearing age — I'm not one of those rare people I hear about who tell married over-40s to abstain.)

Quote
You should ask your father of confession and/or your bishop. Orthodoxy is not a system to be mastered but a family with spiritual parents to give advice.

This is about objective right or wrong, rules made by God, like the rules against murder and adultery, not man-made disciplinary rules like when and how to fast.

Sorry, but this sounds like a copout, just like 'abortion is between a woman and her doctor'.

</surface>
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« Reply #30 on: September 04, 2003, 04:40:04 PM »

NFP is contraception. It is merely sophistry to pretend it isn't.

Your comments say nothing about the love between a man and a woman and are nothing like my experience of being sacramentally united with my wife. Marriage is not merely a baby factory. I don't find the savour of Orthodoxy in your comments. It sounds much more like the rigid, clinical Roman Catholic methodology that the true Orthodox spiritual tradition rejects.

Bringing abortion and murder into the thread is a non-argument.

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« Reply #31 on: September 04, 2003, 05:05:54 PM »

I see what you are saying, but it is the responsibility of the Church to guide us. The Church can't tell us it's ok to sin. However the Church can say artifical contraception is a sin and give the reasons for her teaching even knowing that many faithfull can not follow the teaching. That is where the pastoral part comes in. For some there may be compelling reasons to admit they can't follow this kind of teaching and thus with pastoral direction choos the "lesser of two evils".

But Polycarp, how does this work?  On the one hand, you want a definitive statement that artificial contraception is a sin.  On the other hand, you say that there could be an allowance to choose the lesser of two evils with pastoral direction.  But if artificial contraception is sin, how could the Church, through pastoral direction, allow a couple to sin?  You yourself state that the Church cannot do that.

This is why I think the case is not as black and white as you think.  Because what you have just advocated in your quote above, if I'm not mistaken, is the Orthodox view.  

Quote
This thread started with the fact that a baptised Catholic was converting to Orthodoxy and wanted to be re-baptised. This is considered a denial of the grace of baptism and of the work of the Holy Spirit in the Catholic Church. Thus we do not rebaptise unless there is reason to believe a person didn't have a valid trinitarian baptism.
Then an Orthodox posted said some Orthodox don't recognize anything regarding Catholic sacraments including baptism while other Orthodox do recognize Catholic sacraments. This brought up the question of the Orthodox claim of being the true Church inspite of the lack of unity in teachings of the various Orthodox Churches.
I used artifical contraception to illustrate the lack of a sound unified teaching from those who claim to be the true Church in a matter of morals that almost all modern Christians are faced with.
It's gotten off on a tangent. Sorry.  Tongue

Indeed it has, and I personally wish the two issues weren't confused in this one thread.  I encourage you to start a thread on the issue of baptism/re-baptism to discuss these issues if you want.  If it's anything like some of the threads today, who knows where/when it will stop!  Smiley
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« Reply #32 on: September 04, 2003, 05:55:34 PM »

NFP is contraception. It is merely sophistry to pretend it isn't.

Your comments say nothing about the love between a man and a woman and are nothing like my experience of being sacramentally united with my wife. Marriage is not merely a baby factory. I don't find the savour of Orthodoxy in your comments. It sounds much more like the rigid, clinical Roman Catholic methodology that the true Orthodox spiritual tradition rejects.

Bringing abortion and murder into the thread is a non-argument.

Peter Theodore

NFP is not contraception since you are not introducing something foreign into sex to prevent conception but you are temporarily abstaining from sex (fasting from it).  The intent to use NFP can still be sinful if it is intended to indefinitely put of children.

There is nothing Orthodox in your statement that marriage is not to be a baby factory.  The Fathers would never say something like that, and they were more harsh on contraception; St. Basil says that contraception is worse than murder because it kills what is not even born.  And yes, folks, they had contraception back then.

The "clinical RC methodology" is a loving response to the secular world which teaches us that children are to be avoided.

anastasios
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« Reply #33 on: September 04, 2003, 06:00:36 PM »

I still don't find very much positively said about marriage being for the salvation of a man and woman in a sacramental union of love. Material about how its good to have lots of children and how if children are not possible then there should be no sexual activity. But not much about the positive value of marriage for a man and a woman, and the positive place of sexual activity in such a sacramental union.

I am not disagreeing with St Basil generally, though I think he is wrong on this. The killing of an unborn baby IS worse than not conceiving.

I am just concerned that so much is said about having babies - and I have 4 - and so little about love and sex as an expression of love that has a meaning and value on its own.

Peter Theodore
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« Reply #34 on: September 04, 2003, 06:08:37 PM »

Peter,

Very, very true.  I agree that salvation of the couple is the most important thing and I should have emphasized that more.

I also do agree with you that killing an unborn is worse than not conceiving, but I pointed out that quote to show that St. Basil took contraception very seriously.  Of course you are right that an individual father is not infallible.

Thanks for your thoughts!

anastasios

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« Reply #35 on: September 04, 2003, 06:13:50 PM »

Again you guys are making my point for me. How can the "true Church" take a teaching that has been believed from the times of the apostles and ECF's and then turn it around and say it's ok now? That is not consistant with how the Church as the pillar and support of the truth can act.
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« Reply #36 on: September 04, 2003, 06:25:59 PM »

Very, very true.  I agree that salvation of the couple is the most important thing and I should have emphasized that more.

I also do agree with you that killing an unborn is worse than not conceiving, but I pointed out that quote to show that St. Basil took contraception very seriously.  Of course you are right that an individual father is not infallible.

Anastasios

I did not wish to seem to be disagreeing with your main points. I think that I am just trying to suggest that all sexual matters should be seen in the context of marriage as the means of salvation of a loving couple.

If a notionally Orthodox couple do not understand or experience that then prescribing on matters such as contraception seems to me to not address the main defect in such a marriage. Whereas if salvation in marriage is understood then all other matters become clearer.

Seeking your prayers

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« Reply #37 on: September 04, 2003, 06:29:23 PM »

Again you guys are making my point for me. How can the "true Church" take a teaching that has been believed from the times of the apostles and ECF's and then turn it around and say it's ok now? That is not consistant with how the Church as the pillar and support of the truth can act.

Polycarp

I do not mean to cause offence but if we were to consider all the teachings of the Roman Catholic communion which exhibit a variety of practices around the world then I am sure we would have a lengthy list.

For instance we know that many bishops and priests were married in the past in the West, yet the practice of clerical celibacy has now been enforced. How can it be that the RCC can at one time allow the marriage of bishops and priests and yet now prohibits such?

Peter Theodore
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« Reply #38 on: September 04, 2003, 08:40:29 PM »

Didn't the RCC define that it was a mortal sin for a Roman Catholic to pray with a heretic? Why is that ok now?
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« Reply #39 on: September 04, 2003, 11:27:07 PM »

I am Orthodox and will never change, but I do see Saint Polycarp's point. In fact, the lack of real authoritative answers on some issues has often troubled me.

We do have a common Deposit of Faith from which to draw, and most of us seem to know enough of it most of the time to maintain the same faith, but issues sometimes arise about which one can get several different and sometimes contradictory answers from equally faithful Orthodox Christians.

That is troubling.

I agree with him about artificial contraception. That is not a mere disciplinary subject or one for private judgment. It has to do with fundamental questions of human life. The Church should speak on it and speak definitively and authoritatively.
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« Reply #40 on: September 04, 2003, 11:35:40 PM »

Again you guys are making my point for me. How can the "true Church" take a teaching that has been believed from the times of the apostles and ECF's and then turn it around and say it's ok now? That is not consistant with how the Church as the pillar and support of the truth can act.

Polycarp

I do not mean to cause offence but if we were to consider all the teachings of the Roman Catholic communion which exhibit a variety of practices around the world then I am sure we would have a lengthy list.

For instance we know that many bishops and priests were married in the past in the West, yet the practice of clerical celibacy has now been enforced. How can it be that the RCC can at one time allow the marriage of bishops and priests and yet now prohibits such?

Peter Theodore

No offense taken Peter.
Married priests and bishops have nothing to do with committing a sin. That is a Church dicipline and as such is subject to change in accordence with Church policy a certain times. Perhaps the Church will change this again in the future. As a matter of fact if not for that rule I would have probably been a priest.

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« Reply #41 on: September 04, 2003, 11:39:03 PM »

Didn't the RCC define that it was a mortal sin for a Roman Catholic to pray with a heretic? Why is that ok now?

Never heard of that. Why would the Church "define" such a thing? If there was such a "rule" that would be a dicipline or practice. It has nothig to do with a moral question like contraception, which if sinfull would always be sinfull. God dosen't change so what was a sin 2000 years ago is still a sin now.
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« Reply #42 on: September 04, 2003, 11:44:50 PM »

I am Orthodox and will never change, but I do see Saint Polycarp's point. In fact, the lack of real authoritative answers on some issues has often troubled me.

We do have a common Deposit of Faith from which to draw, and most of us seem to know enough of it most of the time to maintain the same faith, but issues sometimes arise about which one can get several different and sometimes contradictory answers from equally faithful Orthodox Christians.

That is troubling.

I agree with him about artificial contraception. That is not a mere disciplinary subject or one for private judgment. It has to do with fundamental questions of human life. The Church should speak on it and speak definitively and authoritatively.


Hi Linus,
Thanks for seeing my point.
I were Orthodox I wouldn't feel the need to convert either. As a matter of fact I don't see why any Orthodox should convert to Catholicism or Catholic to Orthodoxy, except for personal reasons, not theological ones. To me we are sides of the same coin.  In truth our goal should be reunification so that we reconsititue the One Holy Catholic and apostolic Church the way it was and is meant to be.
Peace,
Polycarp
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« Reply #43 on: September 05, 2003, 01:42:16 AM »

Well, since the scope of this thread has grown far beyond what I envisioned...

First, please note that I have never stated here, or anywhere, that I was asking for re-baptism, but for baptism.  That ought to tell you all you need to know about my views on the matter.

Second, as far as there being no substantial differences between Orthodoxy and Catholicism:  please read Orthodoxy: Courage to be Different, Strength to Remain the Same by Fr. Mateja Matejic and see if you can honestly hold on to that opinion.  Or you can read anything by St. Justin Popovich.   I have deliberately not rocked the boat here or elsewhere, but I can honestly say I've had to re-learn Christianity as an Orthodox catechumen.  Before I left for Orthodoxy, I had a mild argument with my Eastern Catholic pastor.  He tried to hook me with the "does it really matter if you stay Catholic or become Orthodox- they're really the same".  I sank his battleship right there, saying, "The truth is out there.  You and I may disagree about where the truth is.  Catholicism and Orthodoxy are very different, and they can't both be the true Church.  Disagree, yes - interchangeability, no."

OK, now I've vented my spleen.  Oh, and by the way, I have found no moral waffling at my parish.
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« Reply #44 on: September 05, 2003, 05:34:14 AM »

God dosen't change so what was a sin 2000 years ago is still a sin now.

There are no exceptions?

 in Judges 3:

15 Again the Israelites cried out to the LORD , and he gave them a deliverer-Ehud, a left-handed man, the son of Gera the Benjamite. The Israelites sent him with tribute to Eglon king of Moab.
...
20 Ehud then approached him while he was sitting alone in the upper room of his summer palace and said, "I have a message from God for you." As the king rose from his seat, 21 Ehud reached with his left hand, drew the sword from his right thigh and plunged it into the king's belly.

Is this act of Ehud's not premeditated murder? Is it not in violation of the sixth commandment? Is it possible that there are times when sin is allowable when it is for the greater good?

unworthy John
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