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Author Topic: Can I become Orthodox if I know Invitro Fertilization is heretical?  (Read 7282 times) Average Rating: 0
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Christopher McAvoy
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« on: December 01, 2008, 06:59:25 PM »

Glory be to Jesus Christ soon to be born of the Virgin in the flesh.


I would like to ask a question which I know will be controversial. I am sorry if it causes any anger or sadness. As I continue to comtemplate in the back of my mind what reasons hold me back from chrismation as an Orthodox Christian one particular topic comes to mind. That would be the acceptance or lack of condemnation of Birth Control and Invitro Fertilization practices by certain Bishops in these Churches. Particularly this seems to be a problem in the USA Churches. I have had 2 diffferent Antiochian lay men tell me that one of the big differences between Catholicism and Orthodoxy is that you can practice birth control in one and not the other. I have had one Greek man with a very strong greek accent tell me that birth control was not accepted at all in the Orthodox Church. I have seen protestant converts to the Latin Catholic Church who once condemmned birth control convert to the Orthodox Church and entirely revoke their beliefs in the evil of birth control and attack Latin position in a well known published book. I have had various people try to not talk about the topic or suggest that it was not the most important concern I should have. I find this to be very confusing and suggestive of heresy.

Thus far I have found that for certain the Georgian Catholicos condemns Invitro Fertilization outright and that it is completely banned. This is very good for me to know because as much as I know birth control to be responsible for the destruction of mankind I know that Invitro Fertilization is even more obviously dangerous and shocking among our technological developments. Invitro Fertilization outright requires a man to masturbate in order to participate in it.

Let me tell you, a Church that accepts masturbation for conception of Children can not be the Church of Christ. That I believe very deeply and nothing will change my mind about it. I would die for this believe.

So the question becomes over what I can do about this.

It seems to me that I would best fit into the Georgian Orthodox Church and simply reject any support of these grave dehumanizing evils as heresies believed by certain (primarily new world english speaking) hierarches.  However there appear to not be any Georgian Orthodox Churches in the USA save for some private chapel around their embassy which may or may not exist. I have heard that the Moscow Patriarchate is also the most Orthodox and may hold agreement with the Georgians. Is this true?

I could use some advice on this topic. I expect that Disagreement on my beliefs will come from many,
I ask that those who disagree with my views simply ignore my questions to begin with because any defense of heresy is reprehensible.

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« Reply #1 on: December 01, 2008, 07:07:28 PM »

You are holding back from chrismation based on the personal opinion of a few individual members?
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« Reply #2 on: December 01, 2008, 07:14:05 PM »

Welcome to the forum, Christopher. Smiley

That said, I must admit that I find more disturbing the fact that you appear to have defined the truth in your own mind and to judge as heretics and false churches all those individuals and churches who disagree with your pet doctrine.  ISTM that you would want to address this prideful attachment to your own opinions before you go about finding the church where you feel most at home.  I don't know, though.  I could be wrong about you, and I really hope I am.
« Last Edit: December 01, 2008, 07:24:26 PM by PeterTheAleut » Logged
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« Reply #3 on: December 01, 2008, 07:15:21 PM »

I don't know about Invitro Fertilization, but as far as contraception goes, the Catholic Church also allows it. It's called NFP. If you read a book like Noonan's on Contraception, you see that the Fathers were not just against this or that method, but were against the intent of having sex while knowing that you would not be able to conceive. Noonan points out quite explicitly, in fact, that NFP is contraception when he says:

"In the history of the thought of theologians on contraception, it is, no doubt, piquant that the first pronouncement on contraception by the most influential theologian teaching on such matters should be such a vigorous attack on the one method of avoiding procreation accepted by twentieth-century Catholic theologians as morally lawful." - John T. Noonan, Contraception: A History of Its Treatment By the Catholic Theologians and Canonists, (Harvard University Press, 1965), p. 120

Various distinctions are made to defend NFP. It's passive, it's natural, and so forth. None of these distinctions are ones the Fathers made in defense of a particular form of birth control, and in fact passive and natural methods were also condemned by the same Fathers who condemned such things as barrier methods. That some Orthodox have changed their views about contraception is quite frankly a good thing.
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« Reply #4 on: December 01, 2008, 07:28:28 PM »

Christopher,

Why are you even considering converting if you are willing to die for your beliefs that IVF is wrong, but not willing to die to uphold Orthodox Dogma?
It seems to me you'd be happier staying a Catholic.

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« Reply #5 on: December 01, 2008, 07:41:40 PM »

Quote
That said, I must admit that I find more disturbing the fact that you appear to have defined the truth in your own mind and to judge as heretics and false churches all those individuals and churches who disagree with your pet doctrine.  ISTM that you would want to address this prideful attachment to your own opinions before you go about finding the church where you feel most at home.  I don't know, though.  I could be wrong about you, and I really hope I am.

Boy have you really nailed it.

Sounds like you just want to promote your "pet doctrine" here.  Maybe I am wrong too.
I have to ask why on earth you even want to consider our church?

It sounds like you should stay where you are.

We don't need people coming into the church trying to change our Orthodox ways. 
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« Reply #6 on: December 01, 2008, 08:12:47 PM »

I am also against NFP.
I am against all contraception.
I have NO attachment to the Catholic Church.
This is NOT about the Catholic Church.
I wish I had time to emphasize how much I LOVE Orthodoxy.
I simply cando not accept modern heresies

I am not here to talk about the Catholic Church and regret that I listed ever being affiliated with it.

I need to understand how a father masturbating to conceive a child is relates to the theology and Orthodox Christianity.

I say this sincerely.
I want to be Orthodox but how do I accept this? Why does anyone accept this?
Perhaps I have made a mistake asking this question here.
I will consult Fr. Patrick Reardon in person
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« Reply #7 on: December 01, 2008, 08:33:44 PM »

I am also against NFP.
I am against all contraception.
I have NO attachment to the Catholic Church.
This is NOT about the Catholic Church.
I wish I had time to emphasize how much I LOVE Orthodoxy.
I simply cando not accept modern heresies

I am not here to talk about the Catholic Church and regret that I listed ever being affiliated with it.

I need to understand how a father masturbating to conceive a child is relates to the theology and Orthodox Christianity.

I say this sincerely.
I want to be Orthodox but how do I accept this? Why does anyone accept this?
Perhaps I have made a mistake asking this question here.
I will consult Fr. Patrick Reardon in person

I wonder why this, among all possible hang-ups, is the one with which you seem to be having so much trouble. I think there must be worthier causes to "die for", as you say, than your problem with some stranger spending five minutes masturbating into a cup.

 How about the withdrawal "method"- is that too considered contraception?

Perhaps you should first examine the Orthodox Church's understanding of sexuality - it may shed some light on your birth control issues.
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« Reply #8 on: December 01, 2008, 08:41:40 PM »

I am actually glad to hear that you are being consistent. I also think you are exaggerating the importance of these issues though, as they are IMO disciplinary and not doctrinal (ie. they have to do with morals and therefore are not heretical per se). Surely if we can get past the slavery issue, in spite of Fathers owning slaves and canons outlining how to treat slaves and even a letter from Paul about returning a slave, then we can get past these two issues that you have?
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« Reply #9 on: December 01, 2008, 09:21:54 PM »

I don't personally know of any Orthodox hierarch that would bless invitro fertilization.  If anyone can provide information either yea or nay, that would be appreciated for accuracy.

That being said, I agree that many hierarchs are too lenient on contraception, which I believe is a sin, but if they are too lenient or not that is something they have to answer to God about in terms of their role as shepherd.  In terms of doctrine, the Orthodox bishops teach Orthodoxy and the Roman Catholic bishops teach heresy so the choice is clear.  If it weren't, then God is a relativist and all bishops are "wrong but in different ways."

Again, I find the indiference to  birth control among some Orthodox to be disturbing, but the presuppositions behind these issues are very different.  As a practical example, If my spiritual child's husband were going to leave her because she would not have sex because she would be risk death if she got pregnant again, and the choice of letting the husband use a condom would save the marriage or at least preserve it long enough for them to get used to the idea of abstinence, then I would think it acceptable to bless this as an economy; it is missing the mark, but it is better than the alternative, which would be a greater sin (allowing a marriage to break up). I often get the impression that Roman Catholics believe that in any situation, there is a clear right, and a wrong, no matter what. I don't think that is true, and Orthodoxy does not seem to recognize such a strong dichotomy.  Everything we do in this life involves some form of sin; the question is often not what is absolutely right and what is absolutely wrong, but how we deal with a situation with no clear choice.  This is what conscience formation under the guidance of a spiritual father enables us to do.
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« Reply #10 on: December 01, 2008, 10:02:09 PM »

From what I understand although my parents haven't explicitly talked about it, is that I am an IVF child. My mum had trouble conceiving and my parents would have invested a lot of money in to it (considering i'm 18 which mean they were using a new technology which had only been clinically and mainstream tested for like 5 years before that). Because of IVF she had two twin boys (sadly lost one through miscarriage).
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« Reply #11 on: December 01, 2008, 11:42:35 PM »

I am also against NFP.
I am against all contraception.
I have NO attachment to the Catholic Church.
This is NOT about the Catholic Church.
I wish I had time to emphasize how much I LOVE Orthodoxy.
I simply cando not accept modern heresies

I am not here to talk about the Catholic Church and regret that I listed ever being affiliated with it.

I need to understand how a father masturbating to conceive a child is relates to the theology and Orthodox Christianity.

I say this sincerely.
I want to be Orthodox but how do I accept this? Why does anyone accept this?
Perhaps I have made a mistake asking this question here.
I will consult Fr. Patrick Reardon in person

I'm not quite sure how Fr. Reardon got into this, but I can assure you that his position is not much removed from the Vatican on it.

Btw, about "a father masturbating to conceive": fertility treatments would first involve sperm testing, which would involve this.
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« Reply #12 on: December 02, 2008, 12:07:10 AM »

Christopher,

I have to agree with Father Anatasios, I don't know of any Orthodox Hierarch that would bless in-virto fertilization.

Regarding birth control, the stance runs the gamut amongst laity (just as in the Catholic Church).

Instead of being (like I was once myself) enraged by what you believe The Holy Orthodox Church to "allow" or "not condemn", try and read about Orthodox Spirituality. Read about Monasticism.

Please message me, too. 
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« Reply #13 on: December 02, 2008, 12:59:42 AM »

To my knowledge, if an Orthodox bishop ever blesses an in vitro fertilization, the permission would be granted ONLY on the basis that the sperm used in the fertilization came ONLY from the woman's husband and from no other, as also the ovum must come ONLY from the man's wife and from no other.  As I've heard Fr. John Breck, the OCA's leading scholar on matters of Orthodox bioethics, speak on this subject, the underlying Orthodox principle is that procreation must only be the fruit of a loving relationship between a man and his wife and cannot be dependent on any donation made by a third party, whether it be another man's sperm or another woman's womb.  Even then, the couple needs to be certified as unable to conceive through the natural means of marital relations for in vitro to be considered.  Of course, this is all based on the big IF--IF a bishop ever blesses this quite exceptional oikonomia.
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« Reply #14 on: December 02, 2008, 02:08:58 AM »

Christopher, welcome to the forum!   Smiley

Both Orthodox and Catholic Churches Baptize children born out of wedlock all the time (e.g. premarital sex and lots of it).

If IVF were sanctified in the same way as PtA described, I don't see any canonical impediments.

Otherwise, I would agree with you on the condition that all children conceived and born by ANY means are equal in the eyes of God.  If you feel that a child, conceived by someone masturbating in a cup, is a non-human or a non-entity by your belief system, maybe you're not ready for the Orthodox faith as others have already commented.   Huh
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« Reply #15 on: December 02, 2008, 02:18:46 AM »

Christopher, welcome to the forum!   Smiley

Both Orthodox and Catholic Churches Baptize children born out of wedlock all the time (e.g. premarital sex and lots of it).

If IVF were sanctified in the same way as PtA described, I don't see any canonical impediments.

Otherwise, I would agree with you on the condition that all children conceived and born by ANY means are equal in the eyes of God.  If you feel that a child, conceived by someone masturbating in a cup, is a non-human or a non-entity by your belief system, maybe you're not ready for the Orthodox faith as others have already commented.   Huh
I don't think Christopher's talking about the product of IVF, an infant child, since a child is a child is a child, and all are sacred and worthy of love in God's eyes.  I think Christopher objects more to the process of IVF, which makes your reply somewhat irrelevant.
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« Reply #16 on: December 02, 2008, 02:37:09 AM »

Christopher, welcome to the forum!   Smiley
I don't think Christopher's talking about the product of IVF, an infant child, since a child is a child is a child, and all are sacred and worthy of love in God's eyes.  I think Christopher objects more to the process of IVF, which makes your reply somewhat irrelevant.

Quote from: Christopher
I need to understand how a father masturbating to conceive a child is relates to the theology and Orthodox Christianity.

Irrelevant?   Huh.  So, Christopher wants to know if a child conceived via self-abuse (e.g. masturbation to produce sperm for IVF) has any basis in Orthodox Theology?  I still think my answer is relevant because if the child is not being condemned, then the actions of the man inflicting self-abuse solely for IVF of his wife cannot be condemned.   Wink

We can debate having multiple children via IVF (e.g. McCaughey septuplets) and selective embryo destruction but that's beyond the scope of the OP.   Wink
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« Reply #17 on: December 02, 2008, 03:04:59 AM »

For those who have stated that "no Orthodox hierarch would bless IVF":

Here is an excerpt from the proceedings of the Jubilee Bishops' Council of the Russian Orthodox Church, held in Moscow in August, 2000. The full document runs into more than 100 pages. It deals with many "modern" matters, as well as reiterating and clarifying the existing doctrines of the Orthodox Church. Bolded areas are my emphasis:

PROBLEMS OF BIOETHICS

XII. 4. New biomedical methods make it possible in many cases to overcome the infirmity of infertility. At the same time, the growing technological interference in the conception of human life presents a threat to the spiritual integrity and physical health of a person. A threat comes also for interpersonal relations on which the community has been built from of old. The development of the above-mentioned technologies has brought about the ideology of the so-called reproductive rights, widely propagated today on both national and international levels. This ideological system assumes that the sexual and social self-fulfilment of a person has a priority over concern for the future of a child, the spiritual and physical health of society and its moral sustainability. There is a growing attitude to the human life as a product which can be chosen according to one's own inclinations and which can be disposed of along with material goods.

In the prayers of the marriage celebration, the Orthodox Church expresses the hope that childbirth, while being a desired fruit of lawful marriage, is not its only purpose. Along with «a fruit of the womb to profit», the Church asks for the gift of enduring love, chastity and «the harmony of the souls and bodies». Therefore, the Church cannot regard as morally justified the ways to childbirth disagreeable with the design of the Creator of life. If a husband or a wife is sterile and the therapeutic and surgical methods of infertility treatment do not help the spouses, they should humbly accept childlessness as a special calling in life. In these cases, pastoral counsel should consider the adoption of a child by the spouses' mutual consent. Among the admissible means of medical aid may be an artificial insemination by the husband's germ cells, since it does not violate the integrity of the marital union and does not differ basically from the natural conception and takes place in the context of marital relations.

However, manipulations involved in the donation of germ cells do violate the integrity of a person and the unique nature of marital relations by allowing of a third party to interfere. In addition, this practice encourages the irresponsible fatherhood or motherhood, admittedly free from any commitment to those who are «flesh of the flesh» of anonymous donors. The use of donor material undermines the foundations of family relationships, since it presupposes that a child has, in addition to the «social» parents, the so-called biological ones. «Surrogate motherhood», that is, the bearing of a fertilised ovule by a woman who after the delivery returns the child to the «customers», is unnatural and morally inadmissible even in those cases where it is realised on a non-commercial basis. This method involves the violation of the profound emotional and spiritual intimacy that is established between mother and child already during the pregnancy. «Surrogate motherhood» traumatises both the bearing woman, whose mother's feelings are trampled upon, and the child who may subsequently experience an identity crisis. Morally inadmissible from the Orthodox point of view are also all kinds of extracorporal fertilisation involving the production, conservation and purposeful destruction of «spare» embryos. It is on the recognition of the human dignity even in an embryo that the moral assessment of abortion by the Church is based (see, XII. 2).

The insemination of single women with the use of donor germ cells or the realisation of the «reproductive rights» of single men and persons with the so-called non-standard sexual orientation deprive the future child of the right to have mother and father. The use of reproductive methods outside the context of the God-blessed family has become a form of theomachism carried out under the pretext of the protection of the individual's autonomy and wrongly-understood individual freedom.


http://www.mospat.ru/index.php?mid=192

and, a link to all the chapters of this document:

http://www.mospat.ru/index.php?mid=90
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« Reply #18 on: December 02, 2008, 03:08:53 AM »

To my knowledge, if an Orthodox bishop ever blesses an in vitro fertilization, the permission would be granted ONLY on the basis that the sperm used in the fertilization came ONLY from the woman's husband and from no other, as also the ovum must come ONLY from the man's wife and from no other.  As I've heard Fr. John Breck, the OCA's leading scholar on matters of Orthodox bioethics, speak on this subject, the underlying Orthodox principle is that procreation must only be the fruit of a loving relationship between a man and his wife and cannot be dependent on any donation made by a third party, whether it be another man's sperm or another woman's womb.  Even then, the couple needs to be certified as unable to conceive through the natural means of marital relations for in vitro to be considered.  Of course, this is all based on the big IF--IF a bishop ever blesses this quite exceptional oikonomia.

What if the only option is adoption? Or, in the opposite example of the case you've described, there is no possibility for the man and wife to conceive a child... is it then sinful for a man and wife to give birth to a child from the sperm of a "third party"? What could be wrong with this?
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« Reply #19 on: December 02, 2008, 03:12:37 AM »

What if the only option is adoption? Or, in the opposite example of the case you've described, there is no possibility for the man and wife to conceive a child... is it then sinful for a man and wife to give birth to a child from the sperm of a "third party"? What could be wrong with this?

You could always modify some other type of stem-cell, such as from bone marrow, to create a new sperm cell from the man's DNA...with the added bonus of having, in theory at least, the ability to select which chromosomes of his you intend to pass on.
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« Reply #20 on: December 02, 2008, 03:20:42 AM »

What if the only option is adoption? Or, in the opposite example of the case you've described, there is no possibility for the man and wife to conceive a child... is it then sinful for a man and wife to give birth to a child from the sperm of a "third party"? What could be wrong with this?

You could always modify some other type of stem-cell, such as from bone marrow, to create a new sperm cell from the man's DNA...with the added bonus of having, in theory at least, the ability to select which chromosomes of his you intend to pass on.

Is that possible? What if the problem is an "inhospitable" womb for the woman involved? What options are available then?
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« Reply #21 on: December 02, 2008, 03:32:26 AM »

Is that possible?

Yes, as of a year or two ago...though it's not yet being used for fertility treatments, it likely will be in the not so distant future.

Quote
What if the problem is an "inhospitable" womb for the woman involved? What options are available then?

Well, the artificial uterus is somewhat further away, though research over the last 8 years has been rather promising...we understand much more about the influence of the various hormones and growth factors necessary human gestation and in at least a few situations (such as testosterone levels) they could likely be administered more efficiently by an artificial system than a human mother's body is typically capable of. However, any such development is likely a decade or more beyond us today.

As for answering your question, I shall refrain at least on this forum. My intent was simply to provide a modern context for this discussion in light of recent medical advances. I'm sure everyone is quite aware of where I stand on issues of reproductive health.
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« Reply #22 on: December 02, 2008, 03:36:47 AM »

Is that possible?

Yes, as of a year or two ago...though it's not yet being used for fertility treatments, it likely will be in the not so distant future.

Quote
What if the problem is an "inhospitable" womb for the woman involved? What options are available then?

Well, the artificial uterus is somewhat further away, though research over the last 8 years has been rather promising...we understand much more about the influence of the various hormones and growth factors necessary human gestation and in at least a few situations (such as testosterone levels) they could likely be administered more efficiently by an artificial system than a human mother's body is typically capable of. However, any such development is likely a decade or more beyond us today.

As for answering your question, I shall refrain at least on this forum. My intent was simply to provide a modern context for this discussion in light of recent medical advances. I'm sure everyone is quite aware of where I stand on issues of reproductive health.

Well, let us be thankful to science and human ingenuity for these recent advances.
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« Reply #23 on: December 02, 2008, 04:04:35 AM »

Or, in the opposite example of the case you've described, there is no possibility for the man and wife to conceive a child... is it then sinful for a man and wife to give birth to a child from the sperm of a "third party"? What could be wrong with this?
I will simply defer to what LBK posted above, particularly in the following snippet:

However, manipulations involved in the donation of germ cells do violate the integrity of a person and the unique nature of marital relations by allowing of a third party to interfere. In addition, this practice encourages the irresponsible fatherhood or motherhood, admittedly free from any commitment to those who are «flesh of the flesh» of anonymous donors. The use of donor material undermines the foundations of family relationships, since it presupposes that a child has, in addition to the «social» parents, the so-called biological ones.

I think the above would lead anyone to conclude that the Church does not approve of any sperm donations from a "third party".  As to "what could be wrong with this", I think the above snippet answers this question quite clearly, as well.
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« Reply #24 on: December 02, 2008, 04:09:35 AM »

Is that possible?

Yes, as of a year or two ago...though it's not yet being used for fertility treatments, it likely will be in the not so distant future.

Quote
What if the problem is an "inhospitable" womb for the woman involved? What options are available then?

Well, the artificial uterus is somewhat further away, though research over the last 8 years has been rather promising...we understand much more about the influence of the various hormones and growth factors necessary human gestation and in at least a few situations (such as testosterone levels) they could likely be administered more efficiently by an artificial system than a human mother's body is typically capable of. However, any such development is likely a decade or more beyond us today.

As for answering your question, I shall refrain at least on this forum. My intent was simply to provide a modern context for this discussion in light of recent medical advances. I'm sure everyone is quite aware of where I stand on issues of reproductive health.

Well, let us be thankful to science and human ingenuity for these recent advances.
But, within the context of this thread and the Convert Issues board, the discussion that really needs to keep our focus is on whether the use of these advances is ethical within an Orthodox phronema.  If you want to praise the science behind these advances, I recommend you start a separate thread in one of the FFA boards.
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« Reply #25 on: December 02, 2008, 04:11:39 AM »

I think the above would lead anyone to conclude that the Church does not approve of any sperm donations from a "third party".  As to "what could be wrong with this", I think the above snippet answers this question quite clearly, as well.

Perhaps, but it's as much an argument against adoption as against genetic donation:

Quote
However, manipulations involved in the donation of germ cells do [adoption does] violate the integrity of a person and the unique nature of marital relations by allowing of a third party to interfere. In addition, this practice encourages the irresponsible fatherhood or motherhood, admittedly free from any commitment to those who are «flesh of the flesh» of anonymous donors [biological parents]. The use of donor material [Adoption] undermines the foundations of family relationships, since it presupposes that a child has, in addition to the «social» parents, the so-called biological ones.
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« Reply #26 on: December 02, 2008, 04:14:55 AM »

Or, in the opposite example of the case you've described, there is no possibility for the man and wife to conceive a child... is it then sinful for a man and wife to give birth to a child from the sperm of a "third party"? What could be wrong with this?
I will simply defer to what LBK posted above, particularly in the following snippet:

However, manipulations involved in the donation of germ cells do violate the integrity of a person and the unique nature of marital relations by allowing of a third party to interfere. In addition, this practice encourages the irresponsible fatherhood or motherhood, admittedly free from any commitment to those who are «flesh of the flesh» of anonymous donors. The use of donor material undermines the foundations of family relationships, since it presupposes that a child has, in addition to the «social» parents, the so-called biological ones.

I think the above would lead anyone to conclude that the Church does not approve of any sperm donations from a "third party".  As to "what could be wrong with this", I think the above snippet answers this question quite clearly, as well.

So that leaves  adoption as the only possibility for couples who cannot conceive, but want to have children? Perhaps it is a sign from God when a woman is unable to conceive.  What if the couple decides to adopt? Has the Church  condemned those who have decided to put their babies up for adoption?
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« Reply #27 on: December 02, 2008, 04:18:32 AM »

But, within the context of this thread and the Convert Issues board, the discussion that really needs to keep our focus is on whether the use of these advances is ethical within an Orthodox phronema.  If you want to praise the science behind these advances, I recommend you start a separate thread in one of the FFA boards.

I did not opine on the ethics of these advances, I merely stated objective reality, I merely outlined the possibilites of modern science. If one's only objection to in vitro fertilization is that masturation is wrong, surely the fact that masturbation is unnecessary and the necessary cells can be created from a bone marrow sample is relevant?

You can argue the ethics of modern medicine as much as you'd like and I will leave that discussion to you, but, surely, ignoring scientific research and advances benefits no one.
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« Reply #28 on: December 02, 2008, 04:19:49 AM »

Perhaps, but it's as much an argument against adoption as against genetic donation:
Is this a roundabout way of saying that if we deem adoption acceptable, we should also deem fertilization by a third party's sperm acceptable?  Otherwise, what's your point in bringing up the analogy of adoption on a Convert Issues thread dealing with a potential convert's aversion to in vitro fertilization?  Or should I even ask this of you here?
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« Reply #29 on: December 02, 2008, 04:21:42 AM »

But, within the context of this thread and the Convert Issues board, the discussion that really needs to keep our focus is on whether the use of these advances is ethical within an Orthodox phronema.  If you want to praise the science behind these advances, I recommend you start a separate thread in one of the FFA boards.

I did not opine on the ethics of these advances, I merely stated objective reality, I merely outlined the possibilites of modern science. If one's only objection to in vitro fertilization is that masturation is wrong, surely the fact that masturbation is unnecessary and the necessary cells can be created from a bone marrow sample is relevant?

You can argue the ethics of modern medicine as much as you'd like and I will leave that discussion to you, but, surely, ignoring scientific research and advances benefits no one.

It would seem incredibly time consuming and costly to suggest a bone marrow sample over much easier masturbation.
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« Reply #30 on: December 02, 2008, 04:25:01 AM »

Is this a roundabout way of saying that if we deem adoption acceptable, we should also deem fertilization by a third party's sperm acceptable?  Otherwise, what's your point in bringing up the analogy of adoption on a Convert Issues thread dealing with a potential convert's aversion to in vitro fertilization?

Not at all, I was simply saying that by refering to an obviously flawed argument you were begging Bogoliubtsy legitimate and relevant question. The intent was rhetorical, not substantive.

Quote
Or should I even ask this of you here?

Probably not...I have taken considerable care on this forum to maintain discussion rather than commence debate. No need to derail the discussion now.
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« Reply #31 on: December 02, 2008, 04:28:19 AM »

But, within the context of this thread and the Convert Issues board, the discussion that really needs to keep our focus is on whether the use of these advances is ethical within an Orthodox phronema.  If you want to praise the science behind these advances, I recommend you start a separate thread in one of the FFA boards.

I did not opine on the ethics of these advances, I merely stated objective reality, I merely outlined the possibilites of modern science.
I recognize this.  I was actually speaking to Bogo, since HE was the one who spoke any thankfulness for the advances of modern science.  My words were not intended for you.

Quote
If one's only objection to in vitro fertilization is that masturation is wrong, surely the fact that masturbation is unnecessary and the necessary cells can be created from a bone marrow sample is relevant?
Maybe.  Why don't we let Mr. McAvoy determine this, if he decides to continue posting on this thread?

You can argue the ethics of modern medicine as much as you'd like and I will leave that discussion to you, but, surely, ignoring scientific research and advances benefits no one.
And that discussion of scientific research is most likely more appropriate for one of the FFA boards than for this thread addressing a potential convert's concerns about becoming Orthodox.  So why don't you start a thread addressing the science of IVF in the FFA - Non-Religious Topics board rather than continue trying to hijack this thread?
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« Reply #32 on: December 02, 2008, 04:29:01 AM »

It would seem incredibly time consuming and costly to suggest a bone marrow sample over much easier masturbation.

Hey, whatever does it for you, some people may prefer having a needle shoved through the walls of their bones...to each their own. Wink

But seriously, it is possible that a genetic deformity of the testicles or perhaps even an accident of some sort would make masturbation untenable and that's on top of the moral concerns of various people which was the point that caused me to reference the aforementioned research.
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« Reply #33 on: December 02, 2008, 04:35:37 AM »

And that discussion of scientific research is most likely more appropriate for one of the FFA boards than for this thread addressing a potential convert's concerns about becoming Orthodox.  So why don't you start a thread addressing the science of IVF in the FFA - Non-Religious Topics board rather than continue trying to hijack this thread?

Well, in that case I'll answer his question directly so we can be done with this whole thing:

You're not going to find any consistency on this matter in the Orthodox Church. You will find both those who are as radically opposed in vitro fertilization and contraception as the Vatican and those who point to these things as issues that separate the Orthodox from the Catholics. You will find a similar diversity of opinions amogst the Episcopacy with American, English, and Western European Bishops tending towards the left along with Constantinople and, occasionally, Alexandria.
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« Reply #34 on: December 02, 2008, 04:36:42 AM »

Not at all, I was simply saying that by refering to an obviously flawed argument you were begging Bogoliubtsy legitimate and relevant question. The intent was rhetorical, not substantive.
Christopher McAvoy started this thread with the intent of having his questions answered.  If Bogoliubtsy wants to ask specific questions about adoption and how the supposedly flawed argument advanced by the bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church can be used to prohibit this (though the statement LBK quoted appears to not even have adoption in mind), I suggest Bogoliubtsy take his questions to another thread so we can keep this thread devoted to answering Mr. McAvoy's concerns vis a vis in vitro fertilization.
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« Reply #35 on: December 02, 2008, 04:55:18 AM »

You're not going to find any consistency on this matter in the Orthodox Church. You will find both those who are as radically opposed in vitro fertilization and contraception as the Vatican and those who point to these things as issues that separate the Orthodox from the Catholics. You will find a similar diversity of opinions amogst the Episcopacy with American, English, and Western European Bishops tending towards the left along with Constantinople and, occasionally, Alexandria.
FINALLY!!!  Something that applies directly to the OP! Tongue

Okay, so what specifically has the Ecumenical Patriarchate historically had to say regarding the practice of in vitro fertilization?  Official documents would be nice.  Maybe your answers will speak to some of Mr. McAvoy's questions.
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« Reply #36 on: December 02, 2008, 05:20:25 AM »

You're not going to find any consistency on this matter in the Orthodox Church. You will find both those who are as radically opposed in vitro fertilization and contraception as the Vatican and those who point to these things as issues that separate the Orthodox from the Catholics. You will find a similar diversity of opinions amogst the Episcopacy with American, English, and Western European Bishops tending towards the left along with Constantinople and, occasionally, Alexandria.
FINALLY!!!  Something that applies directly to the OP! Tongue

Okay, so what specifically has the Ecumenical Patriarchate historically had to say regarding the practice of in vitro fertilization?  Official documents would be nice.  Maybe your answers will speak to some of Mr. McAvoy's questions.

His All-Holiness is far too intelligent to make himself so vulnerable my making a formal statement on the issue, you and I both know that he has never opined on the matter and probably never will. However, you could also give me a little credit, I never claimed he did, I merely spoke of political 'tendencies' to give the OP an idea of what to look for as he further investigates the issue, an issue that I have little doubt will not be resolvable by the esteemed posters on oc.net.
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« Reply #37 on: December 02, 2008, 06:08:13 AM »

Christopher McAvoy started this thread with the intent of having his questions answered.  If Bogoliubtsy wants to ask specific questions about adoption and how the supposedly flawed argument advanced by the bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church can be used to prohibit this (though the statement LBK quoted appears to not even have adoption in mind), I suggest Bogoliubtsy take his questions to another thread so we can keep this thread devoted to answering Mr. McAvoy's concerns vis a vis in vitro fertilization.

PtA, the excerpt I quoted does indeed mention the permissibility of adoption. Here it is, I have highlighted it in bold:

In the prayers of the marriage celebration, the Orthodox Church expresses the hope that childbirth, while being a desired fruit of lawful marriage, is not its only purpose. Along with «a fruit of the womb to profit», the Church asks for the gift of enduring love, chastity and «the harmony of the souls and bodies». Therefore, the Church cannot regard as morally justified the ways to childbirth disagreeable with the design of the Creator of life. If a husband or a wife is sterile and the therapeutic and surgical methods of infertility treatment do not help the spouses, they should humbly accept childlessness as a special calling in life. In these cases, pastoral counsel should consider the adoption of a child by the spouses' mutual consent. Among the admissible means of medical aid may be an artificial insemination by the husband's germ cells, since it does not violate the integrity of the marital union and does not differ basically from the natural conception and takes place in the context of marital relations.
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« Reply #38 on: December 02, 2008, 09:11:29 AM »

Hi Christopher,

Welcome to the forum!

My two cents: (1) if you really love Orthodoxy as you say you do, then there is no reason whatsoever not to convert. Of course, conversion is not a momentary thing, it's actually a long process, which should begin by you coming to an Orthodox priest and talking with him at length in person. (2) In the Orthodox Church, AFAIK, there is a clear distinction between dogmatics and the so-called "pastoral issues." Issues of dogmatics - for example, the concept of Trinity, the two natures of Christ in one Hypostasis, the resurrection of the body, etc. - must be known and interpreted by all Orhtodox in the same way, which is the Church's way, the interpretation of these issues that we get from the patristic body of work and from doctrinal decisions of Ecumenical Councils. On the other hand, issues like in vitro fertilization are NOT dogmatics but "pastoral issues." It means that the Church simply does NOT have one, "one-size-fits-it-all" point of view on them. When a faithful Orthodox experiences this issue in his/her life, he/she goes to the parish priest and discusses it with him. Here lies the difference between us and Roman Catholics (the latter believe that all issues must be addressed by the Church and be given one, universal opinion of the Church), and with Evangelical Protestants (who largely believe that any individual can find the one exact correct opinion on any issue in Scripture).

Best wishes, and may the Lord illumine your heart during your search for the Truth!

George
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« Reply #39 on: December 02, 2008, 11:14:52 AM »

Christopher McAvoy started this thread with the intent of having his questions answered.  If Bogoliubtsy wants to ask specific questions about adoption and how the supposedly flawed argument advanced by the bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church can be used to prohibit this (though the statement LBK quoted appears to not even have adoption in mind), I suggest Bogoliubtsy take his questions to another thread so we can keep this thread devoted to answering Mr. McAvoy's concerns vis a vis in vitro fertilization.

PtA, the excerpt I quoted does indeed mention the permissibility of adoption. Here it is, I have highlighted it in bold:

In the prayers of the marriage celebration, the Orthodox Church expresses the hope that childbirth, while being a desired fruit of lawful marriage, is not its only purpose. Along with «a fruit of the womb to profit», the Church asks for the gift of enduring love, chastity and «the harmony of the souls and bodies». Therefore, the Church cannot regard as morally justified the ways to childbirth disagreeable with the design of the Creator of life. If a husband or a wife is sterile and the therapeutic and surgical methods of infertility treatment do not help the spouses, they should humbly accept childlessness as a special calling in life. In these cases, pastoral counsel should consider the adoption of a child by the spouses' mutual consent. Among the admissible means of medical aid may be an artificial insemination by the husband's germ cells, since it does not violate the integrity of the marital union and does not differ basically from the natural conception and takes place in the context of marital relations.
Cool! Cool  I thought this was the case.  I took a small snippet out of your quote of the Moscow Jubilee to answer a question, and GiC evidently (in a veiled attempt to discredit this statement of the ROC?) honed in on what little I snipped and made its logic out to be anti-adoption without looking at the broader excerpt that you quoted.
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« Reply #40 on: December 02, 2008, 11:26:58 AM »

Cool! Cool  I thought this was the case.  I took a small snippet out of your quote of the Moscow Jubilee to answer a question, and GiC evidently (in a veiled attempt to discredit this statement of the ROC?) honed in on what little I snipped and made its logic out to be anti-adoption without looking at the broader excerpt that you quoted.

That's right, I didn't actually believe that the Russians formally supported adoption, thanks for clearing that up. Roll Eyes

WOW...
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« Reply #41 on: December 02, 2008, 01:11:02 PM »

Here lies the difference between us and Roman Catholics (the latter believe that all issues must be addressed by the Church and be given one, universal opinion of the Church),

Not all issues---just those issues of faith and morals that have yet been revealed to us. Artificial contraception was universally condemned by all Christian communions from the 1st century to the 20th. So this is not simply a matter of the RC Church getting over-dogmatic. We just haven't changed our teaching.

Now that that clarification is over, I wanted to point out that there is something called a perforated condom. It allows semen to pass through and thus is open to fertilization, but it also collects enough semen for testing. Catholics are permitted to use it to provide semen samples.
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« Reply #42 on: December 02, 2008, 10:00:51 PM »

This latin man speaks the truth in this instance.
"We just haven't changed our teaching." Thank God this is one of the things that the Latin (papal) Catholic Church has not changed. Unlike for instance the Roman heterodox view of cremation. I desire to be in communion with the Church that does not change it's true teaching to demonic lies.
 
I object to Invitro Fertilization for the same reasons that the Georgian Orthodox Church objects to it.
The bold arrogant questioning from some members of my motives is an insult to the Georgian Church and true Orthodoxy. I was hoping to find consistency in upholding the truth among Churches which claim to be Orthodox. Throughout history heresies have crept into the Church, with great prayer and struggle the heresies do not succeed because at least one part of the Church always believes in the truth.

Quote
"It is well known that it was at the Ignatian Council of 869-870 that this Pentarchic idea was particularly developed. It will suffice here to cite the words by which the patrician Baanes, the representative of Basil I, defined this idea:

God founded His Church on the five patriarchs and in the Gospels He defined that it could never completely fail because they are the chiefs of the Church. In effect Christ had said: "...and the gates of hell shall not prevail against her," which means: if two of them should happen to fail, they will turn to the three others, if three of them happen to fail, they shall address themselves to two others; and if by chance four of them come to failure the last who dwells in Christ Our God, the Chief of all, will restore again the rest of the body of the Church." (from a book by Francis Dvornik)

I wish to be under the jurisdiction of a Metropolitan, Catholicos or Patriarch that upholds the same true teaching as the Georgian Catholicos Illia II. Otherwise I must be part of the Georgian Church (which I do love quite deeply with their very unique almost armenian traditions) I have nothing further to say on this matter that would not be said by any Georgian representative. Knowing that masturbation of genitals can be involved only adds to the perversion of this gravely de-humanising demonic act. Despite the fact that a perforated condom exists I would be amazed if they were actually required to be used by many of the "orthodox" representative hierarches in the USA.

In the sinful act of "contraception" we see fear and spurning of children. In the sinful act of "invitro fertilization" we see the fear of having no children.

In both acts as in all sin there is a lack of trust that God cares for us and will protect us.
There is no faith. Of course however we must accept children no matter how they are conceived as the Georgian representative says. Children are innocent in the sins of their parents.

The acceptance of invitro-fertilization is part of the slippery slope of moral decline which is a grave threat to human life. The line between abortion and contraception and invitro fertilization is very thin. From their influence and popularity we gradually find acceptance of human cloning, of mixing animal and human DNA. Thoughts that cause the demons great delight.

That one or two people here insinuate masturbation to not be disordered is shameful.

I am no longer posting any further responses to this question for this forum.
I thank you for your views where they have been helpful. Especially from "Super Mensch" and PetertheAleut.

Below I list quotes from the internet of Orthodox and Heterodox views of procreation

This is the Orthodox Church I believe in:

Quote
One of the reasons for Ellen’s secrecy is because the Georgian Orthodox Church is against in-vitro fertilization. Vakhtang Akaladze is the general director of the Georgian Patriarchate Health Affairs Department, his position in the Orthodox Church is “Hegumen” and he is also a medical doctor in the Patriarchy’s health care facility. The Patriarchy of Georgia is the owner of a facility which treats both paying patients and which takes all women with state health insurance on for free. “The creation of a human is more then just putting these cells into test-tubes. The in-vitro fertilization method is unacceptable because with in-vitro only the couple’s male and female cells are presented, there are none of the psychological, endocrine or hormonal processes that are presented during the normal fertilization process,” says Akhaladze. But he also mentioned that the kids created using this method are ordinary kids and society should not have a ‘special’ attitude toward them.

According to Akhaladze there are other ways to have a baby. In Bodbe, in the Kakheti region, the monastery of St.Nino has a spring whose water is considered to be able to work miracles. For many years, even in winter, childless women have come to this place and have bathed in the cold water. “If a woman really believes in positive results this method will work – and I know many women who became pregnant after visiting this place. There are also such places in Tsalka, and the Javakheti region,” says Akhaladze.

http://georgiandaily.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=2880&Itemid=134

or:

Quote
B – TEST TUBE BABIES

      However, in vitro fertilization (test tube babies) according to which the ovum and the sperm are united outside the wife’s body present serious problems to the Orthodox conscience. In this procedure the cells which produce the ova (oocytes) are removed from a wife’s body, fertilized by the sperm of husband or donor, kept in a laboratory culture solution until they reach a certain stage of development (blastocyte stage) and subsequently transferred and implanted in the mother’s womb. Serious objection is raised here to the fact that many more eggs are fertilized than can be used; those not used are discarded. This is easily seen to be the killing of potential life: abortion. Though there are a few cases of well born test tube babies, we do not know the effects of this procedure on all children who would be born from these methods. We do know that many deformities can and have taken place in test tube experiments. Finally, objections must be raised in terms of the mentality created by such a practice. As a step which dehumanizes life and which separates so dramatically the personal relations of a married couple from childbearing it is very suspect. For the above-mentioned reasons, the Orthodox Church does not encourage its members to become involve din invitro fertilization procedures, nor does it seem that it would be wise for society in general to encourage this practice.

http://www.orthodoxresearchinstitute.org/articles/ethics/goarch_moral_statements_1984.htm

This is the Hetero-dox Church I do not believe in:


Quote
"artificial insemination....does not violate the integrity of the marital union and does not differ basically from the natural conception and takes place in the context of marital relations"

As mentioned earlier by another forum user, we see from the Moscow synod that they are in heresy by the teaching of their synod.

Quote
So, now you say, "One of the purposes is the procreation of children. So, if there was a means to make this happen, or help it happen, what would be wrong with it?" Well, an argument that could be used, say, from the "old" Roman Catholic tradition would be, "It's artificial." But, that doesn’t really make sense. Can only sex be "unartificial," while everything else in our lives can be artificial, that is technological? In class, I used to take my glasses off at this point and say, "I guess my glasses are sinful because they’re technological." Is there something wrong with technology just because its technology? One of the things that I like to point out from eucharistic theology, especially in ecological discussions, is that bread does not fall off trees. Bread is a technological invention, as is wine. Both of those are not just nature. We’re not offering fruits - actually according to the canons, we’re not allowed to offer fruits with the bread and wine of the Eucharist. We offer what we have already mixed into our intellect, our artistic ability, our technology, as represented by this bread and wine.

So, to me, to be human is to be homo technicus in some way, though not totally. How does this apply to in vitro fertilization? If, somehow or another, husband and wife can be assisted in procreation - we don’t stop elsewhere - the glasses were an example - this would help one of the purposes of marriage to be fulfilled. And that is good.

But, there is a caveat. The primary source for this argument is marriage. So, the endorsement of in vitro fertilization applies to spouses only.

http://www.stnina.org/journal/art/2.1.5

Quote
"Orthodox writers have not dealt with artificial inovulation and in vitro fertilization procedures. It would seem consistent, though, to hold that, so long as the sperm and ovum are those of the husband and wife, and the wife carried the child to term, such procedures would not in themselves be objectionable."

http://www.goarch.org/ourfaith/ourfaith8076


Quote
"I hope I don't get my head bitten off here but the OCA, GOA and AOC all allow invitro. They require all embyros to be implanted but they do allow it. You can find this on the websites."

"Of two couples I know from AOC parishes they both were given the go from their priest without the "all must be used requirement"... well let me be specific: one couple was told that they could do it as long as they made sure the unused portion was given to people who couldn't conceive. I'm more of the opinion that that is more Franken-science than the more common total use requirement"

http://www.byzcath.org/forums/ubbthreads.php/topics/290113/Re_Catholic_looking_into_Easte


Quote
*To some Orthodox this also excludes artificial insemination and in vitro fertilization, but that is another issue.

(notice some and not all, as if it is individual personal preference and there is no absolute universal truth taught by the Church and God throughout the ages of ages.)

http://www.stsophiaacademy.net/node/16948


Quote
Pro-life couples going through in-vitro fertilization can (and Orthodox faithful do) specify that no “extras” be conceived than will be implanted in the mother.

http://www.antiochian.org/stem-cell-research

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« Reply #43 on: December 02, 2008, 10:18:34 PM »

You use the pronoun "I" too much.
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« Reply #44 on: December 02, 2008, 10:24:13 PM »

I am no longer posting any further responses to this question for this forum.
I thank you for your views where they have been helpful. Especially from "Super Mensch" and PetertheAleut.

As a point of clarity, do keep in mind that while I have a Masters in Orthodox Theology and am relatively familiar with the workings and internal politics of the Orthodox Church, I am an atheist and that surely influences my views.
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« Reply #45 on: December 02, 2008, 11:05:16 PM »

I am no longer posting any further responses to this question for this forum.
I thank you for your views where they have been helpful. Especially from "Super Mensch" and PetertheAleut.

Let's see here. You ask a question where you will only accept one answer. What was the point??
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« Reply #46 on: December 03, 2008, 02:01:15 AM »

This latin man speaks the truth in this instance.
"We just haven't changed our teaching." Thank God this is one of the things that the Latin (papal) Catholic Church has not changed. Unlike for instance the Roman heterodox view of cremation. I desire to be in communion with the Church that does not change it's true teaching to demonic lies.
So, you have made yourself the ultimate arbiter of truth and heresy, just as I had feared. Roll Eyes

The bold arrogant questioning from some members of my motives is an insult to the Georgian Church and true Orthodoxy.
No one here is insulting the Georgian Orthodox Church or true Orthodoxy, so stop with the phony identifications.  We question your motives, and that's it.  Is there anything wrong with that?

I was hoping to find consistency in upholding the truth among Churches which claim to be Orthodox. Throughout history heresies have crept into the Church, with great prayer and struggle the heresies do not succeed because at least one part of the Church always believes in the truth.
So the problem of in vitro fertilization is the great heresy of our time. Roll Eyes  Would you put it on the same level as the great Triadological or Christological heresies of yesteryear?  Or even on the same level as the Branch Theory ecumenist heresies of the current day?
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« Reply #47 on: December 03, 2008, 03:12:53 AM »

A fanatic is one who redoubles his effort when he has lost sight of his aim.  Roll Eyes
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« Reply #48 on: December 03, 2008, 03:17:19 AM »

A fanatic is one who redoubles his effort when he has lost sight of his aim.  Roll Eyes
LOL! laugh Tongue
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« Reply #49 on: December 03, 2008, 09:29:55 AM »

I am no longer posting any further responses to this question for this forum.
I thank you for your views where they have been helpful. Especially from "Super Mensch" and PetertheAleut.

Let's see here. You ask a question where you will only accept one answer. What was the point??

I read through the entire thread (seems a waste of time now) and all I am left with is a sense of disbelief that someone would come to a forum, ask such a loaded question, refuse to hear any answer other than the one he has decided beforehand is the only "correct" answer and then shut down all communication about his pet topic.

Seems rather a pointless waste of time both on the OP's part and on the part of all responding.  Huh
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« Reply #50 on: December 03, 2008, 10:20:54 AM »

Here lies the difference between us and Roman Catholics (the latter believe that all issues must be addressed by the Church and be given one, universal opinion of the Church),

Not all issues---just those issues of faith and morals that have yet been revealed to us. Artificial contraception was universally condemned by all Christian communions from the 1st century to the 20th. So this is not simply a matter of the RC Church getting over-dogmatic. We just haven't changed our teaching.

Thank you, Luberti, of course, you are right - not every single issue of life, just issues of faith and morals (e.g. no Catholic is under obligation to know the one universal opinion of the Church about which football teeam is better.Smiley  )
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« Reply #51 on: December 03, 2008, 10:43:05 PM »

Christopher, welcome to the forum!   Smiley
I don't think Christopher's talking about the product of IVF, an infant child, since a child is a child is a child, and all are sacred and worthy of love in God's eyes.  I think Christopher objects more to the process of IVF, which makes your reply somewhat irrelevant.

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I need to understand how a father masturbating to conceive a child is relates to the theology and Orthodox Christianity.

Irrelevant?   Huh.  So, Christopher wants to know if a child conceived via self-abuse (e.g. masturbation to produce sperm for IVF) has any basis in Orthodox Theology?  I still think my answer is relevant because if the child is not being condemned, then the actions of the man inflicting self-abuse solely for IVF of his wife cannot be condemned.   Wink

We can debate having multiple children via IVF (e.g. McCaughey septuplets) and selective embryo destruction but that's beyond the scope of the OP.   Wink

I've heard of couples getting the "specimen" from a condemn with a hole in it (to satisfy Humanae Vitae).  Would that satisfy everyone?
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« Reply #52 on: December 03, 2008, 10:44:05 PM »

To my knowledge, if an Orthodox bishop ever blesses an in vitro fertilization, the permission would be granted ONLY on the basis that the sperm used in the fertilization came ONLY from the woman's husband and from no other, as also the ovum must come ONLY from the man's wife and from no other.  As I've heard Fr. John Breck, the OCA's leading scholar on matters of Orthodox bioethics, speak on this subject, the underlying Orthodox principle is that procreation must only be the fruit of a loving relationship between a man and his wife and cannot be dependent on any donation made by a third party, whether it be another man's sperm or another woman's womb.  Even then, the couple needs to be certified as unable to conceive through the natural means of marital relations for in vitro to be considered.  Of course, this is all based on the big IF--IF a bishop ever blesses this quite exceptional oikonomia.

What if the only option is adoption? Or, in the opposite example of the case you've described, there is no possibility for the man and wife to conceive a child... is it then sinful for a man and wife to give birth to a child from the sperm of a "third party"? What could be wrong with this?

Remember what happened to Onan?

Years ago (almost decades) there was a study on "third party" sperm donations, and it found that witout exception it took a fatal toll on the marital relationship.  One thing was that inevitably the wife through it in the husband's face that he couldn't get her pregnant, and someone else had to, with a crippling effect on the husband's role subsequently in the marriage.
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« Reply #53 on: December 03, 2008, 10:45:18 PM »

Is that possible?

Yes, as of a year or two ago...though it's not yet being used for fertility treatments, it likely will be in the not so distant future.

Quote
What if the problem is an "inhospitable" womb for the woman involved? What options are available then?

Well, the artificial uterus is somewhat further away, though research over the last 8 years has been rather promising...we understand much more about the influence of the various hormones and growth factors necessary human gestation and in at least a few situations (such as testosterone levels) they could likely be administered more efficiently by an artificial system than a human mother's body is typically capable of. However, any such development is likely a decade or more beyond us today.

As for answering your question, I shall refrain at least on this forum. My intent was simply to provide a modern context for this discussion in light of recent medical advances. I'm sure everyone is quite aware of where I stand on issues of reproductive health.

Yes. Don't do it: the planet is overpopulated. Roll Eyes
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« Reply #54 on: December 03, 2008, 10:49:14 PM »

Here lies the difference between us and Roman Catholics (the latter believe that all issues must be addressed by the Church and be given one, universal opinion of the Church),

Not all issues---just those issues of faith and morals that have yet been revealed to us. Artificial contraception was universally condemned by all Christian communions from the 1st century to the 20th. So this is not simply a matter of the RC Church getting over-dogmatic. We just haven't changed our teaching.

Not so fast.  Those who condemned ABC also condemned NFP, which is the reason why Humanae Vitae is weak on the patristics of the matter.
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« Reply #55 on: December 03, 2008, 10:51:16 PM »

I am no longer posting any further responses to this question for this forum.
I thank you for your views where they have been helpful. Especially from "Super Mensch" and PetertheAleut.

As a point of clarity, do keep in mind that while I have a Masters in Orthodox Theology and am relatively familiar with the workings and internal politics of the Orthodox Church, I am an atheist and that surely influences my views.

I have to applaud your honesty.
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« Reply #56 on: December 03, 2008, 11:33:23 PM »

All I will say is this: my bishop allows it to me, and if I wanted to remain celibate I would've become a monk and/or gotten ordained instead of marrying my trophy wife. I really don't think this an issue that should be at the forefront when considering joining the Church.
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« Reply #57 on: December 03, 2008, 11:48:44 PM »

To my knowledge, if an Orthodox bishop ever blesses an in vitro fertilization, the permission would be granted ONLY on the basis that the sperm used in the fertilization came ONLY from the woman's husband and from no other, as also the ovum must come ONLY from the man's wife and from no other.  As I've heard Fr. John Breck, the OCA's leading scholar on matters of Orthodox bioethics, speak on this subject, the underlying Orthodox principle is that procreation must only be the fruit of a loving relationship between a man and his wife and cannot be dependent on any donation made by a third party, whether it be another man's sperm or another woman's womb.  Even then, the couple needs to be certified as unable to conceive through the natural means of marital relations for in vitro to be considered.  Of course, this is all based on the big IF--IF a bishop ever blesses this quite exceptional oikonomia.

What if the only option is adoption? Or, in the opposite example of the case you've described, there is no possibility for the man and wife to conceive a child... is it then sinful for a man and wife to give birth to a child from the sperm of a "third party"? What could be wrong with this?

Remember what happened to Onan?
So what does Onanism have to do with this discussion?
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« Reply #58 on: December 04, 2008, 12:21:47 AM »

To my knowledge, if an Orthodox bishop ever blesses an in vitro fertilization, the permission would be granted ONLY on the basis that the sperm used in the fertilization came ONLY from the woman's husband and from no other, as also the ovum must come ONLY from the man's wife and from no other.  As I've heard Fr. John Breck, the OCA's leading scholar on matters of Orthodox bioethics, speak on this subject, the underlying Orthodox principle is that procreation must only be the fruit of a loving relationship between a man and his wife and cannot be dependent on any donation made by a third party, whether it be another man's sperm or another woman's womb.  Even then, the couple needs to be certified as unable to conceive through the natural means of marital relations for in vitro to be considered.  Of course, this is all based on the big IF--IF a bishop ever blesses this quite exceptional oikonomia.

What if the only option is adoption? Or, in the opposite example of the case you've described, there is no possibility for the man and wife to conceive a child... is it then sinful for a man and wife to give birth to a child from the sperm of a "third party"? What could be wrong with this?

Remember what happened to Onan?
So what does Onanism have to do with this discussion?

See the bold face.

Yes, I know the Third Party in this case spilt it, and dad had to do the deed.  But the situation was less than ideal, and similar to the "what could be wrong with this?"

What if children of that "Third Party" marry?  It has happened with sperm donation the old fashioned way.
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« Reply #59 on: December 04, 2008, 01:05:12 AM »

To my knowledge, if an Orthodox bishop ever blesses an in vitro fertilization, the permission would be granted ONLY on the basis that the sperm used in the fertilization came ONLY from the woman's husband and from no other, as also the ovum must come ONLY from the man's wife and from no other.  As I've heard Fr. John Breck, the OCA's leading scholar on matters of Orthodox bioethics, speak on this subject, the underlying Orthodox principle is that procreation must only be the fruit of a loving relationship between a man and his wife and cannot be dependent on any donation made by a third party, whether it be another man's sperm or another woman's womb.  Even then, the couple needs to be certified as unable to conceive through the natural means of marital relations for in vitro to be considered.  Of course, this is all based on the big IF--IF a bishop ever blesses this quite exceptional oikonomia.

What if the only option is adoption? Or, in the opposite example of the case you've described, there is no possibility for the man and wife to conceive a child... is it then sinful for a man and wife to give birth to a child from the sperm of a "third party"? What could be wrong with this?

Remember what happened to Onan?
So what does Onanism have to do with this discussion?

See the bold face.

Yes, I know the Third Party in this case spilt it, and dad had to do the deed.  But the situation was less than ideal, and similar to the "what could be wrong with this?"

What if children of that "Third Party" marry?  It has happened with sperm donation the old fashioned way.
You're actually speaking of the Levirate marriage practice, wherein a man would marry his elder brother's widow, in the event she did not bear him a child before he died, so that the elder brother would have a child to inherit his estate.  We see in Genesis 38:1-12 that God actually commanded Onan to do this for his brother, so his sin was not that he donated sperm as a "third party" but that he spilled his seed on the ground after God had commanded him to "donate" it to his brother's widow.
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« Reply #60 on: December 04, 2008, 04:54:35 AM »

I thank you for your views where they have been helpful. Especially from "Super Mensch" and PetertheAleut.

Can I request a username change for greekischristian aka Orson Welles the former lover of Betty Dodson at which I request we sneer at you with the above label? Moderators can you make this happen? Aka Good Times... I chuckled, I smirked now I beg Please.
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« Reply #61 on: December 04, 2008, 09:55:02 AM »

I thank you for your views where they have been helpful. Especially from "Super Mensch" and PetertheAleut.

Can I request a username change for greekischristian aka Orson Welles the former lover of Betty Dodson at which I request we sneer at you with the above label? Moderators can you make this happen? Aka Good Times... I chuckled, I smirked now I beg Please.

Is this supposed to be some kind of ad hominem?  Why would we want to support any sneering at anyone?  Does that somehow make us more righteous than the person at whom we're sneering?
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« Reply #62 on: December 04, 2008, 10:43:27 AM »

I thank you for your views where they have been helpful. Especially from "Super Mensch" and PetertheAleut.

Can I request a username change for greekischristian aka Orson Welles the former lover of Betty Dodson at which I request we sneer at you with the above label? Moderators can you make this happen? Aka Good Times... I chuckled, I smirked now I beg Please.


He's a human being with an immortal soul (whether he believes that or not) and he sticks around here for some reason so we are not going to chase him off in case somehow by God's grace he can be converted (and even if he doesn't we will still love him).  He doesn't get any special treatment and has been moderated but he will be treated with respect.
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« Reply #63 on: December 04, 2008, 12:06:29 PM »

I thank you for your views where they have been helpful. Especially from "Super Mensch" and PetertheAleut.

Can I request a username change for greekischristian aka Orson Welles the former lover of Betty Dodson at which I request we sneer at you with the above label? Moderators can you make this happen? Aka Good Times... I chuckled, I smirked now I beg Please.


He's a human being with an immortal soul (whether he believes that or not) and he sticks around here for some reason so we are not going to chase him off in case somehow by God's grace he can be converted (and even if he doesn't we will still love him).  He doesn't get any special treatment and has been moderated but he will be treated with respect.
Is that what the Orthodox teach today. That the soul is immortal? I consider GIC a Christian with doubts. I think all Christians have some degree of doubt. Otherwise faith wouldn't be needed. If Christ was here today, faith wouldn't be an issue. Faith would be 100% realized in Christ. I believe GIC is going through a metamorphosis from a platonic to a existential view of life. which is btw the correct view. He just hasn't sorted everything out complete yet and that is where his turmoil lies.
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« Reply #64 on: December 04, 2008, 12:21:22 PM »

To my knowledge, if an Orthodox bishop ever blesses an in vitro fertilization, the permission would be granted ONLY on the basis that the sperm used in the fertilization came ONLY from the woman's husband and from no other, as also the ovum must come ONLY from the man's wife and from no other.  As I've heard Fr. John Breck, the OCA's leading scholar on matters of Orthodox bioethics, speak on this subject, the underlying Orthodox principle is that procreation must only be the fruit of a loving relationship between a man and his wife and cannot be dependent on any donation made by a third party, whether it be another man's sperm or another woman's womb.  Even then, the couple needs to be certified as unable to conceive through the natural means of marital relations for in vitro to be considered.  Of course, this is all based on the big IF--IF a bishop ever blesses this quite exceptional oikonomia.

What if the only option is adoption? Or, in the opposite example of the case you've described, there is no possibility for the man and wife to conceive a child... is it then sinful for a man and wife to give birth to a child from the sperm of a "third party"? What could be wrong with this?

Remember what happened to Onan?
So what does Onanism have to do with this discussion?

See the bold face.

Yes, I know the Third Party in this case spilt it, and dad had to do the deed.  But the situation was less than ideal, and similar to the "what could be wrong with this?"

What if children of that "Third Party" marry?  It has happened with sperm donation the old fashioned way.
You're actually speaking of the Levirate marriage practice, wherein a man would marry his elder brother's widow, in the event she did not bear him a child before he died, so that the elder brother would have a child to inherit his estate.  We see in Genesis 38:1-12 that God actually commanded Onan to do this for his brother, so his sin was not that he donated sperm as a "third party" but that he spilled his seed on the ground after God had commanded him to "donate" it to his brother's widow.

As the boldface shows, I am aware of the circumstances.  Doesn't change anything, as I put that down with the command to kill all the Canaanites, the murder/abduction of wives for the Benjamites, the command to send aware the non-Hebrew wives and their children by Ezra, etc.etc.etc.

The fact remains, that Onan did it for a reason: He knew the child would not be his.  So I will reiterate, going into such situations is not a good idea, from which the harm springs.
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« Reply #65 on: December 04, 2008, 12:24:20 PM »


Is that what the Orthodox teach today. That the soul is immortal? I consider GIC a Christian with doubts. I think all Christians have some degree of doubt. Otherwise faith wouldn't be needed. If Christ was here today, faith wouldn't be an issue. Faith would be 100% realized in Christ. I believe GIC is going through a metamorphosis from a platonic to a existential view of life. which is btw the correct view. He just hasn't sorted everything out complete yet and that is where his turmoil lies.

I will not engage you on your soul-is-not-immortal debate. That was not the point of my post.
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« Reply #66 on: December 04, 2008, 01:20:36 PM »


Is that what the Orthodox teach today. That the soul is immortal? I consider GIC a Christian with doubts. I think all Christians have some degree of doubt. Otherwise faith wouldn't be needed. If Christ was here today, faith wouldn't be an issue. Faith would be 100% realized in Christ. I believe GIC is going through a metamorphosis from a platonic to a existential view of life. which is btw the correct view. He just hasn't sorted everything out complete yet and that is where his turmoil lies.

I will not engage you on your soul-is-not-immortal debate. That was not the point of my post.
Nor, Demetrios, is it the topic of this thread.
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« Reply #67 on: December 04, 2008, 02:52:22 PM »

In response to my sneer it was intended to be a euphemism as GreekisChristian has an oxymoronic ring to it. Supermensch would just be plain ironic as he in not jewish who saves the day when people tell him that they don't need to be saved.
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« Reply #68 on: December 04, 2008, 04:38:32 PM »

alexp4uni, mensch is not necessarily Yiddish. It's actually German.
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« Reply #69 on: December 04, 2008, 04:55:23 PM »

In response to my sneer it was intended to be a euphemism as GreekisChristian has an oxymoronic ring to it. Supermensch would just be plain ironic as he in not jewish who saves the day when people tell him that they don't need to be saved.

As LBK pointed out, Mensch is really just a German word and I think GiC is using it in the context of the Nietzschian "UberMensch", or "Superman".
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« Reply #70 on: December 04, 2008, 05:11:45 PM »

point taken
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« Reply #71 on: December 04, 2008, 05:35:49 PM »

In response to my sneer it was intended to be a euphemism as GreekisChristian has an oxymoronic ring to it. Supermensch would just be plain ironic as he in not jewish who saves the day when people tell him that they don't need to be saved.

As LBK pointed out, Mensch is really just a German word and I think GiC is using it in the context of the Nietzschian "UberMensch", or "Superman".

Actually ozgeorge is the one who gave me the avatar...thought 'supermensch' was rather comical, so I've kept it. Plus, it'll probably get me in less trouble here than the picture of a scantily clad Marisa Miller he replaced with it.
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« Reply #72 on: December 04, 2008, 06:00:27 PM »

In response to my sneer it was intended to be a euphemism as GreekisChristian has an oxymoronic ring to it. Supermensch would just be plain ironic as he in not jewish who saves the day when people tell him that they don't need to be saved.

As LBK pointed out, Mensch is really just a German word and I think GiC is using it in the context of the Nietzschian "UberMensch", or "Superman".

Actually ozgeorge is the one who gave me the avatar...thought 'supermensch' was rather comical, so I've kept it. Plus, it'll probably get me in less trouble here than the picture of a scantily clad Marisa Miller he replaced with it.

I can't find the post and the picture was deleted due to the server crash. But the mysterious GiC was apparently the star in Citzen Kane. Or I think it was just Celebrity Profile pic none the less



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