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Author Topic: Contraception & Natural Law  (Read 41518 times) Average Rating: 0
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kaarina33
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« Reply #90 on: May 18, 2009, 07:02:03 AM »

So the medical answer is "probably"?

Verifiable (pregnancy has been verified by a pregnancy test) "spontaneous loss of pregnancy in in the entire female population (rates are higher or lower depending on age of mother, age of father, previous history of miscarriage, and number of pregnancies.  First pregnancies have a higher rate of spontaneous miscarriage.

* 1 in 4 women who gets pregnant will experience a miscarriage

* 15% of all pregnancies ends in a miscarriage

These are numbers that women have no control over....there may be a chromosome abnormality, hormonal imbalance, or the fertilized egg fails to implant or implants in a location that results in fetal death.

There are estimates that anywhere from 30-60 percent of all pregnancies result in spontaneous miscarriage, these statistics include loss so early and asymptomatic, that the moms don't even know they were pregnant. (don't gang up on me, I know it's controversial, it's probably not as high as 60 percent, but I know it's not ZERO, either).  These studies and stats are not from propaganda put out by pro-choice groups...this is just medical facts, and the way the human body works. Take it up with God.

My question is of all the articles I have read claiming the birth control pill is just causes abortions, there have been no studies sited, if there have been any studies, that the pill causes spontaneous abortions over and above these rates.  I know the way it's supposed to work is to inhibit ovulation....but if there is ovulation, the imbalance in hormone could result in loss of the fetus, though I have located studies that women who get pregnant while on the pill are NOT more likely to miscarry....so in is conceivable (no pun intended  Roll Eyes) that there are actually less pregnancy losses for women taking the pill...if it works properly and there is no egg released to be at risk for these "naturally" occurring miscarriages.

My point is, if you are against "artificial birth control", just come out and say it-if that is what the church teaches, that should be all that needs to be said


The culture wars/that spreading inaccurate information at the speed of light via the internet has escalated the pro-life rhetoric to absurdity and harmed their own cause and credibility;--and unless you can back it up with studies, statistics, or even a theory to back up claims... (and, btw,conducted by parties without an agenda) please, or please don't insult women's intelligence with junk science, or please don't try to manipulate/or threaten them with accusations that there is no difference between a woman using taking the pill,  and a woman who deliberately walks into an abortion clinic and kills her baby. (yes I was told that over at CAF, when I mentioned I used the pill while on longterm medication for lupus (a chronic.lifelong condition). The medicine, methotrexate is used to induce abortions in ectopic pregnancy and but will cause most pregnancies to end in miscarriage; and if a pregnancy does go to term, the rate of severe birth defects is as high as 70+ percent....but on the bright side; several people spoke very highly of what a blessing a "special needs"child
can be, and can actually strengthen a marriage....I checked the calendar, it was not April 1st, and needless to say, go to CAF anymore....ironically I was over there to improve my marriage because my husband is Roman Catholic and I am always trying to find common ground and understand his faith. I gave that up too....our destiny is not common ground, it's learning humility, love, forgiveness and  developing the superhuman ability to control the tongue.

The thing on the BCP was an excuse to post and get around to asking for prayers, but also a wee bit of  a preemptive strike to avoid some of the most useless, rude, and hurtful waste of time space and energy that have made the art of civil conversation and respect rare birds on too many threads;
I would like to have an conversation that qualifies as I-Thou and not I-it interchange.
In other I would like to be an equal partner, (a brother. sister in Christ) in a conversation, not somebody's project, or "yes" man...if you want to know if something  your church believes, or some worship practice or devotion has the Orthodox stamp of approval...I DON'T KNOW...IN FACT THERE IS SO MUCH I DON'T KNOW, REAL LIFE.FAITH STRUGGLES, I WAS HOPING YOU COULD TELL ME HOW TO GET UP AFTER YOU FALL OR FAIL FOR THE 50,000TH TIME.
 :angel:see that angel smiley that won't even show it's face in my post (that's par for the course lately)....definitely NOT me; do you have anything with horns.

I don't know if this post is in the right place, but I have been sick and stuck at home and right now, this is one of the few places I can hang out an talk to other Orthodox Christians....I suppose this whole thing belongs where-ever anybody could offer up a prayer for me, for us.



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« Reply #91 on: May 18, 2009, 07:32:28 AM »

I must admit that I found reading this thread incredibly discouraging; I had often feared that sharing the conclusions of my personal theological and historical research might lead to scandal or confusion, but, as this thread has shown, the level of ambiguity and confusion that *already* exists on extremely relevant questions of sexual morality within our contemporary context is absolutely intolerable and harmful to those attempting to take their faith seriously within a dating or marriage relationship.

No. You are wrong on that, dear friend. It WOULD be so if we were the Roman Catholic Church with her "the Church (Pope) says so and so about this and that." But we aren't. Our whole understanding of what we do and why is different from the Roman "juridic," dogmatic, doctrinal understanding. We have our priests, God bless them; and with them, we discuss things like contraception if we feel that these things tand on the way of our theosis. Discuss, of course, confidentially and on a personal, case-to-case, basis. That's all. My only reason for even participating in this thread is to tell my brothers and sisters from the Roman archdiocese that they simply should not try to find out, just what is it that the Orthodox Church teaches on contraception - because She does not.

That's NOT "confusing" or "causing ambiguity." On the contrary, this situation makes us, individual members of the Body of Christ, a lot more - not less - responsible ofr what WE do in our lives. 
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« Reply #92 on: May 18, 2009, 08:17:02 AM »

More likely, you did not know enough about the Catholic Church before you left.

I knew enough to keep searching until I found the fulness of truth. But thanks anyway fro your opinion all wise one!  laugh
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« Reply #93 on: May 18, 2009, 08:22:28 AM »

my brothers and sisters from the Roman archdiocese that they simply should not try to find out, just what is it that the Orthodox Church teaches on contraception - because She does not.

Dear Heorhij,

Christ is Risen!

The Russian Orthodox Church does have a teaching on contraception, at least in broad thems.  It was formulated by the Synod of Russian Bishops at its Millennial Synod in 2000.   It can be found on the Forum - Message #15 in this thread

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,18918.msg279100.html#msg279100
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« Reply #94 on: May 18, 2009, 08:26:27 AM »

[Yeah, methinks Mickey might be polemicist maximus
Huh?


If you don't want to be part of the RCC,

I do not.


but you don't have to go around picking fights.

I am not picking fights. I have already shown that the RC's must submit mind and will to the Pope whether ex-cathedra statements or otherwise.

Furthermore there have been statements from popes such as this:

'I alone, despite my unworthiness, am the successor of the apostles, the barque of Peter; I am the way, the truth and the life. They who are with me are with the Church; and they who are not with me are out of the Church. They are out of the way, the truth and the life.
Pope Pius IX  "The Guardian", April 11, 1866.


So...do you mind telling me where I am picking fights?
« Last Edit: May 18, 2009, 08:27:34 AM by Mickey » Logged
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« Reply #95 on: May 18, 2009, 09:01:59 AM »

my brothers and sisters from the Roman archdiocese that they simply should not try to find out, just what is it that the Orthodox Church teaches on contraception - because She does not.

Dear Heorhij,

Christ is Risen!

The Russian Orthodox Church does have a teaching on contraception, at least in broad thems.  It was formulated by the Synod of Russian Bishops at its Millennial Synod in 2000.   It can be found on the Forum - Message #15 in this thread

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,18918.msg279100.html#msg279100

He is Risen indeed!

Thank you, Father, but I won't read it. Not really interested. There was a time when the ROC condemned men who shaved their beards as "Latin heretics" - quite seriously, at a special local Council, which later became known as the Stoglav ("the one-hundred chapter Council"). One of the rulings of that Council said that it is God's natural law that men have beards, and if a man shaves his beard, he must be excommunicated, and if he happens to die, there should be no memorial church services, and his relatives should not even lite candles remembering the name of this horrible transgressor.

Again, I am absolutely convinced that the very nature of my Church, the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church = the Orthodox Church, is pastoral and liturgical, and not doctrinal - juridical - dogmatic. We have our dogmatics elaborated on the Seven Ecumenical Councils, and that should be enough. The questions about whether or not an Orthodox is allowed to use a condom or a contraceptive pill aren't in the documents of the Ecumenical Councils and, therefore, will be decided between an individual faithful and his or her parish priest.
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« Reply #96 on: May 18, 2009, 09:06:42 AM »

The questions about whether or not an Orthodox is allowed to use a condom or a contraceptive pill aren't in the documents of the Ecumenical Councils and, therefore, will be decided between an individual faithful and his or her parish priest.

Yes.
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« Reply #97 on: May 18, 2009, 10:48:21 AM »

No. You are wrong on that, dear friend. It WOULD be so if we were the Roman Catholic Church with her "the Church (Pope) says so and so about this and that." But we aren't. Our whole understanding of what we do and why is different from the Roman "juridic," dogmatic, doctrinal understanding. We have our priests, God bless them; and with them, we discuss things like contraception if we feel that these things stand on the way of our theosis. Discuss, of course, confidentially and on a personal, case-to-case, basis. That's all. My only reason for even participating in this thread is to tell my brothers and sisters from the Roman archdiocese that they simply should not try to find out, just what is it that the Orthodox Church teaches on contraception - because She does not.

Scripture, the Councils and the Fathers predetermine what's determined on a "case by case" basis and you refuse to consider textual or historical evidence to the contrary; priests in both the RCC and the Orthodox Church make "case by case" decisions within a predetermined domain.  The Church has historically policed the marriage bed until the last century on the basis of those sources.

Quote
We have our dogmatics elaborated on the Seven Ecumenical Councils, and that should be enough. The questions about whether or not an Orthodox is allowed to use a condom or a contraceptive pill aren't in the documents of the Ecumenical Councils and, therefore, will be decided between an individual faithful and his or her parish priest.

Upon what do Ecumenical Councils base their doctrines and canons? The Ecumenical Councils are the cart; Scripture, the Holy Fathers, other councils and accepted notions of justice and fairness are the horse. The Sixth Ecumenical Council condemns mixed marriages as unlawful and the Council of Chalcedon condemns abolitionism:

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,21235.msg319889.html#msg319889

Let no Orthodox man be allowed to contract a marriage with a heretical woman, nor moreover let any Orthodox woman be married to a heretical man. But if it should be discovered that any such thing is done by any one of the Christians, no matter who, let the marriage be deemed void, and let the lawless marriage tie be dissolved. For it is not right to mix things immiscible, nor to let a wolf get tangled up with a sheep, and the lot of sinners get tangled up with the portion of Christ. If, therefore, anyone violates the rules we have made let him be excommunicated. [Canon 72, Council of Trullo, Sixth Ecumenical Council]

Are you going to enforce these and similar canons just because the Councils say so?  Christ said Moses permitted divorce because of the "hardness of men's hearts" and "what God has joined together let no man separate." So do you condemn the Church's formal toleration of multiple divorces and remarriages? I ask you: What range of previously condemned sexual behaviors are you prepared to have examined "case by case"? Is everything aside from adultery up in the air? I will press your assumptions to their logical conclusions.
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« Reply #98 on: May 18, 2009, 11:17:22 AM »

Upon what do Ecumenical Councils base their doctrines and canons? The Ecumenical Councils are the cart; Scripture, the Holy Fathers, other councils and accepted notions of justice and fairness are the horse. The Sixth Ecumenical Council condemns mixed marriages as unlawful and the Council of Chalcedon condemns abolitionism:

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,21235.msg319889.html#msg319889

Let no Orthodox man be allowed to contract a marriage with a heretical woman, nor moreover let any Orthodox woman be married to a heretical man. But if it should be discovered that any such thing is done by any one of the Christians, no matter who, let the marriage be deemed void, and let the lawless marriage tie be dissolved. For it is not right to mix things immiscible, nor to let a wolf get tangled up with a sheep, and the lot of sinners get tangled up with the portion of Christ. If, therefore, anyone violates the rules we have made let him be excommunicated. [Canon 72, Council of Trullo, Sixth Ecumenical Council]

Are you going to enforce these and similar canons just because the Councils say so? 

Well, *I* am not going to enforce anything simply because I: (1) am a layman, and (2) have no business telling other Orthodox people whom they should or should not marry. I know that many bishops have in the past allowed and blessed marriages where only one party was an Orthodox Christian and the other was a Heterodox. So, obviously the canons you quote have merely historical significance - they aren't a part of what we call "Church Dogmatics."
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« Reply #99 on: May 18, 2009, 01:01:21 PM »

Heorhij,

I'm going to make this as simple as possible. I would like a response to a claim I made and a question I raised:

(1) Scripture, the Councils and the Fathers predetermine what's determined on a "case by case" basis and you refuse to consider textual or historical evidence to the contrary; priests in both the RCC and the Orthodox Church make "case by case" decisions within a predetermined domain. The Church has historically policed the marriage bed until the last century on the basis of those sources.

(2) What consensual heterosexual behavior aside from adultery do you understand as condemned by the Church *a priori*?
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« Reply #100 on: May 18, 2009, 01:25:48 PM »

(2) What consensual heterosexual behavior aside from adultery do you understand as condemned by the Church *a priori*?

Are you including fornication and incest (within 6 degrees) in the general category of "adultery?"
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« Reply #101 on: May 18, 2009, 02:41:40 PM »

Heorhij,

I'm going to make this as simple as possible. I would like a response to a claim I made and a question I raised:

(1) Scripture, the Councils and the Fathers predetermine what's determined on a "case by case" basis and you refuse to consider textual or historical evidence to the contrary; priests in both the RCC and the Orthodox Church make "case by case" decisions within a predetermined domain. The Church has historically policed the marriage bed until the last century on the basis of those sources.

(2) What consensual heterosexual behavior aside from adultery do you understand as condemned by the Church *a priori*?

As I do not see a question in your point (1), I will respond to point (2): I simply do not know. I do know that some individual Church writers and preachers wrote and preached against having marital sex solely for satisfying one's lust. But I have no idea whether something like this ever became "the teaching of the whole CHURCH." I am rather inclined to think that it never has.
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« Reply #102 on: May 18, 2009, 02:45:02 PM »

(2) What consensual heterosexual behavior aside from adultery do you understand as condemned by the Church *a priori*?

Are you including fornication and incest (within 6 degrees) in the general category of "adultery?"

I think Cudgel means, boadly, extra-marital sex, right, Cudgel? Because if you only mean under "adultery" having sex with someone you aren't married to when you are married, then, of course, there are other forms of adult consensual sex that the Church considers sinful - for example, pre-marital sex, or sex with someone who is not maaried to you but who is married to a third party while you are not married, etc. Any form of sex outside of the marital commitment has been, traditionally, considered sinful and unacceptable. But within marriage - see my previous post, I just do not know.
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« Reply #103 on: May 18, 2009, 03:20:21 PM »

The questions about whether or not an Orthodox is allowed to use a condom or a contraceptive pill aren't in the documents of the Ecumenical Councils and, therefore, will be decided between an individual faithful and his or her parish priest.

For the Russian faithful this is not so open.  Both the faithful and their parish priests must respect the teaching of the bishops expressed in 2000 and decisions have to be made within the framework of that episcopal teaching.  In the past there were priests who totally disallowed any form of contraception to the faithful, including NFP.  Priests may no longer hold this position since it would be in defiance of their bishops.

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« Reply #104 on: May 18, 2009, 05:01:51 PM »

Cleveland and Heorhij,

I was referring to both marital and nonmarital sex, "fornication" is equally possible within both contexts as it just means "sexual immorality."  The question is what constitutes sex and under what conditions is it morally licit. My long comment on page 2 addresses how this question has been answered historically.  I will post this link one more time, please read it carefully:

http://www.religioustolerance.org/pornea.htm

I'll be back late tonight; I'm going to leave this information so we're all on the same page historically:

Quote
(S.V. Troitsky, The Philosophy of Christian Marriage, pp. 174-181)

“From the sovereign character of the family Roman law drew the conclusion that it was not the state that made a marriage a marriage, and not a religious organization, but exclusively the marrying parties themselves, their mutual love, their will, their agreement. Nuptiae solo affectu fiunt, nuptiae consensu contrahentium fiunt, consensus facit nuptias – such was the basic position of Roman and Byzantine, ecclesiastical and civil law in the first 8 centuries of Christian history. Moreover, in more ancient times the religious form of marriage, confarreatio, was necessary not to make marriage valid, but for manus, that is, for the acquisition by the husband of authority over the wife.

“But if marriage is concluded by the marrying parties themselves, then in what does the task of the State in relation to marriage consist? Only in verifying its existence for itself, only in registering the marriage, to the extent that this was necessary for the resolution of various questions of family and inheritance law. And Roman law left it to the will of the marrying parties to choose any form of marriage they liked, contenting itself with the minimum for its own verification.

“In ancient Rome there existed a view with regard to marriage that was the opposite of our own. We have a presumption that those living together are not married. In our time a married couple must itself prove with documents, witnesses, etc., that it is in lawful wedlock. In Rome, by contrast, the presumption was that those living together were married.

“Every permanent sexual relationship of a fully entitled man and woman was seen as a marriage. ‘We must see living together with a free woman as marriage, and not concubinage,’ writes the noted Roman jurist Modestinus. Therefore it was not the marrying parties that had to prove that they were in wedlock, but a third interested party had to prove that there existed some kind of impediment which did not allow one to see this living together as marriage. To put it more briefly, onus probandi lay not on the spouses, but on the third parties. Only when there was a basis for thinking that it was in the family or property interests of the parties to present a temporary relationship as marriage was the question of the formal criteria of marriage raised. But even in this case Roman law contented itself with the minimum. For this it was sufficient, for example, to show that there had been de facto living together for a year, the testimonies of witnesses that the parties had indeed agreed to marry or to call each other Mr. and Mrs., that some kind of marital rite had been performed, the presentation of documents with regard to the dowry, etc. In a word, speaking in legal terms, in Rome the participation of the State in the conclusion of a marriage did not have a constitutive, but only a declarative character.

“Byzantine legislation adopted the same point of view until the end of the 9th century. The constitution of the Emperors Theodosius and Valentinian in 428 says that for the validity of marriage neither a wedding feast is necessary, nor documents on a dowry, nor any festivity, since no law hindered the marriage of fully entitled people. Marriage acquired validity by means of agreement and the testimony of witnesses. Although Justinian, in his novella 74 of December, 537, prescribed that middle-class people should go to church to conclude their marriage, this demand was based on considerations, not of a religious, but only of an economic character, which is indicated by the fact that the very separation of this class of people was in accordance with their property census. And indeed, Justinian demanded that middle-class people should go to church not in order to be crowned, but only in order to draw up a document on marriage in front of an ecclesiastical lawyer and three or four clergy as witnesses. But even this formality did not last long, and on December 11, 542, novella 117 (ch. 4) freed even middle-class people from this obligation. Only upper-class people (illustres et senatores), again for reasons having to do with property, had to write documents on the dowry, while the lower classes were not obliged to write any documents at all. In the same novella 74 (chapter 5), Justinian gave the significance of an optional form of marriage, not to crowning, but to the oath ‘to take as my wife’ while touching the Bible. Only in a legislative collection of the 8th century, more precisely: in the collection of 741 of the iconoclast emperors Leo the Isaurian and Constantine Copronymus known as the Eclogue, was a blessing as a juridical form of concluding a marriage mentioned for the first time. But even here a blessing is not an obligatory form for the conclusion of a marriage, but only one of four forms of marriage, the choice of which depends on external circumstances and the will of the marrying parties; in other words, here a Church blessing is only an optional form of marriage, and even then not always, but only in case of necessity, and it is precisely the Eclogue that prescribes that marriage must be concluded by means of the drawing up of a document of a definite form, and when, as a consequence of the poverty of the spouses, it is impossible to draw up the document, the marriage can be concluded either through the agreement of the parents, or through a Church blessing, or through the witness of friends (Eclogue, II, 1,3,8). It is exactly the same with crowning; it is an optional form of marriage, say also the later laws of the Byzantine emperors – the Prochiron of 878 (IV, 6,14,17,27), the Epanagoge of 886 (XVI, 1) and the collection known as Blastaris’ Syntagma of 1335 (G., 2, translation of Ilyinsky, p. 103). ‘Marriage,’ we read in Blastaris, ‘is concluded by means of a blessing, or crowning, or an agreement’.

“That is how the ancient Church, too, looked on the form of marriage. The basic source of the Church’s teaching on marriage, the Bible, does not say that the institution of marriage arose some time later as something established by the State or the Church. Here we find another teaching on marriage. Neither the Church nor the State is the source of marriage. On the contrary: marriage is the source of both the Church and the State. Marriage precedes all the social and religious organizations. It was established already in Paradise, it was established by God Himself. God brings the woman to Adam, and Adam himself proclaims his marital union independently of any earthly authority, even the authority of parents (Genesis 2.24; cf. Matthew 19.6). Thus the first marriage was concluded ‘by the mercy of God’. In the first marriage the husband and wife are the bearers of the highest earthly authority, they are sovereigns to whom the whole of the rest of the world is subject (Genesis 1.28). The family is the first form of the Church, it is the ‘little Church’, as Chrysostom calls it, and at the same time it is the source also of the State as an organization of power, since according to the Bible the basis of every authority of man over man is to be found in the words of God on the authority of the husband over the wife: ‘he will be your lord’ (Genesis 3.16). Thus the family is not only a little Church, but also a little State. And if that is so, then the relationship of the family with the Church and the State must have a character of equality, the character of international and inter-Church relations. Therefore the performers of marriage are considered in the sources of the Church’s teaching to be the spouses themselves, and the participation of a representative of authority, whether of the Church or of the State, is not an essential element of marriage, is not a condition of its validity. In the whole Bible, both in the Old and in the New Testaments, we do not find a single word on any kind of obligatory form of marriage, although here we do find many prescriptions of a ritual character. The relationship of the Church and the State to marriage is expressed not in its conclusion, but only in its verification, in its recognition as an already accomplished fact. Just as the recognition of authority in a State on the part of another State does not give this authority new rights, but is only the condition of normal relations between these States, so the participation of a representative of society, whether of the Church or of the State, is the condition of normal relations between them and the new family.

“Therefore the relationship of the Church to marriage was one of recognition. This idea is well expressed in the Gospel account of the marriage in Cana of Galilee (John 1.1-11). Reference is sometimes made to this account as a proof of the teaching that the accomplisher of marriage is the priest. In fact, the Gospel account is not in agreement with this point of view. The Gospel makes no mention whatsoever of the participation of Christ in the rite of the conclusion of the marriage. Christ came with His apostles as a guest; he was invited to the wedding feast. But participation in the wedding feast was, generally speaking, an expression of the recognition of marriage on the part of society, and the presence of Christ and the apostles had the significance of a recognition of the Old Testament institution of marriage on the part of the new Church.

“This is also how the ancient Christian Church herself looked on the form of marriage. Her teaching on the form of marriage coincides with the teaching of the Bible and Roman law. Therefore the ancient Christians, who did not permit the slightest compromise with the State pagan religion and preferred a martyr’s death to participation in the smallest pagan rite, entered into marriage in the time of the persecutions and later in exactly the same way as the other citizens of the Roman State. ‘They, that is, the Christians, conclude marriage in the same way as everyone,’ says an ancient Christian writer of the 2nd century in the Epistle to Diognetus (V, 6). ‘Each of us recognizes as his wife the woman whom he took in accordance with the laws published by you (i.e. the pagans),’ says Athenagoras in his Apology (33, P.G. 6:965) submitted to the Emperor Marcus Aurelius (166-177). St. Ambrose of Milan says that Christians take wives ‘in accordance with the tablets’, that is, in accordance with the Roman laws of the 12 tablets (On the Institution of Virginity, 6; P.L. 16:316). Chrysostom says definitively: ‘Marriage is concluded in no other way than by agreement according to the laws’ (Homily 56 on Genesis, 29; P.G. 54:488). The first canon of the Council of Laodicea demands that marriage should be concluded only ‘freely and lawfully’, that is, in accordance with the Roman laws. The ancient Church completely assimilated the basic teaching of Roman marital law, that marriage is concluded by the spouses themselves, that consensus facit nuptias. This teaching is found among the most authoritative representatives of Church teaching both in the East and in the West, for example, in John Chrysostom, Balsamon, Ambrose of Milan, Blessed Augustine, Isidore, Pope Nicholas I, and others.

“Finally, we find the same teaching in the official collections of Byzantine law which have been adopted by the Orthodox Church.”
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« Reply #105 on: May 19, 2009, 08:16:18 AM »

The questions about whether or not an Orthodox is allowed to use a condom or a contraceptive pill aren't in the documents of the Ecumenical Councils and, therefore, will be decided between an individual faithful and his or her parish priest.

For the Russian faithful this is not so open.  Both the faithful and their parish priests must respect the teaching of the bishops expressed in 2000 and decisions have to be made within the framework of that episcopal teaching.  In the past there were priests who totally disallowed any form of contraception to the faithful, including NFP.  Priests may no longer hold this position since it would be in defiance of their bishops.



Like Cleveland says, "hmmmm..."

I realy don't know what to say, Father. So, the priests right after the Stoglav did the right thing, obeying their bishops and warning their flock that shaving one's beard is a horrible transgression, correct?

Now, they no longer give this warning, because their bishops changed their mind - correct?

So what's the TRUTH in the issue of shaving?

Or in the issue of non-"natural" contraception?
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« Reply #106 on: May 19, 2009, 08:48:21 AM »

So what's the TRUTH in the issue of shaving?

Or in the issue of non-"natural" contraception?

Does shaving the beard distort the essence of the faith?
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« Reply #107 on: May 19, 2009, 08:55:36 AM »

So what's the TRUTH in the issue of shaving?

Or in the issue of non-"natural" contraception?

Does shaving the beard distort the essence of the faith?

Oh yes, very much, according to the decisions of the Stoglav; like I said, men who shaved their beards were declared by that local Church Council to be "Latin heretics," excommunicated, and their relatives were forbidden to even lite candles in their memory if they died.
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« Reply #108 on: May 19, 2009, 09:04:11 AM »


Like Cleveland says, "hmmmm..."

I realy don't know what to say, Father. So, the priests right after the Stoglav did the right thing, obeying their bishops and warning their flock that shaving one's beard is a horrible transgression, correct?

The Stoglav Council forbade the shaving not just of beards but of the head also.  Russian man were shaving their entire heads bald!!    This worried the Church since their horrified womenfolk were refusing them their marital rights and the population was declining...... and you thought that this had no connection with this Natural Contraception thread ?!   Grin


Stoglav 25. Those who shave their heads and beards: Through our sins, weakness and indifference and negligence have come into the world. At the present time men who call themselves Christians and are thirty years of age and older shave their heads, beards, and whiskers, and wear clothing and costumes taken from lands of dissident faith; how then can a Christian be recognized?
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« Reply #109 on: May 19, 2009, 09:05:27 AM »

Oh yes, very much, according to the decisions of the Stoglav; like I said, men who shaved their beards were declared by that local Church Council to be "Latin heretics," excommunicated, and their relatives were forbidden to even lite candles in their memory if they died.

Please pardon my ignorance (or if it was posted and I missed it), but I am not familiar with Stoglav. Did Stoglav declare doctrine on the issue of beards?
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« Reply #110 on: May 19, 2009, 09:09:43 AM »

I understand why there were prohibitions on shaving the beards at one time--because there were many writings from the holy fathers on the issue.

For example:

“It is not lawful to pluck out the beard, man’s natural and noble adornment.” Clement of Alexandria

“The beard must not be plucked. ‘You will not deface the figure of your beard’.” [Lev 19:27] – St. Cyprian of Carthage

Are there also writngs from the holy fathers regarding contraception?
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« Reply #111 on: May 19, 2009, 09:26:37 AM »

Or in the issue of non-"natural" contraception?

I think that the Russian Orthodox are blessed to have some clear guidelines from their Holy Synod of Bishops.   There can be no doubt that when the Synod made its statement in 2000 it was done after careful consideration of all the preceding decades of discussion and controversy.  The Synod would have deliberated on the issue seriously and prayerfully.  They would have been very aware what an important issue it was for the flock entrusted to them.

So they laid down guidelines that

1.  non-abortive means of contraception are permissable
2.  one of the primary purposes of marriage is the generation of children and that cannot be indefinitely postposed without sinning (although there can be exceptions such as danger to the wife's health and life.)
3.  the decision to use contraception should be made in consultation with the couple's priest.

I cannot speak for other Churches and what guidelines they follow.  Maybe someone can help us out?  The Greeks do have Patriarch Athenagoras's 1966 statement to Pope Paul VI that his Church is in complete agreement with the papal encyclical Humanae Vitae.   But whether that is followed I do not know?
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« Reply #112 on: May 19, 2009, 09:35:50 AM »

I cannot speak for other Churches and what guidelines they follow.  Maybe someone can help us out?  The Greeks do have Patriarch Athenagoras's 1966 statement to Pope Paul VI that his Church is in complete agreement with the papal encyclical Humanae Vitae.   But whether that is followed I do not know?

Here is where we have come from:

Quote
Having said all this, what exactly is the Church's teaching concerning birth control?

The practice of artificial birth control - by which is meant "the pill," condoms, or any other kind of device - is actually condemned by the Orthodox Church. The Church of Greece, for example, in 1937 issued a special encyclical just for this purpose, to condemn birth control.

Likewise, the Romanian and Russian Churches, to name just two others among many - have more than once, in former times, spoken out against this practice. It is only in recent times, only in the generation since World War II, that some local Churches (the Greek Archdiocese in this country, for example) have begun to teach that it "might" be all right to practice birth control in certain circumstances, as long as this is discussed with the priest beforehand and has his agreement.

http://www.roca.org/OA/155-156/155h.htm

A complete 180 degree turn justified on the basis of the scientific revolution last century? Yes. Is the shift in pastoral policy according to presently acknowledged truth finished? Not yet, in my opinion.
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« Reply #113 on: May 19, 2009, 09:40:45 AM »


1.  non-abortive means of contraception are permissable
2.  one of the primary purposes of marriage is the generation of children and that cannot be indefinitely postposed without sinning (although there can be exceptions such as danger to the wife's health and life.)
3.  the decision to use contraception should be made in consultation with the couple's priest.

Thank you Father. This is what I had always understood.
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« Reply #114 on: May 19, 2009, 10:00:15 AM »


1.  non-abortive means of contraception are permissable
2.  one of the primary purposes of marriage is the generation of children and that cannot be indefinitely postposed without sinning (although there can be exceptions such as danger to the wife's health and life.)
3.  the decision to use contraception should be made in consultation with the couple's priest.

Thank you Father. This is what I had always understood.

Thank you, Father, from me, too. (Actually, I think they did not say that "non-abortive methods are permissible" - rather, they stated that there is "a difference" between abortion and contraception and that the latter does not necessarily mean the former). My issue with these "statements" still remains, though: what if they decided otherwise and said that let all who use any contraception in any form be anathema (just like they used to in the past)? Generally, is this a good Orthodox way for a bunch of bishops to convene and to decide on things like contraception? Again, they used to convene and decide on the grand, oh-so-so-so-"important" question of beard-shaving as well...
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« Reply #115 on: May 19, 2009, 10:03:22 AM »

Oh yes, very much, according to the decisions of the Stoglav; like I said, men who shaved their beards were declared by that local Church Council to be "Latin heretics," excommunicated, and their relatives were forbidden to even lite candles in their memory if they died.

Please pardon my ignorance (or if it was posted and I missed it), but I am not familiar with Stoglav. Did Stoglav declare doctrine on the issue of beards?

It was a local (Pomestnyj) Council (Sobor) of the bishops of the Moscow Patriarchate in the late 16th or early 17-th century (almost immediately prior to the beginning of Nikon's reforms). I read about it in the book by Prot. Fr. Alexander Schmemann titled "The Historical Road of Orthodoxy." If you are interested, I will provide you with precise quotes from that book (which are, actually, precise quotes of the decisions of that Council).
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« Reply #116 on: May 19, 2009, 10:06:38 AM »

I understand why there were prohibitions on shaving the beards at one time--because there were many writings from the holy fathers on the issue.

For example:

“It is not lawful to pluck out the beard, man’s natural and noble adornment.” Clement of Alexandria

“The beard must not be plucked. ‘You will not deface the figure of your beard’.” [Lev 19:27] – St. Cyprian of Carthage

Are there also writngs from the holy fathers regarding contraception?

Yes, I remember reading - if I am not mistaken, in this same Clement of Alexandria - something like, "those couples that lie together and do "this thing," but aren't doing it for bringing forth a child, are horrible transgressors and perverts" (not an exact quote but that's essentially what he wrote). But again, the truth remains, saints, Holy Fathers, bishops, patriarchs and who not, used to make most atrociously barbaric statements on certain issues (like beard-shaving:)) - so why should we believe in infallibility of "a" next convention of some clerics who decided this or that on such intimate issues as the use of contraceptive devices in marriage?
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« Reply #117 on: May 19, 2009, 10:08:16 AM »

My issue with these "statements" still remains, though: what if they decided otherwise and said that let all who use any contraception in any form be anathema (just like they used to in the past)? Generally, is this a good Orthodox way for a bunch of bishops to convene and to decide on things like contraception? Again, they used to convene and decide on the grand, oh-so-so-so-"important" question of beard-shaving as well...

Your idealist conception of pastoral policy as mostly case by case is a historical fabrication. This is how things are done 90%+ of the time.

Quote
Having said all this, what exactly is the Church's teaching concerning birth control?

The practice of artificial birth control - by which is meant "the pill," condoms, or any other kind of device - is actually condemned by the Orthodox Church. The Church of Greece, for example, in 1937 issued a special encyclical just for this purpose, to condemn birth control.

Likewise, the Romanian and Russian Churches, to name just two others among many - have more than once, in former times, spoken out against this practice. It is only in recent times, only in the generation since World War II, that some local Churches (the Greek Archdiocese in this country, for example) have begun to teach that it "might" be all right to practice birth control in certain circumstances, as long as this is discussed with the priest beforehand and has his agreement.

http://www.roca.org/OA/155-156/155h.htm
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« Reply #118 on: May 19, 2009, 10:12:26 AM »

Yes, I remember reading - if I am not mistaken, in this same Clement of Alexandria - something like, "those couples that lie together and do "this thing," but aren't doing it for bringing forth a child, are horrible transgressors and perverts" (not an exact quote but that's essentially what he wrote). But again, the truth remains, saints, Holy Fathers, bishops, patriarchs and who not, used to make most atrociously barbaric statements on certain issues (like beard-shaving:)) - so why should we believe in infallibility of "a" next convention of some clerics who decided this or that on such intimate issues as the use of contraceptive devices in marriage?

What you ascribe to Clement of Alexandria is present in many Fathers and even canons afterward. Just like when you are reading the Bible or praying the Psalms you have to distinguish the theology from the pre-scientific cosmology and rejected social mores.  You must do the same with the Fathers and Synods.  Societies have different notions of fairness and kindness and what the proper love of neighbor looks like must adjust with them. Dogma is static, the application of dogma (moral reasoning) is constantly updated according to new conditions and information. Something on target in the past may become a mistake in the future. (Fathers owning daughters, for example.)
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« Reply #119 on: May 19, 2009, 10:18:45 AM »

Your idealist conception of pastoral policy as mostly case by case is a historical fabrication.

Dear Cudgel, believe me, I did not make it up, I simply rendered on this forum what I learned from actual living, breathing priests (from Orthodox priests and from Eastern Rite Catholic priests). I do not consider myself learned enough to question what I heard from them.
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« Reply #120 on: May 19, 2009, 10:34:08 AM »

Your idealist conception of pastoral policy as mostly case by case is a historical fabrication.

Dear Cudgel, believe me, I did not make it up, I simply rendered on this forum what I learned from actual living, breathing priests (from Orthodox priests and from Eastern Rite Catholic priests). I do not consider myself learned enough to question what I heard from them.

As I said before (and I tire of repeating), they can advise within a predetermined domain of what's acceptable and what's not.  For example, before the last century an Orthodox Christian could never marry a non-Orthodox Christian, period. Often birth control was evil and unacceptable under all circumstances, period.  What we are discussing are changes in domain.
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« Reply #121 on: May 19, 2009, 10:46:00 AM »

The practice of artificial birth control - by which is meant "the pill," condoms, or any other kind of device - is actually condemned by the Orthodox Church. The Church of Greece, for example, in 1937 issued a special encyclical just for this purpose, to condemn birth control.

Without impugning the integrity of Fr Alexey (now hieromonk Ambrose) Young's article nor himself personally (I have great respect for him), I have to say that this claimed 1937 Greek encyclical is one of the most elusive items on the planet.   For years we have sought it and never found it.  One would have thought that such a "special encyclical just for this purpose, to condemn birth control" would be readily available but no, nobody has ever been able to produce it.

It has only one mention in all the pile of literature on contaception, but beyond a mention there is not even the smallest quote from it...

Foundation of Christian Bioethics
By Hugo Tristram Engelhardt

page 298

Reference No. 96:  Recent Orthodox reactions to the contraceptive
ethos include the encyclical of the Greek bishops signed by Archbishop
Chrysostom of Athens with 55 other bishops.  "Encyclical of the
Hierarchy of Greece." October 14, 1937.  The encyclical to the moral
sea change in the view of marriage and sexuality introduced by the
secularization of the West and the introduction of effective
contraception....etc.


I recall that Hugo Tristram Engelhardt is a Texan and a convert to
Orthodoxy.   The book "Foundation of Christian Bioethics" was published in
2000 and is his contribution to the Orthodox understanding of bioethics but
I have never seen it quoted anywhere and wonder how well it has been
accepted by the Orthodox.

Have any Orthodox members here heard of Engelhardt or read his book?



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« Reply #122 on: May 19, 2009, 10:46:01 AM »

Thank you, Father, from me, too. (Actually, I think they did not say that "non-abortive methods are permissible" - rather, they stated that there is "a difference" between abortion and contraception and that the latter does not necessarily mean the former).

The statement of the Synod of Russian bishops is already on the Forum ~ message #15 at
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,18918.msg279100.html#msg279100

It's pretty short and I'd be happy to post it here but I am unsure of the Forum's policy about cross-posting?

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Once again, please read the Compiled Board Policies thread, one part of which answers your question:


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« Reply #123 on: May 19, 2009, 11:03:09 AM »

so why should we believe in infallibility of "a" next convention of some clerics who decided this or that on such intimate issues as the use of contraceptive devices in marriage?

Infallibility?!?  Shocked
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« Reply #124 on: May 19, 2009, 11:18:52 AM »

so why should we believe in infallibility of "a" next convention of some clerics who decided this or that on such intimate issues as the use of contraceptive devices in marriage?

Infallibility?!?  Shocked

Well, you know what I mean... In other words, should we and our parish priests feel BOUND by decisions of these gatherings, whatever they are.
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« Reply #125 on: May 19, 2009, 11:19:58 AM »

Well, you know what I mean... In other words, should we and our parish priests feel BOUND by decisions of these gatherings, whatever they are.

Consider the serious implications of either a yes or a no answer.
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« Reply #126 on: May 19, 2009, 01:17:50 PM »

Forgive the tangent, but in one of the posts (bother, I can't find it anymore Sad), someone stated that taking birth control pills can prevent certain kinds of cancer? Could somebody please tell me which kinds of cancer can be prevented by doing so, and provide me if possible, with sources? Many thanks in advance.
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« Reply #127 on: May 19, 2009, 02:42:09 PM »

Forgive the tangent, but in one of the posts (bother, I can't find it anymore Sad), someone stated that taking birth control pills can prevent certain kinds of cancer? Could somebody please tell me which kinds of cancer can be prevented by doing so, and provide me if possible, with sources? Many thanks in advance.

Yes, I have read this, too, although I am not a narrow specialist in this field and would not at this point judge about how valid these statements are. See, for example, here:

http://www.healthywomen.org/healthtopics/birthcontrolpills

... Benefits: (...) Prevent cancer. Birth control pills have been shown to protect women from ovarian and uterine cancer, and possibly from colorectal cancer.


On the other hand, there are some observations that birth control pills actually INCREASE the risk of certain forms of cancer, for example cervical cancer:

http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Risk/oral-contraceptives

Key Points

Some cancers depend on naturally occurring sex hormones for their development and growth. Researchers are interested in learning whether the hormones in oral contraceptives affect cancer risk in women (see Question 1).
Some studies have shown an increased risk of breast cancer in women taking oral contraceptives, while other studies have shown no change in risk (see Question 2).
Oral contraceptive use has been shown in multiple studies to decrease the risk of ovarian and endometrial cancer (see Question 3).
Oral contraceptives have been shown to increase the risk of cervical cancer; however, human papillomavirus is the major risk factor for this disease (see Question 4).
The risk of liver cancer is increased in women who take oral contraceptives and are otherwise considered low risk for the disease (see Question 5).
 

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« Reply #128 on: May 19, 2009, 03:53:05 PM »

Thanks, Heorhij! I had wondered about this because I had read somewhere that colorectal cancer could possibly be caused by low estrogen levels, and therefore, was wondering about a possible reduction due to BC pill consumption. Anyhow, sorry about the diversion from the topic at hand.
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« Reply #129 on: May 21, 2009, 09:36:12 PM »

my brothers and sisters from the Roman archdiocese that they simply should not try to find out, just what is it that the Orthodox Church teaches on contraception - because She does not.

Dear Heorhij,

Christ is Risen!

The Russian Orthodox Church does have a teaching on contraception, at least in broad thems.  It was formulated by the Synod of Russian Bishops at its Millennial Synod in 2000.   It can be found on the Forum - Message #15 in this thread

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,18918.msg279100.html#msg279100

Thanks, irishhermit, but doesn't that contradoct the general pre-1930 opinion? Also, what about the fathers:

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

Around 307 Lactantius explained that some "complain of the scantiness of their means, and allege that they have not enough for bringing up more children, as though, in truth, their means were in [their] power . . . or God did not daily make the rich poor and the poor rich. Wherefore, if any one on any account of poverty shall be unable to bring up children, it is better to abstain from relations with his wife" (Divine Institutes 6:20).


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

I got those from Catholic Answers: here's more:

http://www.catholic.com/library/Contraception_and_Sterilization.asp

Come to think of it, what about the guy in Genesis who was slain for spilling his seed upon the ground?
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« Reply #130 on: May 22, 2009, 12:46:36 PM »

^Onan.
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« Reply #131 on: May 22, 2009, 01:15:56 PM »

my brothers and sisters from the Roman archdiocese that they simply should not try to find out, just what is it that the Orthodox Church teaches on contraception - because She does not.

Dear Heorhij,

Christ is Risen!

The Russian Orthodox Church does have a teaching on contraception, at least in broad thems.  It was formulated by the Synod of Russian Bishops at its Millennial Synod in 2000.   It can be found on the Forum - Message #15 in this thread

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,18918.msg279100.html#msg279100

Thanks, irishhermit, but doesn't that contradoct the general pre-1930 opinion? Also, what about the fathers:

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

Around 307 Lactantius explained that some "complain of the scantiness of their means, and allege that they have not enough for bringing up more children, as though, in truth, their means were in [their] power . . . or God did not daily make the rich poor and the poor rich. Wherefore, if any one on any account of poverty shall be unable to bring up children, it is better to abstain from relations with his wife" (Divine Institutes 6:20).


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

I got those from Catholic Answers: here's more:

http://www.catholic.com/library/Contraception_and_Sterilization.asp

Come to think of it, what about the guy in Genesis who was slain for spilling his seed upon the ground?

Dear Pilgrim (and others),

In this regard, may I ask, very sincerely (as I already have on this forum):

WHO CARES?

I mean, Fathers are Fathers, they are great, they shaped beliefs of the early Church, their writings on theological matters helped to form the present-day Church dogmatics. But why should it be of any importance to us if they had these weird and sometimes plain barbaric views on human reproduction?

If we HAVE to share every particular belief that they had, why don't we say that the Mendeleev periodic table of elements is a lie and a heresy, because St. John of Damascus wrote ("taught") that there are but four "stikhia" (elements)?

Sorry if I sound harsh, but this issue (not as much contraception as, more generally, the "teachings" of various Fathers on various matters) is really tormenting me.
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« Reply #132 on: May 22, 2009, 06:41:58 PM »

As I understand it, Onan was not slain specifically for the "spilling of seed" be because he would not impregnate his sister-in-law so that she might have a son in her late husband's/Onan's brother's name.  It was the "Levirate" law

http://www.christiananswers.net/dictionary/leviratelaw.html

http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/2205/what-exactly-was-the-sin-of-onan

Ebor
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« Reply #133 on: May 22, 2009, 07:23:59 PM »

As I understand it, Onan was not slain specifically for the "spilling of seed" be because he would not impregnate his sister-in-law so that she might have a son in her late husband's/Onan's brother's name.  It was the "Levirate" law

http://www.christiananswers.net/dictionary/leviratelaw.html

http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/2205/what-exactly-was-the-sin-of-onan

Ebor

I heard that explanation from Evangelical Protestants (i.e. that he was killed for disobeying God, not for exercising birth control). But even if the text actually means that Onan was killed for "wasting the seed) (Huh??). again - SO WHAT? Cannanites were slaughtered by thousands over thousands by Israelites, including children, for just being Canaanites. So, they deserved it? A "lesson" for us that cerain people must be killed for just being certain people? I don't think we can justify barbaric beliefs by plucking this or that verse from the Good Book...
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« Reply #134 on: May 22, 2009, 08:34:05 PM »




















Dear Pilgrim (and others),

In this regard, may I ask, very sincerely (as I already have on this forum):

WHO CARES?

I mean, Fathers are Fathers, they are great, they shaped beliefs of the early Church, their writings on theological matters helped to form the present-day Church dogmatics. But why should it be of any importance to us if they had these weird and sometimes plain barbaric views on human reproduction?

If we HAVE to share every particular belief that they had, why don't we say that the Mendeleev periodic table of elements is a lie and a heresy, because St. John of Damascus wrote ("taught") that there are but four "stikhia" (elements)?

Sorry if I sound harsh, but this issue (not as much contraception as, more generally, the "teachings" of various Fathers on various matters) is really tormenting me.
I thought the teachings of the early Church Doctors were to be considered immutable?
« Last Edit: May 22, 2009, 08:39:39 PM by ChristusDominus » Logged

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