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Author Topic: Artificial Birth Control  (Read 19861 times) Average Rating: 0
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The Caffeinator
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« on: December 19, 2003, 03:07:45 PM »

Which Eastern Orthodox Churches forbid artificial birth control, and which don't? What about Oriental Orthodox Churches?
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« Reply #1 on: December 19, 2003, 03:22:03 PM »

My take on ABC "just don't do it!"*

anastasios

(*when she's fertile! [crude reference to natural family planning Wink sorry, I couldn't resist!])
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« Reply #2 on: December 19, 2003, 03:26:42 PM »

Technically no one allows abortofacient contraceptives like the Pill although some -- and I think this is the only way I can describe this -- morons think that it "is a-ok" even though it can cause abortions by preventing implantation!!

Any use of contraceptives other than the pill must be for grave reasons and in consulatation with a spiritual father.

The ROCOR and Fr Ephraim monasteries in the GOA will not generally allow their people to use contraceptives.  The OCA and GOA have a somewhat loose opinion.  You can get their rulings on their respective websites.

My wife and I think that contraception is nasty and would never want to "go there" but in cases of necessity (whatever that is defined as) I would definitely urge someone to try try out natural family planning as it really does work (no it's not your old rhythm method).  Interested parties seeking an Orthodox point of view on NFP should check out

http://www.paratheke.net/stephanos/
http://www.orthodoxnfp.org/

anastasios
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« Reply #3 on: December 19, 2003, 04:12:56 PM »

I'm against artificial birth control and of the 3 Orthodox priests I directly asked about it, two said it isn't permissible. Unfortunately the third said it was okay, even use of the pill.

Here is a good article by Father Patrick Reardon of the  Antiochian Orthodox Church on abortion, contraception and the link between the two.

http://www.touchstonemag.com/docs/issues/16.1docs/16-1pg3.html

In Christ,
Anthony

Which Eastern Orthodox Churches forbid artificial birth control, and which don't? What about Oriental Orthodox Churches?
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« Reply #4 on: December 19, 2003, 04:19:43 PM »

I see nothing wrong with ABC.
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« Reply #5 on: December 19, 2003, 04:57:34 PM »

I see nothing wrong with ABC.

Have you read about why the Church tradtionally rejected it (it has been around for a long time before 1960!) and why it is not a good idea, Tom?  When I was a Protestant I thought "how can those dumb Catholics be against contraception?!" Then I read why they are against contraception and prayed about it and BAM it hit me.  I would suggest you check out the Stephanos Project just to find out what other Orthodox are saying on the issue.

I can say that not using ABC has been a real blessing in my marriage.

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« Reply #6 on: December 19, 2003, 05:12:56 PM »

I see nothing wrong with ABC.

I can say that not using ABC has been a real blessing in my marriage.

anastasios

I can say the same thing.
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« Reply #7 on: December 19, 2003, 05:13:54 PM »

What about barrier methods such as condoms or diaphragms?  Those aren't "abortifacient".  (I'm less certain about typical OCP's)
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« Reply #8 on: December 19, 2003, 05:27:36 PM »

Forgive me if this is review for you DT Wink but the reasoning behind prohibiting artificial birth control is theological and extends beyond abortion.

The reasoning is that the purpose of the "conjugal act" is procreative. When that is manipulated or obstructed, so is God's will. I'm not sure I understand it, but I know I agree with it!  Grin
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« Reply #9 on: December 19, 2003, 05:35:13 PM »

So what your saying is that people who medically can't have children shouldn't have sex?
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« Reply #10 on: December 19, 2003, 05:36:09 PM »

I see nothing wrong with ABC.

I can say that not using ABC has been a real blessing in my marriage.

anastasios

I can say the same thing.


Can you guys give me the short version of what you mean to say there? I'm curious...
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« Reply #11 on: December 19, 2003, 05:45:41 PM »

Tony, excellent article by Father Patrick.  What he says below really struck:

"This utterly rebellious attitude, the "contraceptive mentality," is surely a serious moral failing characteristic of the present culture. The relationship of this "contraceptive culture" to abortion itself lies much deeper than a first comparison of the two things might suggest, nor is there any logic, we think, in opposing the terrible sin of abortion while in other respects promoting the selfishness and materialism that give rise to it."  Sad

The selfishness of mankind is the root of the the evil. hmmm, sounds familiar.

Thank God for Him who is the lover of mankind.
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« Reply #12 on: December 19, 2003, 06:00:45 PM »

Dear Fotina,

Yes, Father Patrick truly does get to the heart of the matter and I agree with every word. He is a wonderful priest.

In Christ,
Anthony


Tony, excellent article by Father Patrick.  What he says below really struck:

"This utterly rebellious attitude, the "contraceptive mentality," is surely a serious moral failing characteristic of the present culture. The relationship of this "contraceptive culture" to abortion itself lies much deeper than a first comparison of the two things might suggest, nor is there any logic, we think, in opposing the terrible sin of abortion while in other respects promoting the selfishness and materialism that give rise to it."  Sad

The selfishness of mankind is the root of the the evil. hmmm, sounds familiar.

Thank God for Him who is the lover of mankind.
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« Reply #13 on: December 19, 2003, 06:00:54 PM »

Quote
So what your saying is that people who medically can't have children shouldn't have sex?


I'm saying people should leave it in God's hands.
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« Reply #14 on: December 19, 2003, 06:16:44 PM »

So what your saying is that people who medically can't have children shouldn't have sex?  

No, we are not saying that, because they are not willfully avoinding the possibility of life.  If God would bless them with children, they would accept it, hence their acts of love are open to life.

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« Reply #15 on: December 19, 2003, 06:44:36 PM »

Don't be so harsh Vicki....

I mean just hating our Patriarch with a passion because he had the audacity to live in the city where his floack is (hate to break it to you Tom, there still are Orthodox Christians living in Asia Minor and if the Patriarch leaves, he is leaving them).  

Or... saying that one of the geatest saints and apostles in the Church, Saint Paul was wrapped up in sexism and carried baggage.

Or dismissing the entire ascetical tradition of the church...or simply being a deist

just minor things...just minor things


TAKE BACK THE GOA!!!!
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« Reply #16 on: December 19, 2003, 06:47:00 PM »

Peter,

Some of the blessings are that I feel truly free when in those intimate moments to give myself over to my wife and her to me, to share each other, and know that our love might create life if God wills.  To not be regulating this love, to not be using a barrier method to put some piece of plastic between us, or any of that nastiness.

In the beginning of the marriage (first 6 months) we tried NFP because our situation is one where we can legitimately put off children (extreme poverty being another, or serious medical condition).  NFP is great because it is basically fasting from sex. Instead of "going for it" and using all sorts of methods to avoid conception, the couple restrain themselves for 5-7 days while the woman is fertile, knowing that as God wills, they could still become pregnant.  One really learns the woman's cycle and it leads to very deep intimacy.  One might ask how NFP differers from ABC and I would say that even NFP can be used like ABC and thus become sinful itself; the method itself is neutral though, whereas with ABC the method is intrinsically evil.  With NFP there is restraint, with ABC there is articifical adjustment of the body.

The last year though my wife and I have not even used NFP.  Children are a blessing and we await God's decision.  I do wonder, "well maybe we just can't have kids" because it has been a year, but at the same time, it could come at any moment.  It is all rather exciting.

Some might say that "well just wait until you have 5 or 8 kids" but I know several families in my Byzantine Catholic parish back in NC that had that many kids and were truly blessed.

I don't claim that I can adequately express all the reaons and theories about contraception, but I will add two things: 1) I was shocked by the lack of children in some of the "modernist" Orthodox churches I attended, after having been at a BC parish with over 40 children, and 2) I have noticed that usually those who use contraception and are happy about it are more selfish.  Sorry to anyone that is offended by this, this is just my observation and is not scientific. Maybe you are the exception.  I do recall a friend of mine arguing with me quite forcefully that "contraception does not make people selfish or hurt a marriage!"  1 year later, this dude was having marriage problems totally. I pray for him, he is a great guy, but it can affect a marriage, my friends!  You know the divorce rate of people not using ABC is only 5%.

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« Reply #17 on: December 19, 2003, 06:47:52 PM »


TAKE BACK THE GOA!!!!

Tom,

I think Nektarios is reacting to a month of being off the forum for school, all at one time Wink
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« Reply #18 on: December 19, 2003, 06:48:46 PM »

C'mon guys, I disagree with Tom a lot but the guy is asking a lot of good questions.  When he makes some of his more strong statements I sometimes am surprised but hey, he's trying to live Orthodoxy and learn more.

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« Reply #19 on: December 19, 2003, 06:54:59 PM »

Quote
I think Nektarios is reacting to a month of being off the forum for school, all at one time

Plus it takes a few days to get the meds just right when I get home from rehab
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« Reply #20 on: December 19, 2003, 07:40:54 PM »

Don't be so harsh Vicki....

I mean just hating our Patriarch with a passion because he had the audacity to live in the city where his floack is (hate to break it to you Tom, there still are Orthodox Christians living in Asia Minor and if the Patriarch leaves, he is leaving them).  

I never said I hated the EP. I said that I don't think that he should be under the domination of Muslims.

Or... saying that one of the geatest saints and apostles in the Church, Saint Paul was wrapped up in sexism and carried baggage.  

I said that the writing of St. Paul reflected the period in history in which he lived . EVERYONE was a sexist back then. My argument was that his views reflected societys views on women at the time and that is to be expected.

Or dismissing the entire ascetical tradition of the church...or simply being a deist

 Roll Eyes I don't reject the Creed or the faith. But yes, I do question Praxis in certain instances.

You know, I went to confession tonight and asked my Priest about some of these issues and he told me that as long as I accepted the basic tenents of the faith, that I was okay. That Canons of the church were made by men and sometimes some of these were made for certain specific reasons not related to "the Faith" and that as long as I tried to live right that that is all Jesus asks. That he came to release us from the law, not to put a heavier yoke on our backs.

And he also warned me about the "wholier than thou" people out there who are always looking for the speck in someone else's eye.

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« Reply #21 on: December 19, 2003, 07:45:33 PM »

From what he says off post, his priest is one of those embarrassments to the GOA who provides incorrect information to people who ask for it.

This is a man who has dedicated his life to Orthodoxy. Who has been an Orthodox Priest for 50 years.

How dare you judge him. There is not a sliver of Christianity in your ignorant, spiteful post.
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« Reply #22 on: December 19, 2003, 08:23:22 PM »

I would probably be among the first to agree about the GOA needing to shape up a bit; this just after I shape up myself first.
But, in fairness to TomS about ABC please read the current GOAA site's position and give TomS a break on this one at least.

http://www.goarch.org/en/ourfaith/articles/article7101.asp

 Smiley Smiley Smiley Smiley Smiley

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« Reply #23 on: December 19, 2003, 08:29:32 PM »

Forgive me if this is review for you DT Wink but the reasoning behind prohibiting artificial birth control is theological and extends beyond abortion.

The reasoning is that the purpose of the "conjugal act" is procreative. When that is manipulated or obstructed, so is God's will. I'm not sure I understand it, but I know I agree with it!  Grin

But is that the sole purpose of the "conjugal act"?  Scriptures seem to indicate otherwise.

Some of these arguments remind me of those who oppose medicine and technological advances in general, that such things aren't "natural".  Or the attitude that "if God wanted man to fly He would have given him wings".   Of course, this is coming from someone who is yet a Protestant and who has never examined any specific Church canons prohibiting artificial contraception.   Also this is coming from one who is a family physician and who may have a lot to answer for if indeed prescribing OCPs or advising condom use is a sin.   :-  

The bottom line is that I've changed my mind before, and I certainly am not opposed to the idea that I could be wrong on this issue...
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« Reply #24 on: December 19, 2003, 08:33:22 PM »

I would probably be among the first to agree about the GOA needing to shape up a bit; this just after I shape up myself first.
But, in fairness to TomS about ABC please read the current GOAA site's position and give TomS a break on this one at least.

http://www.goarch.org/en/ourfaith/articles/article7101.asp

 Smiley Smiley Smiley Smiley Smiley

Demetri

Interesting, especially this quote:
"The possible exception to the above affirmation of continuity of teaching is the view of the Orthodox Church on the issue of contraception. Because of the lack of a full understanding of the implications of the biology of reproduction, earlier writers tended to identify abortion with contraception. However, of late a new view has taken hold among Orthodox writers and thinkers on this topic, which permits the use of certain contraceptive practices within marriage for the purpose of spacing children, enhancing the expression of marital love, and protecting health. "

That sounds reasonable to me....
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« Reply #25 on: December 19, 2003, 08:33:43 PM »

My post isn't ignorant, but correct.

Ignorance referred to your lack of history of the church relating to canons, traditions, and other such things.

And no, I am not going to get into a back and forth with you about it. I hate it when TWO people do that (nudge, nudge, wink, wink, hint, hint). I mean they should take those silly one sentence posts to PM, don't you think?

Go to the GOA site and read about when Confession came into the church? Read church history about canons that were created and then later ignored.

THINK FOR YOURSELF!
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« Reply #26 on: December 19, 2003, 08:34:49 PM »

Father Stanley Harakas cites Orthodox writers, not Orthodox priests. The article is not convincing.

Right Vicki. It is POSTED on the GOA site, but you reject it.

Picking and choosing are we?
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« Reply #27 on: December 19, 2003, 08:37:58 PM »

Of course, this is coming from someone who is yet a Protestant and who has never examined any specific Church canons prohibiting artificial contraception.

No. It is coming from somene who knows how to utilize the brain that GOD provided him with. Too many people on this board have forgotten how to THINK logically, or more importantly, how to use deduction in forming opinions.
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« Reply #28 on: December 19, 2003, 08:46:50 PM »

<inserts the obligatory "we're all friends here' and "this type of argument is exactly what the enemy desires, sewing seeds of discord.">  We do have disagreements about important issues, and it right and good to discuss and even debate them.  As I moderator, I would ask that we *ALL* be a bit more charitable than we have been.  May God forgive our excesses as we fervently desire to defend and articulate His Will as found in the Holy Orthodox Church!
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« Reply #29 on: December 19, 2003, 08:47:20 PM »

What a scary world if the GOA website is the criterion of all truth :-";"xx
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« Reply #30 on: December 19, 2003, 08:47:22 PM »

Father Stanley Harakas cites Orthodox writers, not Orthodox priests. The article is not convincing.
I am not arguing the point. I am not "for" ABC. If you disagree with this priest, tell him, not me. Or better yet, tell the GOA itself. I do know the GOA properly condemns ABC outside marriage (of course), but defers its use within a family to an issue to be discussed with their priest for guidance. If it were OK outright, there would be no need for spiritual "guidance", would there be?

Demetri

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« Reply #31 on: December 19, 2003, 08:50:27 PM »

What a scary world if the GOA website is the criterion of all truth :-

Can't fault that reasoning, Nektarios. It is one of the reasons I am a big supporter of Fr. Ephraim's work here. But the stuff is on the website; what are the new converts to think?

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« Reply #32 on: December 19, 2003, 09:05:04 PM »

+ö++++++-ä-ü+¦+¦,

I don't know what a convert is supposed to do.  I guess I was lucky to meet a few families that were very traditional and could "take me under thier wing" to show me traditional Orthodox life.  You are very right about Geronda Ephraim's work being so important here...  alas it is an uphill battle.  

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« Reply #33 on: December 19, 2003, 09:11:12 PM »

Visitor Comments concerning Father Ephraim's Monastary --

"I entered one of Fr. Ephraim's monasteries, with the firm intention of staying to become a monastic. But I was shocked by some of what was being taught there, it just felt wrong. It seemed exactly like a cult! And once you're in with Ephraim's disciples, they may make it quite difficult for you to ever leave them. Thank you for bringing this more out into the open on your website. I think that the 'Christ' of the Epraimites is quite different from the loving Jesus Christ we know from our Orthodox parishes."

"I recently visited Holy Archangels Greek Orthodox Monastery in Texas, one of elder Ephraim's very contoversial monasteries. Having completed about 60 hours of undergrad sociology, I have studied cults. I am also very well read on Orthodox monasticism, and I left because this place met more critera of a cult than of a monastery."

"There is a ultra-Orthodox Ukraninan group in West Palm Beach Florida that in our opinion is a very dangerous cult group. They are connected with the Greek Orthodox Church. We have seen first-hand what they are doing it is totally non-Orthodox. This group gives Orthodox a bad name.
--A concerned Orthodox priest

"Elder Ephraim's monasteries' are flush with cash and property, but when I was there a small group of teenagers, many of whom didn't seem to have a well-defined intention of becoming monks, were doing the bulk of the hard manual labor (although the actual monks did contribute somewhat). The big thing that really made me nervous was that every single question I had was met by the same reply: "You'll have to ask Geronda." Geronda is a Greek term for abbot. Even very simple, non-esoteric questions such as "how often are you allowed to bath" were met with that same response. I'm nervous about the whole thing also because the monk running it refers to himself as the bishop of the monastery, which means he answers only to one man, who is almost never there, and who in turn answers to no one.


"A lot of the stuff they said down there was new to old monk-priests I talked to in my parish. If you understand that in Orthodoxy, nothing is new, this is frightening. The property is off in the middle of nowhere, and if something went wrong, it could go very wrong. It was a strange form of residence (over 3 months) free labor, and the talk was of Elder Ephraim rather than Jesus or "normal" Orthodox Christian topics."

"I don't think what Ephraim has are monasteries, but rather 13 small cults. This guy was [demoted (others say he 'willingly stepped down')] on Mount Athos and made to leave, but now is 'marketed' as a guru from the mountain. The abbot that I talked to didn't seem to have much interest in the Philokalia (the monk's handbook for hundreds of years) or any literature, but that relating to Ephraim."

---

Hmmmm. Remember to drink the Kool-aid when offered!
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« Reply #34 on: December 19, 2003, 09:15:20 PM »

That's a well-known article, previously referenced on this forum; don't believe everything you read TomS - it isn't logical to do so Smiley

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« Reply #35 on: December 19, 2003, 09:18:23 PM »

That's a well-known article, previously referenced on this forum; don't believe everything you read TomS - it isn't logical to do so Smiley

Demetri

But that's not the only article.

(Oh, Oh. A one sentence post - Vicki gonna yell at me for that!)
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« Reply #36 on: December 19, 2003, 09:23:57 PM »

Tom, I thought you said you get all your opinions from the GOA website?  The latest issue of the Orthodox Observer on the webpage has Metropolitan Anthony saying very positive things about Elder Ephraim's monasteries.  

I can tell you from spending a great deal of time at St. Anthony's Monastery that what you posted simply isn't true.  For example your article implies Geronda was forced out of Philotheou.  If that was the case why is he STILL the spirit father of the monastery (which in case you didn't realize is different from the abbot of a monastery)?  

Elder Joseph will most likely be glorified a saint and he is in the same school of Orthodox monasticism of countless saints, so there is nothing novel here.  But much like the Optina Elders they simply weren't understood by secularists within the church.
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« Reply #37 on: December 19, 2003, 09:26:16 PM »




Hmmmm. Remember to drink the Kool-aid when offered!


Fr. Ephraim's monasteries are probably the best thing to happen to the GOA in the last 75 years. Perhaps you should ask fellow board member Nektarios about his experiences there.  I can't imagine you're much of a fan of monasticism in general though, after having read some of your recent posts.
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« Reply #38 on: December 19, 2003, 09:27:31 PM »

Hi gang,

Obvious snitty sniper posts aside....

I was told by someone whom I consider to be one of the most humble and holy people I know that a man and woman are crowned king and queen of their household with Christ at the center.  If that man and woman in conjunction with their spiritual father or mother decide to use ABC to avoid children with the blessing of their spiritual father/mother then it is between them and God and we should keep our noses out of it.

I am not hoping to start a flame war, simply passing on something I had been told and thought was interesting.  Obviously I have not done a great deal of research on the Canons or patristic thought on the matter.

-Pavlos

edit: to shore up some really entertaining spelling options.
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« Reply #39 on: December 19, 2003, 09:32:45 PM »

Yes, Pavlos, that is the current advice being given often in the GOA. Essentially a man and woman, now bound as one by the sacrament must decide with guidance what is best.
It does sound pretty "iffy" to me and not Traditional. Eventually they'll get it right, I hope.

Demetri
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« Reply #40 on: December 19, 2003, 10:26:48 PM »

DT,

Think about artificial birth control from God's point of view, if you dare. God says, "you're pregnant." And I say, "that's okay God, I don't want a baby. I think I'll abort." So, abortion is man's rebuttal to God's will. God says, "you've got terminal cancer. You are going to share in Christ's suffering, and then you are going to die." And I say, "that's okay God. I don't want to suffer. I think I'll just go ahead and die now." So, euthanasia is also man's rebuttal to God's will.

God says, "it's that time again, are you ready to be a father? Are you ready to win a soul for Christ? Hmmm. Maybe I'll make him the first Orthodox president of the United States. I don't know, what do you think?" And I say, "that's okay. I don't want any children."

Soooo...euthanasia, abortion, and ABC are all man's technological means of turning his back on God.

As far as the scriptures go, DT, it is true, there is more to sex than just bringing new life into the world, but God sold us the whole package, and it is sinful and selfish to say, "okay, I want all the pleasure, but I don't want to pay the price!" The same reasoning is behind the gay rights movement, et al.
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« Reply #41 on: December 19, 2003, 10:41:58 PM »

DT,

Think about artificial birth control from God's point of view, if you dare.

I am quite willing to do that if one were to establish definitively what His point of view about it is.  I'm not sure that has been done.  I don't think trying lump it in with abortion or euthanasia constitutes proof of how God feels about ABC.  Murder is clearly against God's revealed will, as is homosexuality.  The question is if ABC is also wrong and in the same category as the others.  That has been asserted but, AFAICT, has not been proven. (But I'm willing to concede I haven't paid that close attention to this entire thread)
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« Reply #42 on: December 19, 2003, 11:06:11 PM »

Studies have shown that the availability of birth control in extreme situations like Africa has little effect because if you adopt a contraceptive mentality, then you become very careless about sex, you are more likely to engage in risky behaviors than before, etc.  The key is restraint.  You can't get around it any other way...

anastasios
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« Reply #43 on: December 19, 2003, 11:16:40 PM »

In Uganda they adopted a chastity education program (rather than throw condoms at the villagers, which clearly doesn't work) and Uganda dramatically reduced it's number of AIDS victims.
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« Reply #44 on: December 20, 2003, 01:05:44 AM »

Aside:
The new AIDS relief to Africa program that the US has started is teaching abstinence as a main method of protecting oneself from AIDS. I was recently listening to the liberals on NPR bash the program because of this, saying it's too far fetched to expect people to restrain themselves. Hmmm....
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« Reply #45 on: December 20, 2003, 01:21:38 AM »

I agree with Nektarios...Take back the GOA!
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« Reply #46 on: December 20, 2003, 01:34:22 AM »

Quote
I agree with Nektarios...Take back the GOA!

AMIN! AMIN! AMIN!
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« Reply #47 on: December 20, 2003, 04:14:53 AM »

Yes, Pavlos, that is the current advice being given often in the GOA. Essentially a man and woman, now bound as one by the sacrament must decide with guidance what is best.
It does sound pretty "iffy" to me and not Traditional. Eventually they'll get it right, I hope.

Demetri


There is a Greek Orthodox priest who is now a great grandparent. He is very concerned about any use of natural or artificial birth control, including NFP. He told his congregation that when using NFP or the condom, one is being very selfish and is preventing God from giving his blessings. God's blessings to us are precious little ones. He said that little ones often lead their parents to Christ because parenting helps humans to learn to be unselfish in their love. This is the best argument against birth regulation that I have ever heard. The married life is a school of sanctity and we are perverting it by our contraception and unwillingness to bear children. Furthermore, we are denying the Church future priests and monks, because most priests, monks and nuns come from large families.

Hope this sheds some light.

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« Reply #48 on: December 20, 2003, 08:18:17 AM »

There is a Greek Orthodox priest who is now a great grandparent. He is very concerned about any use of natural or artificial birth control, including NFP. He told his congregation that when using NFP or the condom, one is being very selfish and is preventing God from giving his blessings. God's blessings to us are precious little ones.

What is unselfish about potential (great-)grandparents wishing to have grandchildren?

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« Reply #49 on: December 20, 2003, 09:51:24 AM »

I can't imagine you're much of a fan of monasticism in general though, after having read some of your recent posts.

Why not? My posts are always related to issues of Praxis for those living in the "real world"

I have no problem with monasticism. If you feel that is what you are called to, then that is fine with me and is none of my business. Besides,  monks SHOULD be very strict when it comes to Praxis --  that's their job!  Smiley

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« Reply #50 on: December 20, 2003, 10:17:16 AM »

Anastasios,

Quote
Technically no one allows abortofacient contraceptives like the Pill although some -- and I think this is the only way I can describe this -- morons think that it "is a-ok" even though it can cause abortions by preventing implantation!!

Actually, not all birth-control pills work the same (translation = not all simply prevent implanation...which would be the chemical equivelent to an IUD.)  Unfortunately, when dolling out pills, very few physicians care to make the distinction.

Seraphim
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« Reply #51 on: December 20, 2003, 10:28:37 AM »

Maria,

I feel that most Orthodox do not understand the difference in approach between NFP and condoms.  However, I would agree that it is good that he is preaching against contraception in general.  I cannot elaborate more as I am running out the door to go on vacation, but I suggest you check out

www.orthodoxnfp.org

Yours in Christ,

anastasios
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« Reply #52 on: December 20, 2003, 11:22:35 AM »

So then, is all sex that does not end in the act of coitus a sin?
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« Reply #53 on: December 20, 2003, 11:26:39 AM »

Tom,

Quote
Go to the GOA site and read about when Confession came into the church? Read church history about canons that were created and then later ignored.

This is the danger of all Orthodox-historical revisionism (both the "right leaning" and "left leaning" varieties.)  Rather than being something that is handed down, generation to generation, "Orthodox modernism" generally cops a quasi-Protestant attitude, and seeks to by-pass the wisdom of the immediate generation (or generations...or even entire centuries...nay, millenia, plus!) in favour of some supposedly "purer, ancient tradition."

Of course, the problem with such an attitude, is that it is very, very selective - it's cafeteria like, in what ancient practices or positions it takes, with practically no interest in the context they were lived out in.  

For example, it is true what we now call "auriculour confession" or "private confession" did not exist from the get-go.  However, rather than result in a dismissive attitude towards this, we should ask (as the "man of tradition", Chesterton, would have asked) "why was it instituted?"

Here are some reasons...

- in the earliest period of the Church, you could characterize the typical Christian with a fervor which, sadly, was not so typical after the legalization of Christianity, and the conversion of the masses...a hodge podge of varying degrees of fervor, along with the unfortunate reality of "nominal" or "cultural" Christianity.

- Also steadily transforming, was the status of the Church as a "closed society".  For example, you were no longer dealing with congregations in the tens (maximum), but very often in the hundreds (and at some cathedrals, more!).  Thus, there developed an unfortunate ability to become "anonymous".

Given these things, it became necessary to better guard access to the Chalice, for the sake of those communicating.

Thus, while many modern liturgical types are very fond of refering to the ancient practice of receiving Holy Communion every time one goes to the Divine Liturgy - which should still be the ideal, and I'm sure no one disputes this - they leave out the equally important factor of doing so with a good conscience.  This means doing the best one can to be reconciled to one's enemies (the bare minimum being that we forgive them, even if they will not hear us), and to be reconciled to God for our own sins.

Also neglected by such persons, is the fact that the "closing of communion" to an extent (by requiring, as was once typical in the Orthodox world, not simply regular confession, but even confession before each reception of Holy Communion) brought with it a great leniency in regard to canonical punishments for sins.  For example, there are many "grave" (aka. "mortal" to borrow a Latin term) sins whose older canonical penalties, by our modern standards, would have seemed incredibly harsh - yet they were appropriate for the times they were practiced in (since the communities of the faithful were generally of a higher caliber than what would be seen in later periods...and I include myself in this depracatory generalization.)

Given this, I guess in principle I'd feel a little better about infrequent confession, people being told they should receive Holy Communion every time they go to the Divine Liturgy, etc... if it also included the re-institution of public confession of serious sins, the re-institution of ancient penalties for such sins (which could often include being barred from Holy Communion for years, and in a few cases, even until the time of death!), and other stricter pastoral policy (the dismissal of all catechumen before the Holy Oblation, and the careful barring of all non-Orthodox from the Temple under any circumstances.)

But of course, this is not what the neo-liturgists are calling for.  Hence, my criticism of their selectiveness.

The traditional practice of frequent confession (even to the point of confessing prior to every Communion) is actually not a case of making things 'more strict' as some believe - when you look at the big picture, it is actually a very wise condescension on the part of the Church, even liberality, towards their flocks, appropriate to the context they're operating in.  It is actually an economic attempt, on the part of the Church, to "be there" for as many people as possible...not simply the pious and fervent, but also the lukewarm or feeble (and all that falls between those two polar opposites.)

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« Reply #54 on: December 20, 2003, 12:07:06 PM »

Vicki,

Quote
Once again, Seraphim, you are correct as to taking everying in context...but it does NOT change my original rant against GOA priests who do not teach this sacrament at all.

I didn't think it would - it wasn't my intention.  I actually agree with you on this (I thought that would have been clear from my response.)

Quote
I had one very traditional young GOA priest who grew up in the same Massachusetts parish I did tell me that he NEVER KNEW Confession was an Orthodox Sacrament untill he left that parish and went into the service and an Orthodox Chaplain there mentioned it to him. It simply isn't mentioned by many older GOA priests who were Holy Cross Grads in the early 60s as part of the directive at that time was "BECOME MORE AMERICAN AND RELEVANT OR YOU WILL LOSE THE ATTENTION OF THE PEOPLE"....

I agree - this is terrible.  This seems to be, at least in part, a manifestation of the "Greek inferiority complex", which seems to manifest itself in all sorts of ways (trumping up the importance of anything "Greek", whether ecclessiastically or historically...though, oddly enough, it also manifests itself in a rabid desire to "fit in"; in this case, become more or less indistinguishable from a mainline, confessional Protestant church.)

Quote
Many there couldn't stomach this, and went ultra-traditional...but the majority of these older grads went liberal. Very sad state of affairs for the GOA. The younger priests are much more conservative and traditional....Thank God!

I think part of the problem may have been the times...keeping in mind that the RCC went through/is still going through the same thing (crazy ideas on what it means to be "relevent.")

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« Reply #55 on: December 20, 2003, 12:11:11 PM »

Seraphim,

I don't disagree with what you posted concerning how and why Canons came into being. I think that it backs up what I said in an earlier post - that Canons were created to address certain issues.

And this just gives more credence to my primary point (amd what my Priest has told me) -- that the Canons evolve and some are no longer applicable or applied (I am not saying which ONES are no longer applied)

Everyone takes my posts as an attack on "the foundation" of Orthodoxy and I don't mean them to be taken that way. I am still Orthodox and believe that the Orthodox Chrch IS the true Church. I simply question how important certain types of Praxis have to DO with our salvation.

And Vicki -- my Priest does practice the sacrament of Confession -- just not as often as YOU would like him to. And if I had pressed him by saying that I really needed to talk to him, he would not have told me to wait 3 weeks until confession was being offered. But I did not do that, I decided that I could wait.


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« Reply #56 on: December 20, 2003, 01:18:16 PM »

Tom,

Quote
And this just gives more credence to my primary point (amd what my Priest has told me) -- that the Canons evolve and some are no longer applicable or applied (I am not saying which ONES are no longer applied)

Then we have no fundamental disagreement on this issue.  What is relevent then, is why I (and others) take issue to precisely how your parish Priest is using this historicism to justify pastoral negligence.  I find your Priest's unwillingness to hear your confession ASAP very disheartening - even in my RC days, I never heard of a priest (even an extremely liberal one) acting like this, when approached by someone for confession.

Seraphim
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« Reply #57 on: December 20, 2003, 01:23:31 PM »

As regards Confession: Tell me AGAIN, Tom: HOW MUCH TIME did your priest allow for the ENTIRE parish to receive this sacrament?

Well, the program said 5:00-5:30, but I heard someone say in the office that it was a type and it was from 5:00 to 7:00.

And BTW -- when my wife and I got there at 5:00, no one else was there. And when we left at around 5:45 (after some coffee) only one older couple had come. So maybe he does it this way because he can't get anyone to come. As I posted here a while back -- My Priest says that getting a Greek to admit that they did anything wrong, and not to mention doing it in front of the iconastasis and his/her Priest, is next to impossible  Grin
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« Reply #58 on: December 20, 2003, 01:33:24 PM »

Tom,

Quote
And BTW -- when my wife and I got there at 5:00, no one else was there. And when we left at around 5:45 (after some coffee) only one older couple had come. So maybe he does it this way because he can't get anyone to come. As I posted here a while back -- My Priest says that getting a Greek to admit that they did anything wrong, and not to mention doing it in front of the iconastasis and his/her Priest, is next to impossible

Giving your parish Priest the benefit of the doubt ("why have regular confession times, when no one shows up?"), this seems to betray an underlying problem in his own parish, and perhaps in the GOA in general - there is obviously a profound lack of catechesis, and in particular, preaching on the sacrament of confession..

Simply put, if people do not even know it's a sacrament (or even understand why it would be important to go), then they're not going to show up.  While a lot of this may have to do with the phenomenon of "arrogant Greeks" (putting my helmet on and raising my buckler against any flying baklava...which none of you should have, seeing as it's the Nativity Fast!), even this is a poor excuse against preaching on this subject...because obviously leaving the teaching of this subject up totally to "osmosis" isn't working out all that well. Sad

I also happen to not buy the "arrogant Greek" excuse for another reason - I know in places where this subject is impressed upon people (ex. in the varying Greek Old Calendarist Churches), people do go to Confession, and know what it's all about.

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« Reply #59 on: December 20, 2003, 01:49:57 PM »

With all this being said and done, what's the bottom line?

What would we tell someone who walked in off the street and asked about the Orthodox teaching on Birth Control?? Would we have to give them a 5 page thread on the subject?

This is one of my inhibitions about Orthodoxy in general.  At least the Roman Catholics have a definitive teaching about ABC.  Whether you disagree or not, the teaching is the same and consistant everywhere.  However, whenever someone mentions this to a group of Orthodox, they get the run around about how Orthodox don't think like that, or write down that, etc.
In my opinion, if Orthodoxy in America is going to survive, the lay people are going to need a more definitive voice on what is right and what is wrong coming from the Orthodox hierarchy, and not the grey matter that seems to exist currently.
BObby

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« Reply #60 on: December 20, 2003, 01:57:05 PM »

Seraphim,

My Priest was not citing the changing of Canons in relation to confession. I was talking in a general sense.
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« Reply #61 on: December 20, 2003, 02:00:05 PM »

This is one of my inhibitions about Orthodoxy in general.  At least the Roman Catholics have a definitive teaching about ABC.  Whether you disagree or not, the teaching is the same and consistant everywhere.

You are right about this Bobby. And that is why we orthodox have all these disagreements. We might as well be protestants!
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« Reply #62 on: December 20, 2003, 11:50:23 PM »

Quote
At least the Roman Catholics have a definitive teaching about ABC.  


They have a definitive teaching, but do they have the right teaching?
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« Reply #63 on: December 20, 2003, 11:58:39 PM »

Byzantino,

What do you believe is the correct teaching on ABC?

In Christ,
Anthony

Quote
At least the Roman Catholics have a definitive teaching about ABC.  


They have a definitive teaching, but do they have the right teaching?
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« Reply #64 on: December 21, 2003, 12:39:57 AM »

Tony,

I'm half-way thru my reply but don't have time to finish it, so i'll post it for you tomorrow.


Thanks,
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« Reply #65 on: December 21, 2003, 12:41:00 AM »

This is one of my inhibitions about Orthodoxy in general.  At least the Roman Catholics have a definitive teaching about ABC.  Whether you disagree or not, the teaching is the same and consistant everywhere.

You are right about this Bobby. And that is why we orthodox have all these disagreements. We might as well be protestants!

Shhh, Tom! You're not supposed to mention that!

Someone might hear you and think you are advocating some kind of executive office in the Church, like the papacy, with the power to call councils and sanction their decisions, to rein in obstinate bishops, etc.

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« Reply #66 on: December 21, 2003, 01:18:46 AM »

(Warning: Though I attempted to put this delicately, there is definately some "adult content" in the following post)

On NFP, the Pill, and other methods of birth control...my two cents (actually, given the likely length of this post, which I admit I'm writing off the cuff, it's probably going to be more like "my two dollars")...

Ultimatly, it is not the outward phenomena of a given act which makes it "sinful" or erects it as a barrier between man and God, but it's interior content - in particular, where the will and the conscience are in regard to the act.

Barring appeals to what is more "natural" (which I think at best, is a hazy ground for argumentation on this subject - strictly speaking, open heart surgery  isn't "natural" either), the intent of "ABC" and "NFP" is the same; to avoid children.  Let's not butter it up; both are put into practice, because the people utilizing them want to delay Jr's appearance, while still being able to cool the fires of concupiscence (yes, yes, I know sexual relations can also be expressions of mutual affection...duh...I'm married...but I'm sure most wives would also say, they could get a strong "I love you" from helping out with the chores more, and husbands being less whiney in doing what tasks they do have in the home; I personally think too much is made of the "I love you" aspect of married relations, or at least not enough of an admission is being made of their "curative" effect in regard to the passions).

Given this, I am not thoroughly convinced (and obviously neither is the entire Orthodox world - the only genuine consensus seems to be, that the evangelical ideal, is for couples to totally put their trust in God, and not be calculating in this area...and that any desire to avoid children entirely is Godless, save in situations where a medical situation endures indefinately) that there is a substantial difference between "ABC" and "NFP", beyond the "how".

Thus, in my view, ABC and NFP are more or less equivelent (with NFP perhaps getting browny points for being more "disciplined"...but in the case of those suffering from health conditions which "necessitate" the use of some kind of birth control, perhaps a little more hazardous - though I've been told by some NFP adherants, that if practiced strictly, it works better than condoms, and over the long term can even prove as effective as "the Pill.")

Given all of this, if ABC is to be unilaterially condemned, then NFP would have to go with it.

Perhaps this all opens the door to the need for a discussion of just what sexual relations are "for".  Utilizing the useful RC heirarchy on this subject, I submit the following...

1. The procreation of offspring
2. The mutual support between the spouses (cooling of the fires of the sexual appetite, which like all passions suffers from man's fall/mortality, and also as a special expression of affection between spouses.)

I guess the real argument, would be if either of these ends can ever be legitimatly divorced from the other (or at least be permissably separated from serious enough reasons.)

So as to not treat this totally as an abstraction, left for us alone in these times to figure out, it is worth pointing out that up until relatively recently, there was little ambiguity in Orthodox practice on this subject:  ABC was a no go.  But it is also worth pointing out that in the RCC, up until recently, it was a popular theological opinion (though one which steadily declined as the 20th century dragged on) that any sexual activities between spouses which did not at least have the habitual intent of begetting children, were sinful (and further back, in the middle ages, sexual relations between spouses which did not have the express purpose of begetting children were viewed as being at least "semi-sinful" or, partially blameworthy).

Though I do not have my copy handy, I distinctly remember reading in the pre-Vatican II/pre-Humanae Vitae RC "Moral Theological" guide Moral Theology (by Fr.Heribert Jone, still kept in print by TAN Books), the example of conscious practicing of "sexual positions believed to lessen the chances of conception" (or something to this effect) being classified as a "mortal sin" (or at least this being a popular opinion amongst Latin moralists).

However, I think it is legitimate to bring up that for many of the Fathers (though they clearly were against the contraceptive practices of their time), when they got into the details, it is apparent they believed there was some equivelence between "contraception" and "abortion" (in particular the "wasting of the seed" and abortion).  Now, we know in our day, that there is definately a marked difference between a newly conceived child (even at the single cell stage) and a sperm cell, knowledge which the Fathers would not have been privy to.  On these grounds then, it could be argued the logical connection they were making in this regard was based on an incorrect understanding.

With this said though, I am heavily disinclined to go along with any sort of reasoning (particularly when it seeks to contravene the praxis of the Fathers) which rests solely upon the assumption that we know so much more than the Fathers did, hence this qualifies us to offer a therapy superior to theirs, unto the salvation of sinners.  For while it is true that the Fathers had to use their heads and reason to articulate their teaching, we cannot also deny that they were also bearers of the Holy Spirit, and collectively can be characterized as being bearers of Christ's mind - given this, I find it hard to believe they could be so terribly misguided on this subject.

In fact, while the kinship that is cited by some of the Fathers between abortion and contraception may seem scientifically inaccurate, I do not think this is entirely so.  For while it is true that the sperm of the male is not the entire genetic make up of a child (without the ovum there is no new, unique child, and without implantation of the fertilized ovum, it will not develop into an infant ready to breath it's own air and ingest it's own food), it certainly is a major part of it - and each sperm cell could be viewed as being at least "potential" life.  Given that this is potential human life it, like anything else pertaining to the human race, would have a dignity then, which would be lacking in irrational beasts - and hence this is why it may not be appropriate to simply view it as being simple "biological matter", to be as freely disposed of as one would a finger nail or a hair clipping.

This perhaps is part of the "pollution" (along with the unbecoming movements of the passions) associated with the "spilling of the seed" (even unintentionally, as occurs with nocturnal emissions) which Orthodox piety has intuitively recognized as "bad", and negatively affecting the spiritual state (Orthodox tradition dictating that a man who has suffered this, ought not to receive Communion soon afterward.)

After saying all of this (yes, I know, it is quite a bit, and often arguing with itself... Smiley ), and keeping in mind the ordinary discipline of the Orthodox Church throughout the ages and in our day (and despite what some think, I do not think there is any fundamental disagreement on this subject amongst the various local Churches - I think this "disagreement" is more exagerated for polemical purposes than it is is real), I think the following can be said unambiguously...

1) The Gospel calls men to a great perfection - any failure to this is in some wise, a sin.  While western Christendom has tended to "lower the bar" on just what a sin is, Orthodoxy does not; all are called to evangelical perfection, not just a strange/unique few.  Hence, we're all called to be absolutely selfless, even to the point of giving up the garments from our backs should someone ask for them - we should lend to all without reservation.  Yet, do we do this?  Lord have mercy, most of us do not - indeed, Lord have mercy!

2) "Morality" as such, exists for this end - union with God.  We are told by Christ, that there are ultimatly two commandments, which all others can be reduced to - Love of God, and love of our neighbour.  This consciousness needs to be kept in mind then, when discussing questions which touch upon "economy" in the Church's discipline towards the weaker brethren (which in our sad times, most of us should humbly admit speaks of us).  There is no sin which of itself seperates men from God - rather, it is the love of these sins (all of the commandments thus ultimatly reducable, in essence, to idolatry), in opposition to and above the love of God, which separates men from God, and if persisted in will cause them to find themselves amongst those judged and seperated from the blessed, to dwell in the outer darkness.

3) There is no ambiguity in the official positions of the various local Churches that I've seen (unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the "private theology", which is no theology at all, of individual priests or self anointed "scholars"), to the fact that strictly speaking, leaving these matters in God's hands, is the only pious, and unambiguously God-pleasing position which married couples can take on this subject.  It is the only "moral" option.

4) At the same time, depending on the discretion of the couple's confessor, there is some room for leniency on this subject if it is merited.  This would include sufficiently grave matters, namely a real health condition which would make pregnancy dangerous for the mother and/or child, or real financial burdens which would make a new child seem a grave hardship to the parents.  Strictly speaking, the latter issue is more ignoble than the first - for in reality, it manifests a degree of faithlessness in God's providence.  Both can also be argued to be somewhat ignoble, in that total abstinence from sexual relations should be the first "option" in either of those situations.  The granting of leniency in these situations then, is a huge condescension to human weakness, when it is seriously felt that the spouses could not handle the burden of a child at a given time for either of these general reasons.  However, the moralist who may object to either of these being "valid grounds" should ask - which is worse... a couple using contraception/NFP, or the real likelihood that one or both partners may find themselves indulging in completly "unnatural"/extra-marital sexual activities which are without a doubt serious sins?  I think this is much like the Church's economy on the issue of divorce - it is definately a sin, but which is worse in the case of the weaker brethren; leaving them in despair at having no partner (or in the case of women in many parts of the world, without any means of financial support for themselves or any existing children they have), and should they choose out of weakness to re-marry, be completly cut off from the Church's healing sacramental life - or while recognizing the sinfulness involved in such a situation, have the Church tolerating as much as is possible without utterly betraying the tools of curative therapy, without which no salvation is possible?

This is why, it is not a "cop-out" as some RC apologists will claim, when Orthodox say "yes, it is wrong, but there are some 'hard cases' which are best left to the counsel of a qualified Father-Confessor who knows the situation of the couple intimately" - for really any leniency in this matter, is going to be heavily wrapped up with the very individual circumstances of the couple in question, which can really only be appropriaely delved into in the privacy of the Confessional.

(boy, I have too much time on my hands)

Seraphim
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« Reply #67 on: December 21, 2003, 02:39:11 AM »

Quote
In my opinion, if Orthodoxy in America is going to survive, the lay people are going to need a more definitive voice on what is right and what is wrong coming from the Orthodox hierarchy, and not the grey matter that seems to exist currently.
BObby

I am a certified NFP instructor but I have not taught classes in a few years due to homeschooling responsibilities. I believe that birth control is wrong and I am an Orthodox Christian.

What I have been told by OCA priests (and I trust them) is that birth control is wrong. We should be trusting in God to provide. NFP and condoms are the only methods which are allowed, but these are not allowed unless the couple has sufficient grounds (serious health reasons, severe financial problems). However any other form of birth control is highly discouraged, especially any device, pill, implant. or patch that can cause abortions by preventing the newly conceived life from implanting. Almost all the above methods of ABC (IUD, pills, implants and patches) do not totally inhibit ovulation but create an inhospitable environment in the womb so that implantation cannot occur. This causes the woman to have an increased chance of suffering or dying from an etopic pregnancy. ABC is dangerous - to the mother and to the child who still could survive but be deformed.  If you want proof - check the internet sites that are run by Catholics - they have the facts that are documented by medical research.

I can supply a list of these references perhaps tomorrow.

Frankly I also do not believe in condoms because they do have a higher failure rate (up to 20%). Besides, think about it, the condom is putting a barrier between the couple and God. Again, it shows a lack of trust in God's providence. St. John Chrysostom said that any barrier that prevents the sperm from entering the womb is a sort of homicide. Of course he said that because the ancients believed that the sperm was a small person. Still the Early Church frowned on contraception and penanced people severely who used it -- and primitive forms of condoms were around then.

Just like the Early Church suffered from the heresy of Arianism, so do we suffer from some 'unorthodox' beliefs. However, I think if you did a survey, you would probably find that an equal low number of Catholics and Orthodox use NFP or abstinence (rhythm). A shocking number of  both Catholics and Greek Orthodox have had abortions or use the abortificent pills, IUD's and implants. A priest told me that this is why a lot of Greeks don't receive Holy Communion.

We need to pray.
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« Reply #68 on: December 21, 2003, 02:48:57 AM »

This is an example of what artificial birth control and estrogen therapy is doing to our environment and to humans:

Reference:

Rowe, Bruce M. and Stein, Philip L., Physical Anthropology, 8th edition. San Francisco: McGraw 2003.

p. 501 "Endocrine disruptor = Natural and synthetic chemicals that affect the endocrine system."

On page 502

"Humans and wildlife have been exposed to natural endocrine disruptors that are found in clover, soybeans, other legumes, whole grains, and a variety of fruits and vegetables throughout prehistory and history. Exposure to synthetic endocrine disruptors arises from numerous sources including certain pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, products and byproducts associated with plastics, some pharmaceuticals such as birth control pills, certain detergents, various industrial chemicals, and heavy metals such as lead, mercury, and cadmium.
"One synthetic estrogen is diethystilbestrol (DES). ...Studies have shown that daughters of mothers who took DES have a higher-than-normal rate of vaginal and cervical cancers. Sons of women who took DES have a higher rate of malformed or small penises, undescended testicles, and abnormal sperm. (Not too long ago, physicians surgically transformed some of these deformed males into females. So some lesbians could be males.) These and other types of reproductive system problems are suspected but have not been conclusively shown to occur in humans exposed to environmental estrogens--synthetic estrogens that get into the soil, air, water, and food."
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« Reply #69 on: December 21, 2003, 02:50:21 AM »

   
Here is part of a paper I did on the connection between the use of artificial birth control and abortion:

Oral contraceptives (OC), contraceptive implants and intra-uterine devices (IUD) usually work by preventing the embryo from implanting within the uterus, therefore causing it to abort. "Research into the molecular biology of OC effects has recently elucidated and again confirmed OCs prevent implantation by altering cell adhesion molecules called integrins, chemical receptors which are crucial for uterine receptivity of the newly conceived human being." (Infant Homicides 5) "Women using the IUDs are at great risk for serious adverse effects; the most notable are pelvic inflammatory disease (leading many times to sterility), perforation of the uterus, infection, pelvic pain and ectopic pregnancy. Women using IUDs are l000% more at risk for developing ectopic (tubal) pregnancies which nearly always end with killing of the preborn or risk of rupture and/or death of the mother if pregnancy continues." (Infant Homicides 36)

The women who use contraceptives with other drugs, especially antibiotics, can suffer drug reactions. "There is increasing research and theorizing that the immune suppression acted out by OCs is a contributing factor in the increased incidence of heterosexually-contracted HIV infection. ... Of the multitude of side effects noted over almost 40 years of experience with OCs, five very serious risks are associated with OC use: increased incidence of sexually transmitted diseases; pelvic inflammatory disease; infertility; cervical and breast cancer; and ectopic pregnancy." (Infant Homicides 7)

Some women have died from embolisms which were caused directly by oral contraceptive use. "One was the death of a 19-year-old British secretary in May 1988. She stepped out of her car on the way to work, fell down suddenly and was dead on arrival. ... Another British girl, Christina Robinson, was only 17 years old when she 'died from blood clots after taking a contraceptive pill.' She was using the product Dianette to help control 'mild acne of the face, arms and back.' She was taken to a hospital but died 3 hours later, according to news reports." (Infant Homicides 8 )

"Other common drug-induced diseases reported for various OCs include: thromboembolism, coronary artery disease, cerebrovascular disease, hepatic adenomas, gall bladder disease, cholestatic jaundice, cancer (breast, uterine and vaginal), endometriosis, hypercalcemia, porphyria, uterine fibroids, migraines, headache, cycle irregularities, mental depression, vaginal infections, decreased libido and vaginal bleeding inter alia." (Infant Homicides 9)

It's a national tragedy that abortion and abortifacient contraceptives result in either the death or the psychological and/or physical impairment of millions of women and their babies. It is conservatively estimated that between 7.9 million to 13 million infants die through chemical, mechanical and surgical abortions in the USA annually. (cf. Infant Homicides 46) Furthermore, it makes me angry that women have been lied to and betrayed by the legal system that is supposed to protect them. We have been led to believe that abortions and abortifacient drugs are safe and economical when they are not. In addition, the two major decisions in the United States that legalized abortion ("Roe vs. Wade" and "Doe vs. Bolton") were based on lies. (cf. The Right to Life 158, 179) In both cases, the women admitted many years later to the court, that they had been encouraged to lie under oath, and that they had never been raped, contrary to their previous testimony. They simply found themselves pregnant and were embarrassed to admit the truth. Interestingly, in facing the truth, both women have recently converted to Christianity and are now actively involved in the pro-life movement. (cf. The Right to Life 158, 179)

All of the major religions in the world condemn lying, fornication, adultery, murder and abortion. (cf. The Right to Life 146-153) In addition, there are many good atheists, whom I have personally known, who obey a natural law written in their hearts and in their minds, and who follow the "Golden Rule." "It is imperatively necessary to not turn a blind eye to this highly divisive moral and political issue of abortion. We must strive in 'truth and love' to appeal to human conscience, the very core of human existence. We must bring all to the understanding that life is a gift from God which is to be nurtured and revered." (The Right to Life 192)

In order to protect women from the horrors of abortion, we must empower them to say "no" to the seductions and flatteries of dishonest men. In addition, men and women should be taught from their youth to respect each other and to avoid prostitutes. If a gentleman truly loves a lady, he can be faithful and wait until after the marriage ceremony to have sex. The only loving and safe way to enjoy sex is in a monogamous committed relationship. In this way our children will be blessed to have faithfully committed parents, and by their parent's good example, the children, when they reach maturity, will be faithful and true to their own spouses. This must be our goal if our society is to become more gentle, where pregnant women are cared for and are encouraged to offer their newborns for adoption, and are therefore spared the insidious side effects of abortion.

Works Cited

“Consecuencias del aborto para la mujer.” Vida Humana, 2001.
http://www.vidahumana.org/vidafam/a...nseq_mujer.html

Harakas, Stanley S., Living the Faith: The Praxis of Eastern Orthodox Ethics. Minneapolis: Light and Life, 1992.

Kuhar, Bogomir M.,PharmD, FASCP, Infant Homicides through Contraceptives. Bardstown: Eternal Life, 2000.

Macaila, Dumitru, The Right to Life: The Eastern Orthodox Christian Perspective on Abortion. Salisbury: Regina Orthodox, 2001.

Mathewes-Green, Frederica, Real Choices: Listening to Women; Looking for Alternatives to Abortion. Ben Lomond: Conciliar Press, 1997.

"Physical health risks of abortion: scientific studies reveal significant risk." Adapted from information provided by the Elliot Institute,
P.O. Box 7348, Springfield, IL 62791 and updated 1/21/2001.
http://www.w-cpc.org/abortion/physical.html

Other reference sources that you may wish to consult:

“Abortion: all sides of the issue.” Bruce A. Robinson, Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance. 2001.
http://www.religioustolerance.org/abortion.htm

“Aborto de nacimiento parcial: el procedimiento.” Vida Humana, 2001.http://www.vidahumana.org/vidafam/aborto/dx.html

“Aborto de nacimiento parcial: 20% aborto; 80% infanticidio." Vida humana, 2001. http://www.vidahumana.org/vidafam/aborto/dxinfant.html

“Believe it: religious Americans are pro-choice.” The Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice. 2001.
http://www.rcrc.org/pubs/speakout/mostamer.htm

“Consecuencias del aborto para la mujer.” Vida Humana, 2001.
http://www.vidahumana.org/vidafam/a...nseq_mujer.html

Harakas, Stanley S., Contemporary Moral Issues Facing the Orthodox Christian. Expanded and Revised. Minneapolis: Light and Life, 1982.

Harakas, Stanley S., Living the Faith: The Praxis of Eastern Orthodox Ethics. Minneapolis: Light and Life, 1992.

Kahlenborn, Chris, Breast Cancer: Its Link to Abortion & the Birth Control Pill. Book Review by The Couple to Couple League. 2001
http://www.ccli.org/reviews/kahlenborn.shtml

Kuhar, Bogomir M., Infant Homicides through Contraceptives. Bardstown: Eternal Life, 2000.

“La ra+¡z del aborto.” Tom Dufner. Vida Humana. 2001.
http://www.vidahumana.org/vidafam/aborto/raiz.html

Macaila, Dumitru, The Right to Life: The Eastern Orthodox Christian Perspective on Abortion. Salisbury: Regina Orthodox, 2001.

Mathewes-Green, Frederica, Real Choices: Listening to Women; Looking for Alternatives to Abortion. Ben Lomond: Conciliar Press, 1997.

Pietruszka, Marvin, Cuidados durante el embarazo, la infancia y la ni+¦ez. Trans. Yolanda Miranda-Hu. Reseda: Quail Valley, 1991.

"Physical health risks of abortion: scientific studies reveal significant risk." Adapted from information provided by the Elliot Institute,
P.O. Box 7348, Springfield, IL 62791 and updated 1/21/2001.
http://www.w-cpc.org/abortion/physical.html

-+Siente dolor el feto cuando es abortado? Vida Humana. 1986
http://www.vidahumana.org/vidafam/aborto/dolor.html

“Standard Objections by Planned Parenthood Defenders.” Human Life International. 2001
http://www.hli.org/Content/Dynamic/...000/595mvpu.asp

“What are the different types of abortion?” Human Life International, 2001.
http://www.hli.org/Content/Dynamic/...00/649efvhx.asp
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« Reply #70 on: December 21, 2003, 10:02:56 AM »


Okay. Thank you, Byzantino.

In Christ,
Anthony


Tony,

I'm half-way thru my reply but don't have time to finish it, so i'll post it for you tomorrow.


Thanks,
Byz
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« Reply #71 on: December 22, 2003, 09:10:12 AM »

Some great responses have been posted, especially by Seraphim.

I’ll attempt to approach this question not so much from the usual moral and medical perspectives as from a perspective not always utilized in this discussion. There is one important factor implicit in the question of birth control which I think must be unsurfaced, that is, the impact of Roman Catholic ecclesiastic parameters, being mindful of the role played by papal authority in formulating the position which would eventually be regarded as the true and only legitimate Christian teaching. It might be worth dissecting the RC teaching expressed in the encyclical Humanae Vitae, while also testing its underlying principles for consistency with its other moral teachings.

We Orthodox object to the exercising of a papal authority in its current RC mutation and formulae. Under these conditions, the pope can make a dogmatic definition apart from the entire church, a practice standing in opposition to the ancient canons requiring that no doctrinal decision be made in isolation. Any pronouncement made in such conditions would immediately be rendered moot. Pope Paul VI, in the issuing of Humanae Vitae, followed this very pattern, taking an uncollegial action in defiance of the commission he had set up to investigate the question of birth control, (comprising of experts in the field of moral theology, medicine, science, as well as bishops and others, who overwhelmingly advocated a change to the church’s teaching) and the RC hierarchy.

The complex nature of the issue frankly admitted by the Pope himself is worth noting. From the words of the Pope, voiced as the issue was under investigation we can hardly draw the impression that the teaching was as definitive as RC apologists claim it was. In his address to the College of Cardinals on June 23, 1964, the Pope enforced the traditional teaching on birth control “at least as long as we do not feel obliged in conscience to alter it.” (Osservatore Romano, June 24, 1964.) The possibility of a change to the current teaching was unequivocally voiced.

In the field of morality the teaching office of the Roman church has made notable errors and modifications: receiving interest was forbidden and classified as a sin; sex for any other reason but procreation was unanimously and continuously condemned for centuries (notably enforced today by “traditionalist” RCs who oppose NFP); even certain Fathers of the Church were noted for their straight-out condemnation of things no longer considered sinful today - Tertullian warned that “those women sin against God when they rub their skin with ointments, stain their cheeks with rouge, and make their eyes prominent with antimony. To them, I suppose, the artistic skill of God is displeasing!” Cyprian also condemned the dyeing of clothing by arguing that “God neither made the sheep scarlet nor purple, nor taught the extracts of herbs and shellfish to dye and colour wool.” Prayer with schismatics was harshly condemned by Pope Pius XII, another teaching overturned. In these cases, thousands of acts now deemed legitimate were condemned under pain of excommunication or eternal damnation.

In some cases, total change has occurred. In others, exceptions to the rule, considered taboo in some epochs, have been allowed. One can inquire: why was the Pope compelled to follow the traditional teaching on birth control yet make such a revolutionary, and with the benefit of hindsight, destructive change to the Mass? Can the Roman concept of development of doctrine justify a radical change to the Mass on one hand but exclude the possibility of granting some exceptions to a moral issue on the other? RC teaching views abortion as a serious evil, but in grave (although rare) circumstances it is recognized as a tragic necessity; war is viewed as a affront to God, but exceptions are outlined in the “just war” theory, where evils such as collateral damage and economic ruin are certainly taken into account; homicide too is a serious evil, but again there are exceptions in cases of self-defense. Yet why was Pope Paul VI opposed to making any concessions on the issue of birth control in grave situations?

The answer may lie in the obstacles he faced in the form of previous papal decreess: Pius XI’s encyclical Casti Connubii (1930), and Pius XII’s decree Address to Midwives (1951), both affirming the church’s ban on artificial forms of contraception. As sighted above, Paul VI expressed doubts about the church’s position. With hardly a inkling of Biblical evidence against contraception put forth by the Pope, his arguments are based primarily on “natural law” and the authority of the Church; it was the authority of the ordinary Magisterium expressed in the centuries-old teaching of the church and the decrees of his most recent predecessors which swayed him the most.

“We had to give an answer to the Church and to the whole of mankind; we had to evaluate, bearing in mind both the duty and the freedom of our apostolic office, a doctrinal tradition that is not only centuries old but also recent, that of our three immediate predecessors.” (Osservatore Romano, August 1, 1968.)

It has been argued that if the Pope had followed his initial predispositions and the official finding of the Commission, the divine authority of the Magisterium would seriously have been called into question, creating no small controversy. Although church authority prevailed over science once more, we can’t ignore the accurate predictions made in the encyclical regarding the consequences the immoral use of sex and contraception would have on society and women.

I find myself wholeheartedly in agreement with the Orthodox and Roman Catholic condemnation of the contraceptive mentality, which I clearly see as the biblical and traditional view. But there’s also another problem, as Seraphim noted: the classification of contraception as “natural” and “artificial” is arbitrary and quite ambiguous. As mentioned before, the traditionalist RCs make no distinction between what we like to refer as artificial methods and NFP, as do some Orthodox. The arguments range from the straight out condemnation of any non-procreative sex to viewing NFP as something other than natural. How do we decide which is which when both sides present equally forceful arguments? Ultimately, conscience is pitted against church authority.

I think the RCC has too much Augustinian baggage to be considered a sound authority in the area of sexual ethics, though recently with modern apologetics and the works of John Paul II it has changed course significantly. It’s obvious from Paul VI’s comments in Humanae Vitae and the conclusions of Commission that the RC stance on contraception is based more on an argument from authority than from moral theology. It’s little wonder why Cardinal Ottaviani refused to present the official findings o the Commission to the Pope.

The RC teaching enforces a universal standard that couples obviously cannot meet, judging from the level of dissent, namely the unconditional bar against any “artificial” contraceptive sex, including in grave circumstances. This is where I see the RC teaching to be flawed - in a grave situation, such as the strong possibility of a pregnancy being fatal to the wife, or a severe allergy to semen (anaphylactic shock) the RCC would rather have a couple abstain for life, despite the overwhelming burden imposed on their marital well-being, depriving themselves of their right to express their love physically and predisposing one or both to adultery and masturbation, a pastoral concern raised by St. Paul (1 Cor 7:5). The way I see it, the RCC does not consistently apply its principal of double effect and chooses the greater instead of the lesser of two evils on the question of contraception in grave situations.

Our world has been experiencing socio-ecomomic upheavals since the 1960's totally unprecedented and more serious than at any other time in history. Education is becoming a priviledge, the cost of living is rising, illnesses are impeding the well-being of many, the family is being exposed to many threats against its harmonious function, and we have a surging crime rate. Nobody, no-one whatsoever can judge a couple for not having an arbitrarily imposed standard number of children without knowing their unique situation in life. As stated by John Meyendorff,

‘if the “life” given by parents to their children is to be a fully human life, it cannot involve only physical existence, but also parental care, education and decent living. When they beget children, parents must be ready to fulfill all these responsibilities. There obviously are economic, social or psychological situations where no guarantees can be given in this respect. And there is sometimes even a near certainty that the newly born children will live in hunger and psychological misery.’

I’m firmly opposed to abortifacient methods of birth control on the basis of the adverse side effects to both the woman and conceived child. Natural Family Planning is proving to be a great blessing for married couples and I would choose this method over any other for myself. As to what constitutes a grave situation, I think a committed and faithful Christian couple can discern this with prayer, partaking in the Sacraments and the counsel of a good spiritual Mother or Father.

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« Reply #72 on: December 22, 2003, 10:46:56 AM »

.. the strict number of days the early fathers expected married couples to be abstaining ANYWAY...all Wednesdays, Fridays, Lenten periods, other fast days, Saturday nights before they received the Eucharist...there was probably NOT a whole lot of time left to conceive a child. Wink

Funny. I don't recall the part of scripture where GOD command Adam and Eve to "be fruitful and multiply" to have a caveat. Have to back and check on that.

Also a shame that if it was important that a man and women NOT share in the love and the tenderness that God blessed them with for about 1/3 of the days odfthe year, that he did not mention that.

Curiouser and curiouser.....
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« Reply #73 on: December 22, 2003, 11:19:54 AM »

.. the strict number of days the early fathers expected married couples to be abstaining ANYWAY...all Wednesdays, Fridays, Lenten periods, other fast days, Saturday nights before they received the Eucharist...there was probably NOT a whole lot of time left to conceive a child. Wink

Funny. I don't recall the part of scripture where GOD command Adam and Eve to "be fruitful and multiply" to have a caveat. Have to back and check on that.

Also a shame that if it was important that a man and women NOT share in the love and the tenderness that God blessed them with for about 1/3 of the days odfthe year, that he did not mention that.

Curiouser and curiouser.....

Fasting isn't a caveat, Tom. It is for our spiritual growth and well-being.

Bobby
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« Reply #74 on: December 22, 2003, 11:26:09 AM »


Also a shame that if it was important that a man and women NOT share in the love and the tenderness that God blessed them with for about 1/3 of the days odfthe year, that he did not mention that.


Hey, TomΣ, my friend.
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but I think I counted about 208-210 fast days. At my age, the remaining days are ample enough in number for "sharing the love and tenderness". Grin

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« Reply #75 on: December 22, 2003, 12:22:47 PM »

Tom, I was always told by spiritual father (a GOA parish priest) and the monastery the guides me spiritually (St. Anthony's) what the fast includes. Christian life is not supposed to be easy or conform to current secular life.  So that the fast includes licit marital relations is not anything novel to Orthodoxy.  The goal of fasting is to learn restraint and trusting in God and not your own devices.  Read the ascetical fathers Tom - they don't direct their advice solely for monastics.  The Orthodox spiritual life is for all - but this includes the ascetical as well.
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« Reply #76 on: December 22, 2003, 12:38:02 PM »

Tom, I was always told by spiritual father (a GOA parish priest) and the monastery the guides me spiritually (St. Anthony's) what the fast includes. Christian life is not supposed to be easy or conform to current secular life.  So that the fast includes licit marital relations is not anything novel to Orthodoxy.  The goal of fasting is to learn restraint and trusting in God and not your own devices.  Read the ascetical fathers Tom - they don't direct their advice solely for monastics.  The Orthodox spiritual life is for all - but this includes the ascetical as well.  

I dunno-- one of the reasons "sola scriptura" got to be popular is that us DPs see too many traditionalists making up rule after rule in spite of the long section in the Acts about getting rid of the Law. But seems as though what happened (in the traditionalist version) is that five minutes after the Council of Jerusalem ended, the apostles all said, "Well, we got rid of all the old Law; it's about time we started writing a whole bunch of new Laws". And it does seem to me that an awful lot of monks/bishops/whatever with too much time on their hands then did the rabbincal thing and expanded little bits of advice from Paul and the like-- not to mention points from the Old Law-- and pretty soon we had menstrual purity laws again.

If obedience is really the issue, isn't more important for TomS to be obedient to the priest who is directing him, rather to a rabble of amateur theologians such as ourselves?
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« Reply #77 on: December 22, 2003, 01:03:59 PM »

If obedience is really the issue, isn't more important for TomS to be obedient to the priest who is directing him, rather to a rabble of amateur theologians such as ourselves?



Slava Isusu Christu!

I think this is the wisest, most sage advice ever written here.  Most of us (I would even go as far to say all of us, perhaps) have enough on our hands keeping our own lives on the narrow Way.  It's all well and good to discuss matters, and possibly even give encouraging advice, but we have to remember...this is the Internet Wink.

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« Reply #78 on: December 22, 2003, 01:37:41 PM »

Slava Isusu Christu!

Sister-in-Christ Vicki,

I am apt to agree with you on the whole.  I'm convinced that our favorite church which shall remain nameless probably wouldn't be doing so well if it wasn't for the Internet.  I think that's true of alot of divisive groups in the world today.  

However, I was speaking in a more general sense.
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« Reply #79 on: December 22, 2003, 03:07:46 PM »

What group could that be Schultz?

R...O...A...........
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« Reply #80 on: December 22, 2003, 03:36:32 PM »

Nektarios

We are approaching the most Wonderful Feast of the Nativity.

Are you really wanting to celebrate with 2 black eyes , a badly swollen mouth and, possibly/probably some teeth missing ?

Now behave yourself please

 :cwm41:
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« Reply #81 on: December 22, 2003, 03:40:11 PM »

Is it something I said Huh
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« Reply #82 on: December 22, 2003, 03:47:17 PM »

Tom, I was always told by spiritual father (a GOA parish priest) and the monastery the guides me spiritually (St. Anthony's) what the fast includes. Christian life is not supposed to be easy or conform to current secular life.  So that the fast includes licit marital relations is not anything novel to Orthodoxy.  The goal of fasting is to learn restraint and trusting in God and not your own devices.  Read the ascetical fathers Tom - they don't direct their advice solely for monastics.  The Orthodox spiritual life is for all - but this includes the ascetical as well.  

I dunno-- one of the reasons "sola scriptura" got to be popular is that us DPs see too many traditionalists making up rule after rule in spite of the long section in the Acts about getting rid of the Law. But seems as though what happened (in the traditionalist version) is that five minutes after the Council of Jerusalem ended, the apostles all said, "Well, we got rid of all the old Law; it's about time we started writing a whole bunch of new Laws". And it does seem to me that an awful lot of monks/bishops/whatever with too much time on their hands then did the rabbincal thing and expanded little bits of advice from Paul and the like-- not to mention points from the Old Law-- and pretty soon we had menstrual purity laws again.

If obedience is really the issue, isn't more important for TomS to be obedient to the priest who is directing him, rather to a rabble of amateur theologians such as ourselves?


I think you make a good point, Keble/DP.

But I don't regard the fasts as law (do others?). Sometimes I am able to fast; sometimes I am not.

If I'm not, I think God understands. The fast exists for my benefit. If I don't fast, I miss out on the benefit, but I am not sinning, and I don't feel guilty at all.

But, then again, maybe I am wrong?

I'm sure someone here will let me know within a post or two!  Grin

In the meantime, I'm hungry!
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« Reply #83 on: December 22, 2003, 03:52:38 PM »

Exactly Linus! They just don't want to hear it from me.
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« Reply #84 on: December 22, 2003, 03:55:40 PM »

I dunno-- one of the reasons "sola scriptura" got to be popular is that us DPs see too many traditionalists making up rule after rule in spite of the long section in the Acts about getting rid of the Law. But seems as though what happened (in the traditionalist version) is that five minutes after the Council of Jerusalem ended, the apostles all said, "Well, we got rid of all the old Law; it's about time we started writing a whole bunch of new Laws". And it does seem to me that an awful lot of monks/bishops/whatever with too much time on their hands then did the rabbincal thing and expanded little bits of advice from Paul and the like-- not to mention points from the Old Law-- and pretty soon we had menstrual purity laws again.

Wisdom! Let us attend!
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« Reply #85 on: December 22, 2003, 04:03:06 PM »

The Canons concerning laymen and fasting were specific, Linus. Penalties included excommunication for laity, and deposing for priests. So not fasting IS viewed as an amartia, as Tom well knows, because this Canon was quoted to him at e-cafe. Obviously, this is loosened somehwhat, and ANY fasting is lessened by individual circumstances. BUT the rules are both clear cut, and definite.

Well, I was taught differently, although I am sure you're right in terms of the old canons.

Still, I cannot help but shake my head and try to get rid of the image of old Caiaphas smiling . . .
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« Reply #86 on: December 22, 2003, 04:04:07 PM »

But Vicki. You see, I DO fast. You can ask Keble here on this site. He knows that on Wed and Fri when we happen to go out to lunch, that I don't eat meat.

Tell em Keble!
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« Reply #87 on: December 22, 2003, 04:07:05 PM »

...this Canon was quoted to him at e-cafe. Obviously, this is loosened somehwhat, and ANY fasting is lessened by individual circumstances. BUT the rules are both clear cut, and definite.

You are right Vicki. But then again, Nick also posted that he had a JEWISH DOCTOR, and THAT was ALSO against the Canons. Remember?


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« Reply #88 on: December 22, 2003, 04:13:44 PM »

But Vicki. You see, I DO fast. You can ask Keble here on this site. He knows that on Wed and Fri when we happen to go out to lunch, that I don't eat meat.

Tell em Keble!

You're a better man than I am, Tom.

I have trouble remembering that it is Wednesday!

Friday I generally remember. Wednesdays just sort of blur together with Tuesdays and Thursdays . . .
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« Reply #89 on: December 22, 2003, 04:17:33 PM »

The Canons concerning laymen and fasting were specific, Linus. Penalties included excommunication for laity, and deposing for priests. So not fasting IS viewed as an amartia, as Tom well knows, because this Canon was quoted to him at e-cafe. Obviously, this is loosened somehwhat, and ANY fasting is lessened by individual circumstances. BUT the rules are both clear cut, and definite.

Well, I was taught differently, although I am sure you're right in terms of the old canons.

Still, I cannot help but shake my head and try to get rid of the image of old Caiaphas smiling . . .

"Old canons"?? No new Canons have been added concerning fasting.  It is still an amartia.   I think the problem that many people have who are  not originally  Orthodox is that you cannot rid yourselves of the Catholic/Protestant concepts of sin.

The Orthodox concept of sin is a bit different, Linus. The word amartia is used more often than no...it means "to miss the mark"...and denotes anything which either separates us from Christ or doesn't draw us close to Him as we should be doing.  Hence, human frailty in not being able to fast due to illness, etc ...is not an amartia.  It isn't the same thing as robbing a bank....but when we WILLFULLY say...I SEE NO REASON TO DENY MYSELF... the concept is that A) We refuse to regulate our passions B)what we are supposed to do with the money we save by giving up those foods is to give to charity....I WILL NOT DENY MYSELF TO HELP OTHERS... that is why it is an amartia. In part. There are other reasons, many more...those are but two linked reasons. Grin  

But if you or the Church set up a mark for me to miss, you've created a law that is external to me.

The more marks you set up, the more opportunities I have to miss them.
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« Reply #90 on: December 22, 2003, 04:24:16 PM »

I think the problem that many people have who are  not originally Orthodox is that you cannot rid yourselves of the Catholic/Protestant concepts of sin.

Right. That has to be it. Could not possibly be that we might see some things that you can't, precisely because you were raised Orthodox and were taught not to question.
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« Reply #91 on: December 22, 2003, 04:27:28 PM »

But I don't regard the fasts as law (do others?). Sometimes I am able to fast; sometimes I am not.

If I'm not, I think God understands. The fast exists for my benefit. If I don't fast, I miss out on the benefit, but I am not sinning, and I don't feel guilty at all.

I agree with you entirely Linus7, and I don't normally like being in a position where I disagree with folks anyhow.

I explain (inadequately) to my non-Christian friends that the fasting rules of the Church are not like laws which must be obeyed for us to be accepted by an unwilling God, rather they are like the training regime that a world class athlete must follow if he wants to succeed. They are not the same as success by any means, but they are what must be undertaken in the normal run of things if we want to have a hope of succeeding.

I remember the desert father who had been wandering alone in the wilderness for a couple of months not seeing a soul, and then he bumps into a heathen shepherd and explains how his ascetic efforts have led him to endure such solitude. And the heathen shepherd says words to the effect, 'Yeah, it gets right lonely out here. It's been four months since I've seen anyone else'.

It is not denying ourselves that achieves anything, least of all buying some sort of acceptance by God. There is always a starving third world family eating less, or some poor confused girl with anorexia. But by following the Orthodox Christian spiritual fitness regime at least we have some hope of entering the race.

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« Reply #92 on: December 22, 2003, 04:27:33 PM »

BUT YOU POST THAT FASTING IS FOR MONKS ONLY...SO REGARDLESS OF WHAT YOU PERSONALLY DO, YOU SPREAD MISINFORMATION....

No I did not Vicki.

I posted that my Priest said that the laity does not have to fast the whole 40 DAYS, just the last 12 days before Christmas. That he said the whole 40 day fast was for monks.

THAT is what I posted.
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« Reply #93 on: December 22, 2003, 04:31:20 PM »

What group could that be Schultz?

R...O...A...........


*whistles a random tune and looks about*

Hmm?  I don't know what you're talking about Wink
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« Reply #94 on: December 22, 2003, 04:33:50 PM »

The difference there, is that Nik believes what the Canons say...you claim not to believe.

...there you go again (shaking my head ala Reagan)

Geez, Vicki. Go back and read my posts.

My posts state that I agreed with my Priests statement that not all all the Canons are relevant today. Isn't that what YOU are saying???!!!!

I never said that I rejected ALL the Canons.

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« Reply #95 on: December 22, 2003, 04:40:23 PM »

I explain (inadequately) to my non-Christian friends that the fasting rules of the Church are not like laws which must be obeyed for us to be accepted by an unwilling God, rather they are like the training regime that a world class athlete must follow if he wants to succeed. They are not the same as success by any means, but they are what must be undertaken in the normal run of things if we want to have a hope of succeeding.

Slava Isusu Christu!

I think this is a wonderful analogy, Peter.  My girlfriend's mother, born and bred Italian Catholic of the old school, was shocked when she found out I was fasting from meat during the Philipovka.  "Why are you doing that?  You don't have to, you know.  We only have to abstain from meat during Lent."

She was nearly beside herself in confusion when I informed her that I fast from meat and dairy during Great Lent, and from meat on Fridays (and Wednesdays when I remember it's a Wednesday!).  I explained to her that fasting is a means to an end, and not an end itself.  That was the intent of the relaxing of the fasts in the Latin Church, to break away from a legalistic way of looking at fasting, but, of course, it all went overboard and hardly anyone fasts at all anymore.  But I digress...

This is the same woman who projects a rather strong "holier-than-thou" complex, yet went to Communion for the first time in two years a couple weeks ago.  

I so love those Italian mothers!
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« Reply #96 on: December 22, 2003, 04:43:26 PM »

Quote from Tom on e-cafe:

My GOA Priest says that this type of strict fasting is for monks and not for the laity. And further, that if anyone questions you about whether you are fasting that your response should be "None of your business!"
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Gosh...not what you just said...was it?HuhHuh Grin

Ummmm. We were talking about a strict fast for the WHOLE 40 days. And yes, that is what my Priest said because he feels that fasting is between you and God and is no one elses business.

Do you feel it is your business if I am fasting or not? Do you not have your own sins to deal with without searching out mine?
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« Reply #97 on: December 22, 2003, 04:46:04 PM »

Quote from Tom on e-cafe:

My GOA Priest says that this type of strict fasting is for monks and not for the laity. And further, that if anyone questions you about whether you are fasting that your response should be "None of your business!"
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Gosh...not what you just said...was it?HuhHuh Grin

Slava Isusu Christu!

I think we're running to some original misunderstanding here that has degenerated into even more misunderstanding.

I was always taught that the canons are the monastic IDEALS and ones that the laity can and should aspire to.  That, I think, is what the priest may have meant when he said that the strict fasting was for monastics and not the laity.  

Monastics are, by nature, far ahead of us worldly types in terms of spiritual progress, at least in the strength and in a far more conducive environment to perform a strict fast.  A monk once told me after I buttered him up to a friend of mine, "My boy, it's easy for me to do what I have to do in comparison to the likes of you.  If we're on a fast, we're on a fast..all of us are.  You, however, have to live in the world surrounded by people who aren't fasting and who oftentimes tempt you to break your fast.  You are the stronger ones, those of you who resist those temptations on a daily basis, and even those who succumb after a struggle."
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« Reply #98 on: December 22, 2003, 04:49:01 PM »

Do you feel it is your business if I am fasting or not? Do you not have your own sins to deal with without searching out mine?

I agree entirely with you on this. I went to lunch once with an Orthodox contact. It was during one of the fasts. I had a veggie type sandwich and he had chicken. He said 'I don't keep the fast', I took a veggie sandwich and failed to keep the fast most other days probably.

What was worse? My appearance of being a professional league faster or his honest failure?

I know what would be best for both of us, but I'm in no position to score points against anyone since I find the role of white washed sepulcre comes so easy to me.

PT
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« Reply #99 on: December 22, 2003, 04:52:21 PM »

My Priest IS THE CHURCH to me!
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« Reply #100 on: December 22, 2003, 05:02:58 PM »

I think Vicki needs a "time out"
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« Reply #101 on: December 22, 2003, 05:13:02 PM »

C'mon Vicki. This is getting embarrassing. I mean, why is it so important for you to "win" this?

The way it is supposed to work is that when we grow up to be big boys and girls, we are supposed to put these types of childish antics behind us. It's scriptural.

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« Reply #102 on: December 22, 2003, 05:23:41 PM »

OK guys - no Mods/Admins about so I am going to play Mum here

Back off please and let the dust settle.

let's take some time out please
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« Reply #103 on: December 22, 2003, 05:24:39 PM »

Our virtual heirarchs are holed up in their palaces enjoying some prime rib, I bet Wink


JOKE!!!!
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« Reply #104 on: December 22, 2003, 05:26:11 PM »

Thread locked, obvious reasons.

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