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Author Topic: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?  (Read 24208 times) Average Rating: 0
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Heorhij
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« Reply #270 on: June 21, 2010, 04:23:17 PM »

As I see it, the thread is about the teaching of the Church, not about what individuals do.

The Church has no unified teaching on contraception or contraceptives. People make it up and sell it as "the teaching of the Church."
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« Reply #271 on: June 21, 2010, 04:26:56 PM »

As I see it, the thread is about the teaching of the Church, not about what individuals do.

The Church has no unified teaching on contraception or contraceptives. People make it up and sell it as "the teaching of the Church."

According to your opinion. Anyway, if it were as you say, it would be all the more reason to discuss the teaching of our Orthodox authorities--the ancient and modern fathers. Of course, it's a moot point if one acknowledges no such authority.
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« Reply #272 on: June 21, 2010, 05:31:14 PM »

As I see it, the thread is about the teaching of the Church, not about what individuals do.

The Church has no unified teaching on contraception or contraceptives. People make it up and sell it as "the teaching of the Church."

I think this is a bit inaccurate.  A broad range of consensus exists.

See message 224 at

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,26316.msg444704.html#msg444704
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« Reply #273 on: June 21, 2010, 05:31:25 PM »

As I see it, the thread is about the teaching of the Church, not about what individuals do.

The Church has no unified teaching on contraception or contraceptives. People make it up and sell it as "the teaching of the Church."

According to your opinion. Anyway, if it were as you say, it would be all the more reason to discuss the teaching of our Orthodox authorities--the ancient and modern fathers. Of course, it's a moot point if one acknowledges no such authority.

I certainly acknowledge their authority in matters of faith. But I really think that there is no such thing as a thorough, unified teaching of the Church on marital contraception. That's exactly the reason why this whole thing is viewed as a pastoral issue. And yet, we constantly return to this topic on this site - exactly because some people just WANT to construct a "teaching of the Church" on contraception, using various proof texts from Fathers.
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« Reply #274 on: June 21, 2010, 05:32:36 PM »

As I see it, the thread is about the teaching of the Church, not about what individuals do.

The Church has no unified teaching on contraception or contraceptives. People make it up and sell it as "the teaching of the Church."

I think this is a bit inaccurate.  A broad range of consensus exists.

See message 224 at

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,26316.msg444704.html#msg444704


Thank you, Father, but isn't the definition of "grave and justifiable reasons" subjective?
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« Reply #275 on: June 21, 2010, 05:58:13 PM »

As I see it, the thread is about the teaching of the Church, not about what individuals do.

The Church has no unified teaching on contraception or contraceptives. People make it up and sell it as "the teaching of the Church."

I think this is a bit inaccurate.  A broad range of consensus exists.

See message 224 at

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,26316.msg444704.html#msg444704


Thank you, Father, but isn't the definition of "grave and justifiable reasons" subjective?

Perhaps if you told us of discrepancies you are aware of, we could look at them.

I know that two Orthodox bishops forbid all contraception including Natural Family Planning, Bishop Artemije of Kosovo and Bishop Avgustinos of Florina (but they stand out like sore thumbs because they are the exceptions.)  There are also the peculiarities of some of the advice given by some Greek monks in the States who are disciples of Fr Ephraim but I don't know the details and I have read that the Greek bishops are trying to put a stop to this.

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« Reply #276 on: June 21, 2010, 06:33:52 PM »

As I see it, the thread is about the teaching of the Church, not about what individuals do.

The Church has no unified teaching on contraception or contraceptives. People make it up and sell it as "the teaching of the Church."

I think this is a bit inaccurate.  A broad range of consensus exists.

See message 224 at

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,26316.msg444704.html#msg444704


Thank you, Father, but isn't the definition of "grave and justifiable reasons" subjective?

Perhaps if you told us of discrepancies you are aware of, we could look at them.

I know that two Orthodox bishops forbid all contraception including Natural Family Planning, Bishop Artemije of Kosovo and Bishop Avgustinos of Florina (but they stand out like sore thumbs because they are the exceptions.)  There are also the peculiarities of some of the advice given by some Greek monks in the States who are disciples of Fr Ephraim but I don't know the details and I have read that the Greek bishops are trying to put a stop to this.



But this, I guess, only proves my point, i.e. that there is no unified teaching of the *CHURCH* on marital contraception. Am I wrong?
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« Reply #277 on: June 21, 2010, 06:46:21 PM »


But this, I guess, only proves my point, i.e. that there is no unified teaching of the *CHURCH* on marital contraception. Am I wrong?

The 230 bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church have a unified teaching which they declared to the faithful in Section XII.3 of the important 2000 Synodal document

"BASES OF THE SOCIAL CONCEPT
OF THE RUSSIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH"


http://www.patriarchia.ru/db/text/419128.html

also here
http://www.incommunion.org/articles/the-orthodox-church-and-society/introduction

Is there any part of this teaching which your Church (GOA?) would dispute?

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« Reply #278 on: June 21, 2010, 07:04:54 PM »


But this, I guess, only proves my point, i.e. that there is no unified teaching of the *CHURCH* on marital contraception. Am I wrong?

The 230 bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church have a unified teaching which they declared to the faithful in Section XII.3 of the important 2000 Synodal document

"BASES OF THE SOCIAL CONCEPT
OF THE RUSSIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH"


http://www.patriarchia.ru/db/text/419128.html

also here
http://www.incommunion.org/articles/the-orthodox-church-and-society/introduction

Is there any part of this teaching which your Church (GOA?) would dispute?



Perhaps not (although I am not really that well educated in these matters). This paragraph, for example, I see as very wise and kind, and I accept it completely:

XII. 3. Among the problems which need a religious and moral assessment is that of contraception. Some contraceptives have an abortive effect, interrupting artificially the life of the embryo on the very first stages of his life. Therefore, the same judgements are applicable to the use of them as to abortion. But other means, which do not involve interrupting an already conceived life, cannot be equated with abortion in the least. In defining their attitude to the non-abortive contraceptives, Christian spouses should remember that human reproduction is one of the principal purposes of the divinely established marital union (see, X. 4). The deliberate refusal of childbirth on egoistic grounds devalues marriage and is a definite sin.

(Except, of course, it opens a Pandora's box about what's "egoistic" and what's not. If my wife and I used non-abortive contraception because we were both at the very start of our careers in science and worked crazy hours, were we "egoistic?" If we used non-abortive contraception because when our daughter was born, all three of us lived, till she reached 5.5 years of age, in a one-room (not "one bedroom," but one room) apartment, were we "egoistic?" And so on and so forth...)
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« Reply #279 on: June 21, 2010, 07:13:37 PM »


 sin.

(Except, of course, it opens a Pandora's box about what's "egoistic" and what's not. If my wife and I used non-abortive contraception because we were both at the very start of our careers in science and worked crazy hours, were we "egoistic?" If we used non-abortive contraception because when our daughter was born, all three of us lived, till she reached 5.5 years of age, in a one-room (not "one bedroom," but one room) apartment, were we "egoistic?" And so on and so forth...)

Dear Heorhij,

These are the kind of personal concerns and scruples which should not be addressed on a public forum but they should be taken to your priest or your spiritual counsellor who knows you and all the complexity of your personal history.  The heart of every man is a great mystery and it is foolish and even dangerous to try and heal it by Internet.   God bless you and your wife.

Fr Ambrose
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« Reply #280 on: June 21, 2010, 07:45:01 PM »


 sin.

(Except, of course, it opens a Pandora's box about what's "egoistic" and what's not. If my wife and I used non-abortive contraception because we were both at the very start of our careers in science and worked crazy hours, were we "egoistic?" If we used non-abortive contraception because when our daughter was born, all three of us lived, till she reached 5.5 years of age, in a one-room (not "one bedroom," but one room) apartment, were we "egoistic?" And so on and so forth...)

Dear Heorhij,

These are the kind of personal concerns and scruples which should not be addressed on a public forum but they should be taken to your priest or your spiritual counsellor who knows you and all the complexity of your personal history.  The heart of every man is a great mystery and it is foolish and even dangerous to try and heal it by Internet.   God bless you and your wife.

Fr Ambrose

Thank you, Father. I know. But again, that, I believe, PROVES my point that there is no "one-size-fits-it-all" unified teaching of the whole Church on things like contraception. I have been trying to express this thought for a few years already on this forum, and yet, threads under this title continue to appear, and people always bring in some proof texts that, allegedly, are saying that contraception is sinful, "anti-life," etc.

My questions were rhetorical. I was not looking for any Internet healing.Smiley I KNOW that I did not sin when I only tried to protect my wife from hell of having another child (or, worse, another miscarriage) 20-15 years ago. Thank you for your kindness though.
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« Reply #281 on: June 21, 2010, 07:57:43 PM »


Thank you, Father. I know. But again, that, I believe, PROVES my point that there is no "one-size-fits-it-all" unified teaching of the whole Church on things like contraception. I have been trying to express this thought for a few years already on this forum, and yet, threads under this title continue to appear, and people always bring in some proof texts that, allegedly, are saying that contraception is sinful, "anti-life," etc.

Husbands and wives have the right to refuse to use contraception, although this worries me immensely if it means the wife places herself in danger of death while she is carrying or giving birth.  It also worries me when the husband is infected with AIDS and no protection is taken for the sake of the wife.

I am actually not sure if the husband has the moral right to endanger the health and life of his wife.  Well, I *am* sure and the answer is No, he doesn't.
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« Reply #282 on: June 22, 2010, 08:20:08 AM »


Thank you, Father. I know. But again, that, I believe, PROVES my point that there is no "one-size-fits-it-all" unified teaching of the whole Church on things like contraception. I have been trying to express this thought for a few years already on this forum, and yet, threads under this title continue to appear, and people always bring in some proof texts that, allegedly, are saying that contraception is sinful, "anti-life," etc.

Husbands and wives have the right to refuse to use contraception, although this worries me immensely if it means the wife places herself in danger of death while she is carrying or giving birth.  It also worries me when the husband is infected with AIDS and no protection is taken for the sake of the wife.

I am actually not sure if the husband has the moral right to endanger the health and life of his wife.  Well, I *am* sure and the answer is No, he doesn't.

My thoughts exactly. And that's where we differ from the Roman Catholic Church, AFAIK. Their response to your thoughts would be, "since the Pope says that contraception is sinful, it IS sinful. So, if you don't want to infect your wife or otherwise endanger her, just don't have sex."

Most unfortunately, this is also the attitude of so many posters who are Orthodox and write to various Internet fora. And that was (and is), I am afraid, the attitude of some Orthodox clergy. The same old story about what's "natural" and what's not, and how the couple must be "open for procreation," etc.
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« Reply #283 on: June 22, 2010, 11:28:31 PM »


Thank you, Father. I know. But again, that, I believe, PROVES my point that there is no "one-size-fits-it-all" unified teaching of the whole Church on things like contraception. I have been trying to express this thought for a few years already on this forum, and yet, threads under this title continue to appear, and people always bring in some proof texts that, allegedly, are saying that contraception is sinful, "anti-life," etc.

Husbands and wives have the right to refuse to use contraception, although this worries me immensely if it means the wife places herself in danger of death while she is carrying or giving birth.  It also worries me when the husband is infected with AIDS and no protection is taken for the sake of the wife.

I am actually not sure if the husband has the moral right to endanger the health and life of his wife.  Well, I *am* sure and the answer is No, he doesn't.

My thoughts exactly. And that's where we differ from the Roman Catholic Church, AFAIK. Their response to your thoughts would be, "since the Pope says that contraception is sinful, it IS sinful. So, if you don't want to infect your wife or otherwise endanger her, just don't have sex."

Most unfortunately, this is also the attitude of so many posters who are Orthodox and write to various Internet fora. And that was (and is), I am afraid, the attitude of some Orthodox clergy. The same old story about what's "natural" and what's not, and how the couple must be "open for procreation," etc.

Married couples that do not want to have children do not have to have sex. And if they want to have sex without procreating, then there are means of doing so without relying on artificial birth control. We are not animals; we are human beings. We have been offered the divine grace that allows us to control our passions and bring them into submission in order that we may benefit our souls. The married life involves great spiritual struggle. Giving birth and raising children is a struggle. Choosing celibacy within marriage is a struggle. Choosing to cooperate within marriage to subdue the passions and have sexual relations only during those times when pregnancy is least likely to occur is a struggle. Dying in maternity or childbirth is a struggle, and perhaps one of the most Christ-like struggles of all- for Our Lord said that greater love has no man that he lay down his life for another. But if we attempt to evade struggle by seeking to reduce sex to a mere act of physical and emotional pleasure, then we miss both the opportunity for divine struggle within marriage and the opportunity to enjoy with our spouse greater depths of the mystical experience of Christ.


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« Reply #284 on: June 26, 2010, 12:56:34 AM »


The Scriptures say that children are a gift of God.

So is food, but it is still up to you how much of it to eat. Smiley

Apparently not. They actually have a rule saying that you are not supposed to eat until you are full.  Sigh.
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« Reply #285 on: November 10, 2010, 02:10:17 PM »

Your priest is simply wrong.
How so?

Teaching that married couples should have sex only with the intention to procreate.

Such a teaching seems to be not compatible with Orthodox teleology.
Quote
In Orthodoxy, the telos of a given act . . . is always to be subject to the telos of the person. Likewise, within Orthodoxy the telos of the person is not determined by the perceived telos of the acts appropriate to that person. Orthodoxy is not bottom up in its anthropology. Thus the logic: sex is meant, finally, for procreation; as a married man I am to have sex; thus my sexual activity is meant, finally, for procreation - does not work in Orthodoxy. Within Orthodoxy the "telos" of the given act is derivative of the telos of the person or persons involved. I am finally meant for salvation. My wife is finally meant for salvation. As two who have become one our marriage is to serve us as we are , finally, being saved. Sex within our marriage is to serve our telos. We are not meant to serve the "telos" of a given act. Thus God's soteriological personalism frees us from natural determinisms. This does not mean that we ignore or reject nature, quite the contrary. God intends to save me as a man, and to save my wife as a woman, and our salvation must be worked out in its proper course. But my sex and what is natural to it is meant to serve me, I am not meant to serve it.
Source: http://ochlophobist.blogspot.com/2007_02_01_archive.html



. . .the church says that using contraception is OK. . .

That's oversimplification.
Quote
The control of the conception of a child by any means is . . . condemned by the Church if it means the lack of fulfillment in the family, the hatred of children, the fear of responsibility, the desire for sexual pleasure as purely fleshly, lustful satisfaction, etc.

Again, however, married people practicing birth control are not necessarily deprived of Holy Communion, if in conscience before God and with the blessing of their spiritual father, they are convinced that their motives are not entirely unworthy. Here again, however, such a couple cannot pretend to justify themselves in the light of the absolute perfection of the Kingdom of God.
Source: http://www.oca.org/QA.asp?ID=147&SID=3
It seems the Ochlophobist never finished the series on contraception.
http://ochlophobist.blogspot.com/2007/02/orthodoxy-and-contraception-part-i.html
http://ochlophobist.blogspot.com/2007/02/orthodoxy-and-contraception-part-ii.html
http://ochlophobist.blogspot.com/2007/02/pansexualism-101a.html
which is unfortunate.

One thing he floats which is intreaguing, the idea the Orthodox Christians would embrace "one child more," having one child more than they think they should have.
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« Reply #286 on: April 15, 2014, 08:20:25 PM »

"Natural" definition (lack of artificial.. anything) is very flawed when you consider biology, lack of a full understanding of the implications of the biology of reproduction slaughters it.
If you really want to be fully natural and believe that God made a cycle to control your sexual life, you should have sex only on fertile days. There is absolutely NOTHING natural about having sex with a woman when she is infertile, her whole body is preparing for another round and every single organ says "NOPE" to sex. Going against the nature but trying to convince yourself it's "natural", or using contraception like pills, it's all the same from biological point of view, i.e. tricking organism contrary to what it's purpose in this moment (pill actually less, since you have sex when body is ready for it, derp).

Intention is extremely important in Christianity, and artificial contraception in healthy marriages without superiority complex and views on sainthood before death (like some in this thread, not showing fingers  Roll Eyes), will enhance mutual love, if used properly for spacing children or protecting health, not avoiding kids entirely. Sex in Orthodoxy, as I understand it, does not have many goals at once, it has many goals as they are necessary. Sometimes it is, like st. Paul said, to kill lust, the burning. Should we just keep lusting, watching other women (I won't even remind dat Jesus quote..) and let satan play with the mind while you wait for the right moment to actually release your lust (not quite)"naturally", just for the lust's sake instead of use what God provided and love your wife whether both of you want it.



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« Reply #287 on: April 15, 2014, 11:57:42 PM »

"Natural" definition (lack of artificial.. anything) is very flawed when you consider biology, lack of a full understanding of the implications of the biology of reproduction slaughters it.
If you really want to be fully natural and believe that God made a cycle to control your sexual life, you should have sex only on fertile days. There is absolutely NOTHING natural about having sex with a woman when she is infertile, her whole body is preparing for another round and every single organ says "NOPE" to sex. Going against the nature but trying to convince yourself it's "natural", or using contraception like pills, it's all the same from biological point of view, i.e. tricking organism contrary to what it's purpose in this moment (pill actually less, since you have sex when body is ready for it, derp).

Intention is extremely important in Christianity, and artificial contraception in healthy marriages without superiority complex and views on sainthood before death (like some in this thread, not showing fingers  Roll Eyes), will enhance mutual love, if used properly for spacing children or protecting health, not avoiding kids entirely. Sex in Orthodoxy, as I understand it, does not have many goals at once, it has many goals as they are necessary. Sometimes it is, like st. Paul said, to kill lust, the burning. Should we just keep lusting, watching other women (I won't even remind dat Jesus quote..) and let satan play with the mind while you wait for the right moment to actually release your lust (not quite)"naturally", just for the lust's sake instead of use what God provided and love your wife whether both of you want it.



Yes, I'm an archaeologist.


I don't disagree with your points. However, we also need to be wary of an "all or nothing" approach. Having sexual relations when the wife is infertile without using artificial prophylactic methods is still much more natural than using condoms, etc. We should still strive for the ideal even though we may fall short of the ideal.


Selam
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« Reply #288 on: April 16, 2014, 06:20:59 PM »

Your priest is simply wrong.
How so?

Teaching that married couples should have sex only with the intention to procreate.

Such a teaching seems to be not compatible with Orthodox teleology.
Quote
In Orthodoxy, the telos of a given act . . . is always to be subject to the telos of the person. Likewise, within Orthodoxy the telos of the person is not determined by the perceived telos of the acts appropriate to that person. Orthodoxy is not bottom up in its anthropology. Thus the logic: sex is meant, finally, for procreation; as a married man I am to have sex; thus my sexual activity is meant, finally, for procreation - does not work in Orthodoxy. Within Orthodoxy the "telos" of the given act is derivative of the telos of the person or persons involved. I am finally meant for salvation. My wife is finally meant for salvation. As two who have become one our marriage is to serve us as we are , finally, being saved. Sex within our marriage is to serve our telos. We are not meant to serve the "telos" of a given act. Thus God's soteriological personalism frees us from natural determinisms. This does not mean that we ignore or reject nature, quite the contrary. God intends to save me as a man, and to save my wife as a woman, and our salvation must be worked out in its proper course. But my sex and what is natural to it is meant to serve me, I am not meant to serve it.
Source: http://ochlophobist.blogspot.com/2007_02_01_archive.html



. . .the church says that using contraception is OK. . .

That's oversimplification.
Quote
The control of the conception of a child by any means is . . . condemned by the Church if it means the lack of fulfillment in the family, the hatred of children, the fear of responsibility, the desire for sexual pleasure as purely fleshly, lustful satisfaction, etc.

Again, however, married people practicing birth control are not necessarily deprived of Holy Communion, if in conscience before God and with the blessing of their spiritual father, they are convinced that their motives are not entirely unworthy. Here again, however, such a couple cannot pretend to justify themselves in the light of the absolute perfection of the Kingdom of God.
Source: http://www.oca.org/QA.asp?ID=147&SID=3
It seems the Ochlophobist never finished the series on contraception.
http://ochlophobist.blogspot.com/2007/02/orthodoxy-and-contraception-part-i.html
http://ochlophobist.blogspot.com/2007/02/orthodoxy-and-contraception-part-ii.html
http://ochlophobist.blogspot.com/2007/02/pansexualism-101a.html
which is unfortunate.

One thing he floats which is intreaguing, the idea the Orthodox Christians would embrace "one child more," having one child more than they think they should have.

It seems all those posts are gone now. Does anyone know if they are archived somewhere?
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