Second post of valuable reading:http://www.angelfire.com/pa3/OldWorldBasic/NoContraception.html
So soon afterwards, some and soon many modern Orthodox suddenly decided that the Church Fathers gave a free pass to non-abortifacients and 1,930 years of tradition were wrong. It’s a bloody miracle! Just like when the Mormons had a revelation that polygamy was wrong just in time for the vote to admit their colony of Utah as a state in the US.
What accounts for this change? Apparently some mainline Protestants did it first which gave them the idea.
One also hears from the Orthodox the argument that ‘non-abortifacients are new’ — something their church is still deciding what to do about. False — condoms were used at least as far back as the Victorian era among the upper class.
Acquaintance Jim Coffey cites modern Orthodox theologian Fr Stanley Harakas, whose dodge to allow contraception is to separate the unitive aspect of sex from its procreative potential (yes, the naturally sterile and the old may have sex — Fr Stanley misrepresents the Catholic position in the linked article), setting up a strawman/false opposition between the two. However much Fr Stanley tries to market this as ‘sacramental’, he sounds just like mainline Protestants and, one jump removed from them, secular people:
Fr. Harakas [actually in the Byzantine Rite that should be Fr Stanley] describes the sacramental view, in its affirmative response to contraception under the appropriate circumstances, as emphasizing the close relationship of body and soul, and places the contraceptive issue in the total context of marriage and family. He describes the sexual relations between husband and wife as having an intrinsic value to unite husband and wife in flesh and soul in a bond of mutual love and commitment.
Fr. Harakas states a clear preference for the sacramental approach.
- Contemporary Moral Issues Facing the Orthodox Christian: Revised and Expanded, Light and Light Publishing Co., Minneapolis, 1982, pp. 78-81
Of course it’s rather blasphemous to go against the holistic view of marriage (which unites the unitive and procreative) and call mutual masturbation with your spouse (which is what deliberate contraception is) ‘sacramental’. Not exactly the holistic approach to things that those of us who like religion expect from the Orthodox!
I dare say the patriarch in Istanbul (Fr S’s boss) knows who’s paying his electric bills (the Hankses, Sarbaneses, Snowes and Stephanopouloses).
Still fuming a fortnight after I last answered him, this online adversary also writes:
Serge objected that, in essence, only converts and liberal, pro-Hollywood Greeks believed this.
Actually Serge says ‘would to ÃƒÆ’Ã‚ÂÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‹Å“ÃƒÆ’Ã‚ÂÃƒâ€šÃ‚Â¾ÃƒÆ’Ã‚ÂÃƒâ€šÃ‚Â³ that only those types believed this’. But this chap disabuses us all of that notion:
I produced statements from non-Greek, non-converts to demonstrate this was not the case. Most important among these was the Bases of the Social Concept of the Russian Orthodox Church issued by the Moscow Patriarchate in 2000, which states:
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 addition to the Patriarch of Moscow, Fr. Alexander Men, the Ukrainian Orthodox, and the very conservative Coptic Church ("Oriental Orthodox"/"Monophysites") share this view. And yes, the Greeks hold this view, as well.
Well, he’s certainly cleared that up. Even more damning that the misquoted allegation of Serge! Thank you.
Since, therefore, openly departing from the uninterrupted Christian tradition some recently have judged it possible solemnly to declare another doctrine regarding this question, the Catholic Church, ... in order that she may preserve the chastity of the nuptial union from being defiled by this foul stain, ... proclaims anew: any use whatsoever of matrimony exercised in such a way that the act is deliberately frustrated in its natural power to generate life is an offence against the law of God and of nature, and those who indulge in such are branded with the guilt of a grave sin.
- Pope Pius XI, Casti conubii
Causa finita est.
This fellow also writes:
Also, the hyper-convert Orthodox Church in America (OCA) seems to endorse this view, at least in part.
In part? Close, but for the real faith of the Church Fathers, try all. Though they get a share of the recent convert boomlet (people who would have become Anglicans or Newman-like RCs 50 years ago) the OCA aren’t hyper-convert; that’s the Antiochians. The OCA are a small, slightly shrinking denomination mostly in the US Northeast and made up of Rust Belt ethnic Slavs, about 60 per cent of whom are descended from former Byzantine Catholics from what’s now Slovakia, Poland and the Ukraine.
I remember "mortal" sins encompassed the "seven deadly sins" and other major iniquities, bringing with them a de facto excommunication until forgiven in penance. (How am I doing?) "Venial" sins, on the other hand, are less important. Masturbation, as I recall, as the latter rather than the former. (My memory here is from my memories of catechism class, not, ahem, from the confessional.)
Incorrect on masturbation. As The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains, it is objectively a mortal sin but many people (such as children) aren’t guilty to that degree. There are three criteria to commit a mortal sin: grave matter, sufficient reflection and full consent of the will. Lots of people may fall into the first (an old joke: 99 per cent of guys do it and 1 per cent are liars*) but not the second two criteria.
*It’s just a joke: of course many saints eventually practised perfect chastity in their state of life.