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Author Topic: Divorce/Contraception Orthodox Style  (Read 27479 times) Average Rating: 0
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« Reply #45 on: February 13, 2004, 10:52:59 AM »

Surely scripture teaches no such thing...

I believe we are told in Genesis 38:9 that Onan "he wasted his seed on the ground in order not to give offspring to his brother."  Granted, some commentaries say that Onan's bigger sin was not following God's direct commandment to foster offspring from his brother's wife and the use of Tamar for sexual gratification only.  

But the word used to describe his action is "wasted".  

Used condoms generally end up in landfills or at least the side of the road or in parking lots (where I'm from, anyways...gotta love city life!).  Sounds like a "waste" to me.

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« Reply #46 on: February 13, 2004, 12:30:54 PM »


Used condoms generally end up in landfills or at least the side of the road or in parking lots (where I'm from, anyways...gotta love city life!).  Sounds like a "waste" to me.

Pittsburghese (unpublished) - "Allegheny Whitefish"

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« Reply #47 on: February 13, 2004, 12:45:00 PM »

Oh my!  I haven't heard that one in years!  My father used to rant about the decline of morals in Pittsburgh and cited "Allegheny Whitefish" as one of the reasons.  For years, I thought he had something against fish.
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« Reply #48 on: February 13, 2004, 06:09:30 PM »

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Everyone's talking about contraception, but no one seems to have addressed divorce yet.  Divorce is not allowed in the Orthodox Church.  The only exception to this is the one given by Christ in the Bible, adultury.  The marriage can only be broken when a third party comes in.  It is the marital act that consumates the marriage, and an abuse of that act that has the power to destroy it.  A person is also allowed to remary after their spouse dies, which includes apostacy since having denyed Christ they are spiritually dead.

This is also the position of the Coptic Church on divorce.
I wanted to ask the following questions:
1- Do Catholics and EO have annullment of marriages and for what reasons ?
2- Do Catholics and EO allow mixed marriages (one spouse of other denominations or even other religions) ?

Peace,
Stavro

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« Reply #49 on: February 13, 2004, 06:16:32 PM »

the RCC does not accept divorce as an theological reality. What God has put together, let no man put asunder. Annulments (actually I prefer to call them "declarations of nullity,") happen when the marriage can be proven to have never existed from the start. Perhaps the marriage wasn't consumated. Perhaps the would be husband has another wife. Maybe she's a man!

Annulments however have been grossly abused, and in the USA it is tantamount to divorce.

As far as mixed marriages go, they are discouraged. One needs permission to marry outside of the RCC, and IIRC one needs dispensation from the Bishop to marry non-Christians. This to has been abused.
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« Reply #50 on: February 13, 2004, 06:28:13 PM »

Thanks Caffeinator for your response.
I did not fully understand what you meant by "RC don't accept divorce as a thological reality" and maybe that is why I will ask whether in the case of Adultry the RC does still not grant divorce?

Peace,
Stavro
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« Reply #51 on: February 13, 2004, 06:52:50 PM »

Just a personal opinion of mine, if God really wants you to concieve, you will, no matter if you practice birthcontrol or not.  (My bestfriend was conceived dispite the fact that her parents were using birthcontrol pill, condom, etc).

I'm going to disagree here.  Barring some kind of miracle, God is bound by the laws of nature.  

A friend of mine, a Southern Baptist, recently married a man who had a vasectomy.  His has two children by his previous (deceased) wife.  He's decided not to reverse the procedure because they believe that if God wants them to have a child, they will.  That strikes me as being so bizarre.  

I don't believe that God would make a condom break.
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« Reply #52 on: February 13, 2004, 06:58:32 PM »

I have a question.  What if a husband and wife learn that they are carriers for cystic fibrosis.  Statistics says that if they have four children, one of the children will have CF and two of the children will be carriers.  

I know the RC answer to this question.  They can't divorce and being carriers for CF doesn't make their marriage invalid.  Although one could argue that nature never intended for them to marry and have children together so maybe that makes their marriage invalid, e.g. unnatural.  Of course they can't use birth control and won't be able to use NFP to keep from ever having a child.  

What's the Orthodox solution?  

Suppose it's an even worse disease such as Tay Sachs?  

Of course the sensible way around these problems is for people to do genetic testing before they marry.  
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« Reply #53 on: February 13, 2004, 06:59:21 PM »

How can God be bound by the laws of nature, and not, then, be subject to it?  Is nature higher than God?  Or do you mean that He respects it/them?
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« Reply #54 on: February 13, 2004, 07:14:59 PM »

How can God be bound by the laws of nature, and not, then, be subject to it?  Is nature higher than God?  Or do you mean that He respects it/them?

I mean that He respects the laws of nature because He set them up.  I'm not a theologian so I'm probably off here.  But Jesus "obeyed" the laws of nature.  He didn't fly, for example.  Although he performed miracles which went against "nature."  But overall, he "complied" with the laws of nature.  

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« Reply #55 on: February 13, 2004, 08:34:41 PM »

I'm going to disagree here.  Barring some kind of miracle, God is bound by the laws of nature.  

A friend of mine, a Southern Baptist, recently married a man who had a vasectomy.  His has two children by his previous (deceased) wife.  He's decided not to reverse the procedure because they believe that if God wants them to have a child, they will.  That strikes me as being so bizarre.  

I don't believe that God would make a condom break.  

God bound by the laws of nature?  I don't think so.  I am NO theologican but isn't a miracle an "event" that transcends the laws of nature as we know it.  E.g., rising from the dead--Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead.  Lazarus was dead and came back to life!

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« Reply #56 on: February 13, 2004, 08:40:36 PM »

the RCC does not accept divorce as an theological reality. What God has put together, let no man put asunder. Annulments (actually I prefer to call them "declarations of nullity,") happen when the marriage can be proven to have never existed from the start. Perhaps the marriage wasn't consumated. Perhaps the would be husband has another wife. Maybe she's a man!

Maybe he's a Kennedy!
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« Reply #57 on: February 13, 2004, 08:49:37 PM »

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Used condoms generally end up in landfills or at least the side of the road or in parking lots (where I'm from, anyways...gotta love city life!). Sounds like a "waste" to me.

A few comments about this interpretation:

The external component of Onan’s action has all too often overshadowed the deeper reality behind this passage. Onan wasted his seed because of his sinful intent explicitly made clear in the text, to avoid his obligation to carry on his dead brother’s lineage as had been commanded of him by God. Far from being a compelling text against birth control per se, it is a clear and forceful text against the contraceptive mentality, which pertains to a sinful will by always denigrating the blessing of children in favour of some other self-seeking entity.

Additionally, Rome herself legitimizes these forms of birth control in particular hard cases, from which an argument may be made to extent the principle involved to other hard cases. For instance, the use of condoms in sex for the purpose of taking a sperm sample has been sanctioned, sperm which later goes to waste. Here we have contraceptive sex, by Rome’s standards “divorced from the unitive and procreative elements.” If allowed in this scenario, obvious legitimate extensions can be made to other hard cases without impinging on the essence of the doctrine, namely the contraceptive mentality.



Quote
The worst temptations are those which one does not see as temptations. In this age, I can't see how anyone could fail to see sex as a temptation.


Keble,

Good point, but I was referring to temptations to sin. Sex itself isn’t sin unless severed from its proper context. Avoiding sex during the wife’s fertile periods can be seen as an excellent ascetical practice designed to discipline one’s desire for sex when it's unavailable, e.g. being away from his wife on a business trip for a week, a man needs to practice abstinence for the time being and learn to keep his passions under control. The liberal use of contraceptives fosters an attitude where sex should “always be available when I need it, where I need it.”
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« Reply #58 on: February 13, 2004, 08:50:39 PM »

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Thanks Caffeinator for your response.
I did not fully understand what you meant by "RC don't accept divorce as a thological reality" and maybe that is why I will ask whether in the case of Adultry the RC does still not grant divorce?

If I understand it correctly, no. Or at least, what we have on the books doesn't read that way. The RCC reads the gospel verse, "except in the case of fornication," to mean a previous marriage. I think!
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« Reply #59 on: February 13, 2004, 09:04:19 PM »

Rob,

Sorry, I should’ve responded to your question earlier.

The answer is, there is no “official” Orthodox teaching on contraception. Rome and Orthodoxy operate under different ecclesiological lines; a local church that invests itself with the kind of power and authority that Rome has given itself will simply need to make a pronouncement and everyone needs to follow. Orthodoxy, as you may know, does not have a centralized model but one following more sacramental lines - every local church (if in communion with the others) is fully a church and cannot settle dogmatic questions on its own without the other churches scattered around the world. There are many historical precedents not just for this model but for Rome’s authority being resisted. One case that comes to mind is the issue of baptism in the 3rd century, where Pope Stephen demanded the Roman practice of not re-baptizing heretics/schismatics be enforced in the African churches, a demand strongly opposed and rejected by St. Cyprian and the Africans who upheld their received tradition and defended the autonomy of their local churches. On the question of birth control, again, the Orthodox Church will never issue standard universal formulas on a moral/pastoral matter which clearly needs to be evaluated on a case by case basis. What I said about the contraceptive mentality is and always has been the universal position of the Orthodox Church. As John Meyendorff states, couples can “make the right decision only if they accept their Christian commitment with ultimate seriousness, if they believe in the providence of God, if they avoid being concerned too much with material security (“Do not lay up for yourself treasures on earth,” Matt. 6:19), if they realize that children are a great joy and a gift of God, if their love is not a selfish and egoistic one, if they remember that love reduced to sexual pleasure is not true love.” I hope this helps in some way. I’ll try and give you some info about the divorce question next.

Regards,

Byz
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« Reply #60 on: February 13, 2004, 09:05:46 PM »

Quote
The celibate, for example, are not directly affected by rules of sexual conduct; therefore rules about menstrual purity and extremes of asceticism are not hard for them to suggest.



Keble,

That’s so true. I’m reminded of the Vatican celibates who before the release of Humanae Vitae deemed the medical conditions of women warranting the use of the pill as not grave enough reasons to justify its use.
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« Reply #61 on: February 13, 2004, 09:16:45 PM »

God bound by the laws of nature?  I don't think so.  I am NO theologican but isn't a miracle an "event" that transcends the laws of nature as we know it.  E.g., rising from the dead--Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead.  Lazarus was dead and came back to life!



Yes but miracles don't occur very often.  I'm not expressing myself well here but what I'm trying to say is that God made the laws of the universe and generally abides by them.  He is free to not abide by them if He so chooses but most often he abides by them.  So if a man has a hysterectomy, he will not impregnate a woman barring some kind of miracle.  

I guess what I'm trying to get at here is not when a person conceives while using birth control that there's a miracle.  God doesn't make a condom break or cause an infertile woman to ovulate.  He can.  He did it for St. Elizabeth but it's a million to one shot that it won't happen to you or me.  

For example, if I had cancer, I would have surgery or chemo or radiation therapy.  I wouldn't just pray and expect God to remove the tumor.  He has the power to do that and there are a few cases where that happens but nature would cause the tumor to grow in my body and God will respect nature that he created.  The same with reproduction.
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« Reply #62 on: February 13, 2004, 10:18:31 PM »

Byz,

I'm sorry but I don't view what you write above as reflecting the way things really work in the Orthodox Church.

First of all, the Church can and should issue such pronouncements.  Birth control is a serious issue.  It should be addressed on a universal level.  What about slavery? Is the Church powerless to speak against slavery? Against masturbation? Is that on a case-by-case basis too?

And I think it can be demonstrated that many Orthodox hierarchs previously condemned birth control, until very recently.

anastasios
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« Reply #63 on: February 14, 2004, 02:11:48 AM »

I'll be accused of "liberalism" for saying this but I don't think birth control can be separated from "feminism" (I'm a feminist so don't see that as pejorative term.)  

I know that the only reason I've been able to achieve what I have in my life is because I had control over my reproductive functions.  I don't see how a man can understand this but there's no way women can be equal unless they have control over reproduction.  It's no accident that almost all of the noteworthy women in the past were single.  

As a somewhat ambitious woman, one reason I hesitate to marry is that I don't want pregnancy after pregnancy.  I'm a good Catholic and wouldn't use artificial birth control so for me to be independent and have my own life I stay single at least for now.  

That's the paradox for the Church because they don't have an answer for women like me.  

I think that you men will see it so simply.  The Fathers said birth control is wrong.  Well the Fathers were men by definition.  The hierarchs were operating under what we know to be a flawed assumption, that women were somehow second class citizens.  

Women were not involved in the decision making process.  I'm not suggesting that women should be priests or much less bishops because I accept the male priesthood.  But I do think that men are not necessarily capable of understanding just how important it is for women to have control over reproduction.  

It's entirely too simplistic to reduce this to a conflict between the "selfish" career woman and the long-suffering mother.  The idea that women are completely fulfilled by motherhood is a myth.  It's a useful myth.  It serves a purpose in society.  It enforces the gender norms.  But it's simply not true.  No man is completely fulfilled by fatherhood and no woman is completely fulfilled by motherhood.  One could say "fulfilled" is a "secular" term.  It is "secular" but God gave us intellect.  He gave us interests.  
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« Reply #64 on: February 14, 2004, 04:19:52 AM »


Quote
First of all, the Church can and should issue such pronouncements.  Birth control is a serious issue.  It should be addressed on a universal level.  

And so it should. Sorry, I never wanted to imply that we shouldn't issue any pronouncements on the issue. But issuing standard formulas like Rome in a case as intricate and complicated as this one is not popular in Orthodoxy. What do you expect a pan-Orthodox Council to decree on this matter? How do you cater for the different voices in Orthodoxy, which like in the RCC, range from:

1) No birth control methods permissible whatsoever.
2) NFP only.
3) Birth control permissible under certain conditions.


Quote
And I think it can be demonstrated that many Orthodox hierarchs previously condemned birth control, until very recently.

Well, what's your standard? Given that you're inferring Orthodoxy has taken the wrong position, what are you measuring the impermissibility of birth control (except NFP) against? Orthodox heirarchs have obviously seen for themselves how new conditions in all spheres of human life have necessitated a different teaching while still retaining its essence, one which is no longer applicable to 3rd century or 19th century standards for that matter. Teachings about the purpose of sex have undergone numerous changes time by stripping away all sorts of rigoristic philosophies which held it hostage (such as Stoicism and Manicheism); why do we not accomodate to new conditions the way we've accommodated other teachings to new conditions (e.g. usury)? We have grave exceptions for killing (war of self-defence), abortion (life of mother), divorce, attending Liturgy on Sundays, working on Sundays etc. etc....

I'm thankful that Orthodox heirarchs are sympathetic to the hardships facing couples and wouldn't tell me to abstain for life if, for some reason, either my spouse or I were to suffer from a grave medical condition which would absolutely necessitate a birth control method other than NFP. Read for yourself to what extent couples in such situations have had their marriages strained because they were forbidden from using birth control methods other than rhythm or NFP.
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« Reply #65 on: February 14, 2004, 11:04:23 AM »

Excellent post, Jennifer. I agree with your analysis of the history on this issue.
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« Reply #66 on: February 14, 2004, 04:08:27 PM »

I'll be accused of "liberalism" for saying this but I don't think birth control can be separated from "feminism" (I'm a feminist so don't see that as pejorative term.)

I too am RC.  IMHO if (artificial methods of) birth control cannot be separated from feminism then feminism is pejorative.  However, feminism may not necessarily by definition be linked with forbidden methods of birth control.  I just can't tell myself.  I surmise the answer is based upon the life and lifestyle of individual feminists, individual by individual.  When someone tells me that he/she is a feminist (some men are too!), I’m not always sure what to think.  It depends upon the individual woman (or man!).

If you are not in favor of artificial means of birth control, then you are not a liberal in my opinion. Then again, this is my opinion only; certainly nobody is bound by my opinion (except me!).

Quote
I know that the only reason I've been able to achieve what I have in my life is because I had control over my reproductive functions.  I don't see how a man can understand this but there's no way women can be equal unless they have control over reproduction.  It's no accident that almost all of the noteworthy women in the past were single.  

As a somewhat ambitious woman, one reason I hesitate to marry is that I don't want pregnancy after pregnancy.  I'm a good Catholic and wouldn't use artificial birth control so for me to be independent and have my own life I stay single at least for now.

That's the paradox for the Church because they don't have an answer for women like me.  

But you do have control over your reproductive functions!  You can choose to have sex or not to have sex without regard to the impulses men and women experience in this life, in this sex-drenched society, and even with our being burdened by the concupiscence of the flesh.

The Church does have an answer.  Stay single.  Being single does not necessarily mean being called to the monastic life.  

As an aside . . . Correct me if I'm wrong, but don't the Orthodox look upon the monastic life as the "default" life for a Christian and that the life of the laity ought to correspond in some way within their own station in life "in and not of the world" with monasticism?

Yeah, the "stay single" recommendation seems patently oversimplified for a clerical celibate to recommend.  But no one--man or women--according to Church teachings may ever engage in sexual intercourse outside of marriage.

If you want to say, for example, that men have it easy, that they marry, have sex, and still put their careers in first place, then you would likely be correct.  They traditionally don't catch the "hell" they should get for doing so yet a woman in the same position is condemned for this behavior.  Well the world is changing and not for the better.  Women are increasingly able to pull this off like the men have done.  And unfortunately they are starting to act more like men!

Careerism is a mortal sin under many circumstances.  So is the indulgence of materialistic consumerism.  My pastor once complained from the ambo that many parents care more about buying their next large-sized, expensive, SUV than putting their children in a Catholic School.  Or a larger house or a high status, high paying job, etc.  He of course is right on . . . except I must sadly state that some of the religious education in Catholic schools is sadly lacking nowadays.

BTW, I'm not saying that if you work at a career, then you shouldn't marry.  My wife works.  In fact, if I croaked today, my wife would be able to support our children and still get them to adult life.  It cuts down on the need for expensive life insurance and frankly is an emotional comfort to me given the worry wart that I am!  We live below our means and are not in any debt other than a mortgage which is about to go away.  Is it because we make a lot of money?  W do well because we are both college educated and professionals.  No, we do it because we do not believe in consumer debt whatsoever.  We are not into high status or living beyond our means.  Yes, we are doing better now than when we first married but we act financially pretty much the same way as when we were first married.  

Yet we have NEVER neglect our children and we don't spoil them like so many of their friends are spoiled.  Yet it is still a lot of hard work.  My wife stayed home when our children were real young--yes women have to do this more than men.  Why?  Well you may not like this statement, but the umbilical chord doesn't really separate from the baby at work.  By the good grace of God my mother is still alive and pushing 80.  The umbilical chord has never truly separated between us and I'm no mama's boy!

Motherhood is the lot of women, not men.  Yes, men could do a lot better.  But most of the secular feminists refuse to acknowledge this role of women and in it's most extreme rejection of this role--pathological man hatred and lesbianism--we have big trouble for society.  I’m not saying that men too cause much of this trouble in our society.

Quote
I think that you men will see it so simply.  The Fathers said birth control is wrong.  Well the Fathers were men by definition.  The hierarchs were operating under what we know to be a flawed assumption, that women were somehow second class citizens.  

Women were not involved in the decision making process.  I'm not suggesting that women should be priests or much less bishops because I accept the male priesthood.  But I do think that men are not necessarily capable of understanding just how important it is for women to have control over reproduction.  

Birth control is right or wrong based upon objective criteria.  For example, adultery is always wrong.  There can be no equivocation about it although concrete circumstances may mitigate the spiritual crime of adultery, e.g., the maturity of the offender, undue influence, poor catechesis, etc..  That's why the Lord Jesus Christ ONLY is the Judge (with a capital "J") and not us.  Even if these guys (the hierarchs) are a bunch of ignorant or prejudiced men, if what they are saying comes from God, then that is what's important.  Yes, I know that these words and concepts are not of much comfort to anyone, man or woman, in this miserable life in which we live.

Quote
It's entirely too simplistic to reduce this to a conflict between the "selfish" career woman and the long-suffering mother.  The idea that women are completely fulfilled by motherhood is a myth.  It's a useful myth.  It serves a purpose in society.  It enforces the gender norms.  But it's simply not true.  No man is completely fulfilled by fatherhood and no woman is completely fulfilled by motherhood.  One could say "fulfilled" is a "secular" term.  It is "secular" but God gave us intellect.  He gave us interests.  

I understand and agree to a certain extent what you have just stated above.  Nevertheless, no matter how fulfilled a man may be in reaching his career ambitions, if it hurts his family then he has not done God's will for his life and the life of his family.  Same with a mom.  Besides, marriage and sex represent a sacrifice pure and simple (well, maybe not simple!) even in the happiest and holiest of marriages.

Sometimes I think that those called to the monastic life have it easier.  A woman doesn’t have to put up with a man and vice versa.  Oh yes, I know even if I don’t understand that monastic life has its own challenges.  Monastics after all wage spiritual warfare on behalf of us all, even if we in our secular lives too must take up arms against the Devil and our own flesh.  

Your personal and concrete circumstances as a RC woman in this society are unique and different from mine or anyone else's on OC.net or elsewhere.  Yet your life in some sense is not different from mine or anyone else's.  It's the human condition which is fallen in nature but redeemable by the Holy Sacrifice of the Law with which we are burdened.

When I look back at my life (I'm almost 55), I could see myself doing things differently.  Thank God I can't go back and change things else I would mess it up even more than I have messed it up to date!  Yet my life has been pretty good when I think about it though I can't claim the credit for it.  The Lord Himself surely could have put me in a lot worse circumstances and the right choices that I have made were because of Him and definitely not because of me.  This I know for certain though I cannot explain it.

Jim
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« Reply #67 on: February 14, 2004, 04:35:07 PM »

http://forums.catholic-convert.com/viewtopic.php?p=210597#210597

I asked some Catholics about the issue of embryo adoption.  Let's see what they have to say.

anastasios
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« Reply #68 on: February 14, 2004, 04:43:48 PM »




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  Re:When Does Life Begin?
-½ Reply #8 on: Today at 03:41:52 PM -+  

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Quote from: jbc1949 on Today at 03:08:27 PM
I too am RC.  IMHO if (artificial methods of) birth control cannot be separated from feminism then feminism is pejorative.  However, feminism may not necessarily by definition be linked with forbidden methods of birth control.  I just can't tell myself.  I surmise the answer is based upon the life and lifestyle of individual feminists, individual by individual.  When someone tells me that he/she is a feminist (some men are too!), I’m not always sure what to think.  It depends upon the individual woman (or man!).

 
 

Feminism is about equality and equality must include a way to regulate reproductive function.  

Quote:
If you are not in favor of artificial means of birth control, then you are not a liberal in my opinion. Then again, this is my opinion only; certainly nobody is bound by my opinion (except me!).
 
 

It's not that I am opposed to artificial birth control but rather that I am obedient to the Church.  

Quote:
But you do have control over your reproductive functions!  You can choose to have sex or not to have sex without regard to the impulses men and women experience in this life, in this sex-drenched society, and even with our being burdened by the concupiscence of the flesh.
 
 

That's been the choice I've made.  But that also means I've made the choice not to marry, at least for now.  

Quote:
The Church does have an answer.  Stay single.  Being single does not necessarily mean being called to the monastic life.  
 
 

Actually my choice to stay single isn't the Church's answer to my problem.  The Church (and I don't mean the Church in its official function but its reality) is not welcoming of single people, especially single women.  

And I don't necessarily agree that I've been 'called' never to have children.  It's just that I feel like that's the choice I've been given by the Church, lots of children or no children.  

Quote:
Yeah, the "stay single" recommendation seems patently oversimplified for a clerical celibate to recommend.  But no one--man or women--according to Church teachings may ever engage in sexual intercourse outside of marriage.
 
 

I haven't been told to "stay single" by any priest.  

Quote:
If you want to say, for example, that men have it easy, that they marry, have sex, and still put their careers in first place, then you would likely be correct.  They traditionally don't catch the "hell" they should get for doing so yet a woman in the same position is condemned for this behavior.
 
 

I don't think women are "condemned" for wanting to have it all.  It's just not possible.  Most Catholic women simply ignore the Church's teaching on birth control because they know it doesn't fit into the reality of their lives.  

Quote:
Well the world is changing and not for the better.  Women are increasingly able to pull this off like the men have done.  And unfortunately they are starting to act more like men!
 
 

Women have always been more than a womb.  It's just that male society never recognized that reality.  

Quote:
Careerism is a mortal sin under many circumstances.  So is the indulgence of materialistic consumerism.  My pastor once complained from the ambo that many parents care more about buying their next large-sized, expensive, SUV than putting their children in a Catholic School.  Or a larger house or a high status, high paying job, etc.  He of course is right on . . . except I must sadly state that some of the religious education in Catholic schools is sadly lacking nowadays.
 
 

Careerism doens't necessarily equal consumerism.  Men and women are more than gamete contributors.  Women are more than wombs.  Recognizing this fact doesn't equal "careerism."  

Quote:
BTW, I'm not saying that if you work at a career, then you shouldn't marry.  My wife works.  In fact, if I croaked today, my wife would be able to support our children and still get them to adult life.  It cuts down on the need for expensive life insurance and frankly is an emotional comfort to me given the worry wart that I am!  We live below our means and are not in any debt other than a mortgage which is about to go away.  Is it because we make a lot of money?  W do well because we are both college educated and professionals.  No, we do it because we do not believe in consumer debt whatsoever.  We are not into high status or living beyond our means.  Yes, we are doing better now than when we first married but we act financially pretty much the same way as when we were first married.  

Yet we have NEVER neglect our children and we don't spoil them like so many of their friends are spoiled.  Yet it is still a lot of hard work.  My wife stayed home when our children were real young--yes women have to do this more than men.  Why?  Well you may not like this statement, but the umbilical chord doesn't really separate from the baby at work.
 
 

Why wouldn't I like that statement?  I also don't think that a mother who works is 'neglecting' her children.  

I think most women are fundamentally unsatisfied by the role assigned to them by society.  We're told that becoming a mother is supposed to fulfill us but it doesn't.  Does being a father fulfill all of your needs?  People, men and women, are intellectual beings.  

Quote:
Motherhood is the lot of women, not men.  Yes, men could do a lot better.  But most of the secular feminists refuse to acknowledge this role of women and in it's most extreme rejection of this role--pathological man hatred and lesbianism--we have big trouble for society.
 
 

I'd say that pathological male hatred and lesbianism are not caused by secular feminism but rather by male behavior.  I've read that most lesbians were sexually molested as children.  Other lesbians say that their choice is 'political,' e.g. a rejection of the patriarchial heirarchy in the 'typical' family.  

Two out of every 5 women will be the victim of sexual violence at some point in their lives.  

The surprising thing is that most women don't hate men.  Really, more of us should.  That would be a rational response to the way most of us have been treated.  

I've known a few decent men but most (I apologize for generalizing) are real jerks.  I blame society for male 'jerk-ness.'  

Quote:
I’m not saying that men too cause much of this trouble in our society.
 
 

Men are the ones with control.  

Quote:
Birth control is right or wrong based upon objective criteria.  For example, adultery is always wrong.  There can be no equivocation about it although concrete circumstances may mitigate the spiritual crime of adultery, e.g., the maturity of the offender, undue influence, poor catechesis, etc..
 
 

My parents used artificial birth control and still had four children.  Most other Catholic couples I know use birth control.  I don't think it's led to some kind of 'evil' in their relationships.  I see the Church's argument about the slippery slope and the "contraceptive" culture.  

Quote:
That's why the Lord Jesus Christ ONLY is the Judge (with a capital "J") and not us.  Even if these guys (the hierarchs) are a bunch of ignorant or prejudiced men, if what they are saying comes from God, then that is what's important.
 
 

Female opinions on this issue are fundamentally different from male opinions.  And I don't think that God has intended for women to be 'chained' to their reproductive functions.  

Quote:
  Yes, I know that these words and concepts are not of much comfort to anyone, man or woman, in this miserable life in which we live.I understand and agree to a certain extent what you have just stated above.  Nevertheless, no matter how fulfilled a man may be in reaching his career ambitions, if it hurts his family then he has not done God's will for his life and the life of his family.  Same with a mom.  Besides, marriage and sex represent a sacrifice pure and simple (well, maybe not simple!) even in the happiest and holiest of marriages.
 
 

We're not talking about career fulfillment.  That's as much as myth as 'the cult of motherhood.'  
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« Reply #69 on: February 14, 2004, 06:30:38 PM »

http://forums.catholic-convert.com/viewtopic.php?p=210597#210597

I asked some Catholics about the issue of embryo adoption.  Let's see what they have to say.

anastasios

Thanks for the links.  I have read them.  I see the advantage of the concept of "embryo adoption" as leading to the recognition in legal terms that embryos are human beings with inalienable rights.  Although I recognize that this is a hot topic in RCC moral theology circles, I predict that the RCC will not sanction embryo adoption as a moral procedure.

I realize that this would be most controversial.  People with good will are attempting to rescue these humans from a tragic situation.  Frankly, I don't know how it will turn out but, even considering the emergency situation that frozen embryos represent, embyro adoption is basically in vitro fertilization followed by implantation which the RCC has condemned.

One thing never ceases to amaze me is the capacity for human beings to muck things up royally!

Thanks,

Jim C.
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« Reply #70 on: February 14, 2004, 07:10:45 PM »

First of all, your replies are excellent.  I'm replying to only two of your statements not because of necessary agreement with that which you have stated or even disagreement.  Rather, the scope of the subject is so big that we could never exhaust the topic:

Jennifer writes:

Quote
Does being a father fulfill all of your needs?  People, men and women, are intellectual beings.

Being a father (and husband) is more fulfilling than my work.  Yes, I have a career of sorts--I'm 2 years from a voluntary retirement but may go further because my children are in high school and hopefully bound for college.  My wife and I entered a mutually late 1st marriage.  Is my work fulfilling?  Not really in the long run although some of the people with whom I work make it acceptable.  Intellectual? I'm mostly a bureaucrat now but I still must draw on my science and engineering background.

BTW, I have met many people whose work is intellectually demanding yet unfulfilling.  Most people lead lives of quiet desperation (Thoreau) at least to some extent.  Perhaps this is a way that people are fickle of a sort and need some change.  That maybe why they change spouses too often!  Who knows?

Am I in career burnout?  No, but I realize that even the most successful careers cannot bring true fulfillment because the end goal of a career is materialistic, not the buying the bigger car type of materialism, but because it is time conditioned and does not make a big difference eternally.  The lowest paid laborer's work, provided it is legal, is just as honorable as the work of a corporate senior executive.  

I have met folks with big bucks and big jobs whose kids are total jerks.  Mom and Dad never put the time in to their formation as human beings.  Notice that I said Mom and Dad.

I work at what I do because it brings the $'s in that allow my children to go to a Catholic high school and will allow them to go to college.  My big problem--well not so "big"--is to figure out what I want to do when I grow up, that is, post-employment.  I don't intend to sit around all day and do nothing or even just putter around the house.  It is not the money after a certain point that matters.

As far as intellectual satisfaction, reading and decent discussions with friends help, faith (of course), and more than I can just write on this cyber piece of paper.  Formal education helps but after 2 graduate degrees and the equivalent of a 3rd, I don't feel all that smart

In short, my life is not defined by my work.  I am not my job even if sometimes it seems to be so.


Quote
We're not talking about career fulfillment.  That's as much as myth as 'the cult of motherhood.'  

Perhaps I already responded to this above!

I can at least agree with you regarding career fulfillment.  I perceive you present some valid points about being not merely a "womb carrier."  Nevertheless, I'm not sure I like equating "cult" with "motherhood."

On a very pessimistic note that relates to your statements but is not due to your opinions, I believe that our society, not just the U.S. but all of Western Civilization, is too far gone to be fixed.  I perceive that much of the discontent that women and men experience in this society (yes, men too!) is in some way bound up with this sorry state of sociey.  OK, someone will tell me that it has always been this way.  Yes, human nature has been in a sorry state since the great Fall in the Garden of Eden.  Nevertheless, since the Englightenment I perceive that we have been living in a crisis point which is being increasingly noticeable in the latter 20th Century and into the 21st.

I don't know what civilization will follow but the lives we all live in common in the West without regard to being Catholic, Protestand, Orthodox, or Jewish, etc., are being confronted with an apocalypse something along the lines of what Fr. Seraphim Rose has written and some other Orthodox books I have read.

Does this mean that I believe that the Second Coming is imminent in my lifetime or within the lifetimes of my children?  No, I'm not saying this.  But I think that Western Civilization is in the position that the Northern Kingdom of Israel and the South Kingdom of Judah each faced just before they fell to the Assyrians and Babylonians respectively.  I think that Assyria and Babylonia are at our collective doorsteps.

Morosely yours!

Jim C.


Jim


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« Reply #71 on: February 14, 2004, 07:31:08 PM »

"I don't see how a man can understand this but there's no way women can be equal unless they have control over reproduction.  It's no accident that almost all of the noteworthy women in the past were single."

I cringe when I read this for 2 reasons:

(1)  Men and women are definitely not "equal."  This hits home every single time my wife and I discuss children and she tells me (and truthfully, I must add) that she will be the one carrying it, not me.... I will merely participate in the enjoyable part Smiley   Father Alexander Schmemann of blessed memory wrote about this too.....  "equality" between men and women makes no sense.  It would be much better to call it "of equal importance" or something similar, for men and women will never be "equal."  Of course both men and women are equally important in the eyes of God.

(2)  Who qualifies as a "noteworthy woman"?  This sounds like college-level psychobabble garbage.  Is my priest's wife not a "noteworthy woman?"  (she more or less runs our parish and is extremely noteworthy in our eyes!)  Or worse yet, is my wife not "noteworthy" because she is married?  Is my own mother not "noteworthy" b/c she was married?

Jennifer, if you're talking about "worldly success" then just call it that.  There are millions of noteworthy women that the world never hears about.  And honestly, I doubt that those women really care.
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« Reply #72 on: February 14, 2004, 08:53:52 PM »

On a very pessimistic note that relates to your statements but is not due to your opinions, I believe that our society, not just the U.S. but all of Western Civilization, is too far gone to be fixed.  I perceive that much of the discontent that women and men experience in this society (yes, men too!) is in some way bound up with this sorry state of sociey.  OK, someone will tell me that it has always been this way.  Yes, human nature has been in a sorry state since the great Fall in the Garden of Eden.  Nevertheless, since the Englightenment I perceive that we have been living in a crisis point which is being increasingly noticeable in the latter 20th Century and into the 21st.


I'm not one of those "back to the land" types but I think part of the problem stems from industrialization when there was a separation of home and work.  Placing women solely in the 'home' atmosphere is unnatural.  That's what I mean by the 'cult of motherhood.'  That's a creature of the Victorian era.  Placing men solely in the 'work' atmosphere is equally unnatural.  
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« Reply #73 on: February 14, 2004, 08:58:52 PM »

I cringe when I read this for 2 reasons:

(1)  Men and women are definitely not "equal."  This hits home every single time my wife and I discuss children and she tells me (and truthfully, I must add) that she will be the one carrying it, not me.... I will merely participate in the enjoyable part Smiley   Father Alexander Schmemann of blessed memory wrote about this too.....  "equality" between men and women makes no sense.  It would be much better to call it "of equal importance" or something similar, for men and women will never be "equal."  Of course both men and women are equally important in the eyes of God.


Equality doesn't mean the same.  Men and women are different but still equal.  

Quote
(2)  Who qualifies as a "noteworthy woman"?  This sounds like college-level psychobabble garbage.  Is my priest's wife not a "noteworthy woman?"  (she more or less runs our parish and is extremely noteworthy in our eyes!)  Or worse yet, is my wife not "noteworthy" because she is married?  Is my own mother not "noteworthy" b/c she was married?


I didn't write that a woman could not be 'noteworthy' and be married.  What I noted was that most women throughout history who have achieved something have not been married.  

Quote
Jennifer, if you're talking about "worldly success" then just call it that.  There are millions of noteworthy women that the world never hears about.  And honestly, I doubt that those women really care.

I'm not talking about "worldly success."  How many women throughout history have had "worldly success?"  Marriage was historically the path to power and money for women.  

I'm a Roman Catholic so I'll point to RC women here.  What about St. Theresa of Avila or St. Therese?  Could they have achieved what they did if they had been responsible for a family?  
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« Reply #74 on: February 15, 2004, 07:10:28 AM »

What I noted was that most women throughout history who have achieved something have not been married.

I'm afraid I must agree with gregory2, this is an unsupported subjective opinion offered to support another yet another subjective opinion.

Quote

I'm a Roman Catholic so I'll point to RC women here.  What about St. Theresa of Avila or St. Therese?  Could they have achieved what they did if they had been responsible for a family?  


I think we can forgive Jennifer for not knowing the Orthodox view (the opinion asked in this thread) of the Holy Sacrament of Marriage.
As to the saints cited above, can you 'prove' that they could not?

Demetri
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« Reply #75 on: February 15, 2004, 10:26:42 AM »

I'm afraid I must agree with gregory2, this is an unsupported subjective opinion offered to support another yet another subjective opinion.


Of course it's a "subjective" opinion.  I don't think I claimed otherwise.  

I think we can forgive Jennifer for not knowing the Orthodox view (the opinion asked in this thread) of the Holy Sacrament of Marriage.
As to the saints cited above, can you 'prove' that they could not?

Demetri
Quote

Why does this threaten you so much?  

Of course I can't "prove" that St. Theresa would have accomplished the same things had she been married.  This isn't a "prove" conversation.  We're not talking facts here.  This is subjective, of course.  

I think what I find most interesting about this "discussion" is the hostile responses indicating what I think is a kind of fear.  Male fear of women, perhaps?  Male fear of losing power?  Fear of change?  

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« Reply #76 on: February 15, 2004, 12:19:55 PM »


I think what I find most interesting about this "discussion" is the hostile responses indicating what I think is a kind of fear.  Male fear of women, perhaps?  Male fear of losing power?  Fear of change?  

Hostile responses?  If any of this pertains to my responses to your posts, please specify.

Thanks,

JBC
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« Reply #77 on: February 15, 2004, 01:03:55 PM »


DemetriWhy does this threaten you so much?  

I think what I find most interesting about this "discussion" is the hostile responses indicating what I think is a kind of fear.  Male fear of women, perhaps?  Male fear of losing power?  Fear of change?  


Please, go tell it to your liberal professors;  you seem to speak as one "just out of PC-USA College". What you perceive as "hostility" is more being utterly tired of Orthodox discussions being hijacked by non-Orthodox with some other agenda to push. I have no power to worry over and if you think you have some "power" to gain, then perhaps the "fear" is you realizing that your argument might be silly and dismissed as irrelevant in a topic dealing with Orthodox Divorce and Contraception.
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« Reply #78 on: February 15, 2004, 01:49:01 PM »

Please, go tell it to your liberal professors;  you seem to speak as one "just out of PC-USA College". What you perceive as "hostility" is more being utterly tired of Orthodox discussions being hijacked by non-Orthodox with some other agenda to push. I have no power to worry over and if you think you have some "power" to gain, then perhaps the "fear" is you realizing that your argument might be silly and dismissed as irrelevant in a topic dealing with Orthodox Divorce and Contraception.
Demetri

Okay, please forgive me, I've made a decision that I don't talk to people who use phrases like "liberal professors" and "just out of PC-USA College."  Life is just too short.
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« Reply #79 on: February 15, 2004, 01:51:13 PM »

Hostile responses?  If any of this pertains to my responses to your posts, please specify.

Thanks,

JBC


JBC, you haven't been "hostile."  You've been able to discuss these issues in a rational manner which I very much appreciate.  

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« Reply #80 on: February 15, 2004, 06:27:56 PM »

Jennifer,

1) When you write, "What I noted was that most women throughout history who have achieved something have not been married." it does sound more than just your subjective opinion.  It sounds like you are ponitificating to be honest.

2) You dismiss Demetri quite rudely because he makes a generalization about liberal professors but you yourself throw out some wild accusations about "Male fear of women, perhaps?  Male fear of losing power?  Fear of change?"  I sense a double standard that perhaps you would like to address? Demetri could just as easily say he "does't respond to anti-male generalizations" because life is too short.

Demetri,

I would add that perhaps you would like to not offer generalizations about liberal college professors.  While I certainly had my share of liberal college professors back when I was in college, we did have conservative ones and even my liberal ones in most instances fully allowed others to voice their opinions (the truly liberal and antagonist ones eventually got sidelined by the administration because students just stopped taking their classes).

anastasios
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« Reply #81 on: February 15, 2004, 06:30:49 PM »

I would like to see this topic get back on topic, namely divorce and contraception in an Orthodox context.  Thank you.

Anastasios
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« Reply #82 on: February 16, 2004, 11:19:04 AM »

Quote from: anastasios
link=board=3;threadid=2892;start=msg35783#msg35783 date=1076884249
I would like to see this topic get back on topic, namely divorce and
contraception in an Orthodox context.  Thank you.
Quote

Well, rather than make specific arguments I would prefer to talk about
some of the influences I see coming out of this discussion.

First, there's the very curious sense I get of a RC argument being
carried into an Orthodox context. The form of Humanae Vitae is
very much that of a Thomist scholastic argument. That's a major reason
why anglicans don't (as a rule) buy it; we simply don't accept the
theory of teleology that it presupposes. What's striking to me, though,
is that it isn't at all clear to me that Orthodoxy would accept this
theory either. Indeed, to me it seems strange to see a palpably RC
argument arising out of an Orthodox milieu.

Second, there's the whole conservative/liberal thing. Now, one thing
nearly every commentator on American politics notes is that there is a
transformation of conservative viewpoints in the 1970s. Up to that
point, the liberals were the keeper of the idea that the political world
should embody, in all aspects, their moral vision. This idea came from
two sources: a secularized, totalitarian Marxism, and a deeply religious
activist Christianity that traces right back into Victorian England and
which was further elaborated by Reinhold Niebuhr (whose own political
views, ironically, were on the conservative side). In the '70s, however,
the so-called religious right awoke to the idea that they needed to
seize the political reins. And the issue that set this off, everyone
agrees, was abortion.

Now, I think the moral consensus on abortion is well-formed and clear.
The signs are plain: agreement on this issue cuts across other lines,
and there is a decided moral squeamishness that comes out whenever the
specifics get too close (complemented by a moral obtuseness in courts when specific methods are discussed). And moreover, the ways in which the issue is discussed don't vary that much from group to group.

It's equally clear that none of this exists for contraception. Instead, the argument jumps directly to theology. And it does so in a way which is clearly giving us trouble here: it falls immediately into an argument for other people having children-- and which disregards sin.

Let me cut to the chase: monastics are in a poor moral position to be telling others about having babies (or maybe even sex, for that matter). "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you" cuts deeply here, because the symmetry implicit in the statement is broken. To fix it requires a ceding of authority to the other person.

This problem bellows itself out particularly loudly in the male-vs.-female component of this. Sorry guys, but as far as "do unto others" is concerned, the feminists have "the patriarchy" dead to rights on this one. There is too much sin in the world not to take the feminist complaint against male prerogative seriously. Sexual morality is likewise too easily converted into a source of self-satisfaction for the chaste.

What I also sense, to a degree, is that positions get staked out because they are conservative, and then justified after the fact. This I have a big problem with, because it basically lives out a lie about liberals, claiming that they are amoral. Well, amorality is apolitical, or rather, opportunistic. Liberals are actually intensely concerned with moral issues. And thus both sides sin profusely in their positioning, but in ways that are both obscure to themselves and transparent to the opposition. And in opposing The World, churchmen are plainly vulnerable to falling into pharisaic opposition to things whose usage is morally complex.

I don't see how anyone can dispute a long history of opposition to abortion in Orthodoxy. But I don't see how this transfers neatly into opposition to contraception, and I would think that the RC theory would be looked upon with suspicion because of the intellectual baggage that come with it. So what really are Orthodox positions?
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« Reply #83 on: February 16, 2004, 03:47:31 PM »

Excellent post, Keble.  

I too sense a "RC approach" here.  I often wonder if "western" "RC" thought is so pervasive that it's nearly impossible for eastern Christians to be unaffected by it.  

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« Reply #84 on: February 16, 2004, 04:00:18 PM »

So, what about the fact that not one Christian Church espoused contraception prior to the Lambeth Conference in 1939?  Human Vitae wasn't even a glimmer in anyone's eye at that time - regardless of the Thomist philosophy.  Not one Christian Church approved of contraception prior to this time.  The Anglicans approved its use and the rest of Christendom fell, except for the Catholic Church.

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« Reply #85 on: February 16, 2004, 04:13:08 PM »

Additionally, whther you think the words of a monastic are valid or not - regarding sex/birth control - monastics are the ones from whose ranks the bishops are chosen in the Orthodox Church.  Quite frankly, if you have a problem with the direction of monastics then you probably don't have a place in the Orthodox Church.  Otherwise, you'll be fighting their leadership every step of the way.

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« Reply #86 on: February 16, 2004, 05:35:40 PM »

Keble,

It is unfortunate that Fr John Schroedel's argument against contraception is not in print.  It is a thesis at SVS from 2002.  It is the best I have read on the subject from an Orthodox.

As far as Thomism, I repeat what I said before: so what? Just because something can theoretically be traced to some other intellectual influence doesn't make it wrong.  I think that contraception is wrong and I think that the Orthodox have not reflected enough on it in an Orthodox manner but that doesn't mean that they can't use a "Thomistic" argument to discuss the issue.  Not everything Latin is bad...

anastasios
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« Reply #87 on: February 16, 2004, 05:49:42 PM »

Keble,

It is unfortunate that Fr John Schroedel's argument against contraception is not in print.  It is a thesis at SVS from 2002.  It is the best I have read on the subject from an Orthodox.

As far as Thomism, I repeat what I said before: so what? Just because something can theoretically be traced to some other intellectual influence doesn't make it wrong.  I think that contraception is wrong and I think that the Orthodox have not reflected enough on it in an Orthodox manner but that doesn't mean that they can't use a "Thomistic" argument to discuss the issue.  Not everything Latin is bad...

anastasios

This is a response to Keble more than a response to you, Anastasios; it's just that I am not yet good at isolating segments from long quotes!

I have read HV several times and I am somewhat familiar with Aristotelian-Thomism being an Aristotelian-Thomist myself!  Nevertheless, I do not see the Thomism in HV so please explain what you mean by it.

I would also hope that those who object to HV at least read the document so we could be more or less on a common level of knowledge.  I am not saying that you (Keble & Anastasios) haven't read it.  If you look at Paul VI's predictions in HV, you just might possibly think that he was a bit of a prophet in what he said.  Well, perhaps not.

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« Reply #88 on: February 16, 2004, 06:43:24 PM »

There is a term in rhetoric for the type of argument people often use...

"I think birth control is good," and the retort is, "Yeah, well you're an anglican and anglicanism is heretical."

I think it would be better if we would deal with the issues and not completely dismiss their origins as thomist or western. If you just tell me, "well, you're Catholic and Catholics got everything wrong," I will be most unconvinced.
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« Reply #89 on: February 17, 2004, 08:42:10 AM »

Keble,

It is unfortunate that Fr John Schroedel's argument against contraception is not in print.  It is a thesis at SVS from 2002.  It is the best I have read on the subject from an Orthodox.

As far as Thomism, I repeat what I said before: so what? Just because something can theoretically be traced to some other intellectual influence doesn't make it wrong.  I think that contraception is wrong and I think that the Orthodox have not reflected enough on it in an Orthodox manner but that doesn't mean that they can't use a "Thomistic" argument to discuss the issue.  Not everything Latin is bad...

Can we tone down the hyperbole a bit? The problem with resorting to Thomist argument is precisely that nobody in The Real World will use it anymore. And they don't use it because it has obvious problems. The big problem in this case is its emphasis on single purpose teleology. Natural things, as a rule, don't have single purposes; an acorn's purpose is both tree and food.

In the case of sex, Genesis itself testifies to a double purpose, and it's not hard to argue from nature that it is the unitive and familial aspect which is primary. Infertility doesn't condemn people to celebacy, after all.
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