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Author Topic: Want to become Orthodox but I disagree with Orthodox teaching on contraception.  (Read 2184 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: June 03, 2014, 09:50:42 PM »

I have tried to go through the forums here, looking at what I could find about contraception and Orthodox teaching about it, as well as people's takes on it so that I would not repeat an already existing conversation. Having not found one I write the following:

Okay, so here it goes. I feel very drawn to Orthodoxy but have been terribly disappointed having found so many Orthodox, and especially bishops (though I am not trying to insult any bishops by writing this), who seem to be teaching that contraception is okay (i.e. in the context of a married couple). The only Orthodox bishop I have found who has spoken out against contraception is Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev (cf.: http://www.antiochian.org/node/17198). Regarding the more generally taken stance (that is: pro-contraception) I am concerned, especially considering that no attention seems to be given to studies which are now proving that the use of contraception among married couples leads to a rather alarming rate of divorce. Secondly, the use of contraceptives can harmfully effect a child, causing problems during his/her formation in utero. And thirdly, and not to be ignored is the fact that the early Church clearly understood contraception to be incompatible with the practice of the Christian faith.

I took some time over the past year to troll through the writings of the Fathers of the Church and have, thus far, compiled a 15 page document of quotations from both Scripture and the Fathers (both Eastern and Western) which provides their arguments against the use of contraception. (If anyone would like to see the document I can try to post some of it on here or send it to you if you ask me. It was too big to upload to the forum.) Let us take for instance the following quotation from St. John Chrysostom:

Wherefore I beseech you, flee fornication. . . . Why sow where the ground makes it its care to destroy the fruit?—where there are many efforts at abortion?—where there is murder before the birth? For even the harlot you do not let continue a mere harlot, but make her a murderess also. You see how drunkenness leads to prostitution, prostitution to adultery, adultery to murder; or rather to a something even worse than murder. For I have no name to give it, since it does not take off the thing born, but prevents its being born. Why then do thou abuse the gift of God, and fight with his laws, and follow after what is a curse as if a blessing, and make the chamber of procreation a chamber for murder, and arm the woman that was given for childbearing unto slaughter? For with a view to drawing more money by being agreeable and an object of longing to her lovers, even this she is not backward to do, so heaping upon thy head a great pile of fire. For even if the daring deed be hers, yet the causing of it is thine. (Homilies on Romans 24 [A.D. 391]).

I do not understand how Orthodoxy claims, and I believe rightfully so, such ancient roots and yet can ignore so much material from our fathers in the faith and compromise on such an important issue? This is an issue which holds me back from seeking to enter Orthodoxy. Even though there is so much else that I agree with Orthodoxy on, this one issue is enough to hold me back; since, if there is Truth it must be whole and entire... for if even one piece is missing it is not the whole Truth! Because this issue is so very important, especially in our modern context, Orthodoxy really ought to speak with a united voice on this issue; mustn't it? I must say that Catholicism, in Pope Paul VI's Humanae Vitae, seems to win the case for being more consistent with regards to the Church's ancient teaching, as well as more in line with what medicine and psychology are now revealing.  So I, who am not Orthodox, am throwing this out there to all of you on this site who are Orthodox. Could someone please explain this to me! I am desperately seeking for an answer to this terribly important question!

And please do not be insulting - something I have seen very often on web forums - I am seeking the truth with good will and insults would not help you make your case nor make a convert. Thanks to all who read this post and consider replying to it!
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« Reply #1 on: June 03, 2014, 09:56:32 PM »

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,58193.msg1133495.html#msg1133495

You might find this thread helpful. Fr. John has some posts in it that are on point to your question, and the conversation is still ongoing, so don't be afraid to jump in with your thoughts or questions. I hesitate to give any response as I don't really know all the arguments pro and con on the subject, so I'm afraid I would be of little help.
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« Reply #2 on: June 03, 2014, 10:19:13 PM »

There was a study done, and don't quote me on it, on post Vatican II theologians that showed as a percentage of theologians who taught on the subject of contraception, more Orthodox theologians opposed it than Catholics.  I feel bad giving this to you with no source to back it up, but at the time where I heard this evades me.

The situations in which Orthodox "allow" (it's still a disputed teaching) contraception are the same in which Roman Catholics allow Natural Family Planning.  It is still considered a grave sin for a married couple to intentionally avoid having children over the course of their marriage.  It's also something that's recommended couples discuss with their priest or spiritual father.

This is my limited understanding, and I apologize in advance if I have failed to grasp the issue.

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« Last Edit: June 03, 2014, 10:36:57 PM by Sam G » Logged

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« Reply #3 on: June 03, 2014, 10:23:56 PM »

I must say that Catholicism, in Pope Paul VI's Humanae Vitae, seems to win the case for being more consistent with regards to the Church's ancient teaching, as well as more in line with what medicine and psychology are now revealing.

The Church's ancient teaching would also seem to disavow Natural Family Planning, which is allowed by Catholics.  Traditionalist Catholics make this a rallying point against the Post-Vatican II church.

If you don't mind me asking, is this the only issue on which your conversion hinges?  I don't mean to pry.
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« Reply #4 on: June 03, 2014, 10:25:48 PM »

I am an Orthodox Christian who opposes birth control and sees the current "economic" view of the matter to be a sell-out. Just so you know you're not alone in your stance, or think that the whole Orthodox world is against you on this.
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« Reply #5 on: June 03, 2014, 10:35:35 PM »

How about tying something unique and different and not worrying about what goes on in other people's bedrooms.  Did God make you the bedroom monitor?  If you want to have children, have them . . . as many as you want.  Leave the rest of us alone and don't judge, which by the way is a more specific sin than contraception.
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« Reply #6 on: June 03, 2014, 10:38:49 PM »

The stance as I understand it is that any form of birth control that can cause an abortion is not allowed so the pill is not allowed nor IUDs.  This is at least the stance of the OCA so if any other jurisdiction allow abortifacients (sp?) it would surprise me.  Here is a direct quote from the OCA Synod:

"Married couples may express their love in sexual union without always intending the conception of a child, but only those means of controlling conception within marriage are acceptable which do not harm a fetus already conceived." -Synodal Affirmations on Marriage, Family, Sexuality, and the Sanctity of Life July 1992

Here is a link if you want to read the whole thing: http://oca.org/holy-synod/statements/holy-synod/synodal-affirmations-on-marriage-family-sexuality-and-the-sanctity-of-life
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« Reply #7 on: June 03, 2014, 10:53:58 PM »

I have tried to go through the forums here, looking at what I could find about contraception and Orthodox teaching about it, as well as people's takes on it so that I would not repeat an already existing conversation. Having not found one I write the following:

Okay, so here it goes. I feel very drawn to Orthodoxy but have been terribly disappointed having found so many Orthodox, and especially bishops (though I am not trying to insult any bishops by writing this), who seem to be teaching that contraception is okay (i.e. in the context of a married couple). The only Orthodox bishop I have found who has spoken out against contraception is Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev (cf.: http://www.antiochian.org/node/17198). Regarding the more generally taken stance (that is: pro-contraception) I am concerned, especially considering that no attention seems to be given to studies which are now proving that the use of contraception among married couples leads to a rather alarming rate of divorce.

Oh? What studies would those be?
Secondly, the use of contraceptives can harmfully effect a child, causing problems during his/her formation in utero. And thirdly, and not to be ignored is the fact that the early Church clearly understood contraception to be incompatible with the practice of the Christian faith.
It is also a fact that the early Church did not understand nor know embryology, i.e. the belief of the Preformationism of the science of the day.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Preformationism

It is not without importance that Preformationism was totally dealt its death blow in 1930
The Ovary of Eve: Egg and Sperm and Preformation
 By Clara Pinto-Correia
http://books.google.com/books?id=h4d5WFGpMgQC&pg=PA238&lpg=PA238&dq=The+ovary+of+Eve+preformationism+1930&source=bl&ots=hsjmLxVPkb&sig=Ipg1VX-5uUGIUhj3ZrzSjKhiIjA&hl=en&sa=X&ei=uoWOU4DiO4GDqgadxIHoAQ&ved=0CCkQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=The%20ovary%20of%20Eve%20preformationism%201930&f=false

It is also noteworthy that in the 20th century child mortality fell over 90%, such that parents now expected to keep all the child they had, instead of burying half of them or more.

I took some time over the past year to troll through the writings of the Fathers of the Church and have, thus far, compiled a 15 page document of quotations from both Scripture and the Fathers (both Eastern and Western) which provides their arguments against the use of contraception. (If anyone would like to see the document I can try to post some of it on here or send it to you if you ask me. It was too big to upload to the forum.) Let us take for instance the following quotation from St. John Chrysostom:

Wherefore I beseech you, flee fornication. . . . Why sow where the ground makes it its care to destroy the fruit?—where there are many efforts at abortion?—where there is murder before the birth? For even the harlot you do not let continue a mere harlot, but make her a murderess also. You see how drunkenness leads to prostitution, prostitution to adultery, adultery to murder; or rather to a something even worse than murder. For I have no name to give it, since it does not take off the thing born, but prevents its being born. Why then do thou abuse the gift of God, and fight with his laws, and follow after what is a curse as if a blessing, and make the chamber of procreation a chamber for murder, and arm the woman that was given for childbearing unto slaughter? For with a view to drawing more money by being agreeable and an object of longing to her lovers, even this she is not backward to do, so heaping upon thy head a great pile of fire. For even if the daring deed be hers, yet the causing of it is thine. (Homilies on Romans 24 [A.D. 391]).
the interpretation you seem to follow depends on a) Preformationism, which is not how children are made, and b) no distinction between contraception and abortion, concomitant with Preformationism.

But I would be interested in your paper.

I do not understand how Orthodoxy claims, and I believe rightfully so, such ancient roots and yet can ignore so much material from our fathers in the faith and compromise on such an important issue?
Much of such material on this issue isn't.  Dealing with the advances in scientific knowledge isn't a compromise.
This is an issue which holds me back from seeking to enter Orthodoxy. Even though there is so much else that I agree with Orthodoxy on, this one issue is enough to hold me back; since, if there is Truth it must be whole and entire... for if even one piece is missing it is not the whole Truth! Because this issue is so very important, especially in our modern context, Orthodoxy really ought to speak with a united voice on this issue; mustn't it? I must say that Catholicism, in Pope Paul VI's Humanae Vitae, seems to win the case for being more consistent with regards to the Church's ancient teaching

HV does not cite a single Father for its position, because it can't.

as well as more in line with what medicine and psychology are now revealing.

It is often claimed that HV is "prophetic."  However, I've yet to see something not already well underway in the '60s or before when it was issued at the end of the decade.
So I, who am not Orthodox, am throwing this out there to all of you on this site who are Orthodox. Could someone please explain this to me! I am desperately seeking for an answer to this terribly important question!

And please do not be insulting - something I have seen very often on web forums - I am seeking the truth with good will and insults would not help you make your case nor make a convert. Thanks to all who read this post and consider replying to it!
With the demise of Preformationism, there is nothing left to explain.

But to answer a question you might have: most Fathers had the good sense to deal with the questions of child-bearing as a pastoral issue, not a dogmatic one (except for issues like abortion, of course).  Not even the issue of raising them Christian was made dogmatic-notice the number of those born into Christian families but who had their baptism postponed until adulthood, e.g. St. Ambrose.  Nothing has changed on that.
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« Reply #8 on: June 03, 2014, 10:57:20 PM »

I must say that Catholicism, in Pope Paul VI's Humanae Vitae, seems to win the case for being more consistent with regards to the Church's ancient teaching, as well as more in line with what medicine and psychology are now revealing.

The Church's ancient teaching would also seem to disavow Natural Family Planning, which is allowed by Catholics.  Traditionalist Catholics make this a rallying point against the Post-Vatican II church.

If you don't mind me asking, is this the only issue on which your conversion hinges?  I don't mean to pry.
Noonan makes the point that it is ironic that HV approves of the one method that the Fathers the defenders of HV try to draft into service of their position (HV quoting no Patristics for its position, as there are none) expressly forbade and railed against-often in a tirade against marriage in general and love-making in particular.
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« Reply #9 on: June 03, 2014, 11:02:58 PM »

I must say that Catholicism, in Pope Paul VI's Humanae Vitae, seems to win the case for being more consistent with regards to the Church's ancient teaching, as well as more in line with what medicine and psychology are now revealing.

The Church's ancient teaching would also seem to disavow Natural Family Planning, which is allowed by Catholics.  Traditionalist Catholics make this a rallying point against the Post-Vatican II church.

If you don't mind me asking, is this the only issue on which your conversion hinges?  I don't mean to pry.
Noonan makes the point that it is ironic that HV approves of the one method that the Fathers the defenders of HV try to draft into service of their position (HV quoting no Patristics for its position, as there are none) expressly forbade and railed against-often in a tirade against marriage in general and love-making in particular.

I've never been called Noonan before.
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« Reply #10 on: June 03, 2014, 11:09:30 PM »

I must say that Catholicism, in Pope Paul VI's Humanae Vitae, seems to win the case for being more consistent with regards to the Church's ancient teaching, as well as more in line with what medicine and psychology are now revealing.

The Church's ancient teaching would also seem to disavow Natural Family Planning, which is allowed by Catholics.  Traditionalist Catholics make this a rallying point against the Post-Vatican II church.

If you don't mind me asking, is this the only issue on which your conversion hinges?  I don't mean to pry.
Noonan makes the point that it is ironic that HV approves of the one method that the Fathers the defenders of HV try to draft into service of their position (HV quoting no Patristics for its position, as there are none) expressly forbade and railed against-often in a tirade against marriage in general and love-making in particular.

I've never been called Noonan before.
Noonan wrote in 1968, so I think he said it first.
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« Reply #11 on: June 03, 2014, 11:18:49 PM »

I must say that Catholicism, in Pope Paul VI's Humanae Vitae, seems to win the case for being more consistent with regards to the Church's ancient teaching, as well as more in line with what medicine and psychology are now revealing.

The Church's ancient teaching would also seem to disavow Natural Family Planning, which is allowed by Catholics.  Traditionalist Catholics make this a rallying point against the Post-Vatican II church.

If you don't mind me asking, is this the only issue on which your conversion hinges?  I don't mean to pry.
Noonan makes the point that it is ironic that HV approves of the one method that the Fathers the defenders of HV try to draft into service of their position (HV quoting no Patristics for its position, as there are none) expressly forbade and railed against-often in a tirade against marriage in general and love-making in particular.

I've never been called Noonan before.
Noonan wrote in 1968, so I think he said it first.

Ah, I see now. I was unaware of whom I was reiterating. 
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« Reply #12 on: June 04, 2014, 12:22:10 AM »

Not sure I'd pay too much attention to Isa since he is on record for calling children a 'liability'.
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« Reply #13 on: June 04, 2014, 12:34:08 AM »

Wow, thanks every one for the quick replies after so short a time since posting! Just a few comments regarding some of your replies.

1. Re: Sam G's reply: Yes, I too have difficulty with the allowing of NFP in the Catholic Church, which is often hawked, by well meaning Catholics and Catholic Priests, as allowable. I find that at times it is treated like a Catholic alternative to contraception, and in turn many Catholics seem to be using NFP with what I call a "contraceptive mindset" which is a terrible misunderstanding. If such is the case then NFP is not a viable option for a Christian. On the other hand, if a couple uses NFP during a period of time which is necessary to use it I don't have a problem with it because there is still the chance that a child could be conceived (a much greater chance than using contraception which blocks conception even during times of fertility, thus directly opposing God's plan with the way He designed the human body). And I do have friends who began using NFP with the "contraceptive mindset", conceived and then realized - after freaking out a bit - that this was God's will for their lives. A condom or the Pill would have probably left them childless. And so even though I am torn on NFP, it seems to be a bit more allowable than contraception... even though periodic continence ought to be considered as well (which is a biblical teaching as we all know, taught by St. Paul: 1 Cor. 7:5).

2. Re: Punch's reply: Thank you for the warning Punch! I would like to say though that I am not concerned with some perverse delving into people's bedroom affairs but rather with a teaching which seems to be in contradiction with the earlier and long standing Orthodox teaching regarding basic human sexuality (and the Church has spoken out against this issue in the past). The Church has always understood its ability to pronounce on moral issues and this is a very important moral, as well as (as I noted in my post) sociological, issue. That is what my concern is... it is not to run around telling people what their moral behavior ought/ought not to be like... that is not MY job. But again thank you for the heads up!

3. Re: ialmisry's reply: Thanks for the detailed examination and questions you offered regarding my post. I have tried to answer your questions with similar attention to detail. So, first off, {1} you asked me what studies there were about the connection between contraception and divorce. I have (quickly mind you) found a couple of studies available for viewing online, I have some books too, but those are still packed away since I recently moved. But here are some links (some of these are articles which refer to studies done, so please follow the links within the articles): (i) http://www.personal.psu.edu/afr3/blogs/SIOW/2011/09/are-birth-control-pills-leading-to-divorce.html (ii) http://www.lifescript.com/blogs/ed_geehr/health/human_pheromones_do_birth_control_pills_send_wrong_signals.aspx (iii; This study shows a link between contraception and divorce, as well as suicide rates) http://catholicstand.com/contraception-increases-rates-of-divorce-suicide-and-sexual-dysfunction/ (iv; this study focuses in on mortality rates and contraceptive use) http://www.bmj.com/content/340/bmj.c927  (v) http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/birth-control-pills-affect-womens-taste/
Next up, {2} I am not sure that I understand your next point. You speak of the Church Father's lack of knowledge of embryology and believing in Preformationism. But the point I was making was that they spoke out here on this issue as a moral issue (which is also a pastoral issue; but pastoral does not equal less important). We must also attend to the fact that even though, obviously, Preformationism is not fact, the use of contraception still is the taking control of an issue which men should not seek to control. On this we also should take into account that Scripture (Gen. 38:8-10) points out to us that Onan sought to keep his brother's wife from getting pregnant by himself and was struck dead by God for doing so (and - I say this with a sense of humor and am in no way trying to be snarky - I am sure God did not believe in Preformationism Wink). I would also contend your statement that my arguement depends on Preformationism and also that I am conflating abortion and contraception. My issue with contraception is that it is an attempt to control whether a child is even conceived or not, which is what the Father's object to (after this, whether their reason was based on Preformationism or not, the fact that Scripture speaks against contraceptive acts shows both Scripture and Tradition to be in line with each other). And next {3} I agree that HV does not quote a single Church Father, but it does make an ample use of Scripture. Furthermore, it also, in no. 21 speaks of the "Value of Self-Dicipline" (i.e. periodic continence) which is a venerable practice which many modern Christians seem to have forgotten. Though, let me say again, I have issues with NFP, and believe that it can be terribly misused, though it is still more open to life than contraception. And finally {3} though I agree that nowadays we can expect to keep most of the children that are born into our families, I just can't say that this justifies contracepting so as to put a "cap limit" on the amount of children a family has. What if God wants a family to have a lot of children, would I dare go against His will? (I know I would not want to!) And on a practical note: the families I know who have lots of kids operate in such a way to deal with this, they take care of each other! I believe that one big problem today is the disintegration of the family (an not just the immediate family). It used to be that when someone was having a hard time others in the family would step in and help out, we just don't see this very often in modern family life. And finally, it seems that in modern times we have forgotten, even the best of us at times (even I - though I do not consider myself "the best of us" - have at times slipped into that terrible mindset of thinking what if I can't handle a lot of children if God gives them to me), that children are the greatest blessing God can give us.

By the way, if anyone notices any thing I have missed please let me know! Thank you again for the replies... I am looking forward to hearing more from all of you.

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« Reply #14 on: June 04, 2014, 12:39:54 AM »

Every fifteen or so contraception threads I take one off, and this is that vacation one for me... but I did want to post to say welcome to the forum Smiley
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« Reply #15 on: June 04, 2014, 01:26:08 AM »

Just thought I'd post my own thoughts on some of the things that stood out form your reply to ialmisry.

{1} you asked me what studies there were about the connection between contraception and divorce. I have (quickly mind you) found a couple of studies available for viewing online, I have some books too, but those are still packed away since I recently moved. But here are some links (some of these are articles which refer to studies done, so please follow the links within the articles): (i) http://www.personal.psu.edu/afr3/blogs/SIOW/2011/09/are-birth-control-pills-leading-to-divorce.html (ii) http://www.lifescript.com/blogs/ed_geehr/health/human_pheromones_do_birth_control_pills_send_wrong_signals.aspx (iii; This study shows a link between contraception and divorce, as well as suicide rates) http://catholicstand.com/contraception-increases-rates-of-divorce-suicide-and-sexual-dysfunction/ (iv; this study focuses in on mortality rates and contraceptive use) http://www.bmj.com/content/340/bmj.c927  (v) http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/birth-control-pills-affect-womens-taste/

Causation does not equal correlation.  I think you may have a valid point here, but trying to tie the effects of massive amounts of societal change over the past 50 years to one variable (legal contraception) is a tough stretch.

{2} I am not sure that I understand your next point. You speak of the Church Father's lack of knowledge of embryology and believing in Preformationism. But the point I was making was that they spoke out here on this issue as a moral issue (which is also a pastoral issue; but pastoral does not equal less important). We must also attend to the fact that even though, obviously, Preformationism is not fact, the use of contraception still is the taking control of an issue which men should not seek to control.

From my limited knowledge of the Fathers on this matter, it seems that they take the following moral issues: 1.) Killing an unborn child 2.) Sex for any reason other than to have children.  The concept of it being a matter man should not seek to control is probably an argument of natural law taken from the scholastic period (this is a guess, but one I'd bet on).

On this we also should take into account that Scripture (Gen. 38:8-10) points out to us that Onan sought to keep his brother's wife from getting pregnant by himself and was struck dead by God for doing so (and - I say this with a sense of humor and am in no way trying to be snarky - I am sure God did not believe in Preformationism Wink).

God had also just explicitly commanded Onan to conceive with his brother's wife.  It's open for debate whether or not God struck Onan dead solely for the spilling of his seed or if it was because by spilling his seed he was violating God's previous commandment to conceive with his brother's wife.

Though, let me say again, I have issues with NFP, and believe that it can be terribly misused, though it is still more open to life than contraception.

The idea that it's more open to conception is an increasingly hard case to make with many Catholics touting that it's just as effective as the pill.  I would say as a whole though that people who opt to use NPF (faithful Catholics) are already predisposed to being more open to conception than the general populace.

And finally though I agree that nowadays we can expect to keep most of the children that are born into our families, I just can't say that this justifies contracepting so as to put a "cap limit" on the amount of children a family has. What if God wants a family to have a lot of children, would I dare go against His will? (I know I would not want to!) And on a practical note: the families I know who have lots of kids operate in such a way to deal with this, they take care of each other! I believe that one big problem today is the disintegration of the family (an not just the immediate family). It used to be that when someone was having a hard time others in the family would step in and help out, we just don't see this very often in modern family life. And finally, it seems that in modern times we have forgotten, even the best of us at times (even I - though I do not consider myself "the best of us" - have at times slipped into that terrible mindset of thinking what if I can't handle a lot of children if God gives them to me), that children are the greatest blessing God can give us.

You have a legitimate concern, and one that I also share. I'm just a bit wary of blaming it all on contraception.  Too many things have happened in the past 50 years on too many levels for the issue to be that simple.  Is the current attitude towards contraception a symptom of this larger change? Maybe.  I can't say for certain.
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« Reply #16 on: June 04, 2014, 10:15:35 AM »

Were there methods of contraception back in the early church? The quote from St. John Chrysostom isn't writing about contraceptives but the idea of permissiveness.
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« Reply #17 on: June 04, 2014, 10:19:08 AM »

If you have objections to any form of contraception at all, then ISTM, it's six of one and half a dozen of the other. After all, NFP is contraception - no different than any other method.

Orthodoxy takes a pastoral approach, just like with divorce.
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« Reply #18 on: June 04, 2014, 10:37:48 AM »

Not sure I'd pay too much attention to Isa since he is on record for calling children a 'liability'.
Oh?  Where's that?
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« Reply #19 on: June 04, 2014, 10:41:14 AM »

I am an Orthodox Christian who opposes birth control and sees the current "economic" view of the matter to be a sell-out. Just so you know you're not alone in your stance, or think that the whole Orthodox world is against you on this.
Same here. We will be welcoming our first child a week before our first anniversary and many people are shocked asking if we planned it. My favorite thing to do is say that I tripped and she caught my fall. The look on their faces is priceless.

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« Reply #20 on: June 04, 2014, 10:42:59 AM »

All episcopal and synodal declerations decleration that I've seen have been against contraception. Individuals might disagree but the official party line is still against contraception.
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« Reply #21 on: June 04, 2014, 11:56:28 AM »

Wow, thanks every one for the quick replies after so short a time since posting! Just a few comments regarding some of your replies.

1. Re: Sam G's reply: Yes, I too have difficulty with the allowing of NFP in the Catholic Church, which is often hawked, by well meaning Catholics and Catholic Priests, as allowable. I find that at times it is treated like a Catholic alternative to contraception, and in turn many Catholics seem to be using NFP with what I call a "contraceptive mindset" which is a terrible misunderstanding. If such is the case then NFP is not a viable option for a Christian. On the other hand, if a couple uses NFP during a period of time which is necessary to use it I don't have a problem with it because there is still the chance that a child could be conceived (a much greater chance than using contraception which blocks conception even during times of fertility, thus directly opposing God's plan with the way He designed the human body). And I do have friends who began using NFP with the "contraceptive mindset", conceived and then realized - after freaking out a bit - that this was God's will for their lives. A condom or the Pill would have probably left them childless. And so even though I am torn on NFP, it seems to be a bit more allowable than contraception... even though periodic continence ought to be considered as well (which is a biblical teaching as we all know, taught by St. Paul: 1 Cor. 7:5).
St. Paul isn't talking about the rhythm method.  As for periodic continence, every couple practices it, although many celebates write as if the couple is joined in the middle 24/7.

Btw, the odds of conceiving a child using a condom is greater than doing so using latest rhythm method.  I've known women who got pregnant although their tubes were tied (although that was done a while ago; I don't know on the latest technology on this).

As for the "contraception mentality," I have to say I don't know anyone who used contraception who did not eventually have children.

And "NFP" is contraception, as natural as withdrawal.
2. Re: Punch's reply: Thank you for the warning Punch! I would like to say though that I am not concerned with some perverse delving into people's bedroom affairs but rather with a teaching which seems to be in contradiction with the earlier and long standing Orthodox teaching regarding basic human sexuality (and the Church has spoken out against this issue in the past). The Church has always understood its ability to pronounce on moral issues and this is a very important moral, as well as (as I noted in my post) sociological, issue. That is what my concern is... it is not to run around telling people what their moral behavior ought/ought not to be like... that is not MY job. But again thank you for the heads up!

3. Re: ialmisry's reply: Thanks for the detailed examination and questions you offered regarding my post. I have tried to answer your questions with similar attention to detail. So, first off, {1} you asked me what studies there were about the connection between contraception and divorce. I have (quickly mind you) found a couple of studies available for viewing online, I have some books too, but those are still packed away since I recently moved. But here are some links (some of these are articles which refer to studies done, so please follow the links within the articles): (i) http://www.personal.psu.edu/afr3/blogs/SIOW/2011/09/are-birth-control-pills-leading-to-divorce.html (ii) http://www.lifescript.com/blogs/ed_geehr/health/human_pheromones_do_birth_control_pills_send_wrong_signals.aspx (iii; This study shows a link between contraception and divorce, as well as suicide rates) http://catholicstand.com/contraception-increases-rates-of-divorce-suicide-and-sexual-dysfunction/ (iv; this study focuses in on mortality rates and contraceptive use) http://www.bmj.com/content/340/bmj.c927  (v) http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/birth-control-pills-affect-womens-taste/
Next up, {2} I am not sure that I understand your next point. You speak of the Church Father's lack of knowledge of embryology and believing in Preformationism. But the point I was making was that they spoke out here on this issue as a moral issue (which is also a pastoral issue; but pastoral does not equal less important). We must also attend to the fact that even though, obviously, Preformationism is not fact, the use of contraception still is the taking control of an issue which men should not seek to control.
Lord willing, I'll get to over the links thanks.

As for control, if a man applied to the management of his household the same way it is advocated that he manage his production of progeny, we would call him improvident.

On this we also should take into account that Scripture (Gen. 38:8-10) points out to us that Onan sought to keep his brother's wife from getting pregnant by himself and was struck dead by God for doing so (and - I say this with a sense of humor and am in no way trying to be snarky - I am sure God did not believe in Preformationism Wink).
We should also taken into account that Scripture (Gen. 38:Cool points out that Onan took his brother's wife on the condition that he give his brother (and her-the marriage precluded her getting any children by anyone else.  Not a small issue when women had to depend on their children after their husband) a child (read son), and (Gen. 38:9) it points out that Onan did so with the intent that he would not give them a child.  Instead, he would use Tamar as a sex toy.  God seeing that as evil does not depend on His disbelief in Preformationism.

I would also contend your statement that my arguement depends on Preformationism and also that I am conflating abortion and contraception.

The Performationism of the Fathers upon whom you depend conflated abortion and contraception.  Hence your dependence.

My issue with contraception is that it is an attempt to control whether a child is even conceived or not, which is what the Father's object to
Can you quote them doing so?

(after this, whether their reason was based on Preformationism or not, the fact that Scripture speaks against contraceptive acts shows both Scripture and Tradition to be in line with each other).

Given that Scripture explicitly speaks out against bestiality and homosexual acts, and other intimate unpleasantries one would expect it to do so against conception if it had a problem against it.  Tradition passes over Onan in relative silence-St. Clement of Alexandria rails against contraception on Stoic principles (whence, as Noonan points out, the issue of contraception as HV frames it came from)-stating that we should imitate the animals and only mate when our wives are "in heat"-doesn't appeal to Onan's example as a warning (many quote mines for HV quote St. Clement, but the quote is actually from Pope St. Cyril, and is vague as to Onan's crime).

It is also somewhat ironic that the Vatican and like minded Orthodox appeal to Onan and Tamar, when neither the Vatican nor the Orthodox Church allows one to marry his brother's widow (not without a dispensation at least-hence the issue of Henry VIII).

And next {3} I agree that HV does not quote a single Church Father, but it does make an ample use of Scripture.
But not a single verse IIRC on the point at hand that it is trying to argue.  Just lots on the authority Pastor Aeternus has arrogated to the Vatican.

Furthermore, it also, in no. 21 speaks of the "Value of Self-Dicipline" (i.e. periodic continence) which is a venerable practice which many modern Christians seem to have forgotten.

HV is (like the conflation of abortion and contraception) conflating marital fasting with the rhythm method.  Like I said, there is lots of abstinence in any marriage, despite what many celibates think, just like people do not eat 24/7.  Intent makes the difference: hence a couple who fast from relations during Great Lent are not the same as the couple who have relations every day not in a fertile period.

Though, let me say again, I have issues with NFP, and believe that it can be terribly misused, though it is still more open to life than contraception.
Withdrawal ("Onanism" in the older-but not original-sense) is even more "open to life."

And finally {3} though I agree that nowadays we can expect to keep most of the children that are born into our families, I just can't say that this justifies contracepting so as to put a "cap limit" on the amount of children a family has. What if God wants a family to have a lot of children, would I dare go against His will? (I know I would not want to!)
If God wants them, He will have him, even if the couple have a vasectomy and a tubal ligation.  Many use the rhythm method to conceive, and don't.  Are they daring to go against His will?

And on a practical note: the families I know who have lots of kids operate in such a way to deal with this, they take care of each other! I believe that one big problem today is the disintegration of the family (an not just the immediate family). It used to be that when someone was having a hard time others in the family would step in and help out, we just don't see this very often in modern family life. And finally, it seems that in modern times we have forgotten, even the best of us at times (even I - though I do not consider myself "the best of us" - have at times slipped into that terrible mindset of thinking what if I can't handle a lot of children if God gives them to me), that children are the greatest blessing God can give us.

They are: but Samuel would not have been twice as blessed if he had four good for nothing sons.
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« Reply #22 on: June 04, 2014, 11:57:17 AM »

All episcopal and synodal declerations decleration that I've seen have been against contraception. Individuals might disagree but the official party line is still against contraception.
You haven't seen the declaration of the Holy Synod of Russia?
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« Reply #23 on: June 04, 2014, 12:09:30 PM »

Just thought I'd post my own thoughts on some of the things that stood out form your reply to ialmisry.

{1} you asked me what studies there were about the connection between contraception and divorce. I have (quickly mind you) found a couple of studies available for viewing online, I have some books too, but those are still packed away since I recently moved. But here are some links (some of these are articles which refer to studies done, so please follow the links within the articles): (i) http://www.personal.psu.edu/afr3/blogs/SIOW/2011/09/are-birth-control-pills-leading-to-divorce.html (ii) http://www.lifescript.com/blogs/ed_geehr/health/human_pheromones_do_birth_control_pills_send_wrong_signals.aspx (iii; This study shows a link between contraception and divorce, as well as suicide rates) http://catholicstand.com/contraception-increases-rates-of-divorce-suicide-and-sexual-dysfunction/ (iv; this study focuses in on mortality rates and contraceptive use) http://www.bmj.com/content/340/bmj.c927  (v) http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/birth-control-pills-affect-womens-taste/

Causation does not equal correlation.  I think you may have a valid point here, but trying to tie the effects of massive amounts of societal change over the past 50 years to one variable (legal contraception) is a tough stretch.
Especially when many of the changes go back further than 50 years (e.g. the loosing of divorce).  That, however, also involves the issue of evaluating widespread use of reliable contraception versus the possibility of widespread attempts with unreliable contraception.

About 90% of the Vatican's flock disobeys HV, but, although divorce has gone up, it is nowhere near 90%.  That leaves 40% of the contracepting to explain.

But note, I haven't had a chance to see his evidence yet linked above.
{2} I am not sure that I understand your next point. You speak of the Church Father's lack of knowledge of embryology and believing in Preformationism. But the point I was making was that they spoke out here on this issue as a moral issue (which is also a pastoral issue; but pastoral does not equal less important). We must also attend to the fact that even though, obviously, Preformationism is not fact, the use of contraception still is the taking control of an issue which men should not seek to control.

From my limited knowledge of the Fathers on this matter, it seems that they take the following moral issues: 1.) Killing an unborn child 2.) Sex for any reason other than to have children.  The concept of it being a matter man should not seek to control is probably an argument of natural law taken from the scholastic period (this is a guess, but one I'd bet on).
Actually, the argument of control was taken up in the opposite direction: one was to have sex ONLY to conceive, the only justification such Fathers allowed for something so "disgusting" as sex (as St. Jerome said "the blood of martyrdom does not wash away the stain of marriage").
On this we also should take into account that Scripture (Gen. 38:8-10) points out to us that Onan sought to keep his brother's wife from getting pregnant by himself and was struck dead by God for doing so (and - I say this with a sense of humor and am in no way trying to be snarky - I am sure God did not believe in Preformationism Wink).

God had also just explicitly commanded Onan to conceive with his brother's wife.  It's open for debate whether or not God struck Onan dead solely for the spilling of his seed or if it was because by spilling his seed he was violating God's previous commandment to conceive with his brother's wife.

Though, let me say again, I have issues with NFP, and believe that it can be terribly misused, though it is still more open to life than contraception.

The idea that it's more open to conception is an increasingly hard case to make with many Catholics touting that it's just as effective as the pill.  I would say as a whole though that people who opt to use NPF (faithful Catholics) are already predisposed to being more open to conception than the general populace.

And finally though I agree that nowadays we can expect to keep most of the children that are born into our families, I just can't say that this justifies contracepting so as to put a "cap limit" on the amount of children a family has. What if God wants a family to have a lot of children, would I dare go against His will? (I know I would not want to!) And on a practical note: the families I know who have lots of kids operate in such a way to deal with this, they take care of each other! I believe that one big problem today is the disintegration of the family (an not just the immediate family). It used to be that when someone was having a hard time others in the family would step in and help out, we just don't see this very often in modern family life. And finally, it seems that in modern times we have forgotten, even the best of us at times (even I - though I do not consider myself "the best of us" - have at times slipped into that terrible mindset of thinking what if I can't handle a lot of children if God gives them to me), that children are the greatest blessing God can give us.

You have a legitimate concern, and one that I also share. I'm just a bit wary of blaming it all on contraception.  Too many things have happened in the past 50 years on too many levels for the issue to be that simple.  Is the current attitude towards contraception a symptom of this larger change? Maybe.  I can't say for certain.

I would blame it more on the acceptance of divorce, something that started in the medieval ruling houses and trickled down to the mess we have now.  Once marriage is not important, why bother?
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« Reply #24 on: June 04, 2014, 12:17:55 PM »

I kinda get the psychology at work here: I want the contraception to stay oficially and proeminently a sin even though i might avail myself of it every now and then. I'll confess it and Jesus will be crying n-o more. What i suspect most people that thik contraception is a grave moral matter dont want ia serious penances attached to the sin. Of course I domt think that's a sin.
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« Reply #25 on: June 04, 2014, 12:52:47 PM »

I have made mistakes in my past, that I am still ironing out the real-world effects after seeking forgiveness. If I have children now, I will only be burdening them with the repercussions of my mistakes. So what is the answer? My wife and I just become celibate and estranged until I am able to financially support a family, or have children raised on benefits, growing up either thinking that it's OK to live a life on benefits or that I am a hypocrite for raising them on benefits? Because unless I leave having children until after I have a qualification and line of work to support them in these years, I will never be able to afford to do so, the cost of a college course, the cost of travel to said course, living on minimum wage for the duration of the course. Having children when I am not in a position yet to sustain and support a family purely on the basis that having children is the only alternative to marital estrangement seems to be cutting off my nose to spite my face.

With all things considered, what choice do I have? I messed up my life before I found Orthodoxy, should I continue to mess it up for the sake of an ideal? I don't understand how marital relations that deliberately don't end up in pregnancy is a sin - can someone explain how this conclusion was drawn?
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« Reply #26 on: June 04, 2014, 01:26:50 PM »

I honestly can't believe how many people oppose Orthodoxy based on contraception. Maybe our western society is just too sex-obsessed.

If you're going to let something like this hold you back, then don't become a catechumen. I'm sure the Catholic Church would just love to have you.
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« Reply #27 on: June 04, 2014, 01:32:16 PM »

I don't know of the Orthodox Church ever forcing someone to use contraception when they didn't want to.
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« Reply #28 on: June 04, 2014, 01:33:18 PM »

Just had my third child last week. Many congratulations have come in, with an equal amount of "you are crazy" and "three's a nightmare". You see, we already had our boy and girl, so we should be done in society's eyes.

These are crazy and stupid times, when a child is equally met with joy, bewilderment, and dire warnings. Reminds me of my ass of an uncle who told me my life was over when I got married.
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« Reply #29 on: June 04, 2014, 01:35:07 PM »

Just had my third child last week. Many congratulations have come in, with an equal amount of "you are crazy" and "three's a nightmare". You see, we already had our boy and girl, so we should be done in society's eyes.

These are crazy and stupid times, when a child is equally met with joy, bewilderment, and dire warnings. Reminds me of my ass of an uncle who told me my life was over when I got married.

Mazel tov!  Grin
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« Reply #30 on: June 04, 2014, 01:35:46 PM »

I don't know of the Orthodox Church ever forcing someone to use contraception when they didn't want to.

Huh?
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« Reply #31 on: June 04, 2014, 01:36:58 PM »

Just had my third child last week. Many congratulations have come in, with an equal amount of "you are crazy" and "three's a nightmare". You see, we already had our boy and girl, so we should be done in society's eyes.

These are crazy and stupid times, when a child is equally met with joy, bewilderment, and dire warnings. Reminds me of my ass of an uncle who told me my life was over when I got married.
When i got married, the place I was working at took bets on whether the marriage would last 2 years. Everyone told that that it was just going to be my FTA (first time around). 11 years and 2 kids later, we are still trucking along...
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« Reply #32 on: June 04, 2014, 01:37:32 PM »

I don't know of the Orthodox Church ever forcing someone to use contraception when they didn't want to.

Huh?

I meant that I have never heard that the Orthodox Church says you *must* use contraception.
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« Reply #33 on: June 04, 2014, 01:39:22 PM »

I don't know of the Orthodox Church ever forcing someone to use contraception when they didn't want to.

Huh?

I meant that I have never heard that the Orthodox Church says you *must* use contraception.

I thought that's what you meant. Were you replying to someone in particular? I can't imagine the Orthodox Church recommending contraception, in the same way I can't imagine that it would recommend divorce.
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« Reply #34 on: June 04, 2014, 01:40:31 PM »

All episcopal and synodal declerations decleration that I've seen have been against contraception. Individuals might disagree but the official party line is still against contraception.
You haven't seen the declaration of the Holy Synod of Russia?

The one that I recently quoted on another thread?
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« Reply #35 on: June 04, 2014, 01:42:58 PM »

I don't know of the Orthodox Church ever forcing someone to use contraception when they didn't want to.

Huh?

I meant that I have never heard that the Orthodox Church says you *must* use contraception.

I thought that's what you meant. Were you replying to someone in particular? I can't imagine the Orthodox Church recommending contraception, in the same way I can't imagine that it would recommend divorce.

I was just sort of speculating.  Smiley
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« Reply #36 on: June 04, 2014, 01:44:19 PM »

I don't know of the Orthodox Church ever forcing someone to use contraception when they didn't want to.

Huh?

I meant that I have never heard that the Orthodox Church says you *must* use contraception.

I thought that's what you meant. Were you replying to someone in particular? I can't imagine the Orthodox Church recommending contraception, in the same way I can't imagine that it would recommend divorce.

I was just sort of speculating.  Smiley

Ah OK
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« Reply #37 on: June 04, 2014, 01:46:22 PM »

I kinda get the psychology at work here: I want the contraception to stay oficially and proeminently a sin even though i might avail myself of it every now and then. I'll confess it and Jesus will be crying n-o more. What i suspect most people that thik contraception is a grave moral matter dont want ia serious penances attached to the sin.

+1
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« Reply #38 on: June 04, 2014, 02:01:35 PM »

I don't know of the Orthodox Church ever forcing someone to use contraception when they didn't want to.

Huh?

I meant that I have never heard that the Orthodox Church says you *must* use contraception.

I thought that's what you meant. Were you replying to someone in particular? I can't imagine the Orthodox Church recommending contraception, in the same way I can't imagine that it would recommend divorce.
That has been recommended: in the Pedalion (though I can't remember in the translation or the Greek) a priest is exhorted to separate mixed couples with all the power at his disposal. Family be damned.
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« Reply #39 on: June 04, 2014, 02:07:15 PM »

Just had my third child last week. Many congratulations have come in, with an equal amount of "you are crazy" and "three's a nightmare". You see, we already had our boy and girl, so we should be done in society's eyes.

These are crazy and stupid times, when a child is equally met with joy, bewilderment, and dire warnings. Reminds me of my ass of an uncle who told me my life was over when I got married.
When i got married, the place I was working at took bets on whether the marriage would last 2 years. Everyone told that that it was just going to be my FTA (first time around). 11 years and 2 kids later, we are still trucking along...

Did you get to collect the bet cash at least?
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« Reply #40 on: June 04, 2014, 02:18:31 PM »

Just had my third child last week. Many congratulations have come in, with an equal amount of "you are crazy" and "three's a nightmare". You see, we already had our boy and girl, so we should be done in society's eyes.

These are crazy and stupid times, when a child is equally met with joy, bewilderment, and dire warnings. Reminds me of my ass of an uncle who told me my life was over when I got married.
When i got married, the place I was working at took bets on whether the marriage would last 2 years. Everyone told that that it was just going to be my FTA (first time around). 11 years and 2 kids later, we are still trucking along...

Did you get to collect the bet cash at least?
Nope.  Sad

I left that place of employment before the two years were up.
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« Reply #41 on: June 04, 2014, 04:30:50 PM »

Just had my third child last week. Many congratulations have come in, with an equal amount of "you are crazy" and "three's a nightmare". You see, we already had our boy and girl, so we should be done in society's eyes.

Congratulations!!! Smiley

I guess I can see wanting to know how closely the Church holds to ideals when considering whether it is the true Church. For me, I had to question for a while whether the teachings on divorce and remarriage were perhaps too lenient.

I decided that as long as they weren't casual about it, to allow divorce and even remarriage for necessary reasons, to me shows wisdom over legality.

After all, if I had not been granted my first divorce, I don't know where I would be. Worse still, if I had not been able to remarry. Either would have put me in certain dire circumstances and/or been occasion to sin.

As far as contraception, that seems a lot less my business than divorce/remarriage.

It seems to me that children are regarded as a blessing, and that is as it should be. I don't hear these things discussed in church, but there are plenty of children.

Honestly, I would consider the Church to be wise yet again to allow contraception in the case of women who are physically unable to carry, those who are on medications or for another reason might have harm come to a baby, perhaps for families who cannot handle the financial burden, perhaps even for emotional or other reasons. Not my place to decide. My point is, if the priest sees a good reason and is willing to work with the couple, that strikes me as wisdom.

If the reasons are strictly selfish, spiritual counseling is probably in order. More because of the thinking than anything else.

I don't know. I guess I'm not used to a church having a say in such things, sorry, and I don't want to stand on the outside and say what I think the priest should do either. I'm just speculating how it might be handled.

But personally, I think it's wisdom to look at circumstances and what's best for the family and for their souls, rather than make a blanket law.

I do understanding wanting to know where the Church is coming from before committing to it though. 
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« Reply #42 on: June 04, 2014, 04:38:59 PM »

I assure you my reasons are not selfish, me and my wife would love nothing more than children, but it would not be fair on them, we are not in the position to have a family but you can bet your bottom dollar we are eager to have children. Personally, I want a whole clan, a swathe, a plethora... but then again I'm not the one giving birth  Grin
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« Reply #43 on: June 04, 2014, 04:48:43 PM »

I assure you my reasons are not selfish, me and my wife would love nothing more than children, but it would not be fair on them, we are not in the position to have a family but you can bet your bottom dollar we are eager to have children. Personally, I want a whole clan, a swathe, a plethora... but then again I'm not the one giving birth  Grin

BTW, I was not speaking to you or to anyone else in particular. Except where the congratulations were offered. Smiley

I think I erased my own personal stuff from that post.

I would dearly love more children too, and my husband wants one. And if it were only the finances, we might try to work it out, though as things stand now, that makes it more than impossible. Health issues interfere too. My point is that I think there are reasons it ought to be allowed.

Selfishness I see mainly in young 2-income couples who enjoy making money and traveling and simply don't want children. And I have not met people like that in a long while. So I have no one in particular in mind. I did not mean to say anything against anyone, please forgive me if it sounded as if I did. Smiley

And I hope circumstances change so that you can have your quiver full soon. Smiley God willing. Smiley
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« Reply #44 on: June 04, 2014, 05:41:27 PM »

My wife and I actually use NFP, but those who think there is a serious moral difference between charting and barrier use are kidding themselves.
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« Reply #45 on: June 04, 2014, 07:55:59 PM »

Just had my third child last week. Many congratulations have come in, with an equal amount of "you are crazy" and "three's a nightmare". You see, we already had our boy and girl, so we should be done in society's eyes.

These are crazy and stupid times, when a child is equally met with joy, bewilderment, and dire warnings. Reminds me of my ass of an uncle who told me my life was over when I got married.
God bless you and your family and grant you many years!

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« Reply #46 on: June 04, 2014, 08:01:22 PM »

Hey everyone! Thanks for all the replies. All of you have given me a lot to read through and consider. And, except for one instance, I thank all of you for not being snarky...  for, especially as the converts know, it is a difficult enough path to be following without someone giving an attitude.

Out of the most recent posts I especially wanted to thank Anna.T; thanks for your understanding and also speaking from the heart like you did!

I did notice a couple hints from a couple of posts that some of you noticed, perhaps, some legalism in my thinking. Thanks for pointing this out to me (whether willfully or by accident). To make a note on this point: I was a convert to Roman Catholicism and eventually went through 3 2/3 years of RC seminary intellectual training before discerning out for a number of reasons (one being that I began to feel a strong draw towards the Eastern Church). One of my big things as a Byzantine Catholic has been seeking to be an Orthodox in communion with Rome - obviously a tough situation, especially seeing how Eastern Catholics have been and continue to be treated within the Catholic Church. Unfortunately, though my intellectual patterns tend to be more Eastern than Western, I do notice the occasional 'lapse' into the legalistic mindset of the Latin Church. So again, thanks for pointing this out to me. I will look into this and see what is at work in my thought process regarding this issue; though (in all honesty) I still feel that I may always be uncomfortable with contraception (as well as NFP).

As a final point: I would like to  note that what Anna.T said  (i.e. " wanting to know how closely the Church holds to ideals when considering whether it is the true Church") was my main reason for asking the original question which I posted. Again thanks all to all of you.
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« Reply #47 on: June 04, 2014, 08:10:38 PM »

Hey everyone! Thanks for all the replies. All of you have given me a lot to read through and consider. And, except for one instance, I thank all of you for not being snarky...  for, especially as the converts know, it is a difficult enough path to be following without someone giving an attitude.

Out of the most recent posts I especially wanted to thank Anna.T; thanks for your understanding and also speaking from the heart like you did!

I did notice a couple hints from a couple of posts that some of you noticed, perhaps, some legalism in my thinking. Thanks for pointing this out to me (whether willfully or by accident). To make a note on this point: I was a convert to Roman Catholicism and eventually went through 3 2/3 years of RC seminary intellectual training before discerning out for a number of reasons (one being that I began to feel a strong draw towards the Eastern Church). One of my big things as a Byzantine Catholic has been seeking to be an Orthodox in communion with Rome - obviously a tough situation, especially seeing how Eastern Catholics have been and continue to be treated within the Catholic Church. Unfortunately, though my intellectual patterns tend to be more Eastern than Western, I do notice the occasional 'lapse' into the legalistic mindset of the Latin Church. So again, thanks for pointing this out to me. I will look into this and see what is at work in my thought process regarding this issue; though (in all honesty) I still feel that I may always be uncomfortable with contraception (as well as NFP).

As a final point: I would like to  note that what Anna.T said  (i.e. " wanting to know how closely the Church holds to ideals when considering whether it is the true Church") was my main reason for asking the original question which I posted. Again thanks all to all of you.

From the Orthodox understanding, there are no Orthodox in communion with Rome.  To be Orthodox is to be out of communion with Rome.  The Church very much considers itself to be the only True Church.
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« Reply #48 on: June 04, 2014, 08:26:13 PM »

Hey everyone! Thanks for all the replies. All of you have given me a lot to read through and consider. And, except for one instance, I thank all of you for not being snarky...  for, especially as the converts know, it is a difficult enough path to be following without someone giving an attitude.

Out of the most recent posts I especially wanted to thank Anna.T; thanks for your understanding and also speaking from the heart like you did!

I did notice a couple hints from a couple of posts that some of you noticed, perhaps, some legalism in my thinking. Thanks for pointing this out to me (whether willfully or by accident). To make a note on this point: I was a convert to Roman Catholicism and eventually went through 3 2/3 years of RC seminary intellectual training before discerning out for a number of reasons (one being that I began to feel a strong draw towards the Eastern Church). One of my big things as a Byzantine Catholic has been seeking to be an Orthodox in communion with Rome - obviously a tough situation, especially seeing how Eastern Catholics have been and continue to be treated within the Catholic Church. Unfortunately, though my intellectual patterns tend to be more Eastern than Western, I do notice the occasional 'lapse' into the legalistic mindset of the Latin Church. So again, thanks for pointing this out to me. I will look into this and see what is at work in my thought process regarding this issue; though (in all honesty) I still feel that I may always be uncomfortable with contraception (as well as NFP).

As a final point: I would like to  note that what Anna.T said  (i.e. " wanting to know how closely the Church holds to ideals when considering whether it is the true Church") was my main reason for asking the original question which I posted. Again thanks all to all of you.

From the Orthodox understanding, there are no Orthodox in communion with Rome.  To be Orthodox is to be out of communion with Rome.  The Church very much considers itself to be the only True Church.
No, we are in communion with Rome.

And St. Peter, St. Clement, etc.
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« Reply #49 on: June 04, 2014, 08:31:50 PM »

Hey everyone! Thanks for all the replies. All of you have given me a lot to read through and consider. And, except for one instance, I thank all of you for not being snarky...  for, especially as the converts know, it is a difficult enough path to be following without someone giving an attitude.

Out of the most recent posts I especially wanted to thank Anna.T; thanks for your understanding and also speaking from the heart like you did!

I did notice a couple hints from a couple of posts that some of you noticed, perhaps, some legalism in my thinking. Thanks for pointing this out to me (whether willfully or by accident). To make a note on this point: I was a convert to Roman Catholicism and eventually went through 3 2/3 years of RC seminary intellectual training before discerning out for a number of reasons (one being that I began to feel a strong draw towards the Eastern Church). One of my big things as a Byzantine Catholic has been seeking to be an Orthodox in communion with Rome - obviously a tough situation, especially seeing how Eastern Catholics have been and continue to be treated within the Catholic Church. Unfortunately, though my intellectual patterns tend to be more Eastern than Western, I do notice the occasional 'lapse' into the legalistic mindset of the Latin Church. So again, thanks for pointing this out to me. I will look into this and see what is at work in my thought process regarding this issue; though (in all honesty) I still feel that I may always be uncomfortable with contraception (as well as NFP).

As a final point: I would like to  note that what Anna.T said  (i.e. " wanting to know how closely the Church holds to ideals when considering whether it is the true Church") was my main reason for asking the original question which I posted. Again thanks all to all of you.

From the Orthodox understanding, there are no Orthodox in communion with Rome.  To be Orthodox is to be out of communion with Rome.  The Church very much considers itself to be the only True Church.
No, we are in communion with Rome.

And St. Peter, St. Clement, etc.

I'm a bit confused of whose picture this is, and of course I was only speaking of since 1054.
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« Reply #50 on: June 04, 2014, 09:19:01 PM »

I believe this picture is of His Grace PS Silouan; a Romanian Orthodox Bishop, who is currently in Italy; correct?
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« Reply #51 on: June 04, 2014, 11:20:19 PM »

I believe this picture is of His Grace PS Silouan; a Romanian Orthodox Bishop, who is currently in Italy; correct?
Apparently Rome is in his diocese. He who shall not be named loves to pull out that picture whenever "bishop of Rome" comes up  Tongue
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« Reply #52 on: June 04, 2014, 11:27:47 PM »

I believe this picture is of His Grace PS Silouan; a Romanian Orthodox Bishop, who is currently in Italy; correct?
Apparently Rome is in his diocese. He who shall not be named loves to pull out that picture whenever "bishop of Rome" comes up  Tongue

I like this Orthodox Bishop of Rome myself.  Wink



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« Reply #53 on: June 04, 2014, 11:28:43 PM »

And to get back on topic: I swear my wife is really Orthodox when it comes to divorce (there are things that destroy utterly a marriage) and contraception (NFP, other methods, what's the difference?) but she would never dream of going anywhere but a modern Roman Catholic Church because that's what she's used to.  Roll Eyes

I, on the other hand, think the Orthodox Church has everything the current version of the Roman Catholic Church really needs as far as discipline, but otherwise I still believe the Catholic Church has the correct doctrine when it comes to contraception and divorce (and the other things besides) Roll Eyes
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« Reply #54 on: June 05, 2014, 12:17:39 AM »

I believe this picture is of His Grace PS Silouan; a Romanian Orthodox Bishop, who is currently in Italy; correct?
Apparently Rome is in his diocese. He who shall not be named loves to pull out that picture whenever "bishop of Rome" comes up  Tongue
Rome is his see.
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« Reply #55 on: June 05, 2014, 12:19:50 AM »

And to get back on topic: I swear my wife is really Orthodox when it comes to divorce (there are things that destroy utterly a marriage) and contraception (NFP, other methods, what's the difference?) but she would never dream of going anywhere but a modern Roman Catholic Church because that's what she's used to.  Roll Eyes

I, on the other hand, think the Orthodox Church has everything the current version of the Roman Catholic Church really needs as far as discipline, but otherwise I still believe the Catholic Church has the correct doctrine when it comes to contraception and divorce (and the other things besides) Roll Eyes
hypocrisy is a doctrine?
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« Reply #56 on: June 05, 2014, 02:10:46 AM »

Just want to pop in and say thanks for posting this OP. As a Roman Catholic, a trad Roman Catholic, this is the hardest for me. Divorce is not as bad as it might be for some as I almost married a girl that I would have either killed or tried with all my will to get an annulment--she had issues, let's say. Contraception on the other hand. So I am glad to get some discussion on this thanks to the concerned OP
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« Reply #57 on: June 05, 2014, 02:19:51 AM »

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« Reply #58 on: June 05, 2014, 02:21:14 AM »

The stance as I understand it is that any form of birth control that can cause an abortion is not allowed so the pill is not allowed
The pill does not cause abortions.
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« Reply #59 on: June 05, 2014, 03:22:40 AM »

There are some of this forum that think I have too many children (we have 6). Some snide remarks about having lots of kids have cropped up, and it has been somewhat irritating. The beauty of the Orthodox view is that there is room for individualization.
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« Reply #60 on: June 05, 2014, 07:38:20 AM »

There are some of this forum that think I have too many children (we have 6). Some snide remarks about having lots of kids have cropped up, and it has been somewhat irritating. The beauty of the Orthodox view is that there is room for individualization.

And room for individual pastoral care to help people on their path to salvation.

ISTM, though I'm certainly no expert on Catholic doctrine, that both churches "allow" contraception and divorce. Catholics just call it by some other name: annulment, NFP.
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« Reply #61 on: June 05, 2014, 08:32:16 AM »

The stance as I understand it is that any form of birth control that can cause an abortion is not allowed so the pill is not allowed
The pill does not cause abortions.

Does Orthodoxy not teach that life begins at conception? If its uncertain, then why not err on the side of caution?
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« Reply #62 on: June 05, 2014, 08:46:12 AM »

The stance as I understand it is that any form of birth control that can cause an abortion is not allowed so the pill is not allowed
The pill does not cause abortions.

Does Orthodoxy not teach that life begins at conception? If its uncertain, then why not err on the side of caution?

You might want to research how the pill works.
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« Reply #63 on: June 05, 2014, 09:04:33 AM »

The stance as I understand it is that any form of birth control that can cause an abortion is not allowed so the pill is not allowed
The pill does not cause abortions.

Does Orthodoxy not teach that life begins at conception? If its uncertain, then why not err on the side of caution?

You might want to research how the pill works.

http://www.lifeissues.net/writers/kah/kah_03howpillworks1.html

http://www.aaplog.org/position-and-papers/oral-contraceptive-controversy/birth-control-pill-abortifacient-and-contraceptive/


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« Reply #64 on: June 05, 2014, 09:16:48 AM »

The stance as I understand it is that any form of birth control that can cause an abortion is not allowed so the pill is not allowed
The pill does not cause abortions.

Does Orthodoxy not teach that life begins at conception? If its uncertain, then why not err on the side of caution?

You might want to research how the pill works.

http://www.lifeissues.net/writers/kah/kah_03howpillworks1.html

http://www.aaplog.org/position-and-papers/oral-contraceptive-controversy/birth-control-pill-abortifacient-and-contraceptive/

They seem to have reached their conclusion, unlike Focus on the Family.

http://www.thesurvivaldoctor.com/2013/02/23/abortion-and-the-pill/

The NHS guide
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« Reply #65 on: June 05, 2014, 09:27:20 AM »


And?
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« Reply #66 on: June 05, 2014, 09:28:11 AM »

The stance as I understand it is that any form of birth control that can cause an abortion is not allowed so the pill is not allowed
The pill does not cause abortions.

Does Orthodoxy not teach that life begins at conception? If its uncertain, then why not err on the side of caution?

You might want to research how the pill works.

http://www.lifeissues.net/writers/kah/kah_03howpillworks1.html

http://www.aaplog.org/position-and-papers/oral-contraceptive-controversy/birth-control-pill-abortifacient-and-contraceptive/

They seem to have reached their conclusion, unlike Focus on the Family.

http://www.thesurvivaldoctor.com/2013/02/23/abortion-and-the-pill/

The NHS guide

"After two years of extended deliberation and prayer, [Focus on the Family's Physicians Resource Council] has not been able to reach a consensus as to the likelihood, or even the possibility, that these medications might contribute to the loss of human life after fertilization."

The idea that the pill could sometimes be abortifacient isn't totally unfounded. The sites I posted recognized the possibility, even if its not proven. That's why I would argue to err on the side of caution.
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« Reply #67 on: June 05, 2014, 09:59:26 AM »

By birth control pill, do you mean the "morning after" pill?  That's the one that prevents implantation.  Usually, when people refer to birth control pills, they're talking about the pills that prevent eggs from being released to be fertilized in the first place.  A lot of women also use those pills to help with acne or with unhealthily strong or frequent blood flows.
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« Reply #68 on: June 05, 2014, 10:28:09 AM »

By birth control pill, do you mean the "morning after" pill?  That's the one that prevents implantation.  Usually, when people refer to birth control pills, they're talking about the pills that prevent eggs from being released to be fertilized in the first place.  A lot of women also use those pills to help with acne or with unhealthily strong or frequent blood flows.

Actually I was referring to the traditional birth control pill. I have often read (mostly Catholic, some protestant) pro-lifers argue that it can occasionally allow conception but prevent implantation.
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« Reply #69 on: June 05, 2014, 11:03:07 AM »

By birth control pill, do you mean the "morning after" pill?  That's the one that prevents implantation.

The morning after pill doesn't do that (at least the one licenced in Europe; I'm told some of the ones available in the US are not as finely tuned).

Quote
The primary mechanism of action of levonorgestrel as a progestogen-only emergency contraceptive pill is, according to FIGO, to prevent fertilization by inhibition of ovulation. The International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO) has issued a statement that: "review of the evidence suggests that LNG [levonorgestreol] ECPs cannot prevent implantation of a fertilized egg. Language on implantation should not be included in LNG ECP product labeling." In June 2012, a New York Times editorial called on the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to remove from the label the unsupported suggestion that levonorgestrel emergency contraceptive pills inhibit implantation. In November 2013, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) approved a change to the label for HRA Pharma's NorLevo saying it cannot prevent implantation of a fertilized egg.
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« Reply #70 on: June 05, 2014, 11:34:56 AM »

By birth control pill, do you mean the "morning after" pill?  That's the one that prevents implantation.  Usually, when people refer to birth control pills, they're talking about the pills that prevent eggs from being released to be fertilized in the first place.  A lot of women also use those pills to help with acne or with unhealthily strong or frequent blood flows.

Actually I was referring to the traditional birth control pill. I have often read (mostly Catholic, some protestant) pro-lifers argue that it can occasionally allow conception but prevent implantation.
They are not correct, and are working off of outdated information.

And even if they were correct, their listed percentages for failed implantations are less than the percentages for normal sex, so by using the pill you would be stopping several ovum deaths a month.
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« Reply #71 on: June 05, 2014, 11:37:57 AM »

[img width=400]http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/c2/Hestia_tapestry.jpg[/img
And?
Up for veneration for fertility worshippers.  Wink
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« Reply #72 on: June 05, 2014, 11:45:55 AM »


that's better.
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« Reply #73 on: June 05, 2014, 11:52:42 AM »

By birth control pill, do you mean the "morning after" pill?  That's the one that prevents implantation.  Usually, when people refer to birth control pills, they're talking about the pills that prevent eggs from being released to be fertilized in the first place.  A lot of women also use those pills to help with acne or with unhealthily strong or frequent blood flows.

Actually I was referring to the traditional birth control pill. I have often read (mostly Catholic, some protestant) pro-lifers argue that it can occasionally allow conception but prevent implantation.
They are not correct, and are working off of outdated information.

And even if they were correct, their listed percentages for failed implantations are less than the percentages for normal sex, so by using the pill you would be stopping several ovum deaths a month.
that is like sterilizing the poor to prevent starvation of children.

Care to provide 'up-dated' information?
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« Reply #74 on: June 05, 2014, 05:37:04 PM »

There are some of this forum that think I have too many children (we have 6). Some snide remarks about having lots of kids have cropped up, and it has been somewhat irritating. The beauty of the Orthodox view is that there is room for individualization.

Amen. Too bad more people cannot find it within themselves to mind their own business when it comes to other people's family choices. I have three, btw, and hope you have as many or few as you want and can take care of.
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« Reply #75 on: June 05, 2014, 05:40:37 PM »

There are some of this forum that think I have too many children (we have 6). Some snide remarks about having lots of kids have cropped up, and it has been somewhat irritating. The beauty of the Orthodox view is that there is room for individualization.

You know, I hope I have never offended anyone in person who has a large family. I love large families. Smiley  My great-grandma had 10 (though not all survived) but it made for some awesome family reunions. Smiley

What I have said though, and I never meant it in a snide way, was sometimes something to the effect of how BUSY they must make someone. That's pretty much all I can think of if I'm in the midst and they are running all directions. But I never think of them as anything but a blessing. Smiley
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« Reply #76 on: June 05, 2014, 09:24:08 PM »

The truth is that in many ways I am not as busy with 6 as I was with 1. When you have 1 child, you are their ENTIRE WORLD. It is very tiring because they don't have anyone else to play with. Parents can, and should play with their children. I personally don't think that parents should be the sole playmate for a child. Our last 2 were born 14 months apart, one was a welcome surprise (#5) one was an absolute shock (#6) that took months during the pregnancy to really get happy about if I am honest. He is an awesome child, a tremendous blessing. We know he is exactly what our family needed. Our 5th child is very ill, and he can't get out to play like most other toddlers. He didn't really get to enjoy being a baby because he was so sick. He has a built in best friend and playmate. The interaction between our two youngest boys is awe inspiring and often brings me to tears. *We* didn't think that a 6th child was a good idea, we didn't want a 6th child. Indeed; we were doing everything we could (and our options are limited for a variety of medical reasons) to prevent having a 6th child; but we needed little Nash. He may not have been planned by us, but he was certainly part of a plan greater than ours.
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« Reply #77 on: June 05, 2014, 09:29:32 PM »

That is a factor as well; for some people birth control options are very limited. Hormonal birth control would kill my liver. It is healthier for me to have more children than it is to take hormonal birth control.

As to the possible abortive factors of hormonal birth control; it *could* work in a secondary manner to make the cervical fluids inhospitable to sperm in addition to stopping ovulation. It *could* also work in a secondary manner where the lining of the uterus can't sustain implantation. But those secondary factors would be dependent upon the primary factor not working. The biggest argument against hormonal birth control is the long term effect upon a woman's body. If you take the pill to manage a medical condition, that is one thing. But if your body is otherwise fine, you should take a second look at the potential side effects of taking hormones.
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« Reply #78 on: June 05, 2014, 10:54:07 PM »

The truth is that in many ways I am not as busy with 6 as I was with 1. When you have 1 child, you are their ENTIRE WORLD. It is very tiring because they don't have anyone else to play with. Parents can, and should play with their children. I personally don't think that parents should be the sole playmate for a child. Our last 2 were born 14 months apart, one was a welcome surprise (#5) one was an absolute shock (#6) that took months during the pregnancy to really get happy about if I am honest. He is an awesome child, a tremendous blessing. We know he is exactly what our family needed. Our 5th child is very ill, and he can't get out to play like most other toddlers. He didn't really get to enjoy being a baby because he was so sick. He has a built in best friend and playmate. The interaction between our two youngest boys is awe inspiring and often brings me to tears. *We* didn't think that a 6th child was a good idea, we didn't want a 6th child. Indeed; we were doing everything we could (and our options are limited for a variety of medical reasons) to prevent having a 6th child; but we needed little Nash. He may not have been planned by us, but he was certainly part of a plan greater than ours.

I guess that can be true. I hadn't thought of it like that. I had one, and also homeschooled her for some years. It was exhausting!!! Her Dad was also in need of near 24/7 care, and I had volunteer positions as well, so looking back now, I can't think how I even did it. In some ways, maybe having at least 2 would have been easier.

What a wonderful story about your Nash! Smiley  Your family sounds blessed indeed! God surely knows what He is doing. Smiley
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« Reply #79 on: June 06, 2014, 11:52:11 AM »

That is a factor as well; for some people birth control options are very limited. Hormonal birth control would kill my liver. It is healthier for me to have more children than it is to take hormonal birth control.

As to the possible abortive factors of hormonal birth control; it *could* work in a secondary manner to make the cervical fluids inhospitable to sperm in addition to stopping ovulation. It *could* also work in a secondary manner where the lining of the uterus can't sustain implantation. But those secondary factors would be dependent upon the primary factor not working. The biggest argument against hormonal birth control is the long term effect upon a woman's body. If you take the pill to manage a medical condition, that is one thing. But if your body is otherwise fine, you should take a second look at the potential side effects of taking hormones.
When my wife told me on St. Nicholas day that she was pregnant I was a little shocked and surprised, but I instantly I thought of you Quinault and how God has blessed you with your children and how he will help us through, too. It's an inspiration. Thank you for sharing it with us.

In Christ,
Andrew
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« Reply #80 on: June 06, 2014, 01:56:12 PM »

I assure you my reasons are not selfish, me and my wife would love nothing more than children, but it would not be fair on them, we are not in the position to have a family but you can bet your bottom dollar we are eager to have children. Personally, I want a whole clan, a swathe, a plethora... but then again I'm not the one giving birth  Grin

BTW, I was not speaking to you or to anyone else in particular. Except where the congratulations were offered. Smiley

I think I erased my own personal stuff from that post.

I would dearly love more children too, and my husband wants one. And if it were only the finances, we might try to work it out, though as things stand now, that makes it more than impossible. Health issues interfere too. My point is that I think there are reasons it ought to be allowed.

Selfishness I see mainly in young 2-income couples who enjoy making money and traveling and simply don't want children. And I have not met people like that in a long while. So I have no one in particular in mind. I did not mean to say anything against anyone, please forgive me if it sounded as if I did. Smiley

And I hope circumstances change so that you can have your quiver full soon. Smiley God willing. Smiley

Thanks! Same. In some circumstances, it would be selfish and bad parenting to have a child. Such as a married couple who are not... how can I put it, fully mentally capable of looking after a child, can just suffice looking after themselves as "independent" adults.
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« Reply #81 on: June 06, 2014, 03:04:44 PM »

I assure you my reasons are not selfish, me and my wife would love nothing more than children, but it would not be fair on them, we are not in the position to have a family but you can bet your bottom dollar we are eager to have children. Personally, I want a whole clan, a swathe, a plethora... but then again I'm not the one giving birth  Grin

BTW, I was not speaking to you or to anyone else in particular. Except where the congratulations were offered. Smiley

I think I erased my own personal stuff from that post.

I would dearly love more children too, and my husband wants one. And if it were only the finances, we might try to work it out, though as things stand now, that makes it more than impossible. Health issues interfere too. My point is that I think there are reasons it ought to be allowed.

Selfishness I see mainly in young 2-income couples who enjoy making money and traveling and simply don't want children. And I have not met people like that in a long while. So I have no one in particular in mind. I did not mean to say anything against anyone, please forgive me if it sounded as if I did. Smiley

And I hope circumstances change so that you can have your quiver full soon. Smiley God willing. Smiley

Thanks! Same. In some circumstances, it would be selfish and bad parenting to have a child. Such as a married couple who are not... how can I put it, fully mentally capable of looking after a child, can just suffice looking after themselves as "independent" adults.

I understand and agree.

Actually, my daughter heard the conversation where my husband discussed with me about wanting a child. She brought up what was in my own heart - our marriage is ... in the process of working things out. To be completely honest, having a child right now (if it were physically possible) could be a matter of selfishness. There is the chance that a child would magically "make everything better" but ... a very, very, VERY slim chance, and it is not a realistic way of looking at things. Likely there would be more stress and strife. A child ought to be brought into a home that is a secure, safe, loving environment that will give him or her the best spiritual start in life. Right now, as it stands, in all honesty I am not able to offer that. Things are slowly improving though, and I have great hopes that God will work everything out. Smiley
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« Reply #82 on: June 06, 2014, 03:58:47 PM »

That is a factor as well; for some people birth control options are very limited. Hormonal birth control would kill my liver. It is healthier for me to have more children than it is to take hormonal birth control.

As to the possible abortive factors of hormonal birth control; it *could* work in a secondary manner to make the cervical fluids inhospitable to sperm in addition to stopping ovulation. It *could* also work in a secondary manner where the lining of the uterus can't sustain implantation. But those secondary factors would be dependent upon the primary factor not working. The biggest argument against hormonal birth control is the long term effect upon a woman's body. If you take the pill to manage a medical condition, that is one thing. But if your body is otherwise fine, you should take a second look at the potential side effects of taking hormones.
When my wife told me on St. Nicholas day that she was pregnant I was a little shocked and surprised, but I instantly I thought of you Quinault and how God has blessed you with your children and how he will help us through, too. It's an inspiration. Thank you for sharing it with us.

In Christ,
Andrew

Thank you for your kind words. Any parent that isn't scared on at least some level at the arrival of each child is crazy. It is a tremendous responsibility to raise a child, but it is also a blessing beyond my ability to communicate.
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« Reply #83 on: June 16, 2014, 03:11:33 PM »

As far as I can tell, you will not be told that you cannot become Orthodox while holding the view that contraception is a sin. I sympathize with your reservations, OP.

Andrew and Alveus, congratulations.
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« Reply #84 on: June 16, 2014, 03:52:34 PM »

As far as I can tell, you will not be told that you cannot become Orthodox while holding the view that contraception is a sin. I sympathize with your reservations, OP.

Andrew and Alveus, congratulations.

You can become Orthodox while believing that contraception is a sin, as long as you understand that the Church has not spoken decisively on this issue and that your personal opinion is not the official teaching of the Eastern Orthodox Church. There are Orthodox who agree with you, especially those under heavy monastic influence, but there are also those who do not agree with you. Therefore, you can hold your personal views, but cannot judge others who do not agree with you.

Fr. John W. Morris.
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« Reply #85 on: June 16, 2014, 07:11:13 PM »

Thank you very much William and Fr. John for your thoughts on this topic. Recently I stopped by a ROCOR church to speak with a priest, he wasn't available at the moment (he was celebrating a  panikhída service), but I am hoping to get to speak to him sometime soon. I am looking forward to seeing where our Lord leads me in this. God bless all of you for your prayers during this time of discernment. I am counting on all of you praying for me!  Smiley
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