Does anyone here know what the Eastern Orthodox official stand is on these issues?
Here are some excerpts from a document promulgated by the Synod of the Moscow Patriarchate titled, “The Basis of the Social Concept,” which reflects quite well the Orthodox answer to contemporary issues.
On abortion: XII. 2. Since the ancient time the Church has viewed deliberate abortion as a grave sin. The canons equate abortion with murder. This assessment is based on the conviction that the conception of a human being is a gift of God. Therefore, from the moment of conception any encroachment on the life of a future human being is criminal…
The Church sees the widely spread and justified abortion in contemporary society as a threat to the future of humanity and a clear sign of its moral degradation. It is incompatible to be faithful to the biblical and patristic teaching that human life is sacred and precious from its origin and to recognise woman’s «free choice» in disposing of the fate of the foetus. In addition, abortion present a serious threat to the physical and spiritual health of a mother. The Church has always considered it her duty to protect the most vulnerable and dependent human beings, namely, unborn children. Under no circumstances the Orthodox Church can bless abortion. Without rejecting the women who had an abortion, the Church calls upon them to repent and to overcome the destructive consequences of the sin through prayer and penance followed by participation in the salvific Sacraments.
On cloningThe conception of cloning is a definite challenge to the very nature of the human being and to the image of God inherent in him, the integral part of which are the freedom and uniqueness of the personality. The «printing» of people with specified parameters can appear welcome only to adherents of totalitarian ideologies.
The cloning of human beings can corrupt the natural foundations of childbirth, consanguinity, motherhood and fatherhood. A child can become a sister to her mother, a brother to his father or a daughter to his or her grandfather. The psychological consequences of cloning are also extremely dangerous. A human being, who came to being as a result of this procedure, can feel not like an independent person but only «a copy» of someone who live or lived before. It should be also considered that experiments with human cloning will inevitably produce as «by-products» numerous unfulfilled lives and, most probably, the emergence of a numerous unsustainable posterity. At the same time, the cloning of isolated organic cells and tissues is not an encroachment on the dignity of the personality and in a number of cases has proved helpful in the biological and medical practice.
On HomosexualityXII. 9. Holy Scriptures and the teaching of the Church unequivocally deplore homosexual relations, seeing in them a vicious distortion of the God-created human nature…
The debate on the status of the so-called sexual minorities in contemporary society tends to recognise homosexuality not as a sexual perversion but only one of the «sexual orientations» which have the equal right to public manifestation and respect. It is also argued that the homosexual drive is caused by the individual inborn predisposition. The Orthodox Church proceeds from the invariable conviction that the divinely established marital union of man and woman cannot be compared to the perverted manifestations of sexuality. She believes homosexuality to be a sinful distortion of human nature, which is overcome by spiritual effort leading to the healing and personal growth of the individual. Homosexual desires, just as other passions torturing fallen man, are healed by the Sacraments, prayer, fasting, repentance, reading of Holy Scriptures and patristic writings, as well as Christian fellowship with believers who are ready to give spiritual support.
Now that you have your answer, may I ask why you felt the need to ask this question?
I asked the question because I wanted to know the answer. I know that I challenged some Eastern Orthodox CAF members on another thread, but also know that I’m the same one who defended the news of Russia’s recent revival of Christian morality and Vladimir Putin’s possible awakening of his Russian Orthodox faith. I also defended the news of the possibility that Russia might return to having the Russian Orthodox church as Russia’s official religion. I defended this because I believe this would be a vast improvement over the previous government policy of communism/atheism. I am optimistic about Russia.
What about the Eastern Orthodox stand on divorce and contraceptives? My understanding is that the teachings of the Orthodox on these two moral questions are, unfortunately, not the same.
I too am a fan of the Russian peoples’ treatment of homosexual propaganda.
What’s the Orthodox definition of healing in this case?
Becoming more like Christ
All Orthodox Churches are in alignment on this, we just don’t happen to believe the same thing the Catholic Church does.
Another moral question we (Orthodox) are all in agreement on but disagree with Catholics on is funeral rites. Catholics over the last century have come to accept cremation. We continue to forbid it except in cases where required by law.
No evil ulterior motive to subjugate all other Christians on the planet with your imperial papacy?
You’re Catholic so you must be up to something…
In principle that doesn’t seem different than the Catholic position, actually–ie that it is not per se sinful (otherwise you couldn’t do it even if law required it) and therefore can be done with good reason, but otherwise burial is the most appropriate to express our belief in the resurrection of the body, the body as a temple of the Holy Spirit, etc. Your disciplines governing it are just currently more restrictive.
No, just you two. It’s the attitude you bring to the discussion that makes you suspect.
Healing in this context means to be freed of one’s inclination for the same gender (a passion). One should not equate that however, with the idea of changing sexual orientations (as in some “ex-gay” therapies), which in many cases will not likely be the result. Conquering one’s own sexual urges (a difficult thing to do in this day’s disordered society which only serves to fuel passions, not extinguish them) is the primary goal.
I’m a bit confused…
Being freed from an inclination (same-gender attraction) seems to be the same as changing orientation (same-gender attraction).
One may conquer sexual urges (ie: resisting temptation and not acting upon the urges), but the inclination is still there…
How does what I said in post #4 fit in with that?
One could be freed of a passion which inclines him to homosexuality without acquiring a sexual inclination for the opposite sex. Just as a man with a passion rooted in his own lusts for women does not acquire an inclination for men upon conquering this passion. By curing an inclination towards or passion of same-sex attraction, it is not meant that sexual thoughts about members of the same gender will completely disappear (these thoughts and mental images are known as logismoi and are involuntary), but that one will be able to dispel the thoughts without dwelling upon them (a truly difficult task). For these logismoi to disappear altogether would involve the reordering of the mind (and in particular the imaginative faculty of the mind) through deification in Christ, something which most in the life will never attain.
I was responding to Randy, so what I said doesn’t apply to what you said. Sorry if I was confusing.
It would be sinful to do it without good reason, and it is rarely done with good reason these days.
The few countries that mandate it by law do so because of space concerns. Not the best reason, but it is a decent reason.
I don’t mean to hijack this thread but I think the original question was fully answered. Nine-Two, I have come to the realization that the Catholic Church is the true Church founded by Jesus Christ particularly after studying the Church’s teachings on contraception/homosexuality/marriage. The teachings are absolutely beautiful and irrefutable when studied carefully and honestly. Almost every single faith group except the Catholic Church has given up the nearly 2000 year old teaching that contraception is evil. To me, God could not have given me a better reason to accept the Church as the true Church.
What are your feelings about contraceptives? How do you react to the fact that all Christian faiths unanimously held contraceptives to be sinful until the 1900’s? Can truth change with time? Can something be against God’s law in one century and suddenly be acceptable the next? Thank you or other Orthodox for your responses.
To be quite honest the contraceptive question is not one I’ve put a lot of thought into myself. I therefore have to take for granted the statements you make.
Truth doesn’t change, although we are also to remember we are bound to the spirit of the law rather than the letter of it. We must consider the reasons for the rule. Therefore it would take deep study on this to truly be able to answer you.
However the Orthodox Church’s position is that marriage - and with it sexual activity - are primarily for the purpose of procreation. Therefore contraceptives should only be used after consulting with a spiritual advisor.
That being said, my understanding is that the Catholic Church similarly sees procreation as the primary purpose of sex and marriage, and that similar to the Orthodox Church its own policy on contraception is built out of the same ground work. If this is true why is it that the Catholic Church makes an exception for NFP, which though not involving modern medicine, nonetheless works to frustrate procreation within the sanctity of marriage? Where does this exception originate?
What is the moral difference between a pill and charts/calendars?
I am quite familiar with Theology of the Body, I took the year long course. Christopher West is a smart guy, but it goes long miles to evade the obvious point, which is the below:
Contra—Ception. The Contra is there, whether it is a pill or planning the snuggle time differently, the results are the same. People want the fun without the baby. The goal is the same, the means are still artificial. Many married couples use the pill for “spacing children.” Are there any Patristic citations in Humanae Vitae? It is a house built on Latin Scholasticism. That’s Ok…BUT, when people attempt to pillory the Orthodox for inconsistency, I would gently point out that even NFP and its predecessor, the Rhythm Method was also condemned. We are still thwarting “God’s plan” whether it is out of a box or on a clipboard. It is a distinction without a difference.
How was NFP and its ancestor not ok in 1930, and then it became ok in 1970?