Square Zero

The Orthodox & Contraception

Posted by Eric (May 11, 2006 at 1:10 am)

The VisitationWhen it comes to me and Eastern Christianity, I’m something like a newlywed: I’m in giddy with love and most sincerely committed, but still have a lot to learn about this mysterious Other. This is especially true when it comes to Eastern theology, particularly on the issue of marriage and the related questions of divorce and contraception.

Fortunately, there are smart guys like Karl Schudt out there to help me along. Karl has just followed through on his promise to post a critique of the Meyendorff book cited by Sam and Bethany Torode in their letter explaining why they no longer oppose contraception (which I have addressed in several recent posts).

Karl addresses Meyendorff’s caricature of St. Augustine’s teaching on marriage and Meyendorff’s response to Humanae Vitae, including some thoughtful remarks on what we mean when we call contraception “unnatural”:

Contraception isn’t wrong because it puts chemicals or rubber in places that are unnatural, it’s wrong because it is contrary to the dignity of the human person. An airplane is not unnatural just because it is made of aluminum and runs on kerosene. Neither is an aspirin, since both are usually used consonant with the dignity of the human person.

Check it out.

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31 Responses to “The Orthodox & Contraception”

  1. Karen says:

    Eric,

    Glory to Jesus Christ!

    I am also a Byzantine Rite Catholic (a “convert” from the Latin rite). We’re an endangered species, so I’m always glad to come across another “byzzie.”

    I am actually considered going Orthodox, and this is really the only issue that’s making me hesitate.

    Many years!

    Comment posted July 5th, 2006 at 10:55 pm
  2. Eric says:

    Karen—Thanks for the comment. I think it’s inevitable that a serious Byzanine Catholic will have to take a look at the Orthodox from time to time and think, “What if . . . ?”

    There is something basically misfitting about Byzantine Catholicism. In a sense our Church(es) ought not to be; but in a much more basic sense, the Schism ought not to be, and God in his wisdom and mercy has brought forth this strange hybrid of Orthodoxy and Catholicism—I believe in order to establish a basis for reunion in the suffering prayers of we Byzantine Catholics. I expanded on this theme in a previous entry.

    But the ambiguity of Orthodox moral theology on contraception is a pretty serious problem, and reveals the even more serious problem that there is no way, ultimately, to say what the Orthodox believe. Their only means of reaching a conclusive consensus on doctrine is to hold a conference, but they cannot do that because they know that the See of Rome would have to be involved.

    The fact that Orthodox teaching has shifted so little over the last 1000 years is a testament to the grace present in the Orthodox Church and the great holiness of so many Orthodox saints. But that it has shifted, at last, on issues like contraception and divorce, and even abortion, reveals the desperate need for a rock—for Peter, the papacy.

    So in my view, you should more than hesitate to turn to Orthodoxy for your spiritual home. It is a beautiful home, but one that is built on sands, however slowly they may be shifting. The only hope for Orthodoxy is communion with Rome. (And vice versa, I would say, but that’s an entirely different issue.)

    Comment posted August 23rd, 2006 at 1:13 pm
  3. Steve says:

    “…reveals the even more serious problem that there is no way, ultimately, to say what the Orthodox believe…Their only means of reaching a conclusive consensus on doctrine is to hold a conference…”

    This is one of the reasons why I am converting to Catholicism as opposed to Eastern Orthodoxy. It just seems that the Orthodox went into a holding pattern around the time of the Great Schism unable or unwilling to speak out on certain issues with one voice.

    Comment posted August 23rd, 2006 at 2:25 pm
  4. Karen says:

    Hi Eric!

    Thanks for your advice, i appreciate it.

    I wouldn’t say that Orthodoxy has changed her position over time, but rather has always been more reluctant to speak out on certain issues, whereas the Catholic Church has positions on EVERYTHING. Most Catholics simply ignore them. 🙁

    Personally, I’m just finding that I can’t reconcile Roman Catholic doctrine with Orthodox worship and theology. I also have a problem with certain things that the Catholic Church teaches (the Filioque, its legalistic concept of salvation, the pope being basically a monarch, and the Immaculate Conception).

    The Catholic Church seems to be the one that has changed its position on stuff over the years, using “doctrinal development” as justification for doing so. No offense, but I think it’s gone off the tracks.

    The Orthodox Church, though it doesn’t unequivocally condemn abc, it does condemn using sex in a “selfish” way– and abc constitutes using sex in a selfish way. As for divorce, what the Orthodox call “divorce” is really “annulment.”

    Not trying to start an argument, but those are my thoughts…

    God bless!

    Comment posted August 23rd, 2006 at 8:38 pm
  5. Nikolia says:

    Eric,

    I came across your blog from a link on generationsforlife.org. As an Orthodox Christian, I’m interested in what you’re writing about us.

    The Orthodox Church, historically, does take a stand on contraception: the answer is “no”. However, the Church offers “oikonomia” or something like an exception with a blessing. If for some reason, and of course that reason is discussed and prayed about with a spiritual father, contraception must be used, a spiritual father can give permission for it to be used. However, like most things in life, this must be discussed with a spiritual father – the problem is that most people don’t bother to do that.

    As for divorce, couples have to go through marriage counseling and obtain an ecclesiastical divorce. If this is not granted, neither partner can receive an Orthodox burial at their death. A remarriage ceremony is very much different from a first marriage in that it talks mostly about repentance – not at all like the celebration of the first marriage.

    It’s possible you already knew all this…but I wanted to mention them anyway. I gather you are Eastern Rite Catholic?

    Comment posted December 7th, 2006 at 1:31 pm
  6. Borislav says:

    I would have to say that the Greek Catholic Church will never serve as a uniting factor between the Orthodox and the Roman Catholic Churches, because we Orthodox perceive the Greek Catholic Church as an open challenge by Rome and as an attempt to Latinise Orthodox Christians.

    Comment posted December 26th, 2006 at 8:09 pm
  7. Borislav says:

    And as for what it is the Orthodox believe?

    I think its stated very clearly in our Symbol of Faith and the Orthodox Churches continual witness to the Kingdom of God through Her UNCHANGING LITURGICAL celebration of the Eucharst.

    Comment posted December 26th, 2006 at 10:14 pm
  8. Very Rev. Fr. Gregori says:

    Eric,
    I must say that I agree with Borislav concerning the Greek Catholic Church.

    Also Nikolia is correct concerning the Orthodox Church’s stand concerning contrception, divorce and remarriage.

    The main body of TRUE Orthodox Churches stand in agreement on all of the main moral issues. Yes, we do have Synodal meetings to decide these matters, but that is because we firmly believe that the CHURCH, not any individual patriarch, metropolitan, bishop or priest, is infalliable, unlike the Patriarch of the West (Pope) who claims that HE is infalliable.

    Also, we do not need the Roman Catholic Church to sit in on our Synods to come to a determination of what we feel about moral issues. We have done very without Rome since the Great Shism.

    I would like to see a reunification someday, but not on Rome’s terms. There must be a give and take from both sides.

    Comment posted December 26th, 2006 at 10:14 pm
  9. Borislav says:

    Sorry for making multiple posts, but I was unable to expand on the subject of the Greek Catholic Church earlier. I just got home.

    I’ll start by saying that I belong to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. Orthodox Christians in the Ukraine have been victimized by the so called Unia since 1596, on the sad day when the so called Treaty of Brest Litovsk was signed. First of all, I have to say that most Orthodox Ukrainians were Against the Uniats, and the treaty was signed by several Hierarchs backed by a small percentage of Ukrainian Nobility. At the time this nobility wanted estates and title in Poland which by the way had invaded Ukraine. The Catholic Poles were ready and willing to give titles to these Pseudo Heirarchs and the traitorous nobility if only they would accept the Superiority of Rome. The Ultimate plan was the complete Latinisation of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and not one Catholic Cardinal who knows anything about this period of time will tell you different. (Of course if He will be telling the truth). So the Uniate Churches were created on a POLITICAL pretext, driven by one sides hunger for Estates and Titles and other sides hunger for Power. The Unia was enforced with the Sword, there were massive repressions against the Orthodox Christians in West Ukraine. Parishes, Monasteries, Holy Icons, and Church Land that were Orthodox for decades were STOLEN!

    Moreover the new Uniate ( Greek Catholic ) Churches in the Ukraine felt the sting of Rome right away. In 1881 a Greek Catholic Magazine called published an article. In it the Greek Catholics of Ukraine were complaining of pressure from Rome to do away with Byzantine Liturgy. Their Roman Catholic “brothers’ were saying that only fruitful form of Prayer was Latin! In other words the Uniate clergy was considered second class. Soon thereafter Roman began to try and enforce celibacy for priests which was a completely foreign thing to Orthodoxy.

    The Greek Catholic Church or the Uniate of Ukraine always existed in Western Ukraine in Lvyv, but in his infinite wisdom the last Catholic Pope decided it was a wonderful idea to move the Uniate Bishop of all Ukraine to Kyiv and give him the title of the Arch Bishop of Ukraine which is completely ridiculous and created the worst rift in recent Orthodox / Roman Catholics relations.

    While I have nothing against the Byzantine Rite Catholics as individuals, I think the Churches history of my country shows that it is IMPOSSIBLE to use the Uniate Churches as a point of reconciliation of West and East.

    Anyway, I am sorry if I sound a little bitter, but I to want the Western and Eastern Church to reconcile and I for one realize that Unia is NOT the way to go.

    Comment posted December 26th, 2006 at 11:21 pm
  10. Very Rev. Fr. Gregori says:

    Borislav, you are so right in your assessment of the situation following the Treaty of Brest Litovsk. There have been many incidents of Rome trying to usurp authority in Orthodox countries and attempting to “Latinize” the East. Could you imagine the harm to Orthodox Tradition if the churches were to be forced to “modernize” along the lines that the Roman churches have done?

    I greatly fear that Rome is trying to do the same thing again in their “negotiations” with the Patriarch of Constantinople. And the Patriarch’s push toward ecumenism and reunification with Rome is leaving a bad taste in my mouth, especially with the situation with some of the monks on Mt. Athos, which the patriarch is attempting to force off their property (if he hasn’t done so already) to replace with pseudo monks of his choosing.

    Comment posted December 29th, 2006 at 9:24 pm
  11. Borislav says:

    Father, I certainly hope that the above does not happen. I have very mixed feelings about some things done by both the Patriarchate of Constantinople but Patriarchate of Moscow. I feel, that our biggest trouble in Orthodoxy seems to be distinguishing Tradition from traditions. In that I mean,

    Tradition as the very thing that makes us Orthodox Christians: Scriptures, 7 Ecumenical Councils, Holy Icons, Sacraments, Monasticism, Liturgical Celebration of Eucharist – which in it not only holds everything about our Lord’s ministry in this world, but a way to actually meet with him in the Kingdom of God at his holy table and partake of his Body and Blood making His sacrifice ours and our sacrifice – small as it may be His.

    I feel, those are things we can not and must not change and if it means never coming back in communion with Rome, so be it.

    But sometimes I feel that Moscow Patriarchate is pushing the traditions tooooo far, making it hard for Orthodoxy to attract new converts and partially this is very very bad. In our Liturgy we have the Prayers for Catechumens for a reason. And it is for a reason they are not taken out even though this office does not exist anymore. A Faith like ours, needs to alway serve as a witness to God, and we can not chase people away with 10000000 rules, like making people fast for 3 days before communion.

    I am a convert to Orthodoxy from Judaism. I was born in the Ukraine and lived there till I was 13 so I was very much exposed to Orthodoxy, although it was under attack from militant atheists. I have fallen in love with the orthodox church! Nowhere do I feel like I feel standing in the altar and serving at liturgy. I know my contribution is unworthy and minuscule, but everyone does what He can. I am sorry if I am out of line in saying some of the above….. But again, I love our Mother Church very much.

    Sure Communion with Rome would be great, and in this dark time that we live in, while the threat of Islam hangs above our heads like the “Prophet” Mohameds sword ( WHAT PROPHET WOULD CARRY A SWORD ANYWAY? ) a unified strong Catholic and Apostolic Church would be great. But this unification can not happen on the terms of Rome. To me Roman Catholicism is the first form of Protestantism. They fell away from the mother Church and it is Rome that needs to take the first steps forward towards Reunion. At the same time some anti-intellectual things that go on In Russia, and the strong NATIONALISM which like Father Shmemann said in his great book on the Eucharist is a UNITY FROM BELOW from the prince of THIS world……. Nationalism has no place in the Body of Christ and Moscow is guilty of it on many occasions. I guess I stand somewhere in the middle from Moscow and Constantinople.

    Our Ukrainian Church of America has the right idea about a balance between being flexible in traditions while never breaking TRADITION!

    http://www.uocofusa.org/index.shtml

    Glory to Jesus Christ

    Happy New Year

    Merry Be-lated Christmas to those who celebrate it on the 25th Of December.

    And Merry Christmas to those waiting for Jan 7th like myself.

    🙂

    Comment posted December 30th, 2006 at 9:47 pm
  12. Very Rev. Fr. Gregori says:

    Borislav,
    Bless you my friend. Please don’t ever feel that your serving at the at the Divine Liturgy is an unworthy and minuscule thing. What ever “little” thing one does at their church, even if it is only replacing candles is a “Big” thing to the Lord.

    You are right about the Russian Patriarchate being way too traditional and nationalistic, but sad to say some of the other Orthodox Churches can be very nationalistic as well, the Orthodox in Lebanon are a good example. This is a problem that we Orthodox must learn to solve.

    For a convert to Orthodoxy you have a very good grasp of the history and state of the Church. Yes, Rome is the “first form of Protestantism”. Rome is in Schism from the One True Church and each of the various Protestant sects and denominations are in Schism from Rome.

    I am glad that you read Father Shmemann’s writtings. He was a very wise and holy man. I had the pleasure of meeting him on two separate occasions before his death.

    God bless you and may you have very Merry, blessed and Christ filled Christmas and New Year.

    P.S.
    If you ever wish to email me, you can do so at:
    abouna@apostle1.com

    Comment posted December 31st, 2006 at 1:50 am
  13. Frank says:

    I am a catholic in the Maronite rite. I am dismayed by the obvious dislike and distaste for the Catholic church I find here. Karen states that she is thinking of “going Orthodox”. Kind of like “going for a hot dog”.

    It seems to me that scripture and the earlier councils support the Papacy. Yes, the Catholic church has spoken out. Against Nestorianism, Monophystcism (sp?) and all the other heresies and has come down on the right side. We have one leader, the Pope. Just as a nation has a president or prime minister. It is hard for me to believe that the position of Peter, the rock, is supposed to be only a “first among equals”. It makes no sense that Christ would not want a head for His Church.

    Yes, there are differences. The filioque it seems to me is a correct interpretation as Jesus did say:

    (John 16:7-15 NKJV) “Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. {8} “And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: {9} “of sin, because they do not believe in Me; {10} “of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; {11} “of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged. {12} “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. {13} “However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. {14} “He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. {15} “All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you.

    However, the schizm is more, in my opinion, a political than a religious one. The Catholic church has shown it’s ability to have ecuminism. The Eastern Catholic churches are encouraged to continue in their traditions. The Eastern Catholic patriarchs, in keeping with “Thy Will be done” , have accepted Papal authority as they continue to be the rocks of their respective churches.

    A ship needs a captain, not multiple first officers. The Orthodox are fearful of being small fish in a big pond. They needn’t be. With reunification their customs and liturgies would not change, but we all would be the richer. It is, in my opinion and respectfully, a stubornness on their part. Yes, there were wrongs on both sides. Pope JPII apologized for these. It was not the proper time for reunification before since the Orthodox would have had to be concenred about Latinization. This is no longer the case and it is time now to re-unify with the Pope as the head (captain, not monarch), a vibrant Patriarchate and Biscopate, and with the Pope and Bishops as the authorities.

    Comment posted June 11th, 2007 at 3:56 pm
  14. Daren says:

    I have many Orthodox friends. I myself am a byzantine Catholic. I too have considered leaving the Rock of Peter. The Orthodox priests and laypeople that I have come across in the past have been very good at trying to explain why the Orthodox Church is justified in it’s schism from Rome, and why it teaches doctrines contrary to Catholic faith on issues such as divorce, and Petrine Primacy. The reason that Idid not convert,however, is because I wasn’t willing to risk my eternal salvation by leaving Rome relying soley what I thought “sounded right” to me. The true faith is the faith of the apostles and early fathers of the Church ,which the Catholic Church has preserved spotless throughout the centuries.

    The Orthodox couldn’t explain to me howthe “Keys to the Kingdom of Heaven” which were given to Peter ALONE could have been transferred to all of the other apostles equally as well. I don’t bUy the weak argument that they make based upon Mathew 18:18 in which “binding and loosing’ was supposed to mean the same thing as the Keys given to Peter. They can cite no Church fathers that taught that. Also, they never were able to adaquetly justify why the permit divorcees to remarry (even as much as two times!)even though the almost universal testimony of the early fathers of the Church was that divorcees could not remarry without sinning.

    To all of the Byzantine Catholics reading this, You are the authentic Eastern Church of the apostles! Latin theology and eastern theology are two ways of explaining the same thing. Take one type of theology out of the equation and it spoils everything up. Be proud of your own heritage as well as the west’s. Don’t be conned by Orthodox anti-westernism. Hold fast to your faith, be ready to give up your lives for it as did the Holy Ruthenian Martyrs did during the era of Soviet persecution. The Episcopal Martyrs Theodore Romzha, Basil Hopko, and Paul Gojdich gave up their freedom and lives rather than betray the Catholic faith.

    Slava Isusu Christu!

    O Holy Martyr St. Josaphat, interced for the conversion of the Schismatics!

    Comment posted June 13th, 2007 at 3:48 pm
  15. David says:

    Dear all,

    I am an Orthodox Christian. There are a few beliefs stated in this blog which trouble me.

    First is the belief that the Roman Catholic Church has remained the same. A simple examination of the doctrine of Papal infallibility, the Immaculate Conception of Mary, Vatican II changes etc prove that the Roman Catholic Church is some sort of unchanging rock.

    Secondly, this belief that the Pope of Rome is the universal head of the Church is flawed on many levels.
    1) Firstly, in the new testament era, St Peter was in no way some sort of Vicar over the Church. At the First Council of Jerusalem St Bishop James presided over the council. The council actually showed authority over Peter and his personal belief.
    2) Secondly, St Peter was Bishop of Antioch (before St Ignatius) before he went to Rome. Should the Antiochian Orthodox Patriarch hold the Apostolic seat of Peter? This would be a valid argument, but the Orthodox Church follows the Tradition of the Church and the Bible.
    3) At Ecumenical Councils sometimes Popes were present, but it was just like in the Orthodox Church today: Patriarchs and other leaders have a position of honor, but everyone places one vote.
    4) The Ecumenical Councils confirmed that the Pope is not the sole supreme leader over the Church. I think the Third (or maybe Fourth) Ecumenical Council is clear on this teaching.
    5) The danger of having one man lording over the Church has been shown in history. The amount of damage done by various Popes is extreme. The Orthodox Church does not have the same history of Witch hunts, Crusades, Papal nepotism as in the Roman Catholic Church.

    If the Orthodox are stubbornly holding to the Truth than God bless them all. It is not a matter of Orthodox submitting (Christ did not teach submit, submit, submit like in Islam), but of power. The Pope needs to have more humility and preside over his diocese not the whole Church. Clement of Rome (I think) said that the Church is were the faithful are gathered around their Bishop, not the Pope.

    Furthermore, if the filioque is a correct doctrine. Why was it not introduced during the Ecumenical Councils which formed the Creed and forbade it to be changed? Why did the Popes originally declare it as a heresy arising out of Spain? Jesus Christ said he will send the Holy Spirit who proceeds from the Father. Why didn’t he say and the Son if he wanted us to believe this?

    Also, the Catholic teaching on contraception and divorce is not really so pure. How can the Church annul a marriage? Bless a marriage and then annull it? Do children born in an annulled marriage then become born out of wedlock? Christ said that divorce is okay in the case of adultery. The Orthodox Church in no way promotes divorce, but has complicated means of re-marrying in extreme cases (like adultery, physical abuse, unrepentant adultery of the heart) out of love and oikonomia for Her faithful. At least the Orthodox Church does not proclaim a marriage invalid. Should these people then repent of fornicating with their annulled husband?

    Also the problem of contraception. The Orthodox Church has a very clear and traditional stance on contraception: no. But some things are allowed in special cases. I have met some Catholics who fell pregnant fornicating because they won’t use contraception, but almost all Catholics who I know just laugh at this doctrine. Just as some modern Orthodox (primarily in the States – an unOrthodox place) allow contraception, a huge number of Catholics also support the practice.

    There is simply too much evidence against the claims of the Catholic Church to be the pillar of truth. I love my Catholic family, but I love the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.

    Priestly celibacy, Papal infallibility, supremacy of the Pope, a simplified mass, the abandonment of traditional fasting, changing monasticism (in Australia very few nuns would ever be seen in habit), rock music in youth masses, and many other aspects of the modern Catholic Church prove that it has not remained unchanged. The Orthodox Church is the pillar of truth.

    Sorry about bad spelling.
    Soon we can joyfully say Hristos se Rodi!

    The simple servant of Christ,
    David

    Comment posted December 4th, 2007 at 9:51 pm
  16. jogomu says:

    David,

    Some things to consider:

    Chrysostom said of Peter that: he was entrusted with the whole people of God, he was entrusted with the Church as the pillar of the churches and the harbor of faith, and that he was the teacher of the world.

    Faith is not possible as long as there is not active Orthodox unity, because faith is exercised towards God through His oracle, not just towards what has been said. True enough it is now interpretation instead of revelation, but a person who will not submit to a single identifiable communion in advance on matters yet unknown doesn’t have the kind of faith that the first Christians exercised towards the Apostles. The Orthodox communion is not now identifiable (in my country I would choose between several overlapping churches in one area who will not share communion with each other) and is not now actively engaging the world’s new situations.

    You are aware, I’m sure, that the filioque was not the first expansion of the Creed. Why did it change between Nicea and Constantinople? Interestingly, it was also a change regarding the Spirit. Nazienzen says in his fifth theological oration on the Holy Spirit that the Church receives new depths of understanding even on this side of the single deposit of faith.

    The Gospel says that any scribe trained for the Kingdom brings out of his treasure both what is old and what is new. When we fail to heed this we end up with traditionalism or traditions of men. There are traditions of men in the Catholic Church, certainly, but these are not dogmatized. There is traditionalism in the Catholic Church, certainly, but this is self imposed by those of her children. The Church herself is calling us to “test everything, hold on to what is good.” I agree with you that the Byzantine liturgy is something to hold on to, which is why I am Romanian Catholic. But, I also accept teachings like Salvifici Doloris because they are so obviously good and tried and true. Historically, the pivot of this balance between old and new has been the successor of the office of the Davidic Prime Minister… the Pope (cf Is 22).

    Comment posted February 10th, 2008 at 6:26 pm
  17. David says:

    Dear Jogomu and all,
    Hristos Anesti! Al-masih qam! Hristos Vakrese!
    Thankyou for your reply.

    In reference to the creed, yes it was expanded in Constantinople, but this was in deffence of a serious heresy. After this expansion it was forbidden for the creed to be changed by more than one council. The truth is that when the filioque was introduce the Popes themselves opposed the local change in Spain. After this the heresy spread until eventually the Catholic Church disobeyed the Ecumenicl Councils and changed the creed, in other words changed the statement of faith.

    In regards to juristiction, I too live in an area where there are many Catholic juristictions (Roman Catholic, Maronite, Melkite etc) each with its own Bishop and diocese. Furthermore there are schismtic Catholic Churches which do not commune with ‘New Order’ Catholics and one family even told me that they thought Pope John Paul II was the antichrist. Evidently the Catholic Church faces the same problems as the Orthodox Church and your comment on the Orthodox Church prehaps needs reconsidering (unless I would be able to criticize the Catholic Church for the same reasons). Even in regards to Antioch there is the Melkite, Maronite and Syrian Catholic Churches claiming the Apostolic Throne.

    The Orthodox Churches recognise eachother’s Orthodoxy and they publish lists of Canonical Orthodox Churches (Greek, Russian, Serbian, of Antioch, of Constantinople, of Alexandria, of Cyprus, of Mt Sinai etc). Look into the teachings of the Orthodox Church, look to the writings in the Philokalia, look into the lives of Orthodox Saints, look into our beautiful theology not for external Church organisations.

    The Lord has shown me through many miracles that His Church is the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, the Orthodox Church and my faith given to me by God himslef cannot be changed.

    In regards to Peter, of course he was the early leader of the Christin community, but very early Paul played an important role (some even argued over who was better). In the end, authority rested in the councils. Us Orthodox Christians (who are not part of a schism group – all faiths have this problem) DO submit to a single identifiable union, Jesus Christ and His Church. On the other hand the Catholic Church does not submit to a single identifiable union, but to one man. Not to cause offence, but this one man is fallible and has led the Catholic Church away from the identifiable union in the past. Papal Infallability, the Immaculate Conception, the filioque are all results of Catholics not following the example of the Apostles, but rather dissobeying the Ecumenicl Councils themselves by obeying one man.

    In regards to you comment that the Orthodox Church is innactive. I cannot image where this has come from. The Patriarch of Constantinople has been named the Green Patriarch because of his environmental work. Ormylia is also active here. Recently 31 Parishes in Southeast Asia joined the Antiochian Church from a Catholic or Evangelical background. The Romanian Church is expanding rapidly, the Russian Church is recovering from Communism, the Serbian and Russian Churches have healed schisms. There are missions in Albania, Africa, Europe, Asia, Middle East. There is the growing Orthodox Youth Movement of Antioch. There is the Orthodox Mission Centre… the list goes on. The Lord is building His Church. The Church is NOT asleep.
    I have been to Greek Orthodox, Russian Orthodox, Serbian Orthodox and Antiochian Orthodox Churches and monasteries both in Australia and overseas, and I promise you that beyond doubt I have seen one faith more unified than in the many Catholic Churches I have been to. In Australia and Serbia I have seen Churches, the Catholic ones different in practice and faith (not externals but the spirit of the faith, the essence of the faith), however I experienced Orthodoxy in all the Churches I have been to.

    The Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ called me miraculously to the Orthodox Church and now He is calling you. Recieve the invitation and start a spiritual journey, free of guilt, towards Theosis, union with God. The invitation is here, the Lord awaits your answer. He is knocking at the door.

    Please reconsider this invitation.
    I pray that nothing I have said has been taken to offence, I simply desire to speek the truth. How can I keep quiet about what the Lord has told me? If I keep quiet even the rocks will shout out.

    Hristos Anesti! Al-masih qam! Hristos Vaskrese!

    In Christ’s love,
    David.

    Comment posted April 28th, 2008 at 8:35 am
  18. Mary Christ Reborn says:

    I am on here to explain why you are seeing statues of me/Mary crying. I am an omen. God speaks to me, I speak to Him also.
    No one is being 100 percent CHRISTIAN or GODLY at times.
    NO ONE and yet people talk talk talk about who is going to Heaven and who got there and all that nonsense. If I told you that ALL the churches are quilty right now of SIN, you had best believe it. I am Mary sent back by God and this is true.
    I went through unspeakable horrors being back again. I am an omen of what times are like after we rejected the son of God.
    He warned us. The signs are in. Jesus in a cloud photo. OH yeah, but more than that, I was to be literally born again to see and witness with my own eyes and ears the crimes that are against God and myself. I sang the song, Let Peace Begin With me and many many others that made people famous. I have lost count now. One Day At A Time too. The crimes against me are so many. You say pray for you sinners? You don’t care about me. So watch out.

    Comment posted May 30th, 2008 at 1:48 pm
  19. Mary Christ Reborn says:

    People have taken from me all I could give and then some. I am reincarnated and because of the abuse I took, I am frail now.
    Evil thrives in America, don’t kid yourselves. The devil is known for pouncing, not fleeing and people here prey upon others, not pray. I really feel badly for you all when statues cry because you are watching me how I feel inside by all the evil I have experienced being born again literally. Shame, shame, shame.

    Comment posted May 30th, 2008 at 1:50 pm
  20. Mary Christ Reborn says:

    I am called the Rainbow Queen. People saw a rainbow huge as a highway in Wilkes Barre, Pa. I had just said to God, “I haven’t seen a rainbow in so long.” Right then, a huge one appeared like a highway…not an arch. It stopped traffic. If you think I am kidding on here, think again. The matter is much to serious to kid about. I sware to you, I am the Mary that I said I am at my birth. I gave no middle name and no last name but if I had a choice, it would be Mary Christ. Miracles still happen around me when I pray.

    Comment posted May 30th, 2008 at 1:53 pm
  21. Mary Christ Reborn says:

    M 13 means this to believers. M is the 13 th letter in the alphabet. When the pope was dying, I prayed, put in a good word for me and I will pray for your soul. He put M on his casket. The ones of God know each other. There are angels among you and you know it not. That is in the Bible. I know that Bible. I am in it. I am prophecy. So when the world is astounded by a cake not baking in a preheated oven in normal time and comes out exactly the way it went in when I said it would not bake…you had better think about how this woman feels about being taken advantage of, lied to, and about.

    Comment posted May 30th, 2008 at 1:56 pm
  22. Mary Christ Reborn says:

    I am on fire for God ONLY> I do not pray to the devil. I have had extremes none of you could scarcely imagine to live through. God does not like lukewarm people you know so here it goes and watch out…I am hot hot hot. I have watched this world lie about being saved long enough. I want change and I want it now. I cannot live in this wicked world the way it is.

    Comment posted May 30th, 2008 at 1:58 pm
  23. Mary Christ Reborn says:

    If I have to take my affairs on the Jerry Springer show, this world will be bowing down and kissing my feet.

    Comment posted May 30th, 2008 at 1:59 pm
  24. Mary Christ Reborn says:

    Ever seen the statue of me stepping on a snake? Ever wonder why the statues are crying? The world has gone bonkers is why. The hate, the evil, the games, the crap…I am sick of it.
    Fight, fight, fight…North/ South…straight/lesbian/homos…
    rich/poor….is there a God/ or not? I am so damned sick of watching your stupidity, I could just scream.

    Comment posted May 30th, 2008 at 2:00 pm
  25. Mary Christ Reborn says:

    I miss Jesus.

    Comment posted May 30th, 2008 at 2:01 pm
  26. Mary Christ Reborn says:

    It is written that you will say Jesus is here in your churches but beware! He is not there. Yet I can say God is here with me and ask for a sign and get it. You don’t know who you are messing with. MAMMA IS MAD. Beware of an angry woman.

    Comment posted May 30th, 2008 at 2:02 pm
  27. Mary Christ Reborn says:

    At three years old, I told a Baptist Tampa preacher that I am Mary sent back by God. He went into prayer and God told him she can prove it! Her color is blue and Joseph’s is yellow.
    So I proved it many times over in front of many types of people and even asked God to prepare you for this news.
    The blue apparition, the signs, the wonders…always point to God. I have my own collection of photos. I am not a fake.
    No one, I repeat no one, is me. I am not pretending to be back. God is not pretending to avenge the enemy either. I have warned you about chastisement. You were shown signs.
    My family was shown many signs that God put me in this second time around. How many signs do you need but one!
    Jesus! I went around knocking on doors at 2 years old, do you know who Jesus is? I am not evil, I am his beloved Mary sent back and that is my face in the cheese sandwich miracle.

    Comment posted May 30th, 2008 at 2:06 pm
  28. Mary Christ Reborn says:

    I pray and I pray and I pray and you all keep talking about nonsensical stuff. I have even asked God to light up a room bright blue in front of Bryan Austin of Montrose, Pa. Find him.
    Ask him, I am highly intelligent and I am not here to die.
    I tried to help you and some of you did not want my help.

    Comment posted May 30th, 2008 at 2:08 pm
  29. BothLungs says:

    I am a Ukrainian Catholic, I had a Ukrainian Catholic father with a Roman Catholic mother. I have attended both churches and still do. My wife is Greek Orthodox. I received a dispensation to marry her in a Roman Catholic Church. Thankfully, the Roman & Ukrainian Catholic Church allow her to receive the Sacraments. My children are Ukrainian Catholic. Like me they are becoming familiar with both the Divine Liturgy in Ukrainian and English and the Catholic Mass in English and we are learning Christian Latin together. This experience has been very unifying. Especially in a world that just loves to nit-pick. After reading this blog, I have decided, that I will never again consider becoming orthodox. That I am unqualified to make such a decision. The schism is a sin that falls on the bishops and not on the laity to solve.

    Furthermore, I have always been stunned by the paranoia of orthodox laity and clergy alike in regards to Roman Catholics. The Schism occurred nearly a thousand years ago, but to the orthodox it is like it just happened. Believe me, this is not something that devout Roman Catholic laity or clergy ever ever talk about (except with the orthodox). Beyond the sacraments and weekly church attendance, they are more concerned about issues of life and death like abortion, caring for the poor, fighting immorality in today’s mainstream culture, the impending destruction the traditional family. While the orthodox want to insist there is some great chasm between us & them. The fact is that laity can’t plumb the distinctions except by relying on an authority: either orthodox or catholic experts. So if you clergy out there really want to reunite the church it is up to YOU, not us, the laity. You are the leaders, so lead. However, don’t you dare look to us laity to fight your battles, we can’t keep up with the claims and counter claims. We have just enough time to rouse our children out of bed, get them dressed and out the door for church/school, feed them and take care of their other daily needs by working before getting them up the next day and starting it all over again. Believe no one is ever going to ask one of the laity on either side to show up at a synod of reconciliation between east & west to vote on anything. So you do it for us. OK.

    Comment posted December 17th, 2008 at 9:07 pm
  30. Kate says:

    I have read with interest the postings on this blog. They have clarified things in my mind. I was a disgruntled traditional Catholic that had become a sedevacantist, believing that the See of Peter was vacant due to heresy. For many years I attended the Latin Mass, exclusively, at private chapels. I eventually came back through the diocesan indult Latin Mass and finally, back to the New Mass.

    One day I attended a Ukrainian Catholic Liturgy and I have not looked back. I was instantly captivated by the Divine Liturgy. I find it more edifying than the Latin Mass. I now attend this church exclusively.

    In my quest for knowledge about Byzantine Spirituality, I ended up reading a lot of Orthodox sources and I had begun to believe that I needed to convert. I have been attending Orthodox classes and Vespers while maintaining my attendance at the Ukrainian Catholic Church.

    I have been praying hard for discernment. I had become almost completely convinced that I needed to become Orthodox, that the Catholic Church had come up with many innovations and that the Orthodox Church alone had remained faithful to the Traditions. This was an emotionally jolting experience for me and I have been in a state of cognitive and spiritual flux for some time now.

    When I first learned that the Orthodox Church accepted artificial contraception and divorce and remarriage, I stuffed the issues to the back of my mind. I guess I was busy rethinking the dogmatic issues regarding the Immaculate Conception, Purgatory, Papal Infallibility, etc. One day in the class with the Orthodox priest the issue of societal ills came up. It seemed the Orthodox position was to mind one’s own business, and not despair, but have hope that things would get better. Having studied the Catholic teachings on social justice over the years, this hands off attitude seemed inadequate to me.

    I have been involved in pro-life work for years and I could not get passed the idea that it is the Catholics that have been on the forefront of the battle for life, a battle that is very, very important, in my opinion. I began to wonder how it could be that a “rotten” Church could produce such “good” fruit.

    Recently, in a discussion in Orthodox class about Tradition and Scripture, I asked how the divorce and remarriage issue squared with Tradition in the Orthodox Church. The answer I got was not reassuring.

    I began to research the issue of both divorce and remarriage and contraception in the Orthodox Church. It does not square with Tradition. It is definitely a “new” teaching, though it is hard to know when it become acceptable.

    I reread Humanae Vitae. The social ills the Pope predicted would accompany the acceptance of contraception has occurred. I believe the acceptance of contraception is directly linked to abortion and divorce and the ultimate demise of the family. I believe in no small way it has contributed to the collapse of Western civilization that we are witnessing.

    So, I asked myself: What is more critical to Christian civilization and the salvation of souls, a correct understanding of the marriage bond and sexuality, or the Immaculate Conception and the proceeding of the Holy Spirit?

    I have halted my conversion to Orthodoxy and turned back to Rome in response to this question.

    I am grateful for the discussion on this forum for helping me clarify things!

    Comment posted August 2nd, 2013 at 2:42 pm
  31. Eric says:

    Dear Kate,

    Thanks for your kind words about this discussion. I’m grateful that you found it helpful.

    I can sympathize with feeling drawn to Orthodoxy. But for me, too, Catholic teaching on contraception stands out as a hallmark of the Apostolic faith.

    — Eric

    Comment posted November 5th, 2013 at 3:04 pm
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