Comments Posted By Fr. Hans Jacobse
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Finally you define your construct “as it was in the beginning” and it appears that you add something to Chrysostom’s explanation that he does not say, ie: male and female are not a part of human ontology. I say appears because your arguments imply as much when you conclude that natural law has no bearing on your construction. Genesis however, defines the human being as male and female before the fall so your conclusion that natural law has no bearing, or to phrase it another way, the created bodies of male and female have no bearing on how we comprehend sexuality after the fall, is simply wrong. Orthodox anthropology affirms this point, BTW.
To say there was no “heterosexuality” in the beginning subsumes the term into the basket of “orientations.” It is true that sexuality as we understand it was not part of life in the garden. It is not true the male and female is a construct that appeared post-fall. Consequently “heterosexualty” ought to be defined not as an “orientation,” that is, a passion, since heterosexual relations are in accord with nature while the the other passions are not. From another direction, the unnaturalness of a passion is an important part of defining them as such.
The “plastic construct” you mentioned actually applies to anthropology and affirms a point I made earlier here: you hold to a plastic anthropology. Anthropology is plasticized when the passions are essentialized, that is, seen intrinsic to the human being and thus part of ontology. Your reduction of heterosexuality to a passion (which arises out of your negation of male and female as ontology) affirms it.
In Orthodox anthropology “heterosexuality” as an orientation does not exist. Relations between a man and woman conform to nature — natural law (although of course the definition of what constitutes the proper relationship between a man and woman requires more insight than what natural law alone provides). Any other kind of “orientation” violates that law.
If you want to use the term “orientation” as a diagnostic category then you should only apply it in a therapeutic context. That would work as long as the limits of psychology are recognized. You use the term in a theological context all the time however — even proof-texting Chrysostom above to make a point wholly unrelated to what he says. This is one reason why your arguments are muddled.
Lest you doubt that male and female relate to ontology, don’t forget we venerate the Theotokos as Mother. She will remain a Mother even when all things are restored as they once were in Eden.
» Posted By Fr. Hans Jacobse On September 21, 2016 @ 4:26 pm
Monk James wrote:
I merely suggested that Fr Hans is right and I was referring only to attempts to create a moral justification of homosexual behavior when I wrote: ‘The notion of ‘innate sexual orientation’ is based on a mechanistic view of human nature which has never been proved and is impossible to reconcile with orthodox christian theological anthropology.’
This is the problem I’ve pointed out again and again about Michael Stankovich’s approach to homosexuality. He uses the term “heterosexual orientation” and “homosexual orientation” interchangeably. This implies a materialist anthropology where the passions have become essentialized and viewed as a intrinsic to the human being, that is, passions are now grounded in ontology. This is not Orthodox Christian anthropology, although the dominant culture has already made this shift.
I’ve also pointed out to Stankovich that all passions effect an ‘orientation’ – just talk to the alcoholic, porn addict, or drug abuser. I’ve also asked him if homosexual desire is given the appellation “orientation,” then why not the pederast, pedophile, or bestialist?
From the other direction, hetrosexual desire is not an “orientation.” It is grounded in being as affirmed by natural law and Orthodox anthropology.
The problem is that whenever questions like this are raised, you are met with another recitation of the resume, general bullying, and a host of other distractions.
» Posted By Fr. Hans Jacobse On September 20, 2016 @ 11:37 am
I refused to print a response because you tend to view psychological categories as biologically fixed. It’s a kind of scienticism that assumes that if any psychological category has data that explains it, and if the data is collected and collated in a responsible manner, then the data functions as prima facie evidence that the category is grounded in ontology.
In fact the assumption is epistemological. And, if the assumption is taken as self-evidently true, then ontology is derived from the epistemology. I’ve said on many occasions that your ontology is flawed and I still hold to it.
An example would be your inability to reconcile homosexual desire as a passion with you usage of the term “homosexual orientation” which you see as a fixed ontological category. Orthodox anthropology does not see it that way. Another example is you continual juxtaposition of the terms “homosexual orientation” and “heterosexual orientation” as if both are anthropologically equivalent. They aren’t. It’s is a false dichotomy. In fact, heterosexuality should not even be classified as an “orientation.”
» Posted By Fr. Hans Jacobse On September 16, 2016 @ 6:18 pm
Nope. I cancelled a wedding once right before it started. Never had any flack about it either because it was the right decision and everyone knew it except the parents. (The betrothed couple was relieved.)
Even so, how could you possibly know that:
Every single Sunday across this country in some Orthodox church, in every jurisdiction, some Orthodox priest is marrying a couple he knows will not not be married in two years tops, yet he will not take a stand against it. Why? Because what bishop, in what diocese, in what jurisdiction will support such a stand? None, nowhere.
You don’t know because it is simply not true.
Everyone gets married for different reasons but after three or four years you learn that staying married takes a discipline that has to be learned and it applies across the board. The reasons matter but the intention and commitment matter more.
» Posted By Fr. Hans Jacobse On September 13, 2016 @ 9:51 am
Check this out: Exposing the Left’s Dogmatism on Sexual Orientation and Gender
» Posted By Fr. Hans Jacobse On August 31, 2016 @ 9:02 am
The best critique of Ayn Rand was written by Whittaker Chambers:
Also do some research on her personal life. Not pretty. Alan Greenspan was in her inner circle.
» Posted By Fr. Hans Jacobse On July 16, 2016 @ 11:34 pm
Peter, the priests (the smart ones anyway) do this: When Fr. Pat speaks, we listen.
» Posted By Fr. Hans Jacobse On July 15, 2016 @ 10:41 am
I’ve thought that perhaps the waters (metaphorical for chaos) might the state of the universe after the great rebellion by Lucifer and his followers.
I don’t think we can call it “potential energy” because potential doesn’t exist apart from being. What came first, the being or potential? The being did. We can’t say God is the being in who the potential resides either because that would collapse the ontological distance between God and creation. Also the ordering of the creation is a function of logoi that came into existence by the speech (the language) of the Logos at the moment those words were spoken. The Logos was the agent of ordering, the logoi the means by which the ordering took shape. This too preserves the ontological ordering since creation is brought into being using language and thereby passing any notion of birth like the pagans employed.
» Posted By Fr. Hans Jacobse On May 24, 2016 @ 11:09 am
I’ve been reading Florensky’s “At the Crossroads of Science & Mysticism: On the Cultural-Historical Place and Premises of the Christian World-Understanding,” which is really unedited notes from lectures he gave. His take on evolution and change is interesting, particularly his assertion that progress occurs only in radical discontinuity.
On gene editing. That fact the genome can be edited at all tells me that language, not physics and chemistry, may be the ground of epistemology. If correct, then the Darwinian hypothesis is the wrong creation narrative given its dependence on philosophical materialism.
» Posted By Fr. Hans Jacobse On May 24, 2016 @ 10:59 am
The authors, in their typical Orwellian manner, are trying to remove the limits nature places on marriage in order to redefine marriage into something other than the union of male and female.
The essay is a conceptual mess that begins in the first paragraph. Natural law (it takes one male and one female to create a child) is dismissed as “ideology” (their term) while that which replaces it (once natural law is overthrown) is termed “theology.”
From there the authors argue that,
Unlike a static understanding of natural law, the bond of grace removes marriage from being solely bound to biological pro-creation (sec. I, par.5). Consequently, the bond of grace can lead marital love to extend beyond its own physical intimacy and embrace a child or children in the act of adoption
The authors are rebelling against nature’s limitation. A male-male or female-female coupling is naturally sterile. Two lesbians or two gays cannot produce offspring. Even if they contrive to create children through surrogates, the child these couplings produce can never possess the genetic code of both parents. Nature prohibits it.
This is the crux of the essay. Everything else is just language manipulation; an attempt to rework the language of the tradition to make it appear that the tradition says things it does not say.
Don’t be flummoxed by the language. At best it functions as window dressing, as an attempt to confer an authority where none really exists, and at worst it is meant to deceive. Anyone who works with the language of the moral tradition — who understands that words really mean things, who sees that language is a means through which God communicates with man, who rejects the iconoclastic rejection of this potential for divine meaning as these authors do — will see through it.
What needs to be remembered is this: entering into same-sex relationships of the kind the authors champion brings great confusion to the soul. It can even destroy the soul. That confusion is evident in the essay.
» Posted By Fr. Hans Jacobse On May 17, 2016 @ 8:58 am
George, I can’t speak to the debate about Abp. Demetri’s presumptive Sainthood but I do recall a story about him that impressed me.
A man who was in my GOYA group many years ago married and moved to Dallas. After his parents died he went to the Dallas Cathedral to ask for a Memorial. He told me that a Bishop answered the door and they went right into the Church and did the memorial right then. I thought he was mistaken about it being a bishop. “Bishops don’t do that,” I said. “It must have been a priest.”
He was insistent it was a bishop but I went on believing he was mistaken. I had no idea who Abp. Demetri was. I was in the GOA and that was my world for the longest time.
Years later when I heard other stories about Abp. Demetri, and after I met him (the only time) and heard him preach (brilliant sermon BTW), I decided that my friend was probably correct and I was wrong.
» Posted By Fr. Hans Jacobse On March 6, 2016 @ 8:22 pm
No, you forfeited the right to determine what must be clarified when you proof-texted the Fathers within an anthropological framework you refused to clarify. The Fathers don’t belong to you. They are not to be used in any context without the willingness to examination or explain the assumptions that determine the context in which they are used. Since you are unwilling to discuss your assumptions so your claim that only you are allowed to determine what must be clarified is drained of any authority.
The tradition is clear: same-sex attraction is a passion. The anthropological shift is also clear: passions are to be essentialized leading to a plasticized anthropology. It is evident that some quarters of Orthodoxy promote the new anthropology: Lenova, McDowell, Arida, and others. One does not need to prove the received tradition to its detractors. One only needs to point out where they are in error and, if necessary, explain why they are.
It should not be necessary to point out to you why the new anthropology is in error. It’s curious though when asked to clarify where you stand on the new anthropology you go mute.
» Posted By Fr. Hans Jacobse On March 17, 2016 @ 9:51 pm
The point is not “‘essentializing’ SSA as an identity.” The point is essentializing a passion. The passion could be anything, not just same-sex attraction. Once the passions are seen as essential to being, as a defining constituent of human personhood, then the passions become the ground of self-identity and anthropology is plasticized (malleable). You make man what you will; you are what you feel.
Further, the proper understanding of Orthodox anthropology is not a “distracting point.” Rather, it’s the one point you must clarify. Lenova, McDowell and their fellow travelers (relevant only because they identify as Orthodox) understand the received tradition but militate against it. Your writing is muddled because you never deal with this point with any clarity.
Maybe you don’t understand it.
» Posted By Fr. Hans Jacobse On March 17, 2016 @ 6:57 am
Michael, your response contains a multitude of words with plenty of references from this and that authority as well as some Greek thrown in for good measure but the devil, as they say, is in the details. Here’s the rub:
This is significant because the manifestations of His humanity – his biological/genetic, psychological, environmental/social, and moral/spiritual dimensions – are essential to our understanding of our humanity reflected in Him, a humanity, as Met. Anthony (Bloom) noted, we no longer recognized.
There are two assumptions in your responses that never sit right with me mostly because they are asserted but never defended except in the most abstract ways I have already pointed out (proof-texting and so forth):
First, biology and by extension psychology are the authoritative ground by which we understand the human person (the scoldings are illustrative here because you tend to shout down anyone who challenges this assertion).
Second, which is a corollary of the first, you tend to essentialize what otherwise has been traditionally understood as a passion in Orthodox anthropology. Specifically you seem to argue that same-sex attraction is intrinsic to human personhood. I say “seem” because whenever this point is broached the scoldings, the proof-texting and the copy and pasting of Greek start all over again and we never get a clear answer. It is true of course that all desire has bio-chemical manifestations. It is not true however, that one must be a biologist or psychologist to speak on same-sex desire, or any other desire for that matter.
Most important however is that same-sex desire should never be essentialized; seen as a foundational constituent of human personhood and thus self-identity. Same-sex desire is being essentialized in different quarters of Orthodoxy today (Inga Lenova, Maria McDowell and other activists for homosexualism subscribe to it, even some of the Fordham group believe the fallen world is the world as it was created). Essentializing passions is not Orthodoxy. It leads to a plastic anthropology which will one day, if it continues in Orthodox circles, constitute a new heresy.
From my perspective you either don’t comprehend this point or you agree with it. The scoldings, the endless proof-texting, the mocking of those who don’t agree with you seems calculated to avoid this very point that I raise. Maybe the failure is mine. Could you clarify it for us?
» Posted By Fr. Hans Jacobse On March 15, 2016 @ 8:12 am
Again, overlooking the insults and self-aggrandizement…
…upon whom the Church, let alone me, has relied upon to articulate the nature of our humanity, “as it was in the beginning,” and in this fallen world…
The clause “as it was in the beginning” is entirely your construction and you have never been able to explain what it means; you (not the Church) simply assert it. It’s where the relocation of passion into biology occurs and where your plasticized anthropology is revealed.
» Posted By Fr. Hans Jacobse On March 7, 2016 @ 5:29 am
It is possible to destroy the soul in the sense that St. John Chrysostom describes (speaking here of sodomy):
“A murderer only separates the soul from the body, whereas these destroy the soul inside the body….. There is nothing, absolutely nothing more mad or damaging than this perversity.”
It is not possible to annihilate the soul (the way you might be reading my comment). It is possible to bring destruction to the soul.
» Posted By Fr. Hans Jacobse On March 6, 2016 @ 7:57 pm
I’ll leave aside the insults and explain “plastic anthropology.”
The modifier “plastic” refers to malleable, as in ‘plastic arts.’ It is the term used to describe the shift in anthropology of the last, say, twenty years or so that underlies much of the “gender” (“sex” would be more accurate) wars of the present age. You reveal it in your own arguments about homosexuality when you remove it from the category of the passions as it is understood in Orthodox anthropology and attempt to ground it in biology. You restrict your exercise to homosexuality but that decision is arbitrary because if homosexuality is understood as something other than passion, that is, having a biological grounding, then it must necessarily apply to every other passion as well. That is what is meant by a “plastic anthropology.” (The term is not mine, BTW. It is used to describe the shift in anthropological understanding evident in arguments like yours.)
As for abortion, the defense of the unborn in whatever venue asserts that all life has value. This too is essential to maintaining at least the memory of classical anthropology. Any assertion that denies this classical understanding most always takes the form of an appeal to a greater good (or in your case scoldings of those who assert it) and thus defends a lie. Why do you suppose the Fathers were unequivocal in their defense of the unborn? See: The Fathers of the Church on Abortion.
» Posted By Fr. Hans Jacobse On March 6, 2016 @ 7:29 pm
Michael, try not to recontextualize my essay into psychological categories.
Cecile Richards’ salary is confirmation the Planned Parenthood is in the business of abortion. It’s lucrative. It’s bloody. It destroys the soul and thus culture.
Secondly, anyone looking into ‘fetal tissue’ procurement knows there is a market downstream. Why do you think PP expanded its businesses into selling aborted baby body parts?
Ever notice how the unborn baby is only “potential human life” until it is time to sell the baby’s parts? When there is more money to be made the ‘fetus’ suddenly becomes human again — baby hearts, brains, liver and so forth. The videos pull back the curtain of euphemism that hides the practice which is why the abortion industry expends such effort to censor them. That others profit alongside PP while hiding in the shadows is simply a fact not yet visible to most people.
» Posted By Fr. Hans Jacobse On February 17, 2016 @ 8:54 am
Actually, Nat Henthoff was a liberal when liberalism used to stand for something. Henthoff was pro-life who famously said “If only the pro-choice Left could think of the fetus as a baby seal, in utero.”
I would quote Henthoff in pro-life work I did while a college student. I’d quote Jesse Jackson too who was a strong pro-lifer at one time. Liberalism used to share some common ground with conservatism back then. We are all the poorer for it too because when people like Henthoff was around real debate actually took place. Henthoff was eventually shunned because he refused to soften his pro-life stand correctly seeing it as central to human rights as it used to be understood by liberals. Abortion corrupted liberalism and now it champions almost every perversion as a human right.+ + + + + +
By Nat Henthoff
[ July 16, 1985]
As the pro-life movement slowly becomes more heterogeneous, members of the Left within it are underlining the contradictions of the majority of pro-lifers on the Right while also illuminating the contradictions of the pro-choice Left on the other side of the barricades.
That’s what I intend to keep on doing too. For instance, I recently discovered that one of the oldest and most consistently honorable antiwar organizations in the United States—the War Resisters League—has a pro-abortion policy. Their sign is a broken rifle, which surely signifies a preference for life. Yet the WRL comes down on the side of “choice” in the matter of abortion, and one of those two choices is death. . . .
Another member of the Left who has spoken against the cheapening of human life through abortion-as-convenience is Elizabeth Moore, who organized Feminists for Life in the Washington, D.C., area. Recalling her life in the South during segregation, Moore said, “I knew first-hand the effects of legal nonprotection under the Constitution, and from my point of view, the basic value upon which just law must rest is not ‘choice’ but equality. I cannot tolerate the destruction of life in a society where I find myself among the expendable.”
Elizabeth Moore also believes that the pro-choice argument based on a woman’s right to control her own body is a right-wing concept that puts property rights over the right to live. . . .
Let me show you the naked lunch at the end of the fork.
Much has been made of Dr. Bernard Nathanson’s The Silent Scream, a film of the killing by abortion of a 12-week-old unborn child. I’ve seen all of it once, and parts of it several times. I do not see everything he says I should see. I also think, as I have told Nathanson, that he deflects the impact of the film by focusing on the question of whether the fetus can feel pain and did indeed scream, silently. There are experts on both sides of that argument, and the debates obscure the main issue. The question of fetal pain is less important than the actual dismemberment of this living being. . . .
Ah, but good liberal pro-choice folk deny that this was really a human being. In 1973, the Supreme Court had said it was not. Just as in 1857, the Supreme Court had said that people of African descent had “Never been regarded as a part of the people or citizens of the State, nor supposed to possess any political rights which the dominant race might not withhold. . . . ”
The majority of the Supreme Court, back then, had actually seen these black people but did not see them as human. They saw them as property to be disposed of in any way the owner chose. And now, although the Supreme Court and the other pro-choicers can see into the womb through ultrasound—or have seen color photographs of what’s in there in widely available books—they do not see the unborn as human, and they strongly advocate the killing go on and on.
If only the pro-choice Left could think of the fetus as a baby seal, in utero.
» Posted By Fr. Hans Jacobse On November 16, 2015 @ 11:47 pm
Steven, my response was to Daniel Fall. I will answer more completely later.
» Posted By Fr. Hans Jacobse On November 9, 2015 @ 3:41 pm
Evil is never “objective.” It has no ontological substance. Evil is the deconstruction of the good into something that is offered as a good but is in fact a lie.
Thus to ask if a gay wedding is an “objective evil” asks a question that fundamentally makes no sense.
What needs to be asked is what does two men or two women marrying really mean? Since gay “marriage” is a cultural event that redefines natural marriage, it also cannot be confined solely to questions of sacramental marriage in the church either given that the church sacraments elevates the natural, it never negates the natural. That’s why Met. Joseph includes both the natural and sacramental dimensions of marriage in his encyclical.
Further, given that the Church is to witness to higher things in the larger culture he also prohibits his priests from attending homosexual “marriages” because he understands the missionary power of the priesthood — the public witness of the priest. Priestly attendance in effect affirms something not natural (not found in nature) as natural.
Put another way, Met. Joseph understands the relationship between the natural and sacramental and does not accept the notion implicit in your question that an unbridgeable chasm exists between Church and culture.
He has the heart of a pastor in other words and a stronger grasp of Orthodox theology and mission than you do.
» Posted By Fr. Hans Jacobse On November 9, 2015 @ 9:34 am
You could make that argument I suppose but I don’t know how binding on the conscience the Yahoo terms of service actually are. Sure, violating them can get you kicked off of Yahoo, but is this an ethical concern or merely a procedural one? My hunch is that it is procedural. YMMV of course and I respect that but the measure to which terms of service are ethically binding rises no higher than an individual concern, ISTM.
Maybe we should apply some common sense instead. When you post on the internet in a public forum, crying foul when your words are reprinted means you did not understand the nature of the internet very well. Better to remember that everything on a public forum or even in an email is out of your hands as soon as you post or send it. Don’t put anything in a post or email you don’t want the whole world to know.
» Posted By Fr. Hans Jacobse On November 4, 2015 @ 3:00 pm
Since I was the founder of Orthodox-Forum along with two other men many moons ago, I can speak to this. In fact I personally moved the group from a private list-serv to Yahoo Groups.
“Closed group” only means that the posting is not visible unless you join the group. The group itself is public. Dn. Wheeler’s posting was to a public group open to everyone yet requires moderator approval for membership. Moderator approval is merely a way of banning people you don’t want on the group. Most Yahoo groups work that way.
» Posted By Fr. Hans Jacobse On November 3, 2015 @ 10:26 pm
I find fault because on one hand it is suggested priests are trusted, but a public directive is deemed necessary.
Public directives are very common and don’t imply a lack of trust at all. Listen closely to the epistle during Liturgy for a few weeks. They are packed with directives.
I think it should have said no Orthodox person can give a blessing to gay unions.
Following your logic, wouldn’t that imply distrust of the entire Church? The real reason is that the clergy lend the imprimatur of acceptance to the ceremony by their attendance. The laity doesn’t have that measure of authority.
» Posted By Fr. Hans Jacobse On November 27, 2015 @ 9:10 am
Second things first. It really doesn’t matter what the prevailing opinions might be since the definition of natural marriage isn’t determined by popular opinion. It is determined by both natural law and fundamentally the decrees of God mediated through the moral tradition of the Church. If people don’t understand this then they need to be taught. If people refuse this, well, there is always the Episcopal Church.
Moving on to the first point. The difference between natural marriage and “so called same-sex marriage” (the polite way of putting it) is grounded in the biological difference between male and female. It takes one man and one woman to create a child. A male to male or female to female sexual coupling is naturally sterile (not the same thing as infertile); it can never create a child. In fact, even if the same-sex couple decide on a child through surrogacy or insemination, the child will *always* possess the genetic code of only one parent. The child in other words has a father or mother he will never know.
Your comments about divorce and other elements don’t really support your case either. Policies on divorce assume a natural marriage. They don’t militate against natural marriage in the ways you seem to think they do.
» Posted By Fr. Hans Jacobse On November 26, 2015 @ 9:14 am
He preached at the Areopagus.
» Posted By Fr. Hans Jacobse On November 25, 2015 @ 3:03 pm
Exactly right George. OOM thinks the primary categories are secular and sacred when in fact they are natural and sacramental. A natural marriage (one male, one female) is affirmed even when not performed in an Orthodox Church. In fact, there is no sacramental apart from the natural. The sacramental dimension elevates the natural — bread and wine become the body and blood, and so forth.
OOM’s problem is that he refuses to see that same-sex couplings are unnatural and can never constitute a natural marriage (and therefore a sacramental marriage), the decrees of the State notwithstanding. The secular vs. sacred distinction leapfrogs this understanding and allows him to argue that the legal codification of same-sex marriage does in fact constitute a marriage. It doesn’t.
OOM won’t accept this so his argumentation rises no higher than endless complaints that the Church won’t accept it either. I don’t understand why he doesn’t join up with the Episcopalians. He would feel right at home there. They believe everything that he argues the Orthodox should believe.
» Posted By Fr. Hans Jacobse On November 25, 2015 @ 2:55 pm
Met. Joseph trusts his priests but clear directives are always useful. In fact, the directive makes it easier for the priest because the responsibility of saying no is shared by his bishop. You seem to be trying to find fault where there is none.
» Posted By Fr. Hans Jacobse On November 25, 2015 @ 2:41 pm
“Why, pray tell, would he find it necessary to tell priests to not attend a secular gay wedding?”
Simple. Because he knows it would give the homosexual ceremony the imprimatur of an authentic marriage.
You assert over and over again that the priest’s attendance at the ceremony is a matter of moral indifference. Yet the volume of words you’ve expended opposing Met. Joseph shows the opposite is true.
Met. Joseph sees this even if you don’t, thus the instructions to his priests.
» Posted By Fr. Hans Jacobse On November 24, 2015 @ 3:00 pm
Back To Stats Page
I was waiting for someone to throw in some moral outrage to obfuscate the point.
No, affirming the natural created order of God is not worry “about the anal or oral stimulation of the inappropriate sexes.” That’s a diversion.
This is about clear distinctions and clear understanding. No responsible leader in the Church would take umbrage at what I wrote as you have.
Met. Joseph certainly did not and I am grateful to have a leader who does not bow to the winds of fashion, display faux outrage, or submit to the pressures of political correctness.
His words are clear and true. So are mine. Your scoldings don’t diminish them.
» Posted By Fr. Hans Jacobse On November 5, 2015 @ 4:15 pm