Mattingly: Two clashing Orthodox takes on doctrine – past and future

Billy Graham and Met. Hilarion

Billy Graham and Met. Hilarion

Source: On Religion

By Terry Mattingly

When two global religious leaders embrace one another, someone is sure to turn the encounter into a photo opportunity.

The photo-op on Nov. 7 was symbolic and, for many, historic. The elder statesman was the Rev. Billy Graham, and rather than an evangelical superstar, the man who met with him at his North Carolina mountain home was Russian Orthodox Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev. This visit was linked to a Hilarion address to a Charlotte gathering of Protestant and Orthodox leaders, organized by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.

After generations of work with organizations such as the Episcopal Church and the World Council of Churches, the archbishop said many Orthodox leaders now realize that — on issues of sex, marriage, family life and moral theology — some of their ecumenical partners will be found in evangelical pulpits and pews.

“In today’s pluralistic world, the processes of liberalization have swept over some Christian communities. Many churches have diverted from biblical teaching … even if this attitude is not endorsed by the majority of these communities’ members,” said Hilarion, who is the Moscow Patriarchate’s chief ecumenical officer.

The most pressing current issue is the blessing of same-sex unions, which clashes with centuries of Christian tradition on marriage. The Orthodox cannot compromise on this point of doctrine, he stressed.

“The church has always been called to proclaim the truth of Christ and condemn sin, even in defiance of the demands of the society and ‘the powers that be.’ … How little does this resemble the discourse of today’s liberal Christians who seek to adapt the church to the standards of this world, to make it tolerant, not towards people, not towards sinners, but towards sin.”

Ironically, Hilarion’s visit to the United States took place during a semi-public debate about this very issue, on a youth-ministry website operated by the Orthodox Church in America (OCA), which has Russian roots. At the center of the storm was an essay entitled “Never Changing Gospel; Ever Changing Culture” by Father Robert Arida. He serves as pastor of the Holy Trinity Orthodox Cathedral in Boston, which has been praised on the Facebook page of the “Pro-Gay Orthodox Christians” network.

Read the rest of the article on the On Religion website.

Comments

  1. Sue Simpson says:

    George,

    You continue your attack on Fr. Arida with Fr. Hans, Whiteford and other right-wingers here. Fr. Robert is nothing of what you say nor do his essays project what you claim. This forum hasn’t become a place that upholds true Orthodox doctrine, but a place where the devil dwells twisting and distorting views. What Fr. Arida said along with many other Orthodox clerics of many jurisdictions is; homosexuality within parishes must be addressed “pastorally” and personally and not “dogmatically.” Christ’s love and compassion comes to all men & women and we are all sinners. You right-wingers have distorted the truth and caused alarm where there is no alarm.

    • George Michalopulos says:

      Miss Simpson, I am at a loss to understand how I (or many others) misunderstand Arida’s “pastoral” approach is anything other than a feint to get the Church to change its views on homosexuality. If anything, the title of Arida’s essay gives the game away, as does the plain text.

      • Miss Simpson,

        Does Fr. Arida administer the Holy Eucharist to active homosexuals and to a married gay couple at Holy Trinity Cathedral in Boston? A simple yes or no will suffice.

        As to your erroneous conclusion that communing active and unrepentant gays is “pastoral” then please point to where that is specifically articulated by any Orthodox synod and in particular the Synod of the OCA. Gays can be communed if they repent of their sexual orientation that leads to gay sex and recognize that their orientation is sinful and sincerely try to live a celibate life, like any unmarried person is called to do. Which leads to another question for you, do you think that homosexual orientation is sinful?

        You sneer that dogma is secondary to pastoral practice which is simply not true. Dogma is to be lived out in pastoral practice and administered with care for the soul of the person. Does affirming a person’s homosexuality care for their soul?

        It might be best for you to spend more time studying the Orthodox Faith and Tradition and less time trying to twist the mistakes of Fr. Arida into correct Orthodox practice. He is wrong if he is communing actively practicing gays, especially a gay couple. If, on the other hand you can produce evidence that the gay couple at the Cathedral in Boston is celibate then I, for one would welcome such clarification since up to this point Fr. Arida has gone silent.

        Thank you. I look forward to your evidence based replies, should you choose to answer.

        • Sue Simpson says:

          “Miss Simpson,

          Does Fr. Arida administer the Holy Eucharist to active homosexuals and to a married gay couple at Holy Trinity Cathedral in Boston? A simple yes or no will suffice.”

          James,

          When Jesus Christ went to eat the Last or Mystical Supper in the Upper Room, was Judas the Deceiver with the twelve or no? Did not Christ know what he would do? Did not Christ eat and drink with him? Why didn’t Christ just exclude him from this Passover meal?

          • John Pappas says:

            So who are you saying Fr. Arida is? Judas or Jesus?

          • Not a right winger says:

            It looks like that’s a big fat “yes” in answer to the question of whether active homosexuals are communed at Fr Robert’s cathedral in Boston. Thanks for the clarification!

            Ms Simpson, we’re not right wingers, we’re not the Tea Party, we’re not uneducated bumpkins who don’t know how to be kind.

            But we are concerned Orthodox Christians who love our church and know that you simply cannot receive Holy Communion as an active homosexual or promiscuous outside marriage, for example.

            No sugar-coating this fact by pulling out the “pastorally responsible” or “pastorally loving” line will cut it.

            I’ve been Orthodox all my life, and I’ve never heard such claptrap as this among people who try to justify going against traditional church teaching and morality to justify communing whomever you want. Crazy.

            I thought he was overreacting, but maybe when Pdn Brian Patrick Mitchell said on a previous post that Orthodox Churches will break communion with the OCA over this issue he was on to something. It’s sad, but at least that would separate the wheat from the chaff.

            Ms Simpson, don’t demonize those who disagree with you, but rather realize that what Fr Robert is doing — regardless of how much he might be loved or how far back his Orthodox pedigree goes or what OCA First Families he’s connected to — is wrong.

            • Sue Simpson says:

              Dear “Not a right winger,”

              The point is, you have no idea what Fr. Robert is or is not doing; you have no clue. Someone here tells you something and you swallow hook, line and sinker. If you really want to play “Bishop,” go to Boston and see for yourself. By the way, since when is it any of YOUR business how a priest deals with his parishioners on a “pastoral” level? Is it any of your business or the others here who Fr. Robert communes or does not? Fools!

              • Thomas Barker says:

                Sue Simpson,

                Why do you call others fools? It is the most serious statement you have made – serious for you. Have you not read Matthew 5:22?

              • Tim R. Mortiss says:

                Remember, it is Fr. Arida himself who started this discussion, with his article. He effectively asked himself for all the scrutiny he has received here, Sue.

                • Heracleides says:

                  Exactly – “Fr.” Arida was testing the waters, just as his protégé, Inga Leonova, did a few years ago. Like her, Arida found the water scalding and has retreated into the Boston Cathedral, that ark of queerness which he captains. Never fear, the OCA’s Lavender Mob will return peddling their gay agenda in a few days/months/years; they are persistent if nothing else.

                  • Fr. Hans Jacobse says:

                    They need to be stopped Heracleides.

                    They preach coexistence. What they want is dominance. They won’t stop until they have deconstructed Orthodoxy into Eastern Rite Episcopalianism.

                    • Heracleides says:

                      Agreed Fr. Hans, and they are, I fear, well on the way towards achieving their goal.

                      Speaking of which… just in time for Advent and sure to warm the cockles of every Episcopalian at the Boston OCA Cathedral: HCA

                    • Heracleides says:

                      Agreed Fr. Hans, and they are, I fear, well on the way towards achieving their goal.

                      Speaking of which… just in time for Advent and sure to warm the cockles of every Episcopalian at the Boston OCA Cathedral: <a href="“>HCA

                    • Heracleides says:

                      Agreed Fr. Hans. They are, I fear, well on the way towards achieving their goal (and not just in the OCA).

                      Speaking of which… just in time for Advent and sure to warm the cockles of every crypto-Episcopalian boy & girl at the Boston OCA Cathedral comes: HCA

                    • Heracleides says:

                      Agreed Fr. Hans. They are, I fear, well on the way towards achieving their goal.

                      Speaking of which… just in time for Advent and sure to warm the cockles of every crypto-Episcopalian girl & boy at the Boston OCA Cathedral comes: HCA

                    • Heracleides says:

                      Agreed Fr. Hans. I fear, however, they are well on the way towards achieving their goal.

                      Speaking of which… just in time for Advent and sure to warm the cockles of every crypto-Episcopalian girl & boy at the Boston OCA Cathedral comes: HCA

                    • Heracleides says:

                      Agreed Fr. Hans. I fear, however, they are well on the way towards achieving their goal.

                      Speaking of which… just in time for Advent and sure to warm the cockles of every crypto-Episcopalian girl & boy at the Boston OCA Cathedral comes: HCA

                    • Heracleides says:

                      Agreed, Fr. Hans. I fear, however, that they are well on the way towards achieving their goal.

                      Speaking of which… just in time for Advent and sure to warm the cockles of every crypto-Episcopalian girl & boy at the Boston OCA Cathedral comes: HCA

                      Click
                    • Salemlemko says:

                      You make the ornament and i will buy 48 pcs. Marvelous!

              • Michael Bauman says:

                Ms. Simpson, it is all of our business because we are all part of the Body of Christ, linked to each other through His mercy. It is our business because we are, as Orthodox, both part of the Body and in a certain sense, the Body. Each of us is an upholder of the truth in its fullness or not. Each of us is responsible to the others for whether or not we are teaching the truth.

                IF, Fr. Arida is communing supposedly married homosexual couples then he is acting in a manner that is not in accord with the teachings of the Church.

                IF, Fr. Arida is knowingly communing active homosexuals fornicators or anyone who is unrepentant in their sins, he is acting in a manner that is not in accord with the teachings of the Church.

                IF, Fr. Arida wants to accommodate the teachings of the Church to the way of the world, he is leading people into darkness. That is a problem for each of us because, as noted above, we are all linked and bear one another’s burdens (their sins).

                Our communion with one another through the grace of our Lord is not some psychological or philosophical construct it is a spiritual reality that underlies much of the praxis of the Church on a personal basis.

                The idea that we are separate actors working out our salvation on a private basis is simple wrong.

                There appears to be a great deal of testimony and evidence both directly from Fr. Arida and by members of his parish that Fr. Arida does indeed do all of the things I labeled IF…

                Such ideas and actions are heretical (untrue, divisive, destructive) in nature. Please note I am not saying Fr. Arida is an heretic. That is not for me to say. Nor is it mine to define a specific heresy. What is mine is to discern the truth from the untruth according to what has been delivered to me by the Church–to do my best to live that truth and proclaim that in word and deed.

                Having been burned deeply by the acid of heretical teaching and practice prior to being led to the Church, I know how dangerous it is for people. It always sounds so reasonable and comforting and seductive until the moment it swallows you, devouring your soul and sometimes your body as well. I don’t want that to happen to anyone, especially my Orthodox brothers and sisters.

                So curse me if you wish, may God forgive you, but I actually care what happens to you and for your salvation.

                We are all called first and foremost to live a life of repentance in the Church. Jesus opened His earthly ministry by saying, “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.” His word does not die but continues to reverberate within each and every soul, especially those in the Church. If we are unwilling to repent, we are not really part of the Church.

                Being denied the Cup is not a punishment for those who desire a deeper union with our Lord. I know because I have experienced it and it was one of the greater blessings of my life in the Church.

            • Miss Simpson,

              If this is the gospel that Fr. Arida is preaching it is an incomplete gospel. By communing open and active homosexuals, married gays, he is sacramentally demonstrating that the Orthodox Church accepts their lifestyle and condones it. This is heresy. If he truly believes this, then he should resign his pastorate, leave the Orthodox Church and join himself to a church that believes what he believes. He has left the Orthodox Church already by his actions.

              That is not political, that is doctrinal and it isn’t open to debate.

              • Ryan Hunter says:

                Perfectly said, James! I could not have said it better.

                Speaking as someone who has been denied the Cup once or twice myself for different reasons, (I’m sure many of us here have been), I can say that it leads to real spiritual growth to be given an amount of time by one’s spiritual father to cleanse oneself of any sins that put an obstacle between oneself and our Lord. It’s not a punishment, but a kind of medicine: “abstain from this for a time and then start taking it again.”

                On the other hand, for a priest or bishop to knowingly commune an individual or people who are living a life opposed to the Church’s teachings, he not only knowingly violates the teachings of the Church by communing someone who is not prepared to receive the Body and Blood of our Lord, but he exposes the communicant to possible grave spiritual harm. Besides that, a priest who communes someone who is not living the Church’s teachings on sexual life (heterosexuals as well as homosexuals) is lying to that person. He is saying to them “The Church condones what you are doing, and it’s either not sin, or it’s not a serious one.” This is dishonesty of the worst kind, because it not only presents an inaccurate and false view of what the Church teaches *and why*, but serves to further imperil the soul of a sinful person by telling the sinner, wrongly, that there is no need for repentance.

                The Eucharist is *not* a right to which we are all entitled; it is the most precious, holy, and powerful gift we can receive on this earth. It joins us to God Himself; when we commune of the sacred Mysteries, Christ Himself flows through our veins. We become united to Him in the most intimate, real way possible. For anyone who is not spiritually prepared to commune to do so is dangerous for that person’s spiritual well-being. To do as Fr. Robert (Arida) has done and cast doubt on the Church’s teachings, which are not legalistic and cruel but come from centuries and centuries of doctrinal revelation and pastoral practice, is to play with fire.

                -Ryan Hunter

          • Fr. John Whiteford says:

            St. John Chrysostom’s Homily for Holy Thursday: http://fatherjohn.blogspot.com/2011/07/homily-for-holy-thursday-by-st-john.html

            “O my beloved and greatly-desired brethren who have gathered in the Holy Church of God, in order to serve the Living God in holiness and righteousness, and, with fear, to partake of the holy, most-pure, and immortal, awesome Mysteries of Christ: Hearken unto me who am lowly and unworthy. For it is not I who am speaking to you and instructing you; rather the grace of the Most-holy and Life-giving Spirit; for I speak not from myself, but as I have been instructed by the divine canons, and the God-bearing Fathers, as the Church received instruction from the divine Apostles who received their wisdom from God, so do I myself speak, who am lowly and least of all. I know not your works; I consider not that which you have begun; and so, as one who fears God, I give counsel to everyone among you, whether man or woman, whether great or small, to anyone of you that may be guilty of sin, convicted by your own counsels, that first you must repent and confess your sins, that you may dare, considering yourself unworthy, to approach and touch the Divine Fire Itself. For our God is a consuming Fire, and they, therefore, who with faith and fear draw near to the God and King and Judge of us all, shall burn and scorch their sins; and It shall enlighten and sanctify their souls. But It shall burn and scorch with shame, the souls and bodies of them that draw near with unbelief. Therefore, many among you are ill and sleep in sickness, that is, many are dying unconfessed and unrepentant. And furthermore, my brethren, I beseech you, and I say: no one that swears oaths, nor a perjurer, nor a liar, nor one that finds fault with others, nor a fornicator, nor an adulterer, nor a homosexual, nor a thief, nor a drunkard, nor a blasphemer, nor one that envies his brother, nor a murderer, nor a sorcerer, nor a magician, nor a charmer, nor an enchanter, nor a robber, nor a Manichean, shall, unconfessed and unprepared, approach, touch, or draw near the dread Mysteries of Christ, for it is terrible to fall into the hands of the Living God. For the Word of God is sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the joints and marrow and bones, and thoughts and hearts. See, therefore, my brethren, that no one approach, unrepentant or unprepared or unworthily, to partake of His dread and most-pure Mysteries. For He Himself saith: I am He, and there is no god besides me; I kill, and I make alive; neither is there any that can deliver out of My hand; for I, Myself, am King forever: to Whom is due all glory, honor, and worship: to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages, Amen.”

            See “˜The Great Book of Needs,” Volume II, St. Tikhon’s Seminary Press, 1998, pp. 332-333

            • Carl Kraeff says:

              Among other sinners, St. John lists “nor one that finds fault with others.” I am guilty of that myself, having called anonymous posters “cowards.” I apologize for doing so and ask for their forgiveness.

              • Peter A. Papoutsis says:

                Well at least you haven’t called them “Fools.”

              • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says:

                A good point,Carl, about who is listed by St. John. But anonymous posters may not be identified as ANYTHING, let alone neighbors, who one must forgive!

          • Peter A. Papoutsis says:

            Ah you do know what happened to Judas, right? Right??? I guess not with an answer like that. Wow!

            Peter

            • Sue Simpson says:

              Peter,

              Have you asked yourself, “Why would Christ sit and eat with Judas the Deceiver at the Last Supper when He knew what he would do?” Could it have been “for the healing of soul and body?” Could it have been with the slightest possibility of hope that Judas would “repent” after his betrayal? Yes, we know what happened to Judas, but did he not have the “choice” to repent? Do not all of us while we are alive have the choice to repent?

              • Carl Kraeff says:

                Dear Sue Simpson–That is certainly true. However, if a priests allows an unrepentant sinner to partake in the hope that the sinner will repent after the fact, there are two dangers. The first is the problem faced with all unrepentant sinners as pointed out in the post by Father John above. The second is danger is that such action could confuse the congregation and even cause scandal.

                While it is true that we must refrain from judging others and that we are not supposed to stick our nose between a spiritual father and his spiritual children, it is altogether human to question why somebody who is openly gay is communed. At first, I hope that we all react by thanking God that he is fighting his same-sex attraction. The second and third (and may be for a long time), we may think that like all of us he falls and gets back all the time. However, if this person has a same-sex partner and presents himself/herself as if he is “married,” I would submit to you that some folks among us could start wondering what is going on. I would certainly be scandalized myself if the “couple” went to communion together, like ordinary married couples do. Now, I would not take to Internet posting to advertise this, and certainly not anonymously. However, I would have a meeting with my priest to express my thoughts. I would do this in my own parish only of course because I am afraid of bearing false witness if I did not personally witness it but relied on speculations and gossip. I would also go up the chain if necessary; again keeping this private. There are Scriptures that come into play. In waiting for my concerns to be considered, I must be mindful that the bishop and/or Holy Synod must go by Saint Paul’s admonition to St. Timothy: “Do not receive an accusation against an elder except from two or three witnesses.” In addition, the Lord Himself gave us guidelines on how to go about this: ““Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that ‘by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.’ And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church.” Matthew 18:15-20

                In this matter, one of the accusations is that Fr Arida is openly communing active and unrepentant homosexuals. This accusation has come from anonymous persons and thus should not be taken seriously. Indeed, the very anonymity of the accusers may be considered to transform the accusation to gossip at best and false witness at its worst.

                The accusations by the Houston Brotherhood are different and rely on Fr Arida’s own words in his recently published and withdrawn essay: that Father Arida is advocating approaches to pastoral issues that are not compatible with Orthodoxy. OTOH, I cannot blame folks who have reacted as if Fr. Arida’s essay implicitly addressed the homosexual issue. I submit to you that it would not be normal to overlook the fact that many folks, anonymously or not, have long suspected Fr. Arida to be advocating changes to our traditional view of same-sex activity and consequently his pleas for changes in our pastoral approaches are meant to be applied to the issue of homosexality. I also submit to you that this issue has come to the fore in an era when there is great effort by the Gay Lobby for society and religions to accept homosexuality as something normal. Indeed, I suspect some activists want Christians and Jews to overlook clear passages in the Bible that condemn homosexual activity and instead to laud same-sex activity and marriage. Frankly I am at a loss (and a little bit angry) why Fr Arida wrote that essay at this time. If he wanted to effect change, he should have gone directly to his bishop and the Holy Synod, or at least to some scholarly group. He sent his essay instead to a blog that caters to young folks; surely a usurpation of the authority of biological and spiritual fathers to guide the saplings’ development.

                • Christopher says:

                  In this matter, one of the accusations is that Fr Arida is openly communing active and unrepentant homosexuals. This accusation has come from anonymous persons and thus should not be taken seriously.

                  In this, we have reports from current and formal members, going back several years. They are not anonymous, and several come from both supporters and critics of Fr. Robert. I will not repeat them and they have been posted in these discussions and elsewhere…

                • Sue Simpson says:

                  Carl,

                  The only people who are “confused” and trying to make trouble for Fr. Robt are the right-wing nuts here. Most of you tend to be convert ROCOR types who live no where near Boston nor have any association with the OCA Cathedral there. Yet, you “holier than thou” nuts wish to crucify a very good priest after Whiteford, George, + Tikhon (retired) and others here have roused up an internet mob to burn and pillage. Truly not Christian; truly not Orthodox; but reprehensible and worthy of censure. A pox on all of your houses!

                  • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says:

                    SueSimpson, you falsely accused me of rousing up an internet mob to burn and pillage.. That is far from the truth and makes me suspect you watch too much tv and too many bad movies.. Get a LIFE–a life with our Lord, God, and Saviour, Jesus Christ! We Orthodox are fasting and, one hopes, focussing on our own sins. By the way, do you even KNOW what a pox IS? Why not wonder why the Church hasn’t grown more, rather than disparaging “convert types” such as me!

                    • Sue Simpson says:

                      Your retired Grace (does that make you “graceless?”):

                      Anyone who has read this forum or followed your postings on other sites for years, has seen your “cyber-crucifixion” of very good bishops, priests, deacons and laymen. Oh yes, we know from your own words that you blame these activities on your “bi-polar” issues and medication, but your participation in these activities continues. You above all should know since you are knocking on God’s door and claim to be a monk, should abandon any social media activity, lock yourself in your cell and pray that the evils you have done don’t exclude you from the Heavenly Kingdom. Furthermore, you above all, should be teaching and educating George, Whiteford and the “cyber lynch mob” here that their “cyber-crucifixion” of a very good priest, Fr. Robt. Arida, will only open the halls of hades to them also. May God have mercy on your soul!

                  • Jesse Cone says:

                    #adhominem

                    Sue, the priests and laypeople who have criticized Fr. Robert’s essay have, for the most part, argued. Your continued excursion into mis-caricaturing the critics only re-enforces the sense that such arguments are necessary and yet are not being heard.

                    The most charitable read of Fr. Robert’s article is that it calls us to dialogue. These kind of responses make discussion impossible.

                    But of course, you are free to write me off as a ROCOR convert from Protestantism who grew up in a conservative state–even though half of those claims are false.

                  • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says:

                    Sue Simpson! Please show us from your vast experience of my internet activity how and when I have written disparagingly of Fr Arida. Further, please tell me when I have ever qualified my words or actions by reference to medication. Please tell me why you made up a diagnosis of “bi-polar” for me. My GP referred me to a wonderful psychiatrist after diagnosing Clinical Depression in 2002. Thr medications the psychiatrist prescribed were Cymbalta and Provigil. As far as I am able to determine, these are not indicated as remedial of bi-polarity. I think you just make things up. You should stop that—it makes it look like Fr Arida has no intelligent defender in you; rather, the OPPOSITE. Poor man. Next thing, someone’s going to refer to “Arida/Simpson types!”

                • Sean Richardson says:

                  Carl, I enjoyed your words and your argument, but I, in my humble estimation, believe you have strayed in your logic. I think it is exactly the point that we must not judge others, and it is exactly the point of seeing what Jesus did in His life and ministry. This argument against Fr. Arida, who I met years ago but haven’t seen in over a decade, sounds so Pharisaical it makes me cringe. It was the Pharisees who condemned Christ for eating with publicans and sinners. These were not repentant sinners, they were sinners. No where in the Gospels does it mention that Christ asked the sinners to repentant before they sat down at the table with Him. I think we need to remember that this is Christ’s table, not ours, and we must remember to serve Him, and not ourselves. Finally, I think there are two points here: First, we must not judge a priest for using his pastoral discretion. It really is between the priest, Christ and his flock. Secondly I am reminded of the Gospel that we “judge not lest we be judged” and that we dare not be the first, nor the second or third, who casts a stone.

                  • Actually, St. Paul makes eminently clear that one must repent before sitting at Christ’s table.

                  • Carl Kraeff says:

                    I agree with your two points and have made them repeatedly. The difficulty here is that Fr. Arida is not merely tending to his flock, unless he has the delusion that all of Orthodoxy is under his pastoral care. I am kidding with that last point but here is my quandary: He comes out and says in public a number of controversial points that have nothing to do with his tending to his flock. I will list what I find troubling by referring to those criticisms with which I agree in the Houston Statement:

                    “We find it unacceptable for Orthodox Clergy, who have been given the charge to instruct and guide the laity, to suggest that the moral Tradition of the Orthodox Church needs to change with the times or with the prevalent culture.”

                    “It is also contrary to our Tradition to write about matters of faith or piety in ways that are intentionally ambiguous.”

                    “As a pan Orthodox organization, we are also concerned that such blatant disregard for the Scriptures and the Tradition of the Church present further obstacles to Orthodox unity in America. We can only unite around a common fidelity to the authentic faith and piety of our Tradition. If we are not united in that, then authentic unity is impossible.

                    You must have noticed that I have not referred to homosexuality once. But, Metropolitan Tikhon did when he said “In reference to the specific topic of homosexuality, which is presumed by many of the respondents to Fr. Robert’s article to be the primary issue of discussion, I would draw the reader’s attention to the following paragraph from the third document above.” The point about this issue is not that anonymous posters have accused Fr. Arida of various misdeeds and thus we cannot take their allegations seriously. The point is that numerous Orthodox clergy and laity of known probity, integrity and learning have accused Father Arida in public. The good Father seemingly waved that red flag in front of the proverbial bull with his unfortunate essay and now we should not be surprised that the bull is snorting and pawing the ground. In this rhubarb I do not blame anyone but Father Arida. Regardless of the verity of the allegations regarding his handling of homosexuals in his church, Father Arida has caused great harm with his provocative and ill-considered essay.

                  • As I read some of these comments comparing Jesus eating with all kinds of people, and usually as a guest, with participating in the service of Holy Communion, I wonder.

                    I see a big difference between the two actions. Certainly in my own life, I eat with a variety of people, believers and non-believers. Sometimes I am host and sometimes I am guest. However when I gather with fellow believers in God’s house, we are gathered for a specific purpose and have many common beliefs. And Jesus is host.

                    At what we call the Last Supper, Jesus gathered with his immediate disciples. He excluded a lot of friends from this gathering. And yes Judas participated as he was one of the 12. Though he was planning to defect, he hadn’t as of yet. To read backwards is to give an unfair reading to the story. Was Jesus supposed to say? “Judas you can’t come because I know what you are going to do tonight.” I have learned in my life that God allows us all the rope we need to hang ourselves. Judas was given every opportunity to change course.

                    And then there is the story of the wedding guest who arrived with improper wedding clothes who was thrown out. Matthew 22:1-14. Verse 11: But when the king came in to see the guests, he saw a man there who did not have on a wedding garment. 12/ So he said to him, “Friend, how did you come in here without a wedding garment?” and he was speechless. 13/ Then the king said to the servants, “Bind him hand and foot, take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, 14/ for many are called but few are chosen.”

              • Peter A. Papoutsis says:

                Actually sue what Carl said. Spot on.

              • Alice Carter says:

                Dear Sue,

                You as well as many others have mistaken this site which purports to be Orthodox but which is really embracing and proselytizing an agenda derived from their, for the most part Protestant, history or Protestant inflected American Greek Orthodox. They do read the Scriptures, and I sure they attend services, not always in canonical spaces. They read the Fathers like Calvinists scraping the mud of Geneva off their black robes. They love to slander, attack and consider themselves to be the Orthodox Orgasm Parish Patrol, otherwise known as OOPS. Post if you will, but don’t take them too seriously or at all. I will be talking to Met. K but I’m sure he would advise against visiting, posting, arguing or falling down in laughter. There are others who post who are not heterodox, but for the most part they are.

                • Salemlemko says:

                  Ohhhhh Alice! I see your still drinking the cool-aid. Get some help sister!

                • Well Alice! I see you are still looking for that guru, California was a long time ago. Metropolitan Kallistos is a waste of time, so is looking for a big father that takes away all anxieties and decision making responsibility. Our Lord himself is Father.
                  I always liked your brother, and could never understand how leaving his high and respected post in the Episcopal Church he could settle for subservience to Arida. But its clear now, that what HT now suffers from is BIG FATHER SYNDROME, and that all reason gets checked at the door. Sad, indeed. I fear none of you will find that peace, for until proper church order is restored at HTC, no growth, no health, no canonical reason will abide, only its broken condition, error and heresy. HTOC is the Typhoid Mary of American Orthodoxy. Dear sister see the error, please.

                • Tim R. Mortiss says:

                  “…not always in canonical spaces….” !!

                  Who, indeed, would bother to talk to Orthodox who go to services “not always in canonical spaces”?

                  Are you talking pews, or am I missing something else?

                  As for “black robes”, my priest wears one all the time….his cassock.

                • I’m always suspicious of people who view Orthodoxy as some sort of Gnosis that former Protestants could never grasp, particularly when they appear to be former Anglicans themselves. You might want to ask “Met. K.” about that too while you’re at it, Alice.

              • Maybe he just wanted to avoid an unpleasant dinner situation, Sue.

          • Ms. Simpson, trying again:

            Simply writing about the content of my column, not the surrounding discussion: Do you see a conflict in the content of the full texts from Metropolitan Hilarion and Father Arida? The following link to my column contains URLs to both texts. Please compare them and see if you believe that I handled them fairly.

            Perhaps this is the key question: Is Hilarion part of the ‘new and alien spirits’ that must be exposed and expelled from Orthodox life?

            http://www.tmatt.net/columns/2014/11/12/two-clashing-orthodox-takes-on-doctrine-past-and-future

        • “Gays can be communed if they repent of their sexual orientation that leads to gay sex and recognize that their orientation is sinful and sincerely try to live a celibate life, like any unmarried person is called to do.”

          No one is called to “repent of their orientation”, nor is anyone’s “orientation” sinful. In the Orthodox understanding we may sin by engaging thoughts or by action. Neither unengaged thoughts nor base biological urges is sinful.

          Part of the problem with these discussions is that a lot of people are commenting about upholding the Tradition while directly contradicting it.

      • Sue Simpson says:

        George,

        The Orthodox Church hasn’t and isn’t changing it’s views on homosexuality. There isn’t some “secretive group” within Orthodoxy and certainly not the OCA. Homosexuality is not something new to the Church. To think that this is some NEW thing and the Church didn’t deal with it over the centuries is just silly. In fact, as some have reported, this malady seems to be most prevalent within the GOA. The Canons treat these acts the same as fornication and require repentance. In your own local church, how many are secret fornicators and still approach the chalice? This entire bru-ha-ha is just someones vicious attack on Fr. Robert Arida; maybe you, maybe Fr. Hans, maybe Fr. Whiteford, maybe + Tikhon, etc. However, this amounts to the same cries the Scriptures tell us the Pharisees and Jews cried out before Pilate, “Crucify Him, crucify him, let His blood be upon us and our children!”

        • Christopher says:

          There isn’t some “secretive group” within Orthodoxy and certainly not the OCA.

          In one sense (a sense you did not mean) you are right – as Fr. Robert’s and all the other reported positions come to light the effort to “reform the institution from within” is now out in the open.

          In your own local church, how many are secret fornicators and still approach the chalice?

          No one denies that. However, we don’t have a “Fr. Robert” openly preaching that the Church needs to change it’s “position” on fornication and we don’t have fornicators openly declaring their fornication as a good and then approaching the chalice. You do see the difference don’t you? Really, it’s not that hard.

          This entire bru-ha-ha is just someones vicious attack on Fr. Robert

          Of course. There is nothing of substance to it at all…nothing to see here…move along, move along…

        • Heracleides says:

          Sue Simpson = Inga Leonova

        • Peter A. Papoutsis says:

          Don’t pay attention to the man behind the curtain. Move along.

          Peter

        • Ms. Simpson, trying again:

          Simply writing about the content of my column, not the surrounding discussion: Do you see a conflict in the content of the full texts from Metropolitan Hilarion and Father Arida? The following link to my column contains URLs to both texts. Please compare them and see if you believe that I handled them fairly.

          Perhaps this is the key question: Is Hilarion part of the ‘new and alien spirits’ that must be exposed and expelled from Orthodox life?

          http://www.tmatt.net/columns/2014/11/12/two-clashing-orthodox-takes-on-doctrine-past-and-future

    • That homosexual activity is an intolerable sin is a dogmatic fact, not a “pastoral” opinion—there’s that radical dog whistle again.

      “Pastoral issue”, “economy”, “love.” It sounds nice and Jesus-like, but when it’s used to the end of destroying souls, it is the work of the Deceiver.

      I am thankful to God that my priest was not as “understanding” and “pastoral” as some, or else I would be living a homosexual lifestyle and stoking the flames of eternity for myself.

      “Compassion”, my foot.

      • Protopappas says:

        Ages, what a truly thoughtful post you have made. It is important for those who stand firm behind the Church’s position in its rectitude, but often wonder about its practical effects. Thank you.

      • When did it become “unpastoral” to say “No”?

        Sounds like the kids of the 60’s have grown up and now they want their children to be their best friends, saying “yes” to what they do for fear the kids won’t like them if they say “No.”

      • Fr. Evangelos Pepps says:

        God bless you dear Friend (Ages), for sharing a testimony that inspires

      • Your anonymity procludes everything. Most people see a post such as yours and smell it.

        Most of the accepted studies of conversion therapy find that religious or family pressure result in more unfavorable outcomes than favorable ones. …like depression and suicide

        I don’t profess to be an expert here, but conversion therapy is relatively widely known to result in less than ideal outcomes. Unless, of course, you fantasize about homosexuals marrying women and returning to what most of us consider normal.

        If anything, your post highlights how the churches position of homosexuality is a sin is the best. Thankfully, the church doesn’t take the position that all homosexuals must convert.

        This will really ruffle some feathers.

        • Christopher says:

          Mr. Fall,

          Something called “conversion therapy” is not what the Church prescribes. Repentance, ascesis, confession, the sacraments, etc. is what the Church and God calls all of us sinners to. Your naked ignorance is out in the open again. Cover yourself man, cover yourself! There are ladies in the room!!!

          • Oh Christopher…point to where in my post I suggested conversion was the churches teaching.

            You made assumptions. My only point was in regards to ages post.

            As for the adjectives becoming your fantasy, I offer the word humility.

    • Gail Sheppard says:

      RE: “This forum hasn’t become a place that upholds true Orthodox doctrine, but a place where the devil dwells twisting and distorting views.”

      Welcome, Sue! Please feel free to drink from the same cup of condemnation.

    • I think a big part of the problem here is that while homosexuality is a sin which needs to be adressed pastoraly, same sex marriage is taking a sacrament of the church, changing the formula of it, and devolping an understanding of marriage outside the teachings of the church, which is heresy, and heretics cannot be comuned.

    • I totally understand agree with you, Susan. There are many on here who lack compassion. You have hit the nail on the head.

    • Fr. Hans Jacobse says:

      Ms. Simpson asks:

      Is it any of your business or the others here who Fr. Robert communes or does not?

      Actually, yes, it is our business. Holy Communion by definition is a public act. Communing two men in a civil union (“marriage”) effectively declares that such a union (“marriage”) exists in nature. But it doesn’t exist in nature. The sacramental 1) never negates the natural and 2) never functions apart from the natural.

      Put bluntly, Fr. Arida, by communing the two men, is blessing a relationship that in reality does not exist. This is more than disobedience. This is something outside of the Gospel of Christ.

      Further, communing homosexual activists declares that homosexual behavior is inherently not sinful, just as knowingly communing any person in a sexual relationship outside of marriage does. Clearly this violates the precepts of the moral tradition.

      Put bluntly, Fr. Arida’s actions find no precedent in Orthodox theology or practice.

      Perhaps you meant to ask if it’s any of our business why a priest would refuse communion to a person? No, it’s not our business. But clearly that is not happening here.

      Remember too the Apostle Paul publicly discussed an abnormal sexual situation in Corinth. He did not observe the constraints that you say ought to be applied to the discussion of Fr. Arida’s public acts.

      • Priest Justin Frederick says:

        Amen, Fr. Jacobse. Because we are one body in Christ, wounds inflicted to the body in Boston (and not properly treated) affect us everywhere and diminish the salinity of our salt in a decaying world.

      • Sue Simpson says:

        Fr. Hans,

        You are assuming too much. Fr. Robert wrote an article that DID NOT say homosexuals should receive the Eucharist. YOU have said he is doing this along with others here. YOU have decided to crucify this priest enciting others here when he mentions NOTHING of communing homosexuals. And again, what he does “pastorally” is none of YOUR business since you aren’t in his community nor even the same city. What Fr. Robert does pastorally is between himself and his bishop, not you or others here. In fact, none of you really knows what Fr. Robert does and yet, you crucify him out of hearsay. You, above all, are a disappointment and a disgrace as an SVS grad.

        • Salemlemko says:

          The point is, it is not Arida’s community. It is the Church of Christ, the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Orthodox Church. What Arida does there, has consequences.

      • M. Stankovich says:

        If you would please, from where in the Scripture, the Fathers, the Canons, our Church Tradition, or any ancient commentator on “Natural Law” (e.g. Aristotle in particular devotes considerable attention to natural law in his Rhetoric) are you able to state “Communing two men in a civil union (“marriage”) effectively declares that such a union (“marriage”) exists in nature?”

        This is akin to the supposed story of the RC priest who was disgruntled at Vatican II, walked into a large bakery on the Grand Concourse in the Bronx, spoke the “words of institute” over the day’s production, and “effectively declared” everything to be the “Body of Christ.” Oorah!

        I believe the single “authority” for this contrivance is you. You have accused Fr. Arida of enough heresy for a lifetime. You don’t need to contrive more.

        • Monk James says:

          M. Stankovich (November 20, 2014 at 6:21 pm)(says:

          If you would please, from where in the Scripture, the Fathers, the Canons, our Church Tradition, or any ancient commentator on “Natural Law” (e.g. Aristotle in particular devotes considerable attention to natural law in his Rhetoric) are you able to state “Communing two men in a civil union (“marriage”) effectively declares that such a union (“marriage”) exists in nature?”

          This is akin to the supposed story of the RC priest who was disgruntled at Vatican II, walked into a large bakery on the Grand Concourse in the Bronx, spoke the “words of institute” over the day’s production, and “effectively declared” everything to be the “Body of Christ.” Oorah!

          I believe the single “authority” for this contrivance is you. You have accused Fr. Arida of enough heresy for a lifetime. You don’t need to contrive more.

          ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

          Dr Michael Stankovich should better do two things here.

          First, he should acknowledge that he and Fr Robert Arida (among others) are members of the ‘We Are Their Legacy’ group, one of whose aims is to ‘normalize’ homosexuality among us Christians. Or perhaps, he could most helpfully make a public disclaimer here to either deny his participation in that group, or better explain its aims and/or exclude that group’s pro-homosexual agenda which the rest of us perceive.

          Second, he really must back off from his reductio ad absurdum about the RC priest in a bakery. Even the RCs wouldn’t accept that as a real or ‘valid’ consecration of the bread into the Body of Christ, even if we believed that the RCs had the authority to do so in any case.

          Using such a ridiculous example does nothing but continue to reduce DrMS’s credibility.

          • M. Stankovich says:

            First, he should acknowledge that he and Fr Robert Arida (among others) are members of the ‘We Are Their Legacy’ group, one of whose aims is to ‘normalize’ homosexuality among us Christians. Or perhaps, he could most helpfully make a public disclaimer here to either deny his participation in that group, or better explain its aims and/or exclude that group’s pro-homosexual agenda which the rest of us perceive.

            As I said to you on another forum, you are the laziest and most slovenly of accusers in that you would have me “disprove” you moronic contentions. If you would make such accusations, Monk James, than you must have evidence. I say to your face, you are a fabricator and liar. Period. Prove me wrong. And if you have no evidence, I fully expect you to retract your fabrication “among us Christians,” as your credibility is at stake, before men and before God. You are a monk or you are Tartuffe.

            PS Mr. Michalopulos, you switched the position of the “Edit” and “Like” buttons, and I am continuously clicking “Like” when I mean to edit!

          • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says:

            Monk James, do you believe that? ” “Communing two men in a civil union (“marriage”) effectively declares that such a union (“marriage”) exists in nature?”

  2. Primuspilus says:

    “You right wingers”. This is essentially at the heart of it. The pro-homosexuality crowd is pushing a political agenda. Nothing more.

    The issue of marriage MUST be handled dogmatically for one great reason. Marriage is a sacrament. Every sacrament has dogmatic consequences….as it should. After this, should we commune people who believe the Eucharist is not the Body and Blood of the Lord, but a symbol? Afterall, that is a part of American cultural understanding as well…..

    • We are…..

      Orthodox-wingers, or perhaps correct-wingers.

      BTW what are all of you? Your not Orthodox, we know that!))lol!

      • Primuspilus says:

        If you are asking me what I am, Im Orthodox. Maybe Im not following what you’re saying here.

        • Salemlemko says:

          Mine was a response to Sue Simpson’s post at the top of the page, somehow it would up down here. Sorry for any confusion.

    • Carl Kraeff says:

      Primuspilus–I agree with you. Fortunately, our bishops, first SCOBA and most recently ACOB, have already reiterated the only possible Orthodox position on this:

      “Marriage and the Moral Crisis in our Nation
      Wednesday, May 16, 2012

      Recently, the public discussion about marriage and about the propriety of its redefinition has once again become prominent. It is a discussion that is certain to continue for a long time yet. In light of this, the Assembly reaffirms the ancient and unchanging teaching of the Church and invites the faithful to read the important statement below, issued by SCOBA in 2003 and as relevant and binding today as when first published.

      SCOBA Statement on Moral Crisis in Our Nation

      Wednesday, August 13, 2003

      As members of the Standing Conference of the Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas (SCOBA), representing more than 5 million Orthodox Christians in the United States, Canada and Mexico, we are deeply concerned about recent developments regarding “same sex unions.”

      The Orthodox Church cannot and will not bless same-sex unions. Whereas marriage between a man and a woman is a sacred institution ordained by God, homosexual union is not. Like adultery and fornication, homosexual acts are condemned by Scripture (Rom 1:24-27; 1 Cor 6:10; 1 Tim 1:10). This being said, however, we must stress that persons with a homosexual orientation are to be cared for with the same mercy and love that is bestowed by our Lord Jesus Christ upon all of humanity. All persons are called by God to grow spiritually and morally toward holiness.” My emphasis

      I am very glad that my priest has not turned me way from the Holy Chalice, that all the Orthodox churches that I attended and know of, persevere in caring for sinners like me with “mercy and love” and that they are patiently helping her members grow “spiritually and morally toward holiness.” I thank God that I have not been in a parish that had folks who picked that proverbial stone to cast it towards me and other sinners. I thank God that there are priests and bishops who give sinners, including homosexuals, a second, third or 49th chance.

      That said, the question of homosexuality has been brought before us yet again in a way that cannot be ignored. What I mean by that is that it is easy and perhaps wise to ignore the Internet, particularly those among us who post anonymously; however, it is no longer possible or wise to ignore Fr Arida’s essay or the Statement by the Houston Brotherhood. This is something that I hope and pray the Holy Synod of the OCA will address. I hope and pray that our bishops and priests will not get their back up by the OCA-haters and homophobes.

      • There is a vast difference between extending forgiveness to those who seriously repent and giving approval to those living in sin, as occurs in the Boston cathedral.

        Notice that Christ says “Go and sin no more,” not “Go and sin.”

        Also, the word homophobia is rubbish and should never be used.

      • Christopher says:

        I hope and pray that our bishops and priests will not get their back up by the OCA-haters and homophobes.

        Silly, just silly…

        • Carl Kraeff says:

          Dear Christopher–That there are folks who post here regularly and are OCA-haters is a fact. That there are folks here who are homophobes is also a fact. Not at all unusual to have a mixed group in a blog such as this one. Both POVs are indeed silly.

    • Sue Simpson says:

      “The issue of marriage MUST be handled dogmatically for one great reason. Marriage is a sacrament. Every sacrament has dogmatic consequences”

      Well Primuspilus, according to you, there should never be a 2nd, 3rd or 4th marriage accepted in the Orthodox Church. And yet, the Church sees that there is human weakness and sin and allows re-marriages. Sacraments unite us to God; within your limited understanding, sinners cannot unite themselves to God. So, when did they kick you out?

      • Second and third marriages are not accepted willy-nilly. They must be investigated and approved by the bishop. You’ll also note that the rites for such unions are penitential, and in the opinion of some, are not truly sacramental in the way the standard marriage rite is.

        And no, a fourth marriage is never permitted, at least in the church of Antioch.

        What are you getting at? Are you saying the church should permit homosexual unions because of this? Sorry, it’s not going to happen, and priests and bishops who wink and let it happen in their parishes are going to have to answer for the souls they are leading into hades.

        I don’t like having to point out in every post that I am one who bears the cross of SSA, but it’s relevant in that people like you, Sue, seem to think you know what’s best for homosexuals. You don’t. What’s right for homosexuals is to call us to a life of virginity and repentance, like everyone else who is unmarried. Your permissiveness is not helpful. Stop.

      • Primuspilus says:

        Sue,
        There should be 2nd marriages, etc. because the Church has set a dogmatic ruling on such things.

        As such, there should be a dogmatic ruling on homosexuality….as it is for other sins. If you are unrepentant, or living in a way unrepentantly against the Church , you should be denied communion. It is pretty simple.

        The difference is, too many theological liberals want to bring in their political nonsense into the Church and expect the Church to bow to their whims because they’re “offended”. I say good riddance. Purge the poison.

      • Michael Bauman says:

        Ms. Simpson: The canonical bar is 3 marriages established because an Emperor long ago wanted to marry a 4th time for power’s sake. The exception of up to 3 applies because, as my Bishop says, marriage (real marriage between a man and a woman {it gags me that I have to make that qualification} is never a sin).

        Unlike homosexual so-called marriage which is a sin in every way.

        The Rudder prescribes a penance of 5 years to life away from communion for any Orthodox who marries outside the Church (real marriage). So at the very minimum same sex couples who marry outside the Church ought to be excluded from Communion for 5 years (but that involves repentance). With repentance and with both the man and the woman coming into the Church and living as Orthodox, the period can be lessened at the Bishop”s prerogative.. The GOA, at least on official web-sites, says that anyone who marries outside the Church can never receive communion again.

        The Homosexual perversion of marriage does not meet any of the standards for repentance and sinning no more.

        This is not a matter of hardness of heart. It is a matter of a willful flaunting of the manner in which we were/are created by God and an assault on the revealed teaching of the Church.

        The only leg you have to stand on is a political/ideological one so you should at least be honest about it and not continue attempting to pervert the Church and the Gospel and our very nature as human beings.

      • Hieromonk Joshua says:

        Mz. Sue, you are obtuse, you have a contrary spirit to the Holy Spirit. You torture the English language in ways logic and truth cannot comprehend or follow. Please have the integrity to be oppositionally defiant to Christ in the Episcopal church, the quintessential “synogoge of Satan.” You are clearly ignorant of what true Orthodox Christian love is – you are a self-indulgent provocateur of obvious limited Orthodox depth. God have mercy on you and I pray you repent of your defense of abomination, wickedness and sin. From what I have read herein your middle name must be “Obtuseatina.”

        • Sue Simpson says:

          Hieromonk Joshua:

          Clearly you have no clue of what you are saying. So, where is your theological training from or are you some convert parading around in black robes playing monk? Why don’t you try to use more big words that you don’t understand.

        • Please have the integrity to be oppositionally defiant to Christ in the Episcopal church, the quintessential “synogoge of Satan.”

          Hieromonk Joshua, you accuse baptized Christians of devil worship, then you write.

          You are clearly ignorant of what true Orthodox Christian love is – you are a self-indulgent provocateur of obvious limited Orthodox depth.

          Hieromonk Joseph, did you intend the irony, or does it just come naturally?

    • Carl Kraeff says:

      Here is the official OCA position that was reaffirmed through the SCOBA and ACOB statements above:

      “Synodal Affirmations on Marriage, Family, Sexuality, and the Sanctity of Life

      These affirmations on marriage, family, sexuality, and the sanctity of life are issued by the Holy Synod of Bishops on the occasion of the Tenth All-American Council of the Orthodox Church in America.
      Miami, Florida, July, 1992:
      ….
      Homosexuality

      Created to know God’s divinity and power through creation, human beings have refused to acknowledge God, to honor and thank Him, and to obey his divine teachings. Through their rebellion “they became futile in their thinking and their senseless hearts were darkened” (Romans 1:21). Therefore, as the apostle Paul continues to teach, “God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves…their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural, and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in their own persons the due penalty for their error” (Romans 1:26-27).

      Homosexual acts, like adulterous and incestuous behavior, are condemned in the law of Moses. Those who do these things, both men and women, are, according to God’s law of the old covenant, to be put to death (Leviticus 18:6-23; 20:10-21).

      According to the apostle Paul, those engaging in homosexual acts, with fornicators, adulterers, idolaters, thieves, the greedy, drunkards, revilers and robbers, will not inherit the kingdom of heaven. Christians come from all these categories of evil doers who have, voluntarily and involuntarily, been caught up in the sin of the world. They are those who through their personal repentance and faith in Christ, their baptism and chrismation, and their participation in Holy Communion, have been “washed…sanctified…and made righteous in the name of the Lord Jesus and in the Spirit of our God” (1 Corinthians 6:9-11; Orthodox Baptism and Chrismation Service).

      Jesus teaches mercy and forgiveness for all sinners, but the Lord does not justify sin. When the Son of God pronounces divine pardon to those caught in evil he always charges the forgiven sinner to “go and sin no more” (John 8:11).

      Convinced of these God-revealed truths, we offer the following affirmations and admonitions for the guidance of the faithful:

      Homosexuality is to be approached as the result of humanity’s rebellion against God, and so against its own nature and well-being. It is not to be taken as a way of living and acting for men and women made in God’s image and likeness.

      Men and women with homosexual feelings and emotions are to be treated with the understanding, acceptance, love, justice and mercy due to all human beings.

      People with homosexual tendencies are to be helped to admit these feelings to themselves and to others who will not reject or harm them. They are to seek assistance in discovering the specific causes of their homosexual orientation, and to work toward overcoming its harmful effects in their lives.

      Persons struggling with homosexuality who accept the Orthodox faith and strive to fulfill the Orthodox way of life may be communicants of the Church with everyone else who believes and struggles. Those instructed and counseled in Orthodox Christian doctrine and ascetical life who still want to justify their behavior may not participate in the Church’s sacramental mysteries, since to do so would not help, but harm them.

      Assistance is to be given to those who deal with persons of homosexual orientation in order to help them with their thoughts, feelings and actions in regard to homosexuality. Such assistance is especially necessary for parents, relatives and friends of persons with homosexual tendencies and feelings. It is certainly necessary for pastors and church workers.”

      http://oca.org/holy-synod/statements/holy-synod/synodal-affirmations-on-marriage-family-sexuality-and-the-sanctity-of-life#Homosexuality

      • Carl Kraeff says:

        2 likes and 4 dislikes at this time. I had no idea that there were so many gay activists here. Either that or I am right and OCA-haters predominate. Silly indeed.

  3. Awwwww come onnn, the Boston cathedral of the OCA has been a cesspool for liberal gay and feminist activity for decades. This is the place where the infamous Hopko discussions took place on the ordination of women. It is the birth place of the St. Nina’s Quarterly crowd and the parent of permissive gay Orthodox-theological devilry.

    So, no more shock amazement and horror over the righteous indignation and outright disgust at that cesspool in Boston! No thank you!

    • Sue Simpson says:

      Salemlemko, (funny name)

      “Awwwww come onnn, the Boston cathedral of the OCA has been a cesspool”

      Have you ever been there? Do you know the people there? Have you ever met Fr. Robert? The answer is no to all, yet, you think you are qualified to judge. May God make his judgment upon you now!

      • Protopappas says:

        salem (peaceful) lemko is not a “funny name.” It is fitting. Stop defending the indefensible.

        • Salemlemko says:

          Thank you, First-Priest!

        • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says:

          I took it to be a reference to the Salem, Mass. parish and the Lemko or Hutzul tribe of Little Russians, but I think the subject prefers your interpretation now. It’s a tad more learned Pattern-Priest!

          • Protopappas says:

            I took it to be a reference to the Salem, Mass. parish and the Lemko or Hutzul tribe of Little Russians, but I think the subject prefers your interpretation now. It’s a tad more learned Pattern-Priest!

            Your Grace, “little russians” is a bit insulting, no? If you wanted to be a little less insulting then you could have said Little-Russians, at least making the land little and not the people themselves. But can’t you just say “Rusyn”? of course it refers to the town of Salem as the parish’s proximity to the Boston Cathedral (and historical relationship) yields some strong feelings. I left the lemki reference as is as it obviously refers to his being Lemko (as is much of the OCA). However, I stand by noticing that the name salem has a greater significance here. Salemlemko wants peace in the OCA and in his diocese in particular, and the only way to do this is to expose the divisive and turbulent activity of Fr. Arida.

          • Protopappas says:

            I took it to be a reference to the Salem, Mass. parish and the Lemko or Hutzul tribe of Little Russians, but I think the subject prefers your interpretation now. It’s a tad more learned Pattern-Priest!

            Your Grace, “Little Russians” is a bit insulting, no? If you wanted to be a little less insulting then you could have said Little-Russians, at least making the land little and not the people themselves. But can’t you just say “Rusyn”? of course it refers to the town of Salem as the parish’s proximity to the Boston Cathedral (and historical relationship) yields some strong feelings. I left the lemki reference as is as it obviously refers to his being Lemko (as is much of the OCA). However, I stand by noticing that the name salem has a greater significance here. Salemlemko wants peace in the OCA and in his diocese in particular, and the only way to do this is to expose the divisive and turbulent activity of Fr. Arida.

      • Ah, but is it true or not? If it is, we must judge.

        We are a RATIONAL flock, after all.

      • Salemlemko says:

        Been there, done that. A former communicant of the Hurt Locker at 165 Park Drive in Boston. Cesspool? Yes. Just ask the many many many exiles at St. Mary’s in Cambridge, or any of several other Metro-Boston parishes. After being relentlessly subject to the indoctrination, ideology and theology of Fr. Robert Michael Arida, i am here to tell you all, there is life after HTOC.

        Have you ever considered why, in Boston, within 4 blocks of all the major hospitals, Emmanuel, Simmons Colleges, the Berkley College of Music, 2 conservatories, Kenmore Square, Mass Art, Boston University, the Fenway T stop, Fenway Park, the Newbury Street shopping district, major hotels and malls, the Boston Public Library, AND WITH ITS OWN PARKING LOT…. and on and on, in this area, and, and AND ARMED WITH THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST, you have a congregation of under 100 souls? Arida’s ministry is not only hetetical, it is, a pastoral failure.

        It is because to all but the most confused or wounded or distracted, the poisonous Arida potion of cool-aid is noxious and death to the Gospel and the Church. The dirty secrets of his pastorate are just now seeing the light of day, and more will surface. There is no putting the toothpaste back in the tube Bob!

        • Salemlemko says:

          A priest answers for the souls charged to his care. This priest has been toxic to the global Church and the people of God. Hell has a special place reserved for such clergy, for they serve satan and not God here on earth.

          Of blessed memory, Archbishop Dmitri once called HTOC his cathedral. Brothers and Sisters, Sisters and Brothers of the DOS, imagine, imagine…. The Evermemorable Archbishop Dmitri of Dallas and the South, imagine his disgust and sorrow over what has become of his former cathedral. Imagine!

          Sisters and Brothers of the DOS, i exhort you in memory of Archbishop Dmitri to rise up! Rise up and defend morality and not the twisted unnatural unchastity of Boston. Rise up, RISE UP AND DEFEND THE GOSPEL OF OUR LORD AND SAVIOR JESUS CHRIST, RISE UP AND DEFEND HETEROSEXUAL MARRIAGE, RISE UP AND DEFEND THE HOLY EUCHARIST! Say no to Fr. Arida, say no to the OCA and its Lavendar Mob.

          Rise up for the sake of our Church, and for the Church our children will inherit. Will it be a clean Church filled with repentant sinners or will this jurisdiction spawn a new and horrible mutant theology?!

          • Salemlemko says:

            Holy Archbishop Dmitri Pray to God for us!!!

            RISE UP IN HOLY INDIGNATION O DIOCESE OF THE SOUTH!

            • Salemlemko,

              I agree with you that the most conservative OCA diocese needs to speak out but in their defense, they are under assault by the power-brokers in Syosset and their willing lackeys in the DOS administration who are working hard behind the scenes to bypass Archimandrite Gerasim, the clear choice of the clergy and laity in the South and slip in David (Daniel) Brum as the next bishop of the South.

              Brum is a morally compromised individual. He has no Orthodox theological education and if elected by the Synod for the South will be a willing accomplice to bring the South in tow once and for all.

              I can’t stress how all the pieces are coming together. Nikon is the South’s bishop, and he tipped his hand revealing the duplicitous actions of the Synod when he gave his Bishop’s Address to his New England Diocese regarding his responsibilities in the South:

              I anticipate holding a nomination assembly for the Diocese of the South in February in conjunction with their annual clergy conference.It is my hope that the nominee will be elected by the Holy Synod during our regular Spring Session in March and I would anticipate a consecration in May, should that be necessary.

              In this event my responsibility in the South would terminate,and the Dioceseof the South would have their own ruling bishop for the upcoming All American Council scheduledfor July of 2015 in Atlanta

              Should that be necessary? Why wouldn’t it be necessary since Father Gerasim is not a bishop but by February, Brum will be already consecrated!

              Several OCA bishops including Benjamin, Nathaniel and Nikon have made it clear to people that they want Brum and don’t want Gerasim. Tikhon will do what he is told and so will the others.

              I weep for the good people of the South and how they are being sold out by those in their midst who are positioning themselves for higher ambitions in Syosset.

              Sending a clear message from the South about Arida will put the Synod on notice not to mess with Texas and the South. But if silence is the response, don’t be surprised who your next bishop will be.

          • Wow, if you said this with a name attached, it might actually be meaningful.

            • Salemlemko says:

              Sorry, friend, close friend still at htoc. If im known she could be toast! It is, that dangerous there? He has given us a spirit of fear…….

              • Referring to a church where families may attend as a cesspool is the real reason for your anonymity. If you spoke about problems reasonably and your friend was encumbered; it would be cause for a review, which, according to you, would be good.

                The real reason for anonymity is your overspeak.

                I suggest you come out of the closet…puns intended.

                • Salemlemko says:

                  In time, in time, maybe, but when and if it suits me, at my time and not yours. While i suppose i might give some latitude to your argument if i was in the mood, there is so much you cannot know. Real, normal and confused people are in harms way. Cesspool? A very mild description at best. Xxxxhole is more accurate. Thanks for caring though.

                • Did i say cesspool? I repent! Make it xxxxhole.

                  You really have no idea what evil your messing with at Casa Arida.

  4. @ Sue, I supposed there might be some people who come on this site who might be considered “right wingers”, but that’s completely irrelevent. It is not just this site that is objecting to Fr Arida’s article, it is the clergy and laity who commented on the Wonder blog in response to the article, it is the clergy association of Houston, a pan Orthodox association who responded negatively to Fr Arida’s article, it is the folks at Byzantine Texas site that object to the article. It is the many individuals who read the article, who are not coming on websites but are talking amongst themselves in person, who object to the article. So Sue, are they all automatically “right wingers” in your book because they uphold the teachings of the Orthodox Church? What a broad brush you are painting! Oh wait, I forgot, you guys (liberals) are soooo open minded and educated and tolerant. They would never make such broad generalizations like that! How foolish of me to think such a thing!

    Sue, please, pick up a book and read something about Orthodox theology, then come back here and say something intelligent, thank you.

  5. It is incorrect in this article to speak of “Two Clashing Orthodox Views” when these views are not both equally reflective of traditional Orthodox teaching. One of these views is consistent with Orthodox teaching and one is clearly not. Different views expressed by two Orthodox Christians is not the same as “two Orthodox views.”

    Fr. Robert makes a number of erroneous statements, for instance:

    “If the never changing Gospel who is Jesus Christ is to have a credible presence and role in our culture, then the Church can no longer ignore or condemn questions and issues that are presumed to contradict or challenge its living Tradition.”

    Why should we be concerned about the Orthodox Church having a “credible presence and role in our culture?” Our focus should not be on how we can change the Church so that it looks more appealing to the world, or how we can adjust the Faith to satisfy those who only want to live according to their passions. We should not pursue the approval of men but of God. Those in the Church should be concerned about being faithful Orthodox Christians both in the Church and in the world. If we are faithful to the Orthodox teachings and way of life, people will be drawn to us and to our faith because they will see in it the love and power of their own Creator.

    Fr. Robert: “the Church can no longer ignore or condemn questions and issues that are presumed to contradict or challenge its living Tradition.”

    Presume? The canons, Scriptures, and writings of the Fathers are absolutely clear on what sins will prevent us from saving our souls if we do not reject them and repent of them. This is not an issue of presumption, it is an issue of whether or not one wishes to obey or reject the unambiguous teachings of the Church. A priest who tells a person that a sin is not really a sin has no love for the person’s soul. By affirming a person in their sins, we ourselves become willing partners with the demons in keeping others from repentance and salvation.

    • Many in the Church have bought into a megachurch mindset: success means watering down the message to bring in as many people as possible.

      How shortsighted. That mindset is why Christendom is evaporating before our eyes.

    • Christopher says:

      Well said Jason.

    • Functionally, to the public, Father Arida’s stance is an Orthodox one — part of a debate — because he is an Orthodox leader and it appears that he has wide support, as well as opposition. Remember that my column is carried by a national, secular, news syndicate.

      • Salemlemko says:

        Arida must be suspended at the very least. Where are the bishops? WHERE?!

        • Suspended for what?

          • Salemlemko says:

            Suspended for violating his ordination vows.

          • Salemlemko says:

            The violation of his ordination vows.

            • Ain’t gonna happen. OCA can’t handle more internecine strife. If suspension took place, half the parishes in the northeast would fold within two years because of the division it would cause. Fundraising at the national level would be severely curtailed. Bishops in other diocese will NOT interfere. The metropolitan has spoken. END OF STORY as far as OCA is concerned.

            • Based upon the idea a member of his gay flock are unrepentant? Because they got married for health benefits or homosexual love outside a church that does not recognize gay marriage?

              My guess is he would say they are repentant.

              Then what?

              The church doesn’t have a policy on homosexual marrieds outside the church. You will attest it does, but it does not. If anything, Arida’s pandora should drive it. While it may be clear heresy to some; if they repent, then what? Then what?

              • Michael Bauman says:

                A policy? A policy this, a policy that, why not pick one out of a hat.

                What the Church has is a clear, unambiguous teaching on the interrelationship between God and the human beings He created. Active homosexual practices are not approved anywhere.

                Your rationale for the “marriage” of homosexuals is ridiculous and redolent of the propaganda of the secularists.

    • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says:

      Jason, thanks for trying to keep this discussion focussed!

  6. Sean Richardson says:

    Getting back to the meeting of Rev. Graham and Met. Hilarion … I find it fascinating, and perhaps this reflects some of the theological issues, that “…on issues of sex, marriage, family life and moral theology” it is suggested that the Orthodox church and the protestant churches, or at least the conservative protestant churches, are more similar than are some of the churches the Orthodox Church has traditionally chosen to dialogue with. On this I will yield the point. On issues of Theology, the understanding of who Christ is, the Trinity, the Bible and Tradition, the evangelical protestants and the Orthodox are very wide apart. I am a convert from an evangelical church and their entire way of approaching Christ, Holy Scripture, salvation and Tradition is vastly different than the Orthodox Church. If those were the same, I would not have converted. One would think if “moral theology” is the same, or at least similar, it would be built on the same foundation. It isn’t. This is the problem.

    • Michael J. Kinsey 1380805 says:

      A problem , indeed. The Freemason acknowledged leader and spokesmen for many Protestants seems likely to sanction Truth and compromise it, as his being Freemason clearly indicates. The woman caught in adultery in the Scriptures, was shown mercy, by the Christ. The leaders wanted to stone her to death. I expect Freemason lead Protestants will not just throw down their stones. Having sin themselves, Instead, they will leave the woman untouched, and stone her husband and children to death. Somebody gotta pay. Evil judging is practiced with impunity by all Christian big shot leaders, who do not serve God alone, regardless of professing denominations. Those who have entered the great whore, say in their hearts, I am a queen and shall see no sorrow. Ask the OCA big shots, if they fear just retribution from God or man for how they they judged Met Jonah. Here, the wisdom of God, accounts for this spiritual corruption in high places, predicted in scripture. Where the eagles are gathered together, there also will the Body be. Where ever 2 or more are gathered in His Name, there is the Christ among them also. As He said, and He did not lie.

  7. Ms. Simpson:

    Simply writing about the content of my column, not the surrounding discussion: Do you see a conflict in the content of the full texts from Metropolitan Hilarion and Father Arida? The following link to my column contains URLs to both texts. Please compare them and see if you believe that I handled them fairly.

    Perhaps this is the key question: Is Hilarion part of the ‘new and alien spirits’ that must be exposed and expelled from Orthodox life?

    http://www.tmatt.net/columns/2014/11/12/two-clashing-orthodox-takes-on-doctrine-past-and-future

    • Lola J. Lee Beno says:

      The next question then should be – did Met. Hilarion have full authority from His Holiness, Patriarch Kirill to say what he did say at this conference? If so, does that mean that His Holiness is part of the ‘new and alien spirits that must be expelled from Orthodox life’?

      • I can assure you, in the cyber age, that Met. Hilarion had full authority to say what he did. I just read a story about him speaking at the dedication of a memorial in Karlovtsy to the late Met. Antony (Khrapovitsky) in Serbia. Met. Hilarion represents the ROC. Pat. Kirill is active and, if he differed, he would publicly state so at his earliest convenience.

    • Ms. Simpson:

      Since you have returned to the thread: My question?

    • M. Stankovich says:

      As long as we are staring into the future, amidst all of these debates, I believe there was a truly ironic event that missed the attention, I suspect, of most. Contained in the latest issue of the journal Psychological Medicine published by the Cambridge University Press – released on November 14, 2014 – is an article entitled, “Genome-wide scan demonstrates significant linkage for male sexual orientation,” produced by researchers from the University of Chicago, University of Miami, Pennsylvania State University, Columbia University, Northwest University, the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai (NYC), and Cambridge & Essex Universities in the UK. In my estimation, it is exceptionally well designed and well executed study that indicates, “We conducted a genome wide linkage scan on 409 independent pairs of homosexual brothers (908 analyzed individuals in 384 families, by far the largest study of its kind to date,” to determine any “evidence for linkage to chromosome Xq2s,” a genetic marker long suspected of contributing to the development of male same-sex attraction. What did they find? [I have removed their literature citations & provided some links for clarification]

      We have detected genome-wide significant linkage to pericentromeric chromosome 8 with multipoint sup­port, and replicated linkage to chromosome Xq28. In context with the previous linkage scans, it seems likely that genes contributing to variation in male sexual orientation reside in these regions. As usual with link­age peaks for complex traits, there are a number of genes of potential relevance under each broad peak, such as transcription factors, micoRNAs and various brain-expressed genes including some with neurodeve­lopment. neuroendocrine, and/or neurotransmission roles, and at Xq27-28 the testes-specific members of the SPANX (sperm protein associated with the nucleus on chromosome X) family (these being ampliconic genes independently acquired since human-mouse divergence.

      Arginine vasopressin is a hormone that mediates social and affiliative behaviors. and one of its receptor* (AVPR2. arginine vassopressin receptor 2) is locatedd on Xq28, although AVPR2 is primarily expressed in the kidney. However, neuro­ peptides R/W receptor 1 (NPBWR1) on Rq11.23 is expressed in limbic regions including the hippocam­pus has been shown to modulate social interactions in mice. and a common functional variant has been reported as associated with altered emotional responses to facial expression in humans, especially valence (with heterozygotes perceiving expressions in more pleasant terms). Another brain-expressed gene, GVCA2 on Xq28, has been shown in mice to be critical for regu­lation of odor-evoked socio-sexual behaviors, includ­ ing major histocompatibility complex (MHQ-related odor); and although more uncertain, MHC related odors may have relevance in social communication and mate selection in humans. However, linkage can only indicate a region and not particular genes.

      Our findings may also begin to provide a genetic basis for the considerable evolutionary paradox that homosexual men are less motivated than heterosexual men to have procreative sex and yet exist as a stable non-trivial minority of the population. Linkage lo Xq28 is especially relevant to the X-linked sexually antagonistic selection hypothesis that women with genetic variant/s predis­posing to homosexuality in men have a reproductive advantage compared with other women, i.e. that fertility costs of variants that increase the likelihood of a man’s homosexuality are balanced by increased fecundity when expressed In a woman . Modeling of the sexually antagon­istic hypothesis predicts such loci to be strongly over-represented on chromosome X. with 1-2 loci there, and allows for strong asymmetries in effect size (i.e. large decrease in reproductive fitness in males can be balanced by smaller increase in females). The putative effects of sexually antagonistic genes are necessarily even more speculative and uncertain than the existence of such genes. Speculation has included the possibility that such genes increase sexual attraction to men in both homosexual men and their heterosexual female relatives, leading to increased reproduction in the females. An empirical study focusing on female maternal relatives of homosexual men found several personality and self-reported health differences: it is unclear if any of the differences were related to increased fec­undity. A different possibility, overdominance (male heterozygote advantage) could conceivably help explain the paradox of autusomal genes for male homosexuality, including our findings of linkage to the pericentromeric region of chro­mosome 8.

      Limitations of this research include statistical power considerations (despite the sample size) and challenges inherent to linkage mapping of traits with complex gen­etics. However, the larger size of the currently studied sample should provide a more stable estimate of the de­gree of linkage, such as at chromosome Xcj28, compared to earliers maller, samples in part by reducing the influ­ence of stochastic variation. We note that while not studied here, female sexual orientation merits its own scientific study. Future investigations of sexual orien­tation using GWAS may shed further light on lthe devel­opment of human sexual orientation. Regarding any scenario that research in this area will result in a prenatal genetic test for homosexuality, the small magnitude of effects suggested herein are inconsistent with a test that those motivated to influence their children’s sexual orientation would find useful. Furthermore, we agree with [a colleague] that fear of this unlikely scen­ario should not prevent further research. Indeed, factual information about sexual orientation can help prevent distorted and hostile views. Finding genetic linkage contributes to the overall societal debate by extending support for genetic influ­ence on variation in male sexual orientation from the epidemiological into the molecular realm. While our study results provide further evidence for early (pre­natal) biological influences on variation in male sexual orientation, we also emphasize that genetic contribu­tions are far from determinant, but instead represent a part of tile trait’s multifactorial causation, both genetic and environmental.

      In my opinion, this is a landmark study that will be utilized by the homosexual lobby to “demonstrate” exactly how medieval our thought process is. I believe that it will be especially difficult to be taken seriously when we continue to paint ourselves into corners such as “There is no such thing as ‘homosexuality,’ other than a social construct,” or “homosexuality is only a passion similar to gluttony,” or continue to offer the myriad of long-ago disproven “causes” of homosexuality such as invasive mothers/emotionally distant fathers, childhood psychological trauma, or lack of same-gender modeling. As the level of emergent data are published, our voice in the public square is simply ignored, and somehow I imagine it is for the better. If we are to be as straightforward as Metropolitan Hilarion, such that despite whatever is revealed about the nature of our fallen humanity, it is not reflected in the Kingdom which is to come. We simply cannot continue on this path of ignoring the fact that we can maintain the eschatological vision of our journey without compromise, while still acknowledging the realities of our broken existence and resisting. As I read Met. Hilarion, he is saying that we, as the Church, acknowledge what seems an insurmountable distance between this world & the Kingdom, but we are neither discouraged nor unfazed by the horrors because the Lord has promised to be with us, “even until the end of the world.” (Matt. 28:20)

      • Christopher says:

        I believe that it will be especially difficult to be taken seriously when we continue to paint ourselves into corners such as

        Since you don’t identify “we”, I assume you don’t mean us since “we” never went down this road. The “cause” of “homosexuality” (“nature or “nurture” or something else entirely) is beside the point, just as it is in any other sin. It will always be an “unnatural” use of our sexual organs and desires (see St. Paul, the normative moral Tradition, etc.). Actually, your thought process (i.e. “scientific”, cause and effect, etc.) is what is “medieval” (or more accurately scholastic) – your focused (and worse accuse “we” of being focused on) in something the mind of the Church is simply not interested in: the “scientific” details of our fallen condition. You seem to be of two minds however, as you rightly point out the world does not matter, what matters is a new creation, a new earth, a resurrected body.

        • M. Stankovich says:

          Both your ignorance and your arrogant assumption of “authority” are breathtaking. You are so arrogant as to say these are matters “the mind of the Church is simply not interested in?” Have you even heard of Fr. John Breck and his classic writing on Orthodox bioethics Stages on Life’s Way: Orthodox Thinking on Bioethics and The Sacred Gift of Life? Are you familiar with Fr. Florovsky’s Christianity and Culture and Creation & Redemption where writes continuously as to the Church’s responsibility of witness to the culture in which we live? Have you examined the discussions of these issues in the history of this site and Fr, Han’s site? I don’t know you what you do for a living, pal, but I am confronted with these extraordinarily complex issues of bioethics and Christian morality, and the appropriate response of an Orthodox Christian, every single day. “The Church is simply not interested in the “scientific” details of our fallen condition?” Seriously? 24-hours with me is all it would take to shut your mouth to those things of which you are too ignorant to speak. 24-hours of attempting to minister to the atrocities of our fallen condition and somehow remain hopeful is all it would take. I have read some seriously ignorant responses over the years on this site, but you have risen to the top of the list.

          • M. Stankovich says:

            I just return from visiting one of our elderly patients in the hospital, and in the circumstance, it struck me exactly what is missing from your astonishing response, and that is a fundamental understanding of the symphonic nature of our Orthodox Anthropology: we are biological (including genetic), psychological, environmental/social, and spiritual beings in symphony according to our created nature, “as it was in the beginning.” The Lord was a human being, like unto us in every aspect but our sinfulness, and the first seventeen verses of the Gospel of St. Matthew is a “genetic pedigree” of his humanity through forty-two generations. Like us, he possessed a genome that included over 6,000 single gene expressions that determined such things as eye-color, hair color, height, and body mass, and thousands more polymorphisms that determined more complex traits. And his body was a “temple of the Holy Spirit,” (1 Cor. 6:19) subject to physical corruption and death in order to save us, and to disparage or deny this fact is heresy.

            Further, to “divide” or “deconstruct” the unity of this symphonic humanity – to claim the “the mind of the Church is simply not interested in the “scientific” details of our fallen condition” – is in direct conflict with the explanations offered by the Fathers, namely Sts. Gregory the Theologian, Maximus the Confessor, Gregory of Nyssa, John of Damascus, and Symeon the New Theologian (and since this is a thread devoted to Met. Hilarion (Alfeyev), I would direct you to his doctoral dissertation, considering St. Symeon in the Tradition of the Church, where an an entire chapter is devoted to his anthropology). And so strong is this conviction of the Fathers, that they warn that discussing “aspects” that constitute our synthetic humanity in segregation, will result in mistaken conclusions as to our humanity as a whole.

            You stand corrected.

            • Dr. Stankovich,

              I agree with you that it is inaccurate to say that the Church is not interested in any aspect of our anthropology. The Church is highly interested in such matters – just read Metropolitan Hierotheos Vlachos, for instance. However, I think the point being made is that more refined explanations for why we are sick doesn’t affect the Church’s assessment of whether we are sick. Our fallen condition of course includes genetic flaws — I could name a few that I have.

              There are several forms that medical intervention takes. When a patient comes into the ER in shock, the initial treatment is the same regardless of the etiology. You eventually need to figure out the underlying cause, but initially you get the person out of immediate danger – control the airway, get oxygen flowing, pour in fluids. Even with minor illnesses, it often doesn’t matter why someone is sick. What strain of virus is causing that cold? Who knows and who cares? Drink chicken soup and get some sleep.

              Other times, it is absolutely vital to know what precisely is wrong and why, because the treatments prescribed are so very different — and the wrong treatment given to the wrong patient can be useless at best and dangerous at worst.

              As “ages” points out, there are probably multiple etiologies and combinations of etiologies for SSA, most of which have never been in within that person’s control.

              The challenges of the kind of science you cite and the challenges of changing social norms (which do affect how scientific data is interpreted) are things that absolutely have to be taken into consideration by our priests and bishops as they go about their difficult jobs of being spiritual physicians in the 21st century. I think that most of us Orthodox Christians (contrary to the caricatures of meddling, nosiness, and self-righteousness that some have portrayed) are so acutely aware of our own sicknesses that we have no interest in what is going on in someone else’s confession — we have enough to deal with.

              What is at stake here, rather, is the very real danger of some clergy and laity clearly trying to edge us toward the place that much of our society is at — the idea that there is nothing disordered or sinful about homosexual activity. That issue is absolutely the business of every Orthodox Christian, because a hospital or doctor that tells you that you aren’t sick (when you actually are) is very, very dangerous. In the world of medicine, such doctors get sued and such hospitals get shut down – because people get hurt. Appeals for compassion and forgiveness fall on deaf ears.

              The details of how the Church compassionately and effectively deals with those faithful who have SSA should, in my opinion, be largely confined to clergy conferences and written guidance directed to clergy. And yes, it absolutely has to involve dialogue and listening. Out there, there are many Orthodox Christians with SSA who have success stories of how they achieved chastity in the context of a fulfilled and joyful Orthodox Christian life, and there are probably plenty of failure stories of how people in the Church did things that made things worse for them rather than better. By listening to their stories and by being informed by the rich and intensely practical ascetic tradition of the Orthodox Church, clergy can learn what helps and what doesn’t help, what works and what doesn’t. Sometimes patients are the best teachers doctors ever have – even when they are doing something self-destructive like genuinely trying to convince the doctor that, say, their uncontrolled diabetes isn’t hurting them.

              And I would add that I think that priests who don’t or won’t listen and who aren’t compassionate about this are very rare. Clergy may need some guidelines and helpful tools, but I refuse to believe that any of the dozens of priests I have known – and I mean any – has ever responded with anything but love or compassion when a parishioner comes to them and tells them that they are struggling with this problem.

              • Christopher says:

                I refuse to believe that any of the dozens of priests I have known – and I mean any – has ever responded with anything but love or compassion when a parishioner comes to them and tells them that they are struggling with this problem.

                I agree. However, it must be remembered that those with the ideological mindset that the Church’s normative moral Tradition is wrong will report the opposite. Indeed, they will label anyone who disagrees with their homosexualism and that it is not a positive moral good as “homophobe”, and the like. Their ideology necessitates this. Unfortunately, people of good will but otherwise ignorant of this ideology and the tactics employed often believe these reports. This is especially true in the case of children and young adults, who don’t have the experience yet to recognize these deceptions…

            • Christopher says:

              You stand corrected.

              Actually, you keep correcting yourself. Please continue, because it needs to be done. Again, your the one who point out the view from “scientism”, then spill much verbiage trying to reconcile it with the “Holy Materialism” if I may put it that way, of Orthodoxy. I and your hypothetical “we” never did separate it, thus you are arguing against a straw man (perhaps you have in mind protestant “creationists” and the like). In other words, I agree with you (in the end)! However, what I don’t agree with is that a “secular/materialistic” view of (one that leans heavily on the “nature” side) homosexualism somehow justifies an opposition of the normative moral Tradition. This is exactly what many Orthodox sympathizers of Fr. Robert and his ilk believe (as has been repeated here many times)…

            • Кентигерн Сиверс says:

              Glory to Jesus Christ! Glory Forever!
              Dear M. Stankovich,
              Thanks for sharing this study, although I’m not sure that it resolves much, given that it states (as you quote) that genetics are not a determinant factor amid multiple causes and influences both genetic and environmental.
              It’s not news that some LGBT activists have long protested against a deterministic view of sexual orientation, as removing agency from the lives of LGBT people, or what we might term theologically as removing free will.
              Public discussion of these issues has reached the point where I notice now advocates of same-sex marriage saying that it doesn’t matter whether same-sex attraction is biological or not in defining cultural anthropology and laws on these issues.
              Queer, transgender ,and cisgender perspectives may be contributing to that emphasis now, given the apparent defeat in the US of conventional views of homosexuality, which were often based in conservative Protestantism and lacked deeper Orthodox understandings of the passions and theosis, and of Christian anthropology and psychology based on noetic asceticism.
              Approaching contemporary issues of sex as anthropological in secular terms, not from secular psychology and biology, highlights (in relation to both fields) how our society now tends to emphasize a social science approach. The latter, as well as other types of science, is not isolated from cultural assumptions (as Thomas Kuhn’s work on scientific paradigms illustrated), and in fact is probably more open to such assumptions than some forms of “natural science.”
              However, placing these discussions in an anthropological framework related to Orthodox versus secular anthropology can help clarify different cultural views in the public sphere, and how Orthodox Christianity provides a distinctive anthropological view in its Tradition (without the need for a doomed-to-disappear-into-the-culture secularist revisionism of the same, as in some kind of 21st-century Living Church).
              The conservative Catholic scholar Robert George at Princeton, who has dealt with these issues in legal contexts for a couple decades, is co-authoring a review of research on this issue with a science colleague. He previewed it recently in an online discussion, concluding that studies indicate on average a relatively low genetic influence on same-sex orientation, definitely not deterministic for most cases.
              It’s not clear how relevant such indeterminate genetic findings are in 2014 to arguments about rights and cultural anthropology on either side of issues such as same-sex marriage or traditional faith communities. The discussion has already moved along, influenced by legal and social changes.
              George, by the way, is an example of someone who has been publicly engaged in these issues for a long time as a traditional Catholic, and who just this past week was involved in the Vatican conference on the Complementarity of Men and Women in Marriage.
              In a conversation a couple Orthodox Christian a couple years ago, George expressed great appreciation for Metropolitan Jonah’s involvement publicly on these issues, not knowing at the time that His Beatitude was on his way out of office as Primate.
              In any case, emphasizing a past perceived inaction by American Orthodox no such discussions in the public sphere, as a source of despair for the future, strikes me as lacking in the virtue of hope based on our faith and its transfigurative approach to life. In this, as I have written elsewhere, acquiescing to secular American consumer culture would only invoke a traditionalism, not our living transfigurative Tradition. In the latter, embodied identity is relational to Christ, and not essentialist in objectified cultural terms.
              Please pray for me the sinner,
              Kentigern

              • Кентигерн Сиверс says:

                the last paragraph should have read “in a conversation with” and “to such discussions”

      • I don’t think it’s an either/or proposition.

        There are homosexuals who were rendered that way by external factors. There are homosexuals who got the wrong hormones during pregnancy. There are homosexuals who simply choose it. I personally know examples of all three kinds of situations.

        You’re right, that all of these go back to our broken humanity, which can only be repaired through Christ. However, I don’t think we need to renege on the fact that homosexuality can come about through various means. (And I do personally believe the modern expression of homosexuality is in many ways a social construct.)

        • Pdn Brian Patrick Mitchell says:

          The “wrong hormones during pregnancy” might make someone more or less aggressive or mannish, but it doesn’t teach anyone what role to assume in life or whom to regard as a sexual partner. Those things must be taught and learned.

          Even the pro-gay APA admits that hormones alone can’t be said to cause homosexuality:

          “There is no consensus among scientists about the exact reasons that an individual develops a heterosexual, bisexual, gay, or lesbian orientation. Although much research has examined the possible genetic, hormonal, developmental, social, and cultural influences on sexual orientation, no findings have emerged that permit scientists to conclude that sexual orientation is determined by any particular factor or factors. Many think that nature and nurture both play complex roles.” (APA, 2008, http://www.apa.org/topics/lgbt/orientation.pdf)

        • Tim R. Mortiss says:

          I am glad to hear you state this, Ages. Anybody who has lived a long, unsheltered life knows this to be true. But the modern propaganda is “born that way” for everybody engaged in homosexual practice.

      • First of all, what you seem to be pointing to is some genetic factor that might arguably make someone more susceptible toward same sex attraction.

        “We conducted a genome wide linkage scan on 409 independent pairs of homosexual brothers (908 analyzed individuals in 384 families, by far the largest study of its kind to date,” to determine any “evidence for linkage to chromosome Xq2s,” a genetic marker long suspected of contributing to the development of male same-sex attraction.

        That is, as yet, there has been no “gay gene” discovered; i.e., one which causes a person to experience same sex attraction. Your dismissal of the potential causes of homosexuality is also comical. Scientists and psychiatrists with a political objective will always find what they agree with and reject what they do not.

        Yet it is all beside the point. If some chromosomal abnormality contributed to the predisposition in an individual to murder his fellow man, would we be talking about those with a “murderous orientation”? Would we be excusing their behavior due to this abnormality? Would murder become “ok” or tolerable.

        Of course not. Big red herring.

        • M. Stankovich says:

          The problem with your interpretation of the study I have cited is that you do not understand human genetics. While a lack of fundamental understanding obviously does not deter you from making declarative commentary – and your character-reflective sarcasm and insult – let me instruct you.

          A “genetic marker” is simply the occurrence of a gene (in this case an “allele,” or variant) at a specific, predictable place on a chromosome. The ability to locate specific markers is a relatively contemporaneous ability, yet our ability to determine whether a human trait is “heritable” or subject to genetic influence dates back to the monk Gregor Mendel (you remember him, no?) who simply observed the cross-breeding of peas. We have successfully and reliably utilized family studies, twin studies, common physical characteristics, and so on, to determine heritability.

          In humans, there are approximately 6,000 single gene “markers” for specific traits such as eye-color, height, etc. and heritable disorders (e.g. Sickle-Cell Anemia, familial hypercholesterolemia, Huntington”s Disease, Cystic Fibrosis). But the fact is that the vast majority of human traits and disorders are not “single gene” determined, but influenced by multiple genes, referred to as “polygenic,” some of which are known and some of which are not. We know, for example, that obesity, hypertension, and heart disease (and I encourage participation in the eHeartStudy project) are heritable conditions in families, but there is no genetic “marker” for any of these conditions. A general rule in genetics is that the more complex the trait, the less likely it is influenced by a single gene. There will never be a genetic marker for homosexuality.

          Further, we also know that some events are not only polygenic, but must be “activated” or “inactivated” by external events to occur. This is referred as Epigenetic. Some of the latest research in human cancers, for example, are focused on the epigenetic process of DNA methylation, whereby the body’s own genetic defenses against disease are “deactivated” by an external event. One author uses the genetic changes in body mass following the Nazi-imposed famine in Scandinavia, and others are conducting similar research of North Korea.

          Had you carefully read the study I cited, you would have noted the author’s conclusion:

          While our study results provide further evidence for early (pre­natal) biological influences on variation in male sexual orientation, we also emphasize that genetic contribu­tions are far from determinant, but instead represent a part of the trait’s multifactorial causation, both genetic and environmental. [emphasis mine]

          The authors clearly indicate that there are significant epigenetic, external to the specific genetic marker Xq2s, influences to homosexuality.

          There is an essential principle here that must be understood: while there are single and polygenic determinates in human genetics (meaning they are the direct cause of a human trait – for example, eye-color), the process described in this study is one of “vulnerability.” Since I have used the example of Familial Adenomatous Polyposis twice previously, let me explain the genetic ramifications as an example. The Adenomatous polyposis coli [APC] gene on chromosome 5. APC is responsible for producing the APC protein that is a tumor-suppressant for a several forms of colon cancer. The MUTYH gene is responsible for producing an enzyme that corrects DNA transcription errors (i.e. errors in the replication of genetic code in a cell when it replicates). Errors to the APC & MUTYH genes results in Familial Adenomatous Polyposis colon cancer in an astonishing 90% of individuals with the defect by age 45. But the point to notice is that 10% of individuals with this genetic error do not develop cancer. This strongly suggests an epigentic “event” for the actual development of cancer.

          Any interpretation of the study I cited that suggests a genetic defect, in and of itself, is the “cause” of homosexuality is wrong. The authors are clear that they have validated a vulnerability to a multidimensional disorder. Most importantly, I am not making any suggestion that this discovery is a an “excuse” or a justification for any human behaviour, particularly the sinful!. Fr. Thomas Hopko makes an excellent point in his presentation on same-sex attraction which can be heard on the Ancient Faith Network: “What would the Fathers say differently if they had the scientific information we have available to us today? Absolutely nothing.” I find the closing paragraph of this study to be an acceptable formulation that allows us to maintain our unwavering fidelity to the Gospel, and at the same time reduce stigmatization, instill hope, and in the iconic model of the Good Shepherd, call back to the Church, those who would repent and take up the path of chastity, purity, and obedience. And for myself, I believe they exist in abundance.

          • “While our study results provide further evidence for early (pre­natal) biological influences on variation in male sexual orientation, we also emphasize that genetic contribu­tions are far from determinant, but instead represent a part of the trait’s multifactorial causation, both genetic and environmental. [emphasis mine]”

            “Any interpretation of the study I cited that suggests a genetic defect, in and of itself, is the “cause” of homosexuality is wrong.”

            Yes, exactly as I stated above, no “gay gene” has been discovered which causes people to be homosexual. Not sure what all the other condescending verbiage is supposed to do but reinforce your already hopelessly bloated ego. And of course, the study does refer to “environmental effects”. So your natural conclusion is:

            “In my opinion, this is a landmark study that will be utilized by the homosexual lobby to ‘demonstrate’ exactly how medieval our thought process is. I believe that it will be especially difficult to be taken seriously when we continue to paint ourselves into corners such as ‘There is no such thing as ‘homosexuality,’ other than a social construct,’ or ‘homosexuality is only a passion similar to gluttony,'”

            Probably over time you can be counted on to reduce your own arguments to absurdity.

        • Christopher says:

          If some chromosomal abnormality contributed to the predisposition in an individual to murder his fellow man, would we be talking about those with a “murderous orientation”? Would we be excusing their behavior due to this abnormality?

          Actually, our society would not in it’s current moral orientation, which is more Kantian/Rawlsian. However, when that changes – probably more to a nietzschean “will to power” orientation then we could very well be looking at a society that excuses and makes room for a “murderous orientation”…

      • That there is some biological element to homosexuality is absolutely irrelevant to whether or not it is sinful to actively live a homosexual lifestyle. There are most certainly biological elements involved in alcoholism, drug addiction, overeating and, of course very obviously, fornication. Living as fallen human beings with bodies scarred by our alienation from God, this is not surprising. We are all called through ascetic struggle and participation in the Holy Mysteries of the Church to live a life that is dead to the calls of our flesh to indulge in its lusts, whatever their origin, and grow into the likeness of Christ. The Church has consistently said that to actively engage in these activities is sinful and leads to the death of the soul, since they separate us from Life itself. We can’t use biology, which can provide no moral position on anything, to justify sin, as if we are biologically determined (the paper said that the genetic component was only part of the picture) . As many have said here, we should explain clearly the traditional position of the church on these issues with mercy and compassion, looking to the salvation and healing of the person, but not give assent to the sin by communing those who don’t repent.

        • Christopher says:

          That there is some biological element to homosexuality is absolutely irrelevant to whether or not it is sinful to actively live a homosexual lifestyle. There are most certainly biological elements involved in alcoholism, drug addiction, overeating and, of course very obviously, fornication.

          Bingo

  8. Christopher says:

    Is Hilarion part of the ‘new and alien spirits’ that must be exposed and expelled from Orthodox life?

    The answer of course has to be yes to those who, as Metropolitan Hilarion puts it, want to “…reform the norm of faith as sealed in the holy Gospel and the letters of the apostles.” This is of course non-sense, which is why Fr. Robert and his enablers are actually possessed with the “new and alien spirit”. Except it is not really” new”, as this spirit has been rejected by the Church since the OT prophets…

  9. I think there is this popular misconception out there, probably held by many political liberals in the United States, that those who are “conservative” with respect to morality are also conservative when it comes to matters of economics, foreign policy, etc., i.e., “tea party types”.

    I personally believe in offering the most generous welfare apparatus possible given the limitations of taxation’s effect on the general economy. So, for example, I am in favor of a truly social health care system, single payer. I think the military profile of the United States in the world is quasi-Imperialistic and should be much lower. I’m not a democrat (that is, I don’t believe in democracy), so notions of “small” or “limited” government do not resound with me.

    Yet I’m Orthodox, believe in God and Christ, and also believe that Holy Tradition has answered for all time these moral questions that Fr. Arida is raising. Now, if it is a matter of explaining the Tradition, I am open to new methods. But the Tradition itself is inarguable. It is Orthodoxy, it is the Faith of the Apostles. We do not correct them any more than we correct Christ Himself. If Christ is God, if His Apostles taught authoritatively, and if the Holy Spirit guides the Church, then our Tradition is correct.

    • Christopher says:

      …are also conservative when it comes to matters of economics, foreign policy, etc., i.e., “tea party types”.

      I have alot of affinity to what the tea party tried to accomplish, though I believe it probably has run it’s course if nothing else because it tried to work “within” the Republican party and thus was swallowed up. Still, I want to point out that most of what is called “conservative economics” is not compatible with the tea party (e.g. what the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal would normally support). I also want to point out what is normally called “conservative” in matters pertaining to foreign policy is really neo-con policy, and it too is not with the principles of the tea party. What I am trying to say Misha, is that it appears you have bought into the picture of the tea party that was painted by the “popular media”, which is to say the image that the Democrat party wanted to paint for their own political ends…

      • Steve Knowlton says:

        “Neo-con” would be another word, conjured up by tea party activists, and applied to just about any one.

        Am I a neo-con?

        Am I a kulak?

        • Christopher says:

          “Neo-con” would be another word, conjured up by tea party activists

          That’s funny! If it were the case, then “tea party activists” would have to be clairvoyant as “neo-con” (short for “neoconservative”) came out of the 1960’s. I know history is not our forte as a modern people, but let’s try a just a little bit… 🙂

          • Actually, there are two distinct groups referred to as “neo-conservative”. One was the Goldwater-Reagan conservatives who came out of the sixties. That was “neo-conservatism” when I was studying political science in the late 80’s. It is a combination of economic liberalism (i.e., quasi-libertarian) and moral conservatism. It is not classical conservatism, nor is it classical liberalism. Classical conservatism assumes a strong central government and that a certain amount of very illiberal economic redistribution will be exercised by this government. However, classical conservatism’s fondness for traditional institutions is shared with the old “neo-conservatism”.

            What is usually meant these days by “neo-conservative” or “neo-con” is the kind of policy favored by those (especially AIPAC hawks) who like aggressive foreign policy and corporate-business friendly economics. Otherwise they would be more inclined to progressive morality but may pay lip service to such morality if it is politically expedient and if it believes nothing will actually be done to legislate said morality.

            The “TEA” in “tea party” stands for “taxed enough already” and so the foundational impetus of the movement was a hostility toward classical, big government, “tax and spend” economics. Some tea party types are, at least ostensibly, morally conservative. Some are more libertarian leaning. As to foreign policy, I’ve seen variations on a sort of mild to significant pullback.

            • Pdn Brian Patrick Mitchell says:

              Misha, I don’t know anybody who would call Goldwater conservatives of the 1960’s “neoconservatives.” The 1960’s was the era of conservative “fusionism” — the combination of traditional conservatism and libertarian theory. The term “neoconservative” came later to describe not fusionists but new members of the conservative movement whose political lineage did not extend to Goldwater. As George Nash writes in his The Conservative Intellectual Movement in America:

              Joining the conservative coalition in the Seventies and Eighties was a fourth component, identified earlier in this book as “right-wing liberalism” but now known as “neoconservatism.”

              These newcomers were actually quite pro-government and not very traditional. They stressed empirical arguments against liberalism, quantified by social science, over theoretical, cultural, or religious objections to liberalism. Here’s a description from my own book, Eight Ways to Run the Country, which, by the way, has been used to teach political theory at Yale:

              The original neoconservatives were big-city liberals who had been “mugged by reality,” as Irving Kristol famously put it. Some had been Marxists or Trotskyists before their muggings, others merely liberals or centrists. Many were Jews who were inspired by the founding of Israel in 1948 to become Cold War hawks. All were generally content with post-war America, but increasingly skeptical of government efforts to solve social problems. They were also alarmed by the Left’s unwillingness to admit the evils of Stalinism and by the rise of the counter-cultural New Left in the 1960’s, which they feared would undermine the bourgeois values that held society together.
              The early neocons could not convert to then current forms of American conservatism because those forms were largely based on people, places, and things they did not know and love. …
              The early neoconservatives offered not a ready-made ideology, but a set of preferred principles and an approach to problems consistent with the lower right’s basic values and interests. The neocon approach concentrated on the practical problem of actually winning politically and making policy. It was flexible and pragmatic, not doctrinaire or idealistic. It sought acceptance and common ground, rather than confrontation and complete victory, even while re-framing the debate to its own advantage. It was realistic about what it could accomplish, and it based its arguments as much as possible on empirical evidence from the social sciences, not on tradition, religion, or philosophy.

              Neoconservatives were also staunchly anti-communist and grew increasingly imperialistic after the fall of the Soviet Union. They are to blame for much of the mess we’ve made in the Middle East and for our Second Cold War with Russia.

              • “The term “neoconservative” came later to describe not fusionists but new members of the conservative movement whose political lineage did not extend to Goldwater. ”

                This is not true. I was a political science student at one of the leading liberal arts colleges in the South during the 1980’s and “neo-conservative” was the label used to describe Reagan conservatism. It was called “neo” because it was not classical conservatism, i.e., “neo-conservatism” then signified your “fusionism”. The present usage has overriden that but that was the political science terminology during that period.

                The other “fusion”, modern liberalism, was called “neo-liberalism” then. Where neo-conservatives mixed classical conservative morality and institutions with classical liberal/libertarian economics, “neo-liberals” mixed libertarian (a)morality and hostility to traditional institutions with classical conservative redistribution.

                But this was before the current crop of neo-neo-conservatives had become prominent.

                And I remember my Organski too. He had one of my favorite remarks about Nazi Germany, which he considered a “national welfare state”:

                “They were certainly aggressive in their pursuit of new markets.”

                Priceless.

                The rest of your post I agree with completely.

                • George Michalopulos says:

                  Misha, I see that I may be a little older than you but my remembrance of the origins of neoconservatism was that two streams fed into it, neither of which originated with Conservatism (paleo-, traditionalist, Burkean, etc.). One stream originated with Leo Strauss in the late 40s and the other with the ex-Trotskyites around Irving Kristol and Norman Podhoretz.

                  Although they came to see the failures of Progessivism, they were largely ignorant and/or intolerant of traditional, Europeanist/Christian-based conservatism. They couldn’t understand for example the attachment of native peoples to their ancestral lands or the love of hierarchy, among other things.

                • Misha, I have never heard of neo-conservative used to describe mainstream Reagan conservatism, and I’ve read a lot of conservative history and taxonomy.

                  What I think you are remembering is what was referred to as the “New Right” — a very different animal from neoconservatism.

                  Today, that latter term is often used (and not unfairly) in a pejorative way to describe big-government war-mongering “conservatives,” but the term was first made famous by Irving Kristol’s self-description. The original neoconservatives were supporters of Ronald Reagan, and they eventually worked their way into controlling much of the conservative movement — but with their leftist binge hangover and their contempt for traditional Christianity and “Old Right” ideas, they were emphatically not Reagan conservatives in the William F. Buckley vein (who typified the breed).

                • Pdn Brian Patrick Mitchell says:

                  Misha my boy, Edward is right and George is mostly right (Kristol was a disciple of Strauss and often sang his praises). I’m even older than George; I volunteered for Nixon in ’72 and Ford in ’76. In 1980 I was in the Army, and by the late ’80s, when you were still in school, I was working as a journalist in Washington, DC, straddling the divide between neocons and paleocons. (The neocons were actually more interested in my first book about women in the military.)

                  In those days, conservatives were themselves still trying to find the fault lines between the various camps, and in all likelihood your college professor was still confused and could not tell fusionism from neo-liberalism or what Nash calls the “new conservatism” of Kirk et al. from the “neoconservatism” of Kristol et al.

                  Simply put, Nash’s “new conservatives” did not see themselves as advocating much that was truly new; they were merely recovering and defining age-old conservative principles for a new generation. In contrast, the neoconservatives started with very different principles and strove to define and popularize a conservatism shorn of traditional baggage, thus the need for the prefix “neo.”

                  It therefore makes no sense to apply the term “neoconservative” to the whole post-war, Goldwater-Reagan conservative movement. The term did not come into common usage among conservatives until the 1980s, when it already meant what it still means. As for “classical conservatism,” you would do well to read Eight Ways to Run the Country. As Anthony Gregory of the Independent Institute says:

                  “Mitchell has written, in my opinion, the best explanation of the political spectrum. It makes sense of all the major mysteries …”

                  • Sorry Deacon, that was the lay of the land when I was an undergrad in Poli Sci. I’m sure terminology has changed but that was what it was then. If I cared enough to argue it, I could look up the books we used but I know what I read.

                    • Pdn Brian Patrick Mitchell says:

                      Misha, you must have been reading leftists because they invented the term and applied it undiscerningly to many people who never called themselves such. Here’s the whole truth eloquently declared by Kirk himself (emphasis added):

                      THE NEOCONSERVATIVES: AN ENDANGERED SPECIES
                      by Russell Kirk

                      There stands before you, ladies and gentlemen, one of the few survivors of the original intrepid band of Neoconservatives. Very early in the 1950s, some of us who declared our belief in the Permanent Tldngs were so denominated by our adversaries; but we did not clasp the epithet to our bosoms as a badge of honor – unlike the people who, a quarter of a century later, pleaded guilty as charged, and gloried in their shame.

                      To put the matter another way, the terms “New Conservative” and “Neoconservative” began to appear in certain journals nearly forty years ago. They were applied to such writers as Robert Nisbet, Peter Viereck, Daniel Boorstin, Clinton Rossiter, and your servant. When commentators and critics of that remote epoch entertained sentiments kindly in some degree toward such literate obscurants, they used the term “New Conservative” – implying that misguided though such relatively youthful reactionaries might be, still they probably meant well, and occasionally displayed glimmerings of sense; nay, that now and again such New Conservatives even made suggestions worth discussing, though perhaps per accidens.

                      Such were the opinions of our friendlier critics. But journalists and professors who thought less well of us pinned upon us the dread label “Neoconservatives,” knowing us for symptoms of the recrudescence of a loathsome plague called reaction, enemies of all progress, oppressors of the poor, either tools of the bloated capitalist or else toadies of feudal barons, simpletons enamored of the superstitions of the childhood of the race. The worst fears of these evangels of secular progress came to be realized; they were true prophets. For indeed revived conservative doctrines were disseminated throughout the land by our malicious typewriters, and the American people were arrested in their march toward an earthly Zion.

                      Fresh Horde of Dissenters.

                      Yet we scribbling conservatives at the beginning of the 1950s, or at least most of us, did not eagerly accept the appellation “New Conservative,” nor yet that of “Neoconservative.” Some of us merely styled ourselves conservatives, being well aware that conservatism is nothing new; others of our kidney preferred to bear no dog-tag.

                      He goes on to tell of those who did accept the epithet. As I’ve said already, the term did not come into common usage among conservatives until the 1980s, when it already meant what it still means. And you would still do well to read Eight Ways to Run the Country.

                  • Christopher says:

                    To circle back to my original point, the original “tea party” movement, at least at the grass roots level which I was a part of, was in no way “neoconservative” as correctly defined. Now, I have not been part of the “tea party” the last couple of election cycles because I believe they have run their course and the fact that they were swallowed up by the larger movements in the Republican party (of which “neoconservative” is most certainly one). Also, the Democrats and their friends in the general media did a good job of defining the “tea party” in many ways it was and is not. That I think is rather easy to explain, as “constitutional conservationism” is simply not understood at all by the vast herd of government school victims… 😉

                    • “Misha, I don’t know anybody who would call Goldwater conservatives of the 1960’s “neoconservatives.””

                      “As I’ve said already, the term did not come into common usage among conservatives until the 1980s, when it already meant what it still means. And you would still do well to read Eight Ways to Run the Country.”

                      Thank you for adjusting your assertion to conform to reality. I never claimed that “neo-conservatives” applied the term to themselves but that it was the term used in poli sci circles when I was an undergrad then. You are right when you offer that I studied under leftists, no argument there.

                    • Pdn Brian Patrick Mitchell says:

                      And I never claimed that nobody ever called Goldwater conservatives “neoconservatives” — only that nobody else would call them that now because they were never generally known by that term, no matter what your leftist professors mis-taught you in the 1980’s about “classical conservatism” and the post-war conservative movement.

                    • “Misha, I don’t know anybody who would call Goldwater conservatives of the 1960’s “neoconservatives.””

                      “And I never claimed that nobody ever called Goldwater conservatives “neoconservatives””

                      I’ll leave you to rationalize as you see fit. Not that it matters anyway. Personally, I’m no longer sympathetic with the political philosophies emerging from the Enlightenment and simply wish them a rapid self destruction, whatever you might choose to call this or that one. I’m not in the “conservative movement” in any form or capacity nor am I a liberal in either its present or classical meaning so I couldn’t care less what conservatism does or has called itself. What is more significant than the name is the fact that “classical conservatism” and “modern conservatism” are two different animals.

                  • Christopher says:

                    To circle back to my original point, the tea party was in no way “neoconservative” correctly defined.

                  • Christopher says:

  10. Chris Banescu says:

    It appears that our Holy Orthodox Church is full of many “right-wing” zealots and “haters” who have preached the same Scriptural and moral Tradition across the centuries. This is why, as Fr. Hans explained, it’s time for those who disagree with and oppose this teaching to LEAVE and join other more tolerant Christian churches. Clearly, the Orthodox Church is “too radical, unchanging, and categorical” for their tastes.

    St. Paul the Apostle – “Because of this did God give them up to dishonorable passions, for even their females did change their natural function into that which is against nature; and in like manner also the males having left the natural use of the female, did burn in their longing toward one another….” (Romans 1:26-27)

    St. John Chrysostom – “For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:and likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one towards another.” ALL these affections then were vile, but chiefly the mad lust after males; for the soul is more the sufferer in sins, and more dishonored, than the body in diseases. But behold how here too, as in the case of the doctrines, he deprives them of excuse, by saying of the women, that “they changed the natural use.” For no one, he means, can say that it was by being hindered of legitimate intercourse that they came to this pass, or that it was from having no means to fulfil their desire that they were driven into this monstrous insaneness. For the changing implies possession. Which also when discoursing upon the doctrines he said, “They changed the truth of God for a lie.”

    And with regard to the men again, he shows the same thing by saying, “Leaving the natural use of the woman.” And in a like way with those, these he also puts out of all means of defending themselves by charging them not only that they had the means of gratification, and left that which they had, and went after another, but that having dishonored that which was natural, they ran after that which was contrary to nature. But that which is contrary to nature hath in it an irksomeness and displeasingness, so that they could not fairly allege even pleasure. For genuine pleasure is that which is according to nature. But when God hath left one, then all things are turned upside down.” (Homily 4 on Romans by St. John Chrysostom)

    Saint Gregory the Great – “Brimstone calls to mind the foul odors of the flesh, as Sacred Scripture itself confirms when it speaks of the rain of fire and brimstone poured by the Lord upon Sodom. He had decided to punish in it the crimes of the flesh, and the very type of punishment emphasized the shame of that crime, since brimstone exhales stench and fire burns. It was, therefore, just that the sodomites, burning with perverse desires that originated from the foul odor of flesh, should perish at the same time by fire and brimstone so that through this just chastisement they might realize the evil perpetrated under the impulse of a perverse desire.” (St. Gregory the Great, Commento morale a Giobbe, XIV, 23, vol. II, p. 371, Ibid., p. 7)

    Saint Basil of Caesarea – “The cleric or monk who molests youths or boys or is caught kissing or committing some turpitude, let him be whipped in public, deprived of his crown [tonsure] and, after having his head shaved, let his face be covered with spittle; and [let him be] bound in iron chains, condemned to six months in prison, reduced to eating rye bread once a day in the evening three times per week. After these six months living in a separate cell under the custody of a wise elder with great spiritual experience, let him be subjected to prayers, vigils and manual work, always under the guard of two spiritual brothers, without being allowed to have any relationship … with young people.” (St. Basil of Caesarea, in St. Peter Damien, Liber Gomorrhianus, op. cit. cols. 174f.)

    Saint Thomas Aquinas – “However, they are called passions of ignominy because they are not worthy of being named, according to that passage in Ephesians (5:12): ‘For the things that are done by them in secret, it is a shame even to speak of.’ For if the sins of the flesh are commonly censurable because they lead man to that which is bestial in him, much more so is the sin against nature, by which man debases himself lower than even his animal nature.” (St. Thomas Aquinas, Super Epistulas Sancti Pauli Ad Romanum I, 26, pp. 27f)

    Saint Augustine – “Sins against nature, therefore, like the sin of Sodom, are abominable and deserve punishment whenever and wherever they are committed. If all nations committed them, all alike would be held guilty of the same charge in God’s law, for our Maker did not prescribe that we should use each other in this way. In fact, the relationship that we ought to have with God is itself violated when our nature, of which He is Author, is desecrated by perverted lust. … Your punishments are for sins which men commit against themselves, because, although they sin against You, they do wrong in their own souls and their malice is self-betrayed. They corrupt and pervert their own nature, which You made and for which You shaped the rules, either by making wrong use of the things which You allow, or by becoming inflamed with passion to make unnatural use of things which You do not allow” (Rom. 1:26). (St. Augustine, Confessions, Book III, chap. 8)

    Tertullian (great 2nd century Church apologist) – “All other frenzies of lusts which exceed the laws of nature and are impious toward both bodies and the sexes we banish … from all shelter of the Church, for they are not sins so much as monstrosities.” (Tertullian, De pudicitia, IV, in J. McNeil, op. cit., p. 89)

    And on, and on, and on …

    • Salemlemko says:

      Thank you for posting these!

    • Salemlemko says:

      I have to say it is easy to push aside, or get tired to “the fathers” as they are dragged out at every possible instance by the uninformed, and those in error. But, if you take the time to really read them during these moments when so many, are so wrong….. you are dumb founded by the common sense and clarity of their writing. The clarity is sooooo striking, how can these people so consumed with prelest not come to repent if they are reading the same words.

  11. It is surely not pastoral to confirm unrepentant sinners in their sin by communing them.

    • Sue Simpson says:

      “It is surely not pastoral to confirm unrepentant sinners in their sin by communing them.”

      And YOU know they are “unrepentant” and “practicing” how? Are you part of this community in Boston? Are you the priest?

      • Christopher says:

        And YOU know they are “unrepentant” and “practicing” how?

        Don’t be silly Sue. We have multiple eye witness accounts, both from those who criticize AND who support Fr. Robert that these things are going on. We have the history of Fr. Robert’s writings which also confirm his position. Your attempt to create doubt is just silly…

        • Actually Christopher, there is little proof.

          And does the church have a policy written that says secular homosexual marriage is heresy?

          And has it given priests a playbook on how to deal with the issue?

          Or is it all based on reactionary perspective?

          It seems fair that a few things are unanswered.

          • Christopher says:

            Mr. Fall,

            More verbiage from the MTD perspective simply reveals the doubt in your own heart…

          • Michael Bauman says:

            Mr. Fall, any marriage outside the Church is sufficient to exclude one from the Cup. Period. If the parties involved in that marriage remain unrepentant, that exclusion can last a lifetime.

            Fornication is a sin. Fornication that involves same-sex attraction is a worse sin. There simply cannot be a marriage between two people of the same sex, regardless of what the state says. So any sexual activity between members of the same sex is by definition a sin. Compounding that sin by making a mockery of actual marriage makes it worse.

            Preaching a moral and spiritual equivalence between same-sex sexual attraction and activity is heretical in content because it is a specific violation of the canons of the Church, the testimony of the Father’s of the Church, the Biblical Corpus, the universal moral tradition and natural law.

            I would be so bold that the crazy and twisted anthropology at the foundation of such wrong teaching is a Christological error that if seriously examined would be condemned as a heresy but that takes a Council which we are not about to have (despite all the plans for a Pan-Orthodox gathering that have been in the planning stage now for decades).

            There is a clear distinction to be made between the notion that something is heretical in nature, that a specific teaching is a heresy and the biggest leap of all–that a specific person is an heretic.

            Anyone in the Church is competent to discern whether an idea or a teaching is heretical in nature. The latter two are solely up to a Council–although local Synods can certainly make their understanding known.

            Worldly sentiments and ideas about such things have no place in the Church.

            • I just want to know where this has been stated by the Synod.

            • I mean that civil marriage of homosexuals is heresy…

              Rather than explain the rationale, just show me where it has been stated.

              • Michael Bauman says:

                The civl pseudo-marriage of homosexuals outside the Church between two people who are not Christmated Orthodox is not heresy. Blasphemy, but not heresy.

                Since only an assembly of bishops can declare something officially an heresy. Even if “blessed” by errant clerics in the Church it could not properly be call a heresy. However, recent statements by the Pat. of Constinople, the Pat. of Russia, and the US Antiochian Synod plus the past statements of the US EA and the OCA that homosexual unions are not dogmatically compatible with the teaching of the Church and it should be obvious to the most casual observer where the truth is.

                Promoting and teaching a dogmatic untruth is kinda the definition of heresy.

      • Sue, virtually every response of yours has been a question. Reminds me a little of “hath God said…?” It seems to be a favorite tool of those subverting their own church — asking rhetorical questions that cast doubt on the validity of accusations they know good and well are accurate.

        If you know facts about Arida’s teachings and practices that are contrary to what have been alleged here, the English language provides an exceedingly useful tool: the declarative sentence.

        Since you are casting doubt on the things being said here and claim to know otherwise, you should have no problems coming up with simple statements of fact that contradict what you know to be incorrect.

        Given the controversy, if what is being claimed is incorrect, I would expect clergy and laity alike at HTC to be coming out of the woodwork to categorically deny these allegations. And I would have expected it long ago.

        The Episcopal Church gives a good road map — trangress church teaching, then hunker down when the storm hits and wait for it to blow over while sympathetic church leaders are silent or give hazy statements that provide rhetorical cover.

        If any of the OCA bishops are (God forbid) compromised because of their own not-secret-enough sexual activity that violates their discipline, then those bishops would be very susceptible to subtle blackmail — “support us, at least through silence, or we will expose your hypocrisy.”

      • Ms. Simpson, trying again:

        Simply writing about the content of my column, not the surrounding discussion: Do you see a conflict in the content of the full texts from Metropolitan Hilarion and Father Arida? The following link to my column contains URLs to both texts. Please compare them and see if you believe that I handled them fairly.

        Perhaps this is the key question: Is Hilarion part of the ‘new and alien spirits’ that must be exposed and expelled from Orthodox life?

        http://www.tmatt.net/columns/2014/11/12/two-clashing-orthodox-takes-on-doctrine-past-and-future

      • And YOU know they are “unrepentant” and “practicing” how? Are you part of this community in Boston? Are you the priest?

        I was stating a general principle.

        The priests actions are for the bishop to investigate…if all things were as they should be, that is.

  12. Ms. Simpson,

    Why do you lump all people who stand for traditional Orthodoxy as “Right Wingers?” I myself am much more middle of the road and I suspect that if you knew more of the people who post here and on thee sites, you would realize that most of them are more centrist politically than you give them credit for.

    What is an entire lifelong struggle is to follow the will of God in our lives. One of the most concrete examples of how one does this is by reading the scripture and following what it says. I will be the first one to stand up and say that I do not know everything in the bible nor do I follow everything. In my early college days, I read the bible as nothing but literature. However, as I have gotten older I now read the bible with, I hope, an openness to interpretation from the Holy Fathers.

    I have come to the conclusion that you can not skirt the passages in the bible that you find offensive, difficult to grasp, or against what you believe. We are the ones who need to conform our wills and our minds to the gospel teachings not the other way around.

    I continue to post on this website for this very reason, as I’m sure do many others. I’m sorry that you seem offended about the subject of homosexuality as a sin on this forum, but this is teaching in the bible. There are many confusing texts in holy scripture but the subject of homosexuality is not one of them.

    Pray for those who suffer with same sex attraction but don’t condone the sin.

    • Right-Wing ROCOR Type says:

      Ms. Simpson,

      Why do you lump all people who stand for traditional Orthodoxy as “Right Wingers?”

      Nick, it reflects an inability to think in a churchly way. The rhetoric of “right wing” and “left wing” betrays a person who can only think in the reductionist terms of church political factions. Factionalism has always been a distinctive mark of heretical movements.

      Needless to say, my nom de plume is an ironic borrowing of a phrase Ms Simpson first used.

  13. Where Has the OCA Gone? says:

    For those who have been following the saga of Fr. Robert Arida teachings and practices in Boston’s Holy Trinity Cathedral, I would like to share with you the thoughts of one of the outspoken supporters of Fr. Arida. I will not include the name of this parishioner but he or she has been and continues to be a very vocal supporter of the Cathedral priest. Read it carefully because whether this parishioner has influenced his or her pastor or Fr. Arida has influenced him or her by his beliefs and actions, it gives a clear picture how emotion and liberal sentimentality are used to deceive the less vigilant.

    April 17, 2014

    Those of us in the Church know from long experience that Holy Week is replete with trials and temptations. Even to the least mystically inclined it feels like the Evil One himself is laboring to distract and confuse us from the experience of the mystery of God’s passion and triumph. And we learn to take it in stride, to accept the trials with humility and to try not to get too distracted.
     
    Yet there is always something unexpected that awaits us. Tonight, coming back from the Matins service, I was thinking about the Last Supper and Christ washing the feet of His disciples, sharing the Passover with them, offering them His body and blood in full knowledge that, in a few hours, they will, one by one, betray Him, abandon Him, flee and hide in fear. And then I read the lamentations of several friends who, on these great and holy days, have nowhere to go, no one to share the mystery with, nowhere to celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord. Why? Because they are Orthodox and they are gay, and they have found themselves, in one manner or another, turned away from their parishes in different parts of the country, or made to feel unsafe and unwelcome.
     
    Think about it. We, who are enjoying the beauty of the Holy Week services, who are immersed in its mystery and awe. We, who are checking off our shopping lists for Pascha, who are trying to plan our time to the last minute for the next few days to fit in all the cooking and all the errands. We, who are happily airing the festal garments. We, who are enjoying the anticipation of the climax of the year, who are giddy with this ever-new and wonderful promise of joy.
     
    We, sinners who are not even aware of our sins, so much they are a part of us – idolaters, deceivers, the proud, the naughty, the lascivious, the envious. We think that we have secured a place at the table of the Master – our Master Who sojourned with the fallen, the defiled, the sinners, – because we are righteous. We have closed our doors and turned our backs on those whom we consider unclean. We are triumphant in our righteousness and steadfast in our cowardice. Compassionate parishioners who avert their gaze when there is a crisis; priests who are tolerant as long as they feel safely under the radar; bishops who are loving and understanding in private yet would never raise their voice in defense of the defenseless. We are all the Church, and we all eject from our midst the sons and daughters of Him Who went on the Cross for the ones who hated Him, the ones Who betrayed Him, the ones who fled and abandoned Him in His hour of torture and death. We betray them so as not to confuse our feeble-mindedness, so as to not face the challenge of “the others”, so that we can preserve the complacency and security of our “inner circle” of the servants of the law. Like the rich man who would not be bothered by the plight of Lazarus, we enjoy the illusion of the feast unspoiled by those we consider unseemly. We shut away our brothers and sisters because we are convinced that they are the greater sinners. We take the sacraments from them, assuming, in our arrogance, that it is we who hold the keys to the Kingdom, that the judgment is ours by virtue.
     
    Let us, in the face of the mystery that is at our door, remember that those who are the first will be last; and that those who have all but no love will be “as a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.”

    “For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy; yet mercy triumphs over judgment.”

    How clever and deceptive this person is to take the unambiguous love of Christ and turn it into a weapon against Him and His Body the Church. This is worthy of C.S. Lewis’ Screwtape Letters.

    • Heracleides says:

      Are you by any chance quoting the infamous (not to mention impious) founder of that ‘Orthodox’ gay coven over on facebook, Inga Leonova?

    • Salemlemko says:

      What of the heterosexual couples that Arida has exiled from his cathedral because they dared, disagree?! Is there no Pascha for them? No room at the table at htoc? What about the htoc practice of shunning those whom Arida has marked as unclean! Unworthy! Undesirable? That is, those that do not conform to the Blue Cathedral’s perverted theology? What about those people, whose only stain is questioning the morality and righteousness of his ministry?

  14. Holy Orthodoxy welcomes EVERYONE! Those who are tempted with same sex attraction are certainly no exception. If a homosexual is actively engaging in sexual acts, he/she cannot approach the chalice until they repent, confess, and struggle to stop committing the sin. If the priest does not know that they are sexually active homosexuals, and they receive communion, it is unto their own condemnation. If he knows that they are active, he must refuse to administer Holy Communion if they approach the chalice….else it is also unto the priest’s condemnation. It is the same scenario with a heterosexual individual who may be fornicating outside of marriage……and a heterosexual individual who may be committing adultery within the marriage.

    For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh judgment to himself, not discerning the body of the Lord.

  15. Now that Arida has “outed” himself, the big question is, What will Met. Tikhon do about the mess?

    If Tikhon does nothing (which is the expected outcome,) it may indicate that he is sandbagged by the Lavender Mafia in the OCA.,,, the same force behind the defenestration of Metropolitan Jonah.

    One has to wonder how much of the OCA’s “perpetual mess” is attributable to the Schmemannite model for an “American church.”

    • This post begins to put the light on underlying causes…

      • Christopher says:

        Pardon my ignorance, but what is the “Schmemannite model”? Seems to some sort of “congregational” idea as far as I can tell – is that accurate?

        • Heracleides says:

          Yep. Metropolitan Council, All American Councils, etc. Careful Christopher – you’re coming perilously close to goring Stankovich’s golden calf by daring to even ask questions. Be prepared for a deluge of hot air from his number one fan-boy as Stankovich extolls the virtues of Saint Schmemann (and of course his own personal connection to the now reposed ‘living legend’).

          • M. Stankovich says:

            Come on, Hercules. You’ve been so busy in Santa’s workshop shooping ornaments for the holiday that you can’t read? We’re all saints & scholars on Monomakos, even the rodents. And all my golden calves are Iron Pyrite – you know, fool’s gold. And so it goes… Oh, and please tell Santa I really want the Clapton Signature Stratocaster, preferably in black.

            • Oh, and please tell Santa I really want the Clapton Signature Stratocaster, preferably in black.
              Sigh, not only are you an electric guy, but you don’t even prefer a Tele. Is there no limit to the perfidious modernist legacy of Schmemann and the Parisians?

              • Heracleides says:

                Not to worry – I, um, ignored the request for a Stratocaster and instead signed him up for a Kazoo (thus allowing him to continue tooting his own horn). 😉

          • Christopher says:

            Looking at my library, I realize that my “Shememannite” collection might be considered thin. I recall reading “Oh death…” more than 20 years ago as a catechumen, and I purchased his journals that his wife published at some point along the road but I recall putting them down about half way through. I also have “The Eucharist” but I don’t think I ever read it. Is there some internet source with a basic explanation of his (apparently novel) ecclesiology?

            • Salemlemko says:

              Read The Eucharist. Give him a chance. Dont listen to the Schmemman haters, but NEVER listen to all those that claim to be his followers on this list. They are a frightening bunch of ignoramuses.

              As with anything in print, read critically, but read it!

  16. Michael Kinsey says:

    There is a way, same as imployed by Lincoln. Emacopation Sanctication. The excutive power is presently unbalanced, with the excutive branch having over reached it’s due authority. Free the unborn from senceless, cold blooded slaghter by excutive fiat. This could be bloodless, as in the USSR. Those politically minded, and active might see it fit to inform any political candidate, that is will of the moral majority, and also the Will of God. I believe, after all the years of debate, the majority of the public would favor such God fearing coup. The Supremes might not be bullied into oppossing it. Emancipation Sancification. make it an election issue.. The cry of refusing to not go back to back alleys and coathangers, is similar to a thief, refusing to not go back to robbing 7-11’s after freely robbing banks and payrolls.

  17. Michael Kinsey says:

    Sanctification Proclamation is a more seemly expression. We need it, ask those running for presidential office if they would do it. The right of all Americans to life. A sense of the sacred will be required of our leaders, which includes fair play, when doing onto others as you would have done on to you. Only liars and psychopaths would claim they would like to have been aborted by thier mother.

  18. @Where Has The OCA Gone, why hide this person’s identity? Did he/she write this to you personally? If not, there’s no need to hide this person’s identity (although I have my suspicions of who it is based on the writing style, this person’s initials perhaps might be “I.L?)

    @Sue, you come here and preach to us that we should not make assumptions and lump people together, yet that is exactly what you are doing. Are you going to address this discrepancy of yours?

  19. The OCA is having an identity crisis. Being autonomous isn’t going so well….

    Things to do list:
    1. Leave OCA 2. Join ROCOR 3. Move to Texas??? ; )

  20. Christopher says:

    Yep, it’s more of the same. As Fr. Jacobse has pointed out, those who want us to accept their “new anthropology” attempt to use the language of the Faith itself (in the above, all the liturgical and scriptural references) to overturn/change the meaning of the Faith. It’s as if they are using all the nouns and verbs, but putting them in the wrong order – the grammar is lost, such that a new and different language and meaning is invented. In this case, one where the passion of sexual attraction is no longer a passion. As others have pointed out, this is a hallmark of “liberal theology” in any “denomination”…

  21. Peter A. Papoutsis says:

    Once again what society thinks of us:http://www.salon.com/2014/11/17/6_reasons_why_religion_does_more_harm_than_good_partner/

    BTW it says religion, but does it really mean Religion or Christianity? Buddism is a very peaceful religion. So is Hinduism and Sikism and many forms of the New Age Movement. So what religion is it talking about? Judaism comes to mind, but its very peaceful in its part of the world and only one society is somewhat dominated by Judaism and that’s Israel. Jews seem peaceful to me and only have anxiety when rockets and terrorist attacks are thrown their way. That has more to do with politics than religion.

    So that leaves Islam and Christianity that are global in nature and have influenced whole societies and nations to be either Christian or Muslim. However, the articles has a picture of Jesus and not of Mohammed, and most libs don’t say a bad word about Islam out of fear so that just leaves Christianity.

    So by the process of elimination what the article is really saying, because its all those Northern European counties and most British People that were Christian at one time but now are not and very peaceful, that CHRISTIANITY is bad for you.

    Gotta love the Liberal/Progressive media. They never fail in their anti-Christian bias.

    Peter

  22. Peter A. Papoutsis says:

    Also as a follow up to my above post IF the British people are now so peaceful and happy without Religion (a.k.a. Christianity) why the rise in suicide rates? http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-21141815. Even the Huffington Post, which commissioned the above study that people are better off without religion, found it very disturbing that suicide rates significantly increased among British people: http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2013/01/22/uk-suicide-rate-increases_n_2524930.html

    If you read both articles its all because of losing one’s material possessions, money, job, etc., or loss of some notion of being a man, Oy vey! So if you read all these articles together you find that British people are NOT really happy and peaceful without God because now that they got rid of the Creator they filled their lives with the creation that is fleeting and not everlasting.

    BTW Greenland is at the top of the suicide list and the most Lutheran, but also most non-practicing, ambivalent towards God or outright Atheistic. Now there are still good and faithful believers in Greenland, but the number has dwindled. almost all belong to the Lutheran Church but almost all are non-practicing. Staring to see a pattern? Hey, its all good because they are happy when they commit suicide. Right?

    Peter

  23. Ashey Nevins says:

    The Orthodox are coming into the main stream of American Christianity by addressing this issue. Coming out from behind their exclusive closed isolation is good. They can have a Christian moral voice, but only if they are consistent on the moral issue being addressed. For instance, if the OCA addresses this issue like the Bible says to address it they are leaders among the Orthodox in that important regard. However, if let’s say the GOA is not consistent on this moral issue that goes directly to the moral perception people will have of all of Orthodoxy in America due to the GOA being the largest jurisdiction.

    Would other jurisdictions like the GOA discontinuing their Orthodox unity and fellowship with the OCA be consistent if sexual corruption or homosexuality was found in the other jurisdiction hierarchies? What would Jesus say about that? What would the NT say about that? Is the practice of homosexuality taking place among some hierarch’s in other jurisdictions that are opposed to this article? It is all about what Jesus says about that kind of sin of hypocrisy that is a double moral standard. If homosexuality is found among the hierarch’s of a jurisdiction and it is not addressed and dealt with Biblically that jurisdiction will be seen as what before the eyes of Jesus? If other bishops and metropolitan’s that are not homosexual and know of such behavior in their hierarchy and do not address it what does Jesus say about them? How they address is important, is it not? How did the EP address Astoria, NY? Yes, I went right to the top and brought that yet to be dealt with by the GOA issue up. Once exposed you do not stop addressing the issue until it is dealt with or the sinful behavior will only repeat itself.

    Really, now come on now Orthodox, be honest, just how well do most Orthodox hierarch’s treat sexual corruption in their own ranks? Does it sometimes look like a zoo inside of a circus gone insane? Do the hierarch’s have a zero tolerance policy toward other hierarch’s that are sexually corrupt? Be honest with yourself a lot is on the line for your church if sexual corruption is in your church leadership. Now if there is that corruption what are YOU going to personally do about it? Go on a Orthodox forum and complain or take action? Are you powerless to take action against it and if so why are you? Are you afraid of someone or something? Are you apathetic and indifferent spiritually immature corrupt yourself? Leave the leaven and I promise the whole lump of the church will become systemically sexually corrupted.

    After the EP and Astoria NY I don’t see how the Greeks can be consistent in this moral regard and since that corruption goes all the way to the top of the church authority. Other issues like the protection of pedophiles and other church hierarchy corruptions do not help the perception at all. The sex council of Elder Ephraim monastics is also a concern being raised in GOA circles and it is not pretty. All of this sexual corruption is dangerous to the church. The dangerous church is not the safe and healthy church of Jesus, period.

    The real concern among the Orthodox needs to be the serious threat of sexual corruption becoming systemic sexual corruption in the jurisdictions. Once it becomes systemic it is very difficult to irradiate. The Orthodox must live up to their adjective of being the HOLY Orthodox church or the perception of them will be one of being immoral and that goes directly to its relevancy in the society and generation their church is found in. Systemic corruptions turn the church into irrelevancy. Such corruptions don’t have a moral or ethical platform to stand on when the church goes systemically corrupt. When it is systemically corrupt and speaks about corruption being wrong that is like a clanging symbol making nothing but hypocritical noises that are transparently seen through for what they are.

    Considering that Orthodoxy represents less than 1% of Christianity in America I would say the perception of this church is highly important to its survival in America. Where the two largest jurisdictions go on moral issues so goes Orthodoxy in America. Are the two largest jurisdictions hierarchies sexually pure and not sexually corrupt?

    Would it occur to the Orthodox in rational modernity America to offer Christ centered grace based healing, recovery or support groups to those who struggle with homosexuality and who want to come out of that life style and who want to be held transparent and accountable for that behavior and so they can participate in the church? What about developing healing, recovery and support ministry to those who struggle with alcohol/drugs, sexual abuse, codependency, adult children of addicts, sexual addiction and other dysfunctions???

    Like them or not or agree with them or not the evangelical Protestant church leads in Christianity with healing, recovery and support ministry to those with dysfunctional issues. The more freedom in Christ based, the more open system transparent, the more inclusive and the more the character of Christ that is healing grace, mercy and truth the more effective and relevant is that church in meeting people with the healing and transformation through Jesus at their different points of wounded, struggling, broken, suffering and trauma felt needs.

    The safe and healthy open system inclusive church that provides ministry that heals the needs of those who have issues of dysfunction that God can treat and heal is the cutting edge church of relevancy to our society and generation. Just saying that someone has a problem that blocks them from being involved in the practices of a church is not Jesus in the Gospels. The modern church must offer those who deeply struggle with issues ministry that addresses those issues and so that the church can remain inclusive through healing that stops people from being excluded. That is relevancy that I do not see in the Orthodox in America and I will briefly explain that observation by bringing up what the church could become as a healing mechanism of Jesus to those who struggle with sin issues in their lives.

    Yes, the Orthodox need to become a modern church with relevant ministries that meet people where they are in their sin, but I don’t see how that can happen when the Orthodox are anti modernity and western and when America is western and modern. Anti is not inclusive.

    I live in an ice cream production facility but I am anti ice cream. The analogy is simple but it fits. It is not complex what the analogy is rationally and logically addressing as a practical reality of the real world. Anti matter cannot exist in the same space as matter. A negative that is anti towards something cannot have a positive outcome with what it is negative towards. The analogies are many that can be made.

    Orthodox, contemplate this, Matthew 9:10-13. Jesus was eating with the scum of the earth tax collectors. The religiously legalistically and works correct confronted Him over being in association with such sinning people. He meet those sinners at their point of sin healing need and those who are religiously correct offered no solution to their issues. They offered no rescue by God to those Christ was meeting with. Christ was the rescue that met these corrupt tax collectors and other sinners at their point of need and He didn’t compromise His ethics or morality when He did.

    Jesus told His critic’s in effect, to go be well hypocrites in your sicknesses. In other words, it is easy to point the hypocritical judgmental finger at those who struggle and it is easier to do that than meet them with ministry that brings healing, recovery and support to their lives and that conquers sin by Jesus and through Jesus who rescues us from our sin. The church that can meet people with ministry that addresses their sin issues is the church that wants people to become More Than Conquers. Some issues are much more difficult to address and bring healing ministry too and homosexuality is one of those issues. It may be the most difficult personal issue anyone who has it can overcome and that needs to be taken into consideration in the judgement of these people and where that judgement that does not provide ministry to their need to overcome homosexuality.

    Pointing out someone’s sin is easy, but bringing ministry that meets them in their sin and addresses their sin with ministry that overcomes that sin is not as easy as judgement of the sin. A good rule to follow is that when you are critical of something in a church or a persons life always provide a solution to what the problem is. If the solution is have more faith, pray more, go to church more or read your Bible more (etc.) that is not helping the person who deeply struggles and who needs a process to deal with their sin and/or dysfunction.

    I fully understand that no church can be all things to all people, but a church can become many things to most people if it is dedicated to remaining relevant to the needs of people with ministries that address their issues. That is a church that is Christ like sensitive to the society and generation it is found in. It is the church that can change to adjust to where it is and so that it can meet people where they are really at. It is not the church of one size fits all and to hell with the rest of you who don’t fit in and because we really don’t want to lift a finger to help you fit in and not sin, but we will point out your sin with no offer of real solution to it other than stop it. The stopping of the sin is often done in a PROCESS of dealing with the sin and the church would be helpful to that process if it offered ministry to those who struggle with such dysfunctional issues in their lives.

    Go and sin no more is often a process for most people who struggle with sin. Of course, no one reading this has any need for such a process of dealing with their sin, right? No one reading this has had a struggle in overcoming a particular sin in their lives, correct? No one here has ever felt shame or condemnation in the sin they struggle with and in their trying to overcome it with Jesus, right? There is another side to this not being addressed and so I thought it would be good to address it with the healing mercy and grace of God that heals in a process of overcoming our issues that we struggle with and to be honest we all struggle something and for some of us it will be a life long struggle that God uses to help us become dependent upon Him in all things. In our weakness Christ is made strong if we lean into Him with our issues of struggle in our lives.

    The church that can meet people where they really are with healing, recovery and support ministry that addresses their issues is the church that wants to rescue people like Jesus rescues people. Some issues people have they will always struggle with and homosexuality is one of those issues most will still struggle with and even if they gain control over it through Jesus. Some people will be in process of healing their issues their entire lives and those kinds of issues are exactly the issue that the church of Jesus must bring ministry to so that people will be included in the worship of Jesus and living for Jesus that God wants of them.

    Those rescued by Jesus over an issue in their lives will turn around and bring that same rescue by Jesus to others with their issue. It is all about Jesus and those rescued by Jesus become all about Jesus if they are truly rescued by Him. The more a church rescues like Jesus rescues the more that church becomes the rescue of Jesus to a wounded, broken, suffering and traumatized world by those rescued by and for Jesus.

    Certainly, there are Christian moral and ethical principles upheld and where is no compromise to them and you see Jesus upholding those principles as He ministers to those dirty, corrupt and abusive tax collectors that no one really wanted to have anything to do with other than their like kind. Sounds very similar to homosexuals to me, what about you? Jesus was holding a small group healing, recovery and support ministry to those sinner tax collectors, do you understand that? He meet them at their point of specialized need, get it? Who criticized Jesus and those sinners He was sitting with? There is another side to this.

    It is all about Jesus our great physician who heals us and the healing for some is not easy because of the complex and difficult issues they struggle with and that can render them powerless to their issues, but in that powerlessness the power of Jesus heals and that healing for some can take time. It is a process of spiritual growth that overcomes over time by a transformation process in and by Jesus. Have any of you always found it to be an easy process of transformation by Jesus who overcomes our sin? There is another side to this.

    It is all about Jesus. Do the Orthodox agree or disagree that it is all about Jesus? If it is all about Jesus then what is Jesus all about in His meeting sinners where they are with ministry that brings healing, recovery and support to them? Who is this Jesus that would do that and who would have a group meeting with sinners to bring salvation and healing to them? Would it be the character of Jesus that is love, mercy, grace and truth?

    Looks like to me that Jesus rescued Matthew the tax collector and then Matthew brought other sinner tax collectors who needed the rescue of Jesus to Jesus. That is what a Jesus healing model of church is all about and because such a church is all about Jesus who heals sinners by bringing issue specific healing to their need. Tax collectors must have had a specific need for Jesus in their particular kind of sin, you think? There is much more going on in these verses than meets the eye. These verses go very spiritually deep, deep, deep. They have profound impact on how church ministers to people with problems, issues and struggles in their lives, but only if the verses are understood and applied.

    Matthew 9:10-13 is my second favorite Scripture of Jesus in the Gospels after John 8:31-59. They address those who really do not GET IT about Jesus. They address the road blocks some put up to the salvation and healing of Jesus. I have met such road block to Jesus Christians. Have any of you? I certainly hope none of you reading this is such a Christian. Some Christians are unknowingly to them are this way. Others that are road blocks to Jesus know what they are intentionally doing and are usually doing that to protect themselves or someone else. They are knowingly practicing sin or protecting the sin practices of others which is sin. Addressing either of them with Christian moral and ethical action is important.

    When healing, recovery and support ministry is offered to a group like the homosexuals that is the church saying we will stand uncompromising on our moral and ethical Christian truth in principles, but not let that stand in the way of us bringing you grace and mercy based ministry that addresses your need with the truth of God. That is the church doing its Christ best to meet sinners where they are and that is really all that God expects of us to try to do. That is a church that wants to become more like Jesus by becoming like the rescue of Jesus to others and no matter what their issues may be. It speaks the uncompromising truth but it also provides the grace solution to the sinner the best it can.

    Jesus came to us full of grace and truth and when we provide ministry to homosexuals that addresses their issue that is the church being what Jesus was to the tax collectors.

    Its all about Jesus.

    • George Michalopulos says:

      Ashley, if I may. I would like all further commentary on this latest posting to be concerned with the legacy of Billy Graham, his outreach to the Russian Orthodox Church in 1988, and the ROC’s genuine affection towards him, now that he is in the winter of his life.

      More, I would ask for discussion on the proposition that Traditionalist Christians of all stripes (but especially Evangelicals) can make common cause with Orthodoxy. Especially the Orthodoxy which is aligned with Russia.

      Thank you.

      • Tim R Mortiss says:

        I’ll take you up on that, George!

        By purest happenstance last night, in looking for something to read, I took down from a shelf Fr. Schmemman’s anthology of “modern Russian religious thought”, “Ultimate Questions”. I hadn’t read this for 30 years.

        I read the essay by A.S. Khomyakov, written in the mid-1800s, and was strongly impressed by it: “On the Western Confessions of Faith.” It is startlingly pertinent to this topic.

        Khomyakov sets out a very clearheaded and unsparing critique of Western Christianity, both Roman Catholicism and Protestantism. Without pulling any punches at all, he nonetheless ascribes several virtues to the Western “confessions”, which many here would do well to consider, in place of their often casual dismissal of the same.

        First, he states that while edification manifestly does not come by Scripture alone, contrary to Protestantism, “nevertheless, we thank them with all our heart for increasing the number of copies of the Bible”. (p.58)

        Secondly, he says this of one Protestant characteristic: “…an upright and sober morality worthy of the first centuries of the Church…” (p.65) (This is especially pertinent to this present topic.)

        Thirdly, he makes this powerful statement about both Catholicism and Protestantism: “You have done much for mankind in science and art, in constitutional law and in the civilization of peoples, in the practical realization of the meaning of truth and in the practical application of love. More than that, you have done all you could for man in his relation with God, preaching Christ to people who had never before heard His Divine Name. All honor and thanks to you for your immeasurable labors….” He then issues a call for the return to Orthodoxy. (p. 68)

        I expect that many here have read this essay, if only long ago. A revisit would be of great value in today’s situation. We are called not to deprecate Western Christianity, but to evangelize it, to a return to the fullness of Faith.

    • When healing, recovery and support ministry is offered to a group like the homosexuals that is the church saying we will stand uncompromising on our moral and ethical Christian truth in principles, but not let that stand in the way of us bringing you grace and mercy based ministry that addresses your need with the truth of God.

      That is precisely what the Church does, Ashey. Read my comments on this and other articles. We do have this in Orthodoxy. It is found first and foremost in the context of sacramental confession: repentance and spiritual counsel.

      But when we have pastors who teach, or at least imply, or even question, that homosexual acts are not sinful, the homosexual who is either self-justified or embarrassed of their sin will tend not to confess their struggles. Then they will not receive the healing they need.

      There is nothing compassionate or Christ-like in waffling about sin. Jesus did not do that. He called sin what it is, and offered a remedy. That is what the Church does today, that is what I and many others have experienced.

  24. Salemlemko says:

    I think it is a marvelous thing that Metrolitan Ilarion made a pastoral call on the Rev. Billy Graham. While the relationship between the ROC and Graham has had its rough spots, the overall is a positive thing.

  25. Sean Richardson says:

    In my humble estimation, I’m thinking that we must not judge others, and it is exactly a point of seeing what Jesus did in His life and ministry. This argument against Fr. Arida, who I met years ago but haven’t seen in over a decade, sounds so Pharisaical it makes me cringe. It was the Pharisees who condemned Christ for eating with publicans and sinners. These were not repentant sinners, they were active, practicing, sinners. No where in the Gospels does it mention that Christ asked the sinners to repentant before they sat down at the table with Him. I think we need to remember that this is Christ’s table, not ours, and we must remember to serve Him, and not ourselves. Finally, I think there are two points here: First, we must not judge a priest for using his pastoral discretion. It really is between the priest, Christ and his flock. Secondly I am reminded of the Gospel that we “judge not lest we be judged” and that we dare not be the first, nor the second or third, who casts a stone.

    • Dear Sean,

      The position which opposes Fr. Robert….is a position that is aligned with the Sacred Scriptures and Sacred Tradition of the Holy Orthodox Church. It is a position that is championed by the majority of Orthodox clergy and laity from all jurisdictions. If you think it is a “pharisaical argument that makes you cringe”…..perhaps you should also consider membership with the Episcopalians.

    • Sue Simpson says:

      Nice Sean, very nice and proper.

      • Trying again:

        Simply writing about the content of my column, not the surrounding discussion: Do you see a conflict in the content of the full texts from Metropolitan Hilarion and Father Arida? The following link to my column contains URLs to both texts. Please compare them and see if you believe that I handled them fairly.

        Perhaps this is the key question: Is Hilarion part of the ‘new and alien spirits’ that must be exposed and expelled from Orthodox life?

      • Very intelligent, Sean! You also hit the nail on the head.

    • Teena H. Blackburn says:

      Christ ate with sinners, unrepentant sinners. He did not, however, suggest that Holy Communion was for unrepentant sinners. Judas partook, and to his own destruction. You can only make the argument you are making by ignoring St. Paul’s admonitions on Eucharistic discipline, and the discipline and practice of 2,000 years of Christianity-that Holy Communion is not to be given to public, unrepentant, sinners. Why? So that they may not condemn themselves in the eating of it. Pastoral discretion is important, but if your priest is giving communion to someone who goes downstairs and tells everyone they are in a gay marriage, and there’s nothing wrong with gay sex, then I’m afraid pastoral discretion doesn’t apply. What you have there is a public scandal, and evidence you can’t trust your priest to guard the chalice. What Christ condemned in the Pharisees was not their condemnation of sins-it was their condemnation of sinners. It’s a fine, but important, distinction.

      • Sorry, Teena, study the Pesach seder and the Gospel accounts and you will see that Judas left after he was given the sop (morsel) as the guest of honor at Jesus’ left and then left. The Bread which our Lord said was His Body and the Cup after Supper (the Cup of Blessing) were given, eaten and drunk after the meal, of which Judas did not partake, having left beforehand.

        lexcaritas

        • Let me add, though, that otherwise I agree with you, Teena, and appreciate your comments.

          Forgive me.

          lxc

          • Teena H. Blackburn says:

            No problem. I didn’t bother to look, I was just noting that Judas being at the first Eucharist was hardly an excuse to give Holy Communion to unrepentant sinners. That would be the case even if he did take Holy Communion, and your comment strengthens my argument even more. Thank you, and nothing to forgive.

    • Rdr Thomas says:

      …and yet….

      The Lord also tells the apostles to shake the dust from their feet as they leave villages that won’t listen to the Gospel. That requires some measure of judgement, doesn’t it?

      …and yet…

      Saint Paul tells us to put outside the Church those who won’t listen to the teachings and insist on creating divisions. That also requires some measure of judgement, right?

      …and yet…

      The Church depends on a conciliar model, guided by the Holy Spirit. Don’t councils also require judgement calls?

      There are myriad other examples. Clearly, to understand the passages you allude to requires discernment. As for me, I prefer the unchanging witness of the Church, which has already spoken without ambiguity on this matter.

      When someone teaches something contrary to the (quite consistent) teachings of the Church, that person is in the wrong. Period. That’s not “judging” them. That’s simply an assertion of fact.

      Regarding this particular teaching, someone up above helpfully organized several patristic quotes (well, with the exception of Aquinus and Tertullian they’re patristic). It might be worth a read.

    • Another wise viewpoint, Sean. Lots of people casting stones on this website.

    • There is a difference between discernment and correction, and judgement and damnation.

      If we do not correct one another, we are violating the Apostles’ words.

  26. Michael Bauman says:

    So, Sean open Communion is what you propose. So, let me ask you, if someone murdered someone else on the steps of your parish and then marched in to receive Communion, should that person be refused? If you are going to be consistent your answer has to be YES!!!!.

    Sin is the murder of the soul.

    Judge not…. is such a load of manure in ideological hands it has nothing to do with the Church or the Gospel. It is a wimpish way of giving into the world instead of discerning the times and the evil therein. Jesus was at the sinners table, not he at theirs. To follow Him they had to: “Repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.” I don’t suppose you remember that.

    • Sean Richardson says:

      Dear Michael, can we please have a reasoned conversation without throwing stones? Yes, I do believe that we as humble Orthodox should not judge. And yes I do believe that the heart of Christ’s Gospel is love. I’d much rather leave judgement to God. I’m sorry if this opinion offends you and you consider it “such a load of manure”. A wee bit harsh from my point of view, but then again, I’m willing to listen to, and read, appropriate counter-arguments to my thoughts.

      • Michael Bauman says:

        Sean, there is no discussion to be had except to acknowledge the teaching of the Church in this matter or to be in rebellion against the teaching. Once the teaching is accepted in faith, the manner in which that teaching is manifest can be discussed but not before.

        I am a blunt man. I tried not to be vulgar but the ideological mishandling of “judge not…” is so incredibly offensive to me and so far from the Gospel….IMO it is at the heart of the egalitarian nihilism that is a major sickness of our age. I cannot and will not be quite or passive when I see it rear its ugly head.

        I have seen too many people I have known and loved fall to the corruption of heretical thought to stand by.

        Sometimes when people’s beliefs are challenged, they get offended. Sometimes they need to be.

    • Christopher says:

      Judge not…. is such a load of manure in ideological hands it has nothing to do with the Church or the Gospel.

      Just wanted to repeat this – so true…

  27. @ Alice, if one purports to be Orthodox, then they believe and support all Orthodox doctrine, not just the ones they pick and chose from, a rather Protestant approach if you ask me.

    Both you and Sue come on this site and presume to judge everyone who sees something different from what you see in what Fr Robert wrote and at the same time preach non judgmentalism at us. It reminds me of an expression, something along the lines of a pot calling a kettle black, perhaps?

    @Sue, you have yet still to answer our questions to you.

    • Sean Richardson says:

      Uh, annoyed, that is not the Tradition of the Orthodox Church. There are many examples where saints even disagreed with each other. In a classic example, St. Nil and St. Joseph were on opposite sides of a 16th century Russian argument, yet though they disagreed, they were both recognized as saints. There is no requirement that all Orthodox march in lock-step and agree 100%. This isn’t part of Orthodoxy.

      • We agree on doctrine, that doesn’t mean we don’t agree on other areas of faith.

      • Michael Bauman says:

        Sean, as Colette says there is a difference between doctrine/dogma and other areas of Church life. I am sure that the saints you mention agreed whole heartedly on the Creed, the sacraments and many other such foundational beliefs which includes the Biblical statements concerning the created nature of man and woman and the synergy we are supposed to have with one another.

        Reductionism does not make for a valid argument.

  28. Teena H. Blackburn says:

    Jesus plainly states that if a person will not listen to the church, they should be treated as tax collectors and other outcasts (sounds like excommunication until repentance to me). St. Paul says believers should not even eat with an unrepentant member of the church until they repent.

    Both say these things while giving a great deal of latitude to non-believers. What gets lost in this conversation is that there is one standard for those outside of the church, and another for those of us in it. To non-believers, there is profligate, non-judgmental mercy. They don’t know Christ, and cannot be expected to act like a believer.

    Part of the mercy of the church, however, is discipline of its errant members. People who claim to be Christians are expected to be in a state of perpetual repentance. A failure to repent causes the church to deny the chalice in order to prevent the person from condemning themselves, and to encourage them to correct their lives in relation to Christ and His church.

    Jesus ate with public, unrepentant sinners, but he called them to repent and change. People in the church are expected to know they have to repent.

    I must say, I have only recently seen the Lord’s sharing the Eucharist with Judas used as an excuse to give Communion to just anyone. No one for 2,000 years has thought this was a proper implication of our Lord’s act. St. Paul and the early church certainly did not draw that conclusion.

  29. At this point, is it safe to say that Ms. Simpson does not intend to answer my question — which actually (this may be out of line) focuses on the subject of the post at the top of this thread?

    Ms. Simpson:

    Simply writing about the content of my column, not the surrounding discussion: Do you see a conflict in the content of the full texts from Metropolitan Hilarion and Father Arida? The following link to my column contains URLs to both texts. Please compare them and see if you believe that I handled them fairly.

    Perhaps this is the key question: Is Hilarion part of the ‘new and alien spirits’ that must be exposed and expelled from Orthodox life?

  30. Today on the OCA’s website you will find the pastoral changes for September and October. If you look at the October report you will see a staggering number of depositons. I suspect that these had built up for a period of time. Despite the number, I’m personally encouraged that the OCA is stepping up to the plate and finally dealing with these problems.

    Much like the discussions on this website now where people banter back and forth, “Mercy.” “No. Discernment.” The OCA for too long has gotten itself in major hot water because it couldn’t/wouldn’t take a concrete position on anything offensive.

    One of the people who was deposed was living a homosexual lifestyle. I knew the man personally but to be kind to his family I won’t give his name here. The OCA has known about this person’s proclivities for years!! Thank God, something was finally done about it.

    I have been very critical of the OCA in the past but on this day, I will commend them and say they finally got something right.

  31. Sean from Islington says:

    Hi all. What is the Synod of any jurisdiction opinion about communing married LGBT couples who are celibate? I have looked and have not yet found one. Possibly the Pan-Orthodox Council sched for 2015 can address this in their busy schedule.What is the Church’s position on straight couples married by a JP? Can they be given communion if they are celibate or it they are working out the details of a church marriage? Is there a place on line one can research answers to these questions that is canonical?

    The question concerning the article in the OP, vs Fr. Arida’s: they are coming from two different positions. Met Hilarion was speaking at a conference of Protestant ministers to whom he proclaimed the official Orthodox position on LGBT people/sex. Fr. Arida was writing for a specifically Orthodox site which generally would not have been read by more than Orthodox persons. Although it is a page set up for young adults to read, mostly the remarks/comments were made by adults. And, the amazing part was it was like the anvil chorus: each person criticizing the fact the Fr. Robert was saying something that he never said. Rather than taking him at his word, everyone returned to their Protestant days in PTSD like fashion. I’m surprised still at this reaction.

    There are reasonable alternative perceptions of what parishioners or ex-parishioners have said of what happens at Fr. Robert’s Church. Salem… is quite overwrought about her experience there. Why has she been quiet so long? If her words are to be considered authentic let her write them, sign her name and send them to the bishop(s) involved.

    The fact that there are reports of Fr. Robert’s parishioner’s, having read them they are not complete. Although there is a report of a gay male couple receiving communion, do you think that Fr. Robert would commune people against the rubric of the church concerning these matters? The report might be construing the situation in a way that they want to portray the situation at Fr. Robert’s parish in the most positive light possible. Maybe the author is exaggerating. What is said on fb pages is hardly a place where I find truth to be best presented.

    There is a willlingness to accept the most preposterous views of the world, church in this group from what I can read in posts. This idea that you are the 21st century version of chicken little is comical but it is out of imagined fear. It would seem to me, looking at this objectively as possible, that if the members of this group are so sure about the support this lynching of Fr. Robert is throughout the country, why not have the discussiuon that Fr. Robert suggests? There is certainly a claim that there are many of the Orthodox of like feeling of this group in the EOC. Rather, the case really is that you are a very small number of loud mouths who can only have this discussion stopped by silencing and threatening other priests. Hopefully, this matter will have its hearing at the Pan-Orthodox Council. If nothing else, it will put the matter at rest either way.

    • Sean from Islington,

      As for a discussion on the subject that Fr. Arida would love the Church to have, I think that Metropolitan Philip, memory eternal, summed up the Orthodox counterpoint to the discussion”

      “We don’t discuss abominations!”

      Everything else that can be discussed will have to come to the crossroads answering his statement: is it or isn’t it?

      • Patrick Henry Reardon says:

        James writes,

        “Metropolitan Philip, memory eternal, summed up the Orthodox counterpoint to the discussion: ‘We don’t discuss abominations!'”

        AMEN!

    • Michael Bauman says:

      Sean, I doubt that the Church has any ‘position’ on same sex attracted couples living celibately–why should she? If they are not engaged in fornication but are living a life of repentance, they are doing as the Church commands.

      As to marriage outside the Church whether religiously or civilly: Anyone who is married when they come to the Church has their marriage blessed. If only one member of the marriage becomes Orthodox, the marriage can still be blessed. However, if someone who is already Orthodox marries outside the Church to someone who is not Orthodox, canonically the Orthodox person is to be excluded from Communion. The Rudder prescribes a period of at least five years, but it can be for life although that is at the discretion of the Bishop.

      Speaking personally, a few years after my first wife (we were married prior to becoming Orthodox and had our marriage blessed) died I met a woman who had been married three times before– two divorces due to her husband’s abuse and adultery and the third husband died. Thinking that the 3 strikes rule only applied to marriages in the Church, we quickly got to the point that we wanted to marry. I found out that, for my bishop, the 3 strikes rule applies to all marriages. So, we were married in her church at the time (that is why I read the canons). I was excluded from the Cup during the time of her catechumenate (about 9 months). On Holy Saturday after she was Chrismated we both approached the Cup together (sort of like the ancient Church did for marriage). Had she not come to the Church, I would likely have remained excluded from the Cup. I was prepared to accept that because I knew she had a heart for God and would eventually come to the Church even if not right away.

      Several years later I tried to ask my Bishop about the whole irregular nature of our marriage. He said, “What was irregular, your marriage is blessed by God.” I thought about that for awhile and what occurred to me is what God told St. Peter: “What God has cleansed, do not call unclean”. The Sacrament of Marriage does not make the marriage (read through it sometime). It blesses and consecrates a union of heart and mind that already exists (the full union of becoming one flesh can then righteously occur). While procreation is not the only and exclusive reason for blessing a marriage, it is certainly a major component–even where the couple is beyond child bearing years. They become parents to many within the Church. The male-female synergy does that, creates.

      The homosexual unions can never rise above fornication and can never be blessed by God even if they are ‘legal’ marriages. The reasons for that have been discussed at great length here and elsewhere. The main one, IMO, is that there is not, nor can there ever be the male-female synergy that is so crucial to our salvation and God’s commands to us.

      There is no need for a discussion. There is only the need to stand firm in the truth with mercy and peace. The Church will always be at odds with the world and she and her members will always be hated by the world. The Christian life is the way of the Cross.

      Go back and read the comments of Ages if you doubt.

      • I doubt that the Church has any ‘position’ on same sex attracted couples living celibately–why should she? If they are not engaged in fornication but are living a life of repentance, they are doing as the Church commands.

        I don’t think the Church has a position, but I think it is undeniably unwise and playing with fire to bless such an arrangement. The way I see it, one should stray far, far away from temptation.

        I remember hearing someone quote, I believe, St. (Elder) Porphyrios, as having said that we should not be afraid of subjecting ourselves to a little temptation, because it helps us to grow—with the exception of sexual temptation, because it is so powerful and so destructive. I think that is exactly right. I think it’s extremely unwise to allow two homosexuals to live together, even in celibacy.

        There are plenty of options for homosexuals, but some simply must be fenced off.

        • Michael Bauman says:

          Yes, Ages you are correct. I was simply trying to make the point that the Church does not have a ‘position’ on every little thing. While the temptation to engage sexually while living with someone to whom you have a sexual attraction is not wise, IF (a big IF) people were able to do that, then it would not be sinful.

          Thank you for your clarification.

      • This is quite possibly the most respectable, edifying, educational, etc. post on the subject.

        Too bad the last two weeks of postings have not been like Bauman’s. I wonder if civil marriage outside the church is getting treated as anything canonically. The original intent of the wait was for what purpose? Dog bone on a racetrack? I don’t get it. Was it just religious competition between east n west?

        And Christopher, to suggest homosexuals would not be able to live together is not realistic. While an alcoholic might want to keep alcohol out of her house; the liquor store might be a block away. There are many instances where people live together. It is only up to the priest and their honesty.

        I still don’t see how the Synod has ever stated how civil marriage of gays is to be treated and it seems like priests have too much discretion. Any link to oca.org would be helpful.

    • Tim R Mortiss says:

      “Returning to their Protestant days in PTSD-like fashion” is a clever phrase, but the Protestantism is all Fr. Arida’s. Indeed, it is precisely his Progressive Protestant Pastor-speak that sets off the alarms, notwithstanding a bit of Orthodox window-dressing.

      Indeed, he is outright parroting the rhetoric of the Protestant clergy who are ahead of him by decades. Perhaps this is Fr. Arida’s view of “Tradition”– we take lots of time and care before we imitate the Protestants– but follow their path we will.

  32. Steve Knowlton says:

    A key assumption, shared by many, is perhaps a fallacy. Perhaps, just as homosexual marriage is not equal to marriage, perhaps homosexual attraction/activity is not a sin like any other sexual sin outside marriage. Proponents of both sides might take comfort in this.

    It is preposterous and belittling to tell a homosexual: “you’re just like me, we all have our sins. I too struggle with lust.” But then after the conversation is over, I get to go home and procreate and the gay man doesn’t. My passion has a protected and honored place, blessed by the Church, his doesn’t. All of this seems terribly unjust if you lazily buy into the idea that the two phenomena are equivalent.

  33. Another day goes by and the OCA is still SILENT.

    Another weekend will go by and Fr. Robert Arida will be distributing the Holy Gifts to married and unrepentant gays.

    Another week goes by and the ineffective and apologetic statement by Metropolitan TIkhon still hangs in the air for all the world to see and judge the OCA reality.

    How long, Lord? How long?

    “How long we live or what illness will cause our death are not proper concerns for Orthodox Christians. Although we sing “Many Years” for one another at Name days and other celebrations, this is only because the Church in Her wisdom knows that we need many years to repent of our sins and be converted, and not because a long life has any value in itself. God is not interested in how old we are when we come before His Judgment, but whether we have repented. He is not concerned about whether we died of a heart-attack or cancer, but whether our soul is in a state of health.”
    Bishop Constantine (Jesenky)

  34. M. Stankovich says:

    I was reading an essay last night by someone on the Daily Beast website, and she made some very interesting, but in fact disturbing comments regarding the significance of the study I posted. Her conclusion is simply this:

    In 2014, the “gay gene” simply doesn’t matter. The science behind it is narrow and inconclusive. Its rhetorical potential—if it ever had any—has been thoroughly exhausted. And, at this point, continuing to pursue a genetic explanation for homosexuality could [do] more harm than it does good. It doesn’t matter whether or not you were “born this way,” what matters is being accepted the way you are, however you got there.

    She argues that such research is simply a “strategy in a homophobic world that demands proof that homosexuality is not “a choice” in order to recognize its validity,” and goes on to cite polls of Americans who responded that, “it would mostly help gay and lesbian rights if homosexuality were found to be biologically determined,” apparently where other “strategies” would not.

    What she proposes is that “gay people should refuse the nature-or-nurture dialectic and demand respect regardless of how homosexuality comes about. To accept these terms would be to constrain both the freedom of LGBT politics and the fluidity of sexuality itself,” when “in terms of promoting LGBT equality, then, it doesn’t seem to matter as much whether or not people believe that gay people are “born that way” as it does that they simply know someone who is currently gay, no matter how they were born. Friendship is the trump card in the movement for equality, not etiology.”

    It seems to me that such an opinion speaks loudly to how much “moral ground” has been taken from us – or better, we have ceded – because of the lack of a voice of moral authority. In effect, our society, having already erased the question of morality; eliminated any opportunity to investigate the “permanence” of sexual orientation or the possibility of therapies that may promote change (and in CA, I could actually be arrested for discussing sexual orientation with a minor, regardless if they express conflict and actively approach me!); manipulate the spirit of the laws of “protected class” status in order to intimidate and censor free speech & the freedom of association; and now demean the significance of medical science as a “[constraint to] both the freedom of LGBT politics and the fluidity of sexuality itself.” And I am presuming this “fluidity” extends to the suspension of reality that a genetic male with breast implants, androgen-suppressing hormones to disguise secondary male characteristics, with or without genital reconstructive surgery is, in fact, a woman.

    I will again say that the “uproar” over Fr. Robert Arida’s essay is a “surrogate” for taking any significant, meaningful action as true witnesses and moral forces in this continuously self-destructing society in which we live. Demands are being made that more brotherhoods of the clergy formulate “statements,” even entire diocese – “RISE UP!” Salemlemko passionately cries. Yet, all around us, the forces of darkness have carefully noted Gallop polls indicating, “the percent of Americans who know a gay or lesbian person has increased more than 35 percentage points,” and that “the magic bullet for the acceptance of homosexuality seems to be the act of knowing an actual gay or lesbian person.” Stunning. Am I suggesting that Fr. Robert Arida not answer for his ambiguity, or if he condones or promotes heresy that he should not immediately repent and be consequenced in the manner set forth by the Church? Absolutely not. But he is being made a grandiose “reaction formation” – a misdirection – for the real problem: a state of indifference, secularism, and lack of moral leadership. Fr. Hans declares, “They need to be stopped. They won’t stop until they have deconstructed Orthodoxy into Eastern Rite Episcopalianism.” My question: for all intents & purposes, what are we now?

    • Rdr Thomas says:

      Dr. Stankovich,

      I hear your frustration in this comment, and in some sense I share it, but what would you have the Church do? There is clear teaching on this matter; the list of apostolic, patristic and other assorted “hangers on” that is posted above is pretty unambiguious.

      Understanding how someone got to be the way they are is useful in a pastoral sense; I get that. It helps to find a way to lift the person out of the state they’re in.

      In my humble opinion, I think that where the angst comes in is the language (not necessarily from you) that really appears to want to normalize the behavior instead of trying to lift the person out of it.

      I don’t think anyone here disputes the idea that discussing the Church’s teachings is bad. The problem comes when it looks less like it’s discussing the Church’s teachings in order to “come in one’s right mind”, and more like “discussing” the Church’s teachings and how they could be modernized in light of our more “advanced” scientific and socio-cultural “knowledge”.

      I guess what I’m saying is, again, what is the Church to do except proclaim the same thing that it always has?

      Just my $0.02, and with all respect.

    • Michael Bauman says:

      Michael, while your reiterated point that the Church has ceded the moral ground seems compelling at some level, I tend to think that it is mostly a red herring when most people do not think the Church should have any moral authority. That is the larger point. The ‘ceding’ began long ago when we could not even maintain a semblance of Christianity: “You will know they are Christians by there love”.

    • Christopher says:

      My question: for all intents & purposes, what are we now?

      Excellent question M. Stankovich. First, let me say I understand that “gay intellectuals” came to the conclusion long ago that they should abandon any attempt to make the acceptance of their “lifestyle” on medical or “nature” grounds. They saw that this might lead to a “cure” (however unlikely) and thus leaving the core moral disagreement intact.

      IMO, modern secular man’s morality (i.e. most of our neighbors – our society) is a mixture Kantian/Rawlsian “golden rule” based on a volunteeristic psychology and morality. One thing you seem to be asking whey you say “what are we now” is, are we Orthodox laity and clergy also assenting to this modern anthropology? I would say on a whole no (the response to Fr. Robert’s essay is witness to this). However, it is seductive, and it is the cultural soup in which we all swim 😉 This modern zeitgeist infects us all in ways we don’t like to admit and we have to be very “proactive” in our spiritual stance – our acesis has to be active and effective if we are to have any chance of even recognizing it, let alone rejecting it.

      I think where we would disagree is Fr. Robert – he is not a “surrogate” but has himself clearly drunken deep from the modern cup, and is now turning back to the Faith and is starting the “deconstruction” process (thus his claim that marriage has no real consistency in the history of the Church for example).

      Fr. Robert can do this because as you rightly point out, the Church suffers from “lack of moral leadership” from the very people who are supposed to provide it, the bishops. They can point to statements all they wish, but if they don’t walk the walk in their own “sexual” lives and in their duty to oversee men like Fr. Robert, then they are not doing their jobs. So perhaps I can agree with you in that Fr. Robert is a “surrogate” in the sense that I am pointing to Fr. Robert and saying to the bishops “there, right there, there is an example of an infestation of modernism among the Faithful – what are you going to do about it?”. No “meaningful action” or “witness” to our “self destructing society” is going to be significant unless we are clear ourselves as to what it is we are witnessing.

      “what are we now?” Well, “we” are not “Eastern Rite Episcopalianism”, at least not yet…at least some (most?) of us are not, by Grace, even if “we” are infected with modernism in so many ways, this modernism is not yet who “we” are until we succumb to the infection and become ourselves “alien” in the Church…

      • What about fasting?

        Shellfish okay; burger not. In order for alms giving?

        Math fails.

        The unwillingness to change on this subject has nothing to do with anything other than noone wishes to take ot up. And ultimately, the result is the church seems foolish to anyone looking crtically at this subject.

        • Fr. John Whiteford says:

          It is not simply a matter of almsgiving. Beef has a very different effect on the body than shrimp. Beef is harder to digest, and leaves one feeling sluggish.

        • Michael Bauman says:

          Fasting is difficult, especially in this culture. Indeed all of the basic disciplines of the Church are difficult.

          Repentance, forgiveness, prayer, worship, almsgiving (which includes having a merciful heart), and fasting. They are each mutually interdependent.

          I fall short (no pun intended) in each area. The fact that everybody falls short does not excuse any of us from ignoring the disciplines and replacing them with our own will. Nor does the failure to be perfect mean that we are forbidden from speaking out when someone is going the wrong direction, missing the mark and leading others in the same direction.

          Just another red herring.

        • Tim R. Mortiss says:

          The Church seems foolish to anyone “looking critically” at the subject of fasting?
          No Protestant looks at the subject of fasting at all, much less “critically”; the Roman Catholics gave up any pretense of fasting themselves long ago.

          “Shellfish ok, burger not” represents the ancient custom and tradition. Shellfish did represent the food of the poor, not just in bygone Mediterranean times, but in quite recent times in the US Northeast (recent being within the last century or so). Lobster there was the food of the lower classes– a total reversal of today’s situation. The well-to-do wouldn’t touch it!

          So it made perfect sense. Should the Church then have regular conclaves to weigh whether or not a particular food has risen in popularity lately, so as to modify the practices of fasting? Perhaps vegetarian diets are too popular now to count…..

          I had many a conversation about fasting with friends and acquaintances over the years, because I followed (sometimes ok, sometimes weakly) the Orthodox Lenten fast for decades before I actually became Orthodox, so it was often cause for comment and discussion. Those who were seriously interested I always referred to Bp. Kallistos Ware’s essay on the subject in his and Mother Mary’s translation of the Triodion. One of his most important points is that one follows the Tradition of the Church community in fasting– one must not conjure up one’s own special rules and special severities. This certainly applies to the “shellfish issue” as well as to a lot of other things.

          Mr. Fall, do you really find that this is a problem?

  35. Michael Stankovich,

    Thank you for your considered opinion. Lots to digest. Morality has become a moving target, absolute truth is no longer believed in society or at least is a subject for debate Reconsideration of these and other pillars that have, at least, pointed society beyond itself and towards the Kingdom have been abandoned in society at large and in some churches in particular.

    As an Orthodox Christian, it is apparent that the social debate about gay rights, at this point, is a losing one for those who profess the Orthodox understanding of marriage between one man and one women. American law is extending civil rights to these cohabitation arrangements between people of the same sex. I don’t have a crystal ball to be able to see in the future if this current wave of secularism can be overcome, but I do know that I cannot give one foot, not one inch to any cleric who would intentionally or unintentionally be swept into teaching that such same-sex unions are Godly. Legal, maybe, but Godly, no.

    Yes, “indifference, secularism, and lack of moral leadership” are not new, they have always been with man since the Fall, but attempts by clergy, like Fr. Arida to try and seduce his flock under the guise of compassion, understanding, love, being non-judgemental, etc. says to me that he is indifferent, secular and acting like a immoral leader if he tries to make that which is immoral, now moral.

    There is a place for gay people, just like any other sinner and the door to that place is repentance. But if what was a sin is no longer considered a sin, then what need is their for repentance as a gay?

    • I have no doubt that it will soon be as taboo to call homosexuality a sin as it would be to call black skin a sin. We are already nearly there among the youngest generation. Let them grow up and have children, and we will be there.

      The Church needs to prepare for this coming reality now. We are going to be as marginalized in the West as our brethren in the Phanar. We will be tomorrow’s Westboro Baptist Church.

      We cannot negotiate with this culture. We can only be faithful, and if that means the Church returns to the catacombs once again, that is what we must do. There is no point in being mainstream if we have to lose our souls to do it. Just be ready now.

      • Aaron Little says:

        Well said.

      • Christopher says:

      • Christopher says:
      • Tim R Mortiss says:

        I fear you may be right but I don’t agree. There are hundreds of millions of faithful yet, in this country and around the world.

        And I think (and hope) you are wrong about the youngest generation. I have children in their forties and grandchildren in their 20s and teens. Lots of them, and friends similarly situated.

        Here is one of the lessons: one of the cures for these easy social attitudes about homosexuality among the young is for them to have children. You can see the pendulum swing before your eyes!

        We should forget about the “catacombs” while we still have tens of millions of Christian countrymen who will never accept this. We fight, as we do in one small way here.

  36. Ryan Hunter says:

    Speaking as someone who has been denied the Cup once or twice myself for different reasons, (I’m sure many of us here have been), I can say that it leads to real spiritual growth to be given an amount of time by one’s spiritual father to cleanse oneself of any sins that put an obstacle between oneself and our Lord. It’s not a punishment, but a kind of medicine: “abstain from this for a time and then start taking it again”.

    On the other hand, for a priest or bishop to knowingly commune an individual or people who are living a life opposed to the Church’s teachings, he not only knowingly violates the teachings of the Church by communing someone who is not prepared to receive the Body and Blood of our Lord, but he exposes the communicant to possible grave spiritual harm. Besides that, a priest who communes someone who is not living the Church’s teachings on sexual life (heterosexuals as well as homosexuals) is lying to that person. He is saying to them “The Church condones what you are doing, and it’s either not sin, or it’s not a serious one.” This is dishonesty of the worst kind, because it not only presents an inaccurate and false view of what the Church teaches *and why*, but serves to further imperil the soul of a sinful person by telling the sinner, wrongly, that there is no need for repentance.

    The Eucharist is *not* a right to which we are all entitled; it is the most precious, holy, and powerful gift we can receive on this earth. It joins us to God Himself; when we commune of the sacred Mysteries, Christ Himself flows through our veins. We become united to Him in the most intimate, real way possible. For anyone who is not spiritually prepared to commune to do so is dangerous for that person’s spiritual well-being. To do as Fr. Robert (Arida) has done and cast doubt on the Church’s teachings, which are not legalistic and cruel but come from centuries and centuries of doctrinal revelation and pastoral practice, is to play with fire.

    -Ryan Hunter