Why Weren’t We Told about This?

One of our correspondents, Gail Sheppard, recently commented on Facebook that far more American women are dying of pregnancy-related complications than any other developed country. This is shocking. After all, we are the First World nation and don’t we have contraception and abortion, which according to Bill Clinton should be “safe, legal and rare”. Well, this is where it gets interesting as she was surprised to learn from a report (sent to her by one of her Facebook friends) that maternal mortality increases with the number of abortions.

Specifically, for one abortion, there is a 45% increase in death for the mother. For a second abortion the risk increases to 114% and with a third abortion the increase is a whopping 191 percent. (This is compared to women who have had no other abortions and controlling for other reproductive outcomes as well as age of the mother during the last pregnancy.)

Now, no one signs up to be at 191% greater risk of dying for anything at all. Not for sky-diving, mountain climbing, or bridge tournaments. The question is WHY are the risks not being widely reported?

Why indeed?

One reason is because it doesn’t fit with the nihilist program of legal infanticide. Another is because abortion in America is big business. Then there is the fact that the sacrifice of innocents feeds demonic energies. Think of abortion as modern-day child sacrifice to Moloch.

But even if one doesn’t believe all that, even if one is a strict materialist, the simple fact of the matter is that health professionals owe it to women who are contemplating abortion to know that abortion is not “safe”, not merely for the baby that is going to be destroyed but for her as well and that there are serious sequelae down the road. Things like future complications to normal pregnancy, sterility and of course death.

Several years ago, the FDA made a startling announcement regarding Premarin and other female hormone replacement therapies. Based on preliminary findings across a wide spectrum of women and chronology, it was obvious that these were over prescribed and were probably responsible for a significant increase in cancers. The news was so overpowering that they strongly recommended that women be taken off them immediately even before the studies were completed.

Whether that was precipitous or not is besides the point. The early indications were that they were a clear and present danger to the health well-being of women everywhere.

If the findings of this report (which comes from a European medical journal)
https://academic.oup.com/eurpub/article/23/4/569/427991 are accurate, then a similar moratorium on abortion should take place immediately as well. Or at the very least, every Planned Parenthood clinic and/or abortuary should make these findings known so that women who are considering abortion should at least have the ability to make an informed choice.

Of course, this won’t happen. And that’s a sad thing. Still, we shouldn’t be surprised given what we know about Google and Facebook and how they actively suppress news.

So, for any of you women out there who are contemplating abortion, I beg you to make a nuisance of yourselves if you are in the process of taking that step. Pester the abortionist and his auxiliary personnel if they are familiar with this study. If they hem and haw or retreat to talking points, then chances are (1) they don’t know, (2) they don’t care, and (3) just put your feet in stirrups and shut-up, we know what’s best for you.

But know this: if you choose option #3, you’ll live with the physical consequences for the rest of your life as well as the spiritual consequences. And no amount of happy-talk is going to make it any better for you.

About GShep

Comments

  1. Constantinos says

    George,
    Important information. Can we address the elephant in the room? The major problem is promiscuity. In America, fornication and adultery have become so commonplace that no one bats an eye. Can I be frank? An extremely large number of women in America have become sluts and whores. Some of these women get knocked up after only knowing a guy for a month. Everybody is sleeping around. I sincerely wish we could return to the good old days when virginity was prized. Abstinence is the word. A man who sleeps around is a dirt bag, slimy worm, and a woman who fornicates or has sex outside of marriage is a whore. Plain and simple!

    • Rather racist put but glad u included the guy too.
      But yes simply stared. U see the right on lot do not like to look at the beam in there eye including the tremendius pressure, nay,not pressure,too weak a word, but assumption that a young girl will dress and act in a certain way, it is just as demanding and over bearing as any islamic head cover. FAR more as the implicationsw paedophlia in much of fashion advertising.
      And yes dealing with all of this as with drunkeness on a Friday night in any Uk A/E dept. They are not there for that, long moved on! And celebration of their Irish victory.
      And we must face the fact thst the totally discredited dying Irish church was not able to say a word. If it had I think the victory might have been greater.

  2. George — please be aware that Planned Parenthood is also starting to give non-FDA-approved hormones to college students and other young adults who claim they are transgender. No medical diagnosis necessary.

    This is a separate issue from abortion, of course, but it is similar in the sense that the mainstream media is refusing to cover it. I co-founded a Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria support group for parents and others who are concerned about the social, legal, and medical malpractice implications of gender ideology. These groups are springing up all over the country and are by no means for conservatives only. I am the only conservative in my group — everyone else is liberal, but they are just as determined to fight this as I am.

    Sorry to highjack this thread to talk about a related issue, but I thought you should be aware. See parentsofrogdkids.com for more info.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Not at all, Mrs DK! Thank you for bringing this to our attention!

      This is most disheartening. Even many homosexual partisans are starting to look askance at the whole “gender dysphoria” thing. I believe it to be bogus in many ways and even if it’s not, the hasty way it’s being treated leads me to this unalterable conclusion: that said “treatment” is doing more harm than good and that this harm will be irreparable.

    • I live in Bulgaria where as Russia abortion was used as contraception with some females having six!!
      I oppose abortion as morally wrong full stop as Orthodox Christian and as health professional.
      But I have to.say I support an abortion law up to 12 weeks and 90% are prior to this date)because without as we know from figures, RATES rise and back street with all that this means . What stops abortion as so much, are the person ‘ s ethics and belief not law actually. And the mother aborting a child will face God what ever I say or do.
      To be clear I am discussing a healthy mother wanting an abortion because she does not want the baby. Where there is risk to life of mother etc this is a different matter not discussed here.
      We also need much more support to help a mother be able to give Birth and give for adoption and to realise each case is not a Culture war I AM SO SO SICK OF YR YANK CULTURE WARS, IT IS A SINFUL INDIVIDUAL,AS WE ALL BEFORE GOD.
      And prevention better than cure and no, throwing contraception at the problem will not solve it but we need to address REALITY not THEORY and one abortion prevented by contraception is a victory.
      What will change things is a Christian society but given the state of church in USA and that many american so called evangelicals would be better suited to attending the synagogue as seem Jewish in faith, we may have to wait.
      Finally as to health statistics. Your Health system stupid, but on matters of health care I Refuse to engaged in american PSYCHOTIC screwed up primitive thinking on the matter. YOU HAVE A WONDERFUL SYSTEM GOD BLESS U ALL

      • Fr. David Hovik says

        Nikos, You wrote: But I have to.say I support an abortion law up to 12 weeks…
        I could not disagree with you more. As Orthodox Christians, we are for the protection of all the unborn. If it is arbitrary (you choose 12 weeks, others choose 16 weeks & still others choose 24 weeks as the cutoff) why not support Hillary and partial-birth abortion? Life begins at CONCEPTION and we are called to protect life, whenever possible. I appreciate many of your comments but you are WAY OFF on this one. Forgive me.

        • Bishop Anaxios says

          Fr. David

          True!

          As Orthodox Christians, we always affirm life

          However, from long ago – and as mentioned in the canons –

          There is one situation that is not considered “permissible,” but no “punishment” is enforced

          The practice is this:

          The woman who is with child eats a banana whole

          If the baby slips on a banana peel, no one is to be held at fault

          [Most greatly practiced in ancient Christianized Sparta]

        • Monk James says

          While I completely support Fr David Hovik’s moral correction of the statement by ‘NIKOS’: ‘I support an abortion law up to 12 weeks ‘, it’s important that we keep our definitions clear.

          Human life begins at fertilization — not at conception.

          Conception, also called nidation, is the acceptance of the embryo into the endometrium, or lining of the uterus. This is the result of some complex hormonal adjustments, and not all embryos are, in fact, conceived. It often happens that an embryo is lost from the womb before a mother is even aware of its presence.

          On the other hand, when male and female gametes unite in the process of fertilization, they form a zygote (from the Greek word for ‘yoked together’). From that point — whether the zygote is ever conceived or not — it is a genetically complete human being, albeit in the very earliest stage of development.

          Were we to insist that human life began at conception, though, we would be creating some philosophical wiggle room for contraceptive techniques such as IUDs and possibly even D&C procedures which would cause the abortion of a zygote before nidation.

          ‘Treasure of Good Things and Provider of Life, come and dwell among us!’

          • Monk James says

            Returning to the humanity and personhood of the zygote (embryo), whether or not it has been conceived (implanted in the lining of the womb), we must also consider the morality of in vitro fertilization of human gametes.

            Ordinarily, several human eggs (ova) are injected with individual human seeds (spermata) . Notice that this technique is always described as ‘fertilization’ and its product is a genetically complete, living but embryonic human being.

            Under best conditions, both eggs and seeds are contributed by a married couple, but this is sometimes not possible because of the infertility of one or the other spouse. In that case, it is scientifically possible to introduce the gametes from people outside of the marriage, but this is immoral because it is a species of adultery, in its most literal sense. The same is true if a third-party ‘surrogate mother’ is impregnated with zygotes (embryos) biologically unrelated to her.

            After several phases of growth by cell-division, the zygotes are examined and those with ‘problems’ are killed by technicians. Healthy zygotes are then mechanically introduced into the womb, where it is hoped that they will be conceived and brought to term. However, since several embryos are introduced into the womb, it is possible that more than one of them will achieve nidation, and begin to grow into a fetus (a recognizable human baby). In such a situation, a procedure sanitarily called ‘selective reduction’ might be performed. This involves the surgical removal (murder by abortion) of as many babies as the mother in question does NOT want to be born.

            Altogether, mechanical fertilization of human embryos creates a moral minefield which decent people — especially Christians — do best to avoid.

        • Thank you. And yes I expected blow back. I worked in health field. I also dealt with staff having abortion. I NEED YR HELP ON THIS ONE FR.
          I know that abortion will take place No matter what, human fallen nature and Sex being what it is. One may say so will murder but why legalise it? And valid point. On the other side if one is a believing Christian, one if female, would NOT have an abortion what ever the law. I am not refering to those cases where life is at risk but to healthy females aborting as do not want baby.
          But where abortion totally banned and contraception limited or non existent, the abortion RATES high..HOW DO WE ANSWER THAT!?
          Yes the ethos of society needs to be changed Sadly but what can we do?
          I am not bringing forward contraception as a panacea for everything and as a society we are totally screwed up about Sex where it has just become a financial selling point. Totally unerotic society, and unloving often. But if contraception can reduce abortion RATES and above all. STD RATES too.?? This is the real world.
          Our society shouts loudly about Muslim young ladies in burkas and pressure to wear but, and not defending that, but our western society puts a young girl under GREAT PRESSURE to act and be in certain way. I have personal family experience.
          And any glance at fashion adds and shop fronts, will see the border line and over paedophlia that is encouraged in making money. And the constant pressure to push forward, back in years, the sexualization of children.
          But why should we be surprised?. A non Christian society will adopt non Christian mores. Humanists think the nice stuff is ‘ in the ether’ not in Christian teaching

        • Thank u father. I appreciate very much yr comments. I have replied so do read. I am hoping u can read and help me.
          As i worshiped this morning at Liturgy here in Veliko Tarnovo Bulgaria, It came to me as so often that words,words, too many words. All we need is ‘the one thing needful ‘ as the rhe late Fr Alexander SCHMEMANN wrote and as he forsaw the coming lunacy we live in. That is The Body and Blood of Christ in the Liturgy. The rest redundent..

    • Hi I am psychologist. Yes agree totally. We are having a fascist science -ignored for emmotive crap policing of thought. Common sense and knowledge thrown out because those that should, lack the back bone to stand up to it. Same with identity Politics, MOOD MUSIC CRAP FOR NEO LIBERALS to continue screwing the poor. CHECK MY PRIELEGE. Crap. When was last time Kanye West checked his Kardashian Poverty.
      Ha most EUROPEANS are desendents of serfs!! Check that PRIELEGE.
      Truth is Poverty, poor health that comes from it etc etc affect black and white and Green and yellow equally.
      In Uk chinese children, greek cypriot children from working class background do farcbetter than native ones. It is because of Culture and I am greek. So are they prieveleged.? And African far far ahead of west Indian in education etc. I am tired of these ideologues who use and abuse people as fodder for their hate. . It is the neo capitalism system that abuses all. No political party will bring change only a Christian conscience that does not worship many and power.. But hey that where came in.

      • Will Harrington says

        There is one thing here that I disagree with. The problem is not the neo-capitalist system. Systems are never the problem, or the solution. The problem is always people. If we put our trust in systems, then that simply gives greedy people the chance to take advantage of the system while we aren’t looking because, you know, we thought putting a good system in place would make everything better.

        • Yes agree totally it’s the people and as fallen people we fall and get up and fall and get up. There will never be a system or Parish etc that the!’human factor ‘ will not bring problems to.
          No system will bring nirvana, the fallacy of ideologues of left, and as now we in right wing lunacy mode.
          However at least we can start with a system not based on totally greed and that looks at social justice.

    • M. Stankovich says

      Just for clarification, I would appreciate if MrsDK would provide some further information about the “non-FDA-approved hormones” being given by PPH. I am unable to find any information beyond the trans hormone replacement therapy that is the “standard of care.”

      I had thought you might have confused this with the use of Lupron (Leurorelin), which was approved by the FDA in 1985 to treat prostate cancer, breast cancer, endometriosis, uterine fibroids, and important to this discussion, early puberty (“precocious puberty”). Not to overly complicate the matter, but “precocious puberty” can begin in females before the age of 8 & males before the age of 9 by the early activation of of the gonadal pathway by gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH). Treatment is accomplished by providing an GnRH agonist (such as Lupron) to stop the early onset of puberty. What is not approved by the FDA is the use of Lupron to suppress puberty in an otherwise healthy child in order to manipulate their development, and begin hormone replacement therapy at a later age. If you stop for a moment to consider this “protocol,” first, look up the full prescribing information for Lupron (Leurorelin) – and I’m sure Mr. Michalopulos could answer any questions regarding this medication – and ask yourself, for what other medical/psychiatric condition would we expose a healthy child to such risks? And say after seventeen months into this “transition,” this young person decides they no longer wish to continue; they just want to go back to being “themselves” (as the literature and the DSM-V clearly indicates is what occurs in the overwhelming number of these situations)? We have absolutely no data as to the safety profile for the use of Lupon in children and adolescents who do not have early activation of of the gonadal pathway by gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH). None. Yet it was approved in Europe and is moving toward being a standard of care in the US.

      • Sorry, I just saw this — the non-FDA-approved hormones are testosterone for trans-identified females and estrogen for trans-identified males. Yes, this is the so-called “standard of care” — not approved by the FDA and yet given to teens and young adults through the use of an “informed consent” form, based on no objective medical tests whatsoever.

        Parents in Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria support groups throughout the country are finding out that their kids are being given these hormones at the “health centers” of universities or at Planned Parenthood. For more info, please see 4thwavenow.com.

        • M. Stankovich says

          I went to the 2nd site you provided and I still find nothing specific as to why you are using the term “non-FDA-approved hormones.” And now you are acknowledging that PPH is actually doing nothing-more-nothing-less than anyone else in providing the standard of care; and “so called” is the standard of care. Whether or not you agree, it was unfair to suggest that PPH was providing “unapproved” services outside the established standard of care.

          To greatly over-simplify the matter, to place a medication on the market, a manufacturer must demonstrate to the FDA that there is a legitimate need; that their product is safe; and that a patient who takes their medication, or uses their product/device, derives a benefit that greatly outweighs any risk that might come. In granting approval, the FDA does so in terms of “indications” for which the manufacturer has demonstrated efficacy. There are currently no FDA indicated medical conditions for the use of testosterone or estrogen for children or adolescents. This means no manufacturer has conducted clinical trials and submitted application to the FDA for an approved indication. It does not necessarily mean it would be harmful and/or ineffective to do so. It could easily mean, for example, that the epidemiological data suggested there was an insufficient need, which practically speaking, meant a low probability for future income. The current manufacturers indicate in their prescribing information the lack of research & a safety profile for anyone under the age of 18. The FDA specifically says:

          Testosterone is a hormone essential to the development of male growth and masculine characteristics. Testosterone products are FDA-approved only for use in men who lack or have low testosterone levels in conjunction with an associated medical condition. Examples of these conditions include failure of the testicles to produce testosterone because of reasons such as genetic problems or chemotherapy. Other examples include problems with brain structures, called the hypothalamus and pituitary, that control the production of testosterone by the testicles. None of the FDA-approved testosterone products are approved for use in men with low testosterone levels who lack an associated medical condition.

          It would seem to me that when Estrogen and Testosterone Cypionate are consistently among the top 50 in the case of the former, and top 100 in the case of the latter – prescribed medications in the US, it is being done so in a “non-FDA-approved” manner. Your implication is that practitioners are “out of bounds” in providing hormones, when you admit yourself that it is the standard of care. Likewise, nothing prevents a licensed physician from prescribing any medication for an “off-label” purpose, and off-label use have led to clinical trails that led to clinical indications.

          Lastly, Gender Dysphoria – and Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria is a speculative categorization, at best, at this point – is a psychiatric disorder (F64.9 in the ICD 10 of the WHO, and 302.85 in the DSM-V of the APA). I point this out because, to date, there is no objective medical test of any consequence whatsoever for any psychiatric disorder of which I am aware. I am not exactly sure what you meant above by saying, “No medical diagnosis necessary,” but I will tell you that electronic health records will patiently wait for your diagnostic code entry before permitting you to move on – presumably forever. Why? Reimbursement. Oh, and there’s that business about the law and ethics…

          What disturbs me the most in this entire situation is that the Orthodox church in this country is of no help to you whatsoever, for the usual reasons: ignorance, fear, and indifference. Apparently, this only happens in San Francisco and New York. I have some material – from an Orthodox perspective – that might interest you. If I could ask Mr. Michalopulos to assist, send your email to him to forward to me, and I will send you some things to consider.

          • It’s too busy organising nice get -to gethers at posh hotels talking about a non existing world or ordering those cheap Organs they like to install in their theatres,sorry Churches. Just the thing for here comes the bride ( Greek byzantine chant that in case u ask)
            See yr doctor, unless he key note speaker!!

  3. Jonas Pernaly says
  4. Linda Albert, says

    Anyone who’s ever had fruit trees knows the damage abortion does to the womb. Just as when fruit is ripe it sends out a hormonal signal to the tree to start closing off the flow of sap and to harden the tissues of the stem where it attaches to the tree, so the baby in the womb as he or she approaches the end of term sends out a hormonal signal to the placenta to start loosening itself from the uterine wall. This is why pregnancies that go two weeks past calculated due dates are induced. There is a greater danger the placenta, and thereby the baby’s oxygen supply, will detach before the baby is out of the womb. If you have ever picked a green piece of fruit and had it take a strip of tree bark because the stem was still very firmly attached, you’ve seen the kind of damage an early term miscarriage or abortion will often do when the placenta is not ready to detach on its own. I don’t understand why this isn’t seen as just common sense. Hasn’t God shown us this in other natural processes?

  5. Michael Bauman says

    Linda Albert, there is no sense at all once ideology kicks in. To those who value ideology above human beings or God, nothing else matters. It often reminds me of the rationale during the Vietnam War: “We had to destroy the village to save it.”

    Ideologists of all stripes left-right-political-religious are quite willing to destroy the world and everyone else in it to make it “a better place” Notice the “everyone ELSE” They never seem to start with themselves.

    • U have it in one.
      In Pasternak’s Dr Zhivago, one of the characters makes this point that Christ brought the PERSON, NOT THE IDEOLOGY OR THE GROUP in to the World, the Person into history. This is why Culture wars should be alien to us Orthodox and if that is all we have, we indeed no longer needed. The priest in confession has an INDIVIDUAL, gay, Straight, male,female etc etc in Front of him and deals in Front of Christ, with that PERSON.

      All ideologues of left and right have no love for what they rant on about.
      As for us Orthodox Christians, I understand that as here this morning, all that matters is worship and to receive THE BODY AND BLOOD OF CHRIST. Happily here in Bulgaria, we worship still as Orthodox Christians

  6. Bishop Tikhon says

    Is it not mostly white women that get these abortions? And why are all these school shooters, etc., white? I note that the latest shooter is a Demetrios somebody from Texas…

    • Michael Bauman says

      Why, your Grace? Two opposing possible explanations both likely wrong
      1. White male entitlement is being challenged and the most vulnerable young males act out to destroy a community in which they are impotent and those who have hurt them.

      2. The cultural war against men creates anger and resement that explodes against emblematic institutions and perceived enemies.

      Of course it could be that young white males are just freaking crazy and narcicisstic in disproportionate numbers.

      Non-white males seem to take out their anti-social aggression in other ways.

      As to mostly white women getting abortions I’d like to see the statistics on that. The known abortion clinics around here are in or near the ghetto. How come we never hear that word any more?

    • Gail Sheppard says

      Actually no, Your Grace. “Not every state reports abortion by ethnicity, but those that do reveal that abortions to blacks and Hispanic women account for 55.4% of the 405,795 abortions reported by race. This number is disproportionate considering the fact that black and Hispanic women only comprise roughly 29% of the total U.S. population.” https://concernedwomen.org/abortion-demographics-who-has-an-abortion/

      With respect to school shooters, more white kids are prescribed psychotropic drugs and some speculate *this* may account for why at-risk kids do these things. “Specifically, caregivers of African-American and Latino children were less likely to report past-year use compared to white children; caregivers of Latino children and “others” were less likely to report lifetime use. Additional factors predictive of medication use in regression models included younger age, male gender, higher household income, insurance type, active to mental health sector at time of enumeration into the study, impairment and diagnosis of mood, and anxiety or attentional disorder.” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1550705/

      • Michael Bauman says

        White guys are also more isolated. The lack of even a dysfunctional extended family leaves them alone. Plus I suspect the preponderance of single shooter role playing gamers are white males. Be interesting to know for sure.

      • Bishop Tikhon says

        I don’t understand why “Dino” would choose to say “God is great” in Arabic, rather than, say, Greek or English! (And I don’t believe Arabic has capital letters,) But I do support the expression, of course, as an Orthodox Christian…

        • On second thought Your Grace, Persian/Farsi, might have better suited you. Bebakhshid! Merci on the correction, did not know Arabic had no capitals.

          I still don’t know why Your Grace is concerned about the majority race of abortionists or high school shooters, and why the need to point out the Greek name of the last shooter? Unless of course you just trying to be flippant or humorous.

          Regardless, my name is Dino, not “Dino”, if you would like my last name, ask George via email. I am sure you would like to properly pray for me? Trust me, I do pray for you.

          • Bishop Tikhon says

            I put Dino in quotation marks because I thought your name was really Konstantinos or else you were posing as the Italian repairman that Lily Tomlin’s character Ernestine rhapsodized about. Yes. While Christian Arab speakers, such as Lebanese, Syrians, Palestinians, use the Arabic word for God, Iranians use “khoda” for God (Persian language , like the Iranian people, is Indo-European and “khoda” is clearly closer to our “God” than “allah” is!) khoda negahdar!

            • Bishop Tikhon,
              Yes my baptismal and legal name is Constantinos. Just don’t confuse me with the billionaire who used to post as Constaninos and now Constantino.

              Everyone in the real world calls me Dino. You are the first to tease me about the Lily Tomlin character. Most of the time I was referred to as a dinosaur, or Fred Flintstone’s pet dinosaur, Dino. That ended when I grew into a unusually tall and large Greek. Gentle giant should be my handle.
              Take care, Your Grace. Hope your garden is doing well.

              O Theos na mas Potesi!

            • Dino is the diminutive for Konstatinos, just as nikos for nikolaos
              In Russia Kolya would be nikos.
              When i give my name in Holy Communion I say Νικόλαος or as in Bulgaria now Nikolai.

          • Bishop Tikhon (Fitagerald) says

            khoda negahdar!

  7. Like liberal clockwork always ready to throw out the race card. The cherry on top of course for the good bishop is he gets to throw a jab at Greeks as well, in a unrelated subject matter. Allah Ahkbar! Your Grace.

    • Bishop Tikhon says

      I don’t understand why “Dino” would choose to say “God is great” in Arabic, rather than English, Greek, or Russian, for example (and, by the way, Arabic doesn’t have capital letters)! However, I agree that God IS great! I also don’t understand why Ms. Sheppard didn’t specify how many or which states report abortions by ethnicity. Why not? It might be interesting to learn!

      • Gail Sheppard says

        Because you didn’t ask, Your Grace! When you ask, I’m happy to oblige.

        The States don’t have to report this stuff to the CDC.

        I’m guessing that because minorities are less likely to have health insurance and access to healthcare, abortion is Plan A rather than Plan B. One young woman said to me, “Gail, if my friends weren’t able to have abortions, it would ruin their lives. Some would commit suicide.” This is hard for me to understand because there are so many free clinics. They have hormone shots and effective IUDs so I don’t know why any woman has to be at risk for an unwanted pregnancy. I suspect abortion is more palatable to some groups of women and in those cases where there is State funding, abortion may be less expensive than other forms of birth control. – I kind of know where you’re going with this and I can definitively say that Trump’s decision to allow employers to opt out of paying for birth control did not have a deleterious effect on abortion rates, as abortion rates have fallen to the lowest levels since Roe vs Wade.

        https://www.kff.org/womens-health-policy/state-indicator/abortions-by-race/?currentTimeframe=0&sortModel=%7B%22colId%22:%22Location%22,%22sort%22:%22asc%22%7D

  8. Thank you. And yes I expected blow back. I worked in health field. I also dealt with staff having abortion. I NEED YR HELP ON THIS ONE FR.
    I know that abortion will take place No matter what, human fallen nature and Sex being what it is. One may say so will murder but why legalise it? And valid point. On the other side if one is a believing Christian, one if female, would NOT have an abortion what ever the law. I am not refering to those cases where life is at risk but to healthy females aborting as do not want baby.
    But where abortion totally banned and contraception limited or non existent, the abortion RATES high..HOW DO WE ANSWER THAT!?
    Yes the ethos of society needs to be changed Sadly but what can we do?
    I am not bringing forward contraception as a panacea for everything and as a society we are totally screwed up about Sex where it has just become a financial selling point. Totally unerotic society, and unloving often. But if contraception can reduce abortion RATES and above all. STD RATES too.?? This is the real world.
    Our society shouts loudly about Muslim young ladies in burkas and pressure to wear but, and not defending that, but our western society puts a young girl under GREAT PRESSURE to act and be in certain way. I have personal family experience.
    And any glance at fashion adds and shop fronts, will see the border line and over paedophlia that is encouraged in making money. And the constant pressure to push forward, back in years, the sexualization of children.
    But why should we be surprised?. A non Christian society will adopt non Christian mores. Humanists think the nice stuff is ‘ in the ether’ not in Christian teaching

  9. Bishop Tikhon says

    Ms Sheppard originally quoted an anti-abortion lobby as claiming: “FACT: Not every state reports abortion by ethnicity, but those that do reveal that abortions to blacks and Hispanic women account for 55.4% of the 405,795 abortions reported by race. This number is disproportionate considering the fact that black and Hispanic women only comprise roughly 29% of the total U.S. population.”
    Well, it would help to learn which one or two states are “those that do.” I say “one or two” because I feel that if many states had reported that, that lobby would say so. They don’t explain whence they extrapolated that number of abortions, either.

  10. Michael Bauman says

    Your Grace, from whence comes your claim that most abortions are on white women?

    • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald says

      Michale–just a preemptive strike against popular wisdom!

    • Michael B, you completely disregard the admonished of St. Paul when he states “it is better to speak 5 Words in a known language than 10000 words in an known language. Additionally you disregard the message of Pentecost and the tradition of the church and come up with your false conclusions about language in the church.

      • Gail Sheppard says

        Johnkal, you are again misquoting. This time it is Scripture. You say, “it is better to speak 5 Words in a known language than 10000 words in an known language.”

        Scripture says: “Yet in the church I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that by my voice I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue.”

        When St. Paul refers to an “unknown tongue,” he is talking about “speaking in tongue,” which is not a human language. Greek is a known (human) language and is, in fact, THE language God used for the Septuagint. Clearly holding worship services in Greek is perfectly acceptable for a GREEK monastery who receives primarily GREEK pilgrims from around the world and who, out of love and concession for those who speak only English, ALSO speak English during confessions and blessings, after meals and in the bookstore.

        I think you owe an apology to Michael B.

        • George Michalopulos says

          That’s an interesting aspect of this argument Gail. I myself have often wondered what Paul meant here. You may have hit the nail on the head on this one. Regardless, I think the turning point of Orthodoxy in America was when all those Evangelicals joined the Church back in the 80s. You all brought a lot of gifts to the Church, one of the foremost being an impressive knowledge of Scripture and exegesis.

          I’ve heard that glossolalia was already an established gift within a decade of Pentecost. Paul wisely relegated it to the least important.

          To all: I once heard a GOA priest (of evangelical background himself) say that glossolalia may have inserted itself into the Church from pagan Greek roots. The oracle at Delphi for instance spoke in incoherent babbling which the priests who attended her had to interpret to the pilgrims. I’m inclined to agree.

          Does anybody else have an opinion on this matter?

          • Gail, I think you me a apology. Check and you will see there are several translations to the quoted passage. Additionally, you do not respond to the message of Pentacost and the standing tradition to use the language of the people.

            • Gail Sheppard says

              Johnkal, all 40 verses of 1 Corinthians 14 are dedicated to prophesizing and speaking in tongues (as in spiritual gifts; not languages), including 1 Corinthians 14:19.

              Interestingly, the message of Pentecost is that they were “of one accord.” The people heard (experienced) the message in their native language, though it wasn’t spoken in their native language. This is the miracle of Pentecost.

              Because we are one Church (of one accord), we hear (experience) the liturgy when it is spoken in Greek, though we do not speak Greek. This is the miracle of being Orthodox.

              The parishes are like primary schools and the classes should be taught in English. Monasteries, however, are more like apprenticeships. After taking the prerequisites, it would be similar to taking a “practical course” in college where you learn the skills, e.g. prayer, regular confession, abstinence, fasting, etc. It’s about doing; not learning. If you didn’t know ANY Greek at all, you could still emulate the behaviors, just like a kid can learn to play basketball without knowing much about the game. The language comes with time.

              As a pilgrim, you feel embraced by the atmosphere of prayer. It literally permeates the air. You’re there to experience it; not to learn anything, particularly. If you expect anything more (or less) you might be disappointed.

              • Bishop Tikhon says

                Gail Sheppard, there is no such word as “prophesizing.” The word is prophesying.

                • Gail Sheppard says

                  Well, Merriam-Webster, SpellCheckPlus, and Grammarly like it.

                  Usage Note: Perhaps owing to the longstanding confusion between the noun prophecy and the verb prophesy, there is a tendency to differentiate the verb by substituting prophesize. This follows the pattern whereby verbs are created by adding the suffix -ize to nouns (as in hybridize, meaning “to make something a hybrid”) and adjectives (as in finalize, meaning “to make something final”). Although the spelling prophesize has long been considered an error, it is becoming more common. In our 2011 survey, 40 percent of the Usage Panel found the sentence The three witches prophesize that Macbeth will become Thane of Cawdor acceptable.

                  http://www.yourdictionary.com/prophesize

          • George, from wherever speaking in tongues is taken, it is definetly listed as a gift of the Spirit and a manifestation of the Spirit. I believe St Pauls response to the situation in Corinth relegates the gift to ones private prayer life. I have heard of clergy, who upon ordination spoke in tongues..

            • George Michalopulos says

              Fascinating. That is why I cannot dismiss this gift out of hand. Thank you for sharing.

        • Michael Bauman says

          Gail, thank you. But nothing is owed to me. Actually though Pentecost is a witness to God’s ability to bring understanding regardless of language is it not? Acts 2:6 says every man ‘heard’ the Apostles in their own language, not that that the Apostles spoke in other languages. Is it different in Greek?

          Anyone who has read my posts in the past on the use of language in the Church might be surprised by my statements here. Yet I have clearly heard the truth several times in my Othodox life when I did not know or understand the language being spoken, in my case Arabic. I was even able to interpret Bulgarian to someone at my brother’s ordination because I knew the context.

          Do I prefer English to any other language, of course. It should be the norm in parish life in English speaking countries but especially in the GOA it seems more than a bit ludicris to this uneducated Philistine that it would be a matter of actual contention.

        • Michael Bauman says

          Gail thank you, but no one owes me anything.

          Pentecost was about people hearing in their own language not about the Apostles speaking in different tounges unless the Greek says differently. (I checked two English translations).

          The GOA uses Greek all over the place, why is it such a concern only regarding the monasteries. Seems a bit disingenuous.

          Everybody who had read my statements on language in the Church in the past knows my opinion that English should be the absolute norm in parishes in English speaking parishes. Anything else is parochial and a violation of the Church’s duty.

          I do not find it a big deal at all in the monasteries.

          • Michael,

            For what it’s worth, it seems evident that they they (the believers gathered together on the day of Pentecost) actually spoke in the language of the hearers and not merely that the hearers heard them in their own language which, unless I misunderstand you, is what I think you are saying.

            “And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.”

            It was, of course, still mainly about them hearing the Gospel, but it would seem that the gift/miracle was in the speaking. Some apparently heard them speaking languages (presumably in addition to their own) that to their ears sounded like babbling.

            “Others mocking said, ‘They are full of new wine.’”

            • Michael Bauman says

              Yeah, I was wrong.

            • Gail Sheppard says

              In Mark 2:22, it says, “And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins.”

              Perhaps when they said during Pentecost, “They are full of new wine” they meant that they were full of the Gospel.

          • Antiochene Son says

            As long as the translations are accurate according to our Tradition. Dr. Jeannie Constantinou in her podcast regularly comments about the bad English translations in GOA service books (which have English and Greek in parallel).

        • Having experienced “speaking in tongues” both hearing and doing, the ‘tongue’ is to the best of my knowledge a regular language. Certainly that was the case at the first Pentecost. While it is considered the least of the gifts, it is still a gift from God. I happen to like God’s gifts. Like anything else we human beings get hold of, it can be used wisely, or unwisely.

          As to Greek monasteries in the USA. If they are here principally for Greek speaking tourists, they could be anywhere in the world. If they have come to evangelize the English speaking citizens of the USA, they should have all services in English. I have visited one and confess to having little desire to return. I suppose that my attitude is colored by the fact that I spent 20 years as a missionary representing a non-Orthodox church in another country and I learned their language. I did not expect them to learn English so I could teach them about God.

          Actually what I encountered during my visit, were many people monastery-hopping. I am not sure that that activity is conducive to the spirituality of a monastery.

          • Gail Sheppard says

            Lina, maybe this is where the disconnect is. Monasteries aren’t there to evangelize or teach. They are there to pray. Even God, through the incarnation of Christ, spent a LOT of time in prayer. It’s mind-boggling when you think about it. GOD prays! Remember the message in Mark 9:29? He was saying there is great power in prayer and fasting. This is what monasteries do. They pray and they fast so we can bathe in the power that comes from it.

            Because we live in the world, we would be caked in filth if we could see ourselves spiritually. The monasteries start chiseling away at it the second we walk through their gates. Their sole purpose is to restore us. That’s it. That’s what they do. That’s why I love going there for confession. They don’t look at me like, “Oh, there’s Gail Sheppard. She’s the one who did such and such.” There is NOTHING I could say that they haven’t heard and Gail Sheppard is just one of many. Honestly, I don’t think they even see me. In their eyes, I’m like a balled up chain and their spiritual fingers have to work quickly to get out the kinks while I’m sitting there. I talk, they pray. I can even see their lips moving. And I can’t stop talking! I’m sure they’re praying for me to keep talking until I can get it all out because they want to lift every single burden from me before I leave. THAT’S what monasteries do. They’re not educators; they’re in the restoration business.

            The parishes should be teaching this but clearly, they’re not. With all their regulations, where is the one that says priests have to teach Monasteries 101 in their catechism classes?

            • George Michalopulos says

              Profound observation!

            • Monk James Silver says

              It would be good for us not to define too closely what monasteries do or not.

              Granted, it is irregular for there to be marriages and baptisms and funerals for the laity in monasteries, but sometimes that happens in spite of our ideals, which are occasionally cold-shocked into the reality on the ground.

              As a point of historical fact, we might remember that Orthodox Christianity
              spread eastward across Russia and Siberia specifically as a concomitance of monastic foundations. In the late 18th century, monks from the Valaam monastery in northwestern Russia traveled to Alaska to establish The Church there.

              Altogether, I think that people who are not nuns or monks themselves are very likely to present somewhat distorted pictures of who they think we monastics are and of what we do, which is far more varied than they seem to imagine.

              And God bless the laity, too, for their support of the monasteries, and — most especially — since a few of them will be inspired to take the monastic mantle themselves.

              • Gail Sheppard says

                Father James, I understand your point but I think it’s fair to define the purpose of different entities within the Church. I would not be wrong in saying that the primary function of a parish is to evangelize, catechize, perform services, and administer the sacraments. That’s why we have them. They also have various other ministries which supplement their core responsibilities.

                The problem is that the parishes do not teach the primary role of the monasteries, nor do they all seem to know, which may be one of the reasons there is so much animosity toward them. It’s possible that the laity on parish councils and serving in the Archdiocese would feel less threatened by the monasteries if the roles were more clearly defined and accommodations were made for the overlap when and where it occurs. Then the well-meaning laity wouldn’t feel the need to scandalize the monasteries in the press, upsetting the rank and file and discouraging potential converts.

                People tend to fear and mistrust what they don’t understand. It was my hope that by telling my story it might make the monasteries feel a little less off-putting. Saying that “prayer is what they do” is not saying that they don’t do other things. Challenging someone who says Mt. Athos performs marriages also isn’t a stretch given women are not allowed on the island. I did not say monasteries do not perform occasional baptisms and marriages, however, this is not their primary purpose. Their primary purpose, as far as the laity is concerned, is to pray, hold services, hear confessions and offer respite. They serve a somewhat different purpose for those who choose to live a monastic life, but it’s safe to assume that prayer is the basis of what they do in this regard, as well. Yes, they have other ministries and they educate & catechize through the sale of books, speaking at symposiums, through one-on-one communication, and by their very example, but no one says, “We’re going to put a monastery here so we can host speaking engagements, sell stuff, compete with the parishes and take money out of their pockets at Greek festivals.” That is definitely not their purpose. Nor is it the purpose of the laity to police them. If the laity has a problem with a monastery, they should take it up with the Metropolis. If the laity has a problem with the Metropolis, they should take it up with the Holy Synod. If it’s something illegal and the Holy Synod does not respond, they should report it to the authorities. But it is manipulative and underhanded for a select few, who were in positions of authority over the failed NGOs (one who made a whopping $300,000 a year for the BIGGEST failure), to resurrect 5-year-old allegations that never made it to court, in spite of numerous public (TV) and official (police) investigations, in an attempt to shake down the monasteries to recover the losses that occurred on their watch. They are scandalizing the Church for their own gain. In terms of the hereafter, I don’t think even Judas would trade places with them.

            • Repanidi1908 says

              Very well said. However, even though monastics pray for the world and all that is within it, that is not their primary purpose. People go to monasteries and become monastics to seek their salvation. It is because of the lives they lead in seeking their salvation that their prayers for the world are especially beneficial and uplifting. Also, there is a difference in visiting a monastery to get away from the world and seeking baptisms, weddings (especially) and funerals there. The Mysteries (except for Holy Communion) should be reserved for parishes. People visiting monasteries and having a priestmonk (who has the blessing of the elder) hear your confession, or, for that matter even just visiting, would not be such a big deal if parishes were not so secularized. Regular confession, fasting, frequent Holy Communion? Those just aren’t preached as the foundation of an Orthodox life.

      • Bishop Tikhon says

        Johnkal! Obviously, the Apostle Paul did not witness the crucifixion! There, Christ exclaimed, “eli, eli, lama sabachthani,” and nobody understood it. Some opined He had called on Elias!

  11. Gail Sheppard says

    Your Grace, the link I provided has the break down of states.

    The states that did not report, did not report by race or did not meet reporting standards are California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Maryland, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York State, New York City, Texas, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.

    Here is the link again: https://www.kff.org/womens-health-policy/state-indicator/abortions-by-race/?currentTimeframe=0&sortModel=%7B%22colId%22:%22Location%22,%22sort%22:%22asc%22%7D

  12. Gail Sheppard says

    Your Grace, the link says, “Reported Legal Abortions by Race of Woman Who Obtained Abortion by the State of Occurrence” so it’s the State of New York.

  13. cynthia curran says

    Let’s put it this way. The left will use stats against conservatives if European A does better than the US. Most of this is not much of a difference. The left wants to expand the welfare state with stats but doesn’t tell you the cost. Most of the history of the world, kids and women died with childbirth before modern medicine its only a recent development and do you want to be tax more to reduce things by slight margins.

    • Gail Sheppard says

      Cynthia, it bugs the Left when you use stats because they’ve depended so heavily upon them in the past to support their POV. I don’t know if you have noticed this lately but they’ve thrown a monkey wrench into the “self-identifying” component of job applications and healthcare. These are your choices:

      (1) Hispanic or Latino
      (2) White (not Hispanic or Latino)
      (3) Black or African American (Not Hispanic or Latino)
      (4) Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander (Not Hispanic or Latino)
      (5) Asian (Not Hispanic or Latino)
      (6) American Indian or Alaskan Native (Not Hispanic or Latino)
      (7) Two or More Races (Not Hispanic or Latino)

      Just about ALL races in the United States have some, however small, Hispanic or Latino in them because we border on Mexico and have had an influx of immigrants (both legal and otherwise).

      Are we now ALL LATINO because of the way they’ve designed the options?

      • Michael Bauman says

        Gail, are we back to the “one drop” test of Jim Crow and Aparthied?

        • George C Michalopulos says

          Michael, Gail, et al: this insidious balkanization will only serve to divide us further.

          Unfortunately, this proves the point of the ethnonationalists/separatists/etc. that nations should be homogeneous, doesn’t it? Ironic, I’d say.

          Rather than live in a nation where Martin Luther King’s dream of “having his children judged by the conduct of their character rather than the color of their skin”, we are well on our way to a soft apartheid.

        • Gail Sheppard says

          Exactly, Michael.

  14. George C Michalopulos says

    Michael, Gail, et al: this insidious balkanization will only serve to divide us further.

    Unfortunately, this proves the point of the ethnonationalists/separatists/etc. that nations should be homogeneous, doesn’t it? Ironic, I’d say.

    Rather than live in a nation where Martin Luther King’s dream of “having his children judged by the conduct of their character rather than the color of their skin”, we are well on our way to a soft apartheid.

  15. Joseph Lipper says

    I met a Christian woman whose life was saved by having an abortion, and I certainly believe she made the right choice, even though that decision was very hard for her, both before and after the abortion. She didn’t want to have an abortion. She wanted a healthy pregnancy. However, that is not what was given to her. She had an ectopic pregnancy that would have killed both herself and the fetus if she didn’t have an abortion. Having an abortion saved her life, however the percieved stigma of having an abortion probably unnecessarily added to her grief and conflict and feelings of guilt.

    So what is the status of the aborted fetus in the eyes of the Church? There is no baptism, and there is no panikhida. I asked a priest about this and was told that the unborn are “with God” and baptism and panikhida are unnecessary. The Church makes a distinction between the born and the unborn.

    The possibility that not being born could be a good or better state than being born is even mentioned by Christ. Jesus Christ says,”but woe unto that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! it had been good for that man if he had not been born”. It seems that even Christ is telling us there are some who are born who would have been better off unborn.

    • Michael Bauman says

      Joseph, ectopic pregnancy is clearly a legitimate reason for having an abortion. Still as with killing in war, repentance to restore a person is likely needed.

      My wife with her third pregnancy had taken some kidney medications before it was known she was pregnant. She was advised by several doctors that the child, if it lived, would be a vegetable. She is a lover of God. She would not agree until all options had been exhausted. She ended up with a Mennonite doctor 250 mile round trip (the Catholic hospital and doctor’s close to home would not do anything) despite the fact that her husband at the time threatened to leave her over it and she had a really good case for an abortion. Her son was born, he is now in his forties has a genius level IQ and practical skills to match plus a beautiful family of his own.

      It is easy to find personal stories on both “sides” but they do nothing about the overall approach to things. Within the Church it should be as St. Paul taught. There is only one way (no abortion) but if that cannot be done — go boldly before the throne of grace and seek God’s mercy. We are directed to boldly seek our Lord’s mercy. It is an ineffable mercy.

      When the person is sacrificed to the principal, no matter how true, it is not good. When the principal is sacrificed to human weakness that is even worse. That is why I would not want to be a priest or a bishop.

      • Joseph Lipper says

        Michael,

        As far as I can tell, St. Paul does not specifically address the topic of abortion. I suspect this is because there was no moral confusion about abortions among the Jewish peoples and of the early churches at the time he wrote his epistles. He didn’t address it, likely because he didn’t need to address it. It is most likely that the people he addressed in his epistles were not having abortions.

        However, abortion was commonplace in the Roman Empire during the life of St. Paul. It was considered permissible, and it was not legally considered the same as homocide. It is probably safe to say that Roman culture in the first century had some moral confusion about abortion. That is likely why the Didache specifically addresses the topic. However, St. Paul doesn’t seem to find any moral confusion about abortion in the Christians that he addresses.

        Today, the “Christian” right tends to make the topic of abortion it’s number one priority. They do this even though most people who have abortions probably don’t consider themselves Christians. If Christians do have abortions, like in the rare instance of ectopic pregnancy, they still recognize it as the taking of a life and seek God’s mercy and forgiveness in repentance.

        I have to wonder if St. Paul would marvel at how the “Christian” right today obsesses over those non-Christians who either have or support abortions, and also over the political “right to life” of their unborn. Meanwhile these very same “Christians” may be ignoring and perishing in their own sins to their own detriment, avoiding their own repentance. If so, then is this not a “stillborn Christianity?”

        • Michael Bauman says

          Mr. Lipper, whenever we obsess over the sins of others we ignore our own. That does not allow us to ignore blatant evil however nor to ignore the general call to all to “Repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.”

          The prevalence of abortion can be linked to all manners of other social ills including abuse of living women and children.

      • Joseph Lipper says

        Great story about your stepson. Thanks for sharing.

    • Antiochene Son says

      The Didache says flatly, “You shall not murder a child by abortion,” period. No allowance for any extenuating circumstances. I find all “greater good” arguments hard to justify. Not to say it’s an impossible choice. I know a Catholic woman who decided to die rather than have an abortion. It’s tragic. I can’t judge someone who couldn’t make that choice, but yet, it is still the sin of murder and ought to inflict guilt.

      I think the Vatican II experience shows that if you make any allowances to Church teachings, even ones that seem to make perfect sense, you immediately make everything optional. Either the Church’s teachings are ironclad or there are no solid teachings. Oikonimia is about bending rules, not dismissing them, and should never be used as license to commit blatant sins.

      An aborted child cannot be baptized because it is dead, and we don’t baptize the dead. We trust it is in God’s hands because it is innocent of sin, but that does not justify anything. Its soul might not be capable of thesis, having never been baptized. We simply don’t know.

      • George Michalopulos says

        In truth, there was no knowledge of ectopic pregnancies during the time in which the Didache was written.

        • Antiochene Son says

          Extenuating circumstances does not mitigate the objective sinfulness of an action. Murdering a child to save a life is still murder. The Church has not historically glossed over this reality: miscarriages/spontaneous abortions are dealt with canonically as abortions too. Not abortions of choice, but mothers of miscarried babies still had to perform severe penances. The same for other things that we have more scientific understanding of now, from homosexuality to onanism. If a man leaves his wife for no reason, the wife is still partly culpable in the eyes of the law of the Church. That is why we do repentance for all sins, committed in knowledge and in ignorance.

          A pastor may deal pastorally with an issue in private and under the seal of confession, but the public teaching of the Church has always been, and always must be, that ALL abortions are mortal sins, and cheap grace cannot be dispensed to cover it up. A pastor must still remain in the Church on an issue; playing loose with oikonomia can result in a shepherd shooting his sheep to stop it from jumping over a cliff—one cannot save a soul by allowing sin.

          The image of God that a fetus bears demands no compromise on our teachings about abortion. I say this as one who has sadly seen family members resort to unnatural IVF to have children, resulting in aborted embryos, which I believe will have to be answered for at the last Judgment.

          • Fr. Re abortion. And to the hard liner whose line the liberal lot would love, I have a question for you. Yes in end it is not the law but the morality of the INDIVIDUAL that will make a difference. No Christian morality ( Christian, not phrasaical) and the social mores will follow.
            But my problem is this.. In the actual world we know that societies that ban abortion do not stop it but have RATES 3_4 % above those societies that allow.
            And all back street with all that this means, and often no abortion goes with no contraception, another problem.
            No I am not condolences abortion, it is morally wrong but is it better to have reduced abortion and adding education and contraception, or to be morally pure in a world that is not, and have all based, but higher RATES and bsckstreet?
            Yes if each INDIVIDUAL was morally Christian there would be no problem but we live in fallen world.
            Anyone coming bsck on this please address my point AND NOT ON ATTACKING THE MESSENGER.
            Re those trajic circumstances where say the mother’s life in danger that is for those trajic individuals to come to a conclusion with medical and spiritual Team
            As to blaming mothers for spontaneous abortions, etc. Sorry, unless they are responsible as in their life style, they need love and support not being told they criminal. YES the prayers acknowledge our sinfulness but not to blame a grievances mother. Where is CHRIST? No I am not calling for easy pleasy fuzzy stuff, nor for obscene PHARASIES

            • Michael Bauman says

              Nikos, who is culpable for the sin of abortion? I am. The hardness of my heart, my selfishness and lust.

              You are correct abortion, indeed no sin, is an isolated phenomenon of a moral cause-effect arithmetic. The complex of sins that result in abortion is not a small bundle. The complex of sins and dysfunctions that arise from abortion is even greater. Still law, even moral law, does nothing in and of itself. Law is lifeless.

              If men were real men, there would be almost no abortions.

              But with an ectopic pregnancy where it can be said with a high degree of certainty that both the unborn child AND the mother will die. Is it not murder times 2

            • As to blaming mothers for spontaneous abortions, etc. Sorry, unless they are responsible as in their life style, they need love and support not being told they criminal. YES the prayers acknowledge our sinfulness but not to blame a grievances mother. Where is CHRIST? No I am not calling for easy pleasy fuzzy stuff, nor for obscene PHARASIES.

              Allow me to place this comment into several contexts where the circumstances are similarly tragic, painful, and guilt-feelings-inducing even though there may be no ‘culpability’ in the sense that a person may have had no other choice, it wasn’t his/her ‘fault,’ etc.

              As to blaming policemen for shooting criminals…

              As to blaming soldiers for killing the enemy…

              As to blaming an automobile driver who accidentally kills a person…

              When we hear the word “sin” in the prayers of the Church we seem automatically to jump to the conclusion that it always means a bad moral choice and therefore culpability on the part of the person involved. . But culpability or ‘being guilty’ is not always what the Church (or even the Scriptures) means by sin.

              David, for example, wrote, “…and in sin did my mother conceive me.” How is it that we find ourselves able to read these words without automatically imputing culpability and guilt upon David for being conceived (or upon his mother and father for conceiving him, but we cannot bring ourselves to hear the word ‘sin’ in the prayers of the Church without immediately assuming that the person for whom they are prayed is somehow always to blame?

              I would urge anyone with even the slighted degree of empathy to put themselves in the place of the woman, the policeman, the soldier, or the driver and ask yourself how you would feel. Not whether you are guilty, not how you should feel, but how you likely would feel. And then ask yourself how much comfort you would find in the mere objective fact that it was, perhaps, not your ‘fault.’

              He raised his gun at me, but was he really going to shoot…?

              That enemy soldier had pictures of his family in his pocket…

              There was no way I could have stopped the car in time, and that kid just ran out in front of me from behind that parked car, but …O my God! What have I done?

              My body rejected my own child…

              We can know in our minds, if not our hearts, that we are not ‘culpable.’ We can try to pretend that because we are not ‘culpable’ we should therefore not feel ‘guilty.’ But this knowing and pretending does nothing for the suffering soul that knows it has sinned even while knowing that the sin in which they were involved was not the result of an evil ‘moral’ choice, was involuntary, a matter of weakness, or a matter of no other choice.

              Tell me, then. Where is healing to be found? Is it in pretending? Is it in some law that may tell us we did no wrong? Or is it in the healing that comes of acknowledging the truth in all its fullness…that like it or not, having chosen it or not, we have sinned, albeit involuntarily and in a way we never would have chosen?

              Prayers that speak of sin such as the one that follows for a mother who has miscarried cannot and must not be understood as an attempt to impute ‘guilt.’ But telling a mother (or a policeman, or a soldier…) who feels guilty that they ‘ought not’ feel guilty does nothing to heal the soul and will not stop the demons from attacking the conscience (“You should have…” “If only you didn’t…” “It’s probably because you…”). Only prayer in truth can bring healing. Read the prayer with this in mind – and with the emphasis where it properly belongs. Only then, removed from this silly idea that all sin is an evil moral choice, can they be understood for what they are – and for the healing they are intended to bring to one who, although an involuntary sinner, are themselves also a victim.

              Let us pray unto the Lord.

              O Master, Lord our God, who wast born of the holy Mother of God and ever-virgin Mary, and as an infant, wast laid in a manger: Do thou, upon this thy servant (…..),who in sins has today fallen to the sin of murder, witting or unwitting and has aborted that which was conceived in her, have mercy according to thy great mercy: and forgive her transgressions, both voluntary and involuntary: and preserve her from every diabolical operation: and cleanse the impurity, heal the sufferings, and grant her, O Lover of Mankind, health and strength of her body and soul: and with a bright Angel, do thou guard her from every assault of invisible demons. Yea, O Lord, from sickness and disease, and cleanse her from her bodily defilement and her various oncoming internal problems, and through thy abundant compassion, lead her to the recovery of her humble body, and raise her from the bed upon which she lies. For in sins were we [ALL] conceived and in iniquities were we [ALL] shapen and in defilement are we all before thee, and in fear we cry and say: Look down from heaven and behold the weakness of us who are condemned, and forgive this thy servant who has fallen to the sin of murder, witting or unwitting, and has aborted that which was conceived in her, and according to thy great mercy, have mercy and forgive all that surround her and have touched her, for thou art a good God and lovest mankind, and thou alone hast the power to forgive sins, By the prayers of the holy Mother of God and of all the saints.
              For unto Thee belong all glory, honour and worship, together with the Father, and the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.

              • Joseph Lipper says

                Brian, thank you for posting this. I believe the woman I spoke of and her husband had this prayer or something similar read over them by the priest. The sin is acknowledged, but then we all have to trust in God’s forgiveness and mercy. Satan the accuser will try to cast doubts.

                I certainly want this woman and her husband to know that I support the choice they made, and I trust that God will bring them healing.

            • As to blaming mothers for spontaneous abortions, etc. Sorry, unless they are responsible as in their life style, they need love and support not being told they criminal. YES the prayers acknowledge our sinfulness but not to blame a grievances mother. Where is CHRIST? No I am not calling for easy pleasy fuzzy stuff, nor for obscene PHARASIES.

              Allow me to place this comment into several contexts where the circumstances are similarly tragic, painful, and guilt-feelings-inducing even though there may be no ‘culpability’ in the sense that a person may have had no other choice; it wasn’t his/her ‘fault,’ etc.

              As to blaming policemen for shooting a criminal…

              As to blaming soldiers for killing the enemy…

              As to blaming an automobile driver who accidently kills a person…

              When we hear the word “sin” in the prayers of the Church we seem automatically to jump to the conclusion that it always means an evil moral choice and therefore culpability on the part of the person involved. . But culpability or ‘being guilty’ is not always what the Church (or even the Scriptures) means by sin.

              David, for example, wrote, “…and in sin did my mother conceive me.” How is it that we find ourselves able to read these words without automatically imputing culpability and guilt upon David for being conceived (or upon his mother and father for conceiving him), but we cannot bring ourselves to hear the word ‘sin’ in the prayers of the Church without immediately assuming that the person for whom they are prayed is somehow to blame for sin?

              I would urge anyone with even the slightest degree of empathy to put themselves in the place of the woman, the policeman, the soldier, or the driver and ask yourself how you would feel. Not whether you are objectively guilty, not how you should feel; but how you likely would feel. And then ask yourself how much comfort you would find in the mere objective fact that it was, perhaps, not your ‘fault.’

              He raised his gun at me, but was he really going to shoot…?

              That enemy soldier had pictures of a family just like mine in his pocket …

              There was no way I could have stopped when that kid ran out in front of me from behind that parked car, but O my God! What have I done?

              My body rejected my own child. What could I have done differently?

              We can know in our minds, if not our hearts, that we are not ‘culpable.’ We can try to convince ourselves that because we are not ‘culpable’ we should therefore not feel ‘guilty.’ But this knowing and pretending does nothing for the soul that knows it has sinned even while knowing that the sin in which they were involved was not the result of an evil ‘moral’ choice, was involuntary, a matter of weakness or circumstance for which they are not responsible, or of having had no other choice.

              Tell me, then. Where is healing to be found? Is it in pretending? Is it in being justified by some law that may tell us we did no wrong? Or is it in the healing that comes of acknowledging the truth in all its fullness…that like it or not, chosen it or not, we have sinned, albeit involuntarily and in a way we never would have chosen? Telling a mother (or a policeman, or a soldier…) who feels guilty that they ‘ought not’ feel guilty does nothing to heal the soul and will not stop the demons from attacking the conscience (“You should have…” “If only you didn’t…” “It’s probably because you…”). Only prayer in truth can bring healing.

              The prayers of the Church such as the one that follows that speak of sin in a mother who has miscarried cannot and must not be understood as an attempt to impute ‘guilt.’ Read the prayer with this in mind – and with the emphasis where it properly belongs. Only by removing the erroneous idea that all sin is an evil moral choice, can these prayers be understood for what they are – and for the healing balm they are intended to bring to one whom, although a sinner, are themselves also a victim of the weakness and infirmity that besets all mankind. If we seek to understand, rather than criticize, the prescriptions the Church offers us in our infirmities, we will come to know her profound wisdom, insight, and understanding of human nature and how her intent is to heal us and not to condemn us.

              Let us pray unto the Lord.
              O Master Lord our God, Who wast born of the holy Theotokos and Ever-virgin Mary, and lay as a babe in the manger: According to Thy great mercy, do Thou Thyself have mercy upon this Thy handmaid, who today lieth in sins, having fallen into manslaughter, casting out, willingly or unintentionally, that which was conceived within her; and forgive her transgressions, voluntary or involuntary.

              Preserve her from every snare of the devil, cleanse her defilement, and heal her pangs. Grant health and godly strength to her body and soul, O Thou Who lovest mankind, and with a radiant angel keep her from every attack of the invisible demons; yea, O Lord, and from infirmity and weakness.

              Cleanse her of bodily defilement and from the diverse disorders of the womb which afflict her; and by Thy great mercy, restore her in her humbled body, and raise her up from the bed whereon she lieth. For we have been born in sins and iniquities, and are all vile in Thy sight, O Lord; and with fear we cry out and say: Look down from heaven, and behold the infirmity of us who are condemned, and forgive this Thy handmaid, (Name), who lieth in sins, having fallen into manslaughter willingly or unintentionally, casting off that which had been conceived within her.

              And according to Thy great mercy, in that Thou art the good God Who loveth mankind, have mercy and forgive those who found and touched her, for Thou alone hast the authority to remit sins and iniquities, through the supplications of Thy Mother and all the saints.

              For unto Thee is due all glory, honor and worship, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

            • “As to blaming mothers for spontaneous abortions, etc. Sorry, unless they are responsible as in their life style, they need love and support not being told they criminal. YES the prayers acknowledge our sinfulness but not to blame a grievances mother. Where is CHRIST? No I am not calling for easy pleasy fuzzy stuff, nor for obscene PHARASIES.”

              Allow me to place this comment into several contexts where the circumstances are similarly tragic, painful, and guilt-feelings-inducing even though there may be no ‘culpability’ in the sense that a person may have had no other choice; it wasn’t his/her ‘fault,’ etc.

              As to blaming policemen for shooting a criminal…

              As to blaming soldiers for killing the enemy…

              As to blaming an automobile driver who accidently kills a person…

              When we hear the word “sin” in the prayers of the Church we seem automatically to jump to the conclusion that it always means an evil moral choice and therefore culpability on the part of the person involved. . But culpability or ‘being guilty’ is not always what the Church (or even the Scriptures) means by sin.

              David, for example, wrote, “…and in sin did my mother conceive me.” How is it that we find ourselves able to read these words without automatically imputing culpability and guilt upon David for being conceived (or upon his mother and father for conceiving him), but we cannot bring ourselves to hear the word ‘sin’ in the prayers of the Church without immediately assuming that the person for whom they are prayed is somehow to blame for sin?

              I would urge anyone with even the slightest degree of empathy to put themselves in the place of the woman, the policeman, the soldier, or the driver and ask yourself how you would feel. Not whether you are objectively guilty, not how you should feel; but how you likely would feel. And then ask yourself how much comfort you would find in the mere objective fact that it was, perhaps, not your ‘fault.’

              He raised his gun at me, but was he really going to shoot…?

              That enemy soldier had pictures of a family just like mine in his pocket …

              There was no way I could have stopped when that kid ran out in front of me from behind that parked car, but O my God! What have I done?

              My body rejected my own child. What could I have done differently?

              We can know in our minds, if not our hearts, that we are not ‘culpable.’ We can try to convince ourselves that because we are not ‘culpable’ we should therefore not feel ‘guilty.’ But this knowing and pretending does nothing for the soul that knows it has sinned even while knowing that the sin in which they were involved was not the result of an evil ‘moral’ choice, was involuntary, a matter of weakness or circumstance for which they are not responsible, or of having had no other choice.

              Tell me, then. Where is healing to be found? Is it in pretending? Is it in being justified by some law that may tell us we did no wrong? Or is it in the healing that comes of acknowledging the truth in all its fullness…that like it or not, chosen it or not, we have sinned, albeit involuntarily and in a way we never would have chosen? Telling a mother (or a policeman, or a soldier…) who feels guilty that they ‘ought not’ feel guilty does nothing to heal the soul and will not stop the demons from attacking the conscience (“You should have…” “If only you didn’t…” “It’s probably because you…”). Only prayer in truth can bring healing.

              The prayers of the Church such as the one that follows that speak of sin in a mother who has miscarried cannot and must not be understood as an attempt to impute ‘guilt.’ Read the prayer with this in mind – and with the emphasis where it properly belongs. Only by freeing our minds of the erroneous idea that all sin is an evil moral choice, can these prayers be understood for what they are – and for the healing balm they are intended to be for one whom, although a sinner, is herself also a victim of the weakness and infirmity that besets all mankind. If we seek to understand, rather than to criticize, the prescriptions the Church offers us in our infirmities and humbly submit to her care, we will come to know her profound wisdom, insight, and understanding of how human nature is healed.

              “Let us pray unto the Lord.
              O Master Lord our God, Who wast born of the holy Theotokos and Ever-virgin Mary, and lay as a babe in the manger: According to Thy great mercy, do Thou Thyself have mercy upon this Thy handmaid, who today lieth in sins, having fallen into manslaughter, casting out, willingly or unintentionally, that which was conceived within her; and forgive her transgressions, voluntary or involuntary.

              “Preserve her from every snare of the devil, cleanse her defilement, and heal her pangs. Grant health and godly strength to her body and soul, O Thou Who lovest mankind, and with a radiant angel keep her from every attack of the invisible demons; yea, O Lord, and from infirmity and weakness.

              “Cleanse her of bodily defilement and from the diverse disorders of the womb which afflict her; and by Thy great mercy, restore her in her humbled body, and raise her up from the bed whereon she lieth. For we have been born in sins and iniquities, and are all vile in Thy sight, O Lord; and with fear we cry out and say: Look down from heaven, and behold the infirmity of us who are condemned, and forgive this Thy handmaid, (Name), who lieth in sins, having fallen into manslaughter willingly or unintentionally, casting off that which had been conceived within her.

              “And according to Thy great mercy, in that Thou art the good God Who loveth mankind, have mercy and forgive those who found and touched her, for Thou alone hast the authority to remit sins and iniquities, through the supplications of Thy Mother and all the saints.

              “For unto Thee is due all glory, honor and worship, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.”

              • Not one Orthodox priest, at the times these losses occurred, suggested that my miscarriage was in anyway the same as a chosen abortion.

                Nor should they have, Saunca. That was the entire point of my comment – to demonstrate just how such prayers that speak of ‘sin’ are misunderstood in our day because we so closely (and wrongly) associate sin with guilt and culpability. I do apologize if it was written poorly, and please don’t assume that it wasn’t written from personal experience. Our Tabitha was lost to us as well by miscarriage. Your pain is known to our family.

                If one reads the prayers for the sick one finds similar language about sin and forgiveness, but does anyone automatically assume that we are culpable for getting sick? Of course not! God made our bodies to be healthy and to live forever. But because of the corruption of sin and death, our bodies ‘sin’ (in that they miss the mark of being healthy and living forever). No one – not the Church and certainly not I – would ever suggest that these are evils we willingly choose.

                • Antiochene Son says

                  I want to point out that at no point did I say a miscarriage is an active sin like abortion. My point was that even miscarriages are treated as penitential moments in the canons and prayers of the Church.

                  I did not say they were active sins or that a mother’s sinfulness necessarily causes it to happen. I’m sorry if anyone was led to think that, but those are inferences.

                  My point is that an unborn life is not to be aborted, and I will never apologize for defending that.

                  • George Michalopulos says

                    Nor should you. Many of us have fallen into the western, legalistic concept of sinfulness ad opposed to the Eastern, experiential conceptbog sinfulness. Our way is more merciful, hence we know we are sinners always and our prayers reflect that reality.

                • Gail Sheppard says

                  Interestingly, as many as 75% of fertilized eggs do not result in pregnancy. Many of us women have had miscarriages whether we were aware of it or not; however, none so cruel as to knowingly miscarry or worse, have a stillborn infant. That kind of pain is unimaginable. I am so sorry for your losses, Saunca. That you’ve had so many breaks my heart.

                  I remember taking great exception to a doctor telling me I had a “lazy uterus.” It was actually quite serious but I found it insulting. I can see where a woman might not feel comfortable about a prayer to heal the “diverse disorders of her womb.” For you guys, it would be akin to hearing you don’t have good “swimmers” and we should pray for your “failed manhood!” It just doesn’t feel right to hear pejorative statements about one’s body parts. Surely the easiest solution would be to change the wording of the prayer.

                  Miscarriage is not the same as abortion. I think we’re all on the same page with this.

                  The best source of information that I’ve found: https://www.verywellfamily.com/making-sense-of-miscarriage-statistics-2371721

              • M. Stankovich says

                Brian,

                I don’t know where you found the text of the prayers you offer here, but let me offer the fact that there exist alternate texts – in particular the OCA’s A Service Of Prayer After A Miscarriage Or Stillbirth: Being a general Service of Prayer celebrated at the time of loss or thereafter, but especially when the priest is called to attend to a miscarriage or stillbirth. This service was was released and distributed by the Synod of Bishops in 2015. If I am not mistaken, it is a new service composed specifically by the OCA, in that there is no such service – beyond a single prayer – in the traditional Book of Needs.

                I mean no disrespect by saying that my immediately reaction upon the first prayer,

                “Do thou, upon this thy servant (…..),who in sins has today fallen to the sin of murder, witting or unwitting and has aborted that which was conceived in her, have mercy according to thy great mercy: and forgive her transgressions, both voluntary and involuntary…

                and your “pre-emptive instruction as to how it should be read,

                The prayers of the Church such as the one that follows that speak of sin in a mother who has miscarried cannot and must not be understood as an attempt to impute ‘guilt.’ Read the prayer with this in mind – and with the emphasis where it properly belongs.

                was to immediately recall a long forgotten memory of a particular ethnic group at SVS who made a yearly visit to their bishop for dinner right before the Christmas break (and obviously during the Fast). Upon returning, they always repeated the same story that they were always served chicken, but the Chancellor would always say, as he blessed the food with his right hand, “Fish.” I will tell flat out that, constitutionally, admitted dumbass that I am, my mouth could not formulate the words to tell a woman who has suffered the trauma of the loss of a child by miscarriage or stillbirth, “Bear with me here, I am about to pray to our God – who in our experience of tragedy, loss, and grief draws closer to us – and to the the very icon of mothers and She who is the beginning of our salvation, to comfort you on this day because you have fallen into manslaughter and/or murder (do you have a preference?), but please don’t feel like we are suggesting it was your fault…” It’s not very far from how I felt upon really listening to the Anaphora of the Liturgy of St. Basil the Great to discover:

                Therefore, we also, All-holy Master, sinners and Your unworthy servants, whom You have counted worthy to minister at Your holy altar, not because of our own justice (for we have done nothing good on earth…)

                Wait a second! Nothing? I have done nothing good? Ever? You get the point. In that these prayers entered the service books relatively late by historical development, I strongly suspect your interpretation came post fact to ease the shock of hearing what you offer. Thus, I offer the prayers extracted from the OCA’s service:

                O Master, Lord our God, Who was born of the holy Theotokos and ever-Virgin Mary, and as a child was laid in a manger: In Thy great mercy be merciful to this, Thy handmaid [N.] who has miscarried the child who was conceived in her. Forgive all her voluntary or involuntary offenses, and protect her from all the machinations of the devil. Heal her suffering, and in Thy love for mankind grant health and strength to her body and soul. Guard her with a radiant Angel from every assault of the invisible demons and from every illness and malady, and deliver her from all that may afflict her womb. O Thou, Who accepts the innocence of infancy into Thy Kingdom, comfort the mind of Thy handmaid and bring her peace. Therefore, with fear we cry and say: Look down from heaven and strengthen Thy handmaid [N.] who has miscarried of the child conceived in her. Have mercy on her and bless her, through the intercession of Thine undefiled Mother and of all Thy Saints.

                O Lord, Thou hast spoken through Thy Prophet Isaiah, saying, “For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; and the former things shall not be remembered or come into mind. But be glad and rejoice forever in that which I create, for behold, I create in Jerusalem a rejoicing, and in her people joy. I will rejoice in Jerusalem and be glad in my people; no more shall be heard in it the sound of weeping and the cry of distress. No more shall there be in it an infant that lives but a few days” [Isaiah 65:17-19, 20a]. Do Thou, the same Lord and God, Who on that day will give no cause to mourn the loss of a child, be present with us this day as we gather with sadness to seek Thy comfort and mourn the loss of this child [N.], known to Thy handmaid who carried him/her, to his/her father, who generated him/her, and to us, Thy faithful People. Thou hast spoken through Thy Prophet Jeremiah, saying, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you” [Jeremiah 1:5]. For which cause we bless Thee, O God of compassion, the consolation of the afflicted. Thou knowest the name and age of every person, even from his and her mother’s womb. Knowing the depths of our hearts, accept our sorrow as we grieve the loss of this child, and comfort us with the promise of the joy of Thy eternal Kingdom. Help us to grow in confidence in Thy sustaining presence at this moment and in the days to come, through the prayers of Thy most pure Mother, the Theotokos and ever-Virgin Mary, and of all Thy Saints. For Thou art a merciful God, and unto Thee we ascribe glory, to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages.

                O merciful Lord, falling down before Thy great and inscrutable providence, which is both merciful and just: We confess our weakness and infirmity, not knowing what to ask of Thee. For Thou alone knowest our true needs. Thou lovest us more than we ourselves know how to love. Help us to discern our true needs, which are concealed from us. We dare not ask either a cross or consolation. We can only wait on Thee. Our hearts are open to Thee. Visit us and help us. Cast us down and raise us up. In silence we contemplate Thy holy will and inscrutable ways. We offer ourselves to Thee in sacrifice, and we place all our trust in Thee. We have no desire but to fulfill Thy holy will. We believe, O Lord; help our unbelief! Let not our faith fail, nor our hope weaken, nor our love grow cold. Wipe away our tears of sorrow, granting us instead tears of joy. Heal our weakness and infirmity. Forgive our transgressions, voluntary and involuntary. Receive the infant [N.] into Thy kingdom and have mercy on us, through the mercy and compassion and love for mankind of Thine only-begotten Son, with whom Thou are blessed, together with Thine all-holy, good and life-creating Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages.

                While the penitential character remains, there is no inference of blame, and I hope you noticed it also includes the father of this child as well.

                Someone call Saunca back!

                • George Michalopulos says

                  Dr S, thank you for this elucidation.

                  If I may continue to add, nay to reinforce: we are indeed living in a Western Captivity. It is a sad thing that we have imbibed so much Protestant legalism into our understanding of –pretty much everything. But especially sinfulness.

                • Dr. S,

                  The 2015 OCA language is much better, if my opinion means anything. Too late for our Tabitha, though. Even so, our daughter-in-law found solace even in the old version. Perhaps it was because she was the wife of a seminarian and understood what she was hearing.

                  George’s comment about our “captivity” in understanding the language of Orthodoxy is apt. Even the 2015 OCA version could be misunderstood (albeit far less so) if we are not freed from this “captivity.” After all, one would be hard-pressed to grasp “Thy great and inscrutable providence, which is both merciful and just” otherwise.

                  We westerners having warped understanding of justice. To the West (in general) justice means balancing the scales in a retributive manner, a demand for punishment. And yet the Scripture says of Joseph the Betrothed, who clearly initially thought his betrothed had been unfaithful in a way in which the law required her to be stoned…

                  “And Joseph, being a just man, resolved to divorce her quietly.”

                  Wait a minute! Doesn’t justice demand stoning? How then can he be said to be just? Ah…but this is what justice is: Goodness, compassion, mercy, love…

                  • George Michalopulos says

                    The longer I live, the more I resent Calvin and his baleful influence upon the West.

                    • Michael Bauman says

                      George, easy to go against Calvin but he would not have been possible except for the heresy of Rome and the idea of one ring to rule them all.

                      Heresy always has consequence and never goes away even when condemned. The dualists (slews of them) and the anti-incarnational folks, leave us with quite a weakened understanding and appreciation for the Incarnation and what real unity is.

                      There will be no possible unity until Rome repents and we repent for our dalliance in the “Ecumenical Movement” Our forays into that realm just leaves folks feeling justified in their heresy and weakens our witness.

                      Of course if an all out persecution gets started in the West, the persecutors will not discern such things at all. “Deny Jesus Christ and you will live!”

                      But, we are asked that everyday in myriads of ways and I succumb quite easily. May God forgive me.

                    • Tim R. Mortiss says

                      Did Calvin say a miscarriage was a sin….?

                      I was a Presbyterian for 66 years and only knew a couple of people who considered themselves Calvinists….

                  • M. Stankovich says

                    Now you are calling me Dr. S., Brian? Did I bag your groceries or something?

            • Antiochene Son says

              Call me a Pharisee all you like, I will continue to say a fetus’s life has infinite value and murdering it is always a grave sin. I am firmly in the Rick Santorum camp of abortion views, and I feel perfectly justified by the Church’s teachings in doing so.

              No Orthodox—heck, no Christian of any kind—would have questioned that even 80 years ago. I guess it shows how far we have missed the mark.

              By similar means, if a priest happens to kill someone on a bicycle who pulls out in front of his car, he is nevertheless to be defrocked and can no longer serve as a priest, even though he was innocent, because he shed blood.

              • Michael Bauman says

                AS, I agree with you with the possible exception of an ectopic pregnancy where two lives would be lost.

                I can well understand a mother willingly sacrificing her own life to save her baby and we have seen a number of such instances in the news recently.

                But sacrificing herself AND her baby? How does that support the gift of life? I have a real tough time with that even though sin is still present.

              • Joseph Lipper says

                Anytime that a pregnancy medically threatens the life of a mother, and the mother can only be saved by having an abortion, then I would always side with saving the life of the mother. In that instance, abortion is life-saving medicine.

                A mother might choose to sacrifice herself out of love for her unborn, but then she would be leaving that baby without a mother, leaving her other children without a mother, leaving her husband without a wife, ending the possibility of having other children, etc.

                What about her love for the rest of her family and for God? Given the choice, is it better to destroy and/or irreparably harm the family for the sake of one unborn? Where is the love if one is just conforming to an ideology about how the unborn must be saved at all costs despite the rest of the family?

                If my mother had chosen to sacrifice herself instead of aborting me, I would much, much rather that she would have aborted me than to grow up without my mother. I would grow up with a cruel and terrible guilt complex!

                A woman should not be told that she is any less of a mother because she chooses to have an abortion to medically save her own life. That’s what I would want my mother to do, even if she was aborting me.

  16. Repanidi1908 says

    Very well said. However, even though monastics pray for the world and all that is within it, that is not their primary purpose. People go to monasteries and become monastics to seek their salvation. It is because of the lives they lead in seeking their salvation that their prayers for the world are especially beneficial and uplifting. Also, there is a difference in visiting a monastery to get away from the world and seeking baptisms, weddings (especially) and funerals there. The Mysteries (except for Holy Communion) should be reserved for parishes. People visiting monasteries and having a priestmonk (who has the blessing of the elder) hear your confession, or, for that matter even just visiting, would not be such a big deal if parishes were not so secularized. Regular confession, fasting, frequent Holy Communion? Those just aren’t preached as the foundation of an Orthodox life.

    • Gail Sheppard says

      Repanidi1908, I hear you but if the laity is turning to the monasteries, could it be because they’re not getting their spiritual needs met in their parishes? Wouldn’t the solution be to fix the parishes and not penalize the monasteries?

  17. Alitheia1875 says

    Absolutely. There is only one reason for the proliferation of monasteries under Papa Ephraim: they fill a void that has existed in the GOA for a long, long time.