Wednesday, July 19, 2017

ROCOR Synod of Bishops responds to Sr. Vassa's letter

(ROCOR) - The Holy Synod, having received the recent text of a publicly-posted e-mail exchange, dated 2nd July 2017, between the Nun Vassa (Larin) and a correspondent, entitled “EMAIL OF THE WEEK: (from a mother, on MY SON IS HOMOSEXUAL),” together with follow-up correspondence, also posted publicly on 8th July 2017, is compelled to confirm to its flock and to all Orthodox Christians that the counsel contained therein is in contradiction to the Church’s teaching on sexuality, repentance and family life. It does not represent an Orthodox understanding of anthropology or theology, and in the counsel it purports to offer presents a grave spiritual danger to those who might follow it, in terms of their own understanding of sexuality, as well as in the rearing of children.

While it is not the norm to reply from the Office of the Holy Synod to materials posted on the internet, in this instance the wide readership of the various resources published by this author, who is an Orthodox monastic, has the potential to lead readers astray and we therefore feel compelled to issue a brief word to the faithful. It should be clear to men and women of faith that mere verbal acknowledgement, with regards to homosexuality, that “actively living it out is a sin,” is not sufficient to establish a text’s keeping with Orthodox teaching in the light of the Gospel, when the same text nevertheless equates homosexuality in numerous places to a “God-given gift, and cross,” or “one’s gift-and-cross of (homo)sexuality” — suggesting, in utter departure from all Christian teaching, that this or any means of behaviour which God identifies as sinful may be His deliberate bestowal upon some (thereby falling into the social trap of suggesting that “God made me that way”); further, that such an entrance into sin is “not a ‘choice’”; and moreover, rather than encouraging that a parent of a child identifying as homosexual should help him, with the Church’s loving care, to repent and seek healing unto redemption of soul and body and the fulness of life, instead suggest either that the child be encouraged to remain in his sin as a “humble presence in [his] parish,” falsely equating a consequent withdrawal of approach to the Holy Mysteries to the example St. Mary of Egypt, whose long struggle without Holy Communion was not due to her steadfastness in sin but to the extreme conviction of her utter repentance; or yet worse, that the parents of a child should seek out a parish that deliberately and knowingly “is acceptive of your son’s particular gift-and-cross,” once more ascribing homosexuality as a bestowal of God, encouraging at the same time the departure from ascetic transformation and the seeking out of a community that might wilfully abandon the Gospel teaching towards repentance, knowingly permitting the faithful to languish in their sin rather than be healed.

In these spiritually confused times, when many are being led astray by social norms that employ the pretensions of compassion to abandon the creation order and the teachings of Christ, which are the only true source of authentic compassion and genuine spiritual healing, there can be no room for ambiguity or false witness on such critical matters. Only the Gospel, which Christ proclaims in His Church, provides true spiritual medicine; all deviations from its life-creating message only contribute to the wounds and illness of an already-beleaguered society.

We instruct therefore that the contents of these publicly-posted materials be disregarded by the faithful as contrary to the teachings of the Gospel and pastorally harmful; that they be withdrawn and removed from any web sites or publications that seek authentically to represent Orthodox theological and pastoral teaching; and that in the future such materials be treated with most extreme reticence and caution.

104 comments:

  1. that's sad

    ROCOR clerics constantly engage in murderous anti-vaccination movement, equally dangerous movement making access to weapons wider, antisemitism and all other kinds of hazardous nonsense and no one bats an eye. but mention something about not-stoning homosexuals...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Please provide some links to show this is the case. And can you also show me in the release from the ROCOR synod where they said to, indeed, stone homosexuals?

      Delete
    2. As for gun loving antivaccers - check some fb profiles of ROCOR priests. That stupidity can be found there with ease. As for Nazis, you have this http://www.synod.com/synod/eng2009/9print_enmitrofanovstatement.html
      and there always is that Karpner guy

      Delete
    3. Mike,

      Why do you show up here? Do you just like to argue? Clearly you're not here to do anything but....

      Delete
    4. @Unknown Whenever I see Mike's avatar, I know someone's hungry for an argument :)
      The young people (younger than me!) like to say in this case "haters gonna hate." In the Orthodox internet, with the many characters who seem to have endless time and energy to argue, it might be better to say, "baiters gonna bate."

      Delete
    5. If I said something wrong, testify as to what is wrong. But if I spoke the truth, why did you strike me?

      Delete
    6. @Mike

      ....and of course you retreat into Holier-than-thou argumentation.

      You were wrong because you referred to an entire jurisdiction as murderers (because they want to stone people), idiots (because somehow every ROCOR clergyman is against vaccinations), and anti-semites (I'm not even sure how to respond to that one).

      And yet, because I ask the genuine question of why you show up and guess that it's because you like to argue, you're comparing yourself to Jesus now?

      Delete
    7. As for defending Nazis, they do that on synodal level, I provided the link. There are several more.

      Delete
    8. @mike Though it does seem clear that you are here for nothing other than to stir the pot... The link you provided is a statement encouraging people to have an objective look sat the Russian nationalists during World War II. Many at the time were willing to use the Nazi war machine as a means to fight against their own oppressive Communist government. Lest we forget that the Bolsheviks were responsible for even more state sanctioned murders than the Nazis. There is no defending any genocide carried out by any group of people, and so to support either the Nazi or Bolshevik agenda is wrong. However, if the main goal of the Russian Nationalists was to overthrow Communism than the best resource would be the invading Nazis. Secondly, a priest's personal opinion on the subject of gun control, or vaccination cannot be taken as any sort of universal Church stance. Even if the overwhelming majority of clergy were anti-gun control and anti-vaccination, the very ecclesiastical structure of the Church does not allow those opinions to become Church dogma. Thirdly, you did not provide any source on anti-semitism. However, given that our God Himself is Jewish, it's hard to believe that there are any. And once again, the personal opinion of any clergy does not equate to Church dogma. Lastly, as has been stated, there has been no mention anywhere here of any Orthodox clergy, monastic, or lay person calling for the stoning of homosexuals. If you are simply trolling then there isn't much we are going to accomplish. But if this is a serious stance you are taking then I suggest you rely less on virtue checking, rabble rousing, and eccentric pathos arguments, and at least offer intelligent ideas into the ongoing discussion.

      Delete
    9. Because Russians in Waffen-SS were Jew-friendly

      Delete
    10. Vlasov's troops were not in the Waffen-SS.

      Delete
    11. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
  2. Finally, some good news this week. Glory to God! Our hierarchs are awake and vigilant.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Who is defending Nazis? If you're talking about General Vlasov and the Russian Liberation Army, you've got it wrong.Nazi Party membership was not open to Russians, whom the Nazis regarded as subhuman. Vlasov tried to use Hitler against Stalin. If Hitler wasn't so anti-Slav, he could have made good use of the anti-Stalin feelings of many Russians and Ukrainians.Only towards the end of the war, did Hitler actually support the Vlasov Army.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I don't utilize Facebook. I assume if Sr. Vassa responds to this (I pray it will be in humility - a simple apology) it will be or has already been posted there since the original erroneous advice/thinking was poster there. Anyone here actually follow her on Facebook?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That would be quite in opposition to this post:

      http://byztex.blogspot.com/2017/07/sr-vassa-not-retracting-rejoices-in.html

      Thanks for writing and caring, my brother. No, I didn't delete the post because I'm retracting it in any way. I just thought that, after three full 24-hour days of people fighting about it, it was enough. But please note that ca. 90% of the response I got has been positive. I have more followers now, on Facebook, and also more subscribers to my audio-podcasts. So, this isn't some kind of catastrophe or "failure," for me. OK?

      Delete
    2. It would be in opposition, and it might be a bridge too far for her (at least in the short term). However, with the her Holy Synod rejecting her position/advice/thinking in such an unambiguous manner, she will have to publicly disavow her previous position and positively acknowledge her error. The Holy Synod has very publicly censored her in such a way that for *communion* to be real and not a sham, she will have to affirm this correction and her humility. If this does not happen, then she appears (and I would suggest is in fact) to be a rebel (with a cause ;) and a very public "dissenter" that allows a "diversity" of doctrine in the Church around this particular cluster of issues. I suppose the Holy Synod might believe that her voluntary humiliation is unnecessary - but IMO they would be overstating their *moral* authority in that Sr. Vassa and her fellow dissenters would be a kind of "loyal opposition" that would be divisive (as it has been all along) and not healing...

      Delete
  5. Secular propaganda would have us believe that people are born "left-handed" or "right-handed," but through struggle and prayer, they can change. Just because one is inclined to use the left hand, does not force one to use the left hand. We know this because we have formed a committee whose pronouncements are guided by God.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. lol

      and my grandmother still believes being left-handed is sinful and I have to confess it

      Delete
    2. That would be a belief without any authority of Scripture or Tradition behind it. Your point?

      Delete
    3. Zla'od, if pedophiles are "born that way", does that make it OK?

      Delete
    4. Dear Zla'od, not sure if I am reading you correctly, but must comment as an Orthodox physician that God has graciously made us so that we can rewire our brains by various mental and physical activities. Hence a stroke victim with permanent damage to the dominant side can learn to use the nondominant unafflicted hand to write and some stroke victims can learn to reuse the damaged parts as well. Neuroplasticity is a new discovery in medicine. Structural changes in the brain have also been noted in individuals engaged in intense psychotherapy (see Glen Gabbard MD et al). The woman raped as a child who has feared all men and avoided them can learn to desensitize from that false generallization and "feel" differently with different thought processes and choices. Early traumas "rewire" us and later healing experiences can "rewire" us again IF we choose to do so. Respect must be paid to the person's choices and readiness for healing so that healing may be optimized. That applies to all forms of emotional bonding as well. A young boy should not be forced into a deprogramming (or programming) environment by parents, because Christ Himself stands at the door and knocks rather than barging in, the Prodigal Son's Father awaits his choice to return. Parent of younger children and teens in their care can love the child and explain that their house rules are to be observed because they are doing what they believe is beneficial out of love until the children are adults or on their own and then use that time to fill the child with whatever love and information would be helpful but not coercive. Many a parent has said, you may make your own choices when you are an adult and on your own (about transgender surgery, homosexual or heterosexual activity and relationships) but as long as I am responsible for you and you are in my home, I will protect you from engaging in activities I believe will be harmful. And you will respect my boundaries for you. And pray that in the interim they will be moved by your calm wisdom and love and your strength in standing up to whatever their emotions and hormones push them to do. Secular political agendas often go against demonstrable scientific and medical discoveries/principles.

      Delete
    5. "Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels..."

      Delete
    6. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
  6. Antisemitism also has support from both Scripture and Tradition.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Amen. Where do people get these nonsensical ideas from? And how can they reveal them openly without shame? Lord have mercy!

      Delete
    2. Where indeed?

      https://scottnevinssuicide.wordpress.com/2015/04/25/orthodox-christian-canons-concerning-jews-st-nikodemos-the-hagiorite/

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SgBXfpFGSGI&oref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DSgBXfpFGSGI&has_verified=1


      Delete
    3. Zla'od could you put what you are saying into the form of a coherent argument? That there are some Orthodox who are antisemitic is not proof that the Scriptures or the Tradition provide any support for that.

      That there are canons that called for keeping some separation from those Jews who rejected Christ and were actively antagonistic towards Christians does not proof that there is any support for hatred towards Jews per se. Most of the canons cited at the link you provided include heretics, pagans, and/or schismatics in their statements, and for the same reason.

      The Scriptures were written almost entirely by Jews, and so the idea that they provide support for antisemitism is ridiculous on the face of it.

      You will find no indication in the Fathers or canons of any opposition to people of Jewish race. There of course is opposition to anti-Christian Judaism... just as there is opposition to any other erroneous belief.

      Delete
    4. Neither "Scripture" nor "Tradition" speak with one voice--we inevitably select which aspects to perpetuate and celebrate. Anti-Semitism, like anti-homosexuality, is not without a certain amount of both kinds of support, although this is obviously a matter of interpretation, and each side has its own contrary proof-texts. Anti-Semitism certainly has a robust history within the Orthodox Church, both past and present, and has often predominated, just as anti-gay sentiments do today. You may say that the Holy Spirit has gradually led the church to abandon such views, but what (other than institutional inertia) is to prevent the same thing from happening with respect to homosexuality? For the sake of comparison, a number of independent fundamentalist Baptist groups arose on the basis of 1960s-era racial segregation, only to see their Millennial generation abandon this aspect of their religion.

      One question that arises is, what beliefs is an Orthodox Christian required to hold? For example, would the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed be sufficient, or must an Orthodox ipso facto also assent to canon law, the pronouncements of certain church bodies, etc.? Since Sr. Vassa has a difference of opinion with the ROCOR synod, are we to assume that she is in the wrong?

      Delete
    5. You're being dishonest. Show me the pro-homosexual elements of Scripture and Tradition. You can't because there are none. The condemnation of homosexuality is universal, and unequivocal... you just reject Scripture and Tradition, and if you were honest, you would simply come out and say that this in fact your issue here.

      There are also no antisemitic elements in Scripture or Tradition. There are anti-Christ-rejecting-judaism voices, but no hatred of the Jews as a race.

      Delete
    6. Well, for example, some interpret the story of Jacob "wrestling" with God (Gen 32) as involving gay sex, and the ending certainly makes more sense that way. Generally speaking, though, a pro-gay reading would focus on reinterpreting or rejecting statements that have traditionally been interpreted as anti-gay. There is no pro-shrimp tradition either, and yet the Orthodox eat shrimp, secure in the belief that the food prohibitions no longer apply. The tradition is similarly silent on slavery, which by now even most Orthodox must acknowledge to be an evil.

      "Race" is just one way of conceiving of Jewishness. You can have anti-Semitism without it. Those canons forbidding Orthodox believers from associating with Jews (however defined) cannot possibly be explained rationally, as if the Jews posed some sort of threat. (Gospel diatribes against "the Jews," on the other hand, seem to have been composed during a time of tension between the early church and what would eventually become rabbinic Judaism.)

      Delete
    7. Who reads the story of Jacob wrestling with God as involving gay sex? No one with any credibility. It certainly was never read that way historically. No Church Father ever read it that way. And no credible Biblical commentary has ever read it that way. You are showing yourself here.

      And now you are throwing in the usual pro-homosexual kitchen sink arguments, which have already been addressed:

      http://fatherjohn.blogspot.com/2015/09/stump-priest-shrimp-and-homosexuality.html

      http://fatherjohn.blogspot.com/2013/09/stump-priest-slavery.html

      The canon against associating with Jews would make sense in a time when Jews were aggressively anti-Christian, and the Church was concerned with people being led astray by them. And it was not just Jews, defined in any way -- it was non-Christian Jews. The canon obviously did not forbid fellowship with Christian Jews.

      And the Gospel "diatribes" against "the Jews" were written by Jews, and so were obviously not antisemitic -- they were anti-Christ-rejecting-Judaism.

      Delete
    8. It is very difficult to take someone seriously who started off by tacitly comparing homosexuals to pedophiles. That is obviously mistaken, so you don't really have room to talk about "kitchen sink" arguments. (Although in that particular instance Zla'od is mistaken).

      Delete
    9. I did not say that pedophiles were on the same level as homosexuals, but the question is, if they were "born that way" would it make pedophilia less objectionable? Would it? I would argue that it would not. This shows the fallacy of the "born that way" argument.

      Delete
    10. I said "tacitly" meaning to insinuate, which you certainly did. That is a tired scare tactic association people have unjustly made for ages. "Born that way" is a crude simplification of the point, which you surely know. No one would say pedophilia is acceptable even if people are born with that inclination. Pedophilia has nothing in common with homosexuality as such an attraction is directed towards those incapable by definition of a consensual relationship. The point of "born that way" language is to counter the false notion that people can change their sexual orientation. The only fallacy committed here is your arguing against a straw man, which betrays the weakness of your position.

      Delete
    11. Sure, no church father interprets the story that way, but some modern biblical scholars have.

      What you call a "kitchen sink" argument is really a complaint that the Orthodox are being arbitrary and selective when deciding which details of scripture and/or tradition to perpetuate. Shrimp? Course not. Slavery? Not anymore. Homosexuality? Keep that in, right next to the Ten Commandments. Why this and not that? (Chirping crickets.)

      Is child molesting consistent with the "Greatest Commandment" / "New Commandment"? Surely not. Is gay sex? It seems so.

      Delete
    12. And another thing: during which century or centuries would you say that Jews have been "aggressively anti-Christian" and intent on leading Christians astray? First century? Okay, but that's not when these canons were created. They are products of bigotry pure and simple.

      Delete
    13. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    14. Zla'od name the Biblical scholars that interpret Jacob wrestling with an angel as involving homosexual sex. In what published text can we find these views expressed? You will not be able to cite a single credible Biblical scholar who has published an actual commentary on the book of Genesis.

      And when were Jews aggressively anti-Christian... well past the 1st century. You might read up on your history some time. During the time of Julian the Apostate, Jews used the occasion to participate in the persecution of Christians.

      Delete
    15. Hugh pedophilia is comparable in that it is a sexual sin that is difficult for those given to it to resist. I didn't say the sins were equal. But if they are born that way, does it matter? Answer the question.

      Delete
    16. And Zla'od, if you believe what the Bible actually says, homosexual sex does violate the commandment to love God and neighbor, because being an active homosexual will bar you from the Kingdom of Heaven (1 Corinthians 6:9-11), and so obviously dragging others to hell along with yourself is hardly loving God or your neighbor.

      Delete
    17. First of all, I'm dumbfounded that this is the actual argument you're making when so many people read your writing on this topic. This shows a shocking lack of thought on the matter.

      You can't simply make a category of "sexual sin" and then act as though everything is equivalent, while at the same time claiming you're not saying they're equal. Pedophilia has to do with attraction to children. In some cases it is children of the same sex, in other cases children of the opposite sex. What makes it so heinous is that the attraction is directed towards someone who, by definition, cannot consent. So the attraction itself is directed towards horrible abuse. Persons like that may or may not, in fact, be born that way, but obviously that doesn't make the behavior any less reprehensible. Again, homosexuality is clearly NOT the same.

      As I stated before, when persons speak of being "born that way" it is to counter years of falsely being told that they can somehow change their sexuality. If they only prayed enough or were faithful enough it would change. I would not be surprised if this is or has been propagated by you. It is incredibly harmful to people physiologically because it simply isn't the case.

      Furthermore, sexuality is not the same as sex. You can be gay and never have had gay sex. If you are so concerned with matters of sex, I do hope you tell your married hetereosexual congregants to never engage in oral sex lest they also become sodomites marching into hell behind the "active homosexuals."

      Delete
    18. “Hugh,”

      It is disingenuous of you to pretend to shocked—SHOCKED!—and confused by Fr. John mentioning the phrase “born that way” in this context. It is as, as you say, frequently used to promote the idea that sexual orientation is fixed. It is also used to argue that this orientation is God-given and thus cannot be considered sinful.

      Fr. John’s point (which I think is perfectly obvious and cannot have actually dumbfounded someone as intelligent and thoughtful as you clearly are) is that even IF a disposition to a particular sin were in some degree genetically or epigenetically conditioned and furthermore more or less unchangeable according to current human understanding (“but with God all things are possible”), this would not in itself be sufficient to declare that the object of that disposition or inclination is not sinful. I take it that you agree with this narrow point. Many secular psychologists believe that an inclination to pedophilia is incurable by any known therapy, but you acknowledge that pedophilia is nevertheless abominable, and that someone so afflicted should never, under any circumstances, act on their impulses. We also all agree that some things we are “born with” are good (such as a peaceful or cheerful disposition, for instance) or morally neutral (handedness, despite “cute” attempts to muddy the waters in this thread).

      Your comments assume, without providing a basis for, model of sexual ethics based on consent, and certainly consent is an part of Christian sexual morality. Rape is a grievous sin. But not everything that is consensual is good. We can consent to hurt ourselves and be hurt in terrible ways, and sometimes the damage we do is not even obvious to us. Orthodox Christians (and indeed traditional Christians outside her boundaries) must therefore consider whether an action is forbidden by God on account of his boundless love and solicitude for us.How can we determine this? By looking to the Scriptures and Holy Tradition, the direct experience of the holy Apostles, Fathers, and elders, and reading them with a view to conforming ourselves to the life-giving remedies the Church provides, not by trying to rearrange them to conform to our limited, ever-changing human understanding.

      Remember St. Irenaeus’ analogy of the mosaic of the king? You can break it up and make your own new picture, but I much prefer the “real thing” to what will at best be a shoddy pastiche. We can talk about the most pastoral approach to someone struggling with an inclination to a sexual sin, but within the Church there are boundaries that cannot be crossed. I am grateful to our hierarchy for speaking clearly on this matter, which is not about individual personalities but pastoral acumen and the care of souls.

      Delete
    19. My shock is not disingenuous because the insinuation is clear. That particular example has a long history. It used to be common practice to try to group gay people with pedophiles, or make it seem as though pedophilia was an extension of homosexuality. Don't pretend to be ignorant of this fact. One can protest that it is only being used in a "particular way," but that is like saying you shouldn't take offense if I compared Republicans to Nazis because they're both political parties and I'm not saying you commit genocide.

      Again, you fall into the same misunderstandings that Fr. John does. You say "even IF a disposition to a particular sin" were genetically conditioned. The "particular sin" would be homosexual sex, and yet, as I said before, sexuality is clearly not the same as sex. It encompasses many other aspects of life. You do a disservice to gay people by reducing these matters to a mere question of sex. Furthermore, it is utterly nonsensical to equate sexuality with any other disposition that one is born with. As I've addressed elsewhere on this site, that just betrays that you've never dealt with this personally.

      As for the issue of "born with" I return yet again to my former point. Obviously to say one is "born with" something is not a justification in-and-of-itself. This is nothing but a convenient straw man. It IS however an important consideration because for decades people were instructed that to simply pray the gay away, or that it was a "lifestyle choice" as if people could simply choose their sexuality. This was emphasized precisely because so long as it could be seen as a choice and entirely within a person's control, they had full moral culpability. In fact, to even acknowledge that people are born homosexual or heterosexual is already a retreat from that former position.

      As for the rest of your comments you assume a lot. I never said everything consensual was good. All I've been protesting is very problematic ideas that Fr. John has been forwarding. I personally don't think either you or Fr. John have an actual understanding of the nature of the problem, so I'm not about to get into the details of Scripture and Tradition with you.

      Also please note that you didn't respond to my point about heterosexuals and sodomy either. As soon as the hierarchy makes a point of speaking clearly about sodomy in all cases it would be easier to accept as being from a place of serious concern.

      Delete
    20. Theodore W. Jennings Jr., "Jacob’s Wound: Homoerotic Narrative in the Literature of Ancient Israel" (Continuum, 2006).

      Julian "the Apostate" proclaimed religious toleration, which the Christians opposed and the Jews, of course, supported. I think you will find that rather than Jews "persecuting" Christians, it was usually the other way around.

      Delete
    21. Hugh, you are being completely disingenuous because you wish to avoid answering the question. The reason why is obvious. It would not make a difference. So obviously, if something is inherently wrong, even genetic predispositions have to be resisted.

      And St. Nikodemos of the Holy Mountain says in his book on confession that a man who sodomizes his wife is worse than a homosexual. So it has long been addressed.

      Delete
    22. Excuse me, but anyone who can read can see I answered it more than once. I've answered it repeatedly. You keep resorting to the same old straw man because you have no case.

      So oral sex even in marriage is sin? I'm glad you're consistent. I wonder how many Orthodox Christians are aware of this? Perhaps the synod should pronounce on this as well? How many are unwittingly damning themselves....

      Delete
    23. Zla'od, you haven't cited an actual commentary on Genesis. You have cited a work of pro-homosexual propaganda. There is a difference.

      And Julian's reign was short, but he did persecute Christians, and he supported the Jews as a means of undermining Christians, and there were Christian martyrs under Julian, though he generally tried to make things more difficult for them. Jews did take advantage of such persecutions... you find this in the Martyrdom of Polycarp, the persecutions under Nero, and repeatedly thereafter, up until the time when Christianity was more firmly established. But even later, when the Persians sacked Jerusalem, there were Jews who ransomed Christians from the Persians in order to abuse and kill them. And so while as time went on, it was less of an issue. The history is there, and there was also the threat of Judaizing Christians who were syncretistic.

      Delete
    24. Excuse me, Hugh, I see where you dodged it. Where did you answer it, and was the answer a "yes," or a "no"?

      Delete
    25. Everyone can see I've clearly answered it repeatedly. I would like to think you're not being intentionally obtuse. Yet again...

      Clearly no one thinks that being born with a disposition makes that disposition moral or good in-and-of-itself. Stating that someone is "born that way" is relevant in a conversation about homosexuality insofar as historically, calling it a "choice" has been a means of totally faulting the individual, rather than recognizing that the inclination itself is not within a persons control. This gets into the more complicated issue of how sexuality is something beyond simple sexual acts. You're using reductio ad absurdum on an argument that no one seriously makes; a straw man.

      None of this distracts from the fact that you've utterly failed to answer the other substantive points that I've raised. Now who is dodging?

      Delete
    26. So if indeed your answer is that "No" it would not make a difference if pedophiles were born that way, then clearly the only question is whether or not something is moral, and predispositions have nothing at all to do with the question. The Scriptures are unambiguous in the judgment that homosexual sex is inherently sinful. If one actually believes the Scriptures, that should settle the matter. So do you, believe the Scriptures Hugh? If you don't, what is your purpose here?

      And what specific points do you feel that I have dodged?

      Delete
    27. Also, Hugh, while sexual orientation may not change much for many people, it clearly does change for others, and so the idea that it is immutable is simply not borne out by the facts. But whether it is is immutable or not in any given case has no bearing on whether what one is inclined towards is in fact moral. Pedophilia is a sexual orientation, but one we agree is immoral to give in to.

      Delete
    28. Again, as I've explained your repeatedly linking homosexuality to pedophilia is nothing more than a smear job. I tried to be nice about it before, but your insistence on using it betrays your intent. Pedophilia is about age, not sex or gender. It is not a sexual orientation in any way that is relevant to this discussion.

      Predisposition does matter, especially when it applies to pastoral issues. Perhaps only straight people are deserving of pastoral consideration? Not once do you even consider what impact this absolutist attitude has on the individual. The actual psychological impact of these things on a person's life is profound.

      Now of course you will say that is irrelevant as to whether something is moral or not. Then you proceed with the tired argument of 'Scripture plainly says X (because I say so), so if you don't agree, you must not believe the Scriptures.' In saying this you betray the fundamentalist perspective. You know full well that there are other ways to look at both Scripture and Tradition. Yes you reject them, which is fair, but don't resort to just asserting things to make your case. Scripture is rather ambiguous about the details of sex in a number of cases. Where it does speak about homosexual sex, it speaks of sex acts specifically rather than broader sexuality in any modern sense. Most of the fathers likewise only speak of specific sex acts, or forms of homosexual relations that were inherently abusive in their society. Views of marriage and sexuality within the Tradition have clearly undergone change which is plain to anyone who has studied it. Of course I know all of this will be rejected by you outright, so there is little need to go into it.

      Frankly, I'm rather disappointed. I've perused some of your articles in the past and know of you by reputation. I've fought vigorously for traditional sexual ethics as well as traditional marriage for years. I've defended it to gay people and straight, both inside and outside the Church. Recently it has become clear to me that people such as yourself simply have no idea what you're talking about. Yes, you feel you're in a position to write about it, but I doubt you've ever seriously taken the time to speak to a gay Orthodox Christian, such as myself, and attempt to understand what we go through. One can still uphold all the traditional teaching and not write things so plainly ignorant of our experience and offensive.

      Delete
    29. Hugh wrote: "Predisposition does matter, especially when it applies to pastoral issues. Perhaps only straight people are deserving of pastoral consideration? Not once do you even consider what impact this absolutist attitude has on the individual. The actual psychological impact of these things on a person's life is profound."

      Me: You need to stop talking out of both sides of your mouth here. Predisposition either matters or it does not matter to the question of whether something is moral. If it matters in the case of homosexual sex, it should matter in the case of pedophilia.

      When it comes to pastoral matters, if you are talking about how you deal with a sin, once we all agree that this is what it is, that is one question. But pastoral concerns can never allow the suggestion that something which is inherently sinful can somehow be allowable, because not doing it is hard.

      Are you seriously arguing that the Scriptures do not teach that homosexual sex is inherently sinful? Fundamentalism has nothing to do with this. Being honest with the text of Scripture and the clear teachings of the Church requires that you come to this conclusion. The Fathers are clear. The canons are clear. Every official statement from any local Orthodox Church has made this clear. If you deny this, you are simply being dishonest.

      And you have no idea who I have spoken to. I have spoken at great length and over many years with people who were Orthodox who struggled with homosexuality. And I am all in favor of a compassionate approach to such people, so long as it is not inconsistent with the clear teachings of the Church.

      The problem here is that you clearly do not hold to the actual Tradition of the Church, and are trying to pretend that you can reinterpret Scripture and Tradition in a way that would allow homosexual sex, when an honest reading of those things so clearly precludes coming to that conclusion.

      Delete
    30. Now I know you're being purposefully obtuse. It is impossible to carry on a conversation with someone who insists on first not reading what I say and then putting words in my mouth. Your drumbeat of trying to link homosexuality and pedophilia is downright bizarre. If you're going to simply repeat "Scripture and Tradition" and the words "honest" and "clear" that is textbook fundamentalism and little more than a crypto-Protestant version of Sola Scriptura. You render conversation impossible because you're unwilling to have it. You assume what I think when I've all done is point out the problems with your positions. If you have spoken to gay Orthodox Christians they've done nothing to help you because you evidence no compassion whatsoever. You work against your own cause by speaking this way.

      Delete
    31. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    32. You are trying to carve out some room in which the Church would "pastorally" allow for sex between two men or two women, no? If not, clarify what you are trying to say.

      And as an example of how clear the Scriptures and Tradition is, take a look at this:

      Canon 18 of St. John the Faster states:

      "It has seemed advisable to exclude any man who has been so mad as to copulate with another man from Communion for three years, weeping and fasting, and towards evening confined to xerophagy, and doing two hundred metanias. But as for one who prefers to take it easy, let him fulfill the fifteen years."

      What room do you find for homosexual sex in that canon?

      Delete

      Delete
    33. St. Basil's canons were affirmed specifically at the 4th, 6th, and 7th Ecumenical Councils, and his 7th canon states:

      "Sodomists and bestialists and murderers and sorcerers and adulterers and idolaters deserve the same condemnation, so that whatever rule you have as regarding the others observe it also in regard to these persons. But as for those who have been for thirty years penitent for an act of impurity which they committed unwittingly, there is no ground for our doubting that we ought to admit them. Both the fact of their ignorance renders them worthy of pardon, and so do also the voluntary character of their confession, and the fact that they have been exhibiting good intentions for such a long time; for they have surrendered themselves to Satan for nearly a whole human generation, in order to be educated not to indulge in shameful acts. So bid them to be admitted without fail, especially if they have shed tears that move you to compassion, and are exhibiting a life that deserves sympathy."

      His 57th Canon states:

      "As for any man who uncovers his nakedness in the midst of males, he shall be allotted the time fixed for those transgressing in the act of adultery."

      The canons are clear, as are the Scriptures:

      "Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals (malakoi), nor sodomites (arsenokoitai), nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God (1 Corinthians 6:9-11).

      "For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due" (Romans 1:26-27).

      And if you read St. John Chrysostom's homilies on those passages, he leaves no room for ambiguity either.

      Delete
    34. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    35. As for pastoral compassion. That comes into play in terms of how you deal with a sinner who acknowledges their sin. There can be no compromise on matters of the faith, St. Mark of Ephesus tells us, and whether or not homosexual sex is inherently sinful is a matter of the faith.

      Delete
    36. I've merely been pointing out the flawed nature of your positions. The more persons like you speak the more you prove my point. I say you're a fundamentalist, which you deny, only to prove my point by simply citing a string of passages from Scripture and canons and stating that it is "clear" exactly like a fundamentalist Protestant. You know, of course, that there are volumes of studies written both on canon law (which is hardly a straightforward thing) as well as Scripture. All of these things have context, which you totally disregard. It is unfortunate because if you tried to engage on a truly reasoned and scholarly level you could still make a compelling case. Yet you don't do that, you use the old fundamentalist standby of asserting and proof-texting. I can only imagine you assume your audience is already on your side, so you don't really have to try, or that they're not educated to enough to realize things are not as straightforward as you make them out to be.

      Delete
    37. ... because citing actual evidence is fundamentalism... I guess.

      "Hugh" please feel free to make the case that these texts don't apply to homosexual sex. There are no saints or fathers that read these texts in a way that would comport with the position you suggest but lack the guts to actually spell out... even while hiding behind a pseudonym. Neither can you cite any credible Biblical commentaries (of any Christian origin), and you certainly cannot cite any synodal statements to substantiate your view. I, on the other hand, can

      Why do you suppose that is, unless it is because your position is baseless?

      Delete
    38. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    39. Does it take a Ph.D candidate to be able to ignore the evidence, and defend the indefensible?

      Delete
    40. I've actually never made a case for it. You assume I think that because you like to fight imagined enemies. All I began to do was point out the way you don't even understand what you're purporting to speak about. The total imprecision in your terminology, reduction of everything to sex acts rather than addressing sexuality, your bizarre insistence on putting pedophiles in the same sentence with homosexuals, the suggestion that people can change their sexual orientation, and the list goes on....

      You accuse me of hiding behind pseudonym? Obviously that is precisely because of people like you. You care nothing about how your rhetoric hurts real people, no doubt because you seem so certain of who is damned and who is not. I explained to you multiple times how the rhetoric of insinuating homosexuality is on the same spectrum as pedophilia is not only wrong but hurtful. You don't care. I explained to you more than once that "born this way" language is often used because gay people have so long been falsely taught that they can change if only they're faithful enough, or pray enough, to their great psychological harm. You don't care.

      Any one who reads could dispute every citation you claimed. That would be wasted breath in this case. My point in this has never been to change your mind. That would be futile. My effort has only been to illustrate what people like you are really all about. I always hope to be surprised but sadly you've illustrated to a T the insidious graceless fundamentalism that exists within the Church.

      For anyone who actually cares about traditional marriage and traditional sexual ethics, the smart thing to do is reach out to gay Orthodox Christians. Listen to the struggles they face in staying true to the teachings of the Church and then learn how you can actually be of help to them. Advocate that there be more openness about the subject so that people don't feel the need to hide and that there be more resources to help them lead this extremely difficult way of life. You don't have to change your theology to do this, you just have to actually care.

      Delete
    41. You suggested that pastoral accommodation be given to homosexuals. Since we are talking about whether or not homosexual sex is inherently sinful, it is clear enough what you mean by that. If you don't, then be honest and forthright, and say what you do mean? Conjugal friendship? Be honest.

      Delete
    42. And if anyone could dispute the texts I cited, why don't you give it a go. You're someone.

      Delete
    43. Again you ignore almost everything I say in order to focus on what you perceive as a "gotcha" and again, you take it out of context. I said predisposition matters a lot pastorally. First, so people are not foolishly advised to pray the gay away. Second, to actually have some sympathy for the person and appreciate the ways in which it impacts their life far beyond mere sex acts (although you seem incapable of this, as I've made this point repeatedly with you ignoring it every time). We all know that in practice single straight people are rarely going to be treated as harshly a single gay people within the Church.

      Delete
    44. "Hugh," I deal with people who fall into homosexual sins exactly as I deal with those who fall into heterosexual sins. So since, you don't dispute that homosexual sex is inherently sinful, it would appear we agree entirely.

      I am all in favor of compassion towards anyone who is struggling with a sin that is difficult to overcome. I'm just not in favor of not calling it a sin, because it is hard to overcome.

      Delete
    45. Again you illustrate you understand nothing about the topic by how you phrase all of that. Sexuality is not a "sin difficult to overcome." Sex acts do not equal sexuality. Sexuality is a real thing, whether you like it or not. It isn't at all compassionate to ignore this.

      Whether or not it is inherently sinful, as well as what should be done about it if it is, are things that should be discussed. However, I did not begin that discussion because, frankly, you're not even making sensible arguments for traditional marriage and sexual ethnics yet. Other people have and many of them are capable of having thoughtful discourse on this topic all while sticking to the current teaching of the Church that you so obviously favor. You could learn much from them.

      Delete
    46. "Hugh", because of people like you, I am careful to say that homosexual sex is inherently sinful, because it is very precise, and impossible to deny that this is what the Church and Scriptures teach. You say you don't deny that, so why are you denying it?

      Delete
    47. It is like you don't even read what I write before you comment..... How many times must I say the exact same thing over and over and over?
      In this discussion I have not advocated for one position or the other. You keep trying to put words in my mouth. I've tried to point out that the arguments you're using are exceptionally misguided and evidence no understanding of the issue (as you again fixate on sex acts and refuse to acknowledge sexuality is a real thing). As I literally just said, there ARE people who do have good arguments for traditional marriage and sexual ethics, who can discourse thoughtfully about it while not completely ignoring the experience and hardships of gay Christians. Then there can be a real discussion.

      Delete
    48. Stop pretending. You are advocating for a position. You are just not honest enough to come right out and say what that position is.

      Delete
    49. You've already illustrated my point perfectly. Another sign of the fundamentalism: the fortress mentality. Everyone must be an enemy. If you'd actually heed my points you'd have a better case. Even most conservative/traditionalist Christians have had the sense to drop the old rhetoric of trying to associate gays with pedophiles, that gays can change, and the refusal to acknowledge sexuality as a real thing. They recognized it hurt their cause more than it helped it. If you wish to actually sway people you'd be wise to do likewise.

      Delete
    50. I have only been arguing for one point here: homosexual sex is inherently sinful. You want to take issue with that and still feny that you are taking a position. I had hoped we could have a scholarly discussion, but I am disappointed. You are not interested.

      Delete
    51. And I've made a number of points along the way, all of which you've plainly ignored. You hoped for a scholarly discussion? Now who is pretending.

      Delete
    52. You've refused to address the main point, and made no honest ones. I'm disappointed. Had hoped you make be enticed into actually making an argument on substance.

      Delete
    53. Not to intrude on your debate, but Hugh maybe you could elaborate on how you conceive of 'sexuality' versus 'sex'. This seems to be part of the contention you are raising, and it might make things clearer. By sexuality do you mean "the sexual habits and desires of a person," (Merriam-Webster) i.e., a person's sexual attraction to others/another? Do you conceive of sexuality in the sense of one's inclination of attraction or as something more? Does sexuality involve attraction generally, or to a member of one or another gender, i.e., male or female or both? And do you conceive of there being two or more sexualities, i.e., 'heterosexual sexuality' and 'homosexual sexuality', etc., or is there simply human sexuality with different sexual "habits and desires"? You seem to favour the former, though I am just inferring it from what you write. If yes, then what distinguishes the 'heterosexual sexuality' from the 'homosexual sexuality' other than same-sex attraction or hetero-sex attraction? I suppose the same question might apply if you answer no as well. What distinction exists in human sexuality that accounts for homosexuals and heterosexuals beyond sexual attraction? I mean no disrespect if this sounds trite, but is there some sort of 'straightness' or 'gayness' in human sexuality that exceeds or transcends the type of sexual attraction one evinces, whether hetero or homo or bi? I think an answer to this might add a great deal of clarity to the discussion, especially if by sexuality what you might really be suggesting is gender and maleness or femaleness, rather than 'straightness' or 'gayness'--which would seem to contain by definition some inherent notion of "sexual attraction." What would gay sexuality actually mean if attraction to the opposite sex were not part of the definition? Or sexuality in general for that matter? This is an honest question. I just wonder if you are presupposing (whether rightly or wrongly) something by the term sexuality that Fr John (or myself) might not be grasping when we read it. For Fr John it seems that he understands that sex (or at least sexual attraction) and sexuality are fundamentally connected, but that you are suggesting something beyond that connection if sex (or sexual attraction??) is removed from the equation? Do I have this right?

      Fr M

      Delete
    54. Finally someone who can have reasonable discussion! Thank you for the thoughtful questions.

      It is important to distinguish between sex and sexuality in this discussion because for a long time many have tried to reduce homosexuality to a sex act. If the sex act is wrong then we can just keep it in a catalogue of sins and imagine it goes no further. Elsewhere on this page I had someone tell me that homosexuality is equivalent to their propensity to anger because they're both sins we have to daily struggle against. I would argue that this is obviously absurd to anyone who takes the time to think through it.

      So what do I mean by sexuality? I was never trying to suggest sexuality is wholly independent from sexual attraction, only that sexuality is not reducible to a sex act because it actually influences many different aspects of life. Most straight people are incapable of seeing this simply because they have no reason to.These realities are not made manifest to them in their daily life. The world is heteronormative, which I don't object to at all, but heterosexuals should at least be aware how that can limit their perception of how this impacts people's lives.

      To give you some examples of what I mean.... Often times people who write on this issue seem to look back on their youth and remember what it was like to be single, thinking 'Well that wasn't so bad.' Then the instruction ends up being something like 'Just be single, be faithful, and don't have sex,' as if those things are straightforward. Most of these writers are either married or widowed. They seem to entirely miss the fact that when they were single they were able to look forward to marriage, to date, to pursue relationships etc. Or if they are widowed they have those times to fondly look back on. I have no such luxury.

      Delete
    55. This is what makes the reduction of sexuality to mere sex so grievous. I don't wake up every day wishing I could have sex. I desire to have a romantic relationship with someone, to love and care for them, to not be utterly alone in life. Not only this, but every day I have to try to kill every ounce of hope in me that I would ever have these things. Every normal thing to a straight person, that they never even pay attention to, I'm painfully aware of. I have to decide who I tell and who I don't about my sexuality. If I'm friends with women I have to be sure I don't lead them on. If I'm friends with men I have to worry about how they'd react if they knew I was gay. If I'm friends with gay people, who can actually understand this aspect of my life, I have to worry that I don't grow romantically attached to them. In church it obviously isn't okay to be open about it. Then if you are you practically have to take a public pledge of celibacy or people will assume you're out living a "homosexual lifestyle." Better still, some will chastise you for calling yourself gay because "you shouldn't identify yourself with your sin." If you're not open about it and in your early 30's all of the women of the church start to play match-maker, which must be politely refused. When they ask why it becomes difficult to know what to say.

      One thing I've always appreciated in the Orthodox Church is that marriage is not upheld as the only option, at least theologically. Surely monasticism is important but I've never felt called to be a monastic. The truth is that in parishes it is little different from the rest of the world. Marriage is the only real option and life is not easy for single people, much less so if you're gay and doomed to be perpetually single. Straight people are given a huge amount of leeway by the Church (which I don't necessarily disagree with). It is very common for Orthodox to fall away from the Church in college, no doubt be sexually transgressive, and then return with their marriage to have a family. I think in practice this is because people anticipate youths going through a wild phase before settling down for marriage. I'm certainly not saying the Church should be okay with licentiousness, but it can be rather painful to see how hyper-focused clergy can be on homosexuality while other obvious realities are hardly ever mentioned.

      I could go on much longer but hopefully that gives you some idea of what I mean.

      Delete
    56. Hugh says:

      "I desire to have a romantic relationship with someone..."

      Hugh, you seem entirely unaware ("ignorant" is the technical term) that Christianity is not only NOT the romantic ideal, but that it entirely rejects it (as do most religions and philosophies known to man). Christianity does not understand man or God in light of a romantic ideal and does not put love (either eros or agape) or relationships under this light either. Christianity does not recognize as "true" the metaphysical presuppositions of "natural" man or the Good for humanity/community in terms of these categories.

      Indeed, the philosophy that leads to the recognition of man (anthropos) as a "natural" and romantic phenomenon falls under "the world" and "the authority of darkness" (of principalities and powers) and Christianities whole reason for existence is to call us out of our fallen, natural state of being into a transformed and transforming state of being (the technical term is "ontology") such that both our desires (and will) and our "nature" are trans-formed, that is changed from one kind of being into another (formed from one thing into another like a lump of clay).

      I say all this to point out that while you claim you want to "have a conversation" you in fact either do not know or you rationally (probably just emotionally) reject basic Christian anthropology. What is there to talk about? Nothing really.

      I will say this as a married man of 20 years now: My marriage would not survive the next 24 hours if it was based on my "desires" and the romantic ideal. It is a sacrament, which is to say it is fundamentally a s-a-c-r-i-f-c-e which is another word for suffering. You do not appear to have even a clue about this. This indicates to me that your relationship with the community of the Church is in an important sense shallow (even if you attend liturgy every week).

      You should start with the basics - you need to "bone up" on what Christianity actually says about man, love, and life. Until you do that, a conversation is unfruitful because you will be continually perplexed why Christian men and women do not entertain the romantic ideal...

      Delete
    57. Jake, you have a lot of nerve. Your hatred is obvious. I try to share honestly about the difficulties and challenges and you seize upon one phrase in order to assail me. I'm not ignorant of Christian anthropology and I'd bet I've educated myself on it far more than you ever have. If you actually have read the Fathers at any length, clearly none of their charity rubbed off on you. For you to lecture me about sacrifice and suffering is a joke. You have no idea what I've been through and how dare you call my relationship with the Church shallow. Of course the gay person is just ignorant and doesn't understand! He just needs to "bone up" on what Christianity actually is! Your contempt is so transparent.

      Delete
    58. "Hugh," it is nonsense that heterosexual fornication is ignored in the Orthodox Church. It is not. Homosexual sex is clearly a violation of Scripture and the canons. That someone has a temptation to commit such a sin may or may not be sinful, depending on the degree to which someone embraces that temptation. If you want a conversation, let's begin with you answering the question of whether or not you accept the teachings of the Church on homosexual sex.

      Delete
    59. Fr. John, there is no point discussing anything with someone who neither reads nor listens. You're a broken record. The more you speak the more it helps my case. Stop pretending to have interest in conversation.

      Delete
    60. The more you refuse to answer the basic question here, the more you make my case. If you want to engage in Sodomy, the Orthodox Church is not for you. Sorry. If you want to live a Christian life, and struggle against sin, you are welcome, along with the rest of us who are struggling against sin too.

      Delete
    61. Hugh says:

      "Jake, you have a lot of nerve. Your hatred is obvious. I try to share honestly about the difficulties and challenges and you seize upon one phrase in order to assail me...(followed by more nonsense)"

      Hugh, the silly histrionic narcissism your showing here is not really part of the romantic ideal... ;)

      Delete
    62. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    63. Fr. John, you're really incredible. To think I actually once defended you to people because I didn't want to think such poisonous fundamentalism existed within the Church. Thank you for entirely disabusing me of that and everyone who reads this thread, which I can assure you will be many.

      Delete
    64. "Hugh," if you think fundamentalism is believing that there is such a thing as truth, and that there are teachings that are non-negotiable, then you think the Fathers and saints of the Church were all fundamentalists. You have the wrong Church in mind. http://photos1.blogger.com/x/blogger2/4931/4355/400/337030/The%20Episcopal%20Church.png

      Delete
    65. "Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth...." -a well known "Fundamentalist," St. Paul (2 Timothy 4:2-4).

      Delete
    66. Again you fail to read. I called you a fundamentalist due to the form of your argument and your either ignorance or intellectual dishonesty in the use of sources. I said, more than once, that there are plenty of people who make the case for traditional marriage and sexual ethics in an intelligent manner, but that isn't what you're doing. Now you as a priest, without knowing me at all, insinuate that I should be an Episcopalian with a downright childish meme. It is really embarrassing for a priest representing the Church to behave in this manner.

      Delete
    67. You made lots of assertions. You have never demonstrated how I used any sources erroneously. The texts say what they say. If you want to dispute what they say, feel free, but the Fathers and the Church to the present day are on my side of the question. I did not suggest that you should be an Episcopalian. I said if you want to engage in Sodomy, you are barking up the wrong tree. And if you are looking for a Church which does not believe in truth or non-negotiable teachings, then the Episcopalian Church awaits you. I would hope you not choose to be an Episcopalian -- just don't try to make the Orthodox Church into the Episcopal Church.

      Delete
    68. Hugh, since you obviously think there is a case to be made for traditional marriage, and you keep insulting a priest of the church, demeaning his intelligence, and questioning his good faith, is there any reason you keep going on this thread? You either believe what the church teaches, or you don't. You either try to be obedient or you don't. You admit the case for traditional sexual ethics can and is made. So, other than making an ass of yourself by being rude to clergy in public, while proclaiming your own intelligence and good faith (the latter at least, apparently in short supply), what exactly are you trying to prove?

      Delete
    69. Arius was a priest of the Church as well. Or wait, would that be a bad way to make my point? Insinuating one group/person is somehow associated with a universally despised group/person? Hmmmmmm I wonder.

      Delete
    70. The problem with your logic, "Hugh", is that unlike Arius, I am defending the long standing teachings of the Church, and your are trying to undermine them. You are the closest thing to Arius in this discussion.

      Delete
    71. Yet again, instead of paying attention to what I wrote you talk right past it. I didn't compare you to Arius. There is no discussion with someone so entirely unwilling to even read what the other person writes.

      Delete
    72. Then please stop. This conversation has run its course.

      Delete
  7. Interesting, as of this morning (if I am using Facebook correctly - I am a complete novice) her post/stance described here:

    http://byztex.blogspot.com/2017/07/sr-vassa-not-retracting-rejoices-in.html

    has not changed or been retracted, even though one of her followers posted her Holy Synod's correction of her "advice". While browsing her page, I found this:

    https://static1.squarespace.com/static/54d0df1ee4b036ef1e44b144/t/596e6f8aff7c50deff6ec7c9/1500409742137/05_Larin.pdf

    which is an interview published in "The Wheel" where she describes how she has received no support from her Synod for her Internet podcast work based on negative reactions to it from the very beginning by some clergy. Reading between the lines she obviously feels betrayed and alone.

    I am now wondering many things, such as if her Bishop is using her as a kind of proxy in an internal Synodal disagreement about internet "ministry" and perhaps even what a "pastoral" approach to homosexualism and sexuality might look like. Why else would he not follow through on the humiliation and require her to publicly acknowledge it (since she is in the business of publicly teaching)?

    ReplyDelete
  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete