Sunday, June 26, 2005

Demolishing some modern Ortho-ganda: on contraception
To a defender of artificial birth control who is Eastern Orthodox:

So you’re saying, as a former friend pointed out to me years ago, that after getting married in your beautiful domed church and perhaps signing some pro-life petition against Planned Parenthood you’d go to Planned Parenthood (figuratively speaking) the next day and get contraceptives?

This view is exactly like most of Protestantism’s (not just the mainline — it’s what many evangelicals now accept) and unlike Christian churches in general until the 1930s.

(Perhaps the ex-evangelicals going to Antioch in the convert boomlet take this with them unchanged, like they get to keep their no-popery, and for bonus points they can connect the two just like secular society does.)

The correct RC view is that both the unitive and procreative aspects of sex in marriage are good — no-one is saying that the infertile or those over childbearing age must not have sex, as some of its critics claim or imply — but artificial birth control is still out on principle.

AFAIK the church fathers say no to ‘potions’ that do that but modern Orthodox such as Stanley Harakas and Anthony Coniaris spin that, ‘developing doctrine’ if you will (right after criticizing the RCs for developing doctrine — ‘we're the cool church that didn’t change things’), to try to make artificial birth control OK. Exactly what the Tom Hankses and Rita Wilsons, Olympia Snowes, Paul Sarbaneses, George Snuffleupaguses and other big diner-money contributors to the Phanar want to hear.

(What’s next? To prove how un-RC you are, might you or these men start claiming that the attempted ordination of women is in accord with the fathers? After all, there are liberals who claim that this is a legitimate ‘development of doctrine’.)

The bottom line, which the fathers and the Roman Catholic Church (the magisterium, which is what counts, not some alleged dissenting majority) refuse to flinch from, is that if you’re fertile but don’t want/can’t support children, do you (not you personally — does one) have any business getting married (which in the Christian scheme of things is the only way you may have sex) or even dating (which in the same scheme means ‘considering marriage’)?

The secular world says yes, sells loads of products (including barrier methods which you might say are OK because unlike ‘potions’ they’re not direct abortifacients) to maintain that illusion, and once you get in the habit of using them and they fail (as the odds say they eventually will) offers a ‘final solution’ to your little problem.

So are you saying that Eastern Orthodoxy accepts two-thirds of that except the last part?

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