Firstly, sorry. I didn’t mean to stir things up, I’d just got sick of frequent comments from you guys to the effect that we aren’t interested in understanding your position when I, at least, have asked many times for clarifications and explanations that have simply been ignored. I [i:3olyy4e8]am[/i:3olyy4e8] interested in understanding your position where it differs from ours but I’m [i:3olyy4e8]not[/i:3olyy4e8] interested in agreeing with you for agreement’s sake or whitewashing our differences (which are if anything greater now than they were 1000 years ago). In any case, I apologise for my rather hasty and intemperate reply.
On the issue of contraception that you raised, I side with the no abortifacients position you quoted, but I know many Orthodox who disagree with me there (as well as many who don’t). The point is that abortion is totally and explicitly condemned by the Orthodox Church and always has been, but the issue with non-abortifacient contraceptives is not so clear cut, with arguments both for and against. I can see nothing sinful in using barrier contraceptives within marriage as I see no real difference between that and the rhythm method which many Orthodox (and RCs) who disagree with contraceptives use. What difference is there in intent (which is surely everything) between only having sex when you know the partner is infertile by nature and preventing the sex you have when they may or may not be infertile resulting in a conception? One of the things I think that you find confusing about this is that we tend less towards dogmatising things that RCs do – if it isn’t central to the faith then we don’t make it dogma (so no Marian dogmas, for instance) and I fail to see how a moral issue on which opinion is so strongly divided can be central to the faith. I certainly don’t believe condoms are a one way ticket to damnation.
[quote:3olyy4e8][quote:3olyy4e8]You say that God knows us too well, and He knows the power of using one over using the college of bishops. Really? That’s interesting, Vic, and you’ll pardon me for saying it, but Orthodox theology has not changed, and it has maintained collegiality from the very beginning. However, the Roman Catholic Church’s malleability, in theology, in “development”, in masses, in innovations, certainly is a strike against the one. Realistically, the argument of the RCC that “you need the Pope to anchor the faith” is horribly compromised when you look how staunch Orthodox belief has been and how constant, DESPITE COLLEGIALITY,[/quote:3olyy4e8]
There is a problem here–by your own admission, the Orthodox Church hasn’t had ANY councils in at least seven hundred years–mayeb more– so of course nothing could change. You also haven’t condemned such thigns as Sola Scriptura, Sola Fide, etc. in any councils. So this argument makes very little sense.[/quote:3olyy4e8]
It’s strange but I haven’t seen any Orthodox Christians here saying we have had no councils at all for the last 700 years, so where are you getting your information? Wherever it is it’s wrong. We’ve had two further councils which many Orthodox consider Ecumenical (though some consider them merely Pan-Orthodox) since the 7th. We’ve also had many local synods whose decisions were accepted by the entire Church and a lot of Pan-Orthodox Councils. Just because we don’t call them Ecumenical does not mean that they are not binding on the whole Church or that they aren’t examples of collegial ecclesiastical government. You’re also wrong when you say we haven’t condemned Protestant heresies – we have. The Council of Iasi in the 17th century did (mainly their attacks on the scriptural canon) and so did a council in Jerusalem (particularly re. Calvinism). Similarly, the excesses of Lutheranism were condemned when Lutheran theologians approached us with hopes of reunification. We haven’t had to condemn as much as you have, nor so early, because we simply did not have any equivalent of the Reformation in the East. You can’t expect an orthodox council to condemn a heresy it doesn’t know about. It’s only really been since 20th century that the majority of Orthodox have come into contact with Protestants and so, yes, there are probably some aspects of their heresies that remain uncondemned, but I’m sure we’ll get round to anathematising them when they cause us problems.
Similar issues are true of much of what Victor wrote. You must understand that we have simply not had the same problems over the last millennium as you have had. We had no Renaissance, no Enlightenment and no Reformation. You haven’t had to deal with issues such as the Old Believers, Khlysty or Unia. These reflect different historical realities, not failings on the part of either church.