President's Message for the St. John Chrysostom Society — Western Region, an ecumenical fellowship or Catholic and Orthodox Christians.
In past President's messages I have not focused on the non-Apostolic Churches and their ecumenical situation, as that might seem irrelevant to our SSJC-WR concerns. However, in my past President's messages I have talked about moral alliances that both Catholics and Orthodox can form. Such alliances have been proposed by Pope Benedict XVI and Orthodox Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev for example.
Whether formally established, or just expressed informally, such alliances assume a set of common principles or moral viewpoint, easily possible between Catholics and Orthodox, but not necessarily between “Christian” groups. An example of this came to my attention recently in an Australian news source report on a disturbing statement issued by an Australian ecumenical council of churches: "The community needs to know that there is a range of views held on many topics in the Christian tradition. . . ."
The news report indicated that this statement was issued in opposition to the moral viewpoint and position of another mainly Protestant group that calls itself the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL). However, an overview of the stance on the moral issues of the day held by the ACL indicate they are in substantial agreement with the teachings of Christ that have been practiced continually in the holy tradition of the Apostolic Churches.
On the other hand, it would appear, we have little in common with the so called "Council of Churches" which aims to: "honor the diversity in our community." Interestingly, the Council cites same sex marriage as an example. In a shameful sellout to Godless secularism the council proudly announces: “We don’t have a position on the issue of same-sex marriage.”
Well, the Apostolic Churches, the Eastern and Western Catholic Churches, Orthodox Churches and Oriental Orthodox Churches certainly do have a position on the issue of same sex marriage, as well as on such issues as abortion, bioethics and family ethics, etc. The community, even the world, needs to know there is no range of views on such issues.
Except for their unfortunate rejection of the sacramental gifts given by Christ to the Apostolic Churches, sealed by the Holy Spirit, and held on to by our Churches to this day, e.g., Holy Chrismation, the Holy Priesthood (and male priesthood at that, as Christ Himself is male) and the Holy Eucharist (the true Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ Himself), some Protestant groups such as the ACL apparently remain faithful to many of the moral teachings of Christ and His Church. At the very least we can support their stand.
May our Society of St. John Chrysostom members pray for such courageous and morally clear-visioned communities. For these communities, and also for those whose understanding and teachings on Christian moral principles has become overtaken by secularist thinking, that all may be guided by the Holy Spirit to return to the Sacramental Church founded by Christ.
Fr. George Morelli is the President of the St. John Chrysostom Society — Western Region.
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V. Rev. Fr. George Morelli Ph.D. is a licensed Clinical Psychologist and Marriage and Family Therapist.
He is the Coordinator of the Chaplaincy and Pastoral Counseling Ministry of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese and Religion Coordinator (and Antiochian Archdiocesan Liaison) of the Orthodox Christian Association of Medicine, Psychology and Religion.
Fr. Morelli is also Assistant Pastor of St. George's Antiochian Orthodox Church, San Diego, California.
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