Natural and Sacramental Marriage, An Orthodox Christian Perspective

Natural and Sacramental Marriage, An Orthodox Christian Perspectiveby Fr. Alexander Schmemann –
We can now return to the sacrament of matrimony. We can now understand that its true meaning is not that it merely gives a religious “sanction” to marriage and family life, reinforces with supernatural grace the natural family virtues. Its meaning is that by taking the “natural” marriage into “the great mystery of Christ and the Church,” the sacrament of matrimony gives marriage a new meaning; it transforms, in fact, not only marriage as such but all human love.

It is worth mentioning that the early Church apparently did not know of any separate marriage service. The “fulfillment” of marriage by two Christians was their partaking of the Eucharist. As every aspect of life was gathered into the Eucharist, so matrimony received its seal by inclusion into the central act of the community. And this means that, since marriage has always had sociological and legal dimensions, there were simply accepted by the Church.

Yet, like the whole “natural” life of man, marriage had to be taken into the Church, that is, judged, redeemed and transformed into the sacrament of the Kingdom. Only later did the Church receive also the “civil” authority to perform a rite of marriage. This meant, however, together with the recognition of the Church as the “celebrant” of matrimony, a first step in a progressive “desacramentalization.” An obvious sign of this was the divorce of matrimony from the Eucharist. [Read more...]

Catholic Bishop: Supreme Court ‘Giving Legal Protection to an Intrinsic Evil’

Bishop Thomas John Paprockiby Terence P. Jeffrey –
Bishop Thomas John Paprocki, leader of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield, Ill., says the U.S. Supreme Court is giving “legal protection to intrinsic evil” in its decisions late last month that advanced the cause of legalized same-sex “marriage” in the United States.

“As in the case of Roe v. Wade striking down abortion laws forty years ago, the United States Supreme Court has again usurped its legitimate prerogative through a raw exercise of judicial power by giving legal protection to an intrinsic evil, this time by striking down the Defense of Marriage Act in the case of U.S. v. Windsor and in refusing to take up the defense of Proposition 8 in California in the case of Hollingsworth v. Perry.

“These hollow decisions are absolutely devoid of moral authority,” said the bishop. “It is becoming increasingly and abundantly clear that what secular law now calls “marriage” has no semblance to the sacred institution of Holy Matrimony. [Read more...]

The Left, Bert and Ernie, and Lost Innocence

 The Left, Bert and Ernie, and Lost Innocence by Dennis Prager –
Premature sexualization of kids is only the latest fallout from left-wing social-justice crusades.

If a Martian were to observe the human condition, he would have to conclude that the Left has an agenda to deprive children of their innocence. The Martian would have no other explanation for the premature sexualizing of children that the Left has engaged in for decades, and which seems to increase almost weekly.

The most recent example is the cover of the current issue of The New Yorker, which depicts the Sesame Street characters Bert and Ernie. They are seated on a couch snuggling, and Bert’s head rests on Ernie’s shoulder as the two watch television. The TV features a picture of the U.S. Supreme Court.

To their credit, the creators of Sesame Street and of Bert and Ernie have stated that the two characters are not only never depicted as having anything other than platonic interest in each other; they are also never depicted as having any interest in females. As indeed they should be; they were characters for children to enjoy. [Read more...]

Evil, A Hard Concept for the Left to Accept – The Mindset of the Left

Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell

by Thomas Sowell –
When teenage thugs are called “troubled youth” by people on the political left, that tells us more about the mindset of the left than about these young hoodlums.

Seldom is there a speck of evidence that the thugs are troubled, and often there is ample evidence that they are in fact enjoying themselves, as they create trouble and dangers for others.

Why then the built-in excuse, when juvenile hoodlums are called “troubled youth” and mass murderers are just assumed to be “insane”?

At least as far back as the 18th century, the left has struggled to avoid facing the plain fact of evil — that some people simply choose to do things that they know to be wrong when they do them. Every kind of excuse, from poverty to an unhappy childhood, is used by the left to explain and excuse evil. [Read more...]

Patriarch Bartholomew and Abortion

Patriarch Bartholomew and Abortionby Hieromonk Enoch –
Perhaps this could help clarify why Patriarch Bartholomew has a generally pro-abortion stance. In his book, “Encountering the Mystery”, [emphasis in bold] he says:

I also encounter many and diverse issues related to the sanctity of life from birth through death. Those issues range from sensitive matters of sexuality to highly controversial questions like the death penalty. In all such social and moral issues, it is not one or another position that the Orthodox Church seeks to promote in a defensive spirit. Indeed, we would normally refrain from expounding a single rigidly defined dogma on social and moral challenges. Rather, it is the sacredness of the human person, created in the image and likeness of God, that the Church at all times seeks to underline.

I’m sure many can see the starkness between this muddled statement that can be open to the most radical interpretation, indeed, it lends itself to such, [Read more...]

OCA Bishops: Synodal Affirmation of the Mystery of Marriage

Orthodox Church in Americaby OCA Holy Synod –
At the Tenth All-American Council of the Orthodox Church in America, held in Miami, Florida in July 1992, the Holy Synod of Bishops issued a document titled, “Synodal Affirmations on Marriage, Family, Sexuality, and the Sanctity of Life.” The Affirmations were issued after a lengthy process of study and discernment with the intention of addressing issues that, even in our time, continue to be a source of debate and division within American society.

The first section of the Affirmations, titled, “The Mystery of Marriage,” reads as follows.

“God creates human beings in His own image and likeness, male and female. He declares human life, with all that He makes, to be ‘very good’ (Genesis 1:27-31).

“God wills that men and women marry, becoming husbands and wives. He commands them to increase and multiply in the procreation of children, being joined into ‘one flesh’ by His divine grace and love. He wills that human beings live within families (Genesis 1:27; 2:21-24; Orthodox Marriage Service). [Read more...]

St. John Chrysostom on the Terrible Passion of Homosexuality

St. John Chrysostom virtue of faithby Fr. Sarantis Sarantou –

“Because of this did God give them up to dishonorable passions, for even their females did change their natural function into that which is against nature; and in like manner also the males having left the natural use of the female, did burn in their longing toward one another….” (Romans 1:26-27)

The Apostle Paul, according to the Holy Fathers, is the holy mouth of Christ, and divine Chrysostom is the mouth of the Apostle Paul. Commenting on the very important Epistle to the Romans of the holy Apostle Paul, the divine Father gives a divinely inspired analysis of homosexuality, among other issues.

All the passions are degrading to humanity, but especially the mania of men for men. He summarily characterizes homosexuality as an unforgivable passion, not because it really is, but because the entire male personality becomes so distorted that there is a chronic allegiance to this abomination, which is a difficult passion to restrain by the fallen.

The golden words of Chrysostom are remarkably balanced. His unshakable logic, which he uses to spiritually support his flock, is universally acknowledged to be inspired by the Holy Spirit. [Read more...]

Children Need Our Marriage Tradition

Children Need Traditional Marriageby John M. Smoot –
In the United States, we were fortunate to inherit a marriage tradition of monogamy with a strong stigma against divorce. Did it work for everyone? No. Did it work for our society as a whole? Yes. Was it beneficial for most children? Yes.

Then the sexual revolution happened. As Yale Professor George Chauncey writes in his article “Gay at Yale: How Things Changed”:

All around them, lesbians, bisexuals, and gay men saw their heterosexual friends decisively rejecting the moral codes of their parents’ generation, which had limited sex to marriage, and forging a new moral code that linked sex to love, pleasure, freedom, self-expression, and common consent. Heterosexuals, in other words, were becoming more like homosexuals, in ways that ultimately would make it harder for them to believe gay people were outsiders from a dangerous, immoral underworld. [Read more...]

Cultivating Faith in Children

Faith Children Orthodox Christianby Evgeny Poselyanin –
There are children who have strong faith despite their parents’ disbelief in, even hostility towards religion. The beauty and order of the universe awakens faith in them, as it did in Great Martyr Barbara.

The writer and New Martyr Evgeny Poselyanin (his real surname was Pogozhin, 1870–1931) reflects upon the teaching of faith to children in his book, Faith, and the Path to Faith.

Such a mind [as Great Martyr Barbaras’] arrives on its own at an inevitable faith in the Creator and Caring Provider of all that exists.

Then, a person with a lively and deep mind and a nature distinguished by a sense of justice finds it necessary to investigate those strange attacks on religion, of which he has become a witness. He strives to make sense of it all. And it could be said that other people, who would have remained indifferent to nature in times when religion is not persecuted, turn to it with all their souls during times of persecution.

However, the path that I have just mentioned is the path of direct faith, and it is the path of a few chosen souls. [Read more...]

The Soul Abstracted from Life

Public School Indoctrination Brainwashingby Daren Jonescu –
Modern civilization willingly consigns almost all of its children to the living hell of forced retardation. Everyone knows the educational establishment is beset with problems, corruptions, and the downward ratchet of lowest common denominator standards. And yet parents continue to send their children to government schools, hoping, perhaps even half-believing, that this will not significantly harm the children’s adult lives. They are dead wrong. What follows is an anatomical diagram of mankind’s greatest shame.

The primary purpose of all government-controlled education — regardless of how this is expressed by particular defenders of the enterprise — is to produce the kind of citizens the government sees as best suited to its established form of governance. By “the government,” I mean those people and factions within the political infrastructure who are in a position to determine the long-term structure and interests of the community as a whole. [Read more...]

True and False Spirituality: How to Deal With Fair-weather Friends

Job and Dealing With Fair-weather Friendsby Deacon Keith Fournier –
One of the most profound of biblical characters is the man named Job. The book which bears his name is rich with insights about real life. It is profound, disturbing, and yet incredibly helpful precisely because it reveals something of importance. Things aren’t always the way they seem – or feel.

Yet, – in the words of the Psalmist David – God “never sleeps not slumbers”. (Psalm 121:4)

This is a troubling and difficult time for many people. Over and over again, I hear the sad stories of financial setback as the U.S. economy struggles. People are watching their retirement funds, their homes and their savings, seem to vanish. When we look around us it seems our culture is in collapse as it rejects the moral foundations of a free society. [Read more...]

The Secret Sloth of Busy, Active People

Secret Sloth of Busy, Active Peopleby Dave White –
Slothful people, to many people’s surprise, are often active, busy, and hard-working people who have given their lives to trivial matters, not transcendent ones. They have immersed their lives with empty pleasures. Slothful people regularly find themselves bored and struggle to compensate by filling their time with self-centered diversions. It’s not that their lives are filled with motion, energy, and bustling about; it’s that their lives are slothful regarding the things that really matter!

Slothful People Embrace Escapism
Sloth is not mere laziness. It’s not a couch potato. Sloth is escapism of the deadly sort—including drug users, TiVo addicts, and obsessive video gamers. Yet escapism also includes most workaholics! Sloth saps our time and emotions through positive activities like clubs, hobbies, and sports—while leaving scant energy for our marriages or kids or preeminent duties. [Read more...]

The Church’s Fading Influence on American Culture

Silencing Christians Persecuting the Church in Americaby Simon de Hundehutte –
It seems people have misunderstood, as well as misrepresented, the church’s role and influence in “secular society.” The early Christians lived in the secular society of Rome, but by heralding the good news of salvation, what some might call “thumping,” their words along with their deeds changed all of society of their day. In present-day America, however, secularists have taken over and changed the rules of the debate on so many key cultural issues.

Religion, or more accurately, the Christian way of life, is being shoved out of not only politics but the American culture. We believers are being forced to accept things anathema to our way of thinking and living — accept them or be labeled “haters” or, more recently, “thumpers.”

Every Christian is keenly aware of the Great Commission, where Jesus commanded, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” (Matthew 28:19). Christians in the earliest days of the Church did not keep silent about their faith, bringing it with them (and many times at great cost) into the public arena. [Read more...]

The Madness of Liberal Moralizing

Plan B Girls Children Drugs Madness of Liberal Moralizingby Heather Mac Donald –
The paradoxes of liberal morality were on glaring display last week. The Obama administration OK’d the sale of “Plan B” post-coital emergency contraception over the counter without prescription (or parental consent) to girls as young as 15. At the same time, the City Council moved a step closer to banning anyone under the age of 21 from buying cigarettes (the legal age is now 18).

Apparently, a 15-year-old is a fully mature adult (a “woman,” in nauseating feminist parlance) when it comes to deciding to have sex. But a 20-year-old, in the City Council’s eyes (or a 17-year-old, under current law), can’t be trusted to make her own informed decisions on smoking and must be restrained by the government.

The Plan B decision was still too restrictive for some abortion-rights and feminist groups. The New York Times, on cue, denounced the administration’s “stubbornness” in setting any age restrictions on Plan B. [Read more...]

Homosexual Tyranny: The Gay Takeover of America

Homosexual Tyranny Gay Takeover of Americaby Crystal Wright –
What is happening to our country? Gays, who represent less than 3% of our population, are trying to dominate our culture and society. Love whom you want. Love the one you’re with. People don’t really care. This is the message most people want to say but are afraid to because the LBGT (lesbian, bi-sexual, gay and transgender) community will verbally flog anyone who doesn’t agree with them. Between gay marriage, gay adoptions, forcing the Boy Scouts to admit gay scouts and scout masters, and lauding a rich NBA player for announcing he’s gay, the message is clear from gay America to the 97% of the rest of us. You will accept our lifestyle as mainstream. My response: “No I won’t.”

Notice when anyone rejects this gay agenda based on religious beliefs or personal views, they are called bigots or mocked. Appearing on Meet the Press May 5, 2013, Republican Newt Gingrich noted the Catholic Church is prohibited from performing adoption services in states like Massachusetts and the District of Columbia because the Church will only allow a married couple (by definition a man and woman) to adopt a baby. This is a perversion of societal norms all in the name of liberals forcing their political correctness down America’s throat whether her people have an opinion about it or not. [Read more...]