Marian Prayer Of Saint Gregory Of Narek (A.D. 1010)

November 12, 2013
MARIAN PRAYER OF SAINT GREGORY OF NAREK (A.D. 1010)

Assist me by the wings of your prayers,
O you who are called the Mother of the living,
so that on my exit from this valley of tears
I may be able to advance without torment
to the dwelling of life
that has been prepared for us
to lighten the end of a life burdened by my iniquity.

Healer of the sorrows of Eve,
change my day of anguish into a feast of gladness.
Be my Advocate,
ask and supplicate.
For as I believe in your inexpressible purity,
so do I also believe in
the good reception that is given to your word.

O you who are blessed among women,
help me with your tears
for I am in danger.
Bend the knee to obtain my reconciliation,
O Mother of God.

Be solicitous for me for I am miserable, Read the rest of this entry »


5 years ago: Paola Brenda sacrifices life for “gift of motherhood, the gift of having children

April 8, 2013

Paola Brenda sacrifices life for “gift of motherhood, the gift of having children”

By Michael Baggot

PIEVE DI SOLIGO, Italy, May 1, 2008 (LifeSiteNews.com) – In an act of sacrifice comparable to that of pro-life patroness St. Gianna Beretta Molla, Italian mother Paola Breda recently died after having declined potentially life-saving cancer treatment that could have harmed her unborn child.

Breda was diagnosed with breast cancer six months into her pregnancy with her child Nicola, but postponed treatment until after Nicola’s birth.

During her funeral, Vittorio Veneto Bishop Corrado Pizziolo called Breda an exemplification of Jesus Christ’s Gospel call “to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”

“What Jesus did – the Gospel which He lived for us – this is what we see carried out in the life of our sister,” said the Bishop according to the Italian newspaper Avvenire.

Father Giuseppe Nadal told Radio Vaticana that Breda was disappointed that she and her husband Loris Amodei were unable to have a child until a decade into their marriage.

Both Breda’s first child, Illaria, and her second child, Nicola, brought their mother great joy, said the priest. Fr. Nadal also recounted a teary-eyed Breda coming to him during her second pregnancy.

“‘I’ve been diagnosed with cancer, and they are suggesting chemotherapy, but that would hurt the baby. I absolutely don’t want that, because I always asked for the gift of motherhood, the gift of having children,” said Breda.

St. Molla was a Milanese pediatric doctor pregnant with her fourth child when she learned of a fibroma in her uterus and declined either the abortion or complete hysterectomy that would have saved her life.

Before surgery to rescue her unborn child, St. Molla told doctors, “If you must decide between me and the child, do not hesitate: choose the child – I insist on it. Save him.”

Please pray for the repose of the soul of Paola Breda.


Marian Prayer Of Saint Gregory Of Narek (A.D. 1010)

November 12, 2012
MARIAN PRAYER OF SAINT GREGORY OF NAREK (A.D. 1010)

Assist me by the wings of your prayers,
O you who are called the Mother of the living,
so that on my exit from this valley of tears
I may be able to advance without torment
to the dwelling of life
that has been prepared for us
to lighten the end of a life burdened by my iniquity.

Healer of the sorrows of Eve,
change my day of anguish into a feast of gladness.
Be my Advocate,
ask and supplicate.
For as I believe in your inexpressible purity,
so do I also believe in
the good reception that is given to your word.

O you who are blessed among women,
help me with your tears
for I am in danger.
Bend the knee to obtain my reconciliation,
O Mother of God.

Be solicitous for me for I am miserable, Read the rest of this entry »


The 10th Anniversary Of The Murder Of Sister Cecilia Moshi Hanna

August 15, 2012

For the repose of the soul of the hand maid of God, Cecelia.On August 15, 2002 three armed assailants entered the Sacred Heart of Jesus Monastery in Baghdad Iraq and found a solitary Assyrian nun preparing to quietly retire to her room. Read the rest of this entry »


Marian Prayer Of Saint Gregory Of Narek (A.D. 1010)

November 12, 2011
MARIAN PRAYER OF SAINT GREGORY OF NAREK (A.D. 1010)

Assist me by the wings of your prayers,
O you who are called the Mother of the living,
so that on my exit from this valley of tears
I may be able to advance without torment
to the dwelling of life
that has been prepared for us
to lighten the end of a life burdened by my iniquity.

Healer of the sorrows of Eve,
change my day of anguish into a feast of gladness.
Be my Advocate,
ask and supplicate.
For as I believe in your inexpressible purity,
so do I also believe in
the good reception that is given to your word.

O you who are blessed among women,
help me with your tears
for I am in danger.
Bend the knee to obtain my reconciliation,
O Mother of God.

Be solicitous for me for I am miserable, Read the rest of this entry »


Worth Revisiting: Development and negation: the struggle continues

May 7, 2011

Development and negation: the struggle continues

 

The latest installment in my “Development and Negation” series was about slavery. More specifically, the question was whether the development of Magisterial teaching on the moral status of slavery negates any previously taught doctrine that meets the Church’s own criteria for irreformability. My answer was, of course, no—as it has been in every case where dissenters of the right or the left charge the Magisterium with discrediting itself by contradicting itself over time. What I shall do here is illustrate the significance of the general topic by presenting what happened to the debate over the slavery question.
The critic against whom I have lately defended the Magisterium was theologian Joseph O’Leary, an unreconstructed prog of a kind all too familiar on ostensibly Catholic theology faculties. The original target of his criticisms was Avery Cardinal Dulles, who had addressed the slavery issue among others in his article “Development or Reversal?” In criticizing my own position on the slavery issue, which accords with Dulles’, O’Leary repeats a charge he has made in almost every debate he and I have had in the past: “Liccione has devoted huge intellectual effort to proving that the Church has never reversed its official teaching on any point of morality.” As anybody who reads my series can verify for themselves, however, that is not what I have devoted effort to proving. I have openly acknowledged cases in which Church authorities have reversed their application of moral principles to specific moral questions, such as how heretics may be punished, whether borrowers may ever be charged for loans beyond the principal, and when the death penalty can be justified. What I have instead sought to show is that no moral tenet taught by the Church in such wise as to meet her own criteria for irreformability has thereby been repudiated. Tenets that do meet such criteria are, to be sure, sometimes wrongly applied; others take time to be recognized and formulated for what they are. That is why development and refinement in Catholic moral teaching are both possible and necessary. But my thesis has been that such development and refinement do not entail negation of any tenet taught in the past with the Church’s full authority. Tenets so taught are infallibly taught and are thus “irreformable,” meaning “not to be contradicted.” So the Church does not contradict or negate them. What’s happened in my debate with O’Leary well illustrates the importance of that point.

In his last comment here on my slavery post, O’Leary proceeds in characteristic fashion by throwing in everything but the kitchen sink. I had claimed, as an aside, that magisterial support in the Middle Ages for the physical punishment of heretics—such as the papal bull Ad Extirpanda—did not meet the Church’s own criteria for irreformability. I have made that claim before, and I’ve made it because AE’s subject matter was not any irreformable moral tenet, but rather a prudential judgment on the specific, very time-bound question whether the good of the body politic requires that heretics be physically coerced into confessing their heresies. Those who exercise magisterial authority, including popes, can be wrong about that without logically discrediting their own claims to teach infallibly, and thus irreformably, about “faith and morals” under certain conditions. In this case medieval ecclesiastics, including St. Thomas Aquinas, were wrong about the socio-political importance and necessity of torturing heretics. I’ve explained why before, but I don’t want to distract readers any further by getting into that again. Here, rather, is what O’Leary says in response to my claim that “Ad Extirpanda does not satisfy the Church’s own criteria for the infallibility of the ordinary magisterium”:

 

Do you refer to the papal teaching office or the universal teaching office of bishops, which is usually what people mean when they talk of the ordinary magisterium? As far as I know there are only 2 candidates for infallibility of the former, namely the dogmas of 1854 and 1950. I tend to follow G. Hallett SJ in thinking the claim of infallibility to be meaningless (thus neither true nor false), The infallibility of bishops is a Bellarminian thesis unwisely embraced, without disucssion, by the bishops at Vatican II and ruthless exploited since then to claim infallibility for Vaticanist doctrines on contraception, women’s ordination etc., at the very time as any autonomous teaching authority of bishops is beiing undercut.

Let’s leave aside the rather elementary point that the “ordinary” magisterium of the Church is not to be contrasted with the “papal” magisterium but rather with the “extraordinary” magisterium. Either the pope or the bishops can and do exercise either magisterium (though the bishops can only do so legitimately in communion with the pope). It’s bad enough that O’Leary, an ostensibly Catholic theologian, has missed that. But he’s actually suggesting that the dogma of papal infallibility is “meaningless” and asserting that the doctrine of the infallibility of bishops, authoritatively taught in Lumen Gentium 25, is “a Bellarminian thesis unwisely embraced, without disucssion [sic], by the bishops at Vatican II.” Again, let’s leave aside the irony that a theologian who signs himself “Spirit of Vatican II” is rejecting a very important ecclesiological doctrine authoritatively taught by the Fathers of Vatican II. O’Leary is out to end the game before it starts.

If the dogma of papal infallibility is “meaningless” and the infallibility of the bishops, as explained in LG §25, a mere thesis “unwisely embraced,” then the question whether the Church’s development of doctrine has ever negated an irreformably taught doctrine cannot be usefully debated. Before that question can be usefully debated, there must be some agreement among the participants both that there are infallibly taught doctrines and that there are consistently applicable criteria for identifying doctrines as such. For reasons I’ve given, the class of “infallible” doctrines is co-extensive with that of “irreformable” ones. Among Catholic theologians who care about teaching with and in the name of the Church, such agreement holds in substance, if not always at the margins. But between me and O’Leary, it does not hold in any sense at all. So, we do not even agree on the premises of the discussion. Perhaps that is why O’Leary consistently misrepresents what I aim to do.

The only useful strategy for the O’Learys of the world—and their name is legion—would be to argue that the historic development of Catholic doctrine precludes any doctrine of magisterial infallibility (ordinary or extraordinary, papal or episcopal) that could be (a) meaningful, (b) useful, and (c) definitively held. If there is no such doctrine of infallibility, then the question which tenets count as irreformable is purely a matter of opinion, and my “development and negation” project is not worth pursuing. That is roughly the tack Hans Küng took in his once-celebrated book Infallible? An Inquiry. A debate about his argumentative strategy is worth having because it can be settled by facts and logic. As I read Küng’s book and researched his sources three decades ago, my debate with him was gradually settled. I concluded his case was not compelling on either historical or logical grounds. More important, I soon realized that if he were right, then the claims of the Catholic Magisterium to be preserved from error under certain conditions are so much hot air. In that case, there would be no compelling reason to remain in full communion with Rome, other than to undermine her claims from within.

That, I suspect, is the real point of the O’Learys of the world.


May 5: Blessed Caterina Cittadini

May 5, 2011

Blessed Caterina Cittadini, 1801 – 1857 Read the rest of this entry »

May 4: Saint Richard Reynolds, Martyr Of England

May 4, 2011

Saint Richard Reynolds, 1492-1535 Read the rest of this entry »


Prophet Jeremiah

May 1, 2011


Marian Prayer Of Saint Gregory Of Narek (A.D. 1010)

November 12, 2010
MARIAN PRAYER OF SAINT GREGORY OF NAREK (A.D. 1010)

Assist me by the wings of your prayers,
O you who are called the Mother of the living,
so that on my exit from this valley of tears
I may be able to advance without torment
to the dwelling of life
that has been prepared for us
to lighten the end of a life burdened by my iniquity.

Healer of the sorrows of Eve,
change my day of anguish into a feast of gladness.
Be my Advocate,
ask and supplicate.
For as I believe in your inexpressible purity,
so do I also believe in
the good reception that is given to your word.

O you who are blessed among women,
help me with your tears
for I am in danger.
Bend the knee to obtain my reconciliation,
O Mother of God.

Be solicitous for me for I am miserable, Read the rest of this entry »


May 24: Blessed Juan de Prado

May 24, 2010


Blessed Juan de Prado, 1563 – 1631
Spanish Franciscan priest, missionary and martyr in Morocco.


May 23: Blessed Wincenty Matuszewski

May 23, 2010


Blessed Wincenty Matuszewski, 1869 – 1940


May 22: Saint Michael Ho Dinh Hy

May 22, 2010

Saint Michael Ho Dinh Hy, 1808 – 1857 Read the rest of this entry »


May 17: Blessed Giulia Salzano

May 17, 2010

Blessed Giulia Salzano, 1846 – 1929 Read the rest of this entry »


May 5: Blessed Nunzio Sulprizio

May 5, 2010
Blessed Nunzio Sulprizio, 1817 -1836 Read the rest of this entry »

Saint Augustine Webster, Martyr Of England

May 4, 2010

Saint Augustine Webster, +1535 Read the rest of this entry »

May 2: Blessed Stanislas Kazimierczyk

May 3, 2010

Blessed Stanislas Kazimierczyk, 1433 – 1489 Read the rest of this entry »


FROM TWO YEARS AGO: Ronald Weinland Interview with James Whale (April 10, 2008) « Is It Really The End?

April 10, 2010

Ronald Weinland Interview with James Whale (April 10, 2008) « Is It Really The End?  Wrote two years ago:

Ronald Weinland Interview with James Whale (April 10, 2008)

April 12, 2008 · No Comments

First thing, can we all agree that James Whale’s jingle is quite good? Of course we can!

He are the key points from Ronald Weinland’s latest interview that he gave to James Whale of talkSport in the UK this past Thursday, April 10th:

  • Second witness of Revelation will be announced April 17; he mentioned he’d do it in the sermon (which I assume will be on the 19th) and on his website (which I assume can be on the 17th itself)
  • Again he stated the first trumpet of Revelation will be blown this coming April 17 (Thursday) and it will unfold over a period of 45 to 90 days (June/July)
  • The second trumpet will leave no doubt in any ones mind because it will involve nuclear devices detonating in ports but not on land (third trumpet will involve nuclear devices in cities)
  • The interval of 45 to 90 days between the first and second trumpets will be depend on people’s response/repentance
  • Fifth trumpet will start the last revival of the European Union, which will be 10 nations merging with Germany as the power base (note: the UK will be suffering along side the USA/Canada and will not be part of the revived EU); they will attack the USA to prevent them from retaliating (on who?); the EU attacks because they will feel obligated to intervene
  • A year and a month and a day later Russia and China will come together to start the first phase of the final war that leads to Armageddon (this must be the sixth trumpet)
  • Sixth trumpet brings Russia and China together to destroy a third of the earth
  • As one of the two end time witnesses in Revelation, Ronald declares that the Pope/Catholic Church, as the religious power, will finally kill him three and a half days before Christ returns
  • Starting this coming April 17, the Pope/Catholic Church will become increasingly irritated at Ronald as he begins to speak out
  • The Pope will be given some kind of special power on April 17 when he is in Washington D.C.

Personal Notes:

  • Ronald reveals more openly the role of the Pope/Catholic Church in his prophecy
  • He goes more indepth about the role of the EU/China/Russia than he normally does
  • He stated that if by mid June it is not very clear that things are happening the way he predicts it will then he’ll no longer preach/be a prophet; however, this is a shorter period than the 45 to 90 days says the first trumpet will last for, but this is consitent with his last interview where he states that if by Pentacost (June 8th) its not obvious he step down
  • When pressed by James, Ronald stated we’d see something in the news on Thursday, but he normally states it is the start of a process; Was this just a mistake on his Ron’s part? Or did he mean he’d release something?
  • Interestingly, he seems to indicate that the first tradgedy will be only in the USA and its primary allies (Canada/UK/Austrailia); however, I thought the first trumpet covers the entire planet?

If you’d like to listen to the interview yourself then just go to:
http://www.the-end.com/author_interviews.asp

Ronald Weinland is a minister in the Church of God PKG. He has authored two end-times related books and claims to be one of the two witnesses of Revelation. For more information please visit his website.

  • So two years later… How is this panning out?
  • Did the Pope get special powers on April 17, 2008?
  • Did the Pope/Catholic Church become increasing agistated by Ronald?
  • Was there an attack by port in the last two years?
  • An attack on land 45-90 days later?
  • Russia & China got together one year, one month and one day after that?

I post dated this post two years… 

I also kept contributing to my retirement account.


March 24: Blessed Maria Karlowska, Foundress – Good Shepherd Sisters

March 24, 2010

blessed-maria-karlowska.jpg

Blessed Maria Karlowska
1865 – 1935 Read the rest of this entry »


March 20: Saint Józef Bilczewski

March 20, 2010

Saint Józef Bilczewski, 1860 – 1923


VOCATIONS TUESDAY: Society of Saint Vincent Ferrier

November 25, 2009

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NOTE TO READERS: If you have any suggestions for orders or communities you feel should be highlighted for TCB’s “Vocations Tuesday” please Contact us! @ ASimpleSinner@gmail.com! Include “VOCATIONS TUESDAY” in the subject line please!


Marian Prayer Of Saint Gregory Of Narek (A.D. 1010)

November 12, 2009
MARIAN PRAYER OF SAINT GREGORY OF NAREK (A.D. 1010)

Assist me by the wings of your prayers,
O you who are called the Mother of the living,
so that on my exit from this valley of tears
I may be able to advance without torment
to the dwelling of life
that has been prepared for us
to lighten the end of a life burdened by my iniquity.

Healer of the sorrows of Eve,
change my day of anguish into a feast of gladness.
Be my Advocate,
ask and supplicate.
For as I believe in your inexpressible purity,
so do I also believe in
the good reception that is given to your word.

O you who are blessed among women,
help me with your tears
for I am in danger.
Bend the knee to obtain my reconciliation,
O Mother of God.

Be solicitous for me for I am miserable, Read the rest of this entry »


September 24: Blessed Anton Martin Slomsek

September 24, 2009

Blessed Anton Martin Slomsek
1800 – 1862 Read the rest of this entry »


Saint Basil The Great On The Necessity Of Confession Of Sins

September 24, 2009

5 bob to Taylor Marshall (ever the blogger to read!) who writes:

Saint Basil the Great on the necessity of confession of sins

Published Tuesday, September 23, 2008 by

All personal information that you provide here will be governed by the Privacy Policy of Blogger.com. More…


 


“It is necessary to confess our sins to those whom the dispensation of God’s mysteries is entrusted.” Basil, Rule Briefly Treated, 288 (A.D. 374).

Basil is, of course, referring to the act of Christ whereby he endowed the Apostolic ministry with the office of remitting sins:

“If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven. If you retain the sins of any, they are retained” (Jn 20:23).


September 23: Blessed Bernardina Maria Jablonska

September 23, 2009

Blessed Bernardina Maria Jablonska
1878 -1940


Blessed John Newman On The Mass

August 28, 2009

Our Lord not only offered Himself as a Sacrifice on the Cross, but He makes Himself a perpetual, a daily sacrifice, to the end of time. In the Holy Mass that One Sacrifice on the Cross once offered is renewed, continued, applied to our benefit. He seems to say, My Cross was raised up 1800 years ago, and only for a few hours—and very few of my servants were present there—but I intend to bring millions into my Church. For their sakes then I will perpetuate my Sacrifice, that each of them may be as though they had severally been present on Calvary. I will offer Myself up day by day to the Father, that every one of my followers may have the opportunity to offer his petitions to Him, sanctified and recommended by the all-meritorious virtue of my Passion. Thus I will be a Priest for ever, after the order of Melchisedech—My priests shall stand at the Altar—but not they, but I rather, will offer. I will not let them offer mere bread and wine, but I myself will be present upon the Altar instead, and I will offer up myself invisibly, while they perform the outward rite. And thus the Lamb that was slain once for all, though He is ascended on high, ever remains a victim from His miraculous presence in Holy Mass under the figure and appearance of mere earthly and visible symbols.

Cardinal Newman


Eastern Othodoxy and Contraception

August 6, 2009

Eastern Othodoxy and Contraception
Contemporary VS. Traditional Views
By Taras Baytsar

Teaching on contraception among Orthodox Churches

The voices of the various Orthodox churches have been muted in addressing the issue of contraception and “family planning.” Even when church leaders have spoken, their communication is often inconsistent with early Church traditions and teachings, or contradictory from one period to the next or among Orthodox theologians. While the desire to avoid controversy is understandable, controversy can not be avoided at the cost of error or indifference.

By way of example, consider the statements made by distinguished theologians of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople — the oldest and most respected of the Orthodox churches. In his monumental book, The Orthodox Church, Bishop Kallistos Ware, probably one of the Church’s most famous contemporary authors, wrote:

“Concerning contraceptives and other forms of birth control, differing opinions exist within the Orthodox Church. In the past birth control was in general strongly condemned, but today a less strict view is coming to prevail, not only in the west but in traditional Orthodox countries. Many Orthodox theologians and spiritual fathers consider that the responsible use of contraception within marriage is not in itself sinful. In their view, the question of how many children a couple should have, and at what intervals, is best decided by the partners themselves, according to the guidance of their own consciences.” 1

However, in an earlier (1963) edition of this book, Bishop Ware clearly and unambiguously states:

“Artificial methods of birth control are forbidden in the Orthodox Church.” 2

In support of Bishop Ware’s 1963 expression of the position of the “Orthodox Church” comes no less a personage than the Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras of Constantinople. In 1968 the Roman Pope Paul VI wrote the encyclical letter Humanae Vitae in which he reaffirmed the Latin Church’s rejection of contraception. After reviewing the encyclical, the Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras wrote to the Pope to assure him of the Orthodox Church’s “total agreement” with the encyclical’s contents:

“We assure you that we remain close to you, above all in these recent days when you have taken the good step of publishing the encyclical Humanae Vitae. We are in total agreement with you, and wish you all God’s help to continue your mission in the world.” 3

Similar inconsistencies and ambiguities can be found within the Russian Orthodox Church. Father Alexander Men, one of Russia’s best known and widely read theologians, addressed the morality of contraception in this way:

“This is not my own opinion. I have consulted with our bishops and they are of the opinion that a person has a right to practice birth control. Otherwise, they may bring more children into the world than they can support, in which case they will become animals rather than human beings.” 4

A modified version of this view was also endorsed in August, 2000 at the Jubilee Bishop’s Council of the Russian Orthodox Church, to whit:

“Among the problems which need a religious and moral assessment is that of contraception. Some contraceptives have an abortive effect, interrupting artificially the life of the embryo on the very first stages of his life. Therefore, the same judgments are applicable to the use of them as to abortion. But other means, which do not involve interrupting an already conceived life, cannot be equated with abortion in the least.” 5

Thus, while it is clear that the Russian Orthodox Church allows contraception, it bans the use of those which are abortifacient, and which may have a primary or secondary effect of
destroying life.

Back to Basics

Although the positions stated above are only a few of the many that have been taken over the years by Orthodox Churches and theologians on the issue of contraception, it suffices to illustrate the basic point that much work remains to be done in accepting God’s truth. It is obvious that — of two contradictory views — only one can be true. And that one can be found only with reference to the Bible, early Church teachings and the Church Fathers.

From the earliest days of the Church, the Holy Scriptures have been the bedrock of Orthodox Christian dogma and tradition. And the supreme authorities for interpreting the Scriptures have always been with the divinely inspired Fathers of the Church. The revealed truth given to them by the Holy Spirit can not replaced or over-ruled, and their authority as supreme Doctores et magistri of the Church cannot be discarded without risk of heresy. This was clear from the very beginning of the Church:

“…The very Tradition, teaching and faith of the catholic Church from the very beginning, given by the Lord, was preached by the Apostles and preserved by the Fathers.” 6

The true meaning of “Tradition” lies in the keeping and defense of revealed truth… truth that can not be changed, because “Jesus Christ is the same, yesterday, today and forever” (Heb. 13:8). Those who hear His call to live according to His Truth need only look for it in the Holy Tradition of the Church.

The Bible

The central Biblical theme is the covenant between God and His people — a covenant based on God’s love for His people, which is compared (by the Prophet Hosea) to that of a husband and wife. In Ephesians 5, St. Paul restated this concept by comparing God’s covenant with His church to that of the bond of matrimony.

The fruits of that marriage that is, the giving of birth to God’s children, is also a principal source of a woman’s salvation. According to St. Paul, if she “continues in faith and love and holiness with modesty” (I Timothy 5, 15), she “will be saved through bearing children” (I Timothy 2, 15). Time and again the Bible emphasizes “fruitfulness” in child-bearing as one of God’s greatest blessings and rewards for righteousness and a clear sign of His approval.

“Blessed is every one who fears the Lord, who walks in his ways! You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands; you shall be happy, and it shall be well with you. Your wife will be like fruitful vine within your house; your children will be like olive shoots around your table. Lo, thus shall the man be blessed who fears the Lord” (Psalm128, 1-4); Lo, sons are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.” (Ps.127, 3)

Conversely, the Bible condemns those who frustrate or reject God’s blessings by unnatural forms of birth control. In Genesis we read:

“Then Judah said to Onan, ‘Go into yours brother’s wife and perform the duty of a brother-in-law to her, and raise up offspring for your brother.’ But Onan knew that offspring would not be his; so when he went in to his brother’s wife he spilled the semen on the ground, lest he should give offspring to his brother. And what he did was displeasing in the sight of the Lord, and He slew him also.” (Gen. 38, 8-10)

Onan had used the contraceptive method called “withdrawal,” and deliberately ejaculated outside the woman. For centuries thereafter Christians used the term “Onanism” to refer to unnatural forms of birth control, and the message of God’s displeasure did not escape them.

While many defenders of contraception would argue that Onan’s sin was not in his fruitless ejaculation but in disobedience to his father and the law of the Levirate, John Kipley, a leading Western moral theologian, sums up the Tradition of biblical interpretation, as follows:

“The interpretation that Onan’s sin was only the violation of the Levirate custom is a recent accommodation for the practice of unnatural forms of birth control. It is not upheld by the text or the context. On the contrary, the Onan account provides a powerful biblical basis for the traditional Christian teaching that unnatural forms of birth control are immoral. This interpretation is reinforced by certain New Testament passages, and it is certainly confirmed by centuries of usage.” 7

Has the Early Church Addressed Contraception

It is customary to ascribe the current confusion, ambiguity, and error on the subject of contraception to an alleged paucity of teachings transmitted by Church Fathers, as illustrated by one of the most authoritative orthodox theologian’s of the 20th century, Paul Evdokimov:

“In the age of Church Fathers, the problem of birth control was never raised. There are no canons that deal with it. The ancient collections of penitential discipline are no longer entirely applicable; moreover they say nothing on the subject… ” 8

This argument, however, does not stand up to close scrutiny of the historical record. Contraception is not a contemporary invention. It has been known for thousands of years and in all areas of the world. We have testimony from the ancient Roman physician, Soranos of Ephesus, who in his 2nd century Gyneciorum Libri provides detailed descriptions of various contraceptive methods. Studying ancient documents on this subject, modern researcher Paul Veyne has concluded that:

“Abortion and contraception were common practices, although historians have distorted the picture somewhat by overlooking the Roman use of the term “abortion” to describe not only surgical practices that we would call abortion but also techniques that we would call contraceptive…All classes of the population certainly made use of contraceptive techniques.” 9

The Fathers of Church would most certainly have been aware of the common birth control practices of their day and among the faithful. As guardians of Christian values and the sanctity of marriage they would have been called upon to address sensitive and important issues involving married life, sexual intimacy, abortion, and the use of contraceptives.

Early Church Recognition of the Evils of Contraception

The historical record shows that even the very earliest Ecumenical Councils and Synods had to deal with the problem of abortion and contraception. The Fathers of those Councils were unequivocal in their condemnation, as illustrated by the following written affirmations:

“Concerning women who commit fornication, and destroy that which they have conceived, or who are employed in making drugs for abortion, a former decree excluded them until the hour of death, and to this some have assented. Nevertheless, being desirous to use somewhat greater lenity, we have ordained that they fulfill ten years [of penance], according to the prescribed degrees.” [Synod in Ancyra can. XXI (A.D. 314.)] 10

“Those who give drugs for procuring abortion, and those who receive poisons to kill the foetus, are subjected to the penalty of murder.” [Council in Trullo can. XCI. (A.D. 692)] 11

“Let her that procures abortion undergo ten years’ penance, whether the embryo were perfectly formed, or not.” [Can. II of St. Basil the Great] 12

In A.D. 191 St. Clement of Alexandria (a Greek theologian of considerable influence on the theological development of the early Church) referred to Onan’s evil act in these words:

“He broke the law of coitus.” 13 He went on to explain that “Because of its divine institution for the propagation of man, the seed is not to be vainly ejaculated, nor is it to be damaged, nor is it to be wasted.” 14

Origen — theologian of the early 3rd century Alexandrian Church — considered by many to be the most accomplished biblical scholar of the early church — refuted the teachings of the pagan philosopher Celsus by reference to God’s people in the Old Testament:

“nor were there among them women who sold their beauty to anyone who wished to have sexual intercourse without offspring, and to cast contempt upon the nature of human generation.” 15

In the early Church it was clear that to have sexual intercourse without being open to offspring was to commit an evil act.

In A.D. 307 the Latin philosopher and apologist, Lactantius Firmianus, attested to the Christian belief that abstinence is the only licit means of limiting family size. He spoke of those who

“…complain of the scantiness of their means, and allege that they have not enough for bringing up more children, as though, in truth, their means were in [their] power… or God did not daily make the rich poor and the poor rich. Wherefore, if any one on any account of poverty shall be unable to bring up children, it is better to abstain from relations with his wife… the genital [generating] part of the body, as the name itself teaches, has been received by us for no other purpose than the generation of offspring..” 16

In A.D. 375, the Greek theologian St. Epiphanius of Salamis (who later became Bishop of Salamis) wrote against those who:

“…exercise genital acts, yet prevent the conceiving of children. Not in order to produce offspring, but to satisfy lust, are they eager for corruption.” 17

St. John Chrysostym and other great Church Fathers

No Christian can challenge the moral and theological authority of the great St. John Chrysostum, the 4th century Patriarch of Constantinople. In a homily he preached in 391 A.D., this illustrious Father of the Church condemned both contraception and abortion:

“Why do you sow where the field is eager to destroy the fruit, where there are medicines of sterility [oral contraceptives], where there is murder before birth? You do not even let a harlot remain only a harlot, but you make her a murderess as well… Indeed, it is something worse than murder, and I do not know what to call it; for she does not kill what is formed but prevents its formation. What then? Do you condemn the gift of God and fight with his [natural] laws?… Yet such turpitude… the matter still seems indifferent to many men; even to many men having wives. In this indifference of the married men there is greater evil filth; for then poisons are prepared, not against the womb of a prostitute, but against your injured wife. Against her are these innumerable tricks”. 18

In another homily, St. John Chrysostom went on to say:

“The procreation of children in marriage is the ‘heritage’ and ‘reward’ of the Lord; a blessing of God (cf. Psalm 127:3). It is the natural result of the act of sexual intercourse in marriage, which is a sacred union through which God Himself joins the two together into ‘one flesh’ (Genesis 1-2, Matthew 19, Mark 10, Ephesians 5, et. al.). The procreation of children is not in itself the sole purpose of marriage, but a marriage without the desire for children, and the prayer to God to bear and nurture them, is contrary to the ‘sacrament of love.’” 19

The great 4th century Latin Father St. Ambrose of Milan (who was responsible for the conversion of St. Augustine), wrote against abortion and contraception. John Noonan records, “St. Ambrose spoke of potions used in marriage in the course of his commentary on Genesis, …he exclaimed, The rich “lest their patrimony be divided among several, deny their own fetus in their uterus and by a parricidal potion extinguish the pledges of their womb in their genital belly, and life is taken away before it is transmitted.’” 20 John Noonan went on to explain that: “To users of potions preventing life, [Ambrose] applied the condemnation ‘parricide.’ From the context where protection of inheritance is the object of these acts, it is probable that any use of the potions in marriage is what is condemned.” 21

Another 4th century Latin Father, St. Jerome, also treated the subject of contraception. As a student of St. Gregory the Theologian and translator of the Vulgate edition of the Holy Bible, St. Jerome was well qualified to reflect the established dogma of the Early Church. Condemning the immorality of the Roman women of his time, he wrote, “Others, indeed, will drink sterility and murder a man not yet born.” 22 This repeated reference to “drinking sterility” by the Fathers is an obvious reference to pharmakeia or oral contraceptives. Noonan comments: “Evidently contraception was known and practiced in fashionable Catholic circles. Jerome denounces it in strong terms…” 23

Then there is the witness of St. Augustine, probably the most authoritative doctor of the Western Church. St. Augustine, in one of his letters, wrote:

“It is one thing not to lie [with one's wife] except with the sole will of generating: this has no fault. It is another to seek the pleasure of the flesh in lying, although within the limits of marriage: this has venial fault. I am supposing that then, although you are not lying for the sake of procreating offspring, you are not for the sake of lust obstructing their procreation by an evil prayer or an evil deed. Those who do this, although they are called husband and wife, are not; nor do they retain any reality of marriage, but with a respectable name cover a shame. They give themselves away, indeed, when they go so far as to expose their children who are born to them against their will; for they hate to nourish or to have those whom they feared to bear. Therefore a dark iniquity rages against those whom they have unwillingly borne, and with open iniquity this comes to light; a hidden shame is demonstrated by manifest cruelty. Sometimes this lustful cruelty, or cruel lust, comes to this, that they even procure poisons of sterility, and, if these do not work, extinguish and destroy the fetus in some way in the womb, preferring that their offspring die before it lives, or if it was already alive in the womb to kill it before it was born. Assuredly if both husband and wife are like this, they are not married, and if they were like this from the beginning they come together not joined in matrimony but in seduction. If both are not like this, I dare to say that either the wife is in a fashion the harlot of her husband or he is an adulterer with his own wife.”

A Greek penitential, ascribed to St.John IV Nesteutes (St. John the Faster), the 6th century Patriarch of Constantinople, states:

“If someone to satisfy his lust or in deliberate hatred does something to a man or woman so that no children be born of him or her, or gives them to drink (pharmakon), so that he cannot generate or she conceive, let it be held as homicide.” 25

Conclusion

We have seen the witness from Holy Scriptures, early Councils and holy Fathers of the Church. All of them attest to the immorality of contraceptives. St. Clement of Alexandria, St. Hippolytus of Rome, St. Epiphanius of Salamis, St. John Chrysostom, St. Ambrose of Milan, St. Jerome, St. Augustine, and many teachers and Doctors of the Church; proclaim the constant teaching of the Faith about this issue. They witness to the unchangeable nature of Tradition about artificial birth control.

The Church has proclaimed throughout all the ages that procreation is the primary end of marriage. She has continually preached the beauty of marital intercourse as a participation in God’s creative work. The Church has always highly regarded the bearing and raising of children. The Father’s of the Church attested that the joyful unitive aspect of marriage flowed from marital intercourse when it is open to new life. The Church’s constant teaching on Marriage and sexual intercourse is a gift we should rejoice in and continue to proclaim today.

Endnotes

1. Timothy Ware, The Orthodox Church, 2nd edition, Penguin, 199E p.296.
2. Ibid., 1st edition, p.302.
3. Patriarch Athenagoras telegram to Pope Paul VI, 9 August 1968, reprinted in Towards the Healing of Schism, ed. & trans. E.J. Stormon ,1987, p. 197.
4. A. Men’, Kul’tura i dukhovnoe vozrozhdenie, (Moscow 1992), pp. 445-450.
5. “Bases of Social Concept of Russian Orthodox Church,” confirmed on Jubilee Bishop’s Council of the Russian Orthodox Church (Moscow, August 13 – 16 2000) retrieved from http://www.russian-orthodox-church.org.ru/sd00e.htm.
6. St. Athanasius the Great, First Letter to Serapion, 28; (d. 373 A.D.)
7. John F. Kipley, Birth Control and Christian Discipleship, Couple To Couple League, 2001 pp. 23-28.
8. Paul Evdokimov, The Sacrament of Love (Crestwood, NY: SVS Press, 1995) p.174.
9. Paul Veyne, A History of Private Life, Vol. I: From Pagan Rome to Byzantium, trans. Arthur Goldhammer (Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press, 1987), p.12.
10.Canons of Council of retrieved from: http://www.synaxis.org/ecf/volume37/.
11. Canons of Council in Trulo, retrieved from: http://www.synaxis.org/ecf/volume37/.
12. Canons of St. Basil of Coesarea, retrieved from http://www.synaxis.org/ecf/volume37/.
13. St. Clement of Alexandria, Comments on Genesis 6, (PG 69:309).
14. St. Clement of Alexandria, Pedagogus (The Educator) 2.10.91.2, (GCS 12; 212).
15. Origen, Contra Celsum, Bk: 5, chp. 42, retrieved from : http://www.ccel.org/fathers2/
16. Lactantius Firmianus, Divine Institutions 6.23.18, (CSEL 19: 567).
17. St. Epiphanius of Salamis, Panarion (Medicine Chest) 26.5.2-6, (GSC 25: 294-298).
18. St. John Chrysostom, Homily 24 on Romans, (PG 60: 626-627), quoted in book: John T., Jr. Noonan, Contraception: A History of Its Treatment by the Catholic Theologians and Canonists, Harvard Univ. Press, 1986, p.98.
19. St. John Chrysostom, Homily on Ephesians 20, PG.
20. St. Ambrose, Hexameron 5.18.58 (CSEL 32: 184).
21. John T., Jr. Noonan, Contraception: A History of Its Treatment by the Catholic Theologians and Canonists, (Harvard Univ. Press, 1986) p.99.
22. St. Jerome, Letter 22, to Eustochium 13, (CSEL 54: 160-161).
23. Noonan, Ibid., p.101.
24. St. Augustine, “Marriage and Concupiscence” 1.15.17; quoted by John T., Jr. Noonan, Contraception: A History of Its Treatment by the Catholic Theologians and Canonists, Harvard Univ. Press, 1986,p.136.
25. Penitential (PG 88:1924A): quoted. by John T., Jr. Noonan, Contraception: A History of Its Treatment by the Catholic Theologians and Canonists, Harvard Univ. Press, 1986 p. 168n.
26. John Breck, The Sacred Gift of Life: Orthodox Christianity and Bioethics (Crestwood, NY: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1998) p. 9.

 

SOURCE: http://www.hli.org/seminarians_eastern_orthodoxy_contraception.html


One Year Ago: Eritrea: Christian Woman In Prison Dies Of Malaria

July 23, 2009

ERITREA: CHRISTIAN WOMAN IN PRISON DIES OF MALARIA – Weakened by torture, Azib Simon succumbs to disease only a week after contracting it.

LOS ANGELES, July 23 (Compass Direct News) – Imprisoned and tortured for her Christian faith since December, 37-year-old Azib Simon died of malaria in Eritrea’s Wi’a Military Training Center last week. Weakened by ongoing torture, sources said, Simon contracted malaria only a week before she died. Christians in the prison are rarely given medical attention, and the sources said authorities refused to provide treatment for Simon’s malaria. She had attended the Kale-Hiwet Church in Assab, one of the independent evangelical churches that have been targeted by the country’s Marxist-leaning authoritarian regime. She was held at the notorious Wi’a Military Training Center, 20 miles south of the Red Sea port of Massawa, since her arrest in December 2007. On June 8 Compass learned that eight Christian brothers held at the Adi-Quala prison were taken to the medical emergency facilities as a result of torture by military personnel at the camp. Simon’s death makes a total of five Christians whom Compass has confirmed have died in Eritrean prisons after being tortured for refusing to recant their faith.


June 6: Blessed Józef Innocenty Guz, Martyr Of Poland

June 6, 2009


Blessed Józef Innocenty Guz, 1890 – 1940 Read the rest of this entry »


June 6: Saint Alessandro di Fiesole

June 6, 2009

Saint Alessandro di Fiesole


May 30: Blessed Marta Maria Wiecka

May 30, 2009

Blessed Marta Maria Wiecka, 1874 – 1904 Read the rest of this entry »


May 25: Saint Cristobal Magallanes

May 25, 2009

Saint Cristobal Magallanes, 1869 – 1927 Read the rest of this entry »


May 25: Saint Agustin Caloca Cortes, Martyr of Mexico

May 25, 2009


Saint Agustin Caloca Cortes
1898 – 1927


May 24: Blessed Blessed Louis-Zéphirin Moreau Of Canada

May 24, 2009


Blessed Louis-Zéphirin Moreau, 1824 – 1901


May 23: Blessed Józef Kurzawa, New Martyr Of Poland

May 23, 2009

Blessed Józef Kurzawa, 1910 – 1940
Diocesan Priest Martyr


May 22: Blessed Maria Domenica Brun Barbantini

May 22, 2009

Blessed Maria Domenica Brun Barbantini, 1789 – 1868 Read the rest of this entry »


May 17: Blessed Ivan Ziatyk – Greek Catholic New Martyr

May 17, 2009

Blessed Ivan Ziatyk, 1899 – 1952 Read the rest of this entry »


Top Ten Catholic pick-up line

May 14, 2009

10. May I offer you a light for that votive candle?
9. Hi there. My buddy and I were wondering if you would settle a dispute we’re having. Do you think the word should be pronounced HOMEschooling, or homeSCHOOLing?
8. Sorry, but I couldn’t help but noticing how cute you look in that ankle-length, shapeless, plaid jumper.
7. What’s a nice girl like you doing at a First Saturday Rosary Cenacle like this?
6. You don’t like the culture of death either? Wow! We have so much in common!
5. Let’s get out of here. I know a much cozier little Catholic bookstore downtown.
4. I bet I can guess your confirmation name.
3. You’ve got stunning scapular-brown eyes.
2. Did you feel what I felt when we reached into the holy water font at the same time?
1. Confess here often?

5 bob to: Ad Te Levávi Ánimam Meam


May 14: Saint Théodore Guérin

May 14, 2009

Saint Théodore Guérin, 1798 – 1856


May 13: Feast of Our Lady of Fatima

May 13, 2009

Pray your rosary!


May 9: Prophet Isaiah

May 9, 2009


May 8: Blessed Luigi Rabatà

May 8, 2009

Blessed Luigi Rabatà, 1443 -1490 Read the rest of this entry »


May 5: Blessed Grzegorz Boleslaw Frackowiak, New Martyr Of Poland

May 5, 2009
  Blessed Grzegorz Boleslaw Frackowiak, 1911-1943 Read the rest of this entry »

May 4: Saint John Houghton, Martyr Of England

May 4, 2009
Saint John Houghton, 1486 – 1535 Read the rest of this entry »

May 3: Blessed Blessed Marie-Leonie Paradis, Foundress From Canada

May 3, 2009

Blessed Marie-Leonie Paradis, 1840 – 1912 Read the rest of this entry »


May 2: Blessed William Tirry, Martyr Of Ireland

May 2, 2009

Blessed William Tirry, 1608 – 1654 Read the rest of this entry »


May 1: Saint Joseph The Worker

May 1, 2009


May 1: Prophet Jeremiah

May 1, 2009


May 1: Blessed Kliment Septyckyj, Greek Catholic New Martyr

May 1, 2009

Blessed Kliment Septyckyj, 1869 – 1951  Read the rest of this entry »


Worth Revisiting: THE VINYL CONFESSION

April 30, 2009

THE VINYL CONFESSION by Fr. V

 

I for one am glad that CDs and Ipods etc. have taken over from records for personal music entertainment. There are songs that to this day when I hear them I tense up waiting for that part of the song that has been seared into my mind as having a skip that used to plague the records I had when I was very small.

“Does your chewing gum lose its flavor
on the bedpost over night?
And you mother says, “Don’t chew it,”
Do swallow it, (click) Do you swallow it, (click) Do you swallow it”
(Vwwwwwwip.)
“in spite.”

Sometimes people come into the confessional and say, “Father, it’s the Read the rest of this entry »


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