April 23, 2014

The Culture of Marriage

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Source: Ruth Institute Blog | HT: Koinonia Submitted by regular Ruth blog reader, Leo Culture is not the same as the law. We do ourselves a disservice if we think exclusively about the law. Law, morality, culture, religion, and custom are all related, but are not identical. The law is more powerful in that it can enforce compliance with its dictates. Culture, however, can influence the law and can strongly influence behavior in ways the law cannot. The official government marriage ceremony under the despised Communist government in Poland did not have the moral force of the culturally prized religious ceremony. The laws governing marriage become meaningless if no one behaviorally enters or culturally endorses the institution. Strong marriage cultures have certain elements in common. That they do so is not accidental, but the result of evolutionary pressures. Weak cultures disappear. Sturdy and stalwart cultures endure and survive. Vigorous and life-giving cultures … [Read more...]

Judging Marriage: Proposition 8 Struck Down

Charles Colson

What is at stake: Even though his ruling isn’t surprising, his dismissal of the opinions of the people of California and five thousand-plus years of human tradition is breath-taking. Then again, inasmuch as Walker is one of the few openly gay federal judges, maybe his dismissal shouldn’t shock us, either. Let’s be clear. What’s at stake here goes beyond California and even beyond marriage itself. The reasoning that overturned California’s law, that said that the right of gays to marry is a fundamental constitutional right, would, if applied nationally, overturn similar laws throughout the country. As Pastor Jim Garlow, who led the Proposition 8 campaign, points out, it would be a mistake to think that the battle about the definition of marriage is only over marriage—disastrous as that is. A loss on this issue will have devastating consequences for our personal freedoms. Source: Breakpoint Listen here: I have warned you for months that our religious freedoms … [Read more...]

Papal Environmentalism: Pro-Life and Pro-Marriage

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Ethics and Public Policy Center | George Weigel In his January 11 address to the diplomatic corps accredited to the Holy See, Pope Benedict XVI continued to carve out an interesting Catholic position on ecology. The Pope insists that care for creation is a moral obligation that falls on both individuals and governments. His very invocation of "creation," however, challenges the secular shibboleths that underwrite a lot of contemporary environmental activism. Here is the money paragraph in the papal address to the diplomats assembled in the Sala Regia of the Apostolic Palace: "Twenty years ago, the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the materialistic and atheistic regimes which had for several decades dominated a part of this continent, it was easy to assess the great harm which an economic system lacking any reference to the truth about man had done not only to the dignity and freedom of individuals and peoples, but to nature itself, by polluting soil, water, and air. … [Read more...]

Russian church leaders defend marriage, speak out on family crisis

Pat. Kirill

Russian Orthodox Church leaders called on Christians on Thursday to be firm in defending traditional marriage and lamented the family crisis in the country. According to some estimates, over half of the marriages in Russia end in divorce. Women in the 140-million-strong country undergo some 1.5 million abortions annually. "We, Christians of different denominations, should profess the inviolability of the evangelic norms on the holy matrimony between man and woman," Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia said in a welcome message to participants of an inter-Christian forum for former Soviet republics held in Moscow. Christians, he said, should "openly testify that deviation from the God-given fundamentals of marriage cannot contribute to forming a healthy individual." Another top church official, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk who heads the Russian Orthodox Church's external relations department, criticized today's morality. "Today the scale of priorities for … [Read more...]

Robert P. George: Why I signed the Manhattan Declaration

Peter and Helen Evans are posting interviews with signers of the Manhattan Declaration. The latest is Robert P. George. They have around 20 interviews including some Orthodox signers on their site www.peterandhelenevans.com. … [Read more...]

Lithuania defies EU to promote family values

Lithuanian Parliament

Some European nations are resisting the secularist and statist over-reaching of the EU bureaucracy. The article mentions the Russian Orthodox Church's criticisms of EU cultural aggression and its overtures to the Roman Catholic Church in resisting it. Article from Mecator.net. ++++++++++++++++++++++ Sidestepping critics, Baltic nation strengthens family-friendly law on public information. Lithuania lawmakers ended their year by amending a law on the protection of minors that had been condemned as “homophobic” by the European Parliament and other international bodies. But they did so in a way that strengthens and clarifies legal restrictions on public information which is out of synch with human dignity and family values. The small Baltic nation thus once again stands out for boldness among European states, such as Ireland and Italy, which are resisting the imposition of secularist policies by European Union bodies. The new legislation, adopted by the … [Read more...]

Met. Jonah: Why I signed the Manhattan Declaration

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Met. Jonah explains why he signed the Manhattan Declaration. H/T Peter and Helen Evans Interviewer: Why did you sign the Manhattan Declaration? Met. Jonah: ...I believe in the same basic principles that are enunciated in the Manhattan Declaration. I believe also that many of them are the basic teachings of the Church regarding human life and how we are supposed to live -- first and foremost the stance on pro-life, the sanctity of life from conception to natural death, and how critically important it is to protect that every step of the way... See the complete interview and more interviews with Orthodox signers (and others) on the Peter and Helen Evans website (website under construction). … [Read more...]

Met. Isaiah speaks out against same-sex marriage

Met. Isaiah of Denver (GOA)

Protocol 09–12 September 24, 2009 The Reverend Clergy, and The Pious Faithful of the Holy Metropolis of Denver Beloved in the Lord, Earlier this year I attended the 25th Anniversary Banquet of one of our parishes, and was invited to offer a few remarks before the final prayer, which I did. As I do at all anniversary celebrations of parishes, I express the hope and the prayer that the parish will continue to exist even to the Second Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. In mentioning the glorious return of the Lord, I also allude to the final day events in the world which the Lord states will be like the final days of Sodom and Gomorrah (Luke 17:29,30) and that the people of the Church must try to live according to the teachings of Christ for their salvation. At this particular parish I did the same thing, using two examples to stress the fact that we are living in the last days before violent events take place. I mentioned the legality of abortion in this country, which has … [Read more...]

Before the Manhattan Declaration: ‘A Letter from America’s Religious Leaders in Defense of Marriage’

Given the vitriol, smug arrogance, and sectarian sentiment with which some Orthodox Christians have greeted Orthodox Christian participation in the Manhattan Declaration, let us review the 2006 letter below which was signed by Archbishop Demetrios and Metropolitan Herman. In fact -- and this may be upsetting to some readers so brace yourself -- Archbishop Demetrios was bookended on this list by Chuck Colson and James Dobson. Let us also revisit SCOBA's 2003 "Statement on Moral Crisis in Our Nation" which defended traditional marriage. "The Orthodox Christian teaching on marriage and sexuality, firmly grounded in Holy Scripture, 2000 years of church tradition, and canon law, holds that marriage consists in the conjugal union of a man and a woman, and that authentic marriage is blessed by God as a sacrament of the Church," SCOBA said. This statement, in many quarters today, would likely be described as hate speech. Note that the following statement calls for a constitutional … [Read more...]

Bishop Thomas on the Manhattan Declaration

Bishop Thomas of Charleston (AOA)

Thomas, Bishop of Charleston/Oakland and Assistant to Metropolitan Philip of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese, posted an informational item on the Manhattan Declaration and included links to educational resources on the sanctity of life and marriage. Bishop Thomas encouraged his flock to share his message with parishioners in the diocese. Key paragraphs: 1. With regard to abortion, the Orthodox Church forbids it. We do everything we can to align ourselves with the mind and teachings of the Church. 2. With regard to marriage, we obviously only bless marriages between one man and one woman. “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife; and the two shall become one flesh” (Gen. 2:24). Having said this, it is also important for us to understand that the union between a man and a woman should exist within the Mystery of Holy Matrimony. 3. The Scripture clearly forbids homosexuality. It is not necessary for me to direct you … [Read more...]

Archbishop Puhalo: ‘No angry God’

Archbishop Lazar Puhalo

"Archbishop Lazar Puhalo believes in compassion," begins the article in the Sun Journal of Lewiston, Maine. Reporter Lindsay Tice caught up with the archbishop at a talk he gave yesterday to students at University of Southern Maine's Lewiston-Auburn College. (HT: OBL News) Dressed in black robes and sporting a long white and gray beard, Puhalo spoke to students over a potluck lunch held in the college's second-floor lounge. Encouraged by questions, he jumped from topic to topic, covering in two-and-a-half hours: same-sex marriage, universal health care, women's rights, religious fundamentalism, politics, an individual's impact on society, ecology, suffering, compassion, fear, hatred, faith, hope and love. "There is no hand of an angry God. There is no angry God," he said, adding, "If God's so full of hate, what's he got to teach us?" Puhalo lambasted what he sees as Christian hypocrisy and bigotry, saying too many religious people moralize and judge while too few help … [Read more...]

Catholic-Orthodox: The Trent Agreed Statement on the Family

The Trent Agreed Statement on the Family of the First European Catholic-Orthodox Forum on the theme: ‘The Family: A Good for Humanity,’ Trent, Italy, on December 10-14, 2008. Preamble By the grace of the Holy Spirit, we, thirty representatives of the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Churches in Europe, from countries stretching from the Urals to the Atlantic, have gathered together for the First European Catholic-Orthodox Forum. We express our gratitude to all who have worked for the success of this meeting, especially to the Archbishop of Trent who warmly received us and offered hospitality. The meeting has been organised by the Council of European Bishops Conferences (CCEE), in close collaboration with various Orthodox Churches and some of the dicasteries of the Holy See. We have expressed our deep sorrow at the sudden death of His Holiness, Patriarch Alexis II of Moscow and All Russia, who had warmly extended his blessing upon the project of this Forum. What is the … [Read more...]