Orthodox Resources for Sanctity of Life Sunday

Orthodox Abortion Icon

Metropolitan Jonah’s Message for Sanctity of Life Sunday

March for Life Fact Sheet 2011

Resources for Sacred Gift of Life Sunday: Protecting the Life of the Unborn (2010)

The Sanctity of Human Life
Rev. Dr. Stanley S. Harakas

Abortion and Public Policy
Rev. Peter J. Pappas

Abortion: An Orthodox Statement
V. Rev. Timothy Baclig

An Orthodox Perspective on Abortion
Priest Joseph O’Brien

The Roots of Roe v. Wade
Fr. Patrick Henry Reardon

The Lessons of Roe: Thirty years of learning
Frederica Mathewes-Green

The Status of the Unborn — An Orthodox statement on abortion
Fr. John Breck

The Lazy Slander of the Pro-Life Cause — Do pro-lifers care about life after birth?

Staggering: U.S. passed 53 million abortion mark in 2010


  1. Scott Pennington :

    You know, if some Orthodox Christians were publicly supporting the right of citizens to kill their newborn children, I think the Church would exact a price for this evil advocacy. The Church would not be avoiding taking sides on a “political” question. There would not be any talk of the Church crossing some line or behaving in a heavyhanded or totalitarian manner. The Church wouldn’t hesitate to “impose” morality on those who might advocate for the killing of children out of a fear of interfering with their freedom to make moral choices. We wouldn’t be hearing lectures on the futility of coerced morality which can only be insincere. I dare say that someone who appeared in church after publicly supporting such a thing would be ostracized. I think perhaps we’re ignoring the most effective and valuable resource for combating the abortion-culture: Denial of the chalice to those who support “abortion rights”. The rest is just talk – – preaching to the choir.

    The truth is that many Orthodox Christians do not believe that the Church is serious in its opposition to abortion – – and they are right. They don’t take the Church seriously because the Church leadership doesn’t take it’s own statements seriously and simply doesn’t believe – – though they claim to – – that abortion is the killing of an unborn child. If they did, they would be much more adamant on the subject, not just talking and “marching” but refusing to treat an abortion advocate as something other than a moral outcaste (unless and until they were to repent, of course). The fact that the hierarchy lacks the courage or will to do this is very telling. It sends a clear message that there are no consequences and thus this is a safe area in which to publicly dissent from the Church’s teaching. The Church’s message regarding abortion is coming through loud and clear to politicians and other abortion advocates. It’s just the wrong message.

    To have any serious affect on the situation, you have to send a different message.

  2. Michael Bauman :

    Scott, denial of the Chalice only works if you care. An occurence in our parish a few years back during a semi-regular “Ask the priest” sit down in parishoner’s homes. The question was asked about supporting a ‘woman’s right to choose’ and our priest responded in accord with Orthdox teaching including not approaching the cup if the support were given, even in theory. The woman actually spoke up at that time as said, “that doesn’t matter, I don’t receive anyway.”

    To have excommunication work, one has to believer already that one is in communion with God Himself and that one’s salvation is at stake. How many of those who publically support abortion really believe that.

  3. Fr. Johannes Jacobse :

    The threat of excommunication works when a Bishop is courageous enough to challenge a powerful lay person. The authority of excommunication rests with the Bishop, and if a priest excommunicates it is only by the Bishop’s authority. (He better make sure the Bishop will back him if he makes the decision unilaterally.) The problem really is, then, that Bishops won’t confront issues like abortion in the way they need to be confronted. Bishops carry the teaching authority, they are charged with protecting the Gospel in the Church, and if they are lax in this area the secularism will creep in no matter how good individual priests might be. In fact, a priest who stands up for the truth will get hammered from both ends, by impudent laity (like the woman you described above who, as the scripture says is “wise in her own conceits”) and compromising Bishops.

    Excommunication then, doesn’t work as threat because a person fears excommunication as such. It works because the person is challenged by an authority greater than he can claim for himself. Patrick Kennedy was upset when the Catholic Bishop threatened him with excommunication because in Kennedy’s mind, who was the Bishop to tell him how he should believe? In fact, the Bishop was telling him the content of Catholic teaching. If Kennedy did not want to accept it, he could always have become, say, an Episcopalian or Unitarian.

    Our Orthodox Church, especially the GOA, is very quick to compromise with the powerful on the moral issues that need the most clarity. It is one reason why there is such moral confusion in places.

  4. alexis banias :

    The Orthodox Church is too busy being “the best kept secret.”

  5. Scott Pennington :

    Fr. Johannes and Michael,

    I agree that the buck stops with the bishops and have said so many times. That they will not authorize excommunication of those who publicly support pro-choice policies is an utter scandal and indefensible.

    As to Michael’s point about whether the laity care about excommunication: Paradoxically, I think in many Greek parishes (like mine) they would care. The reason is that communion is seen as a sort of right. People can enter the church 15 minutes before communion and receive not having confessed in years, if ever. GOARCH has encouraged frequent communion without demanding some type of confession discipline. Thus, most expect to receive each Sunday. To be refused would actually have an impact in that circumstance. Not that this will actually occur.

    The real problem is that the bishops are either unconcerned themselves or that they fear the wrath of almighty Mammon. What they do not consider, apparently, is the condemnation that the “faithful” incur by approaching the mysteries lightly.


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