The Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America, which is comprised of the 65 canonical Orthodox bishops in the United States, Canada and Mexico, join their voices with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and all those who adamantly protest the recent decision by the United States Department of Health and Human Services, and call upon all the Orthodox Christian faithful to contact their elected representatives today to voice their concern in the face of this threat to the sanctity of the Church’s conscience.

-Read here

Well, I take comfort in how long it took them to make the wrong decision.



Filed under Culture, Religion

10 responses to “Update

  1. Look at who’s on the committee behind this: 5 of the 7 laypeople are ardent movement conservatives or pro-life libertarians. Just last week Fr. Peter Preble was publicly complaining that the group hadn’t met yet and insisting it respond to this “grave attack on religious liberty.” Note that the committee liaison is one of, well, you know. Bp. Sava is not a Dobsonista, but I suppose on this one, with both liberal and conservative Catholic bishops whining, he could thought it a very ecumenical move.

  2. I’m inclined to suspect that what tipped them over towards this was not concern for the Acton-types but rather courtesy to the Catholics…

    • Samn!, According to the neocon Preble, the committee had never as of a week or so ago, and he went very public in bitching about it not responding to this situation. I suspect your logic is the reason that Sava agreed to the statement, but I think Preble initiated this.

      • Yeah…. I mean, it may be likely that no one would’ve bothered to have a discussion or make a statement unless people like Fr. Preble hadn’t vocally complained— Who actually expected the assembly to make statements about anything? certainly not the assembly itself! But, had this not been a cheap, easily ignorable way of seeming sympathetic to the Catholics, I don’t think such a statement would’ve ultimately been made. Is there any mainstream Orthodox entity that has a problem with insurance providing birth control?! Are there any jurisdictions that are opposed to birth control, even? What are the odds that Orthodox clergy insurance policies don’t provide the normal range of coverage for things like birth control…… and hell, probably abortion… My own catechisis, expressing the practiced view of the third see of Christendom, was quite explicit about the general permissibility of birth control— one has to remember that in almost all parts of the world where Catholics and Orthodox are present side-by-side, Orthodoxy is, virtually always, the (politically and socially, relatively) progressive option.

        But then, this could conceivably be the earliest sign of a culture war pitting GOARCh against minority parties among the OCA and the Antiochians. You can guess where I’d put my money as to who will win, both administratively and in the practice of the vast majority of the faithful…

      • ” earliest sign of a culture war pitting GOARCh against minority parties among the OCA and the Antiochians. ”

        Now don’t go and excite people.

        And win they should.

      • ” one has to remember that in almost all parts of the world where Catholics and Orthodox are present side-by-side, Orthodoxy is, virtually always, the (politically and socially, relatively) progressive option.”

        I think in the last year I have become familiar/acquainted with maybe 15 people who self-identify as Orthodox and our members of a communist political organization of some sort. If you broaden the nomenclature to Marxist, that number goes up to probably 40. Almost all of them are nationals from traditionally Orthodox countries living in the U.S. One of them, this Romanian friend of mine in CPUSA, is infuriated by the conservative leanings he’s found here. He goes to a Romanian OCA church in Chicago, and is horrified by the political ramblings of +Mathias and the Dobsonistas increasingly vocal in the OCA Midwest. He speaks of course of the far right trad Orthodox problems in Romania, and has some very interesting things to say. For instance, he thinks most villagers in Romania who are actively Orthodox are not into the right-wing semi-fascistic Orthodox nationalism, and virtually none of the urban Orthodox there are. It’s a small but vocal minority. But the far right stuff is also very overt and worn on the sleeve. He told me that this Dobsonista style conservatism would be scoffed at there as a fascism or nationalism trying to be sly. People there would ridicule it and tell the Dobsonistas “why not come out of your closet and just admit what you are.” That sort of thing.

  3. Romania is an interesting case, since there was a very strong pre-war fascist movement there, which I’m sure you’re familiar with since you seem to like Cioran as much as I do….. Perhaps this is a regional thing, as Hungary is even today the closest thing to a fascist country in Europe. Most Romanians I’ve known of my own generation are politically apathetic, maybe because current politicians there are even less charismatic than elsewhere. It would be interesting to know if there is any discernible political divide there between Catholics and Orthodox or even former Austrian territories versus former Ottoman territories…. I have no idea.

    In the Middle East, of course, the tendency for the Catholics to be sectarian fascists and the Orthodox to be secularist leftists or Arab nationalists is well-known, but also in terms of the church ethoses themselves the Othodox position themselves self-consciously as more progressive (or just more practical?) than the Catholics about birth control and divorce, even though the Orthodox in their liturgical and spiritual matters, as well as the general (often even quasi-Islamic) mores of the laity are markedly more conservative (my Greek-Catholic landlady in Beirut would say of her late Orthodox husband “les orthodoxes, ils sont vraiment orientaux….”). In Western Europe and Latin America approving of divorce and birth control are practically marks of Orthodox identity. The general attitudes of the Patriarchates of Constantinople and Alexandria speak for themselves…. It would actually be an really interesting comparative study examining the cultural and institutional place of progressive and reactionary ideas in 20th century Orthodoxy and Catholicism…

    Of course, the kind of foolishness we see with the Doboson- or Acton-minded is really unique to America, isn’t it? Wouldn’t a self-respecting reactionary anywhere else, whether Catholic or Orthodox, be kind of creeped out by it all?

  4. Leah

    This conservative “Obamacare” pile-on is curious. I thought that the issue of contraception was largely settled in American political discourse. Aside from Catholic hospitals, what other religious institutions would be affected? Although there seems to be some growing skepticism for birth control in some evangelical quarters, few Americans are eager to have very large families, especially in the current economic climate. I doubt that the politicians and activists who are on the warpath about contraception in religious institutions have more than three children. I think this controversy is just an excuse to complain about “Obamacare,” socialism, or whatever the current scare is.

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