Friday, April 28, 2006

NFP is Hard

The Torodes, famous for writing, as protestants, a book supporting the Catholic position on contraception, have now jettisoned their former beliefs. Now they are Greek Orthodox, and are delighted to find a Church, or at least a spiritual father, that lets them have sex more often, sometimes with condoms. On the way, they adopt uncritically some typical Orthodox caricatures of Augustinian theology. But, more crucially, they are making the mistake of thinking that one may do evil so that good may come.

I think I will have to go borrow Meyendorff's book on marriage in Orthodoxy and critique it, since Mr. and Mrs. Torode cite it in support of their new position. I will report back to you. If I recall, Fr. Meyendorff begins his treatment of contraception by conceding that one shouldn't reject Humanae Vitae simply because it is papal. Then he goes on to completely misunderstand the notion in nature in Western theology. But I will have to get the book before I write more.

P.S. NFP isn't particularly hard. Loving one's enemies--that's hard. Doing good to those who hate you is hard. Forgiving others seventy times seven is hard. Going without sex sometimes, or even most of the time, is not hard.


Ryan Platte said...

Greetings from an Orthodox subscriber to your blog.

Firstly, I'm interested in knowing what about what they've written you consider to be a caricature of Augustinian theology.

Secondly, I'm also interested in what cause you have to brand the Holy Orthodox Church as "a deviant orthodoxy", but I suppose I'd learn more from the first question.

I'm sure you weren't trying to offend.

Karl said...

Dear Ryan,

I'll be writing more on this later. I don't mean to offend. But the reason I am not Orthodox is that I don't think the Holy Orthodox Church is teaching correctly on a few issues, human sexuality being the primary one.

I'll write more later when I can get a copy of Fr. Meyendorff's book. But in a nutshell: the caricature of Augustine is "sex=bad." Not so. He doesn't say that. The "deviant orthodoxy" is saying that one may do evil (contracept) so that good may come.

Stay tuned. I'll write a short little treatise in the next few days on the topic, which may lead to fruitful comment exchanges.

Karl said...

Dear Ryan,

By the way, I didn't say "deviant Orthodoxy." I used a small o. Perhaps it was an unfortunate turn of phrase, for which I plead lateness of the hour.

What I meant was that the orthodoxy which says "contracept" is not the same as Orthodoxy. I think that teaching is not patristic, is not based in the councils, and can't be justified. If something is wrong, it can't be Orthodox, that is, it can't be part of right belief.

Maybe I should have said "heresy," since the contraceptive position represents an innovation not found in the ancient Church.

But I will try to argue more at length soon.

Ryan Platte said...

I'm looking forward to hearing more. Thanks for your responses.

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