Welcome to Saint Herman's, Hudson, Ohio
Friday, July 22, 2022
Thursday, July 14, 2022
Wednesday, July 13, 2022
In light of the recent Supreme Court ruling on abortion, it was fortuitous (God's will) that just prior to that announcement, the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops issued a statement entitled, "On the Sacredness of Human Life and Its Untimely Termination." The document is not terribly long, but is so well crafted that it deserves being read by every Orthodox Christian who wishes to better understand the Church's perspective on these contemporary moral issues. The document can be read in its entirety here:
It begins by defining life, when it begins, and the means by which mankind has found ways to bring life to an end - murder, suicide, euthanasia, capital punishment, abortion, and miscarriage.
The section on abortion is especially important to us as we engage the world around us in this now post-Roe era to help all understand the loving perspective the Church brings to the process of human conception, reproduction, birth, and the sorrowful conditions which can occur when human life is placed at risk by the process of giving birth.
The section of the document on abortion is the longest section, and for good reason. It says this:
Our salvation begins with a conception. The Mother of God’s miraculous conception of her son and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ marks the beginning of new life and hope in the world. As we sing in the Troparion that celebrates the Annunciation, “Today is the beginning of our salvation, the revelation of the eternal mystery!”
Our liturgical calendar includes other feasts of conception, including the Righteous Anna’s Conception of the Mother of God and the Conception of John the Baptist by his parents Elizabeth and Zachariah. The Church has integrated these celebrations into its life not only as an affirmation of these figures who played such important roles in salvation history, but also because these feasts teach us that human life is bestowed by God and that the origins of every new human being are clearly inseparable from conception. Therefore, human life in its earliest manifestations in the womb is sacred and inviolable. Any act to terminate life in the womb – whether by abortive medications, medical procedures, or destructive behavior – denies this truth, is considered murder, and risks terrible spiritual consequences for those involved.
As with any instance of sin, mercy and healing – not retribution and punishment – are the way of the Lord. The Church is called to minister to those seeking abortions, those who have had or those who have been forced to have abortions, and those who have performed abortions, knowing that abortions are often sought because of poverty, abuse, coercion, neglect, despair, or the influence of a life-denying ethos that has become a societal norm. Church-sponsored and other programs that provide spiritual, physical, psychological, and financial support to expectant single mothers and couples in situations in which abortion is being considered, and to young families in need of extra care, should be vigorously supported by the Church and the faithful.
Current societal trends condone abortions for what some perceive as non-desirable human qualities, including physical or chromosomal abnormalities, or a less desirable sex. The Church appreciates, respects, and cares for all manner of human life and, therefore, never condones abortion in these cases. Every human life is worthy of our prayer and protection.
The Assembly of Bishops has previously acknowledged that there are “rare but serious medical instances where mother and child may require extraordinary actions” (Statement on Sanctity of Life, 2019); see also Assembly of Bishops Endorses Alternatives to Women in Crisis Pregnancies, 2021). This refers to tragic situations in which an abortive measure will preserve life. For example, if both mother and unborn child will almost certainly perish should the pregnancy continue but the mother will likely live if an abortion is administered, the Church grieves the tragedy of the situation and offers space for the discernment of the mother, the father, and the pastor as to the most life-giving course of action. Yet, these situations are unique and unusual and do not condone abortion as a norm in any way. Furthermore, the Church does not accept contemporary thinking that links free will with the right to abortion.
We continue to uncompromisingly reject any acceptance of abortion, while creating a merciful and compassionate path for all of those who have experienced abortion to journey back to the Church and to re-commit to human life as sacred and inviolable.
As She always does, the Holy Church deals with sin from the perspective of love, healing, and forgiveness through repentance.
THIS is the path for us, as Orthodox Christians, to open discussion with those who believe that the court's decision is some kind of 'revocation of a right,' an oppression of some sort. We need to pray for these people every bit as hard as we have long been praying for an end to the loss of innocent life permitted by this unjust law. We need to have our Lord's heart of mercy for all! This will not end until we live the love of Christ and bring healing to all who are hurting. This includes the children aborted, but it also includes the millions of mothers who must live with the knowledge that they participated in the process. It includes fathers, some who acquiesced to the process, others who were denied access to the decision under the false pretense that "it's the woman's body," removing fatherhood from the discussion. We must also lovingly engage women who from this time forward may seek what they've been taught is a 'right' wherever they can find it. These, too, need our loving outreach to them in support of life!
Love, not judgment, is the key.