Orthodox Survival Course Class 71: Two Topics

Class 71: Two Topics – 1. Orthodoxy and America; 2. Male and Female Created He Them, Continued

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Introduction – 

In our two recent talks on the war in the Ukraine, as in our 2020 talk on the great Corona virus delusion, we attempted to use our Orthodox lens, our Orthodox philosophy of history,  to examine a current event.  In this talk, we shall go back in the other direction:  We shall use a current event as motivation to go back and work some more on sharpening that Orthodox lens in regards to two topics:  a new topic, which is America and its place in our Orthodox history, and a previous topic – God’s creation of the two sexes, male and female, and the purposes for which He created them.  

As we speak in the last week of (new style) June of 2022, we have, just a few days ago, received the news of a welcome decision of the Supreme Court of the United States, which overturned the decision of a previous Supreme Court that purported to discern a “right” possessed by parents and physicians to commit the crime and sin of infanticide in the form of abortion, a right that was somehow mysteriously imbedded in the Constitution of the United States but had previously lain undiscovered by generations of legislators and political philosophers, until the superior wisdom of the sexual revolution liberated the minds of men to discover it.     This decision by itself does not outlaw any abortions – it is a decision on the constitutionality of a law of the State of Mississippi; it is not itself a law for Mississippi or any other state – but it does restore to the several sovereign states that voluntarily compose our federal union their original constitutional right to pass legislation that reflects the religious beliefs of their several peoples. Therefore making and enforcing anti-abortion legislation is once again possible in those states where the people elect representatives that want to do it. 

We know, of course, from our Orthodox point of view, that the unspeakable cataclysm of widespread abortions in our time is in its spiritual essence not simply a legal or political problem, but rather a result of the great apostasy of modern man, his denial of the Law of God and God’s sovereignty over men’s lives.  It is a return to the pagan – i.e., demonic – practice of human sacrifice, and the demons who have been set loose on the world since the removal of “he that restraineth,” – that is, the God-appointed rulers of the former Christendom – incessantly and insatiably demand more and more human blood from their human representatives, the demonized globalist cabal that masquerades as legitimate higher government today, after their overthrow of the God-established order by means of both the violent and the gradual revolutions of the past two centuries.   Abortion is the central sacrament of the New World Order. 

In the midst of this great apostasy, victories for God’s Law, such as the Supreme Court decision of 11/24 June 2022, are a sign of God’s unbroken sovereignty over human affairs, a reminder that all the angels, good and bad, and all men, both the good and the evil, are ultimately held by the unbreakable chains of the will of God and will always, ultimately, even if unwillingly or unknowingly, act to fulfill His divine providence and His will for our salvation. And, as Metropolitan Demetrius, ruling hierarch of our Metropolis of America of the Genuine Orthodox Christians, teaches in his encyclical on this occasion ( see http://orthodoxtruth.org/uncategorized/encyclical-of-metropolitan-demetrius-of-america/), such victories are also a sign that the merciful Lord responds to our repentance with His mercy, and that if we practice thanksgiving to the Giver coupled with further and greater repentance, He will respond with further and greater mercies in the future.  God is over all.

In our talk today, however, we shall not dwell on the details of this Supreme Court decision or spend all of our time on the topic of abortion specifically.   Instead, let us use this occasion to back off and go back.  Back off – that is, not get caught up in the political passions and micro-concerns of the moment, but rather to retreat into looking calmly at the big picture of history and theology that provides us with a framework to understand what is going on around us.  Go back – that is, examine history, both a most recent topic and a most ancient one. Our topic of recent history is the United States of America: We shall strive a little to find an Orthodox way of understanding this attractive but confusing country that God has allowed to influence so much that goes on in the whole world today.  And we shall also go back to the most ancient history – specifically the creation of man and woman – and discuss how the teaching of the Scriptures and the Holy Fathers will help us escape the lies of the sexual revolution that has enslaved the greater part of the human race, producing many and various evils, of which abortion is only one.  

These are both vast subjects, of course, and today we shall cover just a little territory, hoping to continue next time to talk about both.    

I. Orthodoxy and America 

(Prefatory note:  For convenience, I shall use the term “America,” in the popular way, as shorthand to refer specifically to the United States of America. My apologies to our fellow North Americans, the Canadians and Mexicans, and to all of our Central American and South American friends!) 

A)  The U.S.A. and Our Orthodoxy 

By a discussion of the U.S. and Orthodoxy, I do not mean a discussion of the history of the Orthodox jurisdictions here and their boring squabbles over their respective canonical rights to this or that territory, as they fiddle while Rome burns.   As Fr. Seraphim Rose used to say, when asked about the chimerical project of a united Orthodox jurisdiction in America, the problem today is one of bare spiritual survival, the survival of our confession of Faith and our piety, not the outward unity of the episcopacy, which is increasingly in chaos not only in America but also throughout the world.     An outwardly united Church of America would be icing on the cake; right now, we have to save the cake itself!  

What we do mean to discuss are the historical and philosophical roots of the American nation, and to what extent distinctly American ideas and ways of doing things can or cannot accord with our Orthodoxy.  Such a discussion can help not only the Orthodox who live in the United States but also Orthodox everywhere, because American ideas and American culture have by now influenced the entire world.  By listening to the Orthodox who live in America talk about what it means to be Orthodox and American, pious Orthodox faithful in other countries can better evaluate what is good or bad about the American influence in their own nations.  So the two questions are, “How can I, an Orthodox Christian, also be a patriotic American – how do I square my Orthodox Faith with my American identity?” or, for the Orthodox living outside of the United States, including those in the historically Orthodox countries, “What should I accept or reject of the American influence on my country?   What can I learn, both positively and negatively, from the American experience, and apply it to my life as an Orthodox Christian?”  

B) Two Extreme Opinions – America: Love It or Hate It! 

The Orthodox faithful in the United States who take the time to  think about this subject are torn between two radically conflicting approaches to integrating one’s Orthodoxy with being American.   One approach is to embrace the secularist “American dream” wholeheartedly and  create a new “American Orthodoxy” that accords with the modernist spirit.  It is easy to see how this approach rapidly corrodes and finally denatures Orthodoxy to the point of its being utterly devoid of spiritual power, neither saving nor sanctifying, as we see in the typical parish of the new calendar Greek Archdiocese of America, for example, whose ethos is only superficially distinguished from that of the mainline liberal Protestant denominations by disguising the emptiness of the parish’s spiritual life with the morally un-challenging, “fun” secondary aspects of Greek culture such as folk dancing and ethnic food.  

The opposite approach, certainly not as spiritually deadly, but also neither accurate nor helpful,  is to denounce everything in American history and American life as being entirely an anti-Christian project of Masonic origins and diabolic purpose from beginning to end, with no redeeming qualities whatsoever.  This approach, however, presents both theoretical and practical difficulties.   The theoretical difficulty lies in the fact that, despite the well-known Masonic influence on our history, nothing as big, as varied, and as complicated as American history can be reduced entirely and with accuracy to Masonic ideology and activities.  Real history, real life, does not work like that.  Reductionism inevitably leads to the over-simplification and distortion of any serious subject relating to human affairs, which are naturally as resistant to comprehensive understanding as the human heart, and naturally as various as human personalities and human associations. 

The practical difficulty for the Orthodox who live in the United States is that they do live here and they have to deal with that somehow, preserving their Faith without compromise and yet simultaneously somehow not hating and resenting the country that feeds them and shelters them, which is a sin, a form of filial impiety.  Furthermore, for the Orthodox faithful whose families have lived here for several or perhaps even many generations  – both the “cradle” Eastern European and Middle Eastern Orthodox whose families have now lived here for several generations, as well as the new converts to the Faith whose ancestors came to the New World from the British Isles or from Western Europe a long time ago –  this country is not merely a temporary refuge from persecution or some foreign and fundamentally unloved place they took advantage of simply to make money while remaining strangers to the land that feeds them.   This country, the United States, is the only country they have, their native land, their patria.  Their families have lived here for awhile now.  They have put down roots.  It is here that they have built their homes, made their fortunes, reared their children, and buried their dead.  They are Americans. And since this is their country, and since Christians have a moral duty and a fundamental human need to be patriotic, they have to ask the question:  “In what sense can I be both an Orthodox Christian and a patriotic American?” 

Our primary patriotic duty is, of course, to offer to this country  the inestimable treasure of the Orthodox Faith.  But does America have anything to offer to us, beyond mere material subsistence?  Is the current idiotic, so-called American anti-culture artificially created by the malicious Christ-haters that people the Establishment in New York, Washington D.C., Hollywood, Silicon Valley, and the prestigious universities, and spewed like garbage over the rest of our country and the rest of the world – the anti-culture of money worship, celebrity worship, obsession with sports, Hollywood, Disney, perverted sexuality, rock music, social media addiction, “selfie” photographs, and “just having fun,” the anti-culture of gross materialism and slavery to the base passions – is that all there is to America?  This is certainly the image projected to the rest of the world and embraced by the “normie” American today, the person who accepts and lives by what is now called the “mainstream narrative.”  But is there perhaps something more to this country:  something quiet and good hiding in the corners, something older and deeper, something both real and characteristically American that is compatible with our Faith? 

C) Ideological vs. Organic Society: A Tale of Two Americas 

One way of approaching the problem of understanding America is to examine the difference between an ideological society and an organic society.  Let’s start there.  From the very beginning of our country, there has been, so to speak, “A Tale of Two Americas,” America as an ideology on the one hand and America as a real place with real people with a real history on the other hand.  

An ideology is a rigid system of artificially connected abstract ideas, a Procrustean bed into which the ideologue forces his understanding of all human experience by amputating large sections of it.  It is fundamentally reductionistic while being simultaneously ambitious for universal imposition, and it is therefore destabilizing, constantly mutating, and inherently destructive.  If we see America primarily as an “idea,” an “experiment” in an entirely new way of constructing society based on the shadowy abstraction of “equality,” then America is an insubstantial, meaningless thing, a vacuum, a blank slate, a morally indifferent foundation that will tolerate any amount of change and any amount of defilement, upon which fanatic utopians and unscrupulous power mongers can rapidly construct a revolutionary New World without God, dedicated completely to worldly goals and material aggrandizement, inevitably leading to social degeneration and spiritual death.    

An organic society, by contrast,  is one built up slowly and gradually over centuries; it is fundamentally religious and therefore has limited goals deriving from a humble understanding of man’s created and sinful nature. It is the natural fruit of the interaction of Divine Providence with human effort.  It is based not on ideology but on tradition, the accumulated wisdom of the generations.   As an ideological society is inherently unstable, tending to greater and greater inner fragmentation as it paradoxically attempts to enforce by legalized violence greater and greater outward uniformity, an organic society is inherently stable, tending to a natural variety within a natural unity, enforced not by artificial violence but by inherited custom and sentiment.  I hope to demonstrate, in our next talk, that if we look into American history for examples of organic society, we may find, to our surprise and delight, something to inspire us and to inform us, in a way consonant with our Orthodox Faith.  

(I highly recommend a series of articles on Organic Society which you can find here: https://traditioninaction.org/OrganicSociety/000_Index.htm.   The authors of these articles, the late Professor Plinio Correa de Oliveira, and his disciples, write from a traditionalist Roman Catholic viewpoint, but their essential insights on this specific subject are amenable to an Orthodox interpretation. This is not an endorsement, obviously, of all the articles on the website, which is devoted to the cause of pre-Vatican II papism and contains anti-Orthodox polemic.) 

One can, then, understand American history using two different models, the ideological model of revolutionary progressivism and the organic model of inherited traditionalism.   In the progressivist model, America is this brand new thing, something totally new under the sun.  It sprang out of nowhere in the 18th century, when enlightened humanistic idealists finally succeeded in throwing off the shackles of Church, throne, and inherited tradition, and began to build an unprecedented society, superior to all nations in history, based on the abstract idea that all human beings are radically equal and radically autonomous individuals,  and nothing in heaven or on earth may be allowed to impede the autonomous individual’s unending and unlimited pursuit of worldly gain and worldly contentment, as long as he has a fair contractual arrangement with his competitors for the world’s goods that he won’t steal theirs if they don’t steal his.   This was the mainstream model of American self-understanding taught in our schools from the end of the Civil War until the cultural revolution of the 1960s, when it was replaced by the even more secular, more ideological, more radical, and more destructive Marxist model that is, ironically, the complete reverse of progressivist American self-idolatry:  hyper-progressivist self-hatred demanding the complete eradication of our historical identity.   The old progressivism of America as an egalitarian utopia has degenerated logically into the current progressivism of America as a nihilistic nightmare, because egalitarian utopias are not real and can neither be created nor preserved, and being flimsy, unreal, shifting, and shallow, they have no power to protect anyone from criminal oligarchs seeking power for power’s sake.   

The American traditionalist, by contrast, sees our early history, and even the isolated pockets of the “good America” that remain today, as being the story not of an idea, but of a real place with real people, who are the organic products not only of a long history stretching out behind them, but specifically the history of the British and the European Christian peoples.   “Yes,” he says, “ I know that 18th century Enlightenment ideas affected (or, rather, infected!) the founding of the United States and continue even now to distort our American understanding of human beings and human society, but that is not all there is to being American.   Our remarkably stable polity is the organic product of a millennium of the Anglo-Saxon legal tradition, which began when England was Orthodox.   For generations, our nation was not a uniform and unitary society but was in fact a great patchwork of local organic societies that in many places remarkably preserved the faith, language, and customs of their ancestors from Christian Europe.   Our lively traditions of local government and the proliferation of our private associations, marveled at by 19th century European commentators like de Tocqueville, were actually a throwback to medieval society, in contrast to the centralized modern European states who in their rise to power in the 19th century destroyed local languages, customs, and traditions.  The Ten Commandments and the Gospel have exercised just as much influence on who we are as have the murky and destructive tenets of Freemasonry.  If you go beneath the surface and sympathetically examine our history, you will find that there is more to the story of America than you might think!”   

So where do we start in this exploration of the good America, for the benefit of our Orthodox self-understanding in this modern world so influenced by so much that really is or is imagined to be American?   For an accurate understanding, we have to go to the roots of our polity and culture.  We have to start with Orthodox England.  

D) The Nation with an Angelic Vocation 

As we all know, the original United States were formed from the thirteen English colonies on the Atlantic coast, and it was these Englishmen who gave us our political constitution, our original self-understanding, and our common language.   Therefore we Americans, regardless of our ethnic background, must study them in order to understand ourselves. 

We know from Holy Tradition that the isle of Britain received the Gospel in the Apostolic generation, from no less a missionary than St. Joseph of Arimathea, along with St. Aristobulus the Apostle.   In other words, the Orthodox Church in Britain, though its existence was interrupted for a millennium, is just as old as the great Orthodox Churches of the Mediterranean world, and far older than important national churches such as the Russian and Serbian. At the time of its founding, its people were Britons, a Celtic people related to today’s Welsh, Irish, and highland Scots, but they were in the process of being Romanized. Today their descendants live in Wales and in Brittany on the coast of France, because the Old English came from Germany after the Roman legions were withdrawn, and they drove the Romano-Britons out of the part of the British island that we now call England. 

During the fifth and sixth centuries, barbarians from the north of Germany – the Angles, Saxons, Jutes, and Frisians – sailed over to Britain and gradually conquered that part of the island that we call England, driving the provincial Roman Christians into the borderlands and setting up their own pagan societies. One of these groups, the Angles, eventually gave their name to all of them: thus “England” and “the English.” Now and then a Roman nobleman (like King Arthur, if he really existed) would give them a beating and win the Romano-British Christians a breathing space, but by the year 600 AD these pagan Germanic people had thoroughly taken over. They called the Roman provincials they had conquered wealas – “foreigners” – thus our modern words “Wales” and the “Welsh.” (Thus also, strangely enough, “Wallachia” and “Vlach,” because the Slavs who invaded the Roman Empire in the eastern half of the Danube region had borrowed the same word from the Germans to apply to the earlier Roman population. On a personal note, I am happy to say that I am partially descended from Welsh people, and therefore my Romanian friends will be happy to know that I am, at least partially, a Vlach!).

Who, then, made these pagan English into Christians?   It was not the Romano-British Christians, who, sadly, simply hated the English and would not share their Faith with them.  It was other Romans that did it, Romans from Old Rome herself, directed by no less a person than St. Gregory the Great (whom the Eastern Church calls “the Dialogist”), Pope of Rome,  who reposed in the year 604 AD.   Some years before he became pope, St. Gregory was walking through the slave market in Rome, and he saw some handsome Old English youths up for sale.   He asked his companion, “Of what race are these men?” Upon hearing that they were Angli (Angles, i.e., English), the saint, struck by their innocent faces and noble bearing, replied, “Call them, rather, angeli (angels),” and he resolved that one day he would send missionaries to England to convert their nation.   After he became pope, he sent one of his hieromonks, Augustine, to England with a group of priests and monks, to carry out this resolve.   They landed at Canterbury in Kent on the east coast of Britain in 597, and they converted the local king, Ethelbert. Augustine became St. Augustine, the first Archbishop of Canterbury, and thus began a new Orthodox local Church, not the British Church, properly speaking, but the English Church, which lasted until 1066, when the Norman invaders replaced the old native Faith with the newly re-imagined and re-organized religion of the post-schism papacy. 

These English people who had become Orthodox and who remained Orthodox for hundreds of years produced many saints along with a vigorous and colorful, distinctively English national Christian culture.  You can read about them, first of all, in the great Ecclesiastical History of the English People by St. Bede the Venerable, which is both edifying spiritual reading and a fascinating account of an exciting and tumultuous national history.  Among our Anglophone Orthodox contemporaries, Dr. Vladimir Moss and Fr. Andrew Phillips have given us valuable material on the Old English from the Orthodox point of view (search Dr. Moss’s site at https://www.orthodoxchristianbooks.com/   and Fr. Andrew’s site at http://www.orthodoxengland.org.uk/hp.php).  Fr. James Thornton, also, in his invaluable compendium entitled Pious Kings and Right Believing Queens, provides us with the names and short Lives of a great number of sainted royal and noble English rulers, abbots, and abbesses.   Old England breathes the life-giving fragrance of Orthodoxy.  Taste and see! 

We shall leave to our next class an examination of the legacy of Orthodox England as it endures even to our time in those things that are good about the laws, government, and culture of the United States.    Until then, I leave you with a sympathetic and lively insight into the good side of the old English character, their particular potential for holiness, as expressed by a Brazilian Roman Catholic, Professor Plinio Correa de Oliveira.  Every nation has its good side and its bad side, and, while not imprudently ignoring the bad side, we should always focus hopefully on the good side, on that aspect of the national character that is receptive to God’s grace.  Here is what Professor Plinio says about the English:    

“What is the English vocation? I would say that England was called to realize something of an angelic innocence. In the English soul, there is something so honest and serene that it obliged Protestantism to assume a Catholic over-garment – Anglicanism – otherwise it would not have been swallowed by the people.

“Something that still reflects the good side of the English soul is the English landscapes. In them, it is rare to find an astonishingly beautiful panorama, but all of the English landscapes are filled with charming little gardens and corner spots that are called to be appreciated separately. In those ambiences, there is such freshness and such richness that only very innocent souls, almost angelic souls, know how to admire them properly.

“Here is a bridge with a cluster of ducks swimming under it; over there is a mossy stone in the water with small blue flowers; further down the way an ivy climbing a wall is worthy of a painting. Or perhaps a tragic wind blows away the fog to reveal the tower of a castle. It is through flashes like these that we can reconstitute the innocence and purity that the English are called to have when they are faithful. This angelic innocence certainly was the substance of the early medieval English spirit which gave many saints to the Church.” – from the article “Vocations of the European Peoples” by Plinio Correa de Oliveira

II. Male and Female Created He Them, continued 

Such a significant event as the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision regarding abortion reminds us to return to a project we began earlier in our course, forming an Orthodox response to the current sexual revolution on the basis of the Church’s teaching regarding the creation of the two sexes, the vocation of consecrated virginity, the divine institution of marriage, and the gift of procreation.  One could suggest that, at this point, it would be helpful to go back to Class 64 and 65 and re-read or re-listen to them, where we covered some basic teachings of the Church on God’s creation of the man and woman, His institution of marriage at the very beginning of the human race, and the monastic vocation.   For us Orthodox Christians, it is always in light of the Church’s teaching that we must understand current “hot button” issues like abortion, so-called gay rights, and so forth.  We must start with imbibing a completely Orthodox understanding before forming opinions on and presuming to argue about the political and legal questions surrounding these problems in contemporary society.  

In light of this fundamental insight, let us try to think in an Orthodox way about the current Pro-Life movement, whose members deserve so much credit for working so hard to reduce and, if possible, eliminate the scourge of abortion in the United States.  This movement is overwhelmingly led and peopled first of all by conservative Roman Catholics, with some help from conservative Protestants.   We Orthodox, of course, are a microscopic minority in this country, and, from the temporal point of view, we can have but little impact on great political and social movements.   We should, of course, be proud of our Orthodox young people who participate in the Pro-Life movement and always encourage them, but we simultaneously and attentively have to evaluate this movement from the Orthodox point of view, lest we insensibly gravitate to an ecumenist mindset.   To fight to save the unborn is to fulfill the Second Great Commandment –  to love our neighbor – but the command to love God is primary, and if we drift into an ecumenist mindset, even for the sake of a real good, uncritically embracing an “ecumenism of the conservatives,” so to speak, we may risk at some point violating the First Great Commandment, and all of our good works will become void of saving power. 

The primary slogan, and primary argument of the pro-life movement is the phrase, “right to life” – there is a national right to life committee, every state has a right to life organization, college campuses have right to life chapters, and so forth.  Within the framework of the 18th century Enlightenment philosophy of the Rights of Man, which indeed does influence the American legal tradition, the “right to life”  is a perfectly legitimate argument against abortion, and given the ever-increasing scientific evidence supporting the indisputable humanity of the unborn child, it is not only legitimate but irrefutable.  

As Christians, however, we should not be concerned so much with our rights as with our responsibilities, our duties, to fulfill the Law of God and to love our neighbor.  We may have to use the “rights” argument for practical reasons, but we must always strive to lead others  -and ourselves! – into a higher understanding.  A mother and father who want to obey God and love their neighbor – or even a mother and father who have their retained basic human instincts! –  would not need to be told that they will “violate the rights” of their child – that closest and dearest neighbor of all! – if they were to murder it!  We should remember that the coercion of human law become necessary only when the universal law of God, planted in every man’s heart at his creation (see Romans 1), is forgotten.  The love of a mother for her child is so fundamental, so instinctive, so essential to her very humanity, her very sense of her own existence and identity, that only a very great moral disorder, a schizophrenic disassociation from her own mind and heart, a very great spiritual delusion on her part and on the part of those influencing her, could bring about the decision to murder her child.  It should sadden us that, in order to argue against abortion in a way that is comprehensible to our contemporaries, the pro-life argument must reduce the relationship of mother to child to a contest of competing rights, as though they were two autonomous individuals with conflicting interests, and the power of the state would have to be brought to bear in order to force a woman not to “violate the rights” of this other, little creature inside of her whom she has been taught – against all reason and all feminine instinct – to regard as an alien adversary taking away her freedom.  Truly, as the Lord foretold, the love of the many has grown cold.   

In our time, it is this great spiritual delusion, this extreme internal moral disorder, this breathtaking coldness of heart, that has necessitated such a low-level, abstract, legalistic, and adversarial argument as “the right to life” to be used as the primary political weapon of the pro-life cause.  Abortion on demand cannot be fully understood when treated simply as an isolated legal or moral problem involving abstractions like human rights.  The scourge of mass abortions is a logical consequence of the catastrophic insanity of the entire sexual revolution, a whole ensemble of evils of which abortion is only one, albeit a most grievous one.  Let us be clear:   What the pro-abortion-“rights” advocates are saying is that they are so addicted to sexual pleasure whenever they want, with whomever they want, as often as they want, and with no consequences, that they are willing to murder their own children in order to have it.   They are willing to perform human sacrifice in order to have license to perform unlimited, irresponsible, and inconsequential carnal acts in any way they please.   This goes far beyond the consideration of abortion as a legal violation of someone else’s rights: it is the very nadir of the annihilation of the spiritual self.   It is lower than bestial; it is demonic.  It is to live one’s life, even now in this world, crawling about the bottomless pit of the hell that is to come.  

Our first response to such a terrible spectacle, then, must be a spiritual response, for we are dealing with an extremely deep spiritual problem.  Our first response must be repentance.  We must weep over our sins and the sins of the whole world, which have brought about this utter degradation of the whole human race, including a critical mass of the historically Orthodox nations.  It should sober us greatly to realize that some of the formerly Orthodox nations are among the leaders in the world in the number of abortions.   This could have occurred only because of a very profound apostasy on the part of the official church hierarchy, whereby the prophetic voice of the Gospel has been silenced, and the flock has become scattered sheep without shepherds.   As part of our own repentance, let us pray for our own chief shepherds to stand strong, and let us pray for this daily! 

As another necessary part of our repentance, in addition to prayer, fasting, confession, acts of charity, and more frequent reception of Holy Communion,  it behooves us to study the Holy Scriptures and the Fathers in order to recover a pure, simple, and straightforward understanding of the divinely revealed teaching of God’s Law regarding purity, marriage, and childbearing, and to recognize in ourselves and then to uproot the false assumptions that we have insensibly imbibed from the pestilential social atmosphere that surrounds us.  In our next class then, we plan to pick up the thread we began in Classes 64 and 65,  and go more deeply into this essential study, in order to to form the background needed to discuss intelligently and piously the various sub-topics related to human sexuality, and not only abortion, which is, after all, only one evil consequence, among many, of the sexual revolution, and cannot be fully understood in isolation. 

I should like to close today with this exhortation from Metropolitan Demetrius, by which he concludes his encyclical on the subject of “Roe vs. Wade”:  

“Throughout sacred history, whenever the people of God repented, after facing destruction on account of their sins, God showed them mercy and delivered them from righteous chastisement. In the lives of the saints, we see how God, in response to prayer and repentance, overturned the plots of the evil one. So too in our own time, we see the schemes of the demons overturned and undone, and from this we have a firm hope that His mercy will prevail. In this we find great solace, for God is with us. Let us, therefore, continue our repentance and give thanks unto the Lord so that He continue to help us in the struggle to overcome altogether the great evil of abortion. St. Isaac the Syrian teaches that gratitude from the receiver incites the Giver to bestow gifts greater than before… let us continue to repent, for the days are evil. The evil one will never cease to fight the Church. But let us remember: if God is with us, who can be against us?”  


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