The Byzantine Forum
Newest Members
Taylor, Randy Danielson, TAFrazer, PNCC Random Guy, Coldstream
5,769 Registered Users
Who's Online Now
1 members (theophan), 69 guests, and 31 robots.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Latest Photos
Church of St Cyril of Turau & All Patron Saints of Belarus
Byzantine Nebraska
Byzantine Nebraska
by orthodoxsinner2, December 11
Church of the Holy Trinity (UGCC) - Brazil
Church of the Holy Trinity (UGCC) - Brazil
by Santiago Tarsicio, March 17
Papal Audience 10 November 2017
Papal Audience 10 November 2017
by JLF, November 10
Upgraded Russian icon corner
Upgraded Russian icon corner
by The young fogey, October 20
Forum Statistics
Forums26
Topics35,056
Posts414,078
Members5,769
Most Online3,380
Dec 29th, 2019
Previous Thread
Next Thread
Print Thread
Page 7 of 7 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Joined: Nov 2001
Posts: 1,775
D
Member
Offline
Member
D
Joined: Nov 2001
Posts: 1,775
I cannot for the life of me conceive why this is such a hot question. Growing cells (as Sharon points out) are the beginning of a new human being. I think this is approaching the beginning of a new "how many angels can dance on the head of a pin" controversy.

The only practical usefulness seems to be the ability to condemn someone for an abortion depending on when it is determined that "life" begins. Perhaps it is just another exercise in patristic one-ups-manship?

Otherwise, why is it so important and why the vehemence?

Blessings!

Joined: Jan 2002
Posts: 2,960
J
Member
Offline
Member
J
Joined: Jan 2002
Posts: 2,960
//I cannot for the life of me conceive why this is such a hot question.//

It goes back to Roe vs. Wade, stem cell research, abortificants, etc. You probably did not read all the quotes and links I provided, so I can understand why you would have a problem conceiving (no pun intended).

//Growing cells (as Sharon points out) are the beginning of a new human being.//

Growing cells? I think both the Catholic and the Orthodox communion of churches have stated that fertilization was the beginning of life. This is where the sperm and egg meet. Growth occurs once the fertilized egg splits.

//I think this is approaching the beginning of a new "how many angels can dance on the head of a pin" controversy.//

Maybe for you, but it is an ethical issue in the real world. If life begins at fertilization, and someone gives the OK for preventing that life from implanting in the mother’s uterus, what do you call it? I don’t think you can just shrug off this important issue as a joke relating to speculations about angels and pinheads.

//The only practical usefulness seems to be the ability to condemn someone for an abortion depending on when it is determined that "life" begins.//

The Church isn’t in the business of “condemning” people. The Church IS in the business of defending life. There is a quantum gap between defending life and condemning it. I think you have the two mixed up.

//Perhaps it is just another exercise in patristic one-ups-manship?//

Not really. Maintaining ‘tradition’ (the handing down of the faith) and protecting human life and values is not a mere exercise of “patristic one-ups-manship.” It is a matter of consistently being pro-life.

//Otherwise, why is it so important and why the vehemence?//

Because people like you don’t seem to see the importance and will probably support public schools handing out ‘morning after pills’ because it is only a matter of condemning and one-ups-manship.

I strongly urge you to read all the quotes and links I provided on this thread. They reflect a common teaching about the beginning of life and our duty to protect it.

Joe Thur

Joined: Nov 2001
Posts: 1,775
D
Member
Offline
Member
D
Joined: Nov 2001
Posts: 1,775
Sorry to make it sound like I was being dismissive of the issue, I truly am not. But there is a root question and that is: is there a criterion by which we determine one position or another to represent the truth? There are certainly several different understandings of procreational activity; penetration of the ovum and subsequent calcification; DNA uncoating and first combination; subsequent first cell mitosis of the "newly created" DNA. Any one of these could be determined to be the starting point of a new life. How do we make the determination, and more importantly, how do the theologians make the determination from a theological perspective? And why are certain theological perspectives determined to be more 'valid' than others? Why 'fertilization' vs. 'implantation' only?

It is for this reason that I used the 'angels on the head of a pin' reference; I see argumentation, and even the H-word being used; and I find this frightening when the components being debated are subject to constant, even daily discoveries.

I wonder if this is one of those questions to which there is no definitive answer possible on the science/theology axis. Will the theological answer be evolving over time as we are more able scientifically/medically to both detect and save life at earlier and earlier times? And how can we determine when God bestows a soul upon the new life? Our current understanding of biology/medicine is bound to be superceded over the course of time; a hundred years from now, the people will look back at our 'understanding' as quaint, in much the same way as we look back at medicine in 1903. I am afraid that by being overly dogmatic based upon our current understandings, we place the Church in danger of publicly 're-interpreting' past teaching, and will force the Church to make emendations based upon future discoveries.

As Pius XII noted in 1952 (a congress on uses of the atom), there can be no conflict between theology and true science.

But let's not err in using current scientific knowledge to make definitive theological statements. The science will definitely change; the theological reality should not.

Blessings!

Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 1,134
T
Member
Offline
Member
T
Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 1,134
Quote
Originally posted by Dr John:
[QB"But let's not err in using current scientific knowledge to make definitive theological statements. The science will definitely change; the theological reality should not.

Blessings! [/QB]
Quite true - but it is the advances in science that have made the teachings of religion - in this area, at least - seem more and more plausible.

The ultrasound, for example, has been a MAJOR factor in the growth of the pro-life movement. The ability to see that the "mass of cells" has a head, arms and feet makes a big difference.

Joined: Jan 2002
Posts: 2,960
J
Member
Offline
Member
J
Joined: Jan 2002
Posts: 2,960
//a root question and that is: is there a criterion by which we determine one position or another to represent the truth?//

The Church. I have given you about a dozen statements from the Church, Catholic and Orthodox, whereby they all agree: fertilization is the traditional understanding of conception and is considered the beginning of life.

//I see argumentation, and even the H-word being used; and I find this frightening when the components being debated are subject to constant, even daily discoveries.//

‘Conservative’ and ‘liberal’ is used too, but those are political terms having nothing to do with ‘orthodoxy’ or ‘heterodoxy.’ Heresy in its base understanding only means a different opinion/position. Today, it has a distinctive antagonistic tinge to it. In the context of church teaching or instruction, one can certainly take a stand that isn’t in compliance with the mind of the Church. It doesn’t mean they are positively taking a heretical stand for the sole purpose of declaring church teaching wrong. They can place themselves in a position where their position is NOT in the ball park of church teaching. When the Church is unanimous across the Orthodox-Catholic spectrum on when life begins (and I am sure they use their scientific experts too) and one takes a position diametrically opposed to it, then we have a problem. Does that person know something that the entire church missed? Did this one medical professional discover something that no other medical professional was aware of in the rest of the Church? Inquiring minds want to know.

//I wonder if this is one of those questions to which there is no definitive answer possible on the science/theology axis.//

Science is still trying to determine an astrophysical explanation of the beginning of the universe. Big Bang? Oscillating Universe? Contracting Universe? Static Universe? All based on the same data, but different interpretations. There is a much longer tradition on the source of life outside the parameters of scientific inquiry. Consider the notion of ‘seed’ in the book of Genesis. Seed is intimately connected to the notion of promise to Abraham. The many genealogies in Genesis point to an intimate connection between generations. They didn’t know the technical aspects of how the seed brought new life, but they did know it took two people (a man and a woman). They knew what they knew form agriculture, hence the great number of pagan cults where acts of sex were done for religious reasons. Yeah, right! What is disturbing today is that thousand years of understanding of the connection between seed and impregnation is being disturbed. We, in our highly technical and medical knowledge actually believe that there is a void of life between fertilization and implantation. We actually believe that life ceases or holds its breath between the act of intercourse (and the few moments before fertilization) and when that new entity, having its own DNA identity, implants itself in its mother’s womb. An argument can truly be made that it IS truly the mother’s body and she can do anything to that new living entity. A mother’s womb no longer becomes a safe-haven in today’s advanced(?) civilization.

- - -

Consider this article about Professor Plantinga:

"A letter from Plantinga, a philosophy professor, and Huston Smith, a religion professor at Berkeley, moved the National Association of Biology Teachers to remove anti-religious language from its statement on evolution.

For years, the association's official position read: "The diversity of life on earth is the outcome of evolution: an unsupervised, impersonal, unpredictable and natural process."

Recently, after Plantinga and Smith objected that "unsupervised" and "impersonal" go beyond scientific evidence, the association dropped those words."

...

"There is so much heat in this area -- people's faith, people's ideology is involved-- that often straightforward, rational discussion doesn't work well." Plantinga and Smith are among a growing number of Christian scholars, including scientists, who challenge what they consider the unscientific presuppositions of modern culture with respect to evolution.

"I think the main thing to see about it is that it is by no means merely a scientific doctrine at all," Plantinga says. "It is about naturalism vs. theism, naturalism vs. American religious belief, naturalism vs. Christianity.

"They think science has shown that human beings are not really created by God. That's not true at all. That's not science. That's theology. It's bad theology because it's theology confused with science."

That's the point he and Smith argued successfully about the biology association's position.

"A good bit of it was theology, not science," Plantinga says. "There's no way, simply on the basis of physical science, that you could have discovered that the process is unsupervised or impersonal.

The entire article can be read here:

http://www.southbendtribune.com/98/feb/022098/local_ar/41706.htm

- - -

So, it was science that was playing the role of theology where it shouldn't.

Thank God for philosophers!

//And how can we determine when God bestows a soul upon the new life?//

It has been quite unanimous in Christian anthropology that man (in the generic sense) is not a dualistic entity, but rather a singular entity. If life begins, then ensoulment is included.

//Our current understanding of biology/medicine is bound to be superceded over the course of time; a hundred years from now, the people will look back at our 'understanding' as quaint,//

For years, the notion of “conception” has always been the beginning of life. As our understanding grew on the bio-physiological details, we understood fertilization to be the beginning of life. What is dangerous in our culture of death is the purposeful transfer of the beginning of life from fertilization to implantation. Consider the impact of doing such. Many in the science community STILL consider fertilization to be the moment when a new life begins. Planned Parenthood and pharmaceutical companies enjoy the idea of knowing their products or programs don’t push abortion. Contra-ception sounds better than abortion or the termination of life, especially with regard to ‘morning after pills.’ In many textbooks today, fertilization is still taught as the beginning of a new life.

//by being overly dogmatic based upon our current understandings, we place the Church in danger of publicly 're-interpreting' past teaching, and will force the Church to make emendations based upon future discoveries.//

Nobody is being dogmatic. I am personally unaware of any ‘dogmas’ being proclaimed in any cathedral. I think the West may have some problems latent from their days of Aristotle and Aquinas. The Greeks already knew that the earth was round and St. Gregory of Nyssa already stated the inseparable nature of body and soul. What would be dangerous, if not scandalous, is if the Church decided to teach that implantation was the beginning of life rather than fertilization. Can you imagine the public outcry and pew-tossing that would result?

Try this one too:

- - -

"THROUGHOUT OHIO AND in one Georgia school district this year, children will be learning the creation theory of "intelligent design" in addition to evolution.

The Cobb County, Ga., science texts now include the following disclaimer: "This textbook contains material on evolution. Evolution is a theory, not a fact, regarding the origin of living things. This material should be approached with an open mind, studied carefully and critically considered."

Intelligent design, which has been touted as a crucial link between science and theology, is a theory of creation first espoused in the 1980s. Contrary to Darwinism, its premise is that nature displays abundant evidence of design by an "intelligent agent" rather than by undirected natural causes.

This approach also will be included in this year's science curriculum throughout Ohio, whose educational standards committee has voted to include more than just Darwin's theory of evolution in the state's classrooms."

The entire article can be read here:

http://www.geocities.com/gregoryjrummo/evolutioncobbcounty.htm

- - -

We often confuse theory with fact. Lately, it has been some sectors of the science community that has made their theories into dogma, especially in our school textbooks. Today, a number of challenges are being made regarding the dogmatic status of certain theories. A "theory" is just a "theory." We must recognize that.

//As Pius XII noted in 1952 (a congress on uses of the atom), there can be no conflict between theology and true science.//

And what is true science? The same goes for archaeology. Many archaeological discoveries are now challenging biblical dictums. Some suggest, like Tommy Thompson, that Abraham never existed.

//But let's not err in using current scientific knowledge to make definitive theological statements. The science will definitely change; the theological reality should not.//

How true. Science, in itself, can make NO theological statement. Such things are outside its nature and discipline.

Alvin Plantinga reminds us of the great divorce between philosophy and Christian/theistic belief that running current. Someone brought up the question of philosophy and such. So, I post this little blurb from Plantinga's reply to the Pope's encyclical on Faith and Reason (Fides et Ratio):

"Once we come to modern philosophy, however, with post-Kantian and post-Humean turning away from Christian or even theistic belief, doesn't it look as if much of philosophy is less an incomplete approach to Christian belief than arrogant apostasy? One branch of this apostasy culminates in the philosophical naturalism dominating most of the most important contemporary American philosophy departments, a naturalism that explicitly rejects not just Christian truth but theism generally. The other branch perhaps culminates in Friedrich Nietzsche's subtle and modulated observations that God is dead, and that Christian belief both fosters and arises from a sort of sniveling, servile, cowardly, evasive, duplicitous, and all-around contemptible sort of character that is at the same time envious, self-righteous, and full of hate disguised as charitable kindness. (Not a pretty picture.) Neither group is best seen as making an approach to Christian truth but just falling a bit short."

Cf. http://www.christianitytoday.com/bc/9b4/9b4032.html

- - -

Isn't this the common picture we see of the Church and Christianity in today's media? Unfortunately, this is what we have to work with.

Joe Thur

Joined: Jan 2002
Posts: 2,960
J
Member
Offline
Member
J
Joined: Jan 2002
Posts: 2,960
Quote
Originally posted by Theist Gal:
The ultrasound, for example, has been a MAJOR factor in the growth of the pro-life movement. The ability to see that the "mass of cells" has a head, arms and feet makes a big difference.
TG,

And today it isn't the post-circumcision pic (with frown and all) for boys that is first taken of our new babies, but the ultrasound pics.

God bless!
Layman Joe Thur

Joined: Nov 2001
Posts: 438
D
Member
OP Offline
Member
D
Joined: Nov 2001
Posts: 438
To all,

When I started this post, I was in the process of moving my family across town. I made an entry on August 11, 2003 which was meant to initiate discussion. I was trying to be clever and provocative. However, as moves tend to be, it was hectic and I was without internet service for a couple of weeks. I forgot all about this thread. Recently it was pointed out to me that the following entry of mine required revision or retraction. That is the reason I once again open this thread.

To refresh your collective memories, here is a copy of my entry which I guess did initiate some "discussion" (that is whatI intended). I just never closed the loop.
_________________________________________________
Quote:

"I should note that my own personal beliefs are apparently aligned with the New York bishops. It seems to me that there is only one adequate explanation that exonerates this new teaching. It also places them more closely aligned to the Orthodox teaching on this subject.

I believe that life most appopriately begins with implantation. This is my argument.

Mankind was created for union. Union with our Creator, AND union with each other. We cannot achieve Union with God by exclusion of the other. We cannot achieve salvation of our own accord. Until the embryo implants, it is alone. It relates only to itself and to no other. Left to its own initiative, it will soon die. But with implantation, it establishes the consummate intimate relationship, that between child and mother. It has achieved union: personal, physiologic, symbiotic.

Can one be a person by himself/herself? Or are we only persons when we relate to another (or others?)

(Speaking for myself and not for the church,)"

__________________________________________________


Rereading this, not only is this not the Catholic Church's teaching on this subject, it is not mine either. What I had initially intended to say was that life achieved its "fullness" at implantation as that is when the fetus is in relation to its mother, and it is only when we are in relation to another that we are "fully" human. The kind of life that exists from conception to implantation is of another kind or another aspect; a "potentiality" in progress.

An embryo can be removed from its mother's body, or even formed ex utero, frozen in a suspended animation for an amazingly long time, implanted into a foreign uterus, even a postmenopausal one (with the proper hormonal priming) before it achieves the fruition of its potentiality. This is unlike any other human life which cannot survive without the other.

The point that I had planned on making was that it reminded me of our Eucharistic practice. The conceptus/embryo is very much like the sacrifice of the Lamb during Proskimedia. The "Lamb" is not the body and blood at this point. It becomes so only with the invocation of the Holy Spirit. That is, it achieves It's fullness only in relation with the Other. It is the Body and Blood of Christ only in Union with the Holy Spirit that images the Father. It is only when we are in relation to an "other" that we are fully human. God exists only in relation and so do we.

The "life in potentiality" of the embryo and from the moment of conception is still deserving of utmost reverence for one cannot have the stage of implantation without the requisite earlier stage of conception. Furthermore, there is no other "mode of being" that can substitute for this earlier stage. This too is analagous to our Eucharistic practice. There is no other earlier stage that can substitute for the Eucharistic elements themselves.
**************************
Finally, a note in further support of this theological perspective. Earlier this year the Pope gave a speech on the proper treatment of persons in "vegetative state." In it he exhorted the continued and full support of such persons even if their neurological condition was permanent using this "humanity in its potentiality" concept.

In order for a definition of human life to be complete and correct, it has to be applicable at the beginning and at the end of life. And it seems to me that the Pope may be there.
*******************

My original intent was to provide a theological/ethical perspective of this issue and from the Eastern mind. I simply forgot to do so.

I defer the Western perspective to the New York bishops, et al. Again, I meant only to be provocative, not heretical.

I truly and humbly beg your forgiveness.

John, a most repentent deacon


*****************************

Please forgive me if this has caused you any distress or sorrow.

Joined: Feb 2002
Posts: 2,505
Member
Offline
Member
Joined: Feb 2002
Posts: 2,505
Morally, the end never justifies the means.
Stephanos I

Joined: Jan 2002
Posts: 2,960
J
Member
Offline
Member
J
Joined: Jan 2002
Posts: 2,960
Dear Fr. Deacon John Petrus,

//Rereading this, not only is this not the Catholic Church's teaching on this subject, it is not mine either.//

Your statement, “I believe that life most appopriately begins with implantation. This is my argument” sure did cause a stir. It was so clear and distinct. However, I still think your post is not satisfactory.

//What I had initially intended to say was that life achieved its "fullness" at implantation as that is when the fetus is in relation to its mother, …//

Either the fetus is life or it is not. Mothers also abort their fetuses. Does this mean that the fullness of life is solely dependent on the mother’s will? If a woman willingly engaged in the sexual act and an egg was fertilized, then does a mother have the right to negate what she did willfully? When did the fertilized egg loose its “relation to its mother?” You still don’t seem to acknowledge life’s reality independently of others. We are social beings, who do rely on others, but we are either living entities or beings or we are not. Does society define life or does life define society? Which is it? I am greatly troubled by your use of the term “achieved.” First, we are always in the process of growth and development. It would behoove me to expect growth and development as being the criteria of human fullness. What is I begin to think that certain ethnic people are not fully human? Or people of a particular race? Or people with certain handicaps or missing and/or deformed limbs? I can now begin to think of other traits that can be used to determine how we can classify the human-ness of “other” people. Our tradition of infant communion demonstrates that one’s own “age of reason” or rational faculties should not be a criterion of worthiness to receive the Body and Blood of Christ. Jesus asked for the little children to come to him. Adults always seem to have a manipulative way of controlling who should or who should not be considered human or worthy of God’s relationship. There is nothing more silly or stupid than to Baptize and Chrismate our little ones and then excommuicate them (deny them spiritual life) for seven years. Do we stop feeding our newborns and infants simply because they cannot hold a discussion about theology yet? Do we deny implantation of an embryo because pharmaceutical companies can make a mint if the definition of conception was altered? Your argument still makes room for the Implantation Theory because it relies on whether the mother will be open to continue the relationship she was already intimately involved in at the get-go.

//… and it is only when we are in relation to another that we are "fully" human.//

We are fully human when we, under the Divine Physician’s care and medicine, become who we really are: partakers of the Divine Nature. Fullness is achieved when we cooperate with the Holy Spirit (synergy). Western minds consider humans as being a few bricks short of a load. But this brings us back to theologies on anthropology. If our human fullness is dependent on the whims of one’s mother, then we are in trouble, especially those 40+ million who were aborted. Isn’t the decision to abort supposed to be a decision between a woman and her physician? Where-o-where is the father in this? What if he wants to be related to his newly conceived/fertilized child? See the can of worms you opened?

//The kind of life that exists from conception to implantation is of another kind or another aspect; a "potentiality" in progress.//

What do you mean by "another kind" or "another aspect?" How many “KINDS of life” are there? Please list them. Life 'develops' and humans 'grow,' but we can’t determine life on the basis of existentialism. In that case, when is full human potentiality realized? How do we know? Infants can’t feed themselves, so does that lack of full human growth make them less human? Elderly folks who can’t care for themselves may seem to have lost their potentiality. My neighbor had to have a hysterectomy because of internal bleeding that could have killed her. After the surgery, her neighbor kindly asked her if she felt like less of a woman. Maybe she should have been asked if she felt less of a human since she lost an organ or two? Life is life. If life begins at fertilization, then the realization of life’s potentiality is something different. Oh, yes. I remember the fathers of philosophy at the seminary warning us about such a “potentiality” in progress argument and its cousin, “delayed animation.” If what you mean by “potentiality” doesn’t lessen the human living reality of that fertilized egg, then OK. But if you are confusing the progress or realization of potentiality with the degree/fullness of how much human that reality is, then not OK. I don’t think Christianity agrees with the Hindu caste system. We are ALL made in the “image” of God. His “likeness” is to be determined. Is the embryo's DNA still the embryo's? Where does the notion of "person" come into play?

//An embryo can be removed from its mother's body, or even formed ex utero, frozen in a suspended animation for an amazingly long time, implanted into a foreign uterus, even a postmenopausal one (with the proper hormonal priming) before it achieves the fruition of its potentiality. This is unlike any other human life which cannot survive without the other.//

We can also feed newborns with cow’s milk, not human milk. We can also keep premature newborns alive for weeks or months too. Life can be sustained with care and technology and ways that may seem to be a-normal or a-typical. But even then this technology and care are being given by "others."

//The point that I had planned on making was that it reminded me of our Eucharistic practice. The conceptus/embryo is very much like the sacrifice of the Lamb during Proskimedia. The "Lamb" is not the body and blood at this point.//

This is a poor analogy. Simply put, you are saying that the embryo is not life. The Lamb analogy bespeaks of another time and place when we Byzantines loved symbolic interpretations of the liturgy. Technically speaking, the bread is still ordinary leavened bread; the wine is still ordinary wine. Returning to “conceptus”/embryo, does this really mean that there is just plain ordinary DNA and protoplasm without the filler? Blanks? James Hitchcock wrote a masterpiece on the use of terminology in regards to human life back in the late 70s that I think you might be interested in. Ordinary protoplasm without life is just ordinary protoplasmic rubbish.

//It becomes so only with the invocation of the Holy Spirit.//

Review the quotes I posted regarding the Eastern view. It has always been understood that human life is a UNITY, not a bundle of molecule, DNA, and neurons awaiting the magic moment of infused life sometime later. This means that the soul/spirit is intimately tied to the body, but not in a dualistic sense. We are not imprisoned in our bodies like some sort of Platonic notion. Delayed animation seems to be a slippery concept from the West. The Implantation Theory is a close cousin of it.

//That is, it achieves It's fullness only in relation with the Other.//

You are forgetting that life can also be a “fruit” of marital love between a man/husband and woman/wife. There ALREADY is a relationship between two people here. In our Byzantine tradition, marriage is a covenant between the couple (husband and wife) and God. How much fuller can one get than that? Once we begin to divorce life from its natural home (marital love and relationship), we introduce trouble. No man is an island; the same goes for embryos. Before and after conception/fertilization, an embryo has already found a natural home in its mother’s womb. We pray, “Blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus” in our Marian prayer. Any rejection of that fertilized embryo by purposeful prevention of implantation is a rejection of a life that already began days before and that was also begun with the (hopefully) loving relationship between its mother and father.

//It is the Body and Blood of Christ only in Union with the Holy Spirit that images the Father. It is only when we are in relation to an "other" that we are fully human.//

Again, we are only fully human when we reached theosis. A monk or single person, however recluse, still has some sort of relationship to others – even if in prayer.

//God exists only in relation and so do we.//

God doesn’t need us, but we do need God.

//The "life in potentiality" of the embryo and from the moment of conception is still deserving of utmost reverence for one cannot have the stage of implantation without the requisite earlier stage of conception. Furthermore, there is no other "mode of being" that can substitute for this earlier stage.

And why should this embryo be deserving of our reverence? And what exactly do you mean by "mode of being?" Can you unequivocally state that life should be respected from the beginning of fertilization because it is life? I am weary of referring to humans in a modalistic fashion. Either we are talking about human life or we are not.

//This too is analagous to our Eucharistic practice. There is no other earlier stage that can substitute for the Eucharistic elements themselves.//

But using your poor analogy, the bread is just that: bread. And the wine is just that: wine. If we are to use your analogy in the correct way, then that Eucharistic change took place when the unity of body and soul was conceived at fertilization. Isn’t it odd how we have always made a fuss over the unconsecrated elements during our Great Entrance? Earlier Patriarchs referred to the laity as “stupid” simply because the elements were NOT yet the Body and Blood of Christ. Yet we, in turn, have a difficult time making a fuss over the already living unity of body/soul at fertilization, but willfully either prevent implantation or abort that life. We are “stupid,” no?

//My original intent was to provide a theological/ethical perspective of this issue and from the Eastern mind. I simply forgot to do so.//

What exactly IS the Eastern mind on this issue? What do you think of my earlier posts on this Eastern mind/approach? Even Fr. Deacon Lance seemed to be satisfied.

// I meant only to be provocative, not heretical.//

Personally, I lived and fought through these arguments in a variety of experiences. But I should also admit that I am more confused, if not un-satisfied, by your latest reply. It is suggestive, theoretical, but not as declarative as your earlier statement that started it all: “… that life most appopriately[sic] begins with implantation.”

God bless,
Joe Thur

Page 7 of 7 1 2 3 4 5 6 7

Link Copied to Clipboard
The Byzantine Forum provides message boards for discussions focusing on Eastern Christianity (though discussions of other topics are welcome). The views expressed herein are those of the participants and may or may not reflect the teachings of the Byzantine Catholic or any other Church. The Byzantine Forum and the www.byzcath.org site exist to help build up the Church but are unofficial, have no connection with any Church entity, and should not be looked to as a source for official information for any Church. All posts become property of byzcath.org. Contents copyright - 1996-2020 (Forum 1998-2020). All rights reserved.
Powered by UBB.threads™ PHP Forum Software 7.7.5