The Consequences of Contraception

50 years ago, Pope Paul VI issued a papal encyclical entitled Humanae Vitae, which he addressed not only to Catholics but also “to all men of good will.” In it, he reaffirmed the universal and unbroken teaching of the Church Fathers, both of the East and of the West, that artificial contraception is intrinsically sinful and incompatible with the Christian life. At the time of its publication, the widespread Orthodox response was…

Of Tolerance and Tyranny

In our modern age there is nothing praised so much as tolerance, nor despised so much as tyranny. This is because we prize individual freedom above all else, and we worship it in nearly every form and at almost any cost. In a very real sense, we view freedom as the essential quality which makes us human. And in this we are indeed not far wrong. The only restriction on individual liberty…

On Allegations of Orthodox Fundamentalism (Part 3)

Tradition, Fundamentalism, and Modernity In my two most recent posts, I responded in depth to an article from Public Orthodoxy about fundamentalism. The first response concerned the view taken by the article toward the Holy Fathers and Holy Tradition, and the second had to do with the relationship between Orthodoxy and the modern world. There is one section of the article that I have not yet discussed, and that is its conclusion. In this case…

On Allegations of Orthodox Fundamentalism (Part 2)

The Church and Modernity Earlier this week, I began examining an article from Public Orthodoxy entitled “Fundamentalism as ‘Orthodoxism.'” In this article, the author laments what is, in his opinion, “our long-standing captivity to a sad caricature of Orthodoxy.” In the first part of my analysis I discussed two of his four main allegations: that the Orthodox world has developed an idolatrous attitude towards the Holy Fathers, and that it has additionally come to an…

On Allegations of Orthodox Fundamentalism (Part 1)

On the Holy Fathers and Holy Tradition Recently Public Orthodoxy published an article entitled “Fundamentalism as ‘Orthodoxism’.” The content is extremely characteristic not only of Public Orthodoxy in particular, but also of a growing trend in wider Orthodox circles, especially those of an academic character (Public Orthodoxy is published under the auspices of Fordham University, a Catholic institution). Seeing that the exemplified attitudes and beliefs are steadily gaining influence among Orthodox believers, I…

Seeing is Not Believing

At first glance, the Gospel passage appointed for this Sunday appears to be about two separate events during the earthly ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ: the healing of two blind men, and the casting out of a demon from a dumb man. Yet the Church in Her wisdom has joined these two events together in order to draw out a deeper meaning hidden beneath the surface of today’s Gospel reading. The…

Morality and Truth in a Secular Age

It sometimes seems that each new day brings with it another assault on traditional Christian morality from yet another front. The dust had barely begun to settle after the Supreme Court of the United States descried a hitherto undetected right to gay marriage hidden somewhere between the lines of the Constitution, when immediately the forces of radical secularism began the fight to promote and normalize the transgender ideology. To give some context…

The Perfect Law of Liberty

Freedom and the Gospel Commandments I wrote several week ago about the salvific and life-giving nature of the Gospel commandments. I argued that those who would dispense with them out of a misguided sense of compassion for modern man are in fact dispensing with the very medicine by which modern man can and must be healed. So often we view the commandments as burdensome rather than as therapeutic, as obligations rather than…

Against Modern Legalism

For all of its godlessness, this modern age hungers more than any other for love, compassion, and mercy. It hungers too for God (though often without realizing it), perhaps all the more strongly since no other age has banished Him more thoroughly from all its affairs. Yet so many modern people think of the God of the Bible as a vengeful, wrathful, angry deity, a god of hellfire and brimstone, a god…

Ye Shall Be As Gods

I wrote several days ago that lawlessness is the defining characteristic of both Antichristianity and the modern world. The Antichrist is described by St. Paul as “that lawless one,” and without any doubt at the heart of the modern era is Revolution: the unprecedented systematic overthrow of all traditional political, moral, and spiritual authority. Yet it is clear that the “mystery of lawlessness” means far more than mere anarchy. Although raw and…