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MESSAGE OF THE MONTH
It is PAST Time for All to Take Action
By Fr. Demetrios Carellas.
The Holy Rachel Weeping for the Slaughter of the Infants
This excellent pro-life encyclical (provided below) from the Assembly of Orthodox Bishops in North America was issued on January 22nd, 2013. I give thanks to God for these Spirit-filled words, and I pray that ALL Orthodox Christians—Clergy and Laity—will put them into ACTION in their everyday lives. It is PAST time for we Orthodox to be in the FRONT LINES defending the right to life for the innocent, defenseless child in the womb! It is PAST time for our clergy to preach and teach on this issue and to organize their faithful to join groups like 40 Days for Life, and stand in prayer in front of these death chambers, especially those of Planned Parenthood: a truly demonic organization that kills over 325,000 babies every year for profit!
And while we must give deep love and God’s healing grace to those women who have had abortions and repent of their evil deed, we must also—in love—OPENLY chastise those Orthodox doctors, nurses, counselors, politicians, news media personnel, celebrities, AND clergy who have taken part in—or defended—this legalized infanticide. We do not help these people find salvation by giving them honors, when they should be given penances for the healing of their souls! Is it not PAST time to reach out to each one of these misguided people, admonishing them in love, and calling them to confession and repentance? If they refuse to change their ways, then—again out of LOVE for their souls—should we not excommunicate them, so that they can feel the pain of being separated from the Cup of Life and then return, with tears of repentance, to be restored to the Church?
During the past 40 years, over 55 MILLION babies have been slaughtered on the ungodly altar of the three-headed, secular-humanistic god of privacy, pleasure and profit. Many other Christians, especially the Roman Catholics, have been very active—in their words AND actions—in defense of these innocent ones. But where have WE been during this time, my dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ? Other than a few beautiful encyclicals and a few dedicated laity and clergy who have started Orthodox pro-life groups, the Orthodox presence in the pro-life movement has been, at best, one of "benign neglect."
In the opinion of this sinful and unworthy priest, this Encyclical should be regarded as a FINAL CALL to all Orthodox Christians to not only "talk the talk", but also "walk the walk" in the defense of the God-given right of every child to be born! If God came to judge the world tomorrow, what would He have to say about the deafening silence of over 90% of Orthodox Christians, while the "silent screams" of 3600 babies being slaughtered—everyday, for 40 years—are ascending to His Throne in the heavens? When each of us stand before His fearful Throne, awaiting His righteous judgment, will those 55 million souls be our defenders or our accusers before Him?
O my beloved sojourners on the sea of life, I fear the code blue button is about to be pushed on our Nation’s soul! When will we Orthodox take our rightful position in leading the fight for the ones who cannot fight for themselves? No other issue—economy, ecology, clean air, education, proper food diet, physical health, etc.—can have meaning as long as we permit this legal infanticide to continue! This most ungodly of all actions in our Nation’s history (perhaps in the history of the world!), this murder-for-profit of living ikons of God, must stop! It is Satan’s greatest weapon in his efforts to destroy true motherhood and the family unit.
In the midst of all this loss of personal and family identities, in this hurricane of destruction called Secular Humanism, laying waste to Christian moral principles regarding the sanctity of human life from conception to natural death, (and other things, like traditional marriage), there is still reason to have hope, still time to change, before the death rattle—in both the soul of our Nation and the souls of so many of its citizens—becomes irreversible. Of course, I am not speaking of the false and shallow hope and change being promoted by our political leaders in both parties; I speak of the One Who IS our hope, Who—alone—can transform us and our Nation: from darkness to light, from death to life, from perdition to salvation!
When the Jews cried out for deliverance under the tyranny of Pharaoh, God heard their cries and sent them a deliverer: His servant, the God-seer Moses. If WE now cry out—with our prayers, tears and actions—will not our Lord Jesus Himself come and deliver us, and our Nation, from this demonic curse of the noetic Pharaoh, the devil?
Let us begin—right this moment and several times each day—to BEG our Most Sweet Lord Jesus to intervene, so that this legalized slaughter will NEVER have another anniversary on the January 22nd’s that remain before Christ returns! He who has ears to hear, let him hear!
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January 22, 2013: The 40th Anniversary of Roe v. Wade
Monday, January 21, 2013
Forty years ago the Supreme Court of the United States handed down a decision, known as Roe v. Wade, granting a "right" for women of the United States to terminate the lives of their children in the womb. This decision has resulted in some 54 million children’s lives ending almost before they began.
The Holy Orthodox Christian Faith is unabashedly pro-life. The Lord Jesus Christ was recognized and worshipped in His mother’s womb while yet unborn by the Holy Forerunner who was also still in his mother’s womb (Luke 1:44); St. Basil the Great (4th Century), one of the universal teachers of the faith, dared to call murderers those who terminate the life of the fetus. The Church has consistently held that children developing in the womb should be afforded every protection given to those outside the womb. There is no moral, religious or scientific rationale which can justify making a distinction between the humanity of the newly-conceived and that of the newly-born.
Abortion on demand not only ends the life of a child, but also injures the mother of that child, often resulting in spiritual, psychological and physical harm. Christians should bring the comfort of the Gospel to women who have had abortions, that our loving God may heal them. The Orthodox Church calls on her children, and indeed all of society, to provide help to pregnant mothers who need assistance bringing their children safely into the world and providing these children loving homes.
On the occasion of this sorrowful anniversary, and as we mourn the violence we all too often visit upon one another, as exemplified by the recent mass killings in Aurora, Colorado and Newtown, Connecticut, we pray for an end to the violence of abortion. Surely the many ways in which we as a people diminish the reverence and respect for human life underlie much of this violence. The disrespect for human life in the womb is no small part of this. Let us offer to Almighty God our repentance for the evil of abortion on demand and extend our hearts and hands to embrace life.
On the occasion of this 40th Anniversary of "Roe v. Wade," we republish the following "Agreed Statement" issued in 1974 by the Orthodox-Roman Catholic Bilateral Consultation in the United States (composed of representatives from the former SCOBA and the US Conference of Catholic Bishops) a statement as timely now as it was then:
An Agreed Statement on Respect for Life
We, the members of the Orthodox-Roman Catholic Bilateral Consultation in the United States, after extensive discussions on the sanctity of marriage, feel compelled to make a statement concerning the inviolability of human life in all its forms.
We recognize that human life is a gift of God entrusted to mankind and so feel the necessity of expressing our shared conviction about its sacred character in concrete and active ways. It is true that the Christian community’s concern has recently seemed to be selective and disproportionate in this regard, e.g., in the anti-abortion campaign. Too often human life has been threatened or even destroyed, especially during times of war, internal strife, and violence, with little or no protestation from the Christian leadership. Unfortunately, the impression has frequently been given that churchmen are more concerned with establishing the legitimacy of war or capital punishment than with the preservation of human life. We know that this has been a scandal for many, both believers and unbelievers.
We feel constrained at this point in history to affirm that the "right to life" implies a right to a decent life and to full human development, not merely to a marginal existence.
We affirm that the furthering of this goal for the unborn, the mentally handicapped, the aging, and the underprivileged is our duty on a global as well as a domestic scale.
We deplore in particular the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision failing to recognize the rights of the unborn--a decision which has led to widespread indiscriminate early abortion.
We affirm our common Christian tradition with regard to the right of the unborn to life.
We acknowledge our responsibility to mediate the love of Christ, especially to the troubled expectant mother, and thus make possible the transmission and nurturing of new life and its fully human development.
We urge our churches and all believers to take a concrete stand on this matter at this time and to exemplify this evangelical imperative in their personal lives and professional decisions.
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Source: The above statement is available at: http://www.assemblyofbishops.org/news/2013/jan-22-roe-vs-wade-anniversary.
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Innocent blood has a voice, and that voice cries out for justice!