Are you implying that Orthodox do not respect the Ten Commandments If so you better be ready to back that up.
These are not subject to 'consensus' of local bishops or priests
Actually for a long time that's exactly how your church operated. The papal monarchy was not firmly established until the 1870's.
For example, the official teaching of the Catholic Church is NO to artificial birth control. There are no extenuating situations. Catholics are to practice NFP.
What is the official teaching of the Orthodox Church? Where is it written? Who in the Orthodox Church has the final word? Is it one particular Patriarch? Is it several Patriarchs together?
What is the official teaching of the Orthodox Church on stem cell research? Who represents the Orthodox Church when it comes to official teachings?
I am starting to think you have an authority complex. The Orthodox Church's final authority is its sensus fidei which has done a far better job of maintaining and guarding the faith of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church than the Patriarch of Rome. The last word is through solemn decrees of the Great Councils of the Church when received by the Church. However in the vast majority of cases the last word is your bishop or maybe the Holy Synod. We have no need for a theological monarch.
As I noted in a previous post you seem to be under the impression that every question of faith must have an immediate and clearly defined answer. But your own church took centuries to resolve some questions of dogma. The decrees on the infallibility of the Pope were not promulgated until 1871. Prior to that time they were hotly contested. Thomas Aquinas wrote against the immaculate conception of the Virgin Mary roughly 600 years before it was proclaimed a dogma of your church. We in the East sometimes think we need a stop watch to keep up with the changes in church discipline in the West. Our fasting rules have not changed significantly from the same ones you followed in the 5th century. Your rather insistent question betrays the legalism that has become so dominant in your church.
Our final authority is an Ecumenical Council. On issues not yet resolved by Church councils we tend to look to tradition and the fathers for guidance. But we prefer to approach the law in the spirit. Your declaration on birth control reminds me of the pharisaical legalism that Jesus so sharply condemned. You would have been one of those saying that it was against the mosaic law (which it was) to rescue an animal fallen into a pit on the Sabbath No exceptions were to be found anywhere in the law. We look at the law less rigidly and ask what is the spirit?
Of course as is the case with the Roman Church on matters not yet resolved formally a certain amount of divergent opinion is tolerated. The attitude towards BC varies somewhat between jurisdictions. But generally speaking Orthodoxy opposes it when it is used to avoid the responsibilities of a family. In cases where health is an issue or there is doubt about the ability to support children your church seems to say that the married couple must refrain from intimate relations. Most Orthodox see that as a pharisaical application of the letter of the law while doing violence to its spirit. Also Orthodoxy does not accept the Latin teaching that the sole function of marriage is to produce babies. In Roman theology it seems there is no spirit of the law. Only the letter.
I think you will find official statements on the specific issues you have raised on the web site of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese and also that of the Orthodox Church in America. There may be very slight differences but substantively they are the same. The Orthodox equivalent to the Roman Magesterium is the decree of the Holy Synod. Those decrees are not suggestions (unless specifically declared to be nonbinding). The faithful who ignore them are generally considered to be in serious sin and may not commune the Holy Mysteries. In some cases more serious sanctions are applied (i.e. joining the Masons is punishable by excommunication).
Nyer, CC has said almost exactly what I would have said in my response to your comments. As I said before, your insistence on a rules, rules, rules promulgated by an infallible pope represents almost exactly my understanding of the Roman Catholic mindset. It also is at odds with the mindset I see in my "cradle" Maronite friends and is near 180 degrees off that of the Melkites whose assent to the decrees of Vatican I were withheld for sometime and even when given were given with the reservation that the perogatives of the Patriarchs were preserved.
I suggest that few true Orthodox persons could accept living in the Roman Church and if your mindset represents, as I think it does, the popular Latin mindset, I know such people would never be happy as Orthodox Christians.
That is the western phronema or mindset. Looking at the spirit of the law (asking yourself "where is love) is much more important than the letter of the law. It transcends into our attittude towards sin which the Orthodox experience as ingratitude as opposed to breaking the speed limit. :)
I always say the infants are the only humans free from all prejudices: they know only two things eiter something feels good or it feels bad. Being Orthodox is like being an infant either there is love or there is no love. In either case it "feels good or feels bad." :)
It's probably best if we don't go around making blanket statements about each other's teachings. It's rather easy to misrepresent and misunderstand each other, and that deepens the division instead of healing it.
For example, it is not the teaching of the Catholic church that the "sole function" of marriage is to produce babies. That would be rather silly on its face, since Scripture seems to think there's more to it than that.
Of course not. Perhaps it was a poor example of the need for 'authority', rules for living, etc.
The last word is through solemn decrees of the Great Councils of the Church when received by the Church. However in the vast majority of cases the last word is your bishop or maybe the Holy Synod.
This is still perplexing.
TexConfederate1861, in response to the question of birth control, responded:
We don't need NFP...we have the pill, condoms, etc. :)
How can a bishop who has entrusted his life in the service of God, authorize, much less condone this?
Much to the chagrin of those who wish to practice artificial birth control, the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church has placed their spiritual and mortal welfare first. In his encyclical Humanae Vitae, pope Paul VI clearly lays out the argument against artificial birth control, as follows.
Consequences of Artificial Methods
17. Responsible men can become more deeply convinced of the truth of the doctrine laid down by the Church on this issue if they reflect on the consequences of methods and plans for artificial birth control. Let them first consider how easily this course of action could open wide the way for marital infidelity and a general lowering of moral standards. Not much experience is needed to be fully aware of human weakness and to understand that human beingsand especially the young, who are so exposed to temptationneed incentives to keep the moral law, and it is an evil thing to make it easy for them to break that law. Another effect that gives cause for alarm is that a man who grows accustomed to the use of contraceptive methods may forget the reverence due to a woman, and, disregarding her physical and emotional equilibrium, reduce her to being a mere instrument for the satisfaction of his own desires, no longer considering her as his partner whom he should surround with care and affection.
Finally, careful consideration should be given to the danger of this power passing into the hands of those public authorities who care little for the precepts of the moral law. Who will blame a government which in its attempt to resolve the problems affecting an entire country resorts to the same measures as are regarded as lawful by married people in the solution of a particular family difficulty? Who will prevent public authorities from favoring those contraceptive methods which they consider more effective? Should they regard this as necessary, they may even impose their use on everyone. It could well happen, therefore, that when people, either individually or in family or social life, experience the inherent difficulties of the divine law and are determined to avoid them, they may give into the hands of public authorities the power to intervene in the most personal and intimate responsibility of husband and wife.
Do you honestly believe that if Christ were here today, He would give a nod to artificial birth control?
As I noted in a previous post you seem to be under the impression that every question of faith must have an immediate and clearly defined answer.
We live in society that condones the murder of the unborn, disabled and aged. Science has taken bold steps towards cloning animals, with the intent of cloning humans to supply body parts. In today's society, the words of Pope Paul VI, written in 1968, are prophetic ......
It could well happen, therefore, that when people, either individually or in family or social life, experience the inherent difficulties of the divine law and are determined to avoid them, they may give into the hands of public authorities the power to intervene in the most personal and intimate responsibility of husband and wife.
Fertilized human eggs, the result of scientific advances in reproductive 'therapy', have resulted in thousands of pre-born humans. Catholics view them as human life; Scientists do not and wish to use them for experimentation. Is that part of God's design? Thank God we have a voice that can speak with authority in such matters.