Thursday, December 21, 2023

The Two Sexes and "Sexual Orientations" -- "Same-sex Marriage" and "Adoption" (Two Short Pastoral Essays by Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos)

 The Two Sexes and "Sexual Orientations"

November 29, 2023

By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou

The Church is in conversation with the world, the people, near and far, with their concerns and their problems, yet within its theology, which is the consensus patrum (that is, the agreement of the Fathers, which was formulated in Synod) it also considers the data of today's science. Therefore, everyone should not have arbitrary and individual interpretations.

One of the topical issues that is discussed especially in our days is the topic of homosexuality and it is often sought, by those who ask us, to express the Church's teaching on this.

However, this topic is both simple and complex. It is simple, because when we refer to the creation of humans there are two sexes, male and female. And it is complex, because there are many and varied "sexual orientations", due to the passions and the differentiation of the movements of the psychic and somatic energies.

From the point of view of biology, we know that in the human body there are somatic cells and genetic cells. The genetic cells by which biological life is transferred from generation to generation arise through the process of meiosis. In amphigenic reproduction with fertilization and subsequent cell divisions, with the process of mitosis (prophase, anaphase, metaphase, telophase) a new DNA is created (23 chromosomes from the father and 23 from the mother), which, with the chromosomes, genes, hormones, glands, organs determine gender, in an amazing process.

Thus, the biological configuration of gender, which occurs immediately upon conception of a person and develops according to the existing chromosomes, genes, hormones and development of the corresponding organs (apart from some genetic alterations) is one thing, while the identity of the gender, which is around the age of three, is another thing, and yet another thing is gender dysphoria, which is a continuation of the latter.

This means that psychological intra-familial and social factors contribute to gender identity and dysphoria, since a very small percentage is due to genetic changes.

The Pastors of the Church, who have knowledge of both theology and the biological-psychological and social effects on humans, are called to pastorally deal with everyone, with the problems that preoccupy them. The work of the Church is pastoral, therapeutic and not prosecutorial. They practice pastoral care both for the catechumens and the faithful, for the unmarried and the married, for the godly and the atheists, and for the heterosexuals and the homosexuals.

The Church is a pastoral clinic that heals people, so that their psychic and somatic powers act positively and not negatively. As mentioned above, every person can have a variety of "sexual orientations" depending on the preference they have and the influences they receive from the environment, but everyone must respect society and not provoke it in an arrogant way.

Everyone is free in their choices, without seeking to set it as a model for society, but the necessary rule, as seen in the "Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen" (1789, Article 4) must be: "Freedom means that every person can do anything that does not harm another person. Thus, the exercise of the natural rights of each person sets as a limit the point from which the exercise of one's own rights for the other person begins. This limit is only determined by the law."

But the State must also know that Aristotle in the Nicomachean Ethics, since he determines that virtue is the middle ground between excess and deficiency, writes that the legislator acts through the law as a teacher.

This means that the laws that are enacted must not simply satisfy the arbitrary choices of everyone, but contribute pedagogically to the development and upgrading of both the social whole and each individual. It is certainly understood that the State must enact laws with respect to the uniqueness of the tradition of our country.

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos. 

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"Same-sex Marriage" and "Adoption"

December 20, 2023

By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou

The issue of homosexuality in our country is gradually progressing towards "political marriage", after demands, perhaps even pressures from the interested parties, with the parallel demand for the right to adopt children.

The Church, which follows its theology, remains faithful to its permanent position that it blesses heterosexual marriage with its sacrament, from which marriage a family is formed, and the fruit of the love of the two, the man and the woman, are the children. Every other relationship is outside of Christian marriage.

Within such a blessed relationship there are role models, father and mother, and as is understandable, the child growing up in a family knows the roles of the two sexes that will play a role in their life.

It is understood that the Church does not remain only in the blessing of the beginning of the family life of two opposite sexes with the sacrament of marriage, but shepherds and educates the whole family in order to develop spiritually, according to its timeless tradition, without, of course, violating their freedom.

In general, the work of the Church is twofold: on the one hand, to confess the truth of the faith, as revealed by Christ, and on the other hand, to exercise pastoral ministry to believers, to non-believers, to people of all ages, to heterosexuals, to homosexuals etc.

Regarding the topic of homosexuality that preoccupies our modern society, it must be emphasized that no matter what is supported by some, the reality is that there are only two biological sexes and many "sexual orientations", which are also the passions of people.

Since 2015, the State has legislated the cohabitation agreement (civil partnership) of same-sex couples, but during this period in our country there is a discussion and a bill is being prepared, according to information, for the "civil marriage" of same-sex couples and the adoption of children.

However, marriage presupposes a union of a man and a woman and the fruit of the love of the spouses are the children, who live in a natural environment that is the family in which there are the role models of a father and mother. In this environment they will develop physically, psychologically and spiritually and will face all the crises of their age as they grow.

"Same-sex marriage" undermines the formation of the family, according to the famous definition of Modestinus the Roman of the 3rd century AD, who says that marriage is "a joining together of a man and a woman, and a partnership in all areas of life, a sharing in divine and human law" (Digest 23. 2. 1).

This means that the eventual establishment of "same-sex marriage", apart from the breakdown of the family, will create two serious problems.

The first problem is the adoption of children, which overlooks the so-called "best interests of the child." The child has the right to live in a family and to have suitable parents, a father and a mother, and even a "feeding mother" and protection-security from the father with all the education they will offer them.

Jean Piaget, founder of developmental psychology, talks about the four stages of children's development, that is, the "Sensorimotor Stage" (from birth to 2 years), the "Preoperational Stage" (2-7 years), the "Concrete Operational Stage" (7-11 years), and the "Formal Operational Stage" (11-16 years) which is associated with adolescence. And together with developmental psychology, the stages of "gender identity and gender dysphoria" are also connected.

It is obvious that every child in this whole process of development, which is sometimes tempestuous, needs a calm family environment, and of course an environment in which there will be a mother and a father to see the special roles that everyone has in life.

This has to do with the "rights" of the child and their "interest".

In the "International Convention on the Rights of the Child" of the UN (11/20/1989), which was ratified by our country with Law 2101 of 22 December 1992, where "the interest of the child" is mentioned, article 21 talks about adoption for the "best interests of the child." Among other things, it is regulated that adoption is permissible by the competent authorities "in view of the child's status concerning parents, relatives and legal guardians," as well as for externally in a "foster or an adoptive family."

This means that "the interest of the child" for its development requires living in a family, with the roles of father and mother, male and female, otherwise this International Convention on the Rights of the Child is violated.

If the State proceeds with the establishment of "civil marriage of same-sex couples" without establishing the right to adopt children, then our country will be condemned by the European Court of Human Rights for unfair discrimination against "same-sex couples", as the Special Legal Adviser of the Holy Synod of the Church of Greece, Mr. Theodoros Papageorgios, rightly points out in his well-studied article.

Unless, knowingly, the Greek legislator proceeded to legislate only the so-called "same-sex marriage", so that later, when our country is condemned, the right of same-sex couples to adopt children would also be "compulsorily" enacted. I don't think such an effort with a hidden purpose will be honest!

The second problem is the issue of the so-called "surrogate mother", as it is called by some, that "same-sex couples" will hire other women in order to provide their wombs to carry children and then give them to them to raise.

This, in addition to many bioethical dilemmas, also introduces a regressive practice that considers women as a "child-making machine", which constitutes the devaluation of women as human beings and the neglect of their motherhood, recalling ancient concepts, according to which the woman was considered a thing.

It is understood that Parliament, which every year begins its work with a Sanctification of the Waters ceremony by the Holy Synod of the Church of Greece, and its individual members, must have the sensitivity with the laws they enact that do not simply cover the needs of some citizens and to give in to their preferences, but to educate citizens so that they dominate their passions and be useful to society, but also responsible for the future of our Country.

Unfortunately, there is a portion of people who pursue their own interest and ignore the "interests" of adopted children with such conditions, which, in fact, will bear unbearable burdens from a portion of their classmates and friends, with negative results for the rest of their lives.

Therefore, above all else, we owe respect to both the past and the future, and we have a responsibility for it.

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.