Patriarch Bartholomew: No to Homosexual Marriage
Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew expressed in unequivocal terms that the Orthodox Church cannot sanction same-sex marriage. This is bound to make some of the Orthodox Progressives squirm because there is no room for doubt, no artificial distinction between Church and society where the moral teaching applies to the former but not the latter, where there is a different ontology implied for those within the Church and those outside of her.
This statement was delivered at a homily in Estonia but also posted on the Patriarchal website so it carries the imprimatur of the Patriarchal office. Note Pat. Bartholomew’s reliance on the book of Romans where the Apostle Paul describes Roman culture at the time. Again, this is significant because the Patriarch’s reference to St. Paul’s admonition shows the teaching applies not only to the Church, but to society as well. The erroneous idea that the Orthodox Church has nothing to say to the larger culture about homosexual marriage has been repudiated Pat. Kyrill in the past and now by Pat. Bartholomew.
The condemnation, a strong word but borrowed from the text below is quite clear:
To our Lord Jesus Christ, who blessed families through the Mystery of Marriage at Cana of Galilee and changed water into wine, that is, into joy and feasting, and to His Body, the Orthodox Church, the partnering of the same sex is unknown and condemned, and they condemn the contemporary invention of “mutual cohabitation”, which is the result of sin and not the law of joy
Note too the Ecumenical Patriarch’s implicit reasoning that homosexual marriage threatens the family:
The Church, my beloved parents and children, and subsequently the family, which consists lawfully and by the command of God of men and women, and the children acquired, is not a foundation or association or a simple organization, but a Body, as it is wonderfully depicted by the Apostle Paul. And this parallelism is accurate and true. Church and marriage. Husband and wife. Body and its members.
This community, signified in the Mysteries and in the obedience of Faith, both in the Church and in the family, is sanctified and mystagogued through the Mystery of Marriage, which, according to the Fathers, is a mystery of co-creation, and the ontological link of love with the Head of the Body, to ensure health and life, which is salvation and sanctification.
The language is a bit labored as is often the case with missives from Constantinople where too many ideas are packed into too few sentences. Nevertheless, the meaning is clear and the arguments that the Church has no interest in the broader health of the culture and should remain silent about the critical moral issues of the day should be put to rest.