A perspective first published in the Forum of the Peoria Journal Star, in response to the op-ed piece by the Reverends Joy Schlesselman and David Koehler concerning abortion which appeared in the Star on March 5, 2000.
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A Perspective first printed in the Forum of the Peoria Journal Star.
Re: "Support, not judge, women considering abortion," op-ed on March 5
I am the pastor of All Saints Greek Orthodox Church here in Peoria. I take issue with this article because it offers the impression that the leadership of the religious community in Peoria is putting forth the view that abortion is something compatible with Christian way of life.
The leadership of the early church, beginning in the fourth century, was asked by the faithful to address the issue of abortion as it related to the spiritual life and the ultimate salvation of the woman. In this context, the leadership was clear: Abortion was equivalent to the sin of murder.
Revs. Schlesselman and Koehler argue that the alleviation of suffering in this life is the purpose of faith communities. Is it? The alleviation of human suffering is part of the church's ministry, but not the sum of it. Her primary ministry is to alleviate the suffering of eternity apart from God.
As church leaders of any generation, we know that we are susceptible to all of the sins which make humanity suffer, but at the same time, we must hold fast to the church that bases her teachings upon the Gospel and the preaching of the Apostles, the eyewitnesses of Christ. If we subscribe to the view of these authors, the church will evaluate moral issues like a legislature considers pieces of legislation, in terms of economic benefit.
Finally, Schlesselman and Koehler reduce the church to a mere support group. If we support abortion, can we not, then, support someone who decides to become a thief, opening the windows and doors of our homes and businesses to facilitate his/her choice? The church is to be ready in support and love of all people, including women who have suffered from abortion. But I, unlike the authors, believe we can do this without betraying our history.
We cannot, after 16 centuries of identifying abortion as a serious sin, today, as a church, help someone to the clinic and thereby to their spiritual demise. Why can't we use our resources to find homes for these unborn children, to care, to nurture and to bring them up as good citizens? Perhaps that is too much ministry for Schlesselman and Koehler.
Father Michael Condos
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