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The Russian Orthodox View on Contraception

Although the ideal of the Orthodox Church is not to use contraception, we also know that in reality, through dispensation or ‘economy’, the use of strictly non-abortive contraceptives is permitted within the Orthodox Churches. Given the recent declaration of Pope Benedict XVI, a spokesman for the Russian Orthodox Church has issued the following statement:

Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin, Chairman of the Synodal Department for Church and Society, in commentary on the statement of Pope Benedict XVI on the admissibility of the use of condoms, said that the Russian Orthodox Church permits the use of non-abortive contraception. The Basic Social Concept of the Russian Orthodox Church differentiates between abortion and non-abortive contraception. In the case of the latter, a priest can use economy in shepherding his flock’, Fr Vsevolod told Interfax-Religion on Monday 22 November. However, this does not mean that the Church endorses ‘in any way the selfish refusal of a couple to have children’. Speaking about the permissibility of the use of condoms for the HIV-infected, which was referred to by the Pope of Rome, Fr Vsevolod urged those who are HIV-Positive to ‘think seriously about whether they should be sexually active, because the infection may spread through other channels, not only through direct sexual intercourse’.

22 November 2010

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