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File this under “U” for Ugh.

John Couretas is drawing attention to statements by Metropolitan Bartholomeis of Chalcedon. And wow, these are some pretty “unorthodox” statements regarding the sanctity of life from a member of the Orthodox clergy. Take it away, John:

Here is a direct quotation from a July 20, 1990, article, “SF Shows Off Its Ecumenical Spirit,” in the San Francisco Chronicle. Metropolitan Bartholomais of Chalcedon is the current Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew.

Asked the Orthodox church’s position on abortion, Bartholomais described a stand more liberal than that of the Roman Catholic Church, which condemns abortion in all cases and whose clergy have, in some cities, excommunicated leading pro-choice Catholics.

Although the Orthodox church believes the soul enters the body at conception and, ”generally speaking, respects human life and the continuation of pregnancy,” Bartholomais said, the church also ”respects the liberty and freedom of all human persons and all Christian couples.”

”We are not allowed to enter the bedrooms of the Christian couples,” he said. ”We cannot generalize. There are many reasons for a couple to go toward abortion.”

The statement was made in 1990, but Couretas goes on to highlight the same theme in the patriarch’s thought through the years. For a church that talks about being founded in 32 b.c. this is quite a divergence from early Christian practice, which consistently exhibited tremendous concern for the value of human life.

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