Russian Orthodox Patriarch Explains Stand on Homosexuality to Council of Europe “Love the Sinner, Hate the Sin”

By John-Henry Westen

STRASBOURG, October 3, 2007 (LifeSiteNews.com) – In his first visit to the Council of Europe on a     mission to discuss inter-religious dialogue, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Alexy II, gave a spirited defence of Christian morality. He noted that the notion of human rights in Europe stems, at least in part from Christian morality. “Yet today there occurs a break between human rights and morality, and this break threatens the European civilization,” he warned.

“We can see it in a new generation of rights that contradict morality, and in how human rights are used to justify immoral behavior,” he stated.

The remarks prompted British Liberal Democrat council member David Russell-Johnston to demand an explanation of the Russian Orthodox leader’s opposition to the Moscow “gay pride” march.

“When persistent attempts were made to hold a homosexual parade in Moscow, we believed that that meant propaganda and advertisement of sin,” Alexy replied before the Council.  The Patriarch compared homosexual sex acts to kleptomania and asked, “Why then (does) no one advertise kleptomania while homosexuality gets advertised via gay parades?”

“It is advertisement that is being forced on people who are a very long way from it,” Alexy added.

The Patriarch stressed that persons who have such temptations and engage in homosexual acts are nonetheless loved by Christians. They are he said, “sinners whom we love while we hate their sin.”

“But at the same time we Orthodox Christians cannot depart from what is taught by the Bible and by the apostolic tradition of the church,” he added.  “Nobody must try to force me or my brothers and sisters in faith to be silent and [to prevent us from] using the word sin for something that is called sin in God’s Word.”

Several Council of Europe members including the Russian representative applauded these remarks by the Patriarch, much to the chagrin of Mr. Russell-Johnston. The irate councilman called the Patriarch’s analogy between kleptomania and homosexuality “ridiculous” and dismissed the Patriarch’s remarks as merely having “repeated his aggressively intolerant position.”

“What was regrettable was that a lot of people applauded him,” Russell-Johnston told the International Herald Tribune.

During his speech the Patriarch warned of just such intolerance of morality leading to Europe’s demise.  “If we ignore moral norms, we ultimately ignore freedom too,” said Alexy. “Morality is freedom in action. It is a freedom brought into reality as a result of responsible choice, in which human person restricts his or her self for the good of that very person and broader society.”

“Moral principles secure societal vitality and growth, as well as unity of society,” he added. “And whenever moral norms are trespassed and declared to be relative, it may undermine the whole worldview of the Europeans. They may draw nigh to a disastrous moment when European nations risk losing their spiritual and cultural identity and ultimately their own place in history.”

See the full speech (which did not contain the replies to questions):
http://www.coe.int/t/dc/files/pa_session/sept_2007/20071002_…

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Vara
    Oct 05, 2007 @ 22:39:42

    Now, the West knows that we Orthodox are NOT going to bend on this, or any other moral, issue. Vladyki Aleksei always backed Mayor Yuri Luzhkov in his opposition to Gay Pride parades, and when homosexual activists tired to march illegally earlier this year, the OMON black berets halted the march with the patriarch’s approval and blessing.

    Orthodoxy does NOT approve the decadence in contemporary society, and His Holiness showed that with his forthright honesty and blunt statement of the truth in Strasbourg. It should interest people to know that René van der Linden, the head of PACE and the host of the patriarch, is Vladyki’s friend and a supporter of ethics in politics. Not ALL Western politicians are spineless and craven cowards. Mr van der Linden is to be commended for his invitation, and for his refusal to attack His Holiness after he made his remarks. Shall we call this a glimmer of hope for the West?

    Vara

  2. Meg
    Oct 05, 2007 @ 19:37:22

    “What was regrettable was that a lot of people applauded him,” Russell-Johnston told the International Herald Tribune.

    No — what’s regrettable is that the Champions of Free Speech are obviously only interested in their *own* free speech — opposite viewpoints need not apply. How sick.

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