Wednesday, May 17, 2006
CUSTODY OF THE EYES
The term usually comes up in regard to sexual matters. I would suggest there are other areas where some thought must be given to this.
Once the Roman Catholic Church thought the same thing. There was an Index of Forbidden Books, for instance, and a Legion of Decency. Then the windows to the world were opened, and the world flew in. The Legion of Decency was an early casualty. Today a Roman Catholic will see any movie that comes along, no matter the content.
It's interesting to contrast that with the teachings of an Orthodox priest, particularly in light of the fact that John Paul II called for a renewal of holiness, and Benedict has not curtailed the call. Orthodox priest Fr. Demetrios Carellas has offered the following instruction. I hope that he will not mind that I am posting it.
Dear Brothers and Sisters in the Lord Jesus,
Christ is risen!
Recently, I read the following statement of the Church of Greece on The
"Quite apart from the fact that the book attacks Christ, it also
the Church, directly accusing it of lying and deceiving the faithful."
It was refreshing to hear such a strong comment from an Orthodox source
--- especially from that of an Autocephalous Church. However, the final
quote from the article brought sadness to my soul. The Church of
Greece(or, at least, the person who spoke for the Church) stated that it:
"does not call on people either to see or not to see the film, or to
read or not to read the book ... but it is sure that those who do, will see
the lies and reject its ridiculous content."
I pray that this is not the official position of the Church of Greece
---that, as they say, something was 'lost in the translation.' As a
priest in the Holy Orthodox Faith, I feel compelled to adamantly disagree with
the assumption that the Orthodox clergy should not entreat the precious
souls under there care to avoid both the book and the movie.
It is not necessary for me to have read the book in order to reject it,
since it openly proclaims that the Word of God - the second Person of
the Holy Trinity, Who received our human nature in the womb of the Most
Holy Theotokos - married St. Mary Magdalene and produced a daughter. This
is blasphemy, my dear brothers and sisters in Christ. The book further
asserts that the Divinity of Christ was never a dogma of the Church,
until the 1st Ecumenical Council in Nicea 'created' it by a majority vote!.
How can any Orthodox Christian even entertain the possibility of
reading a book, or viewing its movie version, when it contains such
soul-destroying content? If you knew of a poisonous drink that tasted delicious and
made you feel great for a few minutes before you died from it, would you
tell someone, 'I am not going to say whether or not you should drink this.'?
When it comes to things that can destroy one's soul, however, we seem
to leave everything in the care of an individual's fallen reason. Even if
the person regards the blasphemous statements in the book/movie as
being "ridiculous," his/her soul becomes 'infected' with a sinful wound that
could eventually bring great harm - even death - to his/her immortal
It is like a person who chooses to look at pornography on the
internet: If he does not repent and confess this sin, then he could lose his
salvation - his 'birthright - for something much worse than the "bowl
of porridge" for which Esau willingly gave his to Jacob.
To those of you that have read this book, I humbly entreat you to beg
our All-merciful Lord to grant you a spirit of repentance that will lead
you to immediately seek the healing grace of the Sacrament of Confession.
If you have a copy of the book, I encourage you to throw it in the garbage
at once. Because of its content, the very presence of the book is a
source of demonic influence on your soul --- and the souls of anyone else who
enters you home. I advise you to have your home and/or car blessed with
holy water, in order to remove any demonic presence from the book.
While holy ikons within a home bring protection against the demons, books
such as this become 'doorways' through which they can enter. As an act of
almsgiving to benefit your own soul, you could also give to a poor
family (or charity,Monastery, etc.) an offering equal to - even double - the
cost of what you paid for the book. If you have yet to read the book, I
entreat you to never do so.
The movie will be out in just a few days. As an ordained priest, I beg
you never to see this --- in a theatre, on DVD, the computer or any
other means that may soon become available for its viewing.
Finally, I suggest that you not spend time reading books that expose
the falsehoods within The Da Vinci Code. By doing so, you keep its
contents fresh within your memory. It is best simply to reject it, and
concentrate on feeding your soul from the endless spiritual banquet present within
the Mystical/Ascetical life of our Holy Orthodox Faith.
Forgive this sinful, unworthy priest for my boldness; but I believe in
my heart that I have not said anything that goes against the Gospel of our
Lord Jesus Christ and the teachings of His Bride. However, since the
words are being offered from my impure heart, I pray that my sinfulness
will not inhibit you from receiving anything that may have the
blessings of our risen Lord Jesus.
Truly He is risen!
Your useless servant in the Lord,
+Fr. Demetrios Carellas
What a difference between the Roman Catholic approach and the Orthodox approach represented by this priest. What a call to holiness he has issued!
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!