On Marriage, Family, Sexuality, and the Sanctity of Life (Page 11 of 13)

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By: Holy Synod of Bishops OCA
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Abuse in Family and Society

All forms of physical, spiritual, psychological and emotional abuse of men, women and children are to be condemned.

Parents, and adults generally, are to be assisted in learning to treat children properly, avoiding abusive behavior because of the children’s smallness, weakness and dependency.

Although women and children may be abusive in their own right, they are for many reasons more often the victims of abuse by men rather than men’s abusers. Special attention is therefore to be given to the issue of “battered women and children” in our society.

The Christian teaching of the “headship” of the husband and father in the family is not to be interpreted as supportive in any way of abusive behavior; nor is the traditional teaching about the need to discipline children.

Positions of authority in family and society, as well as in churches, can be used in abusive ways. Some examples are the refusal of leaders to be available, to listen and to communicate respectfully and openly with subordinates, and even with peers in similar leadership positions; the use by those in authority of material and economic threats and punishments against those having legitimate disagreements and differences; the unsound and unwarranted appeals on the part of those in authority to the right for love, respect and obedience from their subordinates, and even peers, in order to shame or silence those who question their policies and actions. Every means is to be taken to be aware of the abuse of authority by those in leadership positions, and to expose and correct it.

Those in authority and positions of leadership may themselves be abused by peers and subordinates through unjust criticism, uninformed judgments, ungrounded accusations, careless talk, malicious gossip, disrespect, disdain and outright disobedience. These forms of abusive behavior must also be exposed and eliminated in human communities, including families and churches.

Efforts are also to be made to eliminate the sources of rage, discontent and depression which lead to abuse in families and social and religious groups. Some of these are racial, religious and ethnic hatreds and injustices; sexual and carnal titilation; the cultivation of unrealistic expectations and desires; the acceptance of false promises about possible possessions and achievements; and the misuse of drugs and alcohol.

Many of the causes of human abuse are found in television programs, films, music, advertising, and social, political, ethnic and religious demagoguery which, primarily to make money, cater to the baser and weaker aspects of human life in the fallen world. These also are to be identified, exposed and eliminated.



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