Tuesday, June 01, 2004

The Seeing Eye Dog Controversy

Back in 1999, there was a post in alt.religion.christian.east-orthodox about how a Toronto priest was fined for turning away a woman who used a guide dog, claiming that the dog was not allowed in church. This sparked a huge furor which ran to something over 200 messages.

In between the clueless assertions about how the ushers (or parishioners) could substitute for the dog, and the vague assertions about how tehre was something false about using a dog at all, there was a running argument about how the canons barred animals from church, and another which asserted that dogs in particular defiled the church by their presence. I demanded at length that someone produce the canon, but no citation was made until a post was made which cited the council at Trullo as follows:

Canon LXXXVIII (ancient):

"Cattle shall not be led into the holy halls, unless the greatest necessity compels it."


"No one may drive any beast into a church except perhance a traveller, urged thereto by the greatest necessity, in default of a shed or resting place, may have turned aside into said church. For unless the beast had been taken inside, it would have perished, and he, by the loss of his beast of burden, and thus without means of continuing his journey, would be in peril of death. And we are taught that the Sabbath was made for man; wherefore also the safety and comfort of man are by all means to be placed first. But should anyone be detected without any necessity such as we have just mentioned, leading his beast into a church, if he be a cleric let him be deposed, and if a layman let
him be cut off."


尼古拉 said...

I know you do not respect the canons, but an Orthodox christian should and thus should be willing to allow someone to assist them in church since the canons do not allow a dog to enter the nave.

C. Wingate said...

See, Nick, you're doing it too! Cite the blinking canon, if you're so sure there is one!

This canon from Trullo is the only canon anyone has ever been able to cite to the matter, and it is clear from this canon that the comfort of the woman takes precedence, and that the dog is permissible.

尼古拉 said...

It clearly says that unless the animal would die to stay outside it may not come in. So no guide dogs allowed! The wording you have is different from mine too BTW.

"Let no one introduce into a sacred Temple any beast whatsoever, unless it be that when someone is journeying, and being under the greatest necessity and without a habitation or resort of any kind, he puts up in such a Temple. For if he does not let the beast stay inside, it will perish. ... "

C. Wingate said...

The version I listed came, I believe, from CCEL.

I notice, Nick, that you've edited out the word "comfort".

尼古拉 said...

"Comfort" is not in that canon in my copy of the Rudder, Charles.