In an instruction released December 12th, 2008, Dignitatis Personae, the Holy See clarified a number of issues in biomedical research and their application to family life that have been hotbeds of contention for decades.
"Dignitatis Personae acknowledges that previous standards by some ethics committees have not been "sufficient" and the Holy See has taken steps to assist both parents who vaccinate their children and researchers who use aborted fetal or embryonic material," stated Children of God for Life's Executive Director, Debi Vinnedge.
Bishop Hilarion of Vienna and Austria, head of the Russian Orthodox Church's representative branch in European international organizations, took modern Western society to task for backsliding on traditional family values.
"The dramatic and unprecedented in scale social sweeping change caused by the "sexual revolution" has affected almost all Western countries. Within less than fifty years, the traditional assumptions about family and sex have been overthrown: they are replaced with the "progressive" norms based on a liberal ideology," Bishop Hilarion said reporting to the First Orthodox-Catholic Forum in Trento, Italy.
Orthodox Churches in Russia and abroad have been holding memorial services for Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and All Russia, on Saturday, the ninth day after his death, in keeping with the Orthodox tradition.
The Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church at its session on 10 December 2008 took decision on the dates of the Bishops' Council and the Local Council of the Russian Orthodox Church to elect Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia.
The Holy Synod resolved that The Bishops' Council will be held on 25-26 January 2009, and the Local Council on 27-29 January 2009.
On December 10, a session of the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church chaired by the Patriarchal Locum Tenens Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk and Kaliningrad opens at the Patriarchal residence at St. Daniel's Monastery.
Taking part in the session are Metropolitan Vladimir of Kiev and All Ukraine; Metropolitan Vladimir of St Petersburg and Ladoga; Metropolitan Philaret of Minsk and Slutsk, Patriarchal Exarch of All Belarus; Metropolitan Juvenaly of Krutitsy and Kolomna; Metropolitan Clement of Kaluga and Borovsk, Chancellor of the Moscow Patriarchate; Metropolitan Vladimir of Kishinev and All Moldova; Metropolitan Valentin of Orenburg and Buzuluk; Archbishop Alexander of Kostroma and Galich; Archbishop Tikhon pf Novosibirsk and Berdsk; Bishop Feofilakt of Bryansk and Sevsk; Bishop Stefan of Tura and Mozyr.