Comments Posted By Geo Michalopulos
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Michael, sometimes I feel like we should just give up on the whole Freedom of Speech thing. It’s not like the Brownshirts and their secularist allies really believe in it. What’s depressing to me about this essay was that the writer correctly noted that free inquiry/speech is not tolerated in most American universities today. He’s 100% correct. What good are colleges for then? Isn’t education, science, etc. all about free inquiry?
» Posted By Geo Michalopulos On June 24, 2012 @ 4:48 pm
For what it’s worth, I did decide to err on the side of compassion.
» Posted By Geo Michalopulos On June 17, 2012 @ 12:42 pm
Mike, you’re correct but still it’s an insouciount (dare I say “flippant”) approach to take. No, I don’t believe justice prevails in this world but that doesn’t mean that the injustice can’t be corrected or at least identified.
» Posted By Geo Michalopulos On June 12, 2012 @ 2:28 pm
Antonia, they actually tried. I have fond memories of my elementary school and the teachers were definately Old School. By the time I got to Jr High it was a heroic effort to keep us from fighting each other and High School was just “batten down the hatches” and hope these guys get out of here before they do any real damage.
Hence, the heroic financial efforts my wife and I undertook to send our two sons to Catholic school.
I also don’t like the word “homophobe,” it’s an irksome neologism that literally means “afraid of the same.”
» Posted By Geo Michalopulos On June 12, 2012 @ 2:18 pm
Basil, thank you for correcting me. You are right, even though I am native-born, I did not speak English til I was in kindergarten. Thankfully, there was no attempt by the public schools to continue to enable me and my cousins along a “bilingual” (read: Balkanized denizen) which is why I now sound like an Okie.
» Posted By Geo Michalopulos On June 11, 2012 @ 6:49 am
Your probably the only one Carl. The Stokovites have not proven themselves to be acting in good faith.
» Posted By Geo Michalopulos On June 7, 2012 @ 7:36 am
Fr John, you are correct. However the intent of the Meletian reform was not based on anything so benign. For one thing, the Kingdom of Greece did not use the NC at the time so he could not have been interested in aligning up his patriarchate with the Greek state. I’m sorry, but the guy was just plumb malign.
As for our OCA synod back in 1982, they could have been more sensitive to the people’s voice on this issue. it could have been rolled out in a five-year period or something, with them explaining it in your terms. At the same time acknowledging the malign spirit behind Metaxakis’ “reforms.”
Patriarch Nikon did the same thing back in Tsarist Russia and alienated tens of thousands of people. But mainly because of the abrupt and uncaring way in which he carried them out. (Destroying churches with onion domes for example because they weren’t “Greek” enough.)
» Posted By Geo Michalopulos On June 6, 2012 @ 2:06 pm
Lex, basically it’s a non-issue. after all we’re talking about an astronomical event. I think well-meaning Old Calendarists see that as well and the need for reform. It has become a trip-wire against modernism, liberalism, so to speak. Reform could happen overnite had the New Calendarists evinced some humility themselves and admitted that the author of this reform (Metaxakis) was a heresiarch, syncretist, and Freemason who had delusions of grandeur.
for myself, I’m with the NC but I hope that both sides come to see beyond the hidden agendas.
» Posted By Geo Michalopulos On June 6, 2012 @ 8:28 am
Diogenes, you’re mistaken. The “change” in the calendar was not “canonically done.” The original change back in 1922 was a hash of a travesty of a robber council. The fruits that flowed from it have been nothing short of disastrous. That several SCOBA jurisdictions decided that it was “normal” is beside the point. Someday homosexual “marriage” may be viewed as “normal” here in the States.
» Posted By Geo Michalopulos On June 6, 2012 @ 8:22 am
Axios! indeed. What a joke the ACOB is in comparison to your beloved bishop. All they care about is where they’re going to sit.
Lord have mercy.
» Posted By Geo Michalopulos On June 5, 2012 @ 8:47 pm
Carl, Michael is right. The New Calendar (to which I adhere because of the accident of my birth) was shoved down the throats of a minority of Orthodox Christians in a tyrannical manner. It has done more to sow the seeds of division than anything else in the last 100 years.
It was decided by a council in C’pole no less some 400 years ago that anybody who follows it is “anathema.”
The extreme insensitivity with which it was forced on the Greek and the Greek-dependent churches is exceeded in egregiousness only by the spirit in which it was enacted –by the unfortunate Meletios IV Metaxakis. It was he who transformed the unfortunate term “ecumenical” into the even more ridiculous “universal” as in “supreme.”
As if this wasn’t enough, he was complicit in undermining the newly-reestablished Russian patriarchate by consorting with the Bolshivik front-group known as “The Living Church.” As such, he was complicit in the martyrdom of St Tikhon.
» Posted By Geo Michalopulos On June 5, 2012 @ 8:42 pm
Daniel B: Pederasty is the sexual molestation of young boys by older males. Pedophilia is not sex-specific. All pederasts are pedophiles, not all pedophiles are pederasts.
» Posted By Geo Michalopulos On June 15, 2012 @ 1:23 pm
You know Diogenes, like Progressives everywhere, you assert platitudes and think that by merely saying them their moral rightness turns into reality. It’s like when they say “I don’t believe children should go to bed hungry.” OK, I don’t either. How to solve the problem? Force everybody to get a job? Install videoscreens in everybody’s house like Big Brother to monitor parents? Kill the poor? Unleash Bolshevist terror and redistribute land?
Likewise the Sex Czar. He is to “uncover the truth at early stages.” OK, how does he do that? When he gets a call from the Oaxaca, Mexico, is he going to immediately get on a plane? Does he have his passport handy? Can he speak Spanish? In the meantime, if it’s a false allegation, what is he going to do to that person who broke the Ninth Commandment and bore false witness against his neighbor? Excommunication? Is that his job? No, it’s not, it’s the local bishop’s job. Unfortunately, he inserted himself into a local problem, quite possibly sullied a man’s good name, but has no means of restitution and punishing a transgressor. And punishing the transgressor is necessary to deter further false allegations.
Now, let’s look at this from the local angle:
1. a jealous woman makes an accusation against her parish priest. (We’ll assume for the sake of argument that the priest is innocent.)
2. this accusation goes to the bishop.
3. the bishop investigates the matter. If need be, he summons a spiritual court in which both accuser and accused can see each other face to face.
4. it becomes apparent that the woman’s story doesn’t hold up. The preponderance of evidence leans towards malice on her part.
5. priest is acquitted. Woman who made the false accusation is excommunicated or placed under a penance. (OK, let’s say for the sake of argument she’s not Orthodox, then the priest can bring a civil action against her in a secular court.)
The point is, the local authority (bishop) can rectify an injustice. A Sex Czar in Syosset cannot. Remember: he’s just an “investigator.”
Now let’s assume that the priest is guilty:
1. woman makes charge that the priest made a pass at her.
2. bishop investigates.
3. the priest’s story doesn’t hold up.
4. bishop rules in favor of the woman.
5. bishop places the priest under a suspension. Case closed. Other priests in the diocese get the message: don’t place yourself alone in the company of a woman.
» Posted By Geo Michalopulos On June 4, 2012 @ 11:22 pm
Thank you Your Grace for your historical insights. Context is very important as well as the actual facts of the matter. As well, unfortunately, the motives of some of the accusers. It’s depressing, but hidden agendas abound. I believe this is the case with the Sex Czar as well. (Although I prefer to spell tsar phonetically, I will continue to use “czar” because of the way this has been used in American political life since the time of Nixon.)
» Posted By Geo Michalopulos On June 2, 2012 @ 7:06 pm
MS, you continue to bring a degree of clarity to this issue. I feel however you are not seeing valid arguments to their logical conclusion.
Allow me to clarify my own instincts about this: I continue to hold the belief that there is very little if any child molestation going on in the various Orthodox jurisdictions. (Notice I did not say “any”.) I am equally convinced that there is more of a problem with homosexuality per se than pederasty.
Here is the conundrum: how do you stop child predators? Answer: Identify them before they get to seminary. Unfortunately, because we live in a PC universe, we are not allowed to use that one determinant which is found in all pederasts. (Some would go on to say that only those who possess that determinant are groomed for promotion in the first place.)
» Posted By Geo Michalopulos On June 2, 2012 @ 5:04 pm
C Matley, you continue to bring up good points. The one that keeps sticking in my craw is that there has been no acknowledgment and/or repentance for the way Syosset and the previous MC treated His Beatitude. And how they scandalized the Church with this behavior. Once we see something along these lines, maybe –just maybe–we can consider going forward.
» Posted By Geo Michalopulos On June 2, 2012 @ 4:51 pm
Fr, like C Matley, I too appreciate your transparency. I think that you appear to be an honest and forthright man. I especially think it’s courageous of you to come to the defense of His Beatitude. Truth be told, what the central administration has done and said to this fine man is most disheartening.
I would reassess my opposition to this concept if it were you who were called to be the man who could set up a pilot program for the dioceses to implement.
To all, please forgive me for sounding like a broken record on this, but if the problem is severe, it can only be handled on a diocesan level (at the highest). Make no mistake, any further augmentation of power in Syosset will spell the doom of diocesan government.
» Posted By Geo Michalopulos On June 2, 2012 @ 12:41 pm
One of the things that they haven’t throught through is that serious investigators hate their job. In the various RC dioceses, the burnout rate is high and so is turnover. There’s a dark underbelly to all churches and it’s not a pretty sight. It causes psychic crises in some of these guys..
Having said that, the RCs are serious and will do what it takes, including hiring qualified investigators (on a diocesan basis) and paying them well.
Let’s think about this further –the RCC is massively wealthy but it would never have a centralized guy in NYC or DC coordinating these investigations. The expense would be too great.
» Posted By Geo Michalopulos On June 2, 2012 @ 12:12 pm
Then they’re not serious Carl. It’s just a sinecure created to reward some crony. I actually think they got their candidate in mind and he doesn’t have a PhD. They put a lot of thought into listing the qualifications for the person they have in mind.
» Posted By Geo Michalopulos On June 2, 2012 @ 12:05 pm
If one of these men are named: Nescott, Wheeler, etc., then we’ll know that this is what’s really happening and that this is nothing but a railroad job.
Another wrinkle that doesn’t pass the smell test is that one of the qualifications interestingly left out of the job description is PhD. This means that anybody with an MS, and MDiv, or even MBA can apply for the position .
» Posted By Geo Michalopulos On June 2, 2012 @ 8:05 am
Very good point. If indeed these matters were discussed openly by people in Syosset, then by what right do we trust them to empower a Sex Czar? I’m sorry, but I just can’t shake the feeling that this is a make-work job for some crony who needs one and wants to get back into Syosset itself. If that is the case, then the next thing that will happen is that only those priests who are traditionalist/conservative will Get the Call from Syosset.
Why? to discredit traditionalism for one thing, to show that the more conservative one is the more implicitly homosexual/licentious he is. In addition, the Sex Czar will serve as a bulwark against the reforms of Jonah and created a firewall in Syosset, which will make the implementation of the draw-down to the $50 head tax even more unlikely.
Prediction: if the Sex Czar and his trusty side-kick are empanneled, there is no way that the $150,000 will begin to cover their expenses. Next year, they’ll go to the MC demanding more money because “the problem is so bad and we’re overworked trying to protect the Church,” and so on.
» Posted By Geo Michalopulos On June 2, 2012 @ 8:02 am
thank you for your kind words my friend.
» Posted By Geo Michalopulos On June 1, 2012 @ 8:47 pm
Excellent point Basil. From what I understand, the GOA has in place a policy in which the civil authorities handle all criminal claims and then if the accused if found guilty, he is turned over to an ecclesiastical court. That makes sense in that the attorneys general/district attorneys have way better resources than any of the Orthodox jurisdictions do.
The more I think about it, the more it looks like a make-work position for some favored individual. I’m thinking one of the cabal that tried to get Jonah removed as Metropolitan.
» Posted By Geo Michalopulos On June 1, 2012 @ 8:45 pm
MS, you may be surprised to leaern that I agree with you. That’s why this office should devolve to the diocese.
To all: I have recently found out that the RCC has these officers as well. However they only operate within the diocese and report to the diocesan ordinary. There is no outside interference.
Bottom line: the more things we turn over to Syosset, the less necessary the diocesan bishop becomes. Hence our autocephaly ultimately becomes a dead letter.
» Posted By Geo Michalopulos On June 1, 2012 @ 4:05 pm
StephenD, that’s a very good point. However the problem first surfaced over 40 years ago when the Metropolia received its autocephaly. At that point in time, the overwhelming majority of priests were not converts but “cradles.” And among this demographic was a certain cohort that was sexually immature. That cohort btw from which we choose bishops. It was for this reason that Schmemann created the MC.
In the GOA, the most egregious case of pederasty involved a Greek-American who was married. Presently, there is a scandal involving another Greek-American priest who was caught seeking anonymous sex in truckstops. I believe he was married as well. Anyway, the only reason I bring this up is because some people who are ethnic seem to want to ascribe this pathology to the reception of convert clergymen.
» Posted By Geo Michalopulos On June 1, 2012 @ 1:58 pm
SAM, lots to chew on here. I’d like to address point #3 only for now. I’m really concerned about the flow chart. I don’t see how we could get around this. More importantly however, you don’t address my concerns about previous corruption and malfeasance by certain actors in the MC. I’m sorry, I don’t mean to be obtuse but what guarantees do we have that the MC as an institution can act in good faith when the previous ones did not?
I see your point about this being possibly driven by an insurance company; as such I have two questions: what is the P&P for the other jurisdictions? Are they similarly forced by their insurance companies to have a central person investigating these allegations and second, why are we such hostages to insurance companies? I really hate to insert this here, but the OCA (and other jurisdcitions) still have their priest’s insurance covered by companies that offer abortion services.
Insurance companies need the business too. Why can’t we tell them to take out the abortion rider?
» Posted By Geo Michalopulos On June 1, 2012 @ 12:26 pm
Fr Michael, thank you very much for your most considerate words. You of course are right to correct me as I have never been to Syosset and should not presume to know what you know. Having said that, the picture you paint of almost constant allegations leaves me flabbergasted.
I don’t know where to begin so please forgive the following rambling:
If even 1/4 of the allegations y’all received had some basis in fact, then we’re talking about systemic failure. By this I mean that the not only are the seminaries so inept in their spiritual formation but the priests who recommend men to the seminaries are inept as well.
As for your other arguments, I hope to address them more fully in later parts.
By the “off the books” remark, I should have clarified. This probably didn’t happen while you were treasurer but in Seattle a certain priest brought to everybody’s attention that the former Chancellor was going to continue to be paid for an indefinate period in 2012. No mention was made of this at all however for the proposed 2012 budget. (The fact that he continued to receive a salary 10 months after he was fired is a scandal in and of itself [for this I do not blame you btw]). I meant no offense but was merely pointing out what the appearance was.
» Posted By Geo Michalopulos On June 1, 2012 @ 12:12 pm
SAM, thank you for your reasoned argument. I will refrain from dealing with your argument re legal matters for Part 2. For now I will just address the others.
1. “The most economical part.” It makes sense on a certain level to consolidate “services” in Syosset rather than parcel them out to the dioceses. But have we considered the possibility that this consolidation will wind up costing more than diocesan officers? The fellow in Syosset will have to have at least 50-60 state or provincial attorneys on retainer (remember, Canada, as well as the US). They’re not free. Wouldn’t it make more sense for each diocese to retain more of its moneys and appoint a trained pastor who is local to the diocese? This man could be an attorney and/or a psychologist. Instead of a six-figure salary, he could be given a stipend if the diocese is in financial distress. Most importantly, if he was a diocesan priest, he would be under the direction of the bishop.
Please forgive me but this is sticking in my craw. When I joined the OCA, I did so because I thought it was an autocephalous Church. And because it was, no matter how bad things got in Syosset, the people in the pews in the dioceses were immune from the turmoil. That’s because we had bishops who enforced their boundaries. This is no small thing.
2. You think that misconduct “is a problem.” On what do you base this on? Look, you may very well be right but frankly, there are no metrics at present to make this claim. If you know of any, please let us know. I may very well be ignorant and if I’m wrong, I’ll correct the record. And please don’t tell me “the SMPAC report”. The bits of it that were leaked to OCAN (an egregious, unethical act in and of itself) highlighted only certain individuals and studiously ignored others.
3. “Misconduct never sleeps”? That’s a bold statement. If true, then not only is the bureaucratic machinery broken but the entire Church is mired in hopeless sin.
4. I agree with you that abusers may “not be easy to spot.” But if a local person –a choir director, a Sunday School teacher, a cuckolded husband, or the local bishop–has difficulty spotting them, then what makes you think that a bureaucrat sitting in an office 1,500 miles away can do any better?
5. I see that we agree that I at least had one basis for criticism, i.e. how will this be paid for? That’s a start and in fact, that’s where I started. But it’s not because I’m particularly parsimonious. It’s because I work in the private sector and I can tell you that every penny and every expenditure is being accounted for. I’m sorry but from where I sit, a Sex Czar overseeing a Church that spans an entire continent and eight time zones, peeking under the bed of every priest when there has been no hue and cry from the people about predatory priests seems very excessive.
6. As for what happened in Seattle, only time will tell if the New York plan goes into ultimate effect and the head tax is reduced. If it’s not, then two things will happen: first giving will decrease significantly, and second, when the next AAC rolls around, the people will be even madder than they were in 2008 in Pittsburgh.
7. For the sake of argument, I’ll take your word that the bishops “blessed this”. My question then becomes: what will happen when credible allegations against one of the their own are inspected? I suspect then that the Canons will be dusted off and we will be told what the real chain of command within the Church is. The question then becomes, why are the Canons being enforced in that case but in the case of the Sex Czar inserting himself into the chain of command that that’s OK? Make no mistake, the “advisory” capacity of the Sex Czar will in time become punitive and authoritarian. That’s what all bureaucracies do.
» Posted By Geo Michalopulos On May 31, 2012 @ 10:40 pm
Thomas, that’s a very optimistic scenario you paint. I fully believe that the Sex Czar will become what the Inquisition became in the RCC. There’s no way to avoid mission creep. I wish I was wrong.
» Posted By Geo Michalopulos On May 31, 2012 @ 9:01 pm
Back To Stats Page
Respectfully Roddy, I must disagree. I for one believe that we should stick to canonical norms. So yes, I do trust our bishops. Notice that I said that if there is a bishop who is incapable for whatever reason of disciplining priests in his diocese, then the people need to get another bishop. To create a new agency because people in Syosset don’t trust the present crew of bishops is only going to make a problem worse.
There are good people on the MC, but the intent behind its creation was suspect. We are told that Schmemann couldn’t trust the episcopate. so what’d he do? Essentially create a parallel episcopate.
Regardless, if these positions come to fruition, it won’t end well. The organizational chart will be totally caterwampus.
» Posted By Geo Michalopulos On May 31, 2012 @ 8:59 pm