Comments Posted By Geo Michalopulos
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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
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
MS, this is all well and good, but just how big of a problem are we talking about in the OCA? I honestly don’t know of any single priests serving in secular parishes (there could be, but I don’t know of any). And anyway, the question remains: is this a problem or is this an attempt to create a solution in order to grow the bureaucracy? I’m leaning toward the latter.
» Posted By Geo Michalopulos On May 31, 2012 @ 6:41 pm
Carl, I can see how somebody could consider this an “old point,” but the reality is that position is brand-spanking new. Personally, it looks like a powergrab to me.
» Posted By Geo Michalopulos On May 31, 2012 @ 6:39 pm
Fr John, I don’t believe any offense was taken. And I very much appreciate your historical and theological insights.
» Posted By Geo Michalopulos On August 12, 2012 @ 4:07 pm
MV, although your generalization can be mischaracterized as cartoonish, it is in essence what we are dealing with. Modernism for all intents and purposes anymore is not merely materialistic but anti-theistic. (Note I did not say “a-theistic”. We are dealing with theomachists here.)
I very much believe that modern psychiatry for the most part would view any traditional Christian who is faithful to his anthropological vocation as a whack-job.
» Posted By Geo Michalopulos On August 11, 2012 @ 11:24 am
Agreed. The idea that psychological profiling should be turned over to a clinician who has materialist presuppositions is abominable.
» Posted By Geo Michalopulos On August 8, 2012 @ 6:01 am
Dn, forgive me for the lapse in logic. My point was that SSA was not a necessary precondition for SSR. My point about prison rape for example where men have homoerotic relations with each other because there are no available females.
» Posted By Geo Michalopulos On June 4, 2012 @ 11:01 pm
MS, I find myself agreeing with you here re the methods of Mamalakis and Williams. I disagree with your critique of Dn Mitchell however. The problem as I see it is one of tactics employed for case in question. Having said that, I find myself agreeing with Dn Mitchell regarding therapies involved in changing sexual orientation. Where I disagree Deacon is that there can be a difference between same-sex attraction and same-sex relations. Although the first may lead the second, it is not a prerequisite. In prison for instance.
» Posted By Geo Michalopulos On June 2, 2012 @ 7:56 am
Courageous words indeed Fr. Like Michael, I get rather despondent. Just having to defend common sense is tiresome. But I guess carrying a crossbeam on the way to Golgotha was tiring as well.
» Posted By Geo Michalopulos On May 31, 2012 @ 12:20 pm
Very well put, Michael. Being in the health sciences myself, I can not only attest to confirmation bias, but when it comes to the actual nuts and bolts of pharmacology, there is so much indeterminancy, it’s scary.
Medicine has always been more of an art than a science.
» Posted By Geo Michalopulos On May 28, 2012 @ 12:54 pm
obviously Diogenes, you did not read the above essay “Death by Diva,”
» Posted By Geo Michalopulos On May 27, 2012 @ 5:56 pm
Thank you, Stephen.
» Posted By Geo Michalopulos On May 29, 2012 @ 8:53 pm
Lola, you are not a Debbie Downer, but a realist. We Orthodox must realize that society and the secular institutions are not going to be in favor of us. Whatever we do, we must do on our own.
» Posted By Geo Michalopulos On May 29, 2012 @ 8:51 pm
Fr Patrick, I too remember viewing that exchange on Youtube when WFB died. That was a unique occurence though. As for Vidal the Blasphemer, he should not be so sure whom he has consigned to hell.
Regardless, the overall point is that a debate can be robust and free-wheeling. Even if it degenerates to slander (I don’t think WFB should have called him a “goddam queer” but I can certainly understand why he did so), it can be righted right then and the offender called to account.
Having said that, by the rules of rhetoric and argumentation, WFB could be excused for saying that because Vidal hurled a gratuitous epithet at him. According to the rules of engagement, “a gratuitous statement can be refuted gratuitously.” In fact, had WFB let it stand, then he would silence would have ratified it. (We’re talking formal debates here, not normal social intercourse, where we are enjoined to “turn the other cheek”.)
» Posted By Geo Michalopulos On May 29, 2012 @ 8:47 pm
Job well done so far, Hugh. Keep up the good work.
» Posted By Geo Michalopulos On June 25, 2012 @ 8:09 pm
Fr Yousef, thank you for this inspiring (and not a little acid) letter from Auden! Nothing like a little Cantabrigian reproach to put the moderninsts in their place!
» Posted By Geo Michalopulos On May 29, 2012 @ 7:20 pm
Thank you Monk James for this translation. I’ve often wondered myself what epiousion meant.
A general question: in the DOS we say (chant actually) “…and forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors…and deliver us from the evil one.”
Is this standard in the other dioceses of the OCA? ROCOR? AOCNA.
Although I grew up with “trespasses,” and “deliver us from evil” which is elegant when spoken, the OCA/DOS version when sung is very powerful.
» Posted By Geo Michalopulos On May 26, 2012 @ 12:44 pm
That is a better title, isn’t it Your Grace?
» Posted By Geo Michalopulos On May 17, 2012 @ 2:27 pm
Matushka, good point. This is the same press release that is on the arbpdmitri.org website. I merely reposted it.
» Posted By Geo Michalopulos On May 17, 2012 @ 6:31 am
Lola, Helga is correct. I should have been more explicit that in order to “balance” the existing foor plan, the mausoleum would be to the right and a baptistry would be to the left. Anyway, it’s exciting.
» Posted By Geo Michalopulos On May 16, 2012 @ 11:31 am
As do I.
» Posted By Geo Michalopulos On May 18, 2012 @ 1:48 pm
The difference Daniel between your wife and Elizabeth Warren is that you have proof that her grandmother was Jewish, not merely “family lore.” With Warren, that was all she had and even then it was bogus.
» Posted By Geo Michalopulos On May 18, 2012 @ 11:27 am
if I may pivot off your perceptive comments, Fr Justin: one reason our present criminal justice system is so debased and corrupt is because of the unintended consequences of Prohibition. The explosion of “criminal” cases during the Roaring 20s flooded court dockets with unnecessary cases (families who brewed beer for their own consumption were liable to prison) and caused the system to debase standards of criminality. In other words, in order to get quick convictions, prosecutors created the present plea bargain system which caused them to meet their quotas for conviction, it’s just that the crimes were reduced.
Murder became differentiated into degrees as did manslaughter, etc.
I also blame that despicable Henry Darrow, who got Leopold and Loeb off from hanging after they thrill-killed Bobby Franks. He made them into objects of sympathy and stressed that they could be “rehabilitated.” The fact that their parents were rich didn’t hurt either. Regardless, a turning point had been reached in American jurisprudence. Before that, murderers of whatever class or race were swiftly executed.
Another unintended consequence of Prohibition was the creation of crime syndicates.
» Posted By Geo Michalopulos On May 17, 2012 @ 6:52 pm
Fr Justin, thank you for this thoughtful exposition on a difficult subject. If I may add my 2c worth, the idea that “innocent” people have been executed is a canard. Most people who are in the criminal justice system are almost never innocent. By the time somebody gets to death row, he’s already committed several crimes (murders even), so even though he may be technically innocent of the crime for which he was convicted, he’s hardly ever innocent.
This is one reason for example why I had to switch my position on the old Three Strikes and You’re Out Law that was popular in California about 15 years ago. My buddies in the police force and lawyer friends of mine told me that this would only adulterate the criminal justice system further by extending the careers of petty criminals thusly: once they hit two strikes, then if they’re caught for Grand Theft Auto (say) for the umpteenth time and he’s been convicted twice and already served 7 years at Folsom, the state may go out of its way to plead the crime down to something like time served or such nonsense. Simply because they don’t have the resources to incarcerate yet another human being in an already-overburdened prison system.
» Posted By Geo Michalopulos On May 17, 2012 @ 2:41 pm
You obviously missed that episode in which Sheriff Andy and Deputy Barney took that drifter and beat him up and put him on the bus to Mt Pilot.
» Posted By Geo Michalopulos On May 17, 2012 @ 2:31 pm
Interesting you should say that, Lola, in fact, I’m very glad that you brought it up. In 1956 I believe, MLK applied for a license to get a pistol and the Birmingham police turned him down. One of those things that make you go “hmmmmm….”
» Posted By Geo Michalopulos On May 16, 2012 @ 1:14 pm
Back To Stats Page
Antonia, present company excepted, the vast majority of people who are anti-gun are very much anti-freedom. In fact, it cannot be otherwise.
I’ve thought long and hard about this, having grown up as a Truman/JFK Democrat and seeing the face of pure wannabe-Bolshevism and its hatred for Church, country, tradition, family, etc., in college.
» Posted By Geo Michalopulos On May 16, 2012 @ 11:36 am