The scandal caused by the Facebook “wedding” announcement a little over three weeks ago by an active OCA priest-monk and his homosexual partner has yet to die down. Its collateral damage has yet to be fully assessed. But assess it we must and, if possible, look to the horizon.
As shocking as the original announcement was, the immediate and thunderous accolades that it elicited were far more disturbing. Though Yours Truly has never met any of the principals in question, the many who have commented to me privately and who do known them, are mortified. They are mortified not because they hate these two men but because they love them.
One woman called me in tears that very day, expressing her deep love for the ex-priest and her bewilderment at his rash action. This sordid affair has been nothing but an emotional roller-coaster. If they didn’t love him, they wouldn’t care. They’d be apathetic —something along the lines of: “so long Pal, don’t let the door hit you on the way out.” I heard nothing at all like this but shock, dismay, and genuine sadness.
Even though I don’t know the man personally, I can understand this sentiment, the idea being that this was a rash and ill-considered action. I’m in my mid-50s and well understand the mpetuousness of the young. And what the priest-monk in question did was rash: he not only gave up his priesthood but his Naval commission; think of it: he gave up a lifetime of guaranteed employment during his most productive years and a generous retirement for his golden years. Even more astounding, he resigned from a Navy in which it is now permissible to be openly homosexual and serve.
Now he is left with nothing.
Clearly Sprecher is in the grip of a delusion and for this he needs our prayers. Age has taught me that in time, he may come to regret this impetuousness; we who are older and/or who are more spiritually mature understand this full well, hence our extreme sadness; our mercy towards him, not anger. He very much needs our prayers so that he can come to repentance.
In addition, there is another reason why I respect the former priest-monk. Unlike many of our elder clergy who have divorced their wives and subsequently taken “roommates,” he decided to that he could not in good conscience serve as a priest while living this lifestyle. For this reason alone, he has a great deal of integrity.
A Deeper Problem in the Church?
Our problem as a Church reaches far deeper however and we need to understand where we are presently and where we are heading into the future. On this issue, I am not at all confident.
As mentioned above, the outright joy and the volume of the adulation that these two men received for doing what they did was nothing short of astonishing. Eminent priests, their wives, professors, seminarians, and ordinary laymen the length and breadth of Orthodoxy in America could not contain their rapture.
In my previous post on this matter, I used the metaphor of a dam bursting, the dam in question being that the disgust that Traditionalists have been feeling for several years and that it would spill over into a torrent of disgust. We would rise up in fury and kick away the sodomist jackboot that has been stamping on our collective necks lo these past few years. We could quote the Prophet Isaiah who said “woe to those who call evil good, and good, evil.”
I still feel that. We saw this during the brouhaha over Duck Dynasty when the furor of Middle America caused Gay, Inc. to fall back on its heels. Upon further introspection however, I now believe that perhaps there is another dam breaking as exhibited by the hundreds of Orthodox laymen who high-fived these men, congratulating and blessing these men. In other words, we “won” Duck Dynasty but we are in serious danger of losing our Church.
There is another reason for the pessimism. As mentioned in my earlier post and in several other comments, these two men met and matriculated at St Vladimir’s Seminary. A few years ago, two of my friends attended as well. One quit in disgust. He told me why but I refused to believe him. His reason was that the acceptance of homosexuality, was widespread. One openly homosexual man had even been elected head of his class. This was too much for me to take in but when I saw an esteemed professor’s name congratulating the couple, I knew then that maybe he was right to resign.
Make no mistake: the two men in question did not wake up at 8 o’clock one fine morning and decided apropos of nothing at all that they had strong feelings for each other and therefore, they had to immediately decamp for a state which would allow them to explore their sexuality in a legitimate fashion. Two strangers (of whatever sex) do not elope upon meeting.
As most everybody knows, erotic feelings are nurtured in an atmosphere of concern and some public accommodation. Upon careful reflection it seems that SVS provided that accommodation. Certainly there was no censure. What can we deduce from this? Are we to believe that there was a laissez faire attitude regarding sodomy at The House that Schmemann Built?
If so, this does not bode well for the future.
The Facile Bromides of the Morally Confused
Case in point: one student who is presently at SVS, a certain Mr. Tom Dooley, has taken Monomakhos and his Merry Men to task for our “bigotry.” He assures us that “Stalin would be proud” of us. Such vituperation is troubling to say the least. (Moreover, I doubt Stalin would approve of my politics.)
Needless to say, simple logic — as well as the plain teaching of the Church tradition — seems to escape him. To wit: he goes on to say that he “…doesn’t praise any marriage, gay or straight.” I suppose that this is to mollify us, that should he be ordained he won’t condemn homosexuals per se but he won’t exactly “praise” marriage either. Kind of a middle way which should not excite either camp.
Excuse me, but what exactly are they teaching seminarians at St Vladimir’s? Is this a corollary of the rhetorically clever but hopelessly confused Bobosh Doctrine that “homosexuality is not a vice because heterosexuality is not a virtue”?
It’s bad enough that Dick Cheney believes in “marriage equality” but don’t the Doctors of Divinity that teach our future pastors there know the simple meaning of words? Can’t they look it up in Webster’s or American Heritage? I’ll send them one free of charge if they can’t find one in their library.
Or are the academicians so academic that they’ve come to believe that Orthodoxy is merely a list of dry-as-dust propositions? Do they really believe that once they unleash their charges on the world that there are no consequences to their instruction (or lack thereof)?
I don’t know how many students exactly at St Vlad’s agree with Mr Dooley. Unfortunately, I have it on pretty good authority that a significant portion do. This is what is troubling.
Not too long ago, one of my sources in the Apparat told me that “the time of troubles” was indeed “over.” Now with Jonah gone, there would be a brand new day. The proof, I was told, was that enrollment at St Vladimir’s was bursting at the seems.
If a significant portion of this avalanche of enrollees are likewise as “tolerant” about this whole mess as is Mr. Dooley, then I’m afraid that the “time of troubles” has barely begun.