One of the fears of your host is that the OCA (and eventually much of American Orthodoxy) would succumb in some way to homosexualism. It could be done by the way that the hostile elites of the secular world have done it –that is by forcing it down our collective throats; or it could be by a gradual decadence among the clergy and laity. The latter is far more pernicious to root out because its acceptance would be by a more organic method and therefore harder to root out.
In the Episcopal Church, both methods were at play. First the feminization of the priesthood, then the attack of intellectual elites who preached “tolerance” and “inclusiveness,” then finally the grudging acceptance of the remaining laity, many of whom had given up fighting long ago.
It’s too early to say which paradigm will work in Orthodoxy. Some of course will say that it can’t work –the Orthodox Church will never become desensitized to sodomy. I’m not so sure. Anyway, time will tell. In the meantime, it has long been known that some priests in the OCA have been active homosexuals. Interestingly, not a few of these were previously married so I guess we can dispense with the canard that “enforced celibacy” is the root cause of clerical misconduct. More alarming is that some have been publicly lauded by revered protopresbyters for various and sundry reasons.
Such public acclamation could not last forever. Nor could the winks and the nods extended to them by a grateful laity sustain them indefinitely. Facebook postings by archimandrites condemning Russia because of its “draconian” laws concerning homosexual propaganda are not enough. In time, some one would come forward and announce to the world that he was gay and could not agree with the Church’s position that homosexuality was a “passion” and that it had to be “overcome.” The dam would finally break.
But what of the other side? The Orthodox side (as it were)?
Is it possible that the dam would break the other way? That the growing normalization and fawning that are becoming attendant upon priests who announce their open embrace of sodomy would be too much for the traditionalists to take? Just as we found in the secular culture when the homofascists tried to shut down Duck Dynasty and Chik-fil-A, the majority of people found their voice. The magical gay talisman which when waived by the secularist would cause the masses to shrink in fear had suddenly lost its power. It’s too soon to tell whether the OCA got the memo.
It appears that we may be reaching that point.
The other day, Monomakhos received a treasure-trove of screen shots from the Facebook postings of a certain priest who announced to the world that he is leaving the monastic priesthood and his Navy chaplaincy. The reason is because he has decided to “marry” his lover whom he met while both attended St Vladimir’s Seminary. We do not want to publish his confession because it is the belief of many good people that he is in the grips of a vile delusion and that repentance is still possible for him. Not only that, but the Barbara Cartland-style of emotive confession he displays is frankly, embarrassing. That is why we are not printing his name. Suffice it to say that the reasons he gives are self-serving at best and heretical–if not blasphemous–at worst. In any event, he has taken down his Facebook account.
We grieve when a priest of the Church stumbles to such an extent. As we all know, every priest has a target on his back. The evil one focuses his scope accordingly. Prayers are called for. But the damage is not confined to this priest or his actions. What is worrisome is the great number of congratulations (“likes” in Facebook-speak) that he received. Most were from laymen who see nothing wrong with sodomy. A few however were from priests and priest wives. Here is one:
Here is another:
So what is the point? After all, this is just two priests who are openly congratulating their fallen brother. Are we making more of this than is called for? Let me ask this question in another way: what if a priest had said that it was the duty of all Orthodox Christians to vote Republican, would he have received even one plaudit? The point I fear is that the acceptance of homosexuality is more widespread. The priest in question received dozens of likes from various and sundry laymen. He and his lover pursued their love affair in the open, surrounded by classmates. Presumably they had spiritual fathers whom they confessed to. Was their no thought of intervention?
How long will the OCA continue to take on water in this regard? I suppose it depends on what transpires from this point. Will the Holy Synod stand up and take notice, do the right thing and depose him or will it merely go on as before, winking and nodding so long as those living immoral lives don’t draw too much attention to themselves? If the latter is the case, then we are in for choppy waters. Silence is no longer an option. The narcissism that is at the root of this passion no longer allows quietude. Like the priest who announced his decision on Facebook, the gay movement is no longer willing to hide in the shadows but demands open celebration by everybody else.
The question is will Syosset give it to them? Time will tell.