OK, This Makes No Sense at All

I can’t wrap my head around this one folks.

Pope Francis 0 just did something that is incredible. And not in a good way. In the original sense: he did something that is hard to believe. As in finding a lost gospel which describes Jesus and the Twelve eating the Last Supper at Denny’s. Or finding the word “Harley-Davidson” in one of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

And what, pray tell did Frankie Baby do that was so incredible?
Only this: he recently bestowed one of the highest pontifical honors to a pro-abortion activist. Yup. You read that one right.

http://www.breitbart.com/national-security/2018/01/17/pope-francis-honors-dutch-abortion-activist-with-pontifical-medal-of-knighthood/

This makes no sense. Not in a sane world anyway. Honestly, this may be one of the signs of the Apocalypse.

Worse, the honor is named after Pope Gregory I, the Great (the Dialogist), one of the greatest pontiffs and theologians in early Church. The poor guy must be spinning in his grave.

Well, I guess you can say that this clears things up. It did for me anyway. The scales have fallen from our eyes. In retrospect, I’ve been doing a lot of research on the Society of Jesus, which I’ll put out in due time. (Let’s just say that they were a cryptic order from the outset and talked a very good orthodox game.)

Folks, we’re on our own.

Comments

  1. Will Harrington says:

    We have been on our own since 1054.

  2. Israel/Rome and the Russian Orthodox response to vile behavior. The difference is evident yet the EP wants Ecumenical communion with the dogs of satan ?
    http://www.ibtimes.com/pedophile-priest-sentenced-14-years-prison-after-extradition-2642237

  3. This order of St. Gregory is habitually granted to individuals who have given big money to the Church.

    • George Michalopulos says:

      That’s a sad thing isn’t it? I suppose we Greek-Americans are the only ones who pant after “greetings in the marketplace” with the bestowing of Archonite honors. Sigh.

  4. Tim R. Mortiss says:

    According to many news accounts (which I checked because Breitbart is hardly the top source), the Vatican basically says it gives these things out like candy to visitors who come on some official basis from their countries; a diplo-bauble as it were. She was some Dutch delegate or other.

    Maybe one sign of the end George, but hardly the last or the biggest, to be sure.

  5. Martyr’s Guilt says:

    Say what you will about President Trump but I’m sure he won’t be giving out medals or awards to pro abortion advocates

    • George Michalopulos says:

      Not buying it Tmatt. Would the Pope bestow the same title on Viktor Orban or the president of Poland? Not likely.

    • It strikes me as the usual disheartening and sickening disconnect that one sees almost everywhere these days.

      The Order of St. Gregory is one of the five pontifical orders of knighthood in the Catholic Church. The order is bestowed on Catholic men and women (and in rare cases, non-Catholic men) in recognition of their service to the Church, unusual labors, support of the Holy See, and the good example set in their communities and country.

      And yet we read…

      “The honor of the Pontifical Order of St. Gregory the Great received by Mrs. Lilianne Ploumen, former Minister of Development, in June 2017 during the visit of the Dutch Royals to the Holy Father, responds to the diplomatic practice of the exchange of honors between delegations on the occasion of official visits by Heads of State or Government in the Vatican. Therefore, it is not in the slightest a placet [an expression of assent] to the politics in favor of abortion and of birth control that Mrs Ploumen promotes.”

      The very same CRUX web site contains this:

      New study seeks to understand why young people leave the Church

      Drifters, however, are said to leave the Church due to a slow disconnect between what they describe as “meaningless rules and rituals” of the Church versus that of their experience with the “real world.”

      Apparently a study was needed to point to the obvious, and still the dots won’t be connected. Such is the poison of modernity. Rome may be three steps behind Canterbury, but (as a whole) we Orthodox are only two steps behind Rome.

      Teach your children well. Prepare them for what is surely coming. It’s going to be hard for them to know what faithfulness to Christ and His Church means when an ‘institution’ is all that is visibly left of the Church, and the only faithful bishops are condemned as ‘schismatics.’

      • Bob Wiley says:

        How about faithful bishops, remain faithful stewards to The Church, and one another, and never give up on core beliefs, instead of splitting over small details, in what is faithful to Christ and his Church. That would be better than becoming schematics. Just to say I AM right, you are wrong! Mind Readers of The Lord, Repent! Bishops sitting on high thrones, looking down upon us, such walking talking ICONS they are, looking so stoic! How many more splits can The Body of Christ take, as one bishop’s throne continues to over throw his brothers? The bishops must realize that this road they are on will make The Orthodox Church unrecognizable, as laity will not know which is true, and which is not in Orthodoxy’s many flavors to come, in it’s love of EGO, a Greek word meaning ME.

        What comes to mind is, Amos 6:1-14

        • Bob Wiley says:

          Schismatics not schematics! Sorry! BTW Brian, is modernity the new catch phrase of the day? Is all modern bad? Do you prefer woman and men separated in church, and head coverings for ladies? Personally I don’t, nor the hippy little house on the prairie clothing the Antioch ladies wear. Attract with the love of Christ, and what The Gospel offers, and forgot about silly dress codes. First impressions are important. Newcomers walk into our churches and if culture shock, not repel them, the cultish dress codes will. In the old days, GOA priests were clean shaven, now they all do beards, why? Who knows, I guess God likes beards, All other Orthodox priests beards, long hair, why? What happens if a Russian priest doesn’t want long pony tail hair, and beard? Is it sorry charlie, slap, bam , boom, look like the members of ZZ Top, or out, with the heretics, moderns, and schismatics! Modernity? How about common sense and a little freedom, from Sillytown? This America, not Afghanistan.

          • Bob,

            I appreciate modern medicine, plumbing, and such as much as the next guy, but only for what they are worth. They make this life easier and more pleasant. What they do not do is make us better human beings or change the fact that human beings get sick and have a need to urinate/defecate. Or to put it another way, they do nothing to improve our humanity. And in this sense, while they are good things in and of themselves, they can give the illusion of progress. “Modernity” (as I use the word) is the illusion (lie) that humanity is making progress toward being better, whether it be through technology or the evolution of social norms.

            This lie is promulgated everywhere as a sort of tower of Babel – even to the point that it has begun to take root in the Church. Thus all the calls to ‘change’ this or that because, after all, change represents progress; and progress is good (or so we have been led to believe) and makes us better. But all the while our ‘progress’ only masks the corruption of our humanity and progressively makes us less fully human, both within ourselves and toward one another.

            I appreciate the jokes about Episcopal crowns, power-clergy beards, and other common practices of the Orthodox Church that can seem odd to our modern world. They are often quite funny, and it is good to laugh at ourselves. But over the years I have slowly come to learn that there are almost always good, very practical, and even sometimes important theological reasons for our seemingly ‘odd’ and ‘outdated’ orthopraxis. Each instance of coming to grasp their importance has taught me that it is more profitable to submit myself to those I still don’t fully understand and try to understand the “why” behind them rather than criticize them as silly, outdated, and in need of change. It has nothing to do with my being ‘conservative’ or with fear of change. Clearly some of the Church’s practices have changed over time, but there is a vast difference between change as supposed ‘progress’ and change that remains faithful to Mind of Christ in the Church and the truth of our own humanity. I would agree absolutely that there are clergy with long beards and ponytails, or women who cover their heads, or any number of those who follow otherwise good practices only for show in order to appear ‘pious’ before others. If done for that reason they are phony and meaningless. But the pretension of some doesn’t negate the fact that there are those who do these things in humility for the right reasons. My wife purposely doesn’t usually wear head-covering in church – not because she doesn’t think it is right to do so or finds it demeaning (quite the contrary), but because for herself she finds it incongruous for her to do so only in church, as though her being a woman in church were somehow different than being a woman when not in church. How’s that for freedom and common sense?

            And speaking of jokes about Episcopal crowns…

            Based upon your comments, you appear to be in the Greek archdiocese. As such, you may not fully ‘get’ this because the antiphons of a typical Sunday in the Greek liturgical tradition differ somewhat from those of the Slavic. In one antiphon where Greeks sing “By the intercessions of the Theotokos, Savior, save us,” in the Slavic tradition we sing the Psalm, “Put not your trust in princes or sons of men in whom there is no salvation./When his breath departs, he returns to his earth/ On that very day his plans perish…”

            My son who is an Orthodox priest often says (with only half his tongue in cheek) that the Episcopal crowns are there to show us the princes in whom we should not place our trust. (Don’t get me wrong. He loves his bishop, but it’s true. And knowing his bishop, I suspect he would agree.)

  6. Also this in Breitbart article:

    “According to the National Catholic Register, abortion is just one area where Ploumen’s public advocacy departs from Catholic moral teaching.

    As “a radical supporter of homosexual rights,” Register correspondent Edward Pentin states, Ploumen “urged homosexuals to disrupt Mass in a Dutch cathedral after an openly homosexual man was denied Holy Communion” in 2010.

    Last September, Ploumen also gave a prominent address at the LGBT’s Core Group at the United Nations.”

    And they are both smiling at one another exchanging “pleasantries” leaven of the pharisees may one say. “Tossing pearls to the swine” also comes to mind.

  7. I was personally approached outside this Milwalkie Oregon library I am now sitting in, by Adolfo Nicholas when he was acting as Jesuit General. There also was a goofy looking 4 eyed fat guy nearby who may very well have been Kovinbauch, his sidekick. He acted like he wanted to be friendly, as he asked me questions about the Kennedy Assignation while providing the same inside information I had been made aware of in the video, Everything is a richman’s trick,He qustioned me as to how I found out this information. I told him it was all over the internet. He wrote the name of the video on a piece of paper. He then informed me he was Jesuit and Jesuit trained. That’s is when I recognized him from internet photo I had seen of him. He has a unique set of crooked upper front teeth which show when he offers someone one of his gruesome phony smiles. I was stunned, asking myself. What the hell does he want with me. I was very displeased. I told him I am Eastern Orthodox, and got right in his face and said. The Command of God is Life Eternal, NOTHINGS GOING TO STOP IT!!!! Later I told this tale to a burger flipper at a McDonald ‘s I added that they say he is the most powerful man in the world. And utterly spontaneously just broke out laughing with the most refreshing and genuinely true heart felt mirth common to children but lost to most adults.I also SAW and felt the Presence of a Heavenly Personage who was joyfully smiling at me. Kinda makes life still worth living, knowing ,some day all days will be full of those Heavenly things. This testimony is true. my experience from one who is the chiefest of sinners. The Holy God truly love us ALL.He is the only One who is GOOD.

    • Monk James says:

      Why is it that every time the Pope sneezes, the Orthodox catch cold?

      Get over it, already.

      Rome is not with us, and hasn’t been for more than a thousand years.

  8. Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says:

    From the Vatican PressOffice:
    ““The honor of the Pontifical Order of St. Gregory the Great received by Mrs. Lilianne Ploumen, former Minister of Development, in June 2017 during the visit of the Dutch Royals to the Holy Father, responds to the diplomatic practice of the exchange of honors between delegations on the occasion of official visits by Heads of State or Government in the Vatican.”

    Therefore, it is not in the slightest a placet [an expression of assent] to the politics in favor of abortion and of birth control that Mrs Ploumen promotes.”

    • Gail Sheppard says:

      Reception into the Order of St. Gregory is given for “meritorious service to the Church,” so they are absolutely supporting her efforts. They are now trying to make it into something else because they’ve received so much flak. – Rhonda is right. We do this, too, and it’s ALWAYS politics.

      • George Michalopulos says:

        It’s so disheartening Gail.

        Thought experiment: would the Pope give this award to Mike Pence? Nigel Farage? Any conservative politician? Something tells me “no”.

        • Michael Bauman says:

          George, why is it disheartening? The RCC is heretical and Pope Francis probably a liberation theologian, a body of teaching that was condemned by the RCC itself. Why should any of this surprise anyone? What business is it of ours? Even if they in some way serve Christ still (which I doubt), it is not really our concern.

          Heresy and sin lead to death. Now, it is up to me to guard my own heart against the same sins: lust of power and the need for worldly approval, then do all that I am able to do to build up the Body of Christ in humility and love.

          We must all heed Christ’s call: “Repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand”

        • Thought experiment #2: Do WE really believe that the Pope gave that lady an award for her Pro Abortion political beliefs? Bishop Tikhon makes the point quite clear with the quotes. We must remember The Vatican is a mini nation state within Italy. Government functions are in play all the time. If visiting, diplomats are to be given the inquisition before allowed exchanging of gifts, and honors, then it is no longer a functioning government AND church, but just a church. This is the direction The Russian Orthodox Church is heading with the current government of Russia, and if all your dreams come true, a legit branch of the government, within a monarchy.

          Thought experiment #3: Do Roman Catholics go to heaven? I know the Pope believes most do. So why would the Pope distant himself from grave sinners, especially Catholics, even give them awards, over looking some of the sinful aspects of their lives, and instead focus on the good in their life achievements, in hope that he, and his church can direct as many as possible in the right direction. We believe our Church is a spiritual hospital, I am sure the Pope believes his is as well. At least he mixes it up with saints and sinners alike, a humanistic, and Christ like approach we finger pointing Orthodox can learn from.

          The Roman Catholic Church leads the world, in it’s opposition against Abortion, and to even hint that the Pope is somehow not on board with his church, is just silly drama y’all.

          • Gail Sheppard says:

            No, I do not “really believe that the Pope gave that lady an award for her Pro Abortion political beliefs.” I believe he gave that woman an award for her pro-liberal beliefs, as evidenced by her efforts to bring “safe” abortions (safe is the operative word) to the women who have decided to have them. In the mind of a liberal, it’s about protecting women; not killing babies.

            You do realize that what the Pope believes about salvation is immaterial, right? God will save whom He will. There is this saying: “We know where God is (Orthodox Church) but we don’t know where God isn’t.”

            Yes, the Orthodox Church is a “hospital” but what makes us different is that we don’t overlook sin and focus on “achievements.” We call sin what it is and are expected to work hard to overcome it.

            The RC does not lead the world; perhaps 50% of the Christians, though. Where, exactly, is the concern.

            • The Advocate says:

              Gail, I am not an advocate for the Pope, but if what the Pope believes about salvation is immaterial, and God will save whom He will. Then whatever we believe in salvation is immaterial as well . Remember the old saying, Hell is paved with priests, and lit up with bishops, something like that, more or less. Well they are not all Catholic priests and bishops, quite a few Orthodox I’m sure.

              Neither Catholics,or Orthodox, I believe overlook sin, in fact Catholics are likely more conservative. Example: Under any circumstance No abortion, no divorce, no married priest,etc. Here’s a thought! Do you imagine, The MP might overlook Putin’s sins?

              My point was simple in that the Pope has both saints, and grave sinners, in his midst, in the hope of repentance. This really is not overlooking the sin. None of us should be identified by our sins, just diagnosed, with spiritual treatment always in sight, if willing. Pushing away, and pointing fingers is not how we should treat the hopeful “Prodigal” son, OR daughter. We never know what might trigger THE RETURN(great book as well).

              Even You Gail, my sister in Christ, had hope in, The Return, you must remember your first ever post to me, when you said, “I sincerely hope, you find your way back home, we’ll be here waiting for you.” Hint, Gail, I never left, but boy do I have a lot of questions, and my wine has turned to vinegar, sorry, but, no more Mr. Nice Guy.

              P.S. I forgot to change “Name” on my second PC, so Bob Wiley from here on end.
              P.S.S. You, Michael Bauman, and Brian are appreciated in your sincere replies, and MB, Sorry for my poor writing skills, I am notorious in simple errors, like there, and their. Ran out of time to correct last post to you.

              • Gail Sheppard says:

                You have a gift and you can do whatever you want with it, including reject it. No one is going to stop you. We’re not here to talk you out of anything. If the wine turns to vinegar, it’s your own doing. ‎

          • Michael Bauman says:

            Hey Bob, have you seen Bill Murray lately? Do you like Neil Diamond?

            • The Advocate says:

              Oh Mr. Bauman! Did you Google my name? Let me just just say their are two types of people, those who love Neil Diamond, and those who don’t. My ex-wife loves Neil Diamond. I will leave you with: Roses are red, violets are blue. I’m a schizophrenic, and so am I. I will change my handle on this PC as well, you probably thought, “what about?” He! !He!

              • Michael Bauman says:

                Actually Bob, as soon as George said, Bob is a nice name it clicked in my head. I had to go look up the details but the stark reality hit me in a flash.

                Very interesting you would use that as name.

              • George Michalopulos says:

                I saw Neil Diamond in concert some three decades ago. Marvelous entertainer!

          • Dr. Leo Marvin says:

            Death Therapy, Bob. It’s a guaranteed cure.

  9. She should have been excommunicated. The pape has lost his salt.

  10. Ronda Wintheiser says:

    I don’t mean to minimize what the Pope did, but we have our own problems with this sort of thing. And it makes even less sense for us than it does for Rome.

    I’m sure you will recall that the Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate bestowed the Athenagoras Human Rights Award on Joe Biden in 2015. Of course that is no shock to anyone… and if I’m not mistaken, you did mention it on Monomakhos at the time.

    The following year the honor was bestowed on New York Governor Mario Cuomo, also an advocate for abortion.

    http://www.archons.org/news/detail.asp?id=846

    http://orthochristian.com/98302.html

    Back in 2012 the IOCC selected then-Senator Paul Sarbanes as honorary chairman of their fundraising gala.

    http://www.orthodoxytoday.org/blog/2012/02/paul-sarbanes-pro-abortion-voting-record/

    I wrote and asked them to reconsider. Their response was similar to the defense made for Planned Parenthood (but he has done so much GOOD!), so I wrote again and asked that my recent donation to IOCC be returned. Of course, my donation paled in comparison to Sarbanes’, so that didn’t have any impact on them either.

    Fr. Seraphim Holland also wrote to IOCC and received a similar response.

    It’s a shame (literally) that Senator Sarbanes and other Orthodox Christian politicians who advocate for abortion (former Senator Olympia Snowe comes to mind) can claim to be in “good canonical standing in the Church.”

    http://www.orthodox.net/articles/iocc-and-paul-sarbanes-abortion-the-approval-of-the-ecumenical-throne.html#_Toc343776275

    http://orthochristian.com/98302.html

    • George Michalopulos says:

      Ronda, I don’t dispute at all your characterization of the Archons and their useless awards which they bestow upon baby-killing politicians. But they’re the Archons, a cheesy outfit which serves as the shock troops of an ethnic lobby disguised as a church.

      Even at this late date I expected more from the Roman pontiff. Even with all the moral wreckage of the paedophilia scandal, the present pontiff sits in the same chair as Gregory the Great and Leo the Great. Even post-Schism popes were men of stalwart character. For whatever its theological faults, the Roman Church was the incubator of European civilization, the greatest in history. (We Orthodox are part of that civilization by the way.)

      I guess what this means is that with Frankie, the mask has finally come off.

      • Michael Bauman says:

        George, certainly we Orthodox living in the west are part of the Roman Civilization much to our sorrow. I heartily dispute your claim however that European civilization was the greatest in history. It is great only in its ability to spread death, destruction, heresy and calamity because of its lust of power and world-wide reach but that is all. What remains of said civilization at this point is nihilism.

        The unholy trinity of which (Marx, Darwin and Nietzsche) flowered in that ‘civilization’ in the late 19th century and still deeply infect us with their poison. They and their demonic ideas were the natural result of all of the previous ideas without substance or soul that had percolated through your great civilization for the previous 1400 years or so. Many of those ideas had been discarded by the Church but they were resurrected in the west and nurtured. Schism, hubris and death is the real foundation of that “great” civilization. When Pope JP II railed against the culture of death, he failed to recognize he was railing against the institution of which he was head and the entire family of urchins and freaks which it birthed. It is so great that the Orthodox Church no longer has any natural fit in it anywhere. Nothing for us to baptize any more. The United States unfortunately has few of the virtues of that civilization and has managed to crystalize, market and sell the vices quite effectively and efficiently. After all we must make the world safe for world wide economic and philosophic domination (er…democracy). In the process we have declared war and wish to destroy any traditional culture that still holds some knowledge of God with us. In case you have not noticed that includes us.

        Still God in His mercy does work for good in all of that for those that love Him. But who is a lover of God any more? What high examples of such love can you find anywhere in your “great” civilization in the last 300 years. I am sure there are some, many perhaps hidden as grains of yeast, but whatever number you find I suspect the number in the Orthodox Church alone in the last 120 years is far greater not counting the hidden ones.

        What is good in the Roman Civilization came from the Christian East (not just the Greeks BTW) i.e. that which has the Apostolic Church at is core.

        The more I have studied and reflected on western civilization that more I am faced with a deeper need to repent. I find myself full of the same deep sins and to often long for the nothingness it seduces us toward. I can glorify none of it. Especially the post-schism RCC.

        It is a self-amputated limb full of gangrene. Why do we feel the need to declare it still living and long fore reattachment? I echo Mr. Harrington’s statement at the beginning of this thread and Monk James later. Why?? Those whom God calls to salvation can come anytime and be received in thanksgiving and mercy.

        The only reason for ecumenical union (not re-union) lies simply in the same lust of power that gave birth to the “great civilization” and continues to animate it. The lure of the Ring of Power is difficult to overcome. Only the simple, the humble, the insignificant can hope to resist its lure. No one or no thing that is “great” has a chance. The first will be last and the last first.

        God forgive us, have mercy on us and save us.

        • Tim R. Mortiss says:

          The medicine is good, though. It’s saved my life a couple of times and those of some beloved family members, too.

          • Tim

            And modern plumbing

            But we have taken it way to far with automatic flush toilets

            All they do is spray you with toilet water and steal your donut

            The toilet decides when it will flush, and we are usually in disagreement concerning timing. I don’t want that decision made for me ever.

            Therefore, I always use toilet paper to cover the sensor. Got to be careful not to knock it off while in process, though

            All I’m saying is

            A high raised throne style toilet with a super sensitive spastic sensor is a good example of how we (in our modern arrogant wisdom) as Western society have lost the basic fundamentals of proper positioning for such regular needed human activity that cavemen mastered long ago – along with creating a counterproductive technological fecal water torture device

            Still, I can’t imagine living in a world without proper modern plumbing

            • Michael Bauman says:

              Not about technology. Although if you want an interesting perspective on that read Henry Adams “The Law of Phase as Applied to History”.

              Use of technology is increasingly anti-human and all of the items mentioned are not unalloyed goods. Nothing man does or makes is.

            • Michael Bauman says:

              BJS I can remember visiting someone briefly when I was young where the only pot was an outhouse and I had to use it. My dad lived in a sod hut for awhile as his father and mother began homesteading in New Mexico.

              You need to exercise your imagination more.

              • Joseph Lipper says:

                An outhouse! Is that what President Trump was allegedly referring to?

                Countries with outhouses. I think I’m going to dig one in my backyard.

              • Michael

                I don’t know what you mean by “you need to exercise your imagination more”

                My family used to have an outhouse for our lake cabin in the mountains. It was a freezing stinky spider hotel

                • Michael Bauman says:

                  BJS, you said you could not imagine living in a world without modern plumbing. Thus, my statement that you need to exercise your imagination more to build up its faculties.

            • Tim R. Mortiss says:

              Well, medicine yes, and flush toilets, that goes without saying. But other than medicine and flush toilets, what has Western Civilization ever done for us?

        • Michael Baumann your post was very dark and depressing, and I believe misses the mark. You complain about the sorrow of being a part of Western Civilization and it’s only being able to spread death and destruction. You go on about the “demonic” ideas of Marx, Darwin and Nietzsche. You ask where one can find examples of those who has loved God in the past 300 years. You complain that you feel the need to repent for the failings of modern civilization which you feel in yourself. What is in your heart makes me sad for you and your pain of feeling trapped in a nihilistic world.

          Do you think the times in which our Lord lived and walked the earth were any better than today? Our Lord did not walk the earth moaning and complaining and talking about long dead philosophers and waxing philosophical about natural fits for the church in society and attacks on traditional culture and so on and so on. Our Lord sought out the people most in need and, with joy in his heart that spread to those around him, brought healing and mercy to all in need and talked about the need for inner healing and the need to repent. The zealots were the ones concerned about what was going on in the civilization, and our Lord wanted no part of that.

          Get out of your house. Get away from your computer. Turn it off. Instead of being so sad and depressed and worrying about Marx and Nietzsche, get out and find the people that God commanded you to help, the ones he sought out during his time on the earth. Commit simple acts of kindness and love but beyond that step way outside of your personal comfort zone to do so, and I promise you, your dark thoughts and gloom and despair will melt away in the bright light the Lord offers us.

          My practice is international corporate law and I represent some of the wealthiest and most powerful people on the planet. I am well compensated to do that and could live a very luxurious life inoculated from ever seeing the poor or the suffering. But over the past few years I find myself taking more and more time away from my well heeled clients to act pro bono for young people who have no one else to turn to and nowhere else to go.

          Two years ago I took on a pro bono client who could not keep off of drugs. His parents were both addicts. We brought him to live with us and have spent this time getting him clean, educated and prepared to live a productive life on his own. A few months ago we took in another young man to live with us. He was also having substance use issues but otherwise committing no crimes. We took him in as an alternative to him being sent back to jail (where there are more drugs than on the outside) and are getting him clean and sober also. There is no greater joy in the world for me than when I get home at night and one or the other of the boys rushes over to tell me what he has learned or accomplished that day, or wants to celebrate that he has passed another 30 day marker in his sobriety and already has his calendar marked for the next 30 day milestone. There are tough days too, days of failure, but on those days we look at each other and say “tomorrow we will try harder.” Not one of those days has ever felt “nihilistic.”

          On the rougher days I am especially grateful to have Dr. S on this blog. Even though he doesn’t know me, his experiences that he kindly shares in some tough places gives me inspiration and hope on some of my rough days with the boys. But even on those days, the joy never leaves my heart.

          When I experience the joy these kids bring to my life, I know they are giving me as much and more as what I am giving to them. And when I think about that joy with which they fill my heart, I cannot even imagine for one day feeling the darkness and despair that is evident in your post. God did not come to save and touch civilizations, he came to save and touch people. I share this experience not to pat myself on the back, as I know my own great sins and faults which are ever before me, and I know I am getting back much more than I give and am grateful to God for giving me the strength and resources to do this, which all belong to Him.

          You are obviously an intelligent man and I enjoy corresponding with you and I don’t know what trials you have suffered in your life to make you feel as you do, and I do not judge you because I am not fit to judge anyone and have no right to judge you.

          But I worry about you when I read your dark view of the world. Take your talent and get out there and do what our Lord commands us. Feed the hungry, house the needy, visit the lonely. I can almost guaranty you that if you throw you whole heart, mind and soul into that great commandment to love your neighbor as yourself, you will never again feel the despair evidenced above.

          I still get goose bumps every time I read the last sermon of Father Schmemann (pasted below). I would humbly suggest that you read it once more and see if it can be reconciled with your post above. May God bless you and fill your life with meaning and turn your sorrow to joy. Glory to Jesus Christ, glory forever.

          Thank You, O Lord! (Fr. Schmemann)
          Everyone capable of thanksgiving is capable of salvation and eternal joy.
          Thank You, O Lord, for having accepted this Eucharist, which we offered to the Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and which filled our hearts with the joy, peace and righteousness of the Holy Spirit.
          Thank You, O Lord, for having revealed Yourself unto us and given us the foretaste of Your Kingdom.
          Thank You, O Lord, for having united us to one another in serving You and Your Holy Church.
          Thank You, O Lord, for having helped us to overcome all difficulties, tensions, passions, temptations and restored peace, mutual love and joy in sharing the communion of the Holy Spirit.
          Thank You, O Lord, for the sufferings You bestowed upon us, for they are purifying us from selfishness and reminding us of the “one thing needed;” Your eternal Kingdom.
          Thank You, O Lord, for having given us this country where we are free to worship You.
          Thank You, O Lord, for this school, where the name of God is proclaimed.
          Thank You, O Lord, for our families: husbands, wives and, especially, children who teach us how to celebrate Your holy Name in joy, movement and holy noise.
          Thank You, O Lord, for everyone and everything.
          Great are You, O Lord, and marvelous are Your deeds, and no word is sufficient to celebrate Your miracles.
          Lord, it is good to be here! Amen!

          • Michael Bauman says:

            Michael, I am surrounded with lovely people who care for me and I help them as the need arises. Many of these folks are bruised and victims of abuse in the past. Still, I have a great many things for which to be thankful and I try to practice thanksgiving as a discipline–giving thanks to God that is. I give such thanks daily for my living wife who is a miracle of God in my life–one of many. It is not personal human relationships of which I am speaking. I was addressing George’s assertion that European Civilization was the greatest ever. To call European Civilization the “greatest ever” is, if not wrong, factually impossible to determine. An arbitrary exercise in delusion for any civilization one chooses.

            The last half of the 19th and the whole of the 20th century has been a disaster in terms of things I consider valuable and true–the 21st century is proving to be more of the same on steroids. Wars and rumors of war, etc. That of course can be seen as normative in any man made civilization. Great achievement can also be found in all civilizations. Yet, all civilizations are created around some form of idolatry.

            The myth of progress that ours runs on is a lie—-wholly nihilistic and matches Nietzsche’s prophecy quite well indeed. A world who has killed God and elevated the individual human will to take his place. Those whom the civilization celebrates often the most depraved and corrupt.

            I place no hope in the man made future at all. I place hope, or try to, in the Cross only–which last time I checked is only joyful after the Resurrection.

            I am deeply hopeful of that Resurrection because not long after my late wife reposed, I was given concrete but not empirical evidence, that the Resurrection is real and nothing can defeat it if we but repent. There is a seed of repentance in every soul, planted there as part of our creation. In that I have great hope.

            Prayer, fasting, almsgiving, repentance/forgiveness, sharing in the sacraments. In all of these I struggle but persist and am given the unwarranted gift of joy quite often. None of that shows me that any civilization is great nor allows me to celebrate it as such.

            As Hamlet said: “If it be now, it is not to come; if it is to come, it will be now; if it be not now, yet it will come. The readiness is all.”

            There is darkness all around us my brother and it is especially in my own soul. Forgive me if my concentration and explication of the darkness of the world distressed you. It will pass. The only light is from Christ Himself. He reminds me of that often. I am blessed. I have found a particular blessing in your presence on the blog. I enjoy your contributions. Thank you.

            • Mr. Bauman, I totally feel you you Brother. My cynicism has all but overtaken my soul. I don’t understand why but the weight of world affairs crushes my soul. How their can be so much evil in the world, especially towards the little souls crushes my own. I feel like I only live for my family, which is equally stressful and joyful, and if it was not for them needing me, I would have no reason to live. For what it’s worth, you have helped me, as have many others here, but I have a long way to go. I’m glad your here, and I appreciate the time you have given me. I know it’s time consuming.

              • Michael Bauman says:

                Bob, there is a difference between cynacism and Frank acknowledgement of the darkness. Certainly cynacism acts on meas well and is corrosive to life.

                It is another thing altogether to realize that the is no hope in the world and hope only in the mercy of our Lord.

                I have studied history all of my adult life. It is both bleak and inspiring; tragic and uplifting but none of it is salvific.

                God uses the princes of men at times but there is no hope, no expectation of anything other than what is.

                You are right in one point those around you need you. You need them and we all need God.

                From experience any suggestion that life is not worth it is from the evil one.

                Glory to God for all things even my suffering because it sends me in God’s direction.

                • Ironically Mr. Bauman, This site was first feeding my cynicism slamming our Greek Orthodox leader’s misdeeds, and political leaders as well. Now that I am posting instead of just reading the blog, it does both feed, and answer my cynicism.

                  Also ironic, ever notice that if one is angry with their child, spouse, or parent, we might go on a tirade of their faults and misdeeds, but if someone outside one’s family, does the same tirade, we defend, and verbally attack the outsider accusing our family of the exact same thing, we were just accusing our family of? This is what got me to post finally, even though most of the critic’s posts were true, it pissed me off to hear it from others, and felt the need to defend my Greek Orthodox clergy, laity, and Greeks in general.

                  So far as the evil one messing with me, I am a pretty good counter puncher, hopefully my stubborn pride, and weak prayer discipline, won’t get the better of me.

                  Somewhere between being a complete ‘Fool for Christ’ in Divine madness, a phony for Christ, in worldly sanity, and simply exhausted by it all, I am a work in progress.

            • Tim R. Mortiss says:

              In the late 1920s, my father, then 7 or 8 years old, contracted bilateral mastoiditis. Mastoiditis was an inflammation of the mastoid bone behind the ear, at the base of the skull. It often ended in death or deafness. My dad came very close to death. He survived, significantly (but not totally) deaf for the rest of his life. My grandmother told me how she would find him huddled in the closet, crying with pain. He was eventually able to lead a successful life.

              Mastoiditis was a common consequence of ordinary childhood ear infections. It is long gone. It entered the history books with the discovery of penicillin.

              I was born in 1948. Many kids a few years older than me had polio. My cohort avoided polio completely with the Salk vaccine. We were the first generation in all of human history whose parents, because of vaccinations and antibiotics, did not have to fear that every childhood illness might end in disability or death. And so it has been with my children and grandchildren.

              That was progress. Or– tell why it wasn’t. There is theory, and there is reality.

              • Michael Bauman says:

                Tim, there s beneficial change by God’s grace. Pennicillan was not discovered, it was revealed and antibiotics are in our world by God’s creative and providential hand.

                The Myth of Progress is a deeply heretical eschatology that posits all is in our hands and we can CHANGE THE WORLD!

                It is based in part on Hegel’s dialectic which denys the Providence of God.

                That does not mean we should be fatalistic or quietists. Only that we should love God and our neighbor and let Him take care of the rest.

                We are not in charge of history, neither is history in charge of us.

            • Constaninos says:

              To Mr. Bauman and Michael,
              It is so good to see two brothers who love our Lord and Savior so much. Both of you are a blessing to me. You two are like a rainbow after the storm. May God continue to bless you as you bless us with your words of kindness, love and wisdom. Once again, our dear brother Michael shows us the love of Christ by disagreeing without being disagreeable. I love both of you and am honored to have you as my brothers in Christ. My prayer is,” Lord, please help to be like Michael and Michael Bauman” Just awesome!! Thank you George for this wonderful blog in which brothers like these two are allowed to post.

              • Constantinos thank you for your always kind and generous words. You also are a great blessing on this blog and treasured by me. Please always keep me in your prayers.

                Michael Bauman thank you for your last post and for sharing so much about yourself with me. It was very generous in spirit on your part. You are very smart and faithful, and even when I may not understand or agree with something you say, I always learn much from you and I appreciate you for that. I think you are a person very much worth knowing. You have kept faith with our Lord even in personal challenges. May God always keep you close him.

                I hope you know that my words were in no way meant as a criticism but express my genuine wish for you to know the joy and light that I believe He has given to us as his gift in this world. Yes we must always keep our eye on the world to come, but I believe He wants us to experience here a foretaste of the eternal joy of heaven. Yes our world is full of unbelief and sadness and pain, but I believe in my heart that He is also triumphant here and now, and if we seek after Him we can find unimaginable joy and brightness too right here even in this modern world and that foretaste of the joy and brightness of heaven is always surrounding us. I never had the blessing of knowing him but that is how I interpret Fr. Schmemann’s thanksgiving prayer. I may be wrong, I know I am many times, but I keep trying. I think in some ways we have different views of the world in this regard, perhaps driven by different life experiences, but I do not mean to imply my view is right and another’s is wrong. On these points faithful men can have different opinions, I am grateful we can express them cordially and in a spirit of love.

                Thank you again for sharing. It is good to know you better and share fellowship with you here. I know your prayers are pleasing and dear to God and I humbly ask you and my brother Constantinos to keep me in your prayers.

  11. Gail Sheppard says:

    Hate to take a break from the “it’s all about Bob” show, but this is interesting. I wonder what the Pope wants from Erdogan (besides the Ecumenical Patriarchate)? https://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2018/01/16/turkeys-erdogan-meet-pope-francis-vatican-feb-5/

  12. Joseph Lipper says:

    Gail, I’m glad you bring this up. Apparently Erdogan has become increasingly suspicious of the Phanar and it’s ties to the US State Department. It doesn’t help that Turkey has become alienated from our country over 3 main things: the US condemnation of their present war in Northern Syria against the US supported Kurds, the US stance on Jerusalem, and also the US refusal to extradite Erdogan’s nemesis Fethulah Gulen.

    Erdogan has the motivation to evict the Ecumenical Patriarch and replace him. If he’s trying to ditch US interference and support, then the Vatican is the only likely alternative. Erdogan is presently trying to make a closer bond with the EU. My concern is that he will begin to recognize the Pope as the true leader of worldwide Christianity. It is within his power as the new Sultan to offer control of the Phanar to the Pope.

    As for what Pope Francis wants, I believe he wants peace and a stronger European Union. However, if he allows Erdogan to recognize the vatican as the true leader of worldwide Christianity with control of the Phanar, then this will not bring peace at all. It will bring war.

  13. Gailina! What about Bob? Anyway, I did not know the EP was for sale. We knew the GOA was planning a sell off, but the EP is on the block as well? I thought selling the shrine in NY would be enough. Those wily moslems, first our Agia Sophia, now they are eye balling the NY shrine, and will throw in the EP, for good measure, as well? Gailina, do you work for CNN or are you just trying too hard!

    Just for fun, let’s imagine a conversation between Gail and George. George first posts a picture of the Pope and the EP hugging and asks. “What do you see Gail?” Gail shouts, UNIA! George then posts a picture of two trees, “What do you see?” again asks George, “UNIA!”, Gail protests. George then posts a pics of two cars, dogs, cats, etc. Always the same response by Gail, “UNIA! UNIA!UNIA!” Bob then interjects, “Gail you’re obsessed with UNIA! To which Gail exclaims, “Well George keeps posting all those dirty pictures!!”

  14. Michael Bauman says:

    Bob, you had best stick with Dr. Marvin.

  15. Billy Jack Sunday says:

    George

    You say you’ve been doing a lot of research lately on the Jesuits

    I’m hearing that the just recently new GOA Metropolitan of Chicago used to teach at Fordham? Maybe you can ask him about this and also get his perspective about the order . . .

    • George Michalopulos says:

      Maybe I should. I didn’t know about his Fordham connection. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

      • Billy Jack Sunday says:

        George

        Mikail mentioned it in “More news on the GOA front.” Mikail said it appears the new Metropolitan’s background includes being a supporter of EP climate stuff, full supporter of the Cretan robber’s council and used to teach at Fordham. I added that he loves pandas, but that’s really pure speculation (razz) and I actually had marked it for deletion

        Perhaps the new Metropolitan would grant you a phone interview (or something to that effect) that you can post on Monomakhos?

        • George Michalopulos says:

          I’d be up for that.

          • From everything I can see so far the Metropolitan-elect of Chicago is a good and humble man. He is part of the GOA, of course he is not going to be in conflict with the GOA program. That would be too much to ask for.

            I am a little concerned about his age and his lack of pastoral experience. A bishop is supposed to be a shepherd and pastor to his flock. I am not sure anyone has the experience at age 39 for that, especially someone who has only been a priest for 7 years and a pastor for 3.

            I hope he was not appointed because the folks in the largely non-existent diocese of Constantinople thought he would be easy to control.
            But I am willing to give him the benefit of the doubt and wish him well in his new ministry and hope for the best. He is being thrown into a shark tank, may our good and gracious God protect him!