Mea Minima Culpa

oca-burningYesterday, Monomakhos published an essay on the Syosset plan for the continuing education of our priests. I stated that “several priests” had contacted me about this nonsense both on-line and by phone. One of them told me about a forum of priests that discussed the plan. He sent along comments which I published making sure that the priests were identified only the letters “V,” “W,” “X,” “Y,” and “Z.”

One of the priests that was quoted took umbrage and informed me that the discussion occurred on a closed forum and that I had no right to publish them. I didn’t know that. Another took me to task in that I implied that all five comments were given to me by the priests in question. He asked me to remove his comments so I have done so. Even though this forum is “closed” I am not ethically bound to not publish the posts. I am not a member of that forum. The rule applies only to its members.

Moreover, if I were bound to that rule, then everything that passed over the transom, including the leaked emails that revealed the clandestine coup by Stokoe, Reeves, Sordinksi and others and which blew open the Sante Fe conspiracy against the Primate, would never have seen the light of day.

In any event, I regret that the priests were discomfited by the publication of their comments and my hope is that they suffer no reprisals. (For the record, I removed any geographic references which might have pinpointed the location of the priests. We intend to keep the anonymity of the priests in question –as well as all our correspondents inviolate.)

That said, I was nevertheless impressed by the comments. They were cogent and to the point and revealed that our priests have strong and well-formed opinions. Reading them encouraged me. I wish though that they would show more courage and step out from behind their curtain of anonymity. What are we to conclude? Is the climate of fear within the OCA that great? Or do they prefer anonymity for other reasons? I ask this will all respect.

If the priests were more vocal about these issues, the facade of unanimity implied by their silence could fall. Maybe then we could start repairing the damage that Syosset has inflicted on our Church. We need our priests and we need them to be strong. My prayer is that the strength they showed in the private comments would be more evident to the people they lead.

Meanwhile, more correspondents (priests as well as laymen) have added their opinions and for the most part they are overwhelmingly supportive of my thesis.


  1. “Even though this forum is “closed” I am not ethically bound to not publish the posts. I am not a member of that forum. The rule applies only to its members. ”

    While this is true George, the person who forwarded the comments to you IS ethically bound to keep those comments confidential. He broke that confidentiality. You are guilty by being an accessory to the infraction, imho.

    That being said, it was good of you to remove the comment of the priest who requested it of you. That doesn’t excuse you over all however.

    • Gail Sheppard says

      What “infraction” would George be guilty of? This information was sent to George to publish. Did Woodward & Bernstein commit an “infraction” when they published the “Watergate” papers?! Don’t be ridiculous! George went to great lengths to protect all involved, even to the point of retraction. Internet 101: Don’t post on the Internet if you expect any form of privacy. Internet and privacy are oxymorons. CE credits notwithstanding, our priests should know that.

    • Will Harrington says

      Possibly, but then the entire structure of American journalism and the model of investigative journalism would fall apart and, at the very least Nixon would have finished his second term. I have to side with George on this one. It may be true that the one who submitted the comments acted unethically, but every whistleblower who contacts the media has an ethical quandary and must decide if the publics right to know outweighs the ties of loyalty. I wouldn’t want to judge anyone who finds themselves in that position.

      • Fr. George Washburn says

        Dear Mr. Harrington:

        Thank you for using what looks like your real name.

        I believe the thesis of your comments can be summarized as follows: “George M. is justified in helping a priest break his vows of confidentiality to colleagues because it was necessary to obtain the great public benefits that would flow from the resultant whistleblowing.” Please re-read your comments and correct me if you can state your thesis as briefly, but more accurately.

        Your comments have a surface plausibility that I believe disappears when scrutinized more carefully. In order to make my point let me ask you two very specific questions. Please do me, George, and the readership here the honor of answering these questions exactly as phrased.

        Q # 1 – “Precisely what otherwise hidden wrong or wrongs were being exposed through the confidential comments George published?” If you are going to justify what George and this priest did by analogizing to Watergate then tell us what secret defalcations were being exposed by the collusion to publish comments which had been promised secrecy.

        Q # 2 – “How did the benefits of exposure of these otherwise hidden wrongs by George and the “leaker” priest outweigh the breach of the priest’s promise?”

        Seeing that George was the judge, jury, defendant and defense attorney helps explain the “minima” in his “culpa.” See St. Paul’s skepticism about one’s ability to judge ones’ self – I Cor 4:4 or 11:31 – or at least St. Paul’s ability to judge himself.


        Fr. George

        • I’m not sure I’m following your questions. They seem opaque. But I’ll try:

          1. What other “hidden wrongs were being exposed through the confidential comments…? Answer: None. I was just given some comments from some otherwise sensible priests about these onerous top-down demands placed upon them. Is this “news” to you? Does it merit no comment? OK, that’s your opinion. Others think that it merits some commentary.

          2. “How did the benefits of exposure of these otherwise hidden wrongs…outweight the breach of the priest’s promise?” Answer: the question is moot, as there were no “hidden wrongs” revealed, just comments. As for the “breach of the priest’s promise” I wasn’t aware that there was a code of omerta within this group.

          Fr, since you’re asking what I deem to be rhetorical questions, may I ask one? Why do these priests (in your estimation) feel the need to meet in secret to discuss matters of import? I replied to one of them that they should go to their bishops with these concerns. To another one I said, “if you can’t go to your bishop then y’all got bigger problems than the latest feel-good fad to come out of Syosset.”

      • Thank you. To Fr George below: a lot of crimes get exposed only after the fact, only after the letter gets leaked or the spurned lover goes to the authorities.

        Watergate started out as a “third rate burglary.” President Clinton’s perjury regarding actions made with Monica Lewinsky came about because of a sexual harrassment claim filed by Paula Corbin Jones ten years earlier. Martha Stewart’s time in prison was due to a failure to disclose an inconsequential item on her tax return and the ineptness of her legal team to disclose their error. There was no malevolence there.

  2. Is there anything good going on in American Orthodoxy? Why do you always focus on the negative? How about publishing some good news about all that is going on in American Orthodoxy.

    • Gail Sheppard says

      RE: Is there anything good. . . why focus on the negative? So what you’re saying is: “Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you like the play???”

      I’m disappointed. . . not in George, because George puts himself on the line everyday for what he believes. I’m disappointed in these priests, who grumble behind the scenes, and think THAT’S ok as long as it’s private. God forbid they should be accountable for their words. My grandmother used to say: “If you can’t say something in public, don’t say it.”

      To George: The opinions of those who are unwilling to take responsibility for their words are unimportant. I wouldn’t pay too much attention to their criticisms.

      • George Michalopulos says

        Thank you Gail, you’re very kind.

      • Hilber Nelson says

        At what point will the OCA priests and laity stand up to corruption, intimidation and fear? Stop whining. Clean house.

        • George Michalopulos says

          Ultimately, that’s the issue. Unfortunately with the current structures in place (MC vs Synod vs Chancellor) it may not be possible. Last year I asked simple question: could somebody create an organizational chart for me which describes the OCA. As near as I can tell, it’s impossible. Hence the inevitability of reform.

          For what it’s worth, the word that’s being banied about lately is “unsalvagable” as in “the OCA is,”

          • George,

            You would need two charts. One would be the organization chart. The other would be, for want of a better term, a genealogy chart. It is the latter chart that has the larger impact on the OCA.

            • Geo Michalopulos says

              Would you be willing to help crafting a genealogy chart? 😉

              • No but some day you should post an article with some of the most obvious relationships (Fr. Hopko’s FIL, Fr Jillion’s BIL, etc, etc.) Then let your commenters fill in the blanks. And not all the relationships are familial. Some links were forged at SVS. (Just ask M. Stankovich!!) Others may go back much further. And the feuds are as important, maybe more important, than the friendships.

                This is true in any organization. What makes the OCA unique in this is that these connections are so much more influential than the organization structure the OCA publishes.

                Or the Statutes.

                Or the Canons.

        • Never. The priests stand to lose everything. Some of the faithful are sick of it and will find it easier just to walk than fight such a deeply dysfunctional system. Most rank-n-file are oblivious.

          • Guy Westover says

            Time for priests to man up.
            Yeah, they can evict you out from the rectory like they did one priest in Connecticut a little over ten years ago.
            They can lock you out of the church. I was there when Father Michael Westerberg changed the locks on the church doors under directions from Syosett. (same parish as above)
            They stop your paycheck, health insurance, etc.
            But if each and everyone of you stood up together and say enough is enough, the laity WILL rally around you. We will take care of you and your families. We will admire and support your moral courage.

            Or, would you rather be mocked and sneered and snickered at as spineless jellyfish?

            Your choice.

            • About Father Basil says

              Nice parish handbook by Father Basil, formerly of the OCA, locked out of his parish by the OCA for even thinking about the ROCOR


            • Guy Westover says

              No replies from the Reverend Fathers?
              Not surprised.

              • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

                Guido! You should recognize at least the possibility that some who were mistreated are so virtuous that they’d rather endure ignominy and hardship than to strike out at and destroy their accusers with what they know about them. This happens, believe it or not, lamentably seldom, even rare, but it happens.

                • Guy Westover says

                  Vladyko Bless!

                  I would never encourage a priest to “spill the dirt” on the Synod or other members of the Supreme Soviet. All I would like to see them do is stand up together and say “Enough is enough!” Demand accountability. Stand together and hold fast.
                  As a parishioner I would admire that and would do everything possible to support my priest.
                  Certainly the Synod cannot suspend and defrock everyone?

      • Lola J. Lee Beno says

        I’m with you, Gail.

    • Fr Peter,

      If you want the OCA good news, that is what their website is suppose to do. What they won’t do is print any news that is not to their advantage. That is what other websites post, not to be contrary but to give people, if they choose, a more complete picture of the OCA; and there is much more going on in the OCA then you may wish to be exposed. That is your choice. Don’t log on, don’t read or even accept what is posted here.

      There continues to be some very questionable things going on which this website may choose to inform its readers. I for one am glad that sunlight continues to be the best disinfectant. Lord knows that those in Syosset power wish we would just, “move on, there is nothing here to interest you.” Let the reader decide.

      • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

        Father H! If Metropolitan Tikhon would like to make a good and fresh start, he would do well to fire everyone in the Chancery except anyone named Matusiak or Ringa and start over. Otherwise, he should devote his life to his own Diocese, Washington (a full time job), and to managing the affairs of the Holy Synod. He and the Synodal Administration should appoint someone like Metropolitan Jonah or a talented and (truly) educated Archpriest or Layman to be in charge of Information and Public Affairs…answering outside requests for lectures and ceremonial/protocal visits and contacts with other Local Churches and religions.
        The Griswold Estate, donated to the Metropolia to provide a decent and appropriate residence for a Primate and his Synodal Chancery, should be simply designated as The Holy Synod. Another residence, the residence and headquarters of the Diocesan Hierarch would serve as the Metropolitan’s pied-a-terre (sp?).
        I’m afraid Fathers Jillions, Garklavs, etc., etc., and etc., really don’t want to change anything….”What’s the point of changing anything now that I’ve got the position I and my wife have always coveted? Reorganizing might mean we’d have to move back and take a PARISH, for God’s sake!” Others, Protodeacons and Lawyers, mostly, just want recognition and the opportunity to enhance their resumes and curricula vitae.
        Why do you think the biggest bogeyman of all is “Nineteenth Century Russia?” It’s because they didn’t need professionals and enablers and enough access for the ambitious in 19the century Russia. No Boot Camps, No Central Annual Assessment, no continuing clergy education, and so on and so on. Why 19th Century Russia was worse than the Church of the Cappadocian Fathers: they never even mentioned the Sacred Cow of “Church Growth!!!!!
        How could Saint John Chrysostom, Saint Basil the Great and Saint Gregory the Theologian never express any concern for what our nineteenth century English and Ameridan divines named “The Great Commission,’ in other words, the same “Church Growth.’
        If anyone were really interested in and had a goal of Church Growth, they’d by now have come up with a target number, which would be the entire non-Orthodox population of the U.S.A., right? How many do we still have to teach everything the Lord taught the Disciples,(PLUS the modern American moral agenda).

        • Guy Westover says

          Vladyko bless!
          For a moment I almost forgot Orthodox praxis and shouted Amen! Preach it!
          A worthy gem for the Bishop Tikhon of the Wild West Fan Club.

    • Fr. John A. Peck says

      Fr. Peter,

      If you want good news in Orthodoxy, seriously, do this:

      Go to Journey To Orthodoxy.

      And support it please. It’s all good news there and it matters.

    • Would it be good news if we just ignored wrongs? Don’t think so. Wallowing is no good either but recognizing dysfunction and attempting to address it is a good thing.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Fr Peter, I would love to write about good things going on the Church. Truth be told, I have a backlog of political and cultural items that I think need addressing as well, however events in the OCA keep derailing my plans. Please forgive me.

    • Fr. Peter, it would be easier to focus on something positive if I weren’t so worried, for example, about how Metropolitan Jonah is going to live the rest of his life.

      Or when we brag about a new OCA mission, how about we ask what kind of “gospel” is going to be preached there? Is it that Jesus died so you can bring same-sex partners to church, and anyone who expresses any concerns about it gets punished in your place?

  3. Sean Richardson says

    George … thank you for “man-ning up” … it’s always a pleasure and increases my faith in this site and in its moderator.

  4. Michael Bauman says

    Good news is where you find it

  5. Well, said priest probably need a bishop, and sadley we have none.

  6. M. Stankovich says

    It seems to me that in every vocation, there is a fundamental right to a safe, unencumbered, “undiscoverable” place to ventilate and process the “details” as essential & appropriate to ongoing mental health. Physicians have “Morbidity & Mortality Conference” that is a confidential, closed, discussion, the content of which cannot be revealed even by court order, to process mistakes & errors without judgement, the goal being to prevent it from happening again. The same is true for the clergy. It is most certainly “OK” to grumble, to complain, even to rage in private, among one’s peers; as blessed Bishop Basil (Rodzianko) once told me, God understands the frustration & misery of interaction with this fallen world, and God will bear any righteous indignation with us. And we must rely, depend, and trust our peers to temper and guide us as to the limits of appropriateness.

    I, for one, was troubled that you published the “dialog” between brother priests as it gives the impression that, rather than confidentially sharing accumulated frustrations freely without the restraints of the judgement of “outsiders” in the dynamic I have described, they appear as cowards, impotently bitching about matters they refuse to address because they are enslaved. This reference to “the facade of unanimity implied by their silence” is so patently ignorant, so patently offensive and so clearly opposing what Fr. Alexey Kargut yesterday described as “true Orthodox conciliarity and catholicity, and the wholeness and integrity of our church” that it is, frankly, astonishing.

    This has arisen because you are a minimally-educated laymen who has arrogantly taken possession of the private thoughts of the clergy, absolutely never intended for your consumption, and imposed an unintended manipulation on their discussion, such that, “maybe then we could start repairing the damage that Syosset has inflicted on our Church.” As I have noted many times, you are not qualified to “start repairing the damage!” You have shamelessly robbed these priests of the private, protected thoughts to which you were never entitled, scolded them as cowards, and in the end still somehow manage to lay the responsibility on “Syosset.” This here is CRAZY TOWN.

    Fr. John Peck, I pray for you daily. You stand on the shoulders of the fathers of the our generation and see the future of Orthodoxy in this country. I may never live to see it, but I trust your vision.

    • Michael Bauman says

      Nothing on the internet is undiscoverable. If someone really wants privacy-try writing letters.

      The MM conferences are not on the internet, are they.

      “All things shall be revealed”

      • Will Harrington says

        Michael, I agree 100 %. As a high school teacher I can tell you that one of our priorities in our school is to try to teach our students that anything these impulsive young minds put on the internet is open to everyone and permanent. For all practical purposes there is no right to privacy on the internet because there IS no privacy. Think before you hit enter. Teenagers have an excuse. There brains are not fully developed and they really do have difficulty weighing the consequences of their actions before they act. Adults do not have that excuse. You may be right that there should be a place for confidential discussion amongst professionals. The internet IS NOT the place. Let me repeat that. The internet IS NOT the place. Because research shows that repetition is an effective teaching technique for all ages I will repeat yet again. There is no privacy on the internet. There is truly not even a reasonable expectation of privacy. If you want a private, closed forum, find another way.
        Mr. Stankovich. George robbed no one of privacy. They did that to themselves the moment they posted a comment on the internet. This is not a secret. The internet has been around long enough that this is common knowledge. These priests were not robbed of their privacy, they got onto an international media and broadcast their thoughts to the world.

        • Gail Sheppard says

          So, Will, is there privacy on the Internet?! Will’s answer: NO!!!!!!!!

          Ding Ding Ding Ding Ding! Right answer.

        • M. Stankovich says

          The issue, Mr. Harrington, is not accessibility, it is discretion, discernment, and respect. Mr. Michalopulos did not know where this discussion was located – a 3rd-party jackass who thought it was appropriate to reveal a confidential site provided it to him. It seems to me that anyone with an iota of common sense and ethics would have immediately determined that this was not intended for a public forum, and out of a sense of decency & simple respect moved on. Am I so naive to imagine, Mr. Harrington, that this is an unreasonable expectation of Orthodox Christians? Or was it instead leaped upon as another rich and succulent bit of wretched vomit to cast at the object, “Syosset,” damn the feelings or wishes of the priests involved?

          The reality is that a small group of priest undertook a private discussion on a medium that, yes, is not “secure,” but never believing that their discussion would be compromised for no purpose other than to serve a purely negative polemic. And because research shows that repetition is an effective teaching technique for all ages, Mr. Harrington, let me repeat yet again: it was disrespectful and shameful to publish their private discussion simply because it was accessible.

          • Michael Stankovich, so you find it disrespectful and shameful to publish private online discussions just because they are ACCESSIBLE?! I’m sure Jesse Cone finds this really interesting!

            Were any of these people concerned when Metropolitan Jonah’s emails and text messages were stolen from his cell phone and published on OCANews?

            • Carl Kraeff says

              I think that George, you and others of Team Jonah are of two minds: if something helps your cause anything is justifiable; if it hurts your cause, it is in no way justifiable.

        • Also Anonymous says

          I think that’s a horrible justification – to say that because it’s on the internet, there is no privacy, and publishing is basically always moral. Does that apply to the emails taken from Fr. Joseph Fester, as well?

          I’m not saying whether the publishing of these particular emails was moral or immoral, but just that the justification given above seems far too broad and dangerous.

          • Michael Bauman says

            All I’m saying is that the expectation of privacy on the internet unless you have a very high level of encryption should be quite low.

            If the person who shared the information with George knew the forum was supposed to be private, he should not have shared it.

            With drones, GPS, required black boxes coming for cars, the internet/digital media. Personal communication in an area which blocks all electronic signals, a one pad codes system or an extremely high level of encryption are the only things that can give a reasonable expectation of privacy.

            The more convenience you want, the less privacy you have. Laws can’t give you privacy. At best they give you some recourse (very little) if your privacy is breeched.

            We should not routinely share confidences about others but that is not the same thing as expecting privacy when placing something on the internet.

            Solution: live our lives in such a way that we are above reproach. Basic Christian striving.

        • Fr. George Washburn says

          As you may gather from my earlier message, Mr. Harrington, I am not endorsing the positions you are taking in this matter. I asked some very pointed questions of you which George M. says he somehow misinterpreted as rhetorical, but then answered for you as “real” – which, believe me, is **exactly** how they were phrased and intended.

          In his answers George admits that there was no pressing public expose angle to justify publication of these people’s correspondence. George appears to be telling us that he was not careful enough at first to discern whether or not the people who made the comments wanted them made public. His conscience also seems to be telling him that in the absence of **any** true whistleblower potential in the messages he really should have made sure about that before rushing into print. Good for George, or even very good. It underlines my repeatedly stated belief that he is indeed a well-intentioned man.

          Now that the spectre of Watergate and CREEP (remember the Committee to Re-Elect the Presdient) has been laid to rest and we have ascertained that this disclosure really wasn’t indispensable to future of our freedom of the press or its ability to expose government skulduggery, let’s examine Mr. Harrington’s stated rationale in the exchange with Mr. Stankovich, namely that one never has a reasonable expectation of privacy in what one sends over the internet.

          That is good advice for us all, but is not the question before us. “Reasonable expectation of privacy” is a concept which arises in the courts when people publish material the subject claims should have been private and the court must decide if an invasion of someone’s rights has taken place. In law that concept of the invasion of other people’s rights is called the law of “tort.”

          Here we are dealing with an entirely different conceptual field, the ethics of promise or contract. The most basic policy value of our commercial system and our courts is that the world works better when people keep their promises and are held to answer for their breaches of those promises. One would expect people to endorse that general approach for churches too. The question then is not whether the priests had a reasonable expectation of privacy in their posts, but rather whether or not priest colleagues ought to keep promises of confidentiality to them … or internet commentators ought to proclaim shallow justifications for such breaches.

          I hope the answer to *that* compound question is obvious to us all.


          Fr. George

    • I couldn’t agree more with Mr. Stankovitch. Now that the confidentiality of that Forum was breached, why would any priest trust their thoughts to be kept confidential again?!

      I also agree with what he wrote to Fr. Peck. May God continue to bless your work Father!

    • Gail Sheppard says

      Internet 101: There IS no privacy.

      Clergy 101: Do not say or do anything that that will cause those entrusted to you to stumble.

      Integrity 101: Take responsibility for your words and actions.

      Life 101: If you fail Internet 101, Clergy 101 and Integrity 101, don’t be surprised if there are some unfortunate consequences.

      Fair Play 101: Don’t blame the messenger.

      • M. Stankovich says

        Ms. Shepherd,

        You enjoy the luxury of those who may critique with their feet a safe distance from the fire. Secondly, you further luxuriate in a presupposition that in your more “vulnerable” moments, you neither think nor express feelings or sentiments that are hyperbole; that upon a “return” from those very human moments, you are capable of identifying the exaggerations. And thirdly, in developing “Clergy 101,” you wrongly determine that the Lord has made any distinction between the clergy and the laity.

        About 2 months ago I was trying to help the police get an intoxicated “frequent flyer” settled on a gurney, and when I leaned over, he spit in my face. I lost it and started screaming at him – I will not repeat the shameful language – and told the cops, “Take the cuffs off this punk! I’ll show you…” He, of course, was laughing. And a massive cop stepped between me and the patient, calmly backing me away, talking quietly & reassuringly until I was out of the room. I had said things like “I hate these people,” “These people are a waste of my time,” etc. Post up my rageful, out of context comments and what would you conclude? According to you, a failure. According to me, you have misinterpreted my frustration & helplessness at interacting with this fallen world. In 5 minutes and a drink of water my rage had passed, I was standing next to the gurney where he had a “spit bag” over his head, & I was saying, “If you can be quiet for 5 minutes, we’ll talk about taking the bag off.”

        Fair Play 102: “For the priestly office is indeed carried out on earth, but it ranks among heavenly orders; and very naturally so: for neither man, nor angel, nor archangel, nor any other created power, but the Comforter Himself, instituted this vocation, and persuaded men while still abiding in the flesh to represent the ministry of angels.” St. John Chrysostom, On the Priesthood (Book III), 4

        • Jane Rachel says

          I have a feeling the wise Ms. Sheppard has been through more than you know. She just doesn’t blather on about it all the time.

          Getting spat upon by a madman who is tied down to a gurney, and writing about it from the safety of the other side of the looking glass, does not give you, the paid employee with a degree, an edge on understanding the spitter’s suffering; or, for that matter, the poor anonymous priest’s suffering, more than Gail Sheppard does.

          • M. Stankovich says


            The point I was making was we all, in times of stress, consternation, anger, frustration, helplessness, etc. are capable, perhaps even need to verbalize sentiments that we do not necessarily mean (e.g. “I hate these people”). If you were simply walking by and saw a cop walking me out and heard me yelling, you could – quite reasonably – ask, “Why would they let someone like him treat patients he hates?” I don’t hate these patients, but they are enormously frustrating. And he spit in my face. The comments were out of context and not intended for public consumption.

      • Also Anonymous says

        So in other words, Fr. Fester was wrong to write things in private emails and Bp. Mark had the right to publish them?

    • You know, I’d believe you but then all have to do is remember all of the wonderful accolades given to Mark Stokoe by those who despise His Beatitude. Let us never forget that Stokoe never actually “spilled the beans” per se on what went on in the MC meetings (or worse, during it’s “Executive Session”). Instead, he carefully crafted a picture of what went on. And it wasn’t a pretty sight, it was always prefaced with foreboding words like “gravely troubled,” and “chilling,” and “time of troubles,” and assorted equine feces.

      Bottom line: if I came across an unpaid parking ticket that Jonah forgot to pay you’d be praising me to the high heavens.

    • Jane Rachel says

      George M. wrote:

      “I wasn’t aware that there was a code of omerta within this group.” He took the comments off his blog immediately.

      Good enough for me.

      Compared to what Mark Stokoe did in publishing the stolen emails and private phone conversations, what George did is patsy-cake.

      Michael S. wrote that George is “arrogant.” He doesn’t come across as arrogant to me.

      I wrote that Michael posts “I know more than you do, you clueless idiot” type remarks, but I don’t know if he’s arrogant and wouldn’t say so.

    • M. Stankovich says:

      It seems to me that in every vocation, there is a fundamental right to a safe, unencumbered, “undiscoverable” place to ventilate and process the “details” as essential & appropriate to ongoing mental health.

      I was just thinking about this today. While driving with my spouse, we passed this group of signs that every town has in America, a kind of amalgam of mostly round think like Suroptimist or Rotary or Lions or Better Business or some other kind of club or Polish fraternal organization. These days, we pass by these signs without really seeing them, or stopping to even read the letters on them. They kind of remind us of a bygone era, just like your quotation about the right to ventilate some place or another. For these clubs could sometimes be men’s only establishment, where men’s only good ole friends would gather together somewhere, if not their own clubhouse, for a pint or two or three, make loud noises, plan how they were going to look good as an organization by being philanthropic, but mostly to ventilate.

      The ladies organizations, often not ending up on one of those signs you see entering a berg, did not provide the right to ventilate. The ladies were always to be ladylike, not to drink, not to ever stagger home from anywhere. But they had rights in the era of the flowering of fraternal organizations and those rights consisted of imposing on the home life a couple of rules like not cursing, like treating ladies kindly and respectfully, like not tracking mud through the house, like putting the seat down, and like allowing the little ladies to surround themselves and everyone else with feminine things except in the basement.

      Now, unfortunately, all bets are off. Feet are up on the coffee table along with the pints. Cursing at the little lady? Well, she can take it. Respect for the little woman? Well, if she pulls in a good salary. If she complains, she’s too much baggage, probably replaceable.

      Yeah, some of us can ventilate, expletive, we expletive deserve to ventilate. It’s our God given right! The rest of everybody else can just go to…

      • M. Stankovich says

        With all due respect, I was not referring to the daily “annoyances” we all encounter. I was specifically referring to bearing the stress, the anxiety, the frustrations, and the accompanying scrutiny that is associated with accountability.

        I had a man describe to me how he lured his best friend behind a warehouse, forced him to his knees and made him pray for forgiveness for sexually abusing his 14-year old daughter before emptying his handgun in the man’s head. He presented the story in such a compelling way – broken-hearted that he was unable to protect his own daughter – that, while I certainly do not condone murder, I appreciated a father’s “sentiment.” I asked a man who never made direct eye-contact with me over the course of 30-minutes, if anyone should be concerned that he was leaving on parole, coldly stare at me to say if he ran into “certain people,” he planned to “torture them as I watch them die.” Another meek, geek-looking man told me, “It’s true, I did eat some of my father’s brains after I killed him because he was a smart man.”

        As corollaries, a friend of mine had a parishioner call asking to have her daughter visiting from out of town “receive a blessing” before surgery.” He agreed to meet them at the church to anoint her. The surgery? An abortion. He refused to anoint her or “bless” her. The family was outraged and called everyone they knew, leading all the way to the dean & the bishop before it finally ended. Another friend had received a small group of young families from an ethnic parish, and in turn, they influenced similar young families. When he discovered that one couple was having selective abortions by gender, he forbade them to come to the Eucharist and demanded they come for instruction and repentance. They were outraged and left, taking a sizable portion of the group with them

        My point: cumulatively, and in isolation, these situations can become overwhelming, particularly under the scrutiny of ignorance and self-appointed “authority.” We depend on the common experience and the common knowledge of our peers for empathy, assurance, correction, guidance, and most importantly, the installation of hope. This entire matter of “it was on the internet so it’s fair game” is a grandiose rationalization to justify the disrespect for violating the confidentiality of these priests, scorning them as “cowards,” and then attempting to use their words in a manner for which they were never intended. This is unethical & despicable.

        And to whomever it is who provided this confidential information, you are a rodent.

  7. “Even though this forum is “closed” I am not ethically bound to not publish the posts. ”
    I’m afraid it’s worse than publishing in camera remarks, George: you’ve split an infinitive in this sentence.
    I don’t know if I can ever forgive you.

    • Will Harrington says

      You should forgive him, its only a Latin rule that some people tried to force onto the English language. Millions of schoolchildren instinctively knew that infinitives can be split in English. Resist Latin tyranny. Split infinitives whenever it sounds right!

  8. ChristineFevronia says

    Hi, George! Although my family made the choice to leave the OCA after the Synod wrote their deceitful and hateful letter about Met. Jonah back in July 2012, I dip onto your site often for news.

    You are in my prayers, and I thank you for your endurance in fighting the Good Fight.

  9. Daniel E. Fall says

    Actually, I see nothing wrong with continuing education for priests. Stuff changes over the course of years. There are new things and adaptation is important.

    Now vote me negative to show how much you enjoy the status quo, and vote me negative twice from a different name if you enjoy the status quo ante more.

    Fun with Latin 101.

  10. The Silence of the Priests says

    The silence of the priests makes it very difficult to speak up in confession. To whom can we trust the nurturing of our souls? To weakness? To the cowed? To the complicit?