Propagandist, Fantasist, or Provacateur?

As I mentioned to several friends over the past couple of days, I did not expect OCANews.org to go quietly into the good night. The increasingly shrill and hysterical tone undertaken by its blogmeister in light of the ferocious pushback against him by “Muzhik” and others has left him grasping at straws even as his credibility continues to hurtle headlong over the cliff.

His latest post is a case in point. Rather than take it apart point by point, I would like to instead direct your attention to where we are now and why the recent turn of events — which are most decidedly not in the +Jonah-hater’s favor — have forced him to continue his cordless bungee jumping into the abyss of continued self-delusion. Sarcasm aside, none of what follows is causes me joy. But it must be said that the time for the gloves to come off has arrived. Put in the simplest possible terms, because he has been accorded such undue influence in the higher reaches of the OCA (and this includes the bishops of the Church and the Metropolitan Council), this rogue operator has done incalculable damage to the OCA. To what extent we cannot yet know. What I do know is that the culture of corruption at the base of it cannot be contained any longer. Mark Stokoe has unwittingly opened this pandora’s box and unleashed furies which will not be contained — not only in the OCA but in American Orthodoxy as well.

What follows will be reasoned analysis based on the facts at hand. Only at the end will I dare to speculate on what this all means for the Church.

1. It is clear that Stokoe has come to view himself as a kingmaker in American Orthodoxy. This is a harsh accusation but there is no other conclusion that reasonable people can draw from his uncovered e-mail. The care that he invested in his trap to ensnare +Jonah shows great attention to detail, more so than one would expect from a simple muckraker. It also shows that Stokoe went from being a reporter to being a newsmaker. He’s no different than the journalist who seduces the mayor’s wife and then writes that she is an adulteress. Whether the recipients of that e-mail were willing participants in his plot is now beside the point. The recipients were named as being in the anti-Jonah camp. If they were the unwitting targets of Stokoe’s e-mail (Stokoe appears to have hit “reply all” by mistake) then they have a duty and obligation to put out a press release or an open letter stating that they have no part in this clearly diabological intrigue. It’s really that simple. If they don’t then Stokoe’s original analysis stands, and they are indeed conspirators with him and risk their canonical standing.

2. Stokoe’s view that those who have different opinions are beyond the pale shows a disordered mind. For the record, I don’t know who writes for ocatruth.com, but they is not the unhinged bigots that Stokoe makes them out to be. In the few weeks that that the site went live, ocatruth.com has posted no less than five essays criticizing +Jonah and his management style. They’ve taken +Jonah to task for political missteps. They even printed a statement from a certain Mary who wanted to take all the OCA bishops out and “throw them in the trash.” This is certainly extreme (I certainly don’t think that’s necessary or desirable), but it’s not +Jonah-fawning adulation. Ocatruth.com even stated in one essay that it considers Stokoe to “be a good man.” I myself have stated that “I was a big fan of Stokoe.” Both Muzhik and I view the yeoman-like work that OCANews.org did in the past to be salutary to the Church. Unfortunately, Stokoe has clearly gone off the rails, losing all objectivity and perspective. How else can I put it? He clearly hates +Jonah. +Jonah’s moral rectitude bothers Stokoe, not his management style.

3. +Jonah is a threat to the normal, run-of-the-mill, inconsequential American Orthodoxy that we’ve come to expect from the OCA/AOA/GOA hierarchy. (And don’t tell me about +Iakovos risking his life to march with Martin Luther King —that was over forty year ago.) I didn’t realize it until I read Julia Duin’s latest article on him in The Washington Post, but +Jonah was the first major religious leader to speak out against the lifting of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (DADT) in the military. He wrote an eloquent letter to the Congress explaining what was at stake here for the salvation of the souls of servicemen entrusted to the care of Orthodox chaplains. He also stated what the connivance in homosexual lifestyles means for the salvation of Orthodox chaplains. This is not a go-along-to-get-along timeserver. We had two of them as primates in the past, and look at where it’s gotten us. For the sake of argument, we could say that +Jonah may be wrong to fight this battle at present, but that’s why we have leaders. It’s their pay-grade to make the tough calls. Regardless, he fervently believes he has to safeguard the Truth as it was handed down to him by the Fathers of the Church. No real bishop could be any less committed.

4. There is clearly a Progressive clique at the national levels of American Orthodoxy which operates in a lethargic fashion under some variant of Neuhaus’ Law for whom “orthodoxy is optional.” We’re probably talking about nothing more than inertia here. At first, I believed that this was a gay cabal but I think that’s rather restrictive. Don’t get me wrong, gay cabals have always existed within institutions but this is more than that. I believe some of the jurisdictions have a bigger problem than the OCA (and one that doesn’t, the Antiochians). I don’t think that Stokoe’s priest is a homosexual, but the priest in question by his own admission rejects the plain teaching of Scripture on this point. How the Holy Synod can allow the open rejection of the Orthodox moral tradition by an ordained man who stands at the altar is another question that must be put to them as well. And for that matter, since the Metropolitan Council is co-equal to the Holy Synod (according to the corporate statutes of the OCA), then they too are derelict in their duty.

5. In my original posting on this (News and OCANews) I mentioned a phenomenon known as “The Ruling Class”. Ever since Angelo de Codevilla coined this term last year, it has has become part of the American idiom. Others use the words “The Collective”, or “The Hive”, or “The Apparat” to describe the same thing. This phenomenon neatly encapsulates the corruption that is endemic to certain ruling circles despite their apparent ineptitude. A case in point about the seductive powers of The Ruling Class would be the sad turn in the career of Fr Thomas Hopko, whose characterization of the decrepit culture of the OCA from two years ago stands in stark contrast to the obsequious posture he now takes. He was recently joined by another respected priest, Michael Oleksa, who likewise sees OCANews as the Fount of all Wisdom and Truth. This blind obedience to an obviously biased news source is worse than the typical amateurishness that has long infected the various Orthodox jurisdictions (think The Orthodox Observer). In fact, it is positively Orwellian.

6. Perhaps the only thing that those on the e-mail exchange and I share is our devotion to our Church’s autocephaly. Unfortunately, the stupidity of the Holy Synod coupled with the reckless abandon of Stokoe has effectively shown it to be a sham. The recent visit of Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev to Syosset reminded me of Daddy showing up at the Frat House to take away the car keys. To my knowledge, there has never been an historical instance in which the Holy Synod of an autocephalous Church has been taken to task by the bishop of another Church. This would be laughable if it wasn’t pathetic. And why did it come to this? Because of pride, certainly; but also because +Jonah’s antagonists on the Holy Synod let OCANews drive the debate. Make no mistake: Stokoe’s agenda has infected the Holy Synod and Metropolitan Council.. And if it’s not Stokoe’s agenda, then it’s theirs and they are the source of the leaks to Stokoe (which he all but admits). Yes, I know that not every bishop or Council member was included in Stokoe’s plot, but unless and until they repudiate his version of events, then they remain complicit in his actions. Stokoe’s desperation in this regard is becoming increasingly ridiculous. In his most recent posting, he writes about a supposed partisan of +Jonah’s who welcomes the “Finlandization” of the OCA. The implication is that this partisan speaks for +Jonah. Regardless, he cannot prove a linkage between those who don’t march in lockstep with him and +Jonah so he just makes one up in shrill fashion. As noted above, +Jonah’s positions (real or imagined) are so beyond the pale that he can’t even conceive of the possibility that honest people are able to make up their own minds.

7. The e-mail. At first I though that I should include this at the top of my bill of particulars. But for some reason I held myself back. After all, it speaks for itself. I also thought that it would end his credibility forever. There’s no way that Stokoe can spin his way out of this one because it shows his manifest bad faith in stunning Technicolor. I don’t know how ocatruth.com got a hold of this e-mail but I’m going to guess that it was somebody on the original e-mail list whose conscience got the better of him. Or it may have fallen into +Jonah’s lap when he rode herd in Syosset and shut down all the computers. (Another instance in which Stokoe protesteth too much.) If the latter is the case, then I bet +Jonah has a whole lotta other incriminating e-mails as well.. We’ll see. It’s possible that one or more of the recipients sent it to ocatruth just to stick it to Stokoe and some of the others listed. I don’t know. I really don’t care. But I believe that however it was revealed, it was providential. Even if we take into account +Jonah’s deficiencies, the fact remains that we are dealing with the fruit of a poisoned tree. At this point, anybody who takes Stokoe’s position vis-a-vis +Jonah from this point forward is also acting in bad faith.

8. Now I will address the question that I began this essay with. What will Stokoe now do, given the fact that he has been outed as a provacateur? I don’t know but we must assume that he has intimate knowledge of some in the higher echelons of the OCA that would prove to be embarrasing. I imagine that he’s not going to allow himself to be hung out to dry. That’s why I think that this is bigger than the OCA and may have a cleansing effect on all of Orthodoxy in America. That’s my take on his most recent posting which throws all pretense to objectivity out the window. It’s his last chance to make good on the posting that started it all some three weeks ago. Perhaps if he screams loud enough to the peasants to “ignore the man behind the curtain,” then it will all work out in the end. And if that doesn’t work (as it seems not to be thanks to his growing chorus of critics), then when? I imagine there are some powerful men who are losing a lot of sleep at present. Having said that, I don’t believe that they can contain the damage done by Stokoe. It’s clear that Alfeyev’s intervention may have “refreshed” the memories of some on the Holy Synod but the fact that they have allowed this culture of corruption to act unimpeded over the years will ultimately come crashing down on their heads. The Agent of Accountability and Transparency, who was unaccountable to no one and certainly not transparent about his own agenda will not allow himself to be discarded like a spurned lover.

Next: Cui Bono?

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Comments

  1. George,

    Thanks for keeping up with this story and reporting on it. I took flack from some others back when Stokoe first started his blog, because I was suspicious not for what he was protesting but the spirit in which he was doing it. Something just didn’t ring true to me. And it is a shame that an autocephalous church can be driven by an individual with a web site. Anyway, keep up the good work.

  2. Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says

    Good analysis. Please stay on the subject, and don’t let Ashley Nevins lead the discussion off into the woods.

    One more thing: Let’s not give Stokoe a pass on his personal life on the grounds that the man’s private sins are between him and his confessor. That part of Stokoe’s personal life is no longer private. He’s made it public. He’s had his same-sex housemate identified publicly as a family in-law. He has also pushed the gay view of gayness on his website, deriding others for their homophobia and denying the link between homosexuality and pedophilia. It’s time to take the gloves off on the issue of the openly gay who pretend to be Orthodox.

    • Peter Petkas says

      My experience tells me that homophobes often have deeply homosexual and other sexual maladjustments (to be kind) lurking behind their bluster. I pray that is not the case with you, George, and your fellow travelers. Neo-McCarthyism, of the sort this particular diatribe reflects, is a blemish on Orthodoxy. Shame on you George Michalopulos for propagating such crap, especially that you would assault our intellects by claiming your comments are objective and factual.

      Frankly, I pray that the OCA bishops of the Holy Synod, His Beatitude Jonah, and Mark Stokoe, all of whom I believe have much to offer to Orthodoxy in America, even though I do not agree with with any of them on every point, will be able to rise above the muck so disgustingly constructed by George Michalopulos and his fanatic and benighted ilk.

      Finally, I fear, that at least to outside observers, you, Jonah, and the Synod, all of whom I respect in many ways, are demonstrating by your self-flagellation and fratricide, that an autocephalous American Orthodox Church may be not only a dream but a nightmare or, at best, a chimera.

      May the Lenten season help you and me deal with our anger or at least help us lay it aside with other earthly cares for a time.

      Peter

      • George Michalopulos says

        I am not a “homophobe,” in that I don’t have an “irrational fear of homsexuality.” My fear of what homosexuality does to society is grounded in reality, therefore very rational. Leaving that aside, I suppose that you’d like to see our Church to “grow” into something like ECUSA?

        • I’ve been reading this list for awhile now, and I must say that all in all you do seem to be an almost textbook example of a scapegoater, George. Do you happen to know anything about ancient Greek cults, the social dynamics of *pharmakos,* or the terrible usefulness of the *pharmakon* to some often very sinister and profoundly self-deluded wannabe “leaders”?

          Please answer this simple question forthrightly: Do you think that homosexuality does worse damage to society than any of the other far more widespread outcomes and symptoms of human sinfulness? I’d be interested to read a list of social trends in contemporary America that are worse, in your view — if there are any. I can almost not believe my ears sometimes, around here.

          • George Michalopulos says

            Mike, lot’s to think about there. As I’ve said more than once, I’m a “live and let live” kind of guy. I don’t despise homoesexuals, etc. Usual caveats out of the way.

            This isn’t about my biases but about what the Scripture teachers. It’s that simple.

            Now let me answer your larger question. No, I don’t believe that homosexuality is necessarily worse than fornication, adultery, drunkenness, etc. They’re all bad for the functioning of a healthy individual, family, and society. That’s why all societies from tme immemorial have severe sanctions against them. Even pagan societies.

            When we think of the pagan religions with their temple prostitutes, what we forget (or never knew in the first place) was that these vices were better controlled if they were practiced within the confines of the local religious cult. Hence, temple prostitutes were granted high esteem but common streetwalkers were not. Eunuchs and/or effeminate men who served in the cult were likewise granted some measure of respect as opposed to men who trolled bathhouses, etc.

            The point is that the ancients in their wisdom tried to find outlets for licentiousness that would mitigate the ill-effects of such behavior. Sanction it, control it to some extent, but don’t let it run riot throughout society.

            • Thanks for your thoughtful and fair-minded response to my question. I think it’s important to keep in mind that a real distinction exists between the acting out of indulged passions — a corrupting process that all sinners are subject to, and which can take many forms, some being much more popular and socially acceptable than others — and ousia and physis, essence and nature. It’s important for many reasons. Mainly because it often seems as if certain Orthodox flirt with the temptation to demonize those who are subject to specific manifestations of the human passions that, generally speaking, are common to us all — specific manifestations to which they themselves are far less tempted, or perhaps not tempted at all. They do not seem to genuinely distinguish between the sinner and the sin — although they are very careful to give lip service to the principle.

              The result may be that certain socially constructed “Others” are then quite conveniently set up, framed, for taking the fall when things go south. This social sorcery is a very old, tired story. It’s proved very useful for deflecting the attention of large numbers of people from far greater guiltiness, iniquity and spiritual wickedness. It is itself a form of iniquity, another word for injustice — and of hypocrisy. Scripture teaches this, too.

              One of the messages I hear from the Word of God is that the sins of the flesh are less grave than the sins of the spirit. Harder to fix. Is covetousness, broadly speaking, a sin of the spirit? Paul equates it with idolatry, so I think it qualifies for that category. It is certainly a much more universal, and for that reason a more destructive instance of human sinfulness than “homosexuality” is, arguably. What is not arguable, however, is that covetousness is not only socially acceptable in the United States but practically its true faith and guiding “light.” Serving Mammon and serving God seem to be nearly indistinguishable, here. And yet I hear very little indignation about that little problem and all of its consequences. Which are cosmic.

          • Adultery and divorce ravage Churches, too. So does covetousness. And they damage children. I’ve noticed that the Son of God had a lot to say about all of these problems. Don’t you close your eyes to the obvious. Open your eyes. And think more clearly.

            • The logic behind your first sentence escapes me. Churches are made of people, therefore that which ravages people and their families ravages their Churches perforce. Unless your notions are inspired by some sort of underlying Platonism, and to you the Church is another Platonic idea, I can’t fathom what you’re getting at.

              Re: your second sentence, adultery, divorce and covetousness are as American as apple pie, these days. The first one is certainly celebrated as a liberation and alternative lifestyle —covertly, though, not as loudly as “gay liberationists,” admittedly. But then….
              Divorce is utterly normalized in this country and in the Church, in effect. Jesus specifically forbade it, but his followers evidently think they know better. And covetousness has been America’s real religion and passion for as long as I’ve been alive, among nominal Christians about as much as anyone else. So I repeat: the selectivity of your indignation is interesting and telling. You strain at gnats, and swallow camels. An old story, that.

              I’m not in favor of “normalizing” homosexuality. I’m just fed up with the hypocrisy of the pseudo-Christian right. Apostasy takes many forms, and what is so interesting is how blind people can be to their own personal preferences in it. The fact that it is the sea that they and their confreres swim in doesn’t help, apparently.

              • No, what’s really bothering me is hypocrisy in Christ’s name. The American “Christian” right happens to be the incarnation of hypocrisy. I would really hate to see its tentacles spread even more extensively into the OCA than they already have, and than they appear to have done in the GOAA.

                Do you think homosexuality is more personally and socially destructive than adultery, or divorce? That’s a simple question to which you could easily answer yes or no.

                Do you recognize that divorce is already completely “normalized,” to use your words, in this country as a whole and in the OCA? Again, a simple yes or no response is possible. And if you do recognize that, the obvious question is: why aren’t you at least as indignant about that? Quit worrying so much about what your friends might think. Or…

                Not sure I know what this means: “the institutionalization of homosexuality.” Sounds like hysterical cant. I’m a lot more concerned about the institutionalization of hypocrisy and scapegoating. That is already very far gone, seems to me.

              • George Michalopulos says

                Mike, there’s no outbreak of polygamy in the clerical ranks of the Catholic Church. Or bestiality for that matter. If there was, I’d be aghast, but spending the weekend with The Girls Next Door doesn’t hurt minors; shagging sheep doesn’t hurt them either. Regardless, your unwillingness to look at the actual destructiveness of homosexuality as opposed to the general sinfulness of adultery is illogical. That’s like worrying about the contempt for Gentiles found in the Talmud as opposed to the genocide unleashed by anti-Semitism.

    • What do you know or think you know about the intimate details of Stokoe’s personal life? Do you have a camera in his bedroom? Would you like one there? (I ask rhetorically; I wouldn’t want honest answers to any of these questions vented publicly….)

      It seems to me that what you’re suggesting here is personal business between him, his confessor and God. If an unmarried man is chaste, or struggling to be chaste, he is invited to approach the Eucharist, if properly prepared to do so. That is the teaching of the Church.

      You know, Deacon, this sort of innuendo seems patently scurrilous to me, unless there’s some solid, evidentiary basis in fact behind it. And even then it is more than a little suspect in the face of all the gross, mystifying iniquities that abound in this country.

      Incidentally, I also wonder about the openly adulterous, the openly divorced, the openly, world-historically covetous and those who bless them (whom God abhors), the openly, bloody-mindedly, appallingly war-mongering, the openly and shamelessly deceitful, the openly war-profiteering (and their fellow travelers—one could go on and on), the openly indifferent to the vast crimes against God’s creation perpetrated by our modern industrial civilization enslaved to materialism, the openly, stupefyingly hypocritical, etc. etc. who pretend to be Orthodox. How about gloves off with respect to all of them, too? (Won’t be holding my breath for an answer to that one.)

  3. Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says

    J’accuse

    In my previous post, I accused Stokoe of arguing the gay view of gayness on his website. Here’s evidence, taken from a discussion of the link between homosexuality and pedophilia in late November of last year. I’ll spare you the comments of others, which raised the issue, and just cite Stokoe’s “editor’s notes” on the subject, in italics:

    (Editor’s note: Homophobia is not a virtue, even when preaching to homophobic cultures. Secondly, if you suggesting that homosexuality and pedophilia are related, you are mistaken, in the same way rape has nothing to do with heterosexuality. It is about power, not sexual orientation. The allegations concerning the Archbishop are not about homosexuality. So if we are to have this important discussion, let’s do it free from phobia, stereotypes and cheap rim shots, please. Otherwise, it risks trivilizing your serious points.)

    (Editor’s note: You are wrong. The following is just one citation, taken from UC-Davis: “The empirical research does not show that gay or bisexual men are any more likely than heterosexual men to molest children. This is not to argue that homosexual and bisexual men never molest children. But there is no scientific basis for asserting that they are more likely than heterosexual men to do so. And, as explained above, many child molesters cannot be characterized as having an adult sexual orientation at all; they are fixated on children.” That being settled, let’s move on.)

    (Editor’s note: Possible, but not the case. According to the latest academic research most researchers are coming to agreement that most true pedophiles have no adult sexual orientation, but are fixated only on children, of either sex. They are best described not as homosexual or heterosexual – but pedophiles. I hope this puts the matter to rest. )

    (Editor’s note: I am glad this has been helpful for you, but it is not the purpose or goal or expertise of this site to discuss these matters. There are many other places to that; while there are precious few to discuss matters in the OCA and lately, the AOCNA. So, while not wanting to limit anybody’s concerns, I think the point has been made that there is no direct, indirect, or causal link between homosexuality and pedophila.)

    Notice how Stokoe handles the issue:

    In his first note, he disparages “homophobia” and “homophobic cultures.” Then he asserts that pedophilia is about power, as if sexual gratification plays no part in it at all. Then he belittles the commenter’s opinion by warning him not to engage in “phobia, stereotypes and cheap rim shots.”

    In his second note, he quotes the summary conclusion of an unnamed study by unnamed persons at UC-Davis that gay men are no more likely than straight men to molest children. Then he urges the posters to “move on.”

    In his third note, citing “latest academic research” by “most researchers,” he makes the highly dubious claim that pedophilia isn’t homosexual or heterosexual because pedophiles have no preference for sex and are merely “fixated on children, of either sex.” He adds that he “hopes this puts the matter to rest.”

    In his final note, he says the issue is not relevant to the discussion or the purposes of the website and that “the point has been made that there is no direct, indirect, or casual link between homosexuality and pedophilia.” That ends the discussion.

    NOW HERE’S THE KICKER:

    Expecting that Stokoe wouldn’t accept a summary conclusion from an academic study contradicting his own summary conclusion from UC-Davis, I myself provided Stokoe hard statistical data on 117 cases of students sexually abused by faculty and staff of New York City schools from January 1999 to June 2001, as reported by the New York Post. Of those 117 cases, the Post wrote, “Nearly 20 percent of the offenders are homosexuals and in most of these cases, the attack led to sexual relationship with the student.” (Source: Douglas Montero, “Secret Shame Of Our Schools: Sexual Abuse Of Students Runs Rampant,” New York Post, July 30, 2001) So unless homosexuals make up 20 percent of the faculty and staff of New York City schools, this is hard evidence that homosexuals are indeed more likely to molest children.

    I provided this information to Stokoe in a comment between his second and third editor’s notes, but did he post it? NO! He did not allow his readers the benefit of the information. Instead, he continued to cite unnamed research on his side that “puts the matter to rest,” finally concluding the discussion with an outright denial of any “direct, indirect or casual link” between homosexuality and child molesting.

    So, not only does Stokoe preach the gay line on the issue dogmatically, he also does so DISHONESTLY. That’s who we’re dealing with, and the Church ought to know about it.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Deacon, you are right that Stokoe has been involved in an openly sinful situation. The reason I didn’t dwell on it is because this is now larger than his own sinfulness. For whatever reason his own pastor encourages him in his sin. Even if Stokoe joined ECUSA tomorrow, the plain fact remains that a priest who is a luminary on the Metropolitan Council has gone one record as rejecting the universal and uniquivocal teaching of the Church on this matter. That’s why I don’t think this thing is going to go away. And the extent that a homosexual cabal exists is ultimately at root. If it is not extirpated now, it will drag down the entire Church with it. For what it’s worth, I believe this is bigger than the OCA.

  4. “Kingmaker”? I don’t know about that. Has Stokoe actually ever advocated someone for church office who actually won? What he’s done is pick existing ones he doesn’t like and have them thrown out of office. So he’s more like a “kingkiller”. Calling him a “kingmaker” implies he makes something. All he does is destroy.

    I will, however, grant that Stokoe destroyed bad stuff first, before turning against Metropolitan Jonah.

  5. Brian Jackson says

    George,

    As I’ve told you by email before, I believe that His Beatitude Metropolitan Jonah is a good man, and I appreciate every thoughtful post on your blog about this issue. Thank you for your work.

  6. Also, I would like to say that however the homosexuality issue may be influencing this, we shouldn’t forget the real mistakes that touched this off. Whatever was contained in the SMPAC report (and whatever really happened), we must make it a priority to protect children and parishioners from being victimized in this way, and to ensure the guidelines are followed in the future if they haven’t been in the past.

    I really hope Metropolitan Jonah has had that made clear to him if it hasn’t already. That’s the scariest thing about this for me, after the “one guy with website runs OCA” part. The guidelines are there not just to protect people, but if the worst should happen despite our best efforts, it protects the church from devastating financial liability.

    What would it say about us if we were seen to condemn consensual sexual activity between adults because they’re of the same sex, but looked the other way when the sexual activity was a rape, or an adult acting against a child?

    • Patrick Henry Reardon says

      Thank you, Helga!

      • Rod Dreher says

        I completely agree, Helga — and I say that as a supporter of HB.

        • George Michalopulos says

          All, please understand that I am not on an anti-homosexual witch hunt. And I for one do think that pedophilia is a far worse crime against nature. But let us be clear, pedophilia is the end-result of too much tolerance. The pedophile scandal in the Roman Church arose because for many decades the Roman priesthood was a dumping ground for effeminate men or those who are attracted to their own sex. It was always widely suspected that these men were engaging in homoerotic acts with other men of similar age and station and thus tolerated by and large. However, as in all homosexual subcultures, it devolved in time to ephebophila, or man-boy love.

          We would be foolish to suspect that we Orthodox would be somehow immune to this similar devolution.

    • Christopher says

      It was exactly this possibility (for my children) that ultimately tipped me over the side of the OCA boat back during the financial scandal. I thought to myself “if all but one bishop can so poorly handle the responsibility of a few million dollars, how are they going to handle the real fact of homosexualist bishops, clergy, laity and the associated pedophilia?” I could not find an answer to this question that satisfied. Is my current jurisdiction a better place to be? I think so, in that I have not found (at least, not to the same extant) the same sort of old world-ish culture that was so evident in the OCA…

  7. Peter A. Papoutsis says

    Hi George

    Its been a long time since I e-mailed or commented on anything you have written or said. Suffice it to say that in my lifetime I have seen the removal of Archbishop Spyridon and am now witnessing the same thing with HB+Jonah in thr OCA. American Orthodoxy under a unified American Orthodox Church, fully independent, will happen, and must happen, but the old guard, Clergy and the Powerful money doners, will fight tooth and nail until it does.

    I, like you, admired +Jonah’s stance on the moral issues destroying our country, and now our Church. All I can do is pray and speak out. Most GOA parishes do not say a word about Christian morality. Its just all about stewardship, church picnics, and making money. I thought the Church of Christ was more than that? +Jonah should not have picked a fight with the EP, but he did, as well as many other mistakes. However, I would still take him over the current batch of ruling clerics that we have especially in the GOA. This post may make me unpopular with some who know me, but we cannot afford to lose any more good men like +Jonah.

    That’s just my two cents. I hope an American Orthodox Church will arise for my kids sake. What armies and past oppressions could not destroy, apathy and a permissive moral posture might! How utterly sad.

    Peter

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  11. Re: # 18, since I can’t reply to these directly…

    John Pappas wrote:

    “Homosexuality is probably more destructive than adultery or divorce but all have their sorrows. No question about that.”

    Thanks for the admission. Penitential canons of the Orthodox Church have traditionally taken a different view on the relative seriousness of homosexual fornication and adultery. But as on divorce, witch-hunting Americans know better, I guess.

    “Lot of bad behaviors have been normalized. It’s called the corruption of culture.”

    Tell me about it. And yet it’s clinically fascinating how it’s usually just the sexual corruptions that get “conservative Christians” all worked up, or primarily those. It’s not like there aren’t a whole lot of other and much worse ones.

    “But the instiutionalization of homosexuality is not “hysterical cant.” Haven’t you heard about the Episcopalians or the Roman Catholic Church? The Episcopalians go gayly on their way dropping parishioners by the trainload. The RC is trying to clean house (difficult to do in America). http://www.catholicnews.com/data/stories/cns/1004842.htm

    Heard of them, yes. The ECUSA is not an appealing spectacle, agreed. And good luck to Rome with that house cleaning, as you put it — here or anywhere else, from what I understand. They’d lose half their staff if they got moralistically zealous in this area. Sexual abuse of minors being a distinctly more grave matter. But to clarify, I meant that it sounds like hysterical cant with respect to the Orthodox Church. I know, I know … a slippery slope and all that.

    “I think everyone who uses the “the Christian right wing is hypocritical” to avoid addressing the homosexual issue in the churches just can’t stomach that their liberal friends might see them as ignorant rubes.”

    I think it’s more that fair-minded and just people can’t stomach the sort of hypocrites who choose unpopular and very easy targets for their indignant screechings, while a nation drowns in far worse and nearly ubiquitous evils. Evils that are seldom heard of from the self-righteous, Pharisaical sorts. Do they even see them, we wonder? Read the Prophets on the sin of Sodom. I believe each of the Major ones touched on the topic: Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Isaiah. See if their words ring any bells or remind you of anything…

    “Why aren’t I as indignant about adultery or divorce? No one is trying to elevate it as a virtue.”

    That’s a straw man, among the vast majority of Christians, with respect to homosexuality. But like I said, covetousness and greed are elevated as virtues, as are support for unjust wars and lots of other abominations, all quite comfy in most of the Churches and about which one seldom hears much. These are toes few like to step on. Very prudent, I’m sure. But then we know that cowards and bullies typically pick on the weakest and most vulnerable minorities, while bending their knees to Baal. Another tired old story.

    “If we wanted to ordain adulterers out of compassion, sensitivity, or tolerance, I would challenge that too. Does that make me an adulterphobe?”

    Well, here we’re in agreement. But based on your own words above, I take it you think he’d be a better candidate than someone struggling with same-sex attraction. If true, then we disagree strongly there.