More of the Same? Another Syosset Power Grab — Part II

Czarina Glinda


Czarina Glinda

It appears that since the publication earlier this week of the leaked draft governing sexual misconduct, that the OCA’s Synod approved the proposed policies. This is most unfortunate given that these new proposals contravene Orthodox ecclesiology and the plain statutes of the OCA itself.

Previously, we mentioned how these new rules superseded episcopal authority as stated in Article IV of the OCA’s own Statutes. They also contravene Article XI of the Statute by reducing the authority of the Diocesan Courts. More ominously, they prejudge a clergyman guilty if he does not respond within 21 days after being accused. To our ears, this is unprecedented and contrary to secular jurisprudence, where — at least in America — the accused has the Constitutional right to not incriminate himself.

It is bad enough that the accused will have to go before a hostile board and prove a negative (which is impossible) but now he will be forced to do so before he has the time to hire competent legal counsel. He will not even be aware of the charges against him. This is ghastly. Think of it, how will a lowly priest, usually with a meager income, be able to hire a lawyer to represent him in such a short period of time?

Are the people who put out this document not aware that it takes several months for defense counselors to find exculpatory evidence which may exonerate the defendant? Regardless, such a prejudicial recommendation would severely limit the Diocesan Court in adjudicating the case in an impartial manner.

There are additional reservations being voiced with how these new ORSMA rules are being implemented. First, without Synod approval, these rules are already in use. Second, they have not been approved by the All-American Council which according to OCA Statute is the “highest legislative body” of the Church and the only venue where changes to said Statute can be made.

In other words the ORSMA is a multi-pronged attack, slowly chipping away at the body politic of the OCA: against the bishops, against the Diocesan Courts, and against the All-American Council. Soon, the Statute of the OCA will mean whatever the powers-that-be in Syosset deem it to be.

Most injurious however is the human toll. Now, any disgruntled parishioner or parish council member can make or facilitate a false accusation against a priest and ORSMA will be instantly activated.

The accused will have his ministry permanently crippled and his economic well-being all but destroyed. A transfer would be out of the question; after all, what other church would hire a priest who left under a cloud of scandal? And even if they wanted to hire him, he couldn’t serve until the ORSMA process had run its course. This could take several months or perhaps as long as a year.

The bishop is powerless to stop this even if it is a glaringly obvious miscarriage of justice. In the meantime, the priest will be in financial limbo. How will he feed and care for his family?

On so many levels, it is clear that this entire process doesn’t pass the smell test. More questions are being raised than answered. Consider: some may suspect that the sudden “need” to upgrade the Sex Czar from a part-time position to a full-time one means that the case load of sexual misconduct must be such that it couldn’t be met under the present regime.

Or does this merely mean that the OCA has a backlog of old cases that need investigation? Is this upgrade the by-product of an expected torrent of false accusations that will overwhelm Syosset once the word gets out that the Sex Czar position is now full-time? Or is this just another way for Syosset to justify its stranglehold on the dioceses by adding yet another make-work position, thereby keeping the monies flowing to the Central Administration?

What is the genesis of this obsessive sexual misconduct miasma that so exercises the Chancellor in his daily fulminations? Is it a legitimate concern for alleged victims of clergy abuse or is it merely an attempt to preemptively frighten the presbytery as a whole? OCA clergy are markedly docile in the best of circumstances, now they will be cowed into an unbearable obsequiousness at precisely the time when virile men of God are needed.

Are these new rules being inspired by Scripture and Tradition or by insurance agents and legal lobbyists who will be (and indeed, already are) fiduciary beneficiaries? It will of course be next-to-impossible to ferret out this information but we can be assured that Syosset has already sent a lot of money to its legal team to execute this process.

To be sure, there is no doubt that having clear clergy misconduct guidelines in place are helpful. But they must be true to Orthodox ecclesiology. They must also be balanced, which these new proposals clearly are not. For one thing, they are adversarial. Secondly, they err on the side of the alleged victims. Not only is this prejudicial against respondents but it accepts the hysterically comical, and absolutely unrealistic, post-modern paradigm that women are always victims and men always predators. Such draconian rules have been tried in the secular workplace in the wake of the Clarence Thomas/Anita Hill hearings but, human nature being what it is, have failed miserably. While the comparison may not be apt (as the parish is not a place for sexual banter and flirting), it is a place for people to come together and pray and if need be, console each other.

Cameraderie and fellowship are part-and-parcel of church life. ORSMA would throw a cold pail of water on normal pastoral relationships between priests and parishioners. It is possible that seminaries will inculcate a liturgical functionary style of priesthood at the expense of a pastoral one.

Clearly ORSMA has not been thought through. Moreover, the OCA is not many things: it’s not growing, it’s not wealthy, and it’s not vibrant. But it’s also not drowning in a sea of sexual abuse cases. Last year, we published an official report from the Roman Catholic Church in America. This report stated that in 2011 there were only seven (7) credible allegations against priests.

Think of it: out of a population of 42,000 priests, of which at least 98 percent are celibate (Byzantine Rite and Anglican Vicariate priests are allowed to be married), there were only seven cases that merited investigation. Compare these numbers with the OCA, which has perhaps no more than 1,000 active or retired priests and who are in any case married. If we used the same algorithm to calculate the number of miscreant OCA priests the numbers would be in the negative.

This cannot be stated enough. The OCA is simply not dealing with enough credible cases of clergy misconduct to justify the creation of yet another full-time employee in Syosset while its other ministries are withering on the vine. Such a fundamental change must be given a full and complete hearing at every level of the Church, not just front-loaded conferences which are self-promoted and propagandized by the Chancellor in his daily musings.

At the very least, the only proper place for these changes must be made at the All-American Council. Otherwise, we run the very real risk of turning the OCA into a private chaplaincy of a few well-connected families. Not only will the priests be demoralized but the bishops will be turned into actual hirelings. As it is, the OCA is well on its way to becoming an Eastern Rite Presbyterian Church (USA), where a select group of Protopresbyters actually rule, keeping the bishops as figureheads and liturgical curators.

Next: Part III: The Emasculization of the OCA?

About GShep

Comments

  1. Rodney Buchshotte says

    In another post someone listed the infractions Syosset ignores like a gay retired bishop who married another guy, a current bishop who had gay affairs in seminary, an active priest who announced he was gay and divorced his wife but is still serving, etc.

    Can you list them?

    We need to see if Syosset and the Bishops are ignoring the gay stuff while pushing this ORSMA confusion.

    • Peter A. Papoutsis says

      Really? Is this a joke or is this real? If this is real I don’t even know how to respond to that? If it is real is the OCA still Orthodox? Can we get some clarification on this.

      Peter

  2. Michael Kinsey says

    The assertion that the Syosett is itself, pro homosexual agenda has been raised by Mr. Bushshotte. I thank him for his accurate input. The exercise of playing fast and loose with the Truth, is utterly impotent. as all the lies, simply cannot change Truth. Truth is Truth
    The great falling away is in full gear, obviously. We are guided to endure it. The Vision given by the Christ, so that the people do not perish is our remedy. As the great rush to enter into the great whore and ride the beast into perdition ensues, the authentic Christian, and authentically of the Body of the Christ, will love and serve God alone, live by His Word& not bread alone, and will not tempt God. This is a real battle, with victories and hero’s concerning spiritual life or death. It give me the greatest pleasure knowing many will gain the victory over the beast. For my part, the more the better, as authentic Christianity will win against these silly ,sorry desolate liars.

  3. Gail Sheppard says

    I think it’s really important to keep this about the Holy Synod and not about the dangers of women. Women are not the reason the Church is falling apart. Women did not botch the Sidebottom case. Women do not ask to be abused. Even poor Cindy is a victim of these MEN, because they placed her in a position she shouldn’t be in. If the Church is becoming “feminized,” it is not through the fault of women. It’s because these MEN don’t know how to be bishops. – The fact that your metropolitan’s mother was an Episcopal priest should have been a huge red flag to you all. I argued back then that a mother’s influence over her son is not insignificant, especially when they’re close. Sons even marry women like their mothers so is it any surprise that if “mommy” likes the Church this way, her son will think it must be good?

    We worry about all the shines and monasteries being bombed in Syria and the shrinking Christian population. In very real sense, the same thing is happening here, but in a different way. The introduction of these progressive (the irony is almost palatable) programs is as destructive to the Church as a direct explosion.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Gail, as usual you get right to the heart of the matter. In Part III, I will talk about the “feminization” as properly understood and as you eloquently put it. It’s not about feminazis taking over the Church but feminized men who don’t know how to be men. You’re right: these are men who don’t know how to be men. The question that we have to answer is “why”?

      • Gail Sheppard says

        I would argue for “emasculization” over “feminization,” as there is nothing wrong with being “feminine”. . . if you’re a woman. – I get your point, though.

        • George Michalopulos says

          Point very well taken Gail! There is nothing at all wrong with being feminine “if you’re a woman.” Vive la difference!

      • Thomas Barker says

        Xenoestrogens. Recent generations have been exposed to a vast array of chemicals that activate estrogen receptors. Soy products, pesticides, plasticizers in packaging, growth agents given livestock, parabens in lotions, – the list is much longer than this. It is well documented that sperm counts are dropping and male infants are being born with smaller male anatomy. Perhaps the lack of manly men is in part environmental.

        • This is of concern or should be of concern for our nation-world! but people are so asleep . . . . Having said that, I don’t think that is the OCA’s problem . . .

    • M. Stankovich says

      This is as a pretentious, contrived, load of psychobabble unworthy of even the Reader’s Digest as I’ve ever read. I will not even think of requesting authorities or citations for your foolishness – “your metropolitan’s mother was an Episcopal priest should have been a huge red flag to you all” – unless you are a prophetess of some sort. Are “we” to reasonably conclude that on account of the beliefs, opinions, mental capacity, durability, – hey, why stop there – “blondness,” brain hemisphere laterality, race, handedness, hair swirl, middle-finger-to-index-finger-ratio, or ability to “carry a tune” of one’s mother, you can or cannot have a reasonable brain in your head, Ms. Sheppard? Seriously? And Good Lord, Ms. Sheppard, “Cindy the victim?” Are you referring to the qualified, educated, trained, and experienced professional who is directing and guiding this new program from an evidence base of data confirmed in replicable research?

      Think of the time and the money the OCA could have saved by having Mr. Michalopulous teaching the bishops to be MEN, and you teaching them how to be bishops. And for free! Oorah! Let me run this past my mother…

      • George Michalopulos says

        Dr Stankovich, I’d like to come to Gail’s defense here. As someone who knows very little about the Fairer Sex (that’s me), I do know one thing –there really is such a thing as female intuition and I’ve learned after 50 years to not doubt it. Women have an uncanny ability to discern leadership qualities in men, those who have them and those who don’t. One reason His Beatitude Jonah is still so loved and respected by so many is because despite his dough-boy appearance and occasional missteps, he very much was a force to be contended with. Women especially picked this up and remain some of his most devoted and passionate supporters. Hence his non-stop speaking and traveling schedule, his ability to stabilize both seminaries, stand up to the Phanar, etc. In other words, the ability to make the OCA a player in the Orthodox world, something it never was previous to him and sadly, something that it isn’t now.

        Let me be blunt. Doesn’t it concern you that there are no recorded speeches or videos of Tikhon? That he hasn’t been invited to speak at non-OCA events, and the one time he was invited, no record exists of his appearance? The cathedral in DC has withered from over 500 congregants to a little over one hundred. Isn’t that strange? Jonah was a constant invitee to the other jurisdictions, to other denominations, he led the DC March for Life, etc. To say that there’s a leadership vacuum is putting it mildly, it’s more like there’s a memory hole at Syosset.

        I myself have been queezy about the fact that Tikhon’s mother is a priestess and I know others have as well. If nothing else, Gail may have hit upon what animates ORSMA. In Part III, which I will retitle “The Emasculization of the OCA” you will see what I mean. (Thank you Gail for inspiring me.)

      • Carl Kraeff says

        Dear Mr. Stankovich–You are a breath of fresh air on this blog.I love the way you bring sanity back into play when folks are out in the left field. Bravo!

        • Gail Sheppard says

          Carl: MS called me “foolish,” accused me of being “pretentious,” said what I wrote was “contrived, a load of psychobabble unworthy of even the Reader’s Digest. . .” I don’t see any content here. Just one insult after another. Exactly what did you find so refreshing? Had he talked to YOU like this, I would have objected.

      • “This is as a pretentious, contrived, load of psychobabble unworthy of even the Reader’s Digest as I’ve ever read.”

        ok but don’t you like the picture?

    • Disgusted With It says

      These bishops are incompetent for the most part. This is obvious. So now they are being led by the noses by a handful of self-inflated priests who think they are such intellectuals, but really have unimpressive education and experience. The OCA leadership is an embarrassment.

    • You had a lot of good points to make, but I was taken aback by your following quote:

      The fact that your metropolitan’s mother was an Episcopal priest should have been a huge red flag to you all

      You then went on to elaborate this is such a way as to suggest that you believe that sons and daughters may be a priori judged by their parents. I would suggest that, despite having a vocal proponent of Protestant Episcopalianism as a priestess mother , Metropolitan Tikhon had the balls to become and remain Orthodox. This would suggest that he has a mind of his own. May he thrive in the Faith.

  4. Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

    George, THANKS! You mostly nailed it this time. However, I’m afraid it’s way over the heads of some, and for others it’s irrelevant because they feel that homosexuality is the only thing they want to discuss, whereas the problems in church and life and in the OCA are far more wide-ranging. in a way they are like the creators of the DRAFT–we must think about life as sexuality and trace every anomaly or worry in life to it. No one has been as extreme as St. John Chrysostom apparently was, in intimating that, since homosexuality is worse than murder, the Lord and Moses were moral defectives in not putting a prohibition against homosexuality in the Decalogue.
    It’s apparently all Messers Buchschnotte and Kinglsey can think about…why, I wonder?
    One of the most appalling provisions of this document is that no one may be admitted to an Orthodox seminary who has not been Orthodox for 3 years!!!!! Who wrote that, Drezhlo? Did the writer know that women study at seminaries? Why would a young woman who has been Orthodox for one day NOT be admitted? That provision bars ALL non-Orthodox human beings from studying Orthodoxy at an Orthodox seminary. The document tries to exert more forceful power over our seminaries, that are incorporated by and in the state, than any Holy Synod has ever dared to exercise.
    I think someone who idolizes Mme. M. Sakoda must have created much of that document.
    But George! Why would a Holy Synod which promulgated the STINKBOMB of a statement clumsily maligning Metropolitan Jonah, NOT approve this piece of logorrheatic drivel? I pity the poor priest who says to the President of the Sisterhood, “Blow me a kiss, that was a wonderful banquet you beautiful women gave us!”
    If Shakespeare were also an Orthodox Priest today and said, ‘Frailty, thy name is woman!” he’d be brought up on charges before the Sex Czarina for sure, for sexual harrassment as defined by these morons.

    • Vladika Tikhon sad

      I pity the poor priest who says to the President of the Sisterhood, “Blow me a kiss, that was a wonderful banquet you beautiful women gave us!”
      If Shakespeare were also an Orthodox Priest today and said, ‘Frailty, thy name is woman!” he’d be brought up on charges before the Sex Czarina for sure, for sexual harrassment as defined by these morons.

      Maybe we Orthodox have to stop kissing each other two or three times because of these Syosset politically over-corrected prior Protestants.

      • Disgusted With It says

        Yes, Syosset has just issued the order that from now on the “Kiss of Peace” shall be officially known throughout the OCA as the “Acknowledgement of Peace”. No actual touching allowed, only a wave or slight head bow.

        But don’t bow too low or it could be taken the wrong way. And no winking either. And be sure the hand movement of any wave is not done in a way that could be taken as suggestive. Priests: take note or suffer the consequences.

        • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

          How dare anyone interfere in these Vatican II improvements in our “Liturgical Theology?”

  5. How then, do my detractors infer that I am promoting same sex unions? I am especially grateful to some individuals, both for and against my statements, who took the time to call or mail me personally. I was edified by those exchanges, and I hope I was able to answer questions directly and adequately. I can only return to the principle plea of my essay, which is a call to restraint and a more careful attentiveness to persons, to real human beings. For my part I promise to try harder on each score.

  6. Daniel E Fall says

    To suggest the rules supercede ecclesiatic authority while approved by the Synod is an oxymoron. You can’t have it two ways-sorry. The Synod voted the priests are now in charge? No.

    All the hullaboo about homosexuality really must stop someday. How many of you have been in the bedrooms of them? Most likely-none. Most likely no stopping the gays are taking over chat…

    The lonely lives of Orthodox bishops has been highlighted or an undertone at least for three decades now.
    I’m not convinced it is right. It’s not.

    Maybe one day when a critical review of a misconduct policy is done, someone will stop reflecting on gays? Probably not..

    My words are probably useless, but the church is trying to make a change for the better. I don’t think giving every bishop uniqueness in dealing with misconduct is also wise….but what I get from the oped.

    Regards….Dan

    • George Michalopulos says

      And yet, Mr Fall, that is exactly what the bishops did. They codified their own emasculization. As for “all the hullaballoo about homosexuality,” I quite agree. The fear is that the new ORSMA rules will not apply to those known homosexual/divorced priests but will be selectively used against priests who speak out against Syosset. If one of them is accused of a homosexual allegation he’ll probably be brought to book but the rules are stacked against heterosexual allegations. This makes sense in a way because the overwhelming majority of priests in the OCA are married and (presumably) heterosexual.

  7. Daniel E Fall says

    Sometimes, a group can become stronger when its leaders agree on how they will mutually behave. I see misconduct policy as an agreement on acceptable procedures. I find your oped to attack both the concept of mutual agreement and the procedures themselves. Generally when disagreement is excessive, I discount it.

  8. Robert Alden says

    George,

    To the Dan Fall’s who have made their peace with clergy who not only protect known homosexuals in their parish (Fr Ted Bobosh) but who now, surprise, surprise, is a member of the sexual misconduct committee, you would have to be a dunce not to see that the OCA will not go after known homosexual clergy who now serve not only as priests but bishops on the Synod.

    This so-called “homosexual hullaballoo” is not that there are gay clergy in the OCA but that the OCA is doing NOTHING to address the most obvious and proven cases of this desecration. I wonder if Fr. Alexander Garklavs, another new member of the sex squad, will stand up and be counted for what he knows about homosexual clergy. As much as Mr. Fall and others would like to diminish this reality (and one should ask why), it is not people like me who have made it an issue, rather it is the new ORSMA rules which have codified clergy sexual misconduct and brought it to the forefront. Mr. Fall and others, you can’t have it both ways.

    Clergy sexual misconduct whether hetero or homosexual is clergy misconduct and if the new ORSMA rules are only going to focus on one and not the other, then they are bankrupt from the get-go.

    Let’s be clear, if these new rules will not deal with clergy sexual misconduct and not deal with cases that blocked one sitting bishop on the Synod from being considered for over two decades from episcopal consideration because of his known background, then these new rules are worse than if nothing new was done.

    I will wait to see if the ORSMA and SMPAC deal with known cases and if they don’t then there is little doubt in my mind that all of this ORSMA/SMPAC hullaballoo was just a grand distraction away for the reality that the OCA is not healthy, not growing and will not be blessed by God going forward.

    If the OCA really wants to clean up its act, then do it but don’t expect people to feel better about these new rules until they are enforced and applied without exception no matter what the impact and cost may be in removing bishops and clergy who have abused their sacred calling.

    • Disgusted With It says

      Bobosh, Garklavs… is there really NOBODY else in the entire OCA that can be on this committee? Why are they always parading around the same old characters in this tired soap opera??? Have they not learned yet that to earn credibility they need to bring in neutral, untainted people? Or are the powers that be just that corrupt and don’t care to even try to appear impartial?

      • Because it’s a clique and they don’t seem interested in getting to know most of their church-they might be like +Jonah . . . . .

    • Daniel E Fall says

      Some people clearly focus on that which they wish. A gay clergyman, while less than desireable, perhaps even disgusting, is not necessarily an abuser.

      Give it a rest.

      • Archpriest Andrei Alexiev says

        For once, Daniel, I gave you a thumbs up. I would just add that a gay cleric is acceptable IF he does’t practice his sexual inclinations.I’m a heterosexual, but being a widower, I no longer practice heterosexual sex.If I were to do so, God forbid, I would need to be removed

        • Daniel E Fall says

          I, frankly, find gay clerics to be unacceptable. I have far more liberal views about homosexuality than you to be sure, but I don’t believe a gay man ought to use the church for therapy, nor do I believe he would be able to separate himself fully from his ‘inclinations’. And, I believe the churches attitudes about priests and marriage are designed for good purpose and I believe a priest is best a married priest(to understand families)

          In your situation, I don’t necessarily agree if you married you ought be removed, just perhaps a new church.

          As for a gay monk….not sure what to think……

          Just my opinions….not trying to prove right or wrong..

          I think I voted once and decided it was a bother..

  9. Fr. George Washburn says

    Hello friends:

    I have still refrained from reading the text of the new rules. I hope it isn’t just laziness on my part.

    Despite that vacuum of knowledge, I would gently criticize George methodologically for seeming to suggest that because American secular law operates on a presumption of innocence, the OCA *must* too. Not true.

    BUT to the extent that the newly-adopted procedures (or the people who apply them) do *not* operate by that presumption or something close to it, I must agree that the *danger* of injustice to accused clergy will be very real. Well-intentioned-people with a background in one or another aspect (medicine, social work, psychology, etc.) of these hot button issues (that in the secular world a minority of personalities can turn into self-aggrandizement and crusades) must be VERY careful indeed in going forward if they do not also have 1) a strong background in the norms of evidence and legal procedure and 2) an instinct for seeing how the circumstances of each particular case will tend to tempt them and others to shortcuts and assumptions that will at least lead in the direction of unfairness if not actually get there.

    Is this because lawyers are smarter or their systems better than church people’s? Hardly. You don’t have to be a lawyer (or someone ripped off by the secular system) to know that the secular rules and systems are far from perfect or foolproof, and miscarriages of justice still occur. It would be all too easy and extremely damaging to “legalize” this aspect of the Church’s operations by wholesale importation of secular concepts and complexities.

    But, and this is where neither bishops nor sex abuse specialists nor senior clergy attempting to help judge a colleague’s case are liable to be as well-equipped as we would like unless they consult with people with the right balance of Orthodox experience, faith and secular legal expertise. The secular systems DO represent the collected wisdom of a society that tries to be fair to both accused and accusers. And this while taking into account ALL the various ways in which every participant in such proceedings from the top on down can be subject to influences that, without the necessary caution, can combine to yield bad results in an unacceptable percentage of cases.

    I feel more than a little funny about saying it here, but I seem to be acquiring some experience in this kind of consultation, and in each case so far without getting paid any money to do it. In the last 18 months I have been involved in four cases in three states involving sex or neglect/physical abuse allegations of one kind or another against Orthodox laity (2) and clergy (2). At least one *very* guilty, and at least one *completely* innocent.

    As to all four, careful operation by secular and church authorities so far has not resulted in any actual miscarriage of justice I can see – at least as to the ultimate question of guilt or innocence. (one remains unresolved) In three of the cases, however, there was at least one person in the media, therapy/medicine, law enforcement, and/or yes, the church, who seemed to be in serious danger of having his/her head turned by the whole experience of judging people accused of having harmed or been a danger to children.

    I have felt privileged to be of use (along the edges of two of them, and in the middle of the others) and hope that the readers of this blog will at least pass along my name, either to the church authorities or the accused, as someone with 30+years experience who is willing to try to help people toward fair outcomes.

    Fr. George

    • George Michalopulos says

      Thank you for bringing some needed perspective into this debate. I assume because of your legal skills you are acutely aware of injustices that still might happen and we should be sober in our criticisms about ORSMA.

      Having said that, if under the present secular/legal regime of presumption of innocence we have problems, how likely is it that the new inquisitorial regime in which there is no presumption –and in fact no obligation by the Sex Squad to inform the accused what the allegations are–will prove to be less corrupt?

      • Daniel E Fall says

        Actually, George, libel and slander would be the remedy to your scenario. For a corporate capitalist minded fellow, I find it hard to believe you think guilty before innocent is all bad. Here in Mn, we have at will employment where the employer can walk up and say leave now and there is no remedy; barring violation of a few laws.

        In the matter of clergy, the presumption of guilt is required to protect innocent thirds. This is basic stuff George and why you are getting flack from some of us.

        The focus on how the rules will be applied to a presumed gay clergyman is noise. Abuse is only considered abuse when there is an adversly affected party, generally speaking. Although the case could be made we were all abused by opportunistic clergymen taking advantage of secret lives of men with white hats, however, I digress, too.

        There is lots of trouble here in Mn right now as more abuse has surfaced in the Catholic church and with coverup.

        Perhaps if these new OCA rules had been in place, Metropolitan Jonah would have handled a few things differently.

        • George Michalopulos says

          What makes you think I’m a “corporate capitalist”? For the record I’m a free-market Liberal, following the teachings of Milton Friedman, Thomas Sowell, and Friedrich von Hayek.

          As for “firing at will,” that is completely different than “guilty until proven innocent.” Firing at will can result from loss of earnings, plant closings, layoffs, etc. They in no way preclude getting another job in the same field.

          Consider on the other hand the ORSMA rulings. Besides the very real possibility that the priest is going to bankrupt himself in order to defend himself, his priesthood is over for all practical purposes. What other church will hire him? From an employment standpoint it’s nothing less than a death sentence.

          I know professionals who have been let go from their firms and have turned around and opened shop right across the street.

          It’s your third paragraph that has many good, married priests worried. You don’t seem to be concerned that a homosexual priest is living his lifestyle with a consensual partner. The new USSR (thanks Bp Tikhon) won’t be either. Do you think they’d be as solicitous to married heterosexual priests who are having consensual affairs with women who are not their wives?

        • Fr. Peter Dubinin says

          Hey here’s an idea. Why not designate a diocesan-at-large member to the sexual misconduct committee who rides a yearly circuit through all the parishes of the diocese. Their visit to the parish should be announced from the amvon on at least three successive Sundays prior to the visit. When at-large member arrives, the parish priest provides a “confidential” space where parishioners who have been on the receiving end of alleged sexual misconduct at the hands of their priest can report said misconduct, or perhaps report hearsay for any potential future investigation. At the very least it would eliminate any guessing on the part of parish clergy – am I in the USSR’s cross-hairs (besides I’m already guilty until proven otherwise, and perhaps if I cooperate with said investigation I can make a plea for a lesser sentence)? We would all know with certainty that we are and who knows perhaps we would clean this misconduct mess up a bit more quickly and efficiently. My goodness, I mean if we are going to dismiss the most basic of rights granted citizens of the free world when accused to know their accuser and have the opportunity to confront their accuser, then let’s get really creative in laying this thing to rest. I guarantee to you this leaked draft if adopted will have a direct bearing on the conduct of my pastoral practise – pretty much will eliminate it. Perhaps, just to help keep things straight in my mind, I wear a business suit to church prior to celebration of the Holy Mysteries, change back in my suit and depart the church prior to coffee hour and see that the parish warden is responsible for what may happen during “fellowship” time. Gee, where have I heard of such things happening before……?

  10. Michael James Kinsey says

    One child murdered in abortion is intolerable. One gay cleric, who St John says are being punished by God, does not have the capacity to perform authentic Sacraments. That some OCA congregations don’t have authentic Baptisms, is intolerable. Honestly, I cannot be convinced that the Holy Spirit uses a soul that is being punished by God, This being proven by the fact that they like to practice the behavior of gays, even if they restrain themselves. St John says their punishment is, that they like to practice the behavior. Normal men do not like the practice,preferring that which is natural, and hating that which is unnatural. If, your the one not receiving the Holy Gifts, perhaps you might reconsider all the hullaboo an unfortunate, but a needed exercise.

    • Sean Richardson says

      Michael: the validity of a Sacrament does not depend on the saintliness of the celebrant. Many of us would be in trouble. The Sacraments depend on the grace of God, thankfully. And praise God, His mercy and grace is abundant.

    • Daniel E Fall says

      Mr Kinsey…the marriage of clergy sexual behavior and clergy sexual misconduct is a bad one. Clergy sexual behavior is a different bird. Now that you’ve added abortion to the subject, I think you’ve hammered my point home.

      The irony of bringing Fr Bobosh into this conversation at all is his opinions on homosexuality have zilch zero nada to do with abuse. It would be good if things here didn’t always degrade into who is liked. Bobosh was my priest as a boy. He is a good person as far as I know.

  11. cynthia curran says

    Well, for the other issue on illegal immigration. I used to lived in Orange County California guess who was worst on illegal immigration conservative Republican politicians. At one time they control the city of Santa Ana and knew that thousands of illegal immigrants have moved into the city. They didn’t do much since the businesses in Santa Ana hired them to do low skilled manufacturing jobs and today Santa Ana is about 80 percent Hispanic and about 50 percent foreign born. Anaheim is another example, Disneyland and the resort district didn’t want the local politicians there to cracked on this since they needed the Hispanic immigrants to do maids jobs and cook and busy boy jobs in restaurants. So, people here that blame illegal immigrants in Texas guess who is the main culprit politicians like Rick Perry who allows them in to do construction jobs for lower wages. Rick Perry even has a former Orange County politician on his staff called Chuck Devore that wanted to cut down on illegal immigration from Asia but not Mexico or Central America.

  12. Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

    Michael James KInsey, Look up Donatism, a heresy cited in the Office of Orthodoxy on Orthodoxy Sunday. And I’ll repeat my favorite quote from the Persian poet, Sa’di: “The best thing for an ignorant man is to be silent, and if he knew that, he wouldn’t be ignorant.”

  13. Michael Kinsey says

    I get it, the evil tree, those being punished by God are in, is producing the good fruits of the Christian Sacraments.. And Jesus Christ and St John Chrysostom are liars and homophobes, Christ or antichrist? Take your pick, A good tree nears good fruits, an evil tree bears the Good Fruits of the Holy Gifts.Yea, right!

    • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

      No, MIchael, you obviously do NOT get it. One reason the Church teaches you and me that the morality of the officiant at Divine Liturgy has no affect whatsoever on the Holy Gifts, the Mysteries of the Body and Blood of Christ, is that it is CHRIST Who serves EVERY Divine Liturgy, and the Bishop or his representative only stands on the place of Christ. If, however, a schismatic or heretic, even one of absolutely pure morality, attempts to serve, Christ is NOT there and there is no Liturgy. This, Michael, is an ABC of Orthodoxy. The morality of the officiant or celebrant is powerless to diminish the Liturgy in any way. NO Priest or Saint, even Saint Seraphim of Sarov, EVER produced the Christian Sacraments (Holy Mysteries of Christ). To state, as you do, that a Priest produces the Mysteries as a tree bears fruit is really blasphemy. No man produces the Mysteries of the Body and
      Blood of Christ, God does!

      • Archpriest Andrei Alexiev says

        Perhaps, Your Grace, Mr.Kinsey thinks like a papist. My understanding is that the Latins teach that by the very words,”Take, eat, this is my body..” that their clerics “make” the bread or the wafers into the Body of Our Lord. Hence, some nutty Roman Catholic priest could walk into a bakery and proclaim all the bread the “Body of Christ.”According to one of my classmates at St. Tikhon’s, himself an ex-Roman Catholic,that actually happened somewhere.The Catholic diocese had to buy up all the bread!

        • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

          Thanks, Father Andrei! You reminded me of an amusing event. Bishop Alexis van der Mensbrugghe, Exarch of the MP spoke to Roman Catholics at the big Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in the DC area. He said that if the Roman Catholic theology you cited, Father, was correct, then conception through sexual intercourse could be replaced by pronouncing God’s words: ‘Be fruitful and multiply!.”

      • Michael Kinsey says

        I might consider researching the bishop’s statement as what the authentic Christian Orthodoxy teaches for myself, concerning Hitler or Stalin demanding ordination and then serving the Holy Gifts, which according to this teaching, would still be authentic. Why would the Heavens bother with chosen vessels if any dirty toilet would still get the job done. I have the experience of 8 years of empty ritual in a Catholic school, who make the same claim as the Orthodox do. Why make a fuss about the Purity of the Most Holy Theotokos, the Christ Bearer, if practicing child molesters can evoke the Body of the Christ if their have been properly ordained? I do not believe this bishops claim. Nor do I believe it is an authentic teaching of the Orthodox Church.
        This gives the priest a supernatural ability over and above all the rest of mankind, which could have eternal consequences. You sure sound like ancient mystery religion elites. I said it before, and I will say it again, I wouldn’t follow you OCA people to a dog fight, if it was between my toes.

        • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

          Michael Kinsey. Moral standards for ordination are high. No immoral man may be ordained.
          Nevertheless, Michael, Satan is not a great sleeper, nor is sin dead to the world. A virtuous priest may be converted to vice. The sin he commits has no power over the Grace of God. And it is God Himself Who presides at the Eucharist even when a sinful man is serving. It is the Holy Spirit Which changes bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ. No priest has “supernatural ability over and above the rest of mankind.” What an idea! I’ve never heard or imagined such a thing. It sounds like fairy tales and comic books.

  14. http://www.heraldtribune.com/article/20131021/BREAKING/131029943/2416/NEWS?Title=NEW-Man-pleads-guilty-to-embezzling-from-Venice-church

    Robert Kondratick
    Robert Kondratick was arrested in March for embezzling more than $50,000 from Holy Spirit Orthodox Church, 700 Shamrock Blvd.
    The case was supposed to go to trial this week, but instead Kondratick entered a guilty plea on Oct. 16 to a second-degree felony charge of larceny, court records show.
    He agreed to serve two years of community control and eight years of probation, said Assistant State Attorney Erika Quartermaine. He will also pay restitution.
    “If he had pressed that case to trial, there is a good chance he would have been found not guilty,” his defense attorney, Derek Byrd, said. However, to avoid the possibility of a conviction and jail time, Kondratick agreed to the plea offer.
    Church leaders told the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office that Kondratick requested signed blank checks to pay what he claimed were church expenses. But an investigation revealed he cashed 28 checks made out to “cash” or to himself — totaling $53,950.
    Byrd said evidence shows that instead of keeping the money, Kondratick may have given at least some of it away through a “Good Samaritan” fund.
    He was fired after the misuse of funds was discovered.
    It appears that this is not the first time Kondratick has been accused of stealing from a church, the Herald-Tribune previously reported.
    In 2007, the Orthodox Church of America in Syosset, N.Y., relieved Kondratick of his duties as priest following an investigation into financial misconduct. No criminal charges were filed in that case.

  15. George, I think your site has been hacked to register like and dislike votes the opposite of what the person voting intended. Look at some of these vote tallies of traditionally non-popular posters and you will see what I mean.

    • sad but not surprised says

      Agreed. Or one or more of the usual nasty trolls who post here has recruited a merry band of sub-trolls to blitz the site. See definition of misanthrope.

      • DIsable the voting says

        The voting enhances nothing. Quite the contrary, weak individuls will be swayed by the popularity of a post. Disabling the voting renders all posts neutral to initial readings.

    • nit picker says

      Fr. Blues et al,

      I have posted in another article on this same site that it is possible for an individual with much too much time on their hands using an easily accessible and downloadable program to by-pass the safeguards of the voting system on this site vote up or down simply by clearing their cache and opening up a new browser window. It appears to the monomakhos.com server that they are an entirely new reader/poster from a completely different ip address, when in reality it is one person spamming certain commentators.

  16. Fr. Michael says

    http://www.heraldtribune.com/article/20131021/BREAKING/131029943/2416/NEWS?Title=NEW-Man-pleads-guilty-to-embezzling-from-Venice-church

    UPDATE: Man pleads guilty to embezzling from Venice church

    STAFF REPORT
    Published: Monday, October 21, 2013 at 3:25 p.m.

    Last Modified: Monday, October 21, 2013 at 4:56 p.m.

    SARASOTA COUNTY – The former administrator of a Venice church, accused of embezzling funds, will not go to jail as part of a plea deal.

    Enlarge

    Robert Kondratick

    Robert Kondratick was arrested in March for embezzling more than $50,000 from Holy Spirit Orthodox Church, 700 Shamrock Blvd.
    The case was supposed to go to trial this week, but instead Kondratick entered a guilty plea on Oct. 16 to a second-degree felony charge of larceny, court records show.
    He agreed to serve two years of community control and eight years of probation, said Assistant State Attorney Erika Quartermaine. He will also pay restitution.
    “If he had pressed that case to trial, there is a good chance he would have been found not guilty,” his defense attorney, Derek Byrd, said. However, to avoid the possibility of a conviction and jail time, Kondratick agreed to the plea offer.
    Church leaders told the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office that Kondratick requested signed blank checks to pay what he claimed were church expenses. But an investigation revealed he cashed 28 checks made out to “cash” or to himself — totaling $53,950.
    Byrd said evidence shows that instead of keeping the money, Kondratick may have given at least some of it away through a “Good Samaritan” fund.
    He was fired after the misuse of funds was discovered.
    It appears that this is not the first time Kondratick has been accused of stealing from a church, the Herald-Tribune previously reported.
    In 2007, the Orthodox Church of America in Syosset, N.Y., relieved Kondratick of his duties as priest following an investigation into financial misconduct. No criminal charges were filed in that case.

    • While I am glad to know the justice system works, it saddens me to read this. We mustn’t rejoice at someone’s misfortune, whether they brought it on themselves or not.

  17. Michael Bauman says

    If I am reading the comments correctly there seem to be a number of people who think that homosexual behavior is never abusive while heterosexual behavior always carries the potential for abuse.

    That kinda makes George’s point.