(Editor's Note: Rod Dreher is editor of the Sunday commentary section of The Dallas Morning News, and author of "Crunchy Cons" (Crown Forum). Born and raised a Methodist in south Louisiana, he converted to Roman Catholicism in 1993. The following is linked, with his permission. Thanks also to Doug Cramer, Editor of Again magazine, for bringing this article to our attention.)
A Good Work Of The Church
As most of you know, I've been spending a great deal of time in the past few months traveling in Eastern Orthodox circles, and worshiping at St. Seraphim's Cathedral (of the Orthodox Church in America). It has not escaped my attention that the OCA is in the midst of a big financial scandal now involving the Metropolitan and his staff. Some Catholic friends have said, in effect, "See? You can't get away from scandal anywhere." The thing is, I have never denied that, and didn't think that entertaining the prospect of leaving Catholicism for Orthodoxy would preserve me from having to deal with scandal. Wherever there is humanity, there will be fallenness. That's a fact of life.
What I find encouraging, ironically, about the Orthodox scandal is that unlike in the US Catholic Church, the Metropolitan and the men who are implicated in the apparent wrongdoing are not going to get away with it. And a big reason they aren't is because of this fantastic website, OCA News, run by the lay-organized Orthodox Christians for Accountability. To a Catholic who has become jaded by the RC Church's response to the much more devastating sexual abuse scandals, to go on this site and to read priests and even bishops criticizing the hierarchy (with sobriety, it should be said) for its lack of accountability and integrity in this matter is an astonishing thing. This really is how it ought to be. The bishops aren't standing in unity and refusing to say boo about this very serious matter out of some misplaced sense of saving face, or twisted sense of piety. Priests aren't keeping mum about it living in fear of their bishops. Laypeople too are speaking out. And it's all bringing results. Slowly but surely, the Metropolitan is being forced to do the right thing. I tell my Orthodox friends in the OCA to please not do what too many Catholics have done and still do, and stay silent and keep their heads down out of a false piety. Speaking out for honesty and good church government is not a sign of weakness, but of strength and confidence and even holiness. (Read more here)