Wednesday, October 24. 2007
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"the actual Minutes of the Metropolitan Council meeting, as opposed to the summary posted last week, are scheduled to be posted"
Where do I sign up to place my bet and what are the current odds that they will be incomplete or purged?
I have a deep love for the OCA, my parish and my parish priest. If any thing I have previously posted does not reflect that, please forgive me for my carelessness was in error.
My mother's parish priest printed out my comments on this website and handed them to her in an envelope along with her antidoron. Father is known as a "company man" so I'm really not surprised by this. My mother is in her 80's and very much old school when it comes to priests and bishops.
I hope and pray that this new committee sheds some light on things.
With a heavy heart and a spark of hope that can only be the Holy Spirit,
#1 Guy Kogut on 2007-10-24 17:23
It is this kind of spiritual immaturity (on the part of your mother's priest) that is so disheartening, that causes me to almost completely despair of the OCA's future as THE Orthodox Church in North America. He's a 'company man', meaning he has personal loyalty to Met Herman; so therefore any and all criticism is seen as treason; and so bad that indeed one's elderly mother must be made to suffer for the 'sins' of son ?? How could any priest do such a thing in anything at all resembling good conscience?
The latest developments after the 'joint meeting' , with the sadly predictable dearth of information on what was discussed; the promises of more information in due time .... etc. etc. .... Again, sad but true; as someone already said elsewhere; Met. Herman managed to get himself another six months, and so it goes; probably until he's 85 or older. This continual caving in to the corruption that plagues the central OCA administration leads me to believe more and more that the WHOLE OCA is spiritually bankrupt. Why can't we all stand up to this?
#1.1 AnonPriest on 2007-10-24 18:55
How about just plain ole immature all around? Good grief.
#1.1.1 Anonymous on 2007-10-25 14:04
Not exactly the kind of guy you could sit down and have a beer with man to man, sounds like.
#1.2 Anonymous on 2007-10-25 02:29
More kick the can down the road ... keep drawing those salaries ... keep the expense checks rolling. Nothing really changes. It's all just "stay the course," with a few attempts to re-write history thrown in, too. You know, Mr. Kogut, if my priest pulled a stunt like you describe I would be out of that parish so fast it would make your head spin! I would only hope I could get out the door before the need to slap that priest overcame me, because that wouldn't be very nice. What a cowardly and underhanded move! And, one which will no doubt cause more pain for your mother than to temper you. This really is the mafia, isn't it?
I find it interesting that the new OCA Treasurer is an Antiochian Priest. First step in a friendly takeover? One can only hope!
#1.3 C.C. on 2007-10-25 05:05
THIS COULD BE GOOD!
It shows that the parish priests are running scared. Or could be following orders, but at least they are reading this site.
This only gives me more drive get this evil out of the Church. Hang in there Guy.
#1.4 Ande on 2007-10-25 08:03
Wow. Sorry that your mother's parish priest is such an unmitigated jerk. One would expect a real man to engage directly with you rather than give grief to an old woman. Pathetic.
#1.5 Scott Walker on 2007-10-25 10:59
And some people still don't understand that these attitudes and forms of personal persecution still go on in the OCA, and choose to criticize those who prefer not to subject their families to this kind of thing and post anonymously.
Much of the culture in the OCA is quite poisonous.
#1.6 Name withheld on 2007-10-25 11:05
Are you reading this, Fr. George? This is why so many among us post anonymously. It's not all choir directors worried about losing a gig.
#1.6.1 Scott Walker on 2007-10-25 16:54
You said: Much of the culture in the OCA is quite poisonous.
That is so very true and that is why I and others like me will never reveal who we are until the poison is made ineffectual.
#1.6.2 Name also withheld on 2007-10-27 11:09
He may have known as a company man before, but now he'll also be known as the one who is lacking the manhood it would have taken to speak to you about it face to face. Oh, add bully of old women and minion to the list. Disgusting.
#1.7 Anonymouse on 2007-10-25 15:29
Would you please provide the name of the priest and the parish that he services.
#1.8 Harold Pukita on 2007-10-25 19:48
It will be interesting to hear Abp. Job's opinion on the Kondratick appeal.
While I would like his opinion to be the same as the opinion of his brothers, it would be great to hear his first and then hear how they gather their thoughts at the end.
#2 Daniel E. Fall on 2007-10-24 18:31
"All of this is INTERNAL ... stop making yourself nervous ... when you look nervous and act guilty you cause everyone to ask more UNNECESSARY questions.." Rock solid advice to Mr. Kondratick from, er, Rock the attorney.
Two or three years from now there will be no resolution, no recovered money, no answers - just more Byzantine intrigue and scheming. The AAC will have no problem with an agenda or a quorum because the OCA will be able to assemble all its remaining 50-60 members in a church hall, awaiting the special report of the report on the specificities of the official special commission. Well finally!
To all those priests who admonish your parishoners only to use the OCA.org website...and shut down any discussion...why are you reading this OCAccountability site right now?
Let me end with something positive. I'm positive the OCA is doomed to fail, the crooks lawyered up years ago. It's all too late.
#3 J. Murray on 2007-10-24 18:35
Dear J. Murray,
FYI, Richard Rock is no attorney. It is my understanding he was part of the Martinex & Murphy vestment making firm that Kondratick was so chummy with.
I encourage everyone to go way back into the archives of this site and re-read those email communique's between Rock and Kondratick. They are very telling.
I'm so glad you posted this statement once again because for the life of me, I can not understand why Rock was providing advice about church matters?
Don't let this go people. I'm certain there's much more to this story than any of us could ever imagine.
#3.1 Michael Geeza on 2007-10-26 06:25
Yup, and my guess is Metropolitan Herman knows more than he is telling about it, too, but my guess is assumptive. What I can say for 100% sure is Metropolitan Herman has not said he doesn't know anything about Richard Rock nor the reasons he was in close contact with FrK. Funny how not saying something can hurt you.
One of the reasons for the SIC and a reason Abp. Job is justified in withholding funds from the central church is the Richard Rock mystery emails. Perhaps the DoW should put a little more chalk on this type of question and put forth a resolution demanding Richard Rock's interference in the church be fully understood before they demand nonwithholding.
Not really the mystery of Orthodoxy, the mystery of Richard Rock.
Too bad our Metropolitan doesn't seem to understand the rest of us need to understand this mystery and that the churches expensive PR attorneys needs to take Rock down if he is culpable of any crime.
Too bad churches like Clayton, Wi parish have lost members due to the uncertainty of this scandal. Too bad the scandal has taken fragile people and forced them over the edge and led fragile families to splinter and fragile people to perish.
Too bad rightness has been exchanged for rightousness.
Simply too bad.
(Editor's note: Richard Rock is not an attorney.)
#3.1.1 Daniel E. Fall on 2007-10-26 20:17
Feep the Faith, Michael. I thought he was, but if NOT .. then even more strange to be helping form opinion and give advice. This Las Vegas connection is another sub-plot in the story; lot's of money floats through there. What do they advertise? What happens here stays here.
I could not find it but the advice "relax, Bobby" is in this episode. OK everyone, rock (ho-ho) back in your swivel chair and with a calming gesture with both hands say out loud... "relaxxx Bob-beee...".
Try again, more lawyer-smarmy this time,and smile;
#3.1.2 Jim Murray on 2007-10-27 06:08
the past couple days have brought memories of gone-by television shows......the image that comes most often reading the results of the synodal tea party is a Red Skelton character called "Freddie The Freeloader"
#4 Guileless on 2007-10-24 19:23
Although this forum title is regarding the New SIC, I have an unrelated comment.
Although the OCA is in the middle of spending thousands of dollars on debunking a financial crisis and this is the main issue here, accountability stretches far beyond non-profit GAAP, and our hierarchs handling of past affairs and future budgets.
Accountability is also measured by how many missions started, how many churches failed, and the number of members added or lost. How many priests were actively serving OCA parishes, etc.
The disbursement of this information would be beneficial to all Orthodox Christians because we'd know how well we were doing ourselves at spreading the Word of God and how well we were contributing to Christ's church.
I believe Fr. Hopko started a dialogue some time ago in a letter that as much as said we need this type of accountability.
Measures of revenue and expense are simple accounting measurements. In the context of a regular business, these things are the norm. Measures of success are very different.
Do we have more priests today than laity versus 5 years ago? How has this ratio changed over the years?
It is quite sad we have at least two or three hierarchs who have condemned this website when this much thoughtfulness is present here.
If they can answer the above question, why wouldn't it be made known to all of us? How can we take personal responsibility for our actions visavie the church without this type of reporting?
For the past 10 years, I have sat in wonderment at TOC newsletter in its 8x10 glossy format as to how it could be paid for... Find out it wasn't and TOC was running red for all these years at least donations versus cost (not to say fair share couldn't have covered it).. If the church had provided the facts, maybe I would have donated to TOC instead of two beers at a bar one nite.
Once the OCA moves beyond reporting the black history of its last 10 years of operations, it would be great to bring these measurements of success out into the future.
Actually, this type of reporting, especially made public, would also help restore the credibility now absent in the church.
Anyone with power reading my message, consider that we have rarely or never been told we have a glut of priests and not enough churches (requiring investment well beyond fair share), or our youth have rarely or never been told we have a shortage of priests...(requiring thoughtful review of career by young people).
With great hope the message of Christ and the Word of God is shared with all...
#5 Daniel E. Fall on 2007-10-24 19:29
>For the past 10 years, I have sat in wonderment
>at TOC newsletter in its 8x10 glossy format as to
>how it could be paid for
Daniel, I enjoy your postings but you've made an error in timing here.
The glossy 8x10 TOC is barely three years old. Prior to 2005 it was on heavy paper, newspaper format, and generally used a single color as highlighting.
I only know because the glossy format didn't start until after we moved to our new mission digs, and that was fall of 2005.
TOC is one of the only things I get from the central admin that I can tolerate. Maybe because the editor is a Midwest priest.
#5.1 Kevin Nikolai Payne on 2007-10-25 16:17
Yes, I believe that makes more sense. But I distinctly remember thinking at the time, wow, the 8x10 color thing must be costly to print. Even so, I never gave a dime beyond my fair share for the printing of TOC.
The central church looked like it was blowing a good hundred grand on the difference between subscription and donations for TOC. This would be 100k/2.7M or 4% of their budget in crude figures.
#5.1.1 Daniel E. Fall on 2007-10-26 20:22
Did your mom's priest expect her to turn you over her knee and give you a good spanking? This priest used your eighty year old mom to tow the company line. This is in very poor taste. I would have to confront him and warn him that this behavior won't be tolerated. I have little hope this SIC will resolve anything. During the meetings in Soyosset last week I was expecting big things to happen like the forced retirement of Herman. I am afraid we are stuck with this problem until the OCA sinks. And perhaps maybe its God's will that it does.......I just have to wonder what our dear departed fathers and mothers who through there love and hard work built the churches and passed down this inheritance would think of this OCA mess.
DAVID RUDOVSKY CHARLEROI PA
#6 Dave on 2007-10-25 03:53
Yup, everything except + Herman's resignation. New investigative committee? Will there be anything left to investigate? Documents shredded; accounts closed or hidden; money trails deleted; etc. Can we all wait until next Nov. for + Herman's resignation?
#7 Anonymouso on 2007-10-25 07:03
Are you kidding? They have yet to announce that the Synod has released Kucynda. Maybe MH will decide to keep him anyway.
It is just more of the same. The Synod really does not care for the people, they just care for themselves. They meet and then go back to their own little worlds. We should just do the same. Attend and support your local church. It's really the only way to survive the Spiritual Mass Murder.
#8 Margo on 2007-10-25 07:05
But every day, more and more, it appears the synod is complicit in wrongdoing. And we are told that if a group gets together and wears the clothes and does a very moving liturgy, everything just so, nevertheless it isn't communion.
So if our bishops aren't bishops, just money and position protecting wrongdoing-supporting control types, either the Protestants are right and hanging out in the 'Orthodox' parish with bishops-that-are-not is as good as being a Lutheran, or the Protestants are not right and even with all the forms its just nice performance art happening there, and in the GOA, and so on where the synods are corrupt.
So, sit in your parish and do nothing at your peril!
#8.1 Anonymous on 2007-10-25 17:53
It does not appear that Fr. Kucynda has been 'let go', merely waiting to be replaced in the post of Treasurer. Now, just suppose he is kept on as MH's main advisor and emmisary to the administration. No real change at all in that case...
#8.2 Brad Miter on 2007-10-26 08:37
Dear Brothers and Sister in Christ,
Glory to Jesus Christ! Glory Forever! Just a Thought for the day.... Question: Was Jesus Ever Angry? Yes, When Jesus cleared the temple of the money changers, and animal sellers. He showed great emotion and anger. Matthew 21:12-13. Mark 11:15-18. & John 2:17.
His anger was pure and completely Justified, Why you ask? because the root of his anger was concern for God's holiness and worship.
These were at stake, Jesus took fast and furious action.....
Another example was when Jesus was in the Synogogue of Capernaum. When the Pharisees refused to answer Jesus's questions.
He looked around at them with anger, Mark 3:5. This verse goes on to give the reason for his anger.... The Hardiness of Hearts....
Please reflect on these verses as you continue to hold your cross with pureness of heart...Much love to you all.
#9 Anonymous on 2007-10-25 08:03
Smoke continues to get into my eyes. My tears continue to fall.
#10 ANON on 2007-10-25 08:09
I have a question that perhaps someone could answer for me.
Specifically who in the contemporary OCA is powerful enough to call the Metropolitan to account?
I know there is a Synod of Bishops and a Special Investigatory Committee and a Metropolitan Committee all of whom are trying to do just that thing. But I don't mean a Synod or a committee of any kind.
I mean which individual person in the OCA is recognized as having the requisite charisma and leadership skills to rally support sufficient to mount an effective opposition to the Metropolitan?
Are there no longer any charismatic leaders of that quality in the OCA? The history of the OCA indicates there have been visionary, creative and charismatic leaders in the past. Are they all dead? Is there no one left to step forward at this time and provide a counterweight to the skillful machinations of the present Metropolitan?
#11 Jean Langley Sullivan on 2007-10-25 08:25
Thanks for your wonderfully insightful email. I think some of the answer lies not in the lack of charismatic leaders (though there is that lack) but also lies in the Metropolitan's own self understanding. He sees himself as a man of the Gospel, in his case the unjust judge of Luke 18:4 who said, "I neither fear God nor regard man." It matters not to him whether an inspired man of God speaks to him, nor will he listen even should God speak. He has decided he will be metropolitan no matter what and therefore does not have ears to hear what the godly say to him. In that same story Jesus says God will vindicate His elect who cry to him day and night (18:7). Perhaps we do not have enough faith that God will do what Jesus promised and so we have not cried out to God day and night but instead have wasted our voice trying to speak to the metropolitan who has ears but refuses to listen. (Synod members take note as well). His story is sadly that of which Christ warned when asked why he speaks in parables. For of such a man as the metropolitan the Lord said he is one of those outside of the kingdom who 'indeed hears but not understands; lest he should turn again, and be forgiven" (Mark 4:12). So what should we do? Jesus said, "if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector" (Matthew 18:17).
#11.1 Your soul mate in Christ on 2007-10-25 17:33
Dear "Soul Mate in Christ",
First thank you for responding to my question. Thank you even more for recognizing that it was a very seriously asked one.
I believe what you say is most certainly true. The present Metropolitan is not going to be moved by anything anyone could say to him. But that is the premise of my question.
I am not asking if there is someone to whom he will listen and be willing to be guided by. I am asking is there someone who is as clever, skillful and able in oposing and ridding the OCA of him as he has been in defending himself for the last two years.
Like to admit it or not, he has so far beaten back the best efforts of the best opponents the OCA has had to offer in opposition to him.
Give him credit (or discredit) for that.
Thanks to the efforts of Mark Stokoe he has not been able to fully conceal his past misdeeds or his present refusal to actually deal with them. (I don't don't consider it dealing with his misdeed to provide, through his surrogates, lame excuses like "innocent mistakes and negligence" occurred.) He has not admitted specifically what he has done and failed to do, he has not asked to be forgiven for his sinful commissions and omissins, nor he has not given any indication he has any intention to amend his behavior. Because of this he is now to me "as a Gentile and a Tax Collector".
It must be faced that the efforts of members of the Synod and various committies, working within the limitations of the Statutes and management structures of the OCA, have not brought the Metropolitan to bay. The adjustments, alterationsand re-configurations of membership of the committies reminds me of a chess game in which only one side plays by confining rules.
The current revisions do not seem to me to promise much hope these committee efforts will be more effective in the future than they have been in the past in bringing the Metroplitan to full account and removing him from the power he has self-evidently abused. I am not disparaging their diligent efforts. I wish them Godspeed. I just don't believe that alone they can do what needs doing.
So let me repeat my question. Among the current clergy and lay members of the OCA, is the Metropolitan the most charismatic,most tactically skillful and most committed to his agenda person OCA?
Jesus the Christ is our true and only Shepherd. But I am asking who will step up to the task of becoming his human hands here on earth and lead the OCA forth from the dark and ugly two decades of misgovernance.
Is there no one able to do this?
In recognition of that clearly demonstrated fact, he has become to me "as a Gentile and a Tax Collector".
#11.1.1 Jean Langley Sullivan on 2007-10-26 08:51
Well, very interesting question. I know of only one man who might have this ability. I hesitate to name him, because I don't really know where he stands in all of this, and as a Pillar of the Church, he might not really appreciate being put into a position of rebuking a bishop/metropolitan - you know, it's just NOT DONE. The individual I'm thinking of surely COULD lead a revolt, but I'm not sure that he WOULD want to lead a revolt, because it's all so improper - and this individual is a member of the clergy with a storied almost legendary heritage and career pretty-much in-place.
I think that there is an alternative, however, but equally unlikely: If everyone simply stopped attending events and activities chaired by +MH. He could continue to be the Metropolitan of his own little one-man Church! What if the Holy Synod just all stayed home in November?! What if the MC just didn't bother to turn up for its next meeting?! One thing many people may not remember, but the message was received loud and clear by this simple-minded observer: After President Clinton (finally) admitted lying to the Judge in his deposition regarding Paul Jones, he delivered the State of the Union speech a couple of weeks later. THE ENTIRE SUPREME COURT DID NOT SHOW UP, citing "scheduling difficulties." Now, mind you, they didn't all announce that they were "boycotting" the lying President's speech (lying to the Judiciary, under oath, not to mention the public). They just simply "couldn't make it that night, due to a schedule conflict." The press tossed it off like nothing. But you know what: It was the first time in history that the entire Court couldn't make the State of the Union address (which is basicall given during the same week every year for the past dozen-plus decades. "Scheduling conflict?!" Oh, sure!!!!
It was a boycot! So, what if we all just stopped turning-out for +MH's events? I mean, it's not like we're voting to over-turn any of his decisions, so why bother going? Why accept any gramota signed by him? Send it back, "Addressee unknown." After about the 20th one, even he will get the message.
I know, certain people will always go anyway. But it's really a shame. I'm even thinking, what if no one came to the up-coming AAC. "My son's got band practice for the national championship that week." "I'm having knee surgery, and will be in rehab." The list of reasons not to go - unless you just want to ask, 'Will +MH be there? Then, no thanks.'
Back to the question: Yes, I think that there is one man who could lead a revolt. Think hard: You know who it is. I wish someone who knows him would suggest it to him. I'm almost sure he wouldn't do it, though. It's just not done. I'm through with +MH - who will go down in history as an infamous liar and a thief who nearly destroyed his church - but I'm really not interested in becoming a schismatic. Many Orthodox in this world already think the OCA are schismatics as it is! I'm not really interested in proving them right! I'd rather just ignore +MH and continue WITHHOLDING MONEY from him, and shun him.
#11.2 C.C. on 2007-10-26 10:47
Thank you C.C. for your thoughtful reply to my question. It really is a sincere questiion and I hoped to elicit a sincere consideration of it like the one you have provided.
As I read your words, the phrase "it isn't done" struck me. If by "it" you mean a disrespectful, personal public attack on the current Metropolitan "isn't done", I don't think it should be.
Apart from any other consideration, I would doubt that tactic would be anything but self-defeating. It could only arouse sympathy for him and discredit his accuser.
My question was not that of a "rabble rouser" bent upon revolt and insurrection. Revolt and insurrection history shows only replaces what it overthrows with something worse.
In the Scriptures we are warned that the "children of this world" are very able, skillful and crafty in their efforts to achieve their ends. Certainly the current Metropolitan has been all of those in his own defence. What I am wondering is there no individual in the OCA equal who can just as skillfully match his strategies and tactics?
I understand the reluctance of anyone to publically step forth. As the old saying goes, "The nail that stands up highest, gets hit first". I don't believe anyone has the right to demand heroism from anyone else. Everyone has interests to protect and most people choose to protect them. My question is only that: a question.
Regarding your proposition that the Metropolitan be effectively "shunned" and shown by this that his time as Metropolitan is effectively ended, it strikes me as a vey useful idea. And a very compatible one. Who, other than those who will always turn up where he is appearing no matter what, would ever want to be in his presence?
Thank you again, C.C. for taking my question seriously and responding to it.
#11.2.1 Jean Langley Sullivan on 2007-10-26 17:45
Great, really great question!
"Are there no longer any charismatic leaders of that quality in the OCA? The history of the OCA indicates there have been visionary, creative and charismatic leaders in the past. Are they all dead? Is there no one left to step forward at this time and provide a counterweight to the skillful machinations of the present Metropolitan?"
If this is not the time to step forward and challenge the lies, abuses, unethical conduct, power trips, and deriliction of sacramental duties of these hierarchs then when? How much worse does it have to get before those with the experience, calling, character, knowledge, and courage step forth, challenge +Herman and the Holy Synod to accountability, and demand the truth. It may be wisphering into the mouth of a tornado, but the rest of us would be strengthened and encouraged that the real leaders, theologians, elders, and prophets in our Church are doing something. We will all rally around them and support them and defend them at all costs. It's now or never!
"I have a question that perhaps someone could answer for me.
Specifically who in the contemporary OCA is powerful enough to call the Metropolitan to account? #11 Jean Langley Sullivan on 2007-10-25 08:25 (Reply)"
#13 Zhuk on 2007-10-25 15:45
I'm not sure what happened to the comment I wanted to reply to, I've lost track of it. Someone wrote about the Byzantine trappings of our bishops and the ineffectuality of the sacrament by OCA bishops. Now, we all know that no matter what kind of bums these guys are, Jesus won't abandon us, the sacrament is intact. The problem is that unless your faith is rock solid, and you have the patience of a saint, and you have a high tolerance for pain, most people, their faith just can't take too much of this stuff. I'm a warrior, the survivor of many battles, and yet, I'd rather stay home and listen to Van Morrison albums. Herman, and every last one of the other bishops of the Orthodox Church in America have seriously miscalculated the situation and the average parish member.
Someone else said that in the future the OCA will be down to 50 members. Not likely, either this will go on, with some of us leaving and others staying behind to bitch and moan, or the OCA will splinter into other jurisdictions and factions. These bishops have lost our love and respect, it is gone and it ain't comin back! A lot of these priests are mediocre at best or petty power hungry little men.
Then there was the poster that let some priest have it and then signed off "peace" we are not sticking together boys and girls. We have one common interest, the removal of Herman. We should lay aside all other concerns and work together toward that goal.
This is the time for change, not Saturday, not Monday not next week or next month. We haven't done our part either, look at the Bethesda petition, it should be over 10,000 by now, not 1000. People should be showing up with signs and marching every time Herman serves somewhere. Where is the passion, the energy for change? Meanwhile, being no better that any other, back to my Van Morrison albums.
#14 Zhuk on 2007-10-25 20:44
In the last couple of comments on the last thread Alice Carter, who I honor just for using what I assume is her real name, doubts my friendship because I "have not shown sufficient respect for the lay people who have demanded accountability." She is probably right on the insufficiency of my showing, and I hope she is mistaken about my friendship.
Why is my showing of respect for the people demanding accountability insufficient? 1. I have been thinking and writing about other things, 2. I am not sure there is a good consensus on just what "accountability" should mean, and 3. I am not sure that accountability, or at least some kinds of it, are what would be best for the Church.
In any discussion, and especially the subspecies thereof known as a hot debate (which I think we have here), we do well to define our terms. What does accountability mean? Different things to different folks. I've heard several, such as
1. followi the evidence as far as possible so as to catch and punish as many wrongdoers as possible, seemingly a real favorite of the users of aliases and pseudonyms,
2. follow the evidence as far as possible in order to gain restitution,
3. figure out how to fix the leaks so that they can't happen again,
4. follow the evidence as far as possible so as to make sure that nobody who did intentional wrong or negligent wrong remains in office,
5. hold a frank dialogue among all elements of the Church, laity, clergy, episcopacy, to figure out what true Orthodox polity is (laity, clergy and hierarchy in synergistic triunion?) and how that could be made to work in a functional, 21st century church.
Pursuing 5 in a forward-looking way, while withholding money until people are sure that all possibly blameworthy people are out of office and a new culture of leadership and new practices are in place, might be a better way to cut the losses and move the Church in a good direction by comparison with expensive and backward-looking pursuit of one or more of choices 1 through 4.
I am far enough out of the loop that I have no idea if my guesses (doubts) about the relative expense and chances of "success" (now there is a term that needs defining!!) justify great efforts along any or all of lines 1 through 4. I did have some experience with clients who were throwing good money after bad in an effort to chase down untraceable or uncollectable losses in civil litigation, however, and it can be a futile and harmful exercise.
I hope that the laity Alice Carter refers to who are calling for accountability have a whole lot better, shrewder and well-supported idea than I do that pursuing such forms of accountability would really be good for the Church. I suspect they don't, however, and that is why so far I haven't been winning their friendship by adding my voice to calls for certain forms of accountability.
#15 Fr. George Washburn on 2007-10-25 23:00
A MESSAGE FROM THE DEVIL
Hi, OCA!. I’m over here in the details—standing guard—and I’m bored as hell. There’s no one to talk to except a couple of fidgeting lawyers. These details of your scandal represent some of my best work, so I already know the plot and the motivation of the characters. Truth be known, the butler didn’t do this one!
Ouch, that was hard. I haven’t told the truth in a long time. So let me morph back into my “angel of light” disguise.
Let me assure you in my most convincing and pious voice that your esteemed leaders are working only for your good, being possessed of profound wisdom and an unparalleled sense of moral clarity. They are assisted by their inner circle of beneficiaries who guard against any speck of reality reaching them, lest anyone lose favor or the motivation to remain silent. Then there are the concentric circles of the compromised, spread out from sea to shining sea. Hey, life is tough. No price is too high to make a career move. I especially love it when they betray the people they’re supposed to protect just to get ahead. Even more thrilling is the agility of those who run from gutter to gutter to make sure they’re loved on both sides of every street. Putty in my hands!
So why are the rest of you so ungrateful for such leadership? You write and speak the truth (ugh!) and expect it to make a difference. Not in my world, it won’t!. Shame on you! You dare to believe that honest giving should be met with honest stewardship; that you should be led by honest people with much to give, not by deceptive people with much to hide; that nothing should be stolen, especially the authenticity and future of the Church that you believe will be the only hope of your children. You fools!
You actually believe that common sense people shouldn’t be treated like buffoons; that people who are trusting should not be manipulated; and, that people who expect to be trusted should be exceptionally and consistently trustworthy. Shame on you again! You have the audacity to believe that the truth should be the only option: not one story off-the-cuff, a second story after legal review and a third revision after the PR man sprinkles some pixie glitter on it. What’s wrong with “I did it,” “he did it,” and “we all did it” all at the same time? What’s wrong with victory through deceit? What’s wrong with uncovering a scandal, making it 100-times worse and calling it progress? Why are you disturbed that your entire Church life at the top has become a mêlée over protection, power and the collection of undeserved money? What bothers you about having to live in fear of leaders who do not fear your God? Picky, picky, picky.
I could go on with this list of your hopeless expectations, but I’d rather not hisssss in your faces. Why don’t you listen to your leaders and just “move on?” Don’t you understand that the only virtue in love is a saccharine kindness, but never courage, truth, light, discernment or correction (I love that one!)? Even dangling my opus temptation of living a false peace doesn’t stop you. Well, I’m not through yet!
Don’t miss these coming attractions produced by yours truly: the March of the Clueless following the order to move on; and the cold, brutal reestablishment of “order” (actually “lust of power”) when those who spoke the truth or withheld the funds that were fueling the fire are held up to the ridicule and life-destroying discipline that slime such as they deserve.
Well, I have to run. The details alarm is ringing--someone must be getting close.
Loving your leaders and hating the rest of you, I remain,
Your worst nightmare,
#16 anonymous on 2007-10-26 06:44
How is having a rich weekly liturgical cycle (prayer), extensive teaching and training sessions (preaching the gospel) visiting the sick and poor (charity), edifying and planting new communities (missions) sitting in our parishes and doing nothing?
It seems those things accomplish or fullfill the original goal of the OCA better than just writting and reading about our problems. If you feel you need to withhold your donations, great! Withold. If you feel the need to make your grievenses known, great! Write! But, how does that compare with carrying out the original mission of the founders of the OCA?
I am in full agreement with Fr. Justin's statements in his posting in another thread. Actually carrying out the mission of the OCA, regardless of our present turmoil, does more to contribute to the healing of the OCA. You will disagree, and we'll never come to an agreement about which way is best. It is best we agree to disagree and leave it at that.
#17 Bautista Cabrera on 2007-10-26 09:55
It is very difficult to do all those needful good things as a member of the OCA at this time. I think the Holy Spirit has left the building and what remains is a hollow shell of a faith that I was born in and loved all my life. My faith in God has never wavered in spite of all this mess but the faith of worshiping in a church with so much emptiness is extremely hard. I pray that the Holy Spirit will once again fill our church and restore us to a healthy and honest community from the top administration down and guide us all even if we don't like the results.
#17.1 Sad on 2007-10-27 11:27
Thanks so much again for a great post. It is the great perseverance you are showing, along with other efforts, that will be rewarded in getting the OCA where it needs to be.
I believe that +Herman is making this such a steep uphill climb, however, to wear everyone out. With your efforts, as well as others, however, we can become what the OCA was meant to be; not embroiled in scandal but immersed in evangelization of the world.
Besides your continual updates that seek the truth, we have the petition of over 1000 signatures. We have other concerned people offering their opinions.
We also have a new treasurer. I am putting a lot of hope into our new treasurer, Fr. Michael Tassos. In knowing him, I am sure he wants to turn this mess around. I believe that his efforts will go a very long way.
I am very much for a married episcopacy. I just feel we have a greater pool of qualified candidates who are married and have children who know what family life is all about. They interact with the opposite sex, have children, carry a household budget, and generally know much better the day to day struggle of what families go through.
There is an eternal place for monasticism. But I don't think our bishops have to come from their ranks. At a meeting at St. George OCA Church in Hesperia, CA some years ago, the administration told the people that +Tikhon did not like the people there; so he basically wasn't going to work with them. What kind of attitude is that? He eventually retired. Thank God! But so sad, that we have to wish for all these resignations and retirements.
Keep up the good work, Mark! You are certainly doing your part for the OCA!
#18 Patty Schellbach on 2007-10-26 12:08
I don't think married bishops is the total answer. The former OCA chancellor was married! However, you are correct in that married priests who has a family, lived within a family budget etc. is very important. The apostles -- some were married, so there is a precedent for married bishops. I hope the financial scandal has brought to light that there are many people who are concerned about the "earthly administrative aspect of the church" and want to give to worthwhile charities but they want accountability that the charities were funded and didn't land in "Other accounts, other peoples' pockets, etc. Bishop Benjamin's diocese is raising money for people displaced by the California fires. It will be interesting to note if Bishop Benjamin and his staff make public the amount of money raised and where the money will be distributed, and when it is distributed. Perhaps that is one "test" to see if Bishop Benjamin will handle his new responsibilities given to him by the Metropolitan. I also want to thank Mark for his courage, and diligent efforts to make this website successful. Truth cannot be hidden forever. I am sorry that two of the bishops think this website is a bad thing. Free speech is the right of every citizen of the United States.
#19 cshinn on 2007-10-26 15:15
We need a broader, larger, qualified pool of candidates when it comes to selecting bishops. I don't know how this will happen if we don't allow qualified married priests to be part of the pool. RSK was married, but Syosset also did not have proper financial practices in place so such mismanagement could not happen. Many things go into making good bishops. We have recently been in contact with a certain bishop to find out the particulars of our burial plots at St. Tikhon's. We have been directed from St. Tikhon's to do so, to contact the bishop. He has of yet to write back on requests about this for some months and does not direct us to any further persons for us to contact. I just can't keep advocating bishops coming from the ranks of monastics. There may be some good monastic candidates, but we can broaden the pool of qualified candidates by including married priests, too. Of course, this would take an ecumenical council so we may as well be back to square one...
#20 Patty Schellbach on 2007-10-27 08:20
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