"The meeting began with an evening retreat lead by Metropolitan Jonah in Chancery's St. Sergius of Radonezh Chapel. The theme of the retreat was "The Spiritual Process."
In his talk, the Metropolitan said that the essence of the spiritual
process is to overcome one's ego. "All of our thoughts about
ourselves constitute our ego," His Beatitude explained".
....What happens when a priest's unchecked, inflated ego permits him to abuse his authority? Why is it allowed to continue once its reported?
(Editor's note: This is a pastoral issue best addressed to your Bishop. If you feel you are being abused, and you have reported this to your Bishop, and nothing has improved, I suggest you consider finding a new spiritual home. )
Unfortunately (editor) as you know this has been an issue of great importance raised during this scandal. The lack of actions taken by Bishops is really on a scale equivalent with the Catholics yet it has become a part of Orthodox culture on a wider scale; move on start a new church run, hide, change jurisdictions both bishops , priests and laity till you hit it right. The whole Kondratick, Nicolai thing is there staring us in the face as the most obvious perversion of this ethos yet we can't see the forest for the trees. Pastoral? It's cancer !
With respect to the Editor's note to Comment #1, I would agree that no one should stay in a parish where they believe that they are being abused, especially when the bishop is unresponsive. However, I think your answer was incomplete. If you want to leave the church a healthier place, finding a new spiritual home should only be the **beginning.** You should also do what you can to hold the priest, and his hierarch accountable. It's a thankless, and a difficult path to pursue, but Christ Himself drove the money-changers from the temple. Kudos to all those who gird themselves for this herculean task.
Regarding Metropolitan Jonah's ecclesiological vision of Orthodox Church in America, I offer the following thoughts:
(Initially posted in the Orthodox-Forum)
1. The primate should more properly be a Patriarch (Patria-arch or the head bishop of a nation) rather than a Metropolitan, who is traditionally the bishop of a metropolis or large city. This brings me
to the idea of revisioning the Church. While we are at this, why not adjust our approach to the political subdivisions that exist in the United States (states) and Canada (provinces)? We are not nations
based on cities as it was when the Church was established.
2. It is interesting that +Jonah bases his ecclesiology on select Holy
Canons and a few select New Testament verses. In doing so, he
admittedly sidesteps some contentious issues (in-Church
discipline/judgement and married clergy of all ranks) and consequently may be more successful in establishing the OCA as the canonical home in North America. This is particularly evident in his heavy emphasis on dioceses; the various ethnic groupings may fit easier as ethnic dioceses rather than geographical ones. Of course, this approach overlooks a rather important canon (only one bishop in each city or see) but +Jonah has also overlooked some relevant New Testament practices and teachings anyway.
3. I am disappointed that he has chosen to scale back the role of the
laity. It looks like revisioning is mainly about the episcopacy. This
stance is also odd since early on in his speech he acknowledged the
North American "Cultural ideas of egalitarianism, democracy and
division of powers." +Jonah seems to have chosen to ignore the stark
differences between the various Church stages. Like the
post-Constantine imperial church, we not share the Early Church's
belief in the imminent return of our Saviour. However, unlike all Orthodox Churches of the past 19 or so centuries, our laity is
educated and have vast materials at its disposal. Indeed, the laity is
now more prepared to be a priesthood of believers than ever. This
reality is completely overlooked in +Jonah's vision but may be a
short-term tactic to ensure acceptance by World Orthodoxy.
I do pray that it is indeed a tactic.
1. As a convert, +Jonah may not be able to go any further in the
revisioning of the Church. He may have to show his fellow bishops, not only in the West but all around the world, that his ecclesiology is
not a radical departure from the norm.
2. In an ideal world, each local church should be able to interpret
and revise situational canons. This is particularly true with
ecclesiological canons (My stand on Christological canons is clear: no
changes). This process of updating the canons must start with an
examination of the underlying principles and concepts (Holy
Scriptures) on the one hand, and the factual context on the other. We should give by far the greater weight to the underlying
concepts/principles. This is something that judges use every day in
interpreting the law to apply to the facts of the case at hand. It
seems to me that our spiritual leaders should be capable of using
logic and judgment as ably as judges; indeed, they should have an edge because they can draw on the Holy Spirit for further guidance.
Instead, what has happened in Christianity/Orthodoxy since Emperor
Constantine throughout the centuries (with rare exceptions) a number of revisions of canons to satisfy the Emperor, Sultan, Tsar or KGB. Well, we no longer have those critters and we should stand up and use our God-given and guided faculties for once!
3. In the less than ideal world that we find ourselves, the best that
we may achieve may be what +Jonah is trying to accomplish--mainly the reform of the episcopate. This is a very good thing in itself;
however, Metropolitan Jonah's approach, with its emphasis on the
diocese, may also hasten jurisdictional unity.