An excellent beginning at a reasoned approach to this whole nexus of questions. I am too busy with my real job to say much more for now. Expectations, indeed! How they get us in trouble!! And how they need to be surfaced and examined!!
Thank you for your reasonable, rational comments about the convention. It was so easy to be caught up in the events and to either overpraise the Metropolitan or to blame him for all things. As the heat dies down and we settle into our own parishes, perhaps the issues such as Bishop Demitri's future or the need for an audit can be resolved as saner heads prevail. However, all things considered, it was almost like a safety valve; the steam was let off and perhaps now we can go forward.
I know it's time for me to focus on my own spiritual life.
#1 In a subsequent 'Pastoral Pondering' Fr. Reardon made a pointed denunciation based on Scriptural evidence that making the unity of the Church about personal loyalty is a grave sin. He did not make specific reference to Met. Philip. Nevertheless it is the criteria of personal loyalty above all else that is the hallmark of Met. Philip's reign. For the Church to grow, such ideas must be recognized for what they are--wrong and those who hold them confronted in love.
Until I see the other Antiochian hierarchs and clergy doing that, I will continue to feel betrayed and abandoned.
#2 RE: #2 anon. Not trying to be confrontational or anything, but, in the Church, we don't really have our own spiritual life.
"A Biishop should have no personal agenda, no desire for riches, nothing left of egocentrism ..."
By Metropolitan Jonah
Are YOU reading Met. Philip ??...
Anonymous Priest Western Diocese
Every so true Michael. And the implications of this reality are of high importance to the present subject. We are together in this, simply ignoring the dark clouds on the horizon does not make them go away. In a very real sense it is everyone's problem and responsibility.
What was meant by my remark is that I have been very distracted by the series of events which have rocked the Antiochian Church, and it has been a terrible distraction for all who love the Church. But within my devotion to the Church and the Divine Liturgy, I have a personal prayer life which has been distracted by the revelations, and need to concentrate on sustained prayer. Is that bad? Is that what you are referring to? I'm a little confused by your statement.
With regard to Fr. Reardon's essay, it might be noted that while a few sites/blogs called for +Philip's resignation and asked for a cry for ANAXIOS to be heard, I am not aware of any that articulated an expectation of such to happen. Certainly I did not. As I wrote before and after the convention, I do not expect the matters at hand to be resolved any time soon, nor do I think the problem lies entirely with +Philip, but also with a culture within the AOANA that is most unfortunate. My calls for ANAXIOS and lists of actions one might take were based upon principle, and not on any serious expectation. The Conference went as most expected it to go, though with a circus there the freak shows always shock, even when you expect them to before hand.
I am thankful that AFR was able to record most of the proceedings. In my experience, those faithful who listen to the recordings to learn what went on usually are quite horrified with what they hear. But I would not consider the allowance for AFR's presence a matter of a real desire for transparency, but rather a response to certain pressure, for which, as has been noted here, there were many counter-pressures in place. +Philip has weathered storms like these before (Joseph Allen, etc.). He is masterful at his art. I suspect he allows AFR for the same sorts of reasons he will not try to remove Fr. Oliver Herbel any time soon - it would grant too much weight to the dissenting side. It is worth noting that a number of totalitarian regimes used such "relaxations" when it was expedient - as a means to maintain long term control.
I think that there are plenty of hard facts concerning +Philip's behavior and involvement with questionable persons and questionable events to be justified in the call for ANAXIOS. It seems many others do as well. It seems that there are plenty in Damascus who would love to see him go. What is lacking on these fronts, it seems to me, is will.
I am heartened by Jack Turner's eminently wise, reasonable, clear and charitable statements and counsel. May the Lord grant ++Philip the grace to hear and make use of this wisdom as a way of escape for the sake of his entire jurisdiction.
I have to say I was a bit disappointed myself by Fr. Reardon's comments. Expectations are not necessarily wrong just because they are disappointed. I would like to suggest that certain expectations may reflect holding on without compromise to what is right and good and for our salvation. His comments strike me as politically prudent, diplomatic perhaps, but not necessarily truth spoken with full courage and heart and with the full protection of those who are most likely to be hurt or caused to stumble by what is happening in mind. That is, I fear his comments reflect a mindset not entirely purged of the sychophant spirit that is damaging the Antiochian jurisdiction. I say this with the clear knowledge that I would undoubtedly fair far worse in his shoes with similar temptations. (Perhaps this is why God moved me out of the Antiochian jurisdiction into another where the culture engendered by its Metropolitan doesn't tempt me to abandon the very modest level of spiritual integrity of which I am capable to fit in.) May the Lord have mercy on all. Forgive me, a sinner.
I have heard Fr. Patrick called many things, but I think it safe to say that sycophant is a word no person who has known him or heard him speak would choose for him. He strikes me as a man who is, very much, his own man, as they say.
To all, thank you for your quick and appropriate defense of Fr. Patrick Reardon's integrity which I impugned unjustly and largely in ignorance based in part on my reaction to the culture I experienced in an indirect way in the AOANA. Forgive me! I knew as soon as I wrote the sentence using the sychopant word, I had poorly worded my thought and would be called to account for it. I didn't intend to imply that Fr. Patrick is a sychophant--only that his words could lend themselves to be read that way in some small part (obviously not by those who know him better, which is good to know), and that was disappointing to me. I'm sure my wish for more direct and simple communication has a lot to do with the fact that I don't know Fr. Patrick personally in order to give more context to his words. It has been mainly the coverage of this situation at your site, Och, that in validating my own perception of right and wrong allowed me to reclaim it with some sense of integrity. Your work has been a healing tonic for me. Thank you for the link to Fr. Patrick's article at Fr. Milovan's site. I'll be sure to take a look at that as well.