Friday, November 23. 2007
Withholding, Pastoral Letters, Pre-Conciliar meetings, Alaska. Your comments welcome.
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In this day and age where technology abounds, there is simply no reason that committees like the pre-conciliar commission should not have representatives from each diocese of the OCA. The commission is entirely from the East Coast, with the exception of one Canadian pirest . Nothing personal against any of the present members, but wouldn't this be the opportunity for EVERYONE to have some say in the agenda(s) for the upcoming All American Council? Why is it that only those who are on the East Coast are calling the shots?
Just an observation.
#1 Wendy C. on 2007-11-23 15:10
And it continues...RSK is guilty, but so is Met. Theo and Met. Herman. The sooner Met. Herman steps down, the sooner the OCA can really begin to recover. Waiting until next Nov. is ridiculous. A locum tenens can be appointed until next Nov. Let's move on here!
#2 Anonymouso on 2007-11-23 16:32
CORRECTION: The material refered to in the editorial is not from the Minutes of the Diocesan Council. Those minutes have yet to be produced and distributed. The quote was from the minutes of the Bishop's Council, minutes which have yet to be publically distributed.
For nearly two years now, I've done my level best to present the truth concerning Fr Robert Kondratick's painful, shameful experience, scapegoated as he was by the lawyers from Proskauer-Rose acting for their client, Met. Herman, who provided the false evidence and steered P-K's 'investigation' to protect himself and continued to lie to us all, supported by Fr Paul Kucynda who not only continues to support MetH's lies, but tells his own easily identifiable and refutable lies as well.
Much of this carefully constructed catena of lies was codified in the fourteen formal Accusations falsely brought against Fr Robert Kondratick, and they were easily identifiable and refutable as lies even there, but the 'Spiritual Court' chose to believe the lies, guided as they were by Met. Herman and Abp Nathaniel, who told even more lies relative to that process and deceived the judges and even the prosecutors, who were force-fed the 'evidence' compiled by Proskauer at MetH's direction, all of it false and distorted to the point of perjury so as to preserve the 'firewall around the metropolitan' publicly described by Fr Paul Kucynda in one of his frequent lapses.
One of those lapses involved FrPK's unauthorized release of the 'Prelimary Report' of the 'Special Investigative Committee/Commission', and eventuated in his being sacked from the chancery staff just as was FrRK and several others, some with more justification than the rest, but none more justified in being fired than FrPK, who -- in conspiracy with MetH -- has done incalculable damage to the OCA and to the basic trust in the Church which our scandalized and abused faithful people and clergy deserve to have and keep solid and sacred. Until MetH resigns, retires, or gets the axe himself, our problems cannot begin to be solved.
And, while Fr Robert Kondratick continues to be further blamed by everyone who chooses to believe all these lies, that tendency does NOT make these lies the truth.
Fr Paul Kucynda and Met. Herman have been caught in so many lies, I've lost count. Now Mark Stokoe has joined the chorus of liars, publicly and falsely accusing FrRK of taking his case personally to the Patriarchate of Moscow this week. It is simply a lie to say that FrRK (who hasn't left the US since we were in Toronto in July 2005, as far as I recall) went to Moscow this week, as James Kondratick (who was there in Ohio with his father) has already attested. And I myself am a witness that this is a lie, having had ID-verified telephone conversations with FrRK just before he flew out of Florida, during his and Mtka Bette's visit with their children and grandchildren in Ohio, and just after his return from to Florida. There was no time in there for a trip to Moscow and back.
And this is not the first time that ocanews has published false reports about FrRK, and not the first time I've objected to the lies. Most recently, I objected to Mark Stokoe's assertions that FrRK's attorney had 'threatened' the Holy Synod; noting my objections, MS published some minimal correspondence between him and myself on ocanews, and challenged me to produce the correspondence between the attorney and the bishops, but I was not ethically free to do so. When FrRK's attorney wrote directly to MS clarifying the matter, MS acknowledged his misrepresentation but refused to withdraw his false assertion, again falsely asserting that he'd already done so in a note replying to my own comments.
Now, being aware of such lapses of journalistic integrity as would allow the publication of lies, and which knowingly protracts the lies even when their author is materially corrected, we must also note that Mr Stokoe's publication of this latest fable about FrRK is destructive not only to this wrongly persecuted priest, but to his own reputation as a broker of information, AND injures the good name of the venerable Church of Russia, which is alleged by MS to have interfered in the matter of FrRK's appeal of his unjust deposition from the priesthood, and to have inserted itself into the internal affairs of the OCA while this appeal is still in process in the local autocephalous church.
Please let me be emphatic here: FrRK has NOT traveled to Russia to present his appeal, and the Patriarchate of Moscow has NOT interfered in the internal affairs of the OCA.
However, if it becomes obvious that MetH's evil intentions to destroy this good priest are not stopped by our OCA's Holy Synod, and if FrRK cannot therefore ever receive a fair hearing and just disposal of his case in the OCA, it remains FrRK's canonical right to seek episcopal support to present his appeal (his entire case, actually) to the archbishop and synod of a neighboring province.
In our case, this would naturally be the Church of Russia, both geographically and historically. But we're not yet at that point, and we may hope that the 'better angels of our nature' will yet move our OCA bishops to do the right thing when they meet on St Herman's day.
At the moment, though, Mark Stokoe's most urgent task in the present matter is to offer corrections and retractions of both of his comments about the attorney's letter, and of his assertion that FrRK traveled to Russia to present his case, and -- most importantly -- to apologize publicly to Patriarch Alexiy and the Church of Russia for his lies about their canonical propriety and integrity.
(With the addition of two paragraphs at the beginning, I've also sent this message to Orthodox-Forum list, where Mark Stokoe's essay has been posted and has attracted some comment. I hope it will do some good.)
#4 Monk James on 2007-11-24 17:25
This post shows the " culture of fear" that exists in the OCA.
I am sorry to see that you are also subject to it.
It is still clear to me that nothing has really changed in our OCA.
#5 Fledgling Priest on 2007-11-25 11:59
Dear Fledgling Priest,
I am not aware what Diocese you are a priest in, but to say there is a culture of fear in the OCA is poppycock. There may be such fear in your diocese but there certainly is none in my diocese. Let's stop throwing out blanket statements and try and have them stick.
There may be a culture of mutual embarassment amongst the members of the Holy Synod, but culture of fear, nonsense. If you are afraid in your diocese, then you should seek a transfer to another diocese where the clergy and faithful don't live in fear, unless they have something to be afraid of.
(Editor's note: While I wish that were true, Father, it is not. In your diocese a priest recently received a phone call informing him that if he did not stop withholding he would be removed - and that he better start looking. His parish council sent in the money to save him. In your neighboring diocese a priest was transferred because his parish council would not relent as did the former; and yes, he did find a diocese where he does not live in a fear. And in the diocese north of that still another priest awaits his sentence. So, yes, Father I know three cases in the last months were the culture of fear is at work. If you don't, I would suggest you're not paying attention. )
#6 A Priest Who is Beyond the Fledgling Stage on 2007-11-25 14:47
yada yada yada...... Enough already. Put up or shut up. I'm sick of this thing......and I grow weary of both sides of the issue...... y'all make me sick.
#7 anonymouse on 2007-11-25 20:21
I see the disgraced ex-priest has wound up his sock puppet.
#8 Scott Walker on 2007-11-25 21:49
I very much hope that your reply to these assertions by the Kondratick crowd is forthcoming. I think the passive "ocanews.org has learned" construction is a little shady when dealing with an issue of this magnitude. Is your source on this rock solid, or could this be inaccurate hearsay as Monk James contends?
#9 Zach Borichevsky on 2007-11-26 01:12
It's good to see that you have supported RSK from the start. How guilty he is, only God really knows. All of this could have been avoided if RSK and Met. Theodosius came clean at the beginning. It would have been simple and easy. A public repentance and apology for their "mismanagement" of funds, their resignations and moving on. Now, we see one lie leads to another lie to another lie, etc. Most of us faithful have just had enough! Get rid of everyone, including Met. Herman, and let's start over. Let the courts sort it out. RSK, + Theodosius and + Herman are all guilty. + Herman should step down immediately, appoint a locum tenens and let's get on with church business. Enough is enough. There is no doubt that RSK is a nice guy, but seriously, he really mismanaged alot of money and others knew this was going on.
#10 Anonymouso on 2007-11-26 06:50
I'm sure not one of us, Mark Stokoe included, wishes to see anyone falsely accused of anything. The silence from the defense camp has been deafening.
If the good former Chancellor is innocent, yet ethically cannot produce the evidence to prove his innocence, then his decision is noble and just and he will be rewarded in the life to come. Yet, on this earth, he will need to accept his fate in humility, bearing the cross he has been asked to bear.
On the other hand, if there is no ethical reason for the truth to be withheld, then present the evidence, else be guilty of obscuring the truth by silence.
Either way, neither Mark nor anyone else can simply accept as true the Nixon-esque statements regarding the former Chancellor's innocence.
If there are reports that the former Chancellor is in Moscow, then there are reports to that effect, reported as such. If the former Chancellor was in Ohio, as you state, then perhaps there are people willing to say the former Chancellor was sighted there? I would think given the historical connection of the Kondractick's to Ohio, there would be ample "sightings" even in a casual setting.
Hopefully you can appreciate our frustration at not knowing who to believe. I doubt seriously any of us actually accept as truth any version of events we've heard so far. My best guess of public perception is that neither "side" is given high marks for integrity and forthrightness.
The vast majority of us have not personally met either the Metropolitan or the former Chancellor, and are not in a position to offer an opinion about the integrity of either. Those I have spoken with who do know both men trust neither of them. And that is so very, very sad.
Martin D. Watt, CPA
#11 Marty Watt on 2007-11-26 14:53
Reading Archbishop Seraphim's letter was so very discouraging. I know we would all only benefit by praying for an increase of love and erradication of animosity- but to summarize the scandal as "administrative difficulties and financial losses"- can this really be how he views it? To say that the animosity which has arisen from feelings of betrayal is the problem, but not to address the betrayal or any of the other reasons for possible animosity except to then dismiss them as unimportant 'non-excuses'? Over and over again it seems like we see the Church's virtues used against itself. Calls for increased love, humility, obedience on the one hand and charges of being instruments of the devil on the other. Who will speak to us about discernment and conscience and the boldness in truth that Our Lord might be calling us to?
St Nicholas, St John Maximovitch, St Herman, Mother Maria, pray to God for us!
#12 Rachel Andreyev on 2007-11-26 15:36
Thank you, Mark, thank you so much. With the risk of not sounding humble, are you and I the only ones who heard that Epistle last Sunday. I heard it and immediately I thought- how many priests who are listening to the Epistle being read caught the message sent by our Lord???? How many priests across the entire OCA even listened? Good for you and God bless you and your tireless efforts to bring light into our darkened organization! I am amazed at how many priests out there are not helping to do just that! Who are they praying to if they arenít listening to the messages from the Bible?
#13 LIzzie on 2007-11-26 16:30
Someone on another internet list hit the nail on the head when he referred to Monk James as our own version of "Baghdad Bob."
#14 Felix Culpa on 2007-11-26 18:48
All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing. Spoken by Edmund Burke. It is not the stealing, nor the lying, nor the illicit sex that will destroy the church. It is the lack of action of good people to correct those ills that will destroy the church.
#15 Anon on 2007-11-26 19:33
The priest was told to stop withholding from the Diocese, which he complied with. His parish continues to withhold its assessment to the OCA. The issue was not that he was withholding from the OCA but from the Diocese. He now understands the relationship between diocesan finances and OCA finances.
As for the other two cases, in other dioceses, I will take your word.
(Editor's note: I have no doubt you made him understand. And people wonder why priests are afraid?)
#16 Anonymous on 2007-11-26 21:47
Father Beyond the Fledgling Stage, if you are so unafraid, why didn't you sign your name?
AnonPriest(who is afraid--or at least careful--for now)
#17 AnonPriest(A.ofC.) on 2007-11-26 22:36
I can say from my decades of modest experience as a trial attorney that when opposing counsel or a witness was as free with the words "lie" and "liar" as Monk James was in his recent broadside, we (lawyers and judges) usually raised our eyebrows pretty far. I don't mind cutting Monk James some slack because he is going to bat for a friend he likes and respects, but neither do I mind saying that the person who tries to convey a ring of truth by accusing others so often and energetically of lies as he did with Mr. Stokoe this time actually conveys something very different readers like me.
I've criticized the editorial, headline writing, and spin adjustment departments of this site before, and expect to again. But it sure seems to me that as between the strident cries of "Lies!" and Mark's quiet willingness to admit HE wasn't in Moscow and may have relied on a mistaken source, the higher marks for technical merit and artistic impression go to the latter.
#18 Fr. George Washburn on 2007-11-26 22:45
Bravo, Mark, Bravo!!!
I especially loved the parts about the silly, the unethical, and the surreal, and then, even better, the point that NOBODY IN MOSCOW WILL GIVE A CARE about what happens in the puny oca. We just aren't THAT important. Yeah, I reckon somebody in Moscow could find Dayton on a map, but like you, I figure the odds that they would care to try are infinitesimal. Hey, if they actually do care, they can just call up Syosset, right? Somehow, I suspect that even that is far more effort that they would care to go to. Besides, they'd probably call Jordanville instead.
#19 Mark Harrison on 2007-11-26 23:12
Mark is doing a great service for the people of the OCA. He reports things that are reported to him. It is bound to happen, at times, that some things are erroneously reported to him. I have been very impressed with his willingness to publish corrections when these are called for. Keep up the good work, Mark!
#20 Name withheld on 2007-11-27 06:46
"Yada yada?" No, it's not just more gum-flapping. Priests are being threatened by the corrupt leadership in Syosset, and I've seen that in my Parish, where our priest is trying to 'hold the line,' but the Parish Council and the parishioners aren't having it, and are calling for action - even instituting action on their own by withholding their own funds, passing a resolution of 'no confidence' in +MH, and so forth. Our priest is going to pay for it in some way, through the corrupt wiles of +MH.
So, Mr. Yada, you can 'hate' us if you want to. What you really hate is the actions of +MH in creating a climate of fear within the OCA. And it's there. If Fr. Whomever in a post above has a diocese without fear - then he's either fooling himself, or his Bishop is willing to stand-up to +MH. And to advise the "Fledgling Priest" to simply "put in a request to move;" what?
Are all such requests granted? What about the parishioners who've come to rely on this priest? What about the relationships already built? Maybe we should ALL just put-in a request to move - to the Antiochian Archdiocese? When would it end? The fact is, those in the OCA's leadership who are corrupt or tainted by this scandal should all step down at once, and allow the next AAC to make a fresh start with no-one from the past at the helm or on the Synod.
And, Mark, continuing to post the "Monk James" input is really just a waste of time. He's so committed to RSK that every word he writes must be considered suspect, and he wouldn't believe a choir of angels singing RSK's crimes in Central Park! While I feel that +MH and others are clearly implicated in the conduct of the scandal - and certainly in the attempted cover-up - RSK is clearly a participant, and not some cruelly persecuted little lamb as Monk James would have us believe. And by the way, who is this fellow's superior? Where does a monk get-off ignoring the decision of the Holy Synod of his Church - no matter what he think of them - by continuing to refer to RSK as "Father RSK?" He's been deposed and does not warrant that title any longer; so who's responsible for telling him to cease-and-decist?
One thing I like about Orthodoxy is a clearly defined mission, a clearly defined (over the centuries) message; the day-to-day inner workings of the actual Church, however, are the province of amateurs and thieves (the entire Synod and much of the clergy fall into one of these two catagories), with a few members of the laity (who have real educations, real jobs, with real responsibilities which can't be hidden behind clerical robes) trying to point-out the dysfunction and indeed criminal behavior of the inept leadership - and being vilified for doing so.
I regret the day that I fell into the clutches of the OCA. I still adhere to the Orthodox message, but the only reason I remain in the OCA is due to the tremendous support and effort of my priest, and my fellow parishioners. If +MH transfers my priest as some form of punishment, then I'm out of here! It won't matter much, since I'm already engaged in personal withholding of all money from the OCA; so you can tell our Metropolitan and former "Treasurer in name only," that yes I'm still an "OCA-member in name only," and that too is tenuous.
#21 C.C. on 2007-11-27 08:43
If there is to be a locum tenens, it is essential for a good choice to be made. It is important that a choice not be arranged by insiders to continue to delay and obfuscate. We need to insist on the selection of an honest man.
#22 Peter McElvein on 2007-11-27 09:38
Unfortunately, Mark H., what you say is absolutely true. We just had a discussion last Sunday in my parish about how little (if anything) people in Russia know (or care) about the OCA. The popular misconception is that Fr. Alexander Schmemann, for example, was the priest of the Church in Exile. Most of the time when I tell people in Russia that I am in the OCA, I get a "eh, what?" reaction. And this is yet another condemning truth about the "leadership" of the OCA squandering our autocephaly...
Many thanks to Mark Stokoe for his excellent editorial.
#23 Inga Leonova on 2007-11-27 11:09
"Monk" James in high dudgeon is truly a sight to behold. That the self-appointed spokesman for the muted Mr. Kondratick is reduced to quibbling over whether or not Mr. Kondratick has been spotted in Moscow is as amusing as it is telling.
Most of us are not very interested in Mr. Kondratick's travel schedule, although there may well be some places we would love to see him go. We do, however, have more than a passing interest in any attempt he might make to involve the Russian Church in reversing his deposition. So this is the key point, and note that Brother James does not refute, indeed he confirms, that this may well be on the Kondratick agenda if the Synod doesn't "go wobbly" at its next meeting and extend amnesty to one and all.
This, of course, has been the objective from the beginning of Mr. Kondratick's ordeal. Blackmail, oh excuse me, convince, the bishops to exonerate him in turn for keeping his mouth shut. Both parties are between a rock and a hard place, which is just where they deserve to be.
A pox on both your houses!
#24 Kenneth R. Tobin on 2007-11-27 11:13
A cassock doesn't make a monk.
#25 Yanni on 2007-11-27 13:42
As far as I know, Mark Stokoe is doing this site as a service to the Church. As far as I can see, he is doing a much better job than many professional journalists. And, I absolutely respect him as a man of his word, of impeccable integrity and honesty. Not too many people can correct errors as he has done.
Keep up the good work!
#26 Carl on 2007-11-27 13:56
Can you please tell us what monastery you're located in and who your abbot is?
#27 Anonymous on 2007-11-27 16:24
It's not just us, it seems.
Here is material regarding a lack of financial transparency in MN among Episcopalians.
#28 Steve on 2007-11-28 06:28
Herman will not step down. He owns and operates the entire organization. The Synod - These men are only interested in protecting and preserving their own world. One can only judge them by their actions. They handed down a deposition at the time of the accused mother's wake. These men are desperate to save themselves.
The Metropolitan Council - If you speak out, you're gone. Everyone must behave or their out.
The Special Investigative Commission - The chair will bring Herman the report he paid for and needs to substantiate his actions. The fact that they have not and will not interview RSK says it all. It's just a waste of time.
The big question is why the entire PR report will not be released. The summarized version written by Makosky will stand. Herman needs to go to the All American Council and justify his spending more than one half million dollars. The report will say what he needs it to say.
No matter what happens now, the real truth will never be revealed. Too much time has passed, too many people have been privy to a little bit of whatever Herman has wanted them to know. He will continue believe his own stories and if the synod has let him get this far, he's home free.
On the other hand, when an American has been deprived of substantiating evidence used against him, there is only one place to go. When a person has been deprived of rights due them, there is only one place to go - a level playing field. Herman has controlled this entire fiasco from day one. He has manipulated, said exactly what he had to say to get through each moment and then did something else, and he has put people into place who will tell him exactly what he wants to hear. OCA, unfortunately I believe there will be tension for years to come. Why? Because those who could have taken the high road, have remainded in their own little villages. Those who had authority to do something, sat back and protected their own turf. Those who should have spoke out were silenced. Herman has ruled with intimidation and fear. Is that now so?
#29 MP on 2007-11-28 07:22
Mark there are many people who read and write in on this website that are very, very appreciative of your earnest and diligent work to provide information and your quickness in making corrections when the information is incorrect. Our synod of bishops should look on the Antiochian website and read the most recent issue of the WORD magazine (Nov. 2007) and see how the Antiochian Archidiocese has given a 64 page report of their recent Archdiocesan Conference. The faithful of the OCA want written, verifiable, with appropriate accountany rules and regulations, financial reports of the funding of their local diocese and the central administration and all of the institutiions that are affliated with the OCA. The faithful and the individual parishes are willing to support the OCA programs if there is full disclosure. The synod of Bishops seem to be willing to let the ship sink rather than revealing the full truth. The full truth will come out that I firmly believe.
#30 cshinn on 2007-11-28 08:08
The most apparant, obvious, and concrete "fall out" from the years of financial mismanagement within the OCA is that our body of Christ continues to greatly suffer in so many ways that could have been avoided. The corrections are happening slowly and I have firm confidence that our new treasurer will help us on the path of financial healing. Mark Stokoe's site allows a daily barometer to our situation in the OCA is not all well.
We are far from being able to congratulate our leaders on "another job," "another task of Christ" as "well done." I don't know if we would be given the "prize" out there in the world to be able to hear from Christ, "Well done, good and faithful servant." We don't hear, in any type of significant joy or celebration, how our fundraisings for missions, charities, or seminaries are being successful or fruitful. We don't hear how our stewardship is being successful or fruitful. We don't hear what the OCA should have been accomplishing in terms of alms and good works in terms of being successful or fruitful.
We appear to be a neolithic, or neanderthal, period of development within the OCA of just trying to get our finances on the up and up!!! Is this not a true testament enough of how far we are from where we should be?
I will know the OCA is on the "correct page" when I see happier, mor productive, more joyous, more fruitful emails come from all that is getting discussed and posted on OCANEWS.org. It is our baromter to what is really happening in our church. Not too much good news yet.
However, I do feel we are are making small, necessary strides and these do need to be celebrated and uplifted. On the whole, however, there is a lack of trust, a lack of productivity, and a tremendous lack of bearing good fruit, that appears to have not shifted much within our current state of affairs. Can we answer a resounding, joyous, and resurrectional "Yes," With Christ's expectations of "Well done, good and faithful servant?" I fear not.
#31 Patty Schellbach on 2007-11-28 10:10
Because itís a sham.
Yeah, yeah, people are going to say, ďgive it a chanceĒ. They said give the Synod a chance, what happened? They said give the MC a chance, what happened? They said the Investigative Committee will get to the bottom of this, what happened? They said we got new officers in office, give them a chance? What happened? The first letter from the new Chancellor basically told the clergy to shut up. And now people are going to say, ďdonít jump to conclusions, give this a chance. Joe will see heís out numbered and will resign at that time. Thatís what heís waiting forĒ. And I say, hereís your deed to a bridge in Brooklyn.
There is no need for a preconciliar council to start with. Itís a relic from a time when the Church could look to doing good works and people wanted to move forward in Christ. Weíre not there any more. We have abandoned first principles. We canít deal with wrong when its so clearly black and white. We donít look to God when we have a problem, we hire lawyers. We donít admit our mistakes and accept accountability, we have lawyers tell the Synod not to act or else! We canít even dial 911 when we noticed weíve been robbed. And weíre going to talk about great and grand ideas that are purely the fantasy of people who want to disregard our decrepit state? Get real!
What is the preconciliar group going to come up with that has any relevance to our state of affairs? If we cannot come to grips with the rampant and open corruption at the Episcopal level, the accomplices and apologists in the clergy and the episcopate for people who have clearly done grave misdeeds to the Church, which based on the Summary Report look a lot like stealing, what are we going to POSSIBLY think of talking about at an AAC? Are you going to get open and frank discussion? Thatís hilarious! Look at the retribution to people who speak here. Look at the threats and transfers of priests who talk their conscience. Look at the harassment of the core of this church, good and faithful laity, when they speak out. And the crying shame of that is that we are only doing what the clergy tells us is the way we should act in their sermons. We are only acting the way that Christ told us in the Gospels. We have a bishop, for crying out loud, whoís coming up with an ecclesiology of the internet! AN ECCLESIOLOGY OF THE INTERNET! Where do they COME UP with this stuff? Hey, Mollard, how about an ecclesiology of STEALING! How about an ecclesiology of MORALITY! Or would that not concern the bishops? Maybe hit a little too close to home for them. After all, itís the LAITY that are the problem and when the laity band together and withhold money then they are going TOO FAR! An ecclesiology of the internet is bishop-speak for what you can never say concerning the bishops and what they do. And they want to talk conciliarity? Give me a break! What on EARTH are we going to talk about an at AAC when weíve rotted to the core. And they want to have an AAC and have a preconciliar group to come up with an agenda. People, its building on a foundation of water.
Are we going to talk about conciliarity when people in Alaska who donít appear at Church are perceived of avoiding the pathological bishop and are refused the Body and Blood of Christ by the said bishop? We donít have to look to the Alaska for that, we just have to look to a church in eastern Pennsylvania for that kind of vindictiveness! Whereís Mollard to take a look at THAT?! And weíre talking conciliarity. BS. Are we going to talk conciliarity when Joe Swaiko acts unilaterally, in his interest, when there are problems plaguing the Church? Are we going to talk Missions when people look at our Synod and decide its best for their spiritual well being to start missions in other jurisdictions. Are we going to speak of youth and charity when less than 15% of the annual OCA budget goes to what we are going to pretend are our priorities, but most of it goes to the salaries of the empire these men built? Are we going to speak of issues of sexual impropriety when we are continually hearing about Twinkle Toes or an investigation into serious sexual allegations in Alaska that was sham? Are we going to speak budgets when people donítí want to drop another dime into this corrupt cesspool? What are we going to talk about? The good ole days when we had men of God and lofty visions of a Church for America before it became overtaken by a band of goons from Pennsylvania who saw it as a means to the good life and their own self aggrandizement?
True, itís a year away, and maybe there will finally be a majority of priests who take their responsibilities to God seriously and we will have a real chance to get through meaningful resolutions, or will Joe ďout of orderĒ Swaiko stifle anything that causes meaningful action to occur.
Look, people, this is an exercise in futility by people who want to give an image of normality and that things are improving so that you look the other way, feel content, and send in your damn money! Thatís it. This isnít a serious exercise. Itís another waste of YOUR money by these guys to create an image to fool you. Just like theyíve done with the several hundred thousands spent in lawyers fees. Is the Church any better because of that money? No, but at least the people who plundered the Church have a firewall built around them. This is just another massive expenditure for their own good. What good is an AAC when we have all our answers, like from Bobby Royster who says its all ďinnocence and neglectí? How can we have a serious discussion on anything when we have characters like this leading and setting the agenda? An AAC would have more of a feeling of a wake.
We need to relearn the ten commandments and how to have those guide our lives. We need to learn that God is the person we live for, not Joe Swaiko, or Bobby Royster, or Bob Kondratick. We have to have priests who donít parrot the Syosset line directly contradicting what they tell us to do with our lives in their preaching. We have a Synod whoís looking at restoring to the priesthood a guy who the Summary Report said has misappropriated over a million dollars of OUR money for his own use. Are we going to go to the AAC to admire his hair and his tan? There isnít much more that will come of it.
An AAC should be convened when Joe Swaiko is either retired or in the custody of police, when the Synod has been put out to pasture and men who know who God is and defer to his will are put on the Synod, when the people who have stolen from the Church are punished and not rewarded with the reinstatement of their priesthood, when all those who have allowed this to go on whether the actual misdeeds or the coverup are no longer in any position of any influence, when all money has been accounted for, and when we are ready to start rebuilding, but most importantly when we recognize weíre in the service of God and act accordingly. And not by lipservice, not by going through the motions, but by a change in our hearts and minds. The next AAC should be a reformation and a rebuilding exercise. It should not be a week in which Joe and his merry band of misfits carefully choreograph an event, avoid tough issues, and give the appearance that all is better and we need to move on and completely forget what has happened.
The bottom line is that until we, through our actions, have a footing, let alone a foundation, in the basics of what this Church is really all about, having anything as lofty as an AAC is a waste in money, money that can be used for charitable purposes with a positive outcome.
#32 Stonewall on 2007-11-28 12:53
After reading this searing indictment of the OCA leadership, I took a day to reflect and consider whether this post was too negative in tone and frankly even "over the top." Regrettably, it isn't.
Every item delineated by "Stonewall" rings true to me, and leaves little doubt that those placing any hope on the AAC being a constructive enterprise under our current leadership are deluding themselves. Just as the new commission is a sham that will seek to bury the truth so we can "move on," so too will the AAC be under the guiding hand of the Metropolitan and his cronies.
Cutting off the money has been the only possibly means to force change, short of governmental/legal intervention, which appears increasingly unlikely. Obviously, we have not yet, and may never, reach a point where stopping contributions has the desired result. So what other options remain?
As I, and others, have pointed out, the Antiochian Church seems to be headed by an enlightened bishop and run in a more open and accountable fashion. No doubt, they have their problems too--but it is hard to believe they are on the same scale or level as the OCA's. This seems to be the only viable option for me, since I firmly reject being part of an "ethnic enclave" which so much of the Orthodox world appears to embrace.
If we are not a universal church where all ethnic and other differences are left behind in our unity in Christ--then count me out. I think I will stand in good company when called to account.
#33 Kenneth R. Tobin on 2007-11-29 09:42
I have good news! From the only-only-official OCA site no less!?
All the 'where did the money go' questions can be resolved, audits bottom line balanced, ADM money, everything. And a photo and document to prove it. OCA can move on.
$6.8 million is accounted for. Read it yourself, I paraphrase the photo caption & plaque; Roundtable Honors the OCA .. generous contribution .. to donate $6.8 million to the 9/11 victims. Bingo!, (as retirees say in Catholicism's church halls)
What do you think? I'd say the tap-dancing and number juggling $yosset insiders can get a lot of mileage out of that writeoff. There must be a cover letter that says the same thing - hey, just Xerox the plaque and send it with an amended statement to the IRS. (our CPA readers are laughing out loud by now)
However to pull this off requires a bit of a shell game, maybe some creative accounting, smooth talking-- where's Bob Kondratick when you need him?
#34 Jim Murray on 2007-11-30 11:39
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