Tuesday, January 15. 2008
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"Wella, youv see my dears, they are just evil!"
What more needs to be said? + Herman was aware of the issues and he should step down, "for the good of the Church!"
#1 Prof. on 2008-01-15 12:10
By reading those articles , it states clearly that MT was solely responsible for that money. This seems very different from what the public knows.
(Editor's note: I suggest you focus less on the Andreas letter, which was written ex post facto, and focus on whose signatures were on the bank accounts where the money was placed. Kondratick and +Theo's names were on two of the three accounts. That means both controlled. )
#2 Anonymous on 2008-01-15 12:31
Considering the reports of document shredding, etc., one can only assume there is a lot more than what is being revealed, so far.
The truly striking thing, though, is the fact that MH has tried, from day one, to hide, deny, and lie about the truth. Every time more facts are revealed, it shows more deception by MH.
#3 Name withheld on 2008-01-15 14:07
If he's such a passionate defender of the Kondratick's, I can't help but wonder how much of the dough he got...
but seriously, I can't see that rounding off numbers or even leaving them out is a big deal.
#4 anon on 2008-01-15 14:09
The sole fact is, the money wasn't RSK's or anyone else's to give out.
Under whose authority was anyone instructed to give money away?
It doesn't matter if anyone witnessed RSK handing over money to people. It wasn't HIS to dole out.
#5 Michael Geeza on 2008-01-15 14:31
It has been stated by people close to Syosset that even RK has admitted to people that he shredded documents in order to "protect" people whose names were associated with the cash disbursements. Why has this not been added to the propaganda from the "powers-that-be" in Syosset? Shouldn't document shredding be another charge against RK? Or do the same "powers-that-be" not want mention of this situation so that people don't ask who RK was protecting?
Typical synod tactic - bury it, don't mention it, avoid it, and hope it goes away.
#6 Anonymous on 2008-01-15 15:20
Your conclusions about MH are illogical and off base. Let's talk about how and when Archbishop Job and others saw the Moscow tape . Let's talk about how the members of the Holy Synod were aware of spending issues with Kondratick and did nothing. Let's talk about the rewriting of history by members of the metropolitan council who in fact helped direct MH to Proskaur Rose and now hold him out as acting completely by himself. Let's talk about the financial leaders who allowed all of this meltdown to occur. There are many people who share some responsibility in this not just MH.
(Editor's Note: Archbishop Job, upon receiving the tape claims he gave it to Metropolitan Herman - who was the appropriate authority to deal with the issues the tape raised. The Metropolitan sat on it. We do not know if the Synod knew of the spending issues; but you are correct in inferring if they did know, they are culpable. But you are incorrect in asserting that the MC bear responsibility for PR. Once hired by +Herman, they reported only to the him and it was only with great relunctance and under threat of not paying their bills, that +Herman eventually allowed them to report the MC, but only under certain conditions, and not in writing. Finallly, you are wrong in asserting there was a meltdown. There was theft and fraud. The only meltdown was the culture of collaboration that allowed the theft to continue ( see my first point again). Every financial officer of the OCA does share some responsibility for allowing that culture to flourish - including +Herman who was the Treasurer for the pivotal years of 1999-2000 when the misdirection of the funds moved from looting hidden ADM monies to looting the Charity and Mission Appeals funds. But just because many share responsibilty in no way excuses +Herman's failures, the greatest of which is his continuing abdication of responsibility. )
#7 Anon. on 2008-01-15 19:33
Apparently your pastor, Fr Kucynda thought it was ok when he was used as a "money mule" to take funds to Russia. Apparently he considered it ok to give money to needy priests, people, and orphans in Russia. Or is it NOW, not ok? Kucynda can't have it both ways, or can he. Herman thinks he can. What a joke.
#8 Anonymous on 2008-01-15 20:37
Anon said in post #4: "but seriously, I can't see that rounding off numbers or even leaving them out is a big deal."
Dear Anon, you may have been right if this sort of sloppiness was a one time event. It has not been so. It is a big deal because it is part of a pattern. You really should go to the archives and read all of the news accounts from day one. You will then see the truth of the matter: a very big deal indeed!
#9 Anonymous on 2008-01-15 20:39
A brief comment to the editor: Thank you for including at least a partial website for the oft-referenced "Orthodox Forum" where a lot of discussion seems to be taking place. I am afraid that not everyone who has access to this page has a preexisting familiarity with the forum in question (there is certainly more than one online Orthodox forum). Since there is no link to that particular forum from this website, it has been difficult to validate some of the information from this website that is in reference to discussions there. Again, thank you for the information.
#10 Sarah Fountain on 2008-01-16 08:16
If Monk James was hoping that the release of the documents would bring about a tectonic shift in opinion about the scandal or a paradigmatic change in how we understand the scandal, I think he is going to be disappointed in the results. For me at least, nothing he released has resulted in my thinking that the deposition of Bob Kondratick was a great injustice. The documents flesh out a little what was commonly suspected. The only injustice done is to the actual membership of the OCA, because the Metropolitan and Central Church Administration seem to want to declare the scandal over and not to have to tell the whole truth, which might bring about true reconciliation in the OCA: between disagreeing members and with the facts themselves. For me personally, the documents released clearly implicate former metropolitan Theodosius in the scandal. Why is he given a total pass when it comes to accountability and culpability? They also confirm the notion that there was an entire supporting cast involved in what happened and in keeping the silence and in attempting a cover up. I would hope that Bishop Benjamin's committee will ask for and publish the statements of all of those involved - from the metropolitans, to the treasurers, to the administrative committee, to the various staff people who were involved in OCA fund raising and money management. Just what were they thinking when they made the personal and official decisions which they made? Why did they choose silence if they recognized things were not being done totally legitimately? Why did they enable a dysfunctional situation to continue even after Dn. Eric's efforts to expose the scandal? Do they now see their own culpability in contributing to the scandal? Why when people thought certain other staff members were incompetent, did they all just go along with what was happening? Why did they sign the documents and checks which they signed?
And the "defense" of Kondratick seems to involve totally procedural complaints that in no way change the overall reading of the evidence. Indeed others, including at least one metropolitan were clearly involved in the scandal, but that doesn't mean that Kondratick is innocent or not culpable. Indeed others should also be called on the carpet to explain themselves, but that doesn't change the basic facts about what happened. Perhaps evidence is missing, but that is a two edged sword which doesn't prove anyone's innocence. Despite complaining that the charges and the evidence were withheld from Kondratick, now that the charges are clearly in the open, where is the evidence that contradicts the charges? All that we are given is that Monk James disagrees with what happened, but that is hardly proof of anything. Money is clearly unaccounted for - where is the evidence which shows how the money was used once it was in Kondratick's possession? Even if the evidence offered by the OCA is one sided, what contrary evidence is there that would prove Kondratick's innocence? The OCA's documents show the money (ended) in Kondratick's hands, so why can't he show what he did with it if what he did with it was legitimate? If anything that ball is in Bob's court, and what was offered as a "defense" hardly changes the fact that the preponderance of what can be established ends in the hands of Bob and also in the hands of the former metropolitan. It isn't that investigation in establishing Bob's culpability in the scandal supercedes the evidence available or is a miscarriage of justice for Bob, rather it is that the Metropolitan has not allowed the investigation to go far enough in assessing responsibility in an effort to clean up the scandal and bring about reconciliation in the Church with the facts and with the entire membership of the OCA. That has truly been a disservice to the entire OCA.
Now that these documents have been made public, will the Metrpolitan and Bishop Benjamin pretend that this part of the scandal is still confidential or will they and the rest of the bishops take advantage of the situation and publicly address the issues thus taking advantage of the door being opened to transparency, forthrightness, full accountability, and to telling the truth. A unique moment has been created in which the bishops do not have to be worried about divulging confidential information, for it has already been revealed. Now we will see if they can tell the truth.
#11 Fr. Ted Bobosh on 2008-01-16 08:20
It appears, with the publication of Kondratick documents, that the ongoing dialogue on this site will be focused on comments and reactions to the new stuff, so I will take the liberty of replying here to something posted by Mr. Banescu, Esq. in the latter stages of the comments on Archbishop Job's recent letter. In it he misunderstands and castigates with seeming vigor because I asked a rhetorical question about whether or not we really want people of other faiths judging matters which are deeply intertwined with age-old principles of Orthodox eccelsiology and polity.
In it he employs the youthful, reactive and hyper-indignant tone that I have previously tried to suggest doesn't do nearly as much to advance mature discussion of these thorny problems as Mr. B seems to think. Before tackling a couple of examples of this let me apologize in advance for participating in what has some of the trappings of a two-man contest to see who can stick out his tongue farthest. I hope there is something more valuable here than that.
The constant tone of rhetorical high-dudgeon which I find so unappealing is given to sweeping genralizations about the views or character of any who might seem to dissent a bit from his pronouncements, such as Mr. B's recent bombast that I show a "remarkable bias and blindness to the universal truth that Jesus Christ proclaimed."
If this glittering generalization had been followed up with a cogent, focused argument as to how I was blind to or biased against some spiritual truth in this matter, we could try to have an intelligent discussion. As it is, sans content, I think all we have is an attempted insult that clutters the discourse.
Mr. B's brand of personalized reactivity inevitably misses the point of what the other person was saying. In context I was hardly suggesting that only Orthodox have the intelligence or integrity necessary to judge disputes or behave ethically. I was using the device of an rhetorical question to point to what I think is the considered and settled wisdom of the entire U.S. legal system as far as I can tell: great reluctance to have secular jurists, potentially of entirely different belief systems, judging how a particular relgion's standards and beliefs ought to apply. Didn't St. Paul do the same in I Cor. 6 when he asked if there wasn't someone wise and good enough in their parish to judge the disputes that were going to the secular courts?
One of the underlying problems with the bombastic approach is that it oversimplifies. Sure, if it is just a garden-variety question of whether money belonging to x was or was not wrongfully acquired and spent by y, a secular court would have a high chance of doing a good job. But in this convoluted mess of canons and potentially conflicting OCA governing documents, the matter is far from that simple.
You think Prokauer Rose has made an undeserved bundle already? I promise you it would be nothing compared to what shrewd and self-interested ilitgators would make out of such a case if it actually went forward. And that is to say nothing of the foreseeable damage to individuals, to whole parishes and the OCA and its institutions. I have seen that cost up close and personal - counting the dollars and the bodies (spiritually speaking) from a much more focused and local contest, and it isn't pretty.
In the throes of deeply disappointing discoveries like the ones discussed here it is tempting to invoke secular powers that can be imagined to swiftly remedy the immediate problem. Our American addiction to fantasy (movies, tv, books. computer games), in which conflicts are introduced and resolved without the shedding of real blood or the payment of any substantial cost, gives us unrealistic expectations of how real world problems can or should be addressed and resolved. In case I am not being clear enough let me reiterate - our brains and our expectations are highly conditioned to fantasy and imagination on how to deal with wrongs. As litigators with more experience than Mr. B know, however, the law and secular courts are most costly and imperfect instruments of justice when they presume to judge things - like the proper application of religious beliefs and practices - for which they are not really equipped.
Americans by nature are essentially anti-hierarchical by virtue of immersion in the ideology of everyone's supposed equality. Add to that an overlay in a particular judge of congregationalist Protestant presuppositions or conservative Roman Catholic ones which might label even the best Orthodox bishop as a usurping rebel against the Pope, and perhaps the difficulty of having a truly unbiased decision maker or result starts to appear.
Of course we could choose to join Mr. B in imagining that his Jewish, Mormon and Muslim friends - or their equivalent - would be the objective judges and the case would be nice and simple and clear, but it is really a matter of just that - imagination. No guarantees, and much evidence to the contrary.
Imagine this instead - a perfectly nice, experienced and well educated secular judge (who himself left an unpleasant marriage to live with a woman he is not married to) being asked to judge a wrongful termination case against a bishop who removed a priest for doing the same thing.
Despite the great discomfort of the present situation and the lack of any clear, speedy or effective remedy in church polity, I believe we do not want to sell the birthright of good Orthodox eccelsiology for the "mess of pottage" of a possible but by no means guaranteed fix for the fiasco. Each and every possible method of church government has been tried by man and found vulnerable to - surprise, surprise - sin and sinners. Orthodox episcopacy is no exception, and it is sure that no secular court raking through the past of this sorry affair will correct that or guarantee the future.
We pragmatic, impatient, spoiled Americans are always in such a hurry to reform, to fix anything broken (and assign blame and punishment and prevent it from happening again) that there is an undeniable surface appeal to the idea of invoking supposedly unbiased secular courts to apply supposedly universal principles of morality to make this go away fast, so that we can be restored to the dream of our American entitlement to imagine ourselves at all times and in every way to be and have the very best. Well maybe in the overall Divine scope of things it ain't supposed to go away quick and people are supposed to (or for their own good in God's eyes NEED to) live for a while with and suffer the consequences of some grave mistakes in the OCA's recent past.
Meanwhile I think that unless there is a very clear, simple route to criminal or civil liability regarding a focused act or transaction (as opposed to the generalities of episcopal prerogative), the hope of effective secular court relief is liable to be a distractor of people's money, hope, patience, courage, attention, energy and prayer from what the Church really needs to do to come to a greater degree of peace and order. I also think that in making this point I have at least exhausted my patience, if not Mr. B's and other peoples, and I will tend to other matters for a while instead of posting here.
#12 Fr. George Washburn on 2008-01-16 09:36
The mountain has groaned... and given birth to a mouse. "Monk James" claimed that he had "proof" of the sexual misdeeds of the hierarchy. Well, all he produced was a set of documents that CONFIRMED what we know already. Absolutely nothing new.
Either back your accusations with words, "Monk James," or shut up (preferably the latter).
#13 anonymous on 2008-01-16 10:13
There is no such thing as an "Urban monk". All monks belong in a monastery including our bishops. Why don't they make the urban monk an Igumen as the only qualification for that nowadays is that the person has never lived in a monastery and is not familiar with the spiritual warfare, prayer and fasting, and conquering one's passions. This is not an attack on Monk James as I do not know him. This is a crituque on a bad practice.
#14 GH on 2008-01-16 10:32
Is there anyone left in the upper echelon that has the decency and fear of God to bite the bullet and do what is necessary save our church?
It is like the devil has possessed the high order.
Apparently the bishops are waiting for either MT or MH to die and then put the blame on the deceased.
#15 anon on 2008-01-16 11:59
This is all on the Synod to bring to finality.
Anything less is comedy.
#16 Daniel E. Fall on 2008-01-16 18:34
"Either back your accusations with words, "Monk James," or shut up"
Perhaps the good monk is bucking for a bishopric. Usually it is only hierarchs that use so many words and yet say so very little.
#17 Guy & Christine Kogut on 2008-01-16 18:39
But how would that possibly be good for the salvation of their souls?
#18 Anonymous on 2008-01-16 18:49
On the Links to Other Sites of Interest page of ocanews.org, the first link in the section *Yahoo Groups*, Orthodox-Forum, is in fact the link you're looking for. You have to send a request to join the group once you go to the site, but that seems to be a formality. The Kondratick documents are in the Files section. Hope this is helpful.
#19 Ann McLarnan on 2008-01-16 20:02
Will the leopards change their spots? I know it is our Christian lot to pray for change and repentance, but lets also plan for a house cleaning if the leopards' spots do not change. No one has commented on the Qui Tam lawsuit opportunity - ref: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qui_tam - In other words, members of the OCA bring a complaint against the perpetrators in federal court in New York with the plan to turn the case over to the U.S. Attorney to prosecute.
#20 Anon. on 2008-01-16 21:00
I don't think he's looking for any shift in perceptions ... he's just giving public notice to a very small, specific audience that the auto-destruct button has been activated and that if they don't respond to his public blackmail the bombs start flying.
#21 Rebecca Matovic on 2008-01-16 21:30
Fr. George wrote:
'I asked a rhetorical question about whether or not we really want people of other faiths judging matters which are deeply intertwined with age-old principles of Orthodox eccelsiology and polity. '
Our very sorry recent Orthodox history is such that, on a bad day, those folk from 'other faiths' (meaning the American legal system) do rather better living up to our Orthodox standards of how things ought to be done than our own Orthodox leadership has done.
I think Fr. George's argument rests upon the notion that the church serves ecclesiological principles and those exist to serve the hierarchy. Exactly backward, as God is showing presently with his pruning shears -- and if we notice the decreasing number of folk our so called 'leaders' so called 'serve', we here are not on the 'root' side of the shear....
Our age old church had leadership 'from among you', to be Orthodox the leadership must have voices from the whole experience of the people as it once did. Today's church is less Orthodox tham the historical one we like to wave high in the air at folk as today our leadership is composed of an a-historical group wrongly limited only to those ordained young and never married.
Over the last 100 years, health improved and priest's wives stopped dying before the priest's retirement age. We deal with that or we whine in impotence until nobody bothers even to visit the websites or opens the mail much less attends the services. Worse than that -- with such leadership any who agree to be ordained and 'serve' such a limited leadership group, whether married or not will be looked upon as having sexual issues or dubious judgement or both. Probably not the moral authority a pastor needs in modern America looking for to attract a flock for the purposes of the Gospel.
#22 Harry Coin on 2008-01-17 08:25
What planet do you live on?
Don't you shred things because you fear identity theft.
It was never determined what was shredded. Nor has anything else been substantiated. Who has seen evidence? That is my question to ARchbishop JOB - true or false?
I know that this as Monk James stated will end up in court.
You must see Abp Nathaniel stated no information will be distributed, so who actually has seen all of this substantiating evidence? If the OCA has predetermined all of this blame on one person because it was convenient for Herman to do so, they deserve whatever they receive. Just remember Herman and Kucynda paid in excess of $400,000 for a report that has yet to be seen. Of course at these prices, it should and will say what they want it to say. This has been a Kangaroo Kourt from day one. Herman will never retire, so the church is stuck and must move on in spite of him.
#23 MP on 2008-01-17 08:53
"Vanity, vanity all is vanity!"
Absolutely ridiculous. When will + Herman step down, let the civil authorities weed this out and let's get back to giving credibility back to the OCA. We have to wait until November? Why?
#24 Prof. on 2008-01-17 09:38
Real lawyers would be better able to answer, but I always thought that Qui Tam suits were only under the False Claims Act and required federal funds to be involved (like an army contract, or a Medicare claim procured fraudulently).
Is there an available New York State remedy that you're talking about?
#25 Ed Unneland on 2008-01-17 12:23
I certainly didn't mean that the amounts didn't matter, but whether you say "over $1,000,000.00 was withdrawn..." or if you say "$1,019,071.35 was withdrawn..." you are basically saying the same thing. To condemn the person who summarizes it as "over 1,000,000.00" instead of using the precise number, is kind of silly.
I have been following the whole mess all along. Great wrong has been done; no one doubts that.
#26 anon on 2008-01-17 15:00
Regarding the false claims act scenario. In the last few weeks of posts there was a mention of the Bibles for Russia's funds as somehow from the US Chaplancies? I read that as from the US Chaplain's outfit (they are GI's after all, oo-rahh) to the OCA and then to Russia? .. well again, maybe not.
If this is the case ... is it US Government money, or funded by grants, fundraising from the entity of our US Chaplains? This could be a more expansive theft for the Judge Advocate Generals Office to question since it is not OCA dollars to begin with.
Here in Baltimore the priest is the Dean of Orthodox Chaplains and said at the time the scandal broke "... yes there's problems with the money, we know there's always been problems with the money!!" (Oo-rah, not!)I don't expect an answer or any explanation since Father Boback insists that the only, only site for OCA news is the official site. No way he's reading this, huh?
#27 PLEASE AS ANONYMOUS , only 2nd time on 2008-01-17 17:10
I assure you that "identity theft" what the farthest thing from RK's mind at the time. He has told priests who received $ gifts from him "Don't worry, I shredded all the papers so that they'll never know you got anything."
And this is perhaps the most mysterious part of the whole drama that has developed - we know RK was involved in giving the $ out, but to whom? It seems they've traced a couple hundred thousand to RK and his family, but isn't there $3+ million missing? Where is the rest? This is what the investigative committee wanted to find out from the beginning, but a certain Mr Swaiko tried all he could to deter them. It's sad to think that some bishops may have been living "high on the hog" like monarchs while so many parish priests are working 2 jobs just to put food on the table and be able to serve their parish. So I ask, do the bishops really care about the clergy and people? Or have they just become accustom to treating them like their personal ATM's?
#28 Anonymous on 2008-01-17 17:31
Unpaid taxes from the absconded funds should qualify. In fact, I believe U.S. Attorneys are looking for more tax-related Qui Tams.
#29 Anon. on 2008-01-17 17:42
Harry Coin writes:
"I think Fr. George's argument rests on the notion that the church serves ecclesiological principles and those exist to serve the hierarchy."
Fr. George replies:
"Harry, you rascal! Are you still out there putting words in other people's mouths? I am glad to see you are still alive and kicking, and don't at all mind kicking this question around with you again as we once did on the Indiana list five or so years ago. Let's be careful to aim so as to kick the issue, and not each other."
As Harry knows all too well, there are bishops out there who hold the authoritarian absolutist view of episcopal office and often act as if the ecclesiology of the church exists to serve its occupants. We should not be surprised to learn some of the chief proponents of this view actually have desks and filing cabinets in an episcopal office - and their names on the door. Harry opposes that view, and in the absence of any active personifier of that view in this discussion forum (we had one on Indiana) Harry imputes the objectionable position to me so that he can joust with and defeat it. I don't mind so long as everyone tries to remember that is what he is doing, and it is not really my position.
As Harry ought to know from reading my remarks here and from our discussions in the past, I am NOT a proponent of that view. In fact I think it is a terrible view of the office, and I am glad not to serve under people who believe it or act as if they did. "He who wants to be greatest among you must be the servant of all" should be the defining motto of our bishops.
What I do believe is that we are always going to be stuck with and ecclesiology that is not fool or sinner-proof. Congregationalists have lovely participation from all ranks, but the occasional resulting donnybrooks of degraded democracy can make the gentler souls among them long for the imaginary safety of a single authoritative voice, a dignified, wise, patient, and gracious bishop who saves everybody the trouble of group friction and just decides things so the organization can move on.
And we, when we find ourselves prisoners of authoritarian autocracy, wish we could hold a popular vote of wise and balanced laity and send some bishops back to less dangerous positions. But when we stop to think about either one of these forms of wishful thinking, we should see through them.
We should see that it is impossible to define and implement an episcopacy in which only good, humble, balanced bishops have the absolute and final say. Neither could the congregationalists create a workable electoral scenario which limited the popular voting right just to people who had their heads screwed on straight and would search out all the facts and principles before voting wisely.
So we are stuck with one particular system which is subject to one particular kind of abuse. And there are, or in the recent past have been, one or more people perfectly ready to abuse the office and exploit the potential weakness in our particular system.
So to get back to what I actually believe in, it is this. Extreme vigilance in all forms when selecting bishops because in true Orthodox ecclesiology it is heck to get rid of bad ones. I do not think the current difficulties should prompt people to advocate some ill-defined hybrid form of toothless episcopacy, bishop by committee, or leadership by weekly opinion poll. It is so sad and uncomfortable to live with the consequences and no quick fix, but there is no Orthodox alternative. Some things don't come out except by prayer and fasting - or perhpas withholdings and deep sufferings of various kinds.
#30 Fr. George Washburn on 2008-01-17 23:28
You scare me!
The Man/God you serve, Jesus Christ Himself, was a Jew.
As for the Protestants, perhaps they had good reasons back in the 16th century, reasons which, by the grace of God, Orthodoxy has never had to deal with.
#31 Eugenie Osmun on 2008-01-18 04:22
The key word is "needy". Kondratick is not in any way needy. He's just greedy.
#32 Anonymous on 2008-01-18 07:15
He's a freelance monk who in 2005 was a free agent that was picked up Kondratick. Maybe the deal between him and Herman specified a monk to be named later to go to Herman in exchange.
So, GH, where's the lawsuit you talked about in October? The 3 months have passed.
#33 A.P. on 2008-01-18 07:17
Here's a question that's troubling me.
Why did Arch. Z. of St. Catherine's in Moscow give the tape over to + Job instead of the Metropolitan in the first place?
#34 Michael Geeza on 2008-01-18 07:46
Whew! Fourteen paragraphs to argue --what? -that we should remain complacent about the millions misappropriated, the tonsuring of a repeat and convicted sex-offender (who was 22 when he had sex with 13 and 14 year-old girls and made porno movies with them), ignore the capricious and arbitrary actions of an Alaskan bishop who violates canon law after canon law and terrorizes seminarians, priests, and laity, and all the other examples of malfeasance that tumbles out of Syosset every third week?
Putting aside the personal comments about my bombastic replies, immaturity, ignorance of "age-old principles of Orthodox ecclesiology (sic) and polity," how does Fr. George's logic really differ from what we heard from the Catholic Bishops when they were faced with charges of malfeasance concerning child-abuse?
Fr. George writes, "Despite the great discomfort of the present situation and the lack of any clear, speedy or effective remedy in church polity, I believe we do not want to sell the birthright of good Orthodox ecclesiology (sic) for the 'mess of pottage' of a possible but by no means guaranteed fix for the fiasco." I argue that it's precisely this attitude that invites the "mess of pottage" he decries because it refuses to call wrong those things that are wrong, preferring instead to hide the crimes (and yes, fraud is a crime) behind the language of the moral tradition that properly understood and applied exposes all manner of darkness rather than conceal it.
When the courts stepped into the Catholic mess, it was because the Bishops refused to clean up their own house. In this case, the court was an agent for good because the Bishops were put on notice that their crimes would not longer be tolerated and innocence will no longer be abused under the cover and protection of "the Church." They had decades to clean up the mess themselves. They did not and thus faced the consequences. A judgment from God? Perhaps it was.
I do not want to see my Church weakened and its flock scattered. But we know that our leaders, many of whom and by their own admission, were partakers in the multiple instances of malfeasance that have been revealed. Further, it is becoming increasingly clear they are incapable of self-reform and lack the moral character and courage to deal with reality. How else do we explain the stone-walling by Syosset; the continual obfuscation of the facts; the continuing lack of repentance; the never-ending "investigations"; the continuing lack of openness; the failures to speak clearly and truthfully? Why haven't any reports been released? How is it that a repeat sex-offender has been tonsured a reader? Has all sound thinking fled the scene?
One final point. Fr. George writes, "You think Prokauer Rose has made an undeserved bundle already? I promise you it would be nothing compared to what shrewd and self-interested ilitgators would make out of such a case if it actually went forward. And that is to say nothing of the foreseeable damage to individuals, to whole parishes and the OCA and its institutions. I have seen that cost up close and personal - counting the dollars and the bodies (spiritually speaking) from a much more focused and local contest, and it isn't pretty."
Yes, it won't be pretty. But where you do think your defense of Syosset inaction is bringing us? Why aren't you raising your voice except to defend the status-quo and criticize the messengers who are standing up to denounce the abdication of key sacramental duties and trying to restore ethics and righteousness to the office of bishop?
Worse still, you are a disinterested observer, outside the OCA, who has not really suffered first-hand from the inaction and silence of our leadership or endured the spiritual devastation and neglect so many of us have had to deal with for countless years, while good and decent priests, elders, and families are abused and alienated from the Orthodox Church and brought to tears and desperation. Yet your criticize and admonish us for struggling to make things better, judging the style of our speech rather than the substance and content of our pleas.
St. John Chrysostom in his Homily on Ephesians 5 writes:
"He had said, “ye are light.” Now the light reproves by exposing the things which take place in the darkness. So that if ye, says he, are virtuous, and conspicuous, the wicked will be unable to lie hidden. For just as when a candle is set, all are brought to light, and the thief cannot enter; so if your light shine, the wicked being discovered shall be caught. So then it is our duty to expose them.
How then does our Lord say, “Judge not, that ye be not judged”? (Matt. vii. 1, 3.) Paul did not say “judge,” he said “reprove,” that is, correct. And the words, “Judge not, that ye be not judged,” He spoke with reference to very small errors… But what Paul is saying is of this sort. As a wound, so long as it is imbedded and concealed outwardly, and runs beneath the surface, receives no attention, so also sin, as long as it is concealed, being as it were in darkness, is daringly committed in full security; but as soon as “it is made manifest,” becomes “light”; not indeed the sin itself, (for how could that be?) but the sinner.
For when he has been brought out to light, when he has been admonished, when he has repented, when he has obtained pardon, hast thou not cleared away all his darkness? Hast thou not then healed his wound? Hast thou not called his unfruitfulness into fruit? Either this is his meaning, or else what I said above, that your life “being manifest, is light.” For no one hides an irreproachable life; whereas things which are hidden, are hidden by darkness covering them."
Wise words to live by. Wish our bishops and actually read and followed the wisdom of the Church and her many saints.
Now please refer me to the law that prevents shredding?
I am very curious.
#36 Anonymous on 2008-01-18 17:04
I talked to a lawyer friend and he told me two things. First that I don't have standing as I am no longer a member of the OCA and second even if I did have standing it would require significant financial commitmant with very little chance of any real results. I did not forget what i said. I am sorry I havent been abls to do anything to end this nightmare. Please forgive my impotence. Any suggestions?
#37 Anonymous on 2008-01-18 18:25
It is required that organizations hold all financial documents for at least seven years, in case they are needed for review by the authorities, etc. Furthermore, if it can be proven that an individual has participated in the shredding of financial documents with the intention of covering-up financial wrong-doings, then the individual faces possible legal penalties. My point in this case was not so much the act of shredding (even though it is a legal point).
The larger question exists " who was RK covering-up for by shredding these financial records and why ?" It was not just the Kondraticks who benefitted from OCA funds as the hierarchy would have us to believe.
#38 Anonymous on 2008-01-18 18:54
I heartily disagree.
The chances of success are fairly high. The suit would be simple. Every MC member since 1991, every member of the Synod, and all the officers and staff members of Syosset who touched any of those monies, individually named on the suit for the recovery of the unaccounted for monies. Every person named would be equally responsible for the recovery of the unaccounted for money. The MC was negligent in its fiduciary responsibilities, the Synod interfered in the MC and condoned the malfeasance, and the officers did the dirty work through the hands of the staff.
This would FORCE discovery and once and for all get the darkness into the light. It’s about time that some grown ups do some grown up actions and stop this adolescent soap opera stand off. After two and a half years after this started to come to light and two years of ocanews.org it’s about time that someone, or some people, started the endgame. You’re deluding yourself if you think that bellyaching will fix it, a petition to resign will fix it, withholding of money will fix it, or the quotation of all the relevant verses will compel bad people who have no concern for the good of God’s Church to correct the problems.
I don’t know about you, but I’m getting damn tired of this and damn mad. In case the miscreants in Syosset or Florida think this is good news that it’s starting to cause fatigue causing people to put this aside, they had best think again. It’s just going to compel people to do what the governance of this organization cannot be trusted and has no interest in the least to do on its own and when the people act God have mercy on those that have been at the center of this and those that have provided the cover to those that have something to hide. The time is near. A time of choices for all.
#39 A.P. on 2008-01-19 15:07
Yes indeed anonymous, USED as a money mule. And used, and used, and used and used for years by one very clever and pathetic man.
#40 Michael Geeza on 2008-01-21 08:09
It's not about eternal salvation with these miscreants!
It's about power and money.
#41 name withheld on 2008-01-21 16:29
When are the civil authorities,IRS,etc.going to step in and arrest those responsible for stealing,embezzling all the monies used for personal purpose.RC priests and Prot.ministers accused of this are tried,convicted and sitting in jail within the year.Sentenced to a minimum of 10 years and must pay back monies stolen,plus.One case not too long ago of a RC priest in New England.This whole OCA farce is mind-boggling....
#42 Name Withheld on 2008-01-24 13:09
The difference is the RC Bishops Council didn't cover-up and micromanage the investigations into the priest.
#43 Anonymous on 2008-01-24 21:34
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