Friday, April 24. 2009
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The Church of Constantinople has episcopal oversight over "Carpatho-Russia," according to Metropolitan Gerasimos of San Francisco (Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America)? What a surprise that'll be to Metropolitan Christopher, primate of the Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia, Metropolitan Sabbas, primate of the Church of Poland, and Metropolitan Volodymyr, primate of the Church of Ukraine -- the heads of the autocephalous and autonomous churches whose territory Carpathian Rus' straddles. The Ecumenical Patriarch might be primate of the American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese of the USA, but he has no episcopal oversight over the Carpatho-Rusyn homeland at this time.
#1 Gregory on 2009-04-24 18:29
"but given that Ms. Koumentakos brought the Church into the case, seeking relief there first, it then became a matter of church discipline and doctrine - and therefore, the court has no jurisdiction"
Does everybody get the magnitude of this? Does the OCA really support this result? Here's what the courts are telling us people; if you are victimized by your priest in any way, (employment violations or emotional distress, violating your privacy, slander, violating your private confessions and counseling sessions) and you have the audacity to try to heal that problem internally by going to the local dean or Metropolitan, then you are screwed if (when) they don't help you. Then the courts (at least lower level state courts) will not step in. They will hide behind the first amendment.
So our lesson today? Don't go to church authorities. Don't try in a loving way to get help for a rogue priests' abhorrent actions. Go straight to the courts.
So now we know. Jonah is no different. The OCA is the same (worse?). Ignore, hide, obfuscate. Whatever happened to this new policy that was supposed to be enacted after the Sidebottom case? Weren't there supposed to be procedures for investigating and resolvong internally? Is the Koumentakos case grandfatherd out of these wonderful new policies? Did I miss something? No, I didn't think so. It was all just hogwash.
I kept hoping that this case would never get to the point of trial. That somewhere, some priest or council of priests would step up and say "this is absurdly wrong". I truly have hoped that for the two years I have been reading about this case. But now I am giving up hope in the OCA.
I hope Mrs. Koumentakos wins her employment case. And I hope she appeals on the other counts. Courts need to step in when our church leaders fail us so deeply.
Don't forget--problem with the OCA? Sue first!
#2 Deeply Disappointed on 2009-04-25 06:21
So Metropolitan Jonah is off to Moscow to get a pat one the head for beating up on the EP, or a slap on the wrist for "lese majeste" against a superior hierarch. In either case, why bother? Start acting like the head of an independent and self-governing Church that self-confidently acts for itself.
The time is long past when Orthodox bishops in North America should be taking their marching orders from foreign potentates. It is time to stop the farce and send them and their representatives, metaphorically speaking, packing. If this results in sanctions, a damnable offense which will only rebound to the harm of the perpetrators, so what? Who cares? Maybe the crowd that likes to bow and scrape to every hierarchical bully that claims authority, but not most of us.
If the truth be told, every independent Orthodox jurisdiction in today's world has gone through this very same process of throwing off foreign control. The West, by contrast, had to have a Reformation that, for the most part, threw the baby out with the bath water. What remained was the tyranny of an infallible papacy claiming universal jurisdiction, not unlike the EP who tries to claim authority over everyone who has not heretofore escaped the grasp of a Patriarchate that resembles the abode of the "living dead."
While I applaud those Antiochian bishops who have refused, so far, to cave to Metropolitan Philip's megalomaniac outburst, I do not understand why they just don't take their flocks and go to the OCA and begin the process of making the original vision of an independent and unified North American Church a reality. Likewise those elements in the GOA who are tired of the EP's machinations and parasitical blood sucking. And by the way, who cares who was here first, or did this or that, let's just move forward in humility and determined purpose.
Of course, the bishops, who are supposed to provide a modicum of Godly leadership, usually don't, so it may be up to the people of God to act. Better to bring down the ungodly mess that Orthodox witness in North America has degenerated into, than to preserve institutions that make a mockery of everything we purport to believe.
#3 Kenneth R. Tobin on 2009-04-25 08:02
Its a shame about the comments by Met. Jonah, though probably needed, they may have burned some needed bridges in the coming years. Hopefully, we can find a better way of pressing for a North American Church. Perhaps a message based on pastoral care and elimination of redundancy.
I did a count the other day, did you know there is over 2500 SCOBA priests in NA? ...
#4 Reader Michael on 2009-04-25 13:00
many oca'ans who want to be such super americans don't know that the GOA probably has far more influence in the usa.many greeks made it very far in american politics, former cia director george tenet,two presidential candidates,tsongas and dukakis and many more and many very wealthy business people. like it or not, the EP has a lot of power in the orthodox world and world politics.i am NOT supportive of the EP's claims and pretenses and( actions especially in estonia),but metropolitan JONAH should be more careful when he speaks,the sermon he gave does not help orthodox unity. he must learn DIPLOMACY. may GOD grant Him many years and wisdom.
#5 Anonymous on 2009-04-25 15:40
And waht has happened to the former bishop of alaska? His law suit seems to still be current and he is totally unpunished! If you're a bishop in OCA and you dont get what you want just take out a lawsuit and you'll still be free to do whatever you want! Those weak kneed prelates of OCA need a good kick....throw Soraich out now and STOP protecting your own kind...the church is NOT just the bishops!!!!!!!
#6 Mike on 2009-04-25 20:02
You stated that the Antiochian Bishops who did not sign should take their flocks and go to the OCA. It's not as simple as that. You have to remember who owns ALL of the church properties in the Antiochian Archdiocese. Yep, you guessed it, Englewood. Do you really think that +Philip will say, "Sure, go ahead, take whatever you need"? However, I would have to agree with you that it is time to start unifying the Church in America. It doesn't have to be an "all or nothing" deal. Let us who truly want unity unite, then perhaps some others will follow. It’s time to cut ourselves free from foreign rule.
#7 Anonymous on 2009-04-25 20:03
Long ago my Priest told us we'd be hearing the playout of EPAT vs MOSCOW till the end of time! Maybeso? Only a completely independent Ort Ch in America will be the only answer. Write n' preach thousands of words to naught as foreign ploys/domination will encumber us forever. Only the OCA did it in '70. The rest bowed under as in Englewood last Fri. Towards a Boston Tea Party! The only WAY!
#8 Anonymous Antiochian Archpriest on 2009-04-26 00:02
Your cynicism is showing. Visits by a (relatively) newly-elected primate to other primates are nothing new; and a visit from the primate of a daughter Church to the primate of her mother Church is meant to renew and deepen the bonds of respect and affection between them.
If there be any "political" agendum (note the proper use of the singular!) on this visit, it is obviously Metropolitan Jonah trying to make sure that the Moscow Patriarchate does all it can to protect OCA interests at the up-coming meeting of autocephalous and autonomous Churches called by Constantinople (and to which the OCA is definitely not invited).
The notion that our or any other autocephalous Church's primate should only stay home and tend to his knitting, especially in a day when international travel is relatively fast and simple (once one gets through security, anyway), is neither practical nor realistic. If anything, more face-to-face meetings between primates may go a long way to solving or even preventing problems. If, in 1054, the meeting had been between patriarch and pope, without arrogant, nasty, hasty and officious Cardinal Humbert in the way, our history might have turned out rather differently.
#9 Igumen Philip (Speranza) on 2009-04-26 03:37
Wow! The more the Phanariots speak the deeper they dig themselves into error!
#10 Anonymous on 2009-04-26 05:37
When Orthodox administrative unity takes place in the USA it will be first without the Greeks. Everyone will unite, but the Greeks will hold out. Then, at some point in the future, the EP will claim victory, recognize the united Orthodox Church in the USA and give its blessing to it an be part of it.
Pride and ego couched in a Hellas worldview will die hard, but it will die.
#11 Anonymous on 2009-04-26 06:23
Those of us who are former members of the Episcopal Church (USA) are well aware of the problem of what happens to church property when a parish or diocese leaves its existing communion. You would think the Christian thing to do is let a majority vote of the affected entities decide what to do with any physical property. But of course we are not talking about Christian behavior when it comes to fighting over the materialistic things of this world!
In the final analysis, what happens to the physical property of any church should be a very secondary concern, and certainly not one that trumps a Godly course of action. This is a kind of martyrdom and sacrifice that even the weakest among us should be willing to embrace.
#12 Kenneth R. Tobin on 2009-04-26 09:44
George Tenet lied to the whole world and made Colin Powell look like a fool and made the President appear complicit a/o directing the lies. I don't think he is a shining example of an Orthodox person in any way, shape, or form. In fact, not much of what you posted, that is power and politics and such, is not really an Orthodox virtue by many standards.
How you can suggest the Metropolitan of the OCA be more diplomatic whilst you are bragging about some political hotshots in the GOA is rather comical. At least I thought so...
#13 Daniel E. Fall on 2009-04-26 14:21
Re: "When Orthodox administrative unity takes place in the USA it will be first without the Greeks."
That should read, "first without the Greeks, the Antiochians, those under the jurisdiction of the EP and the MP-ROCOR..." Actually, I can't think of any jurisdiction that expressed interest in uniting UNDER the OCA as the OCA currently demands under its claim of autocephaly.
Metropoliltan Jonah: “The dilemma, however, is that with autocephaly, the presence of any other jurisdiction on American territory becomes uncanonical, and membership in the synod of the Orthodox Church in America becomes the criterion of canonicity for all bishops in America.”
Will the OCA drop its "criterion of canonicity?" If so, then it will no longer be truly autocephalous.
Will the OCA seek to be the spiritual head ("first among equals") of some sort of new synodal North American Super-SCOBA?
Either way, OCA autocephaly is eroded or put aside. In a conciliar situation, the stronger churches will move to the fore, namely the Greek Orthodox and the Russian Orthodox (e.g. the EP and the MP). This is reapolitik, my friends.
I'm sure the OCA will always have fine fraternal relations with its Mother Church, but in the Big Pond settings such as the upcoming Pan-Orthodox Council, the OCA is going to have to sit it out and wait for decisions that come from the truly Autcephalous Patriarchates that will decide its future.
(Editor's note: You describe a completely colonial situation. And how many colonies are left in the world today? it does not seem a prudent way to go forward, does it? )
#14 Anonymous on 2009-04-26 16:57
The politicians to whom you refer are GREEK, certainly not Orthodox.
#15 Michael Bauman on 2009-04-26 18:41
Mr. Tobin, you act as if it should be an easy thing to simply abandon the people and the work of one's entire life. It is a horrible thing to even consider jurisdiction hopping.
Lest we forget, Met. Philip is not some sort of inhuman, evil ogre. He is wrong. Fantastically and tragically wrong in this case, but not evil.
It is just as wrong to attribute venal motives to everytning that is happening.
As a member of his Cathedral parish, I would be absolutely shocked if +Basil, for instance, were to ever recommend moving to the OCA in this kind of circumstance, percisely because he is not a venal man primarily concerned for his own welfare. And it has nothing to do with the physcial buidling where we worship either.
#16 Michael Bauman on 2009-04-26 18:52
Yes, you have a fine point there, God should come first. It's true that sometimes we get caught in the materialistic mode of thinking which pushes God into second place. Thanks for your comment.
#17 Anonymous on 2009-04-26 23:26
You have completely missed my point. It is not out of pique or anger with Metropolitan Philip that the time has now arrived for a move towards Orthodox unity, but rather that the false facade of Antiochian independence in North America has been revealed for what it truly is--a fraud. Nor do I think that the OCA is some kind of superior vessel that all Orthodox here should mindlessly submit to because it was here first. Anyone who has read my comments over the years knows what a flawed institution I think it has been.
But one unassailable fact remains, it is the only show in town that has received true autocephaly, even if that autocephaly is not universally recognized for crass political and other reasons. It remains the only possible rallying point for a united Orthodox Church in North America that incorporates all modes of Orthodox witness here--E Pluribus Unum.
I tire of the arguments and excuses advanced for a fragmented witness IN North America that has obviously failed. Either we get our act together or there will very soon be no act at all.
#18 Kenneth R. Tobin on 2009-04-27 05:02
oops on the double negative
#19 Daniel E. Fall on 2009-04-27 05:42
It is precisely because we don't do the Christian thing that we're in the mess we're in. But the worst thing is proclaiming loudly what we stand for and then not doing it. That is what is called hypocrisy! Judgment is beginning with the House of God!
#20 Ever and anon. on 2009-04-27 05:52
You are correct, there is no change in the OCA. I am still waiting for a thorough investigation into the abuse allegations of a top cleric in the OCA. But so far this cleric remains in active duty and there is no sign of any kind of investigation.
It's business as usual in the OCA.
Yes, it is sad that the OCA cared so little in the Koumentakos case. The laity needs to know that if something does go wrong, you are on your own. Sink or swim and seems like the OCA hopes you will sink. And then there is no help from the courts...it's too late by then.
Where are the Good Shepherds who watch out for the sheep and seek those who are lost? Don't think you will find them in the OCA.
i am sorry if i was misunderstood, i simply ment to point out that the greeks have many very powerful and rich people in their church, not that those people are good orthodox,which only GOD knows,may be they are, may be not. the GOA is the most influential orthodox jurisdiction here in the usa. i am not bragging about that, i am NOT greek, i am in the oca,from europe and of slavic descent and very happy that we have metropolitan JONAH and basically agree with the message of the sermon and i am not supportive of the EP's claims. but, diplomacy and care are necessary when dealing with powerful entities and his BEATITUDE therefore issued the statement of regret. the fact is that the various jurisdictions have to coexist in america and that the greeks and their dependents are not going to join the OCA in the near future, meaning we must be friends and safeguard our eucharistic union, as i have stated elsewhere.it would be very bad if the greeks ceased concelebration and communion with the OCA over this.let's hope we can still be friends. XB
#22 Anonymous on 2009-04-27 12:29
Will the OCA seek to be the spiritual head ("first among equals") of some sort of new synodal North American Super-SCOBA?
This is exactly what Metropolitan Jonah suggested in Dallas. This was written well after his quote concerning the canonicity of other jurisdictions in North America. In fact, this was the groundbreaking action of that speech: he essentially set aside any claims of autocephaly so as to achieve unity. Everyone has focused on the 'insults' to the Phanar and mistook his comments about leaving alone an 'American Church' as referring to the OCA while totally missing the radical change in tactic and tone from the OCA. He suggested the de facto American Church - all the hierarchs, jurisdictions, dioceses and parishes in North America sit together on a ruling Synod for North America while keeping whatever ties they want to the home countries. But, North America would be ruled by the local Synod that would elect its own first hierarch/primate and achieve some degree of continuity in pastoral practice.
in fact, I think this is likely to be the primary 'option' to the world view of the EP. The OCA and others (MP, ROCOR, perhaps the Romanians and Antiochians) will come together in a synod of unity-in-diversity while the EP will remain aloof. The choice will then be between respect for diversity and connections with the homelands or obedience to an odd, innovative interpretation of Canon 28 of Chalcedon. Then who will be seen as standing in the way of unity?
Of course, both options seem to ensure the survival of phyletism, i.e., the organization of Church dioceses and episcopacies along ethnic lines on the same territory. The EP would simply add additional eparchies like the Carpatho-Rusyns and the Ukrainians; the Super Synod would allow the overlapping jurisdictions to remain in place but unity would be achieved at the regional/local Synodal level. Perhaps this is the best we can achieve until all the constituent parts of Orthodoxy in North America begin seeing themselves primarily as Orthodox rather than ______ Orthodox.
All the Autocephalous Churches will be represented at the upcoming Pan-Orthodox Councils this year (June and December). The OCA was not invited. The Patriarchates will be negotiating issues that will profoundly affect the whole Orthodox Church. As I recall, the issue of how to recognize autocephaly is near the top of the agenda, an issue that is obviously near and dear to the OCA. The OCA will not have a say at these meetings but will still have to abide by any decisions that the Moscow Patriarchate makes in agreement with the other Patriarchates. Is that what you mean by "colonial?"
(Editor's note: None of the autonomous churches, such as Japan, or Finland, will be there either. It seems absurd to me, and yes, colonial, that decisions are taken by others without reference to those they most profoundly affect. )
#24 Anonymous on 2009-04-27 16:43
If Confessions and counseling can be made public without and equally public reprimand up to an including removal; we know the true meaning of pastoral care.
That would be bullkaka in my 'colorful' language.
#25 Daniel E. Fall on 2009-04-27 19:53
If Confessions and counseling can be made public without an equally public reprimand up to an including removal; we know the true meaning of pastoral care.
That would be bullkaka in my 'colorful' language.
#26 Daniel E. Fall on 2009-04-27 19:53
Has the OCA--anyone in authority--ever contradicted the written statement by Fr. Alexey Karlgut wherein he stated that the OCA does not regognize any seal of the confessional? No. “As to allegations of violation of ‘pastoral confidentiality’ it should be stated that in the teaching, Doctrine, and Canonical rules, regulations, and tribunal for internal discipline and government of the Orthodox Church no such concept exists.” (His quote, which can be found on this site and Pokrov is part of the record of this case.)
Has anyone disciplined Fr. Ray Velencia for writing a 10 page letter and publishing that to 39 people which revealed information he learned during his parishoners' confessions and private counseling sessions? No. Has anyone told the current parishoners at Saint Matthews that their priest can do this, and will? Again, no.
I am puzzled that more people are not outraged by this. And very, very frightened. Leave aside the employment issue for now; The Maryland Office of Human Rights substantiated all 15 of Ms. Koumentakos' allegations as to her unjust termination and, since the church failed to intervene, that is now proceeding to the civil courts as it should.
But where does that leave the OCA on this issue? It appears that priests are permitted to violate the confessional, tell whoever they choose (verbal and written) whatever they want and they will not be disciplined.
Is anybody out there paying attention?
(editor's note: Now that the OCA is no longer legally involved, I am at liberty and do not hesitate to say that I, personally, am outraged by this behaviour. Yes, I am - and so are others on the Metropolitan Council. You can be sure that upon his return from Russia, the Metropolitan will be asked to address this matter both privately ( where healing must begin) and publicly ( where confidence must be restored).
#27 Aisling Gray on 2009-04-27 23:08
This is a classic example of why I indict the bishops of North America for gross incompetence and negligence. For some thirty years they have had the opportunity to make SCOBA a stepping stone for unity and have utterly squandered the opportunity. Why should anyone think that a "Super SCOBA" will be anymore successful with our current cast of characters?
Nevertheless, it is to Metropolitan Jonah's credit that he is trying to breath new life into an old wineskin (to mix a couple of metaphors). But it will be up to the laity to see that this happens, i.e. meaningful steps towards Orthodox unity in North America, since the bishops (collectively speaking) have repeatedly failed to make it happen.
#28 Kenneth R. Tobin on 2009-04-28 05:55
An interesting point you raise, Mr. Tobin. I wonder if the courts would say the property belongs to the Metropolitan and the Archdiocese, or the properly-constituted diocese and it's ruling hierarch?
Most of the legal cases that I'm familiar with haven't said Roman Catholic properties belong to the Pope, but rather the local Diocese.
A legal challenge at this point might reveal that in fact the property belonged to the various dioceses. And there would be, I think, courts willing to rule on the property issue, and shed light on the ability of those hierarchs to leave the Church, property in hand.
#29 Dn. Marty Watt on 2009-04-28 18:32
I think everything goes back to the character of the individuals involved, because we cannot rely upon institutions, not even the church -- maybe especially not the church, as it appears to be legally untouchable -- to respect our privacy.
The priest at the local OCA parish was playing games over burial plots my husband had purchased, and I got a letter from the parish council president directing me to go to confession before I could have my burial plot (an arbitrary impostion of a requirement that had not been in effect for at least a decade, if it ever had been).
Now, how did the parish council president know whether or not I had been to confession? The priest told him, of course. Regularly over the next several months, he discussed with the council at meetings, and who knows what was said to whom in private conversations, my compliance, or lack of it, and whining about how "some people" hate him so much,etc, thereby making my case for me, that he was no respecter of my privacy!
Who in their right mind would choose to trust him? Most priests would know better, and we generally know who they are.
Considering the source, I was merely annoyed at further evidence of his character, and I was not damaged by the whole thing, but it illustrates the violation of an ethical principle. And it speaks to a broader institutional abuse involved in the prior imposition of this priest upon the parish.
The character of the bishops and clergy are key. People with bad character ignore even the best set of rules and guidelines ever constructed. Cate
#30 cate on 2009-04-29 10:24
In response to #2, Deeply Disappointed:
I too hope that Mrs. Koumentakos appeals the lower court's ruling. A recent Maryland case indicates that the higher courts in that state may more amenable to subjecting a church's actions to judicial scrutiny. (See below.)
Melanie Jula Sakoda
Thursday, April 30, 2009
DUIN: New chapter in church suit
By: Julia Duin
Last week, I got to see "Doubt," the 2008 psychological drama starring Meryl Streep about a nun who suspects that the parish priest overseeing her parochial school is sexually abusing male students. The genius of the movie is that the nun has no proof, but her instincts and the viewers are left to decide whether the priest (played by Philip Seymour Hoffman) was really up to something.
Most of the people watching the movie with me thought the priest was innocent. I argued with them. Didn't they notice, I asked, the priest's spiritual poverty, the sneaky way he did everything, his lame excuses for being alone with little boys?
No, they did not. I realized once again that while reporters have reviewed tons of these cases and know the tell-tale signs of abuse in their sleep, the general public remains clueless.
And so I am revisiting an abuse case I covered five years ago that is back in court. In 2003, Bill Moersen sued the Archdiocese of Washington over sexual abuse he said occurred 40 years earlier - at the hands of the lay choir director at St. Catherine Laboure Church in Wheaton. Mr. Moersen returned years later to play the organ at the church but was fired in 2002 after he told a priest, the Rev. Robert G. Amey, what had happened to him.
I met Mr. Moersen in May 2004 at Prince George's County Circuit Court, where the case was before Judge Steven I. Platt. I spent two days rummaging through documents and talking with Mr. Moersen. The plaintiff said he told four priests in the confessional he was being abused but none of them ever fired the choirmaster. All this occurred circa 1958-1964, the period when abuse incidents were accelerating in the church.
But unlike in "Doubt," also set in 1964, there was no watchdog nun to rescue the teenager.
Judge Platt ended up dismissing the lawsuit "with some reluctance," he said, because Mr. Moersen was a church employee and not entitled to certain rights under Maryland labor laws.
A Maryland appeals court overturned Judge Platt's ruling, saying the position of organist was a secular one because he was not promoting Catholicism. But three dissenting judges wrote that music - and the musician - was vital to the pastoral and spiritual mission of the church.
The archdiocese - which recently refused comment on the case - appealed that ruling, but lost. The case is back in Prince George's County courthouse, set for May 18. Mr. Moersen told me Judge Platt is coming out of retirement to rehear it.
"An organist in Maryland can now sue the archdiocese or any other church as a result of my appeals," he told me. "Formerly, they were considered members of the clergy, so they had no legal recourse."
The crux of the matter is whether playing music is considered "ministerial." If it were, a church could claim the First Amendment in saying the government cannot interfere in a church's hiring decisions.
Mr. Moersen has written a book on his travails, "Organ Lessons," and is seeking a new lawyer to help him get a settlement.
"I'm looking for someone who wants to fight childhood molestation," he said. "I think I can win."
Come to think of it, Miss Streep grew up Catholic in New Jersey and played a southern civil rights lawyer in the 1979 film "The Seduction of Joe Tynan." Maybe she could pitch in?
• Julia Duin's column Stairway to Heaven appears on Thursdays and Sundays. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
CHRIST IS RISEN---AND IS IN OUR VERY MIDST!
Has No One Condemned You?
By Father Mark Daniel Kirby on May 10, 2009
In A Shepherd Without Sheep (Bruce Publishing, 1956), E. Boyd Barrett, who left the priesthood in stormy circumstances and, after twenty years, was reconciled, and so finished out his life in repentance and peace, writes:
I have no chapel; no altar at which to offer the holiest sacrifice; no pulpit from which to preach. There is no confessional where penitents await counsel and absolution from my lips; no baptismal font where, by the sacrament of regeneration, I may give to the Eternal Father another child. I am a priest, Christ's shepherd, but I have no sheep.
But though I have no sheep, the Prince of Shepherds is my Friend. He needs me; He is my Divine Companion. It is His will that I should be as I am. "Christ is in me," and for me that is enough.
There are others like me, in every country throughout the world, "silenced priests" living hidden lives; hidden from the world; hidden, as far as may be, in Christ. Some are my good friends. . . .
Prayers going up to heaven, in every increasing volume for faithless priests are wondrously fruitful. Many "stray shepherds" heed the call of Christ, who searches for them in the mist. When they see Him again their hearts are moved and they come back. Then there occurs what Luke (2:20) mystically foretold: "The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God."
The Appropriate Response
What is the appropriate response to the media's sensationalization and amplification of the weaknesses of certain priests? In our response there should be nothing harsh, nothing that condemns, nothing swollen with the self-righteousness indignation that was "the leaven of the Pharisees" (Mt 16:6). "Let him who is without sin," says the Lord Jesus, "be the first to cast a stone at him" (Jn 8:7). Read all of John 8: 1-11, and in place of the woman caught in adultery, put the priest caught in sin.
If every time one heard of the moral failing of a priest, one resolved on the spot to pray and fast for him, what miracles of grace might occur? "And when He entered the house, His disciples asked Him privately, 'Why could we not cast it [the unclean spirit] out?' And He said to them, 'This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer and fasting'" (Mk 9:28-29).
If every time one heard of the moral failing of a priest, one offered a Rosary for him, or spent an hour before the Eucharistic Face of Jesus, or fasted, or gave alms, or even "adopted" him spiritually by offering for him one's weaknesses, sufferings, and losses,
what graces might touch his heart?
Lord, Thou Knowest All Things
The Heart of Jesus is full of tender compassion for sinners; for His priests, His chosen and privileged friends, there is nothing He will not do to lift them when they fall, to bind up their wounds, and to restore them to wholeness. He waits for them to say but one thing, the very thing that Peter said, making reparation for his triple denial: "Lord, Thou knowest all things; Thou knowest that I love Thee."
Where the world sees scandal, the friend of the Lamb sees an opportunity for reparation, a call to love, a summons to intercession through the Most Pure Heart of Mary. The Heart of Jesus will do the rest.
In the Risen Lord,
Fr. Pius, priesmonk
#32 Fr. Pius on 2009-05-10 09:46
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