Monday, February 7. 2011
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re Thank You Note
Fr. Joseph et al should note the following from Michigan's Whistleblower Act
"It is illegal for employers in Michigan to discharge, threaten or otherwise discriminate against you regarding your compensation, terms, conditions, location or privileges of employment because you or a person acting on your behalf reports or is about or report a violation or a suspected violation of federal, state or local laws, rules or regulations to a public body."
There is no church exemption.
#1 kinahura on 2011-02-07 16:25
If there were "no improprieties in any issues deal [sic] with income and/or payroll taxes," exactly what did these "betrayers" blow the whistle on? Clearly money was recovered that would have gone unpaid or the "betrayers" would not be collecting 25%. - What are they going to do with these "betrayers" once they ferret them out? Sounds like a veiled threat to me.
#2 Gail Sheppard on 2011-02-07 16:39
What is the meaning of finding the whistleblowers. Are they to be beaten or sued. They should forget and move on
#3 Anonymous on 2011-02-07 17:07
"Those who squealed against the Church are protected by the Whistle Blowers Act,"...
"we will continue to make all efforts to get their names."
Isn't that kind of retribution exactly what the Whistle Blowers Act is supposed to prevent?? Surely this is some kind of joke?
( editors note: Sadly not. You couldn't make this up.}
#4 Bugs Malone on 2011-02-07 17:11
I'll get their names. Give me a list of your parishioners.
#5 Carlo Gambino on 2011-02-07 17:15
"Those who squealed against the Church are protected by the Whistle Blowers Acts and consequently we were not given their identities. However we will continue to make all efforts to get their names."
"Squealed?" Vengeance is mine, saith the parish clique? Am I the only one to read an unrepentant attitude? When did our ethics become based upon whatever we can get away with?
If we confess our sins...
#6 Anon. on 2011-02-07 18:13
Let's count the logic fails in this little tale:
1- there were no improprieties in their income tax, but the whistle-blowers got 25% of the fine the parish had to pay for their sales tax violations.
2- the whistle-blowers are protected by law, but we will work hard to violate the law and find out their identities.
3- when someone reports a genuine crime, he is a 'betrayer'. But, God will reward those who bare the punishment for crimes.
I hope the State of Michigan get a copy of the Observer so that they can start a new investigation into violations of the Whistle-blower's Act. After all, threatening reporters is covered by the law, is it not?
(Editor's note: Errrrr, that would make you a "squealer" too wouldn't it? Best stay anonymous!)
#7 anonymous on 2011-02-07 18:41
Well, there's only one thing to do. This calls for severe spiritual discipline. They should immediately have their Jamie Farr autograph confiscated.
#8 Bob Koch on 2011-02-07 19:44
The state found that there were no sales tax collected by the church with regard to banquet hall sales and so none paid to the state spanning the tenure of 4 priests dating more than 50 years! It had nothing to do with income tax improprieties. It was based on food sales at banquetsnand church fundraisers. Nevertheless the church paid its dues and according to the state the case is closed....
#9 Anonymous on 2011-02-07 20:45
#10 Rebecca Matovic on 2011-02-07 21:34
May whoever wrote that "thank you" note in the Troy, Michigan church bulletin soon convert to the Christianity taught by Christ Jesus and his apostles:
"If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. And if anyone wants to sue you and take your coat, hand over your shirt as well. If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles." (Matthew 5:39-41)
"Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you." (Luke 6:27-28)
"Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven." (Luke 6:37)
"Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse." (Romans 12:14)
"Do not repay anyone evil for evil." (Romans 12:17)
"Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: 'It is mine to avenge; I will repay,' says the Lord." (Romans 12:19)
Nothing in there about "finding out" the names of "betrayers" and "getting even" with them. When self-identified "Christians" refuse to behave according to the ethics of Christ Jesus and his apostles by talking and acting like a posse, the atheists are validated in their poor opinion of us and what they see as our hypocrisy.
#11 Diogenes on 2011-02-07 22:05
Well, Mr. or Ms. "kinahura ... and various anonymice:
I don't think you are reading that law carefully, friends. There is no prohibition in the part quoted against anything except visiting adverse consequences on whistling employees. As to non-employee consequences, such as not appointing someone to the parish council or seating them at the head table at the next parish dinner, it seems to forbid nothing.
Also the quoted section of law does not actually forbid anyone from seeking to find out the names of whistlers. If the rest of this Michigan law reads like the others I have seen, it only forbids the government agents from disclosing the names of whistlers to whistlees, and refrains from criminalizing the attempt to learn or knowledge of the names.
That said about the sheer legalities, I can't endorse what I think I understand that bulletin piece to be saying, or the places it seems to be coming from or leading to. It is very hard to limit the damage to a parish in situations like this once people set themselves against one another in public. Nevertheless let's try.
#12 Fr. George Washburn on 2011-02-07 23:02
What church is this?? This has to be a sick joke. If real, it cannot have been written by true Orthodox OR any other true Christian for that matter.
(Editor's note: It is not a sick joke. It is real.)
#13 Walter on 2011-02-07 23:22
Best to just pray for such situations and not promote more scandal. It seems to be an insatiable desire these days to find and cry out the sins of others but as one great holy father yells us: "he who looks for sin and scandal, judging his brothers, has not even begun repentance and to examine his own sins." God bless the whole parish and may God remove evil and temptation from their community.
#14 Fr. Deacon Daniel on 2011-02-08 01:51
Re: "Maximal Autonomy" etc.
Methinks I can see a certain famous cat from Lewis Caroll lazing on the branch of a nearby tree. And that Moscow has commanded it to do its famous "miracle".
The outlines of that cat now appear to be already shrouded in haze. Soon, all we will see is the grin without the cat, and in due course, even that grin will fade, leaving nothing.
Imperator Romanus has spoken. Discussion is at an end. This has the sepulchral, disembodied, hollowly-echoing tones of some medieval Papal Dicastery - treating the "autonomous" as some wayward, errant, vagrant runaway. You are coming home to Holy Mother Church - whether you like or or not.
Elsewhere we have seen calls for the "normalisation" of Church Affairs within the Russian diaspora. Is this the opening moves of such "normalisation"?
Whilst schism is normally to be strenuously avoided wherever possible, as ROCOR itself has demonstrated in recent times during the Soviet era, occasionally schism may become unavoidable - are we headed for such an era again? Yet under a different configuration?
I would like to think otherwise, but can anyone prove me wrong??
The Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem would never get away with it, even less have the capacity to enforce it upon any synagogue world-wide. (Thus the Jewish Jerusalem Church of the first century).
Whither now any genuine "autonomy" or "self-rule" etc for any Church within the Russian orbit?
Whither now OCA & Met. Jonah? Did +Jonah agree to this in advance on his recent trips to Russia?
#15 John Battye on 2011-02-08 02:29
The only thing I can figure is, they were selling food and/or religious goods and didn't pay sales tax on the stuff. I hope Michigan's laws are unique, or probably every church in the USA, Orthodox or not, is guilty, and we are about to create a new class of wealthy, the Whistle Blowers.
(Editor's note: The rest of Orthodox America is not in danger.)
#16 Anonymous on 2011-02-08 06:41
Well this was a very "christian act" seeking out those who report a crime. yea, no wonder there are many who "go to church on a mountaintop or a hillside, or on the beach to worship."
#17 anonymous on 2011-02-08 08:08
And once the priest and parish council determine who the squealers are, dead fish wrapped in newspaper begin showing up at doorsteps? It would make sense and follow the Godfather script.
All squealers should sleep with the fishes, along with Luco Brazzi, right, Father?
Lord. Have. Mercy.
This is no Church; it's the freaking mob.
The smoke of Satan has entered the sanctuary.
I tell my Sunday School class that silence in the face of evil is complicity with evil.
They tend to agree, because, being young, they see clearly and their hearts have not yet been hardened.
Too bad about the alleged Christians in Troy; blind, hard-hearted and bound for the ditch unless they repent.
#18 Scott Walker on 2011-02-08 08:39
I think they have to pay State Sales Tax.
Finding who told the State is a waste of time: If it was me I would like to know, especially if they are still involved in the parish; how can I know to Trust them in the future
#19 Anonymous on 2011-02-08 09:27
"Betray"? Exactly whom did the whistle blowers betray? The Church? The Priest? The Bishop? Who really cares. Better to be loyal to Christ and betray the Church, than to be loyal to the Church and betray Christ. Isn't this the same "argument" some in the Catholic Church used against those who first brought to light the sex scandals? They were betraying the Church, their communities and their priests? What, is the Church all of a sudden a gentleman's lodge or other social club? No, Christ comes first, period! Otherwise why even be in the Church at all?
The "whistle blowers" should be proud they did what they could to let the light shine into the darkness, rather than let this darkness continue to infiltrate our Church. All of Orthodoxy is OUR Church, whether we are GOA, ROCOR, OCA, whatever. We are all members of the same body, and it's time we all start sticking up for each other rather than letting "those" people take care of their own jurisdictional disputes. The whistle blowers did right, and now those caught with their hand in the cookie jar what to eek out their own revenge? Good grief. If I ever am confronted with a decision to "squeal" or not not squeal I hope I have the courage to do as they did and to do what is right and the heck with the consequences.
#20 Chuck Shingledecker on 2011-02-08 09:31
I want to thank Fr. Antypas and the members of his parish for continuing to remind us that when we have a new metropolitan that there will be much house-cleaning in order. We all know that Fr. Antypas has no natural support with the Holy Synod, and so he will be alone with the new bishop.
Justice will come. And, it will be swift.
You will know the names of the whistle-blowers at the End of Days, because you will see their faces when you look up from your Self-Made disaster. They will be at rest with Christ and the saints, and those who utter threats and blasphemies and do not repent will receive their eternal wages.
Instead of publishing more evidence of your wickedness, take this time to prepare yourself to be judged by God. Forgive those who harm you and pray for those who hate you. If you are guilty, then repent. If you are innocent, be silent and pray for your persecutors.
Please, people of Troy, just be quiet for once!
#21 non-Detrioter on 2011-02-08 10:01
On Tuesday, January 18, 2011, a representative from the Department of Finance informed us that there were no improprieties in any issues deal with income and/or payroll taxes.
Uh.. so you decided to just up and donate $65,000 (allegedly) to the state of Michigan? Try as I might this poor celtic brain just doesn't seem able to wrap itself around the mysterious workings of my arab brethern.
If you notice any parishoners attempting to purchase baked goods at the next parish dinner with pieces of silver, chances are you've found your Judi'. That's the plural of Judas, for you linguistically challenged.
#22 Kevin Kirwan on 2011-02-08 10:02
Two men went into St. George’s Cathedral to pray. One was a Parish Council member, one was a Whistle Blower. The Council member began to pray, “Thank God they only got us for $65K, and if I ever find out the name of those whistle blowers....”. The Whistle Blower prayed, “Lord, forgive me for my sins and what my conscience told me to do; I only tried to do what is right. Please be merciful to me a sinner.”
“He who exalts...” And yes, these words come from a sinner, so feel free to criticize me.
#23 Fr. Stephen Mack on 2011-02-08 10:07
Mark, please, please, please take whatever original source you have and report this to the authorities. I can't think it will be too difficult for the parish clique to make an educated guess as to who blew the whistle, and whomever they target will be in danger.
(Editor's note: What authorities? The MEtropolitan? He's the one who refused the audit in the first place. The Bishop? He was removed from office. The Dean? He fled to the OCA. The parish priest? One presumes he wrote the "Thank you". Or did you mean the civil authorities? Why would they be interested in the hypocrisy of a little Church, as long as they got their long-delayed taxes? One could argue that there was no physical threat leveled here, and so no cause for action. No, the violence done here was to the Spirit, not the law. The law is satisfied. It is the Spirit that weeps.)
#24 Cordelia on 2011-02-08 10:17
When the comb hits the tangle at the end of the hair we see here our own people (and they are ours no matter where our parents were born, let's get that right) shocked, shocked and dismayed, that the body is in pain. This while knowing full well the knot was there being as they who are looking for the people to blame themselves made the problem.
Is it our new Orthodox canon that we are never allowed to cause the people who did the shenanigans to give back what they should never have taken?
Instead we 'retire' them with payments for life and nothing but free time and money to spend the rest of their days. To ponder over morning coffee when they arise at 9:30 how much they are as one with all the martyrs and saints in the Gospel.
All We Like Sheep....
#25 Harry Coin on 2011-02-08 10:39
Just some random thoughts:
Confession in that church has got to be a lot of fun.
Hmmm... wouldn't surprise me if there aren't a whole lot of confessions going on there.
Gee ... why wouldn't you want to be the bishop in that church?
And Martin Luther thought he saw some crazy things.
#26 Anon. on 2011-02-08 11:51
The leaders of this parish have no respect for our country's laws.
They use a different code of conduct that has more in common with mafia.
A convicted felon from this parish threatened a bishop and a priest.
Nothing they publish in their bulletins should be surprising.
The people who used to attend this parish but are now without a home have another choice in Detroit. There is an OCA parish with a new priest who was a formerly in the Antiochian "Archdiocese."
I hope they all find a new home in that OCA parish. Fr. Paul Albert is a peaceful and kind priest. He will take care of your spiritual needs.
#27 Iskandra Tannous on 2011-02-08 16:02
News flash. It didn't have to be a member of THAT parish.
Some bishop they have leading the wolves to slaughter.
#28 Daniel Fall on 2011-02-08 17:14
Ain't freedom of speech a grand feature of our blessed American republic?! It certainly does "out" the numb skulls.
God bless America!
#29 MWP on 2011-02-08 19:21
A fine has been paid but the illness remains.
#30 Anonymous on 2011-02-08 19:47
If I was a member of this parish, this "thank you" note would certainly have a chilling effect on my willingness to go to Confession.
Deliver us from the wretchedness of Judas and his love of money.
#31 Christopher Eager on 2011-02-08 21:25
For justice we must go to Don Corleone!!!
#32 Fr. Blues on 2011-02-09 05:33
It sounds as if the poorly written note in St. George Cathedral's “The Observer” meant to say the a representative from the State of Michigan's Department of Finance informed the parish that there are now "no improprieties in any issues deal [sic] with income and/or payroll taxes" after the Cathedral paid $65,000 in back taxes (and penalties?). That is, they were notified that the Cathedral is now no longer in arrears.
The tribal - dare I say mafia-like - mentality this note demonstrates is astounding. Thanks to kinahura for providing the language of MI's Whistleblower Act. This note's language regarding "these betrayers" in an official organ of the Cathedral would seem proof positive of yet another crime.
I'm guessing these back taxes are from the Cathedral's cash-only, no tax catering and hall rental business? Or, is it from the Cathedral's real estate holdings?
#33 melxiopp on 2011-02-09 07:34
Overheard somewhere in an alley in Troy, MI:
"....uh Bugsy, now dat we got rid ov dat pesky Bishop and his cronies nuttins stoppin us now, how bout now we heist all cassocks and headscarves we can lay our hands on, I got word from da Boss."
#34 Delegate #1 on 2011-02-09 07:48
I think this is all an embarressment. These people should not get 25% of nothing, maybe the conspiracy is they wanted money so they did whatever they could to get money which is how they are getting 25% of the taxes paid by the Church, when in fact there is nothing wrong with them based on the news from the Department of Finance. What a joke, these people should be excommunicated or evicted from the archdiocese. God bless and protect Fr. Joseph and his parish.
P.S. it seems that it sounded like a threat, but it is not...they apparently just want to find out who they are so they can ban excommunicate them for their behavior and theft of 25% of the churches payments. People who causes trouble in a parish need to be kicked out, people always want to find a problem. Almost like making a mountain out of a mole hill however I'm not saying nothing doesn't sound fishy there, i'm just saying that they were found clear by the Department of Finance so let it all go. We don't need this anymore.
(Editor's note: Happy, you are more like Confused these days.)
#35 Happy on 2011-02-09 11:10
Can someone clarify this? A church has to pay sales tax if they hold an event to raise funds? For what purpose were the funds being raised?
(Editor's note: This was not about church "fund raisers." It has been previously posted that this was about a church hall that was leased to a third party entity for business purposes.)
#36 GregF on 2011-02-09 12:24
I wonder what that would not be considered Unrelated Business Income and not taxed under_Internal Revenue Code_Sec. 512(a)(1) and 513(a)?
#37 GregF on 2011-02-09 14:30
Trust them with what? Helping the parish defraud the government? - Gee, what's our world coming to? How can we be expected to break the law and save ourselves a few bucks with these goody two-shoes around. (Being facetiousness, in case someone misses it.)
#38 Gail Sheppard on 2011-02-09 16:44
These people got 25% of what was due to the government as payment for their help in collecting it. They did not create the situation. They reported it. If there was "nothing wrong," as you suggest, there would have been nothing to collect. - There are many kinds of "threats," Happy, and being "excommunicated" is one of them. Don't you think it's a tad bit bizarre to recommend excommunication for the people who took the risk to do the right thing? We have laws in this country, Happy. The Church teaches us to obey these laws. - I suspect the 25% these people collected is going right back to the Church in some way. This is certainly what I would do if I recovered any money from the government. Honest people generally do the right thing, Happy. Had they not requested the 25%, the Church would receive nothing back. - The amount of $65,000 may be way off base. The IRS pays 15 percent to 30 percent of the amount collected, if taxes, penalties, interest and other amounts in dispute EXCEED $2 million. http://snipurl.com/20ecd4
#39 Gail Sheppard on 2011-02-09 17:16
It seems like just bad feelings remain, but gosh darn, let's not forget about those HUD audits and the sordid tale they tell.
#40 Anonymustl on 2011-02-09 17:26
i quite agree with happy. and for all those that think that fr. antypas doesnt have natural support from the holy synod, you are mistaken. fr. antypas was a student of patriarch ignatius and lived in his home for many years. many of the bishops of the holy synod in the old country were former students of fr. antypas at the balamand. trust me when i tell you that fr. antypas has full support from the members of the synod. there is a reason why metropolitan philip takes fr. antypas overseas...and furthermore, the next metropolitan of this archdiocese is already hand-picked....read it and weep, all of you.
#41 Anonymous on 2011-02-09 17:32
They say ignorance is bliss, so is it any wonder you are Happy?
#42 Heracleides on 2011-02-09 18:30
Except wouldn't it have been nice if they had sent him to Ss. Peter and Paul, the oldest Orthodox parish in Michigan, which has seen some pretty hard times, doesn't have a full-time priest, and could really use a vibrant priest and a nice influx of parishioners?
Instead he ends up at St. Raphael. If they were going to pick a parish in the city to send Fr. Paul to, why that one? Isn't a cathedral parish without a priest worth giving that opportunity?
(Editor's note: Fr. Paul joined the Romanian Archdiocese. SS Peter and Paul is in the Midwest Diocese. You need to find a priest in the Midwest Diocese to go to SS Peter and Paul. You would do better to ask the new bishop. )
#43 Old Detroiter on 2011-02-10 01:19
No audit, no money. Variations on this theme are going on all over the AOC. Church men's groups going on gambling trips (.....) and paying for it by donations to the Church so they can claim a tax deduction. Church hall rentals for all kinds of activities (including falling down drunk wedding parties and haflis with belly dancers). These are just the tip of the iceberg; all the tribal leaders know that money is the way to get + P's attention.
I am the whistleblower who turned you in to the state tax authorities; may there be many more of them all across the land.
#44 I Am Spartacus on 2011-02-10 06:41
In Michigan, nonprofit organizations, including churches, must pay sales tax if their taxable sales and rentals exceed $5,000 in any year. Retail sales of food ready to eat (as, for example, at a festival) are taxable and count toward the $5,000 threshold. The church must obtain a sales tax license and file an annual return, even if no tax is due. The nastiest fight I ever had with a priest was over this issue. (I insisted on compliance and prevailed. You don't even want to know about the use tax requirements) I suspect that noncompliance with these requirements is rampant.
The point about UBTI is an excellent one, although that would involve the IRS, not the Michigan Department of Treasury. The Michigan Business Tax doesn't apply to entities with less than $350,000 in annual revenues, and I'm not sure how it treats nonprofits in any event. We don't know how much of the $65,000 was for interest and penalties as opposed to back taxes. At the extreme, if it were all for back taxes, that would imply nearly $1.1 million of taxable sales. (The Michigan sales tax rate is 6%.) Since the settlement almost certainly involved some level of interest and penalties, the true amount of previously unreported sales/rentals is almost certainly significantly lower. The settlement also reportedly covers quite a number of years. The annual threshold for a church to report and pay federal corporate income tax on UBTI was $25,000 the last time I checked. Based on the information published so far, the IRS may have a claim, but it's not mathematically certain.
#45 A Former Parish Treasurer on 2011-02-10 08:53
How about "Dazed and Confused," Mark?
That way you work in an homage to Led Zepp.
Happy, please. Anybody in the USA who has seen any gangster movies at all can recognize the tone in this parish bulletin immediately.
Here's another quote from the gangster flick genre: "Nice little church ya got there, Happy." (Note: That was ironic.)
When one finds oneself in a cesspool, one can choose to get out of it, stat, or one can choose to stay and be Happy. Your call, friend, and the choice you make says something about you.
When the blind lead the blind, everybody ends up in the ditch.
(Editor's note: Oh, Scott. I've been dazed for six years.....)
#46 Scott Walker on 2011-02-10 09:10
And what would Danny Thomas say?
#47 GregF on 2011-02-10 10:18
So, you are saying that the consipiracy allegations against the Antiochian Orthodox Church are valid?
#48 antionymous on 2011-02-10 10:59
"The dog's bark is not might, but fright."
Like Mubarak, +Saliba and his cronies must go!
"Threatened folks live long and prosper" (Dr. Thomas Fuller & Mr. Spock)!!
#49 Former Philipian on 2011-02-10 14:15
One cannot be excommunicated for doing and acting in a MORAL fashion. Making sure one's Church obeys the law of the land, as long as the law doesn't contradict the teachings of Christ, is a moral act. I can't believe anyone is even debating this.
#50 Chuck Shingledecker on 2011-02-10 15:35
Well, of course, Mark, but the question is, if Fr. Albert was deciding to transfer to the OCA, why he chose/was accepted into ROEA when he 1. isn't Romanian, and 2. probably would better fit a local need in a non-ROEA, mainstream OCA parish, a parish left without a permanent priest (and in a mountain of debt) after their previous pastor retired.
I'd like to see more of a commitment from the Midwest Diocese to save a historic cathedral parish from extinction. in the past three years, this hasn't happened.
(Editor's note: I appreciate your concern, and suggest you take it up with the new administrator of the Midwest diocese, Bishop -elect Matthias, who can address the issue with Archbishop Nathaniel. It is, in the end, their call who goes where and when.)
#51 Old Detroiter on 2011-02-10 15:39
Please... For the last time: That church is NOT the cathedral.
#52 A Reader on 2011-02-10 17:43
"...read it and weep, all of you."
It will no doubt gratify you that the eyes of those whose hearts are yet made of flesh can do little else.
Behold, the Bridegroom comes in the middle of the night...
#53 Brian Van Sickle on 2011-02-10 20:48
You are wasting your breath trying to explain to someone like Happy that we have laws that must be followed. People of her ilk are always trying to find ways to cheat or get around the laws.
They don't understand the reason the United States is such a pleasant place to live is because we have laws.
When folks come from a land of buksheesh (bribes) and corruption they will tend to conduct business the way they learned how to in the "old country." In their mind, anyone who follows the laws is considered a fool. And people from the middle east aren't the only ones who come to this country with that way of thinking.....
#54 Iskandra Tannous on 2011-02-10 21:59
Of course I mean the police, Mark. Did you really think I meant Metropolitan Philip? That'll be the day!
The parish bulletin blatantly says they're planning to subvert the laws protecting the whistleblower's identity, and you don't know what they would do with that knowledge if they had it. It's also aimed at intimidating the anonymous whistleblower, and making him/her fearful of retaliation. That should be enough to warrant someone's attention. At least then, if something happens to the whistleblower, the police will not be able to claim ignorance.
But hey, maybe they just want to bake a nice apple pie for the whistleblower and just want to know where to send it. Mmm, pie.
#55 Cordelia on 2011-02-11 01:59
Thank you Christopher for your perceptive comment re Confession in this parish. This opens another Pandora's box that is irrelevant to the Civil Statutes.
One that has the capacity to do lasting spiritual damage.
So far, the blogs have concentrated over the Civil Law angle, and whether or not this has been transgressed. And the degree involved of transgression. All this attention is right and proper, and needs to be "brainstormed" through blogs to get to the bottom of it.
Yet this Confession angle raised by Chris is infinitely more dangerous and needs careful and prayerful consideration.
Whether he realises it or not, Chris has just fingered the reason Sacramental participation dropped sharply after Constantine's Silvestrine precedent took root - the sanctity and the inviolability of the Confessional simply could not be guaranteed - then, or since. And potentially in this parish as well, but for "chasing the whistleblowers" reasons.
The Pandora's Box it opens contains the issue of the spiritual legitimacy of all sacraments in the place. I would hate to think that Holy Orthodoxy would have to resort to the Papal concept of ex opere operato in order to asssert the spiritual legitimacy of Sacraments in this place.
Yet sadly, no other viable alternative exists. If the integrity of one Sacrament cannot be guaranteed, all other Sacraments are compromised.
Here we have a perfect textbook example of major peccadilloes in one area of Church life (in this case, financial)percolating to the heart of Church Life.
As clerics in ths parish go through the Motions of crossing their arms, bowing and "asking forgiveness" at the royal doors as they prepare to serve the Liturgy of the Faithful, they cannnot be genuine as they have sworn to be "unforgiving" to the "whistleblowers".
Here Canon Law is likely to be in direct conflict with the higher issue of spiritual integrity and legitimacy. For what Canon Law may deem fully "legal" and "valid", the higher Spiritual-Integrity principles demand the declaration of "Ichabod" over these "legal" Sacraments and equally demand that they be regarded as illegitimate, and without Holy Spirit breath in them.
This, in turn, raises the hyper-delicate issue of Sacramental Ecclesiology . . .
No prizes for guessing where this one will lead. . . .
Hmmmm. This one better be kept for another day.
#56 John Battye on 2011-02-11 04:51
I agree with you 100%. I was not a whistle blower, but was accused of being the one. In addition, I have been removed from the mailing list for the Observer but I still get envelopes and other mailings for donations. Amazing isn't it.
#57 Anonymous on 2011-02-11 06:54
Contrary to your assertion, the law as quoted above prohibits threats, not just “visiting adverse consequences” on the whistleblower. Perhaps you would have noticed that had you spent more time reading the text and less time tossing off snarky ad hominems (anonymice).
#58 Kinahura on 2011-02-11 12:42
Truly disgusting. Reminds me of a lady who blew the whistle on her priest in Maryland, and who paid dearly for it for 5 years. She stood her ground and went to the courts for accountability when the Church neglected its duty in the face of ongoing abuse and retribution. The ...... displayed by that priest was frightening and what he led his parishioners to do on his behalf was even more frightening. ....
#59 Anonymous on 2011-02-11 13:56
I can only hope and pray that God's judgment will come upon those who think that the "whistleblowers" did something wrong. Clearly back taxes were owed and someone didn't pay them otherwise what would the government be collecting.
The tragedy is not just this parish but the many others who are perpetrating similar kinds of fraud.
The church should be a place to pray and seek refuge, not some place to make a few bucks and hide it from the government.
#60 Anon. on 2011-02-11 15:29
First Tunisia, then Mubarak, is Phiip Saliba next?
#61 Diogenes on 2011-02-11 21:28
As a former member of St. George parish, I cannot help but wonder why is Fr. Joseph making these threats? First of all, this is not Christian behavior; secondly, why wouldn't he just allow the issue to be resolved with an independent audit as was origianally requested by members of his own parish? Had he done so, this problem would never have caused so much dissention within his congregation. A priest is supposed to present a positive role model to his church members, not threaten them for trying to find the truth about the church's finances. How very said for all concerned.
#62 Carol Maguire on 2011-02-11 22:30
Iskandra writes, "Fr. Paul Albert is a peaceful and kind priest."
These are justly the first predicates that come to mind, but others do, as well.
Serene, prayerful, held in high esteem by his fellow priests, an Israelite without guile.
#63 Patrick Henry Reardon on 2011-02-12 11:15
I'm not dazed or confused, you all just want these people out and it appears you all watch to much tv, you keep using idiotic lines and comparisons to The Godfather style movies. stop watching tv and making stupid comparisons. I believe these purple are of the same mindset of those that got upset for being shushed at the california convention, not naming names here. People that hold that much anger in their hearts seem to always wish for the worst on their enemies...in this case its you all that have anger in your hearts against our Eminence, and those pillars of this archdiocese. May Christ help you reassess your individual struggle with humility, forgiveness, and love.
#64 Happy on 2011-02-13 12:42
Sounds like you are attempting to quote Fr Malichi Martin of the RC church.
""The smoke of Satan has entered the Sanctuary"
Pope Paul IV - 1963"
#65 Yanni on 2011-02-13 18:51
I'm sorry you seem to be so fanatical you disagree with people renting a church hall for a wedding where most normal people celebrate the occassion with wine and champagne, God forbid this is such a sinful thing to do, didn't Christ turn water into wine and isn't this the Gospel used in Orthodox weddings? I bet you don't watch tv and almost keel over if you here a inappropriate word from a mile away. I would rather rent a church hall to celebrate this kind of occassion rather than a golf club house, at least it helps the church financially.
#66 Happy on 2011-02-13 20:10
Multitudes across North Africa and the Middle East are rising up against their autocrats. Two thoughts:
1) Met. Philip appears to be on the side of the autocrats given the way he panders to regime in Syria.
2) Isn't it high time to oust his own corrupt autocracy as well?
May God bless those who strive to live as free men. The truth shall set you free.
And may God bless our American republic: the haven for those who desire to worship in freedom and the rule of law!
#67 MWP on 2011-02-14 07:32
Jesus said to render unto Caesar what is Caesar's. We are also to obey civil authorities and laws so that we may enjoy peace and security to freely worship. Laws and authority are not a terror to us unless we act in a deserving manner.
The tax laws are clear. The taxes were not paid. The church got caught. Why is anyone wasting time defending either the "whistleblowers" or the ones who made fraudulent omissions to avoid their civil duty and responsibility before God?
Repentance all around is what is meet and right here. Should we give either the government or the observant pagan's among us reasons to condemn us? The Apostle Paul warned against Christians publically suing each other and I would say this fits into that discourse rather well -- so that the unbeliever might have grounds to say, "So what is so fresh, new, or different about being a Christian?"
All are missing the point here. Lord have mercy.
#68 Patricia Morrish on 2011-02-14 19:36
Dear Anonymous #34:
Well, it is so hard to keep all the anonymouses apart! what are you all afraid of, the last judgment? This post of yours gives me just one more reason for me to not join the Antiochian Archdiocese as it exists today, as does the original post.
#69 jim of Olym on 2011-02-15 21:47
"Haflis with belly dancers..."
And there's something wrong with this?
#70 Not All Who Wander on 2011-02-16 18:50
The Tomas given by MP to OCA was for AUTOCEPHALY not Autonomy. There is a difference. The regulations passed by MP should have no relevence to OCA which is entirely separate and self-governing from MP.
#71 Archpriest retired in Florida on 2011-02-17 13:53
I've not read Fr. Malachi, but I was directly quoting the Pope.
When he's right, he's right.
#72 Scott Walker on 2011-02-25 09:09
"People that hold that much anger in their hearts..."
Yes, Happy, that's bad. Often it is manifested by issuing threats. Just like happened in recent parish bulletin in Michigan.
Not just Happy, but blind.
As to wanting people out of the Church, horse dookey, friend. Where else do sinners belong but in Church?
Just don't let the thieves run the Church.
Let them see the truth and repent.
If there is no repentance, as far as I'm concerned there is no Church anyway, so maybe the building is sturdy and maybe the Liturgy is gorgeous. That's nice, but it ain't a Church.
Ichabod. Look it up.
#73 Scott Walker on 2011-02-25 09:21
Again, they rent the hall. When you rent a place and there is specifically not set standards in the contract they can use the hall for a wedding that has a belly dancer. Big freaking deal, it's a cultural thing that some do at celebrations. I don't care for belly dancing by any means, however it's a cultural thing and they rented a "facility" for that evening. You can not compare that to a strip bar so don't even compare in advance. It's a cultural thing.
If you disagree then I suggest you talk to your parish council about banning belly dancing at celebrations when it is rented. It has absolutely nothing to do with the church. It is again a facility that was rented out fair and square. It is not a church, remember that...it's a hall. Now if the hall was used as a church, yes I would disagree totally with that.
#74 Happy on 2011-02-25 09:22
The church should be a place to pray and seek refuge, not some place to make a few bucks and hide it from the government.
#38 Anon. on 2011-02-11 15:29 (Reply)
We can now definitely rule out Anon. as Fr. Antypas, Walid Khalife or the Metropolitan.
#75 Kevin Kirwan on 2011-02-25 09:59
Gotta agree with Happy, which shocks us both, I'm sure. Belly dancing is not the same as pole dancing. And if one cannot party at a wedding reception, where is there a better occasion? Jesus made more wine for a wedding reception, even though everybody had already had their fair share. I expect He and His Mother joined in the dancing, too. Drank a drink. Laughed a bit. Sang a song.
He hasn't changed, either; He still likes hanging out at wedding receptions.
A blessed and peaceful Lent to you, Happy.
#76 Scott Walker on 2011-02-25 16:35
Perhaps MWP's true sentiments would have been expressed more precisely by omitting the word "in" from the last sentence.
#77 Fr. George Washburn on 2011-02-25 18:59
Perhaps MWP's true sentiments would have been expressed more precisely by omitting the word "in" from the last sentence.
#40.1 Fr. George Washburn on 2011-02-25 18:59 (Reply)
Of course meaning MWP is guilty of that most horrendous of all sins loving freedom. Fr. George are you insinuating his true intent is motivated by idolatry? If so it is a nice touch from a priest apparently prostrating himself before the altar of clericalism
#78 Kevin Kirwan on 2011-03-01 09:36
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