Wednesday, September 28. 2011
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(yawn) Mark, Mark, Mark, can't you find someone else to pick on?
This "JONAH DELENDA EST" jag you've been on is getting rather tedious. Metropolitan Jonah is obviously not going to resign or be deposed, and God willing he will remain alive and well for many years. Eis polla eti, Dhespota!
(Editor's note: Sorry, like Cato the Elder, to bore you. But if the klobukh fits....)
#1 Cordelia on 2011-09-28 10:24
It is a tremendous loss to the Orthodox Church in America that Faith Skordinski has resigned. The sad thing is that there are so many clerics and laity in the OCA who seem to think like Cordelia above. Why do we need all this ethics stuff? Why do we need to have investigations? Why do we need to keep plastering our dirt out into cyberworld? The answers are very simple: because we are all called to be accountable to God and to our fellow man. We are called to live good, clean, decent lives.
You can say what you want about Faith, but she was a tireless advocate of truth when it was extremely unpopular. She stuck her neck out farther than almost anyone else to see to it that the disgraceful acts of Robert Kondratick and others saw the light of day.
To be honest, I'm still amazed at the number of supporters of Jonah. He hasn't really done anything productive in his tenure as metropolitan other than spend a lot of money, backpeddle on a number of statements, and interfere with quite a number of investigations and legal matters. I really will not be surprised if there aren't any good candidates for the Chancellor position. Who in his right mind would want the job given all that has transpired between Fr. Garklavs and the metropolitan? And by the way, where is the Archimandrite Zacchaeus these days?
#2 Matthew on 2011-09-28 11:45
The Faithful should be concerned that someone who worked so hard on the issue of sexual misconduct is no longer on the metropolitan council. Faith Skordinski's resignation is a great loss to the OCA. Is there anyone who willing to fill her shoes????
Melanie Jula Sakoda
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP)
SNAP Orthodox Director
Fr. Garklavs should have NEVER been dismissed - everyone knows this! He was dismissed because he "had + Jonah's number." He saw exactly what + Jonah is and told him. What SHOULD happen is + Jonah dismissed and Fr. Garklavs restored. And for the next Met? The ONLY one capable with a true vision of what the OCA is, is: + Melchizedek. Time to correct the mistake made in Pitt. - let's do it in Seattle!
#4 Anonymous on 2011-09-28 14:53
A sad farewell to "Dr. Ski." She is a kind soul with a flash of tenacity, and I hope that her alternate sees fit to walk a mile in that tension him or herself.
#5 Jackson Downs on 2011-09-28 16:16
Platitudes aside, Dr. Skordinski left the council because she does not belong to an OCA church any longer.
I agree that we ought to have ethics and investigations and all that whatnot, but is it too much to ask to have church administrators who are part of the church they administrate?
(Editor's note: The official standard by statute for membership in the OCA is going to confession, communion at least once a year. Dr. Skordinski fulfilled that standard - I witnessed both myself. One can assert that is too little; fine. Discuss. But until one officially changes that standard it is just plain factually wrong to claim "she has left the OCA".
Moreover, if you had actually worked even a tenth as much for the OCA as Dr. Skordinski has these past six years, instead of just bitching about people you are ignorant about, the OCA would be a better place, as it is for Dr. Skordinski's efforts. I did not always agree with Faith, but I admired her tenacity and her faith. To challenge either does you no credit.)
#6 Cordelia on 2011-09-28 16:33
I want to thank everyone for their kind expressions of concern and prayers regarding my canine incident. To allay fears, I am not being treated against rabies. Both the dog's vaccinations and mine were current. However, I developed an infection from the wound necessitating daily IV antibiotic therapy. My dear wife says that it's a blessing not having to attend the MC meeting. And in some ways, I agree.
#7 Fr John Reeves on 2011-09-28 17:45
Just toss the canons aside.
Who needs norms and rules when you can make it up as you go?
And why have faith the Lord actually answered all those prayers raised during the process in PA?
We're unhappy now; clearly we made a mistake and our prayers ignored.
Bit o' sarcasm to illustrate why such thinking is not healthy for church life.
#8 Rdr. John on 2011-09-28 19:31
Since when is Sexual Misconduct a standing committee of the Metropolitan Council? My understanding is there is an advisory committee (which has no authority) serving at the pleasure of the Metropolitan, and this committee is not part of the MC. According to the list at http://oca.org/cdn/PDFs/metropolitancouncil/2011-0810-metropolitan-council-committees.pdf there is no such Sexual Misconduct committee, nor should there be, since clergy discipline is not within the purview of the MC. Please clarify.
(Editor's note: You are correct, but I did not say it was a standing Committee of the MC. Technically, the SMPAC is not a committee of the MC, although its non-professional members are MC members ( current and former)and often reports to the MC concerning these matters, especially as their issues deal with legal issues that may arise. Clergy discipline is not in the purview of the MC, the MC may only discipline its members. )
#9 Anonymous on 2011-09-28 20:03
Here we have another example of the creeping influence of the MC in matters that do not belong to them. If a matter of sexual misconduct becomes a legal issue, then it belongs to the legal committee. You said that Sexual Misconduct is a committee of the MC. It is not, and the SMPAC should not be reporting anything to the MC as a matter of course. Such actions put the OCA in legal jeopardy.
(Editor's note: You are mistaken and ill-informed.)
#10 Anonymous on 2011-09-29 06:59
Anonymous, and/or Editor,
Care to explain this further? I'm ignorant to the inner workings of the MC, but both of you seem to have points. Keeping inquiries into sexual misconduct confidential, even from the MC, until legal action is taken, seems to have some merit. On the other hand, I think I am picking up on the idea there is some question regarding the efficacy of the SMPAC, and also some question on how much oversight they may need (from the MC or another body)?
(Editor's note: The details of sexual misconduct inquiries are not shared with the MC as a matter of policy -- except as actions by the accused, or those responsible for them, may result in litigation for the Church, which does fall under the purview of the MC. The SMPAC, which is a Synodal, not a MC Committee, is the panel that oversees these misconduct inquiries, and thus, on ocassion ( more often recently) consults with the MC because of potential or pending litigation. I hope that clears it up for you. They are not overseen by the MC, but by the Synod of Bishops as is appropriate canonically.)
#11 Jackson Downs on 2011-09-30 03:54
Keeping disciplinary inquiries of misconduct (of any kind) not just sexual, is more than a meritorious idea, it's a matter of privacy law. Ask any HR professional. In both the private and public sector, matters of personnel discipline, investigations, discussions, accusations, records, and the like, are absolutely and strictly confidential, without fail. Such information, even in enormous corporations with layers and layers of bureaucracy as well as government agencies, is shared with only a few people: The receiver of the complaint, one HR representative (if that's not them), the immediate supervisor, and the employee. That's it. If a lawyer gets involved at some point, then he or she would also be informed of the matter. In other words, such matters are only meant to be shared with a handful of people, and the utmost confidentiality and respect is observed. Failure to comply with those policies carries the most severe consequences. Worldly corporations can figure that out, but apparently the OCA can't.
Contrast such worldly care for confidentiality with the OCA, where bishops, priests, and MC members routinely speak off hand, gossip, and oftentimes purposefully leak information of an extremely sensitive nature to colleagues, friends, and internet forums. And now the OCA has recklessly created committees which report to other multiple committees, so that, more often than not, 40 or 50 people routinely know matters that they have no business knowing, nor should they ever know.
It's a complete disaster that will, and indeed already has, put the OCA corporately in a very serious breech of confidentiality and potential liability. No employee of any corporation or government agency would ever tolerate a company treating confidential information concerning themselves in such a potentially damaging and demeaning matter. Read, for instance, this article which outlines how employers are to be discreet and to be respectful of employees, in order to be ethical, fair, professional, and of course, for fear of potential lawsuits. http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/avoid-legal-trouble-with-employees-29470.html;jsessionid=83777763F6C5712EFD0177D80CDD23B9
It's a very serious issue in the OCA that is being handled in a very unprofessional and unethical manner, and it's highly likely unlawful. 95% of the accusations made today should be between the bishop and his priest, and that's it. The other 5% might involve a chancellor and a lawyer. Beyond that, the most seriously issues would a spiritual court. What has become of the OCA to be so out of control?
(Editor's note: That's absurd. Any allegation of clerical abuse usually involves many more people than "a bishop and priest" - including the victim, the parish council, those who reported the alleged abuse ( which may or may not be the victim, but could be a council member, a Sunday school teacher, or other parishioner, or someone they trust) and more. Not everyone needs to know the details - nor do they; but they need to know an allegation has been made so that others are not put in harm's way potentially. Moreover, the internet is more and more often used to report abuses - witness the existence of Pokrov.org or SNAP. Your attempt to "keep it all under wraps between a bishop and accused priest" is the enabling environment and perspective that led to decades of abuse, and more and more victims, in the Roman Catholic Church. And our own, alas. )
#12 Anonymous on 2011-09-30 15:51
Ah, but the Statute specifically requires that the confession and communion be at one's home parish. (A Statute amendment is in the works to allow confessors outside one's home parish, with the home parish priest's permission.)
Also, someone who goes more than three Sundays without attending Liturgy at all is automatically excommunicated, unless there is an extenuating circumstance such as illness or travel.
Also, I'd strongly advise you against casting aspersions on anyone else's service to the Church. Do tell what would happen in your parish if the matushka and church ladies all quit doing what they do. Do you think that contribution is somehow less than getting yourself elected to some committee? The Metropolitan Council would have no power if it weren't for people like me. They certainly wouldn't have anybody else's money to spend. So don't pretend like you or Dr. Skordinski are better than me or anybody else.
(Editor's note: No one inferred either Sr. Skordinski or I are better than anybody. And I have made enough piroshki in my life, and done enough coffee hours to count as "Church lady" as much as anybody, friend. LOL. And no, the statute doesn't say your home parish. And beware of dragging obscure 5th century canons out and applying them to other periods. By your defination the entire Orthodox world, with the exception of priests was excommunicate from the 14-19th centuries as once-a year communion was the norm! Really, get serious. Every person has a norm with their parish priest given the exigencies of their spiritual life; let's wisely leave it at that and not try to make a "one size fits all". That individuation within a Tradition is one of the glories of Orthodoxy.)
#13 Cordelia on 2011-10-03 14:31
Check out Article X.5.b sometime, Mark. I incorrectly assumed this was in reference to service on the MC, but it actually defines who may be considered a parishioner in good standing, which is actually even more germane than I realized. Obviously, one would have to be a parishioner in good standing in order to continue to serve on the Metropolitan Council, right?
Also, as far as I know, the canonical requirement is that you not fail to attend Liturgy for more than three Sundays in a row, and makes no reference to how often you actually commune. As you said, weekly communion was not the norm for a long time.
I am happy to see you do not look down on us who clean your church, teach your Sunday School, sing in your choir, make your kulich and paska, and pay our full share of the Syosset assessments, despite being extremely irritated with how our money is being used. Perhaps, then, you would like to retract your criticism of me on the basis that I have not "actually worked even a tenth as much for the OCA as Dr. Skordinski has these past six years".
I do what I can, but one woman against forty years of "Let's act as if we have no accountability to God" is a pretty steep hill to climb. But one thing I am doing is keeping the money I was going to send to Syosset, and getting some bling for my priest instead.
(Editor's note: If you think "bling" is what your priest needs more of, go right ahead. As for my comment about "1/10" - I will stick with it. Few know fully what Dr. Skordinski has done, and the cost of doing so - personally and professionally - as she has had to wallow through the slime of the last administration's deeds. Moreover, to offer gratitude and thanks to someone is not to denigrate anyone else. As our Lord showed, love is not a zero sum game.
As for "parishioner" this has been a notoriously strange definition in the Orthodox Church. In the Russian Church pre 1917 it meant everybody in the geographic bounds of the village - Jews too - not communicants. In the Metropolia and in the OCA, there are every so many people who consider themselves parishioners of multiple parishes. Check out Florida in the DOS. Which parish counts for your standard then? Or can one go to any Orthodox parish in three weeks? I am not justifying any of this, just noting it is really tricky when you get to the nitty-gritty of church "membership". That needs to be remembered lest we create needless barriers to inclusion. Fortunately, its all above my pay grade. )
#14 Cordelia on 2011-10-03 21:15
The rules as designated in the Statute seem pretty straightforward to me. To be considered a parishioner in good standing, you have to confess and commune in that parish at least once per year. Someone who does not attend a parish has no business representing that parish. And according to the canons, unless you are traveling or sick, you should not go without at least attending Liturgy somewhere for more than three consecutive Sundays.
I don't bring this up in an attempt to humiliate Dr. Skordinski. Believe me, I've had my share of issues with other people in the Church. It makes some of the stuff you've covered look like a Scout Jamboree.
If I had been driven from regular church attendance for a time, however, I would not have expected to be allowed to remain in an administrative position in what was my jurisdiction. It would be fitting and appropriate for me to resign so that I could concentrate on healing from whatever was going on and work on reconciling with the Church, whether in the same parish/jurisdiction or another. But that resignation would be a result of my unwillingness to continue being an active member of that original parish/jurisdiction. It would not be an unavoidable consequence of whatever happened to me, nor the direct fault of the people who created those conditions.
By the way, I may just use that money to get something nice for Metropolitan Jonah instead. He may not get everything right, but he's never called me a bitch, either.
(Editor's note: Presents are nice.)
#15 Cordelia on 2011-10-04 15:00
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