Wednesday, October 25. 2006
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This is absolutely the most constructive, practical, and appropriate step recommended to date. Another thought. If neither the Holy Synod nor Metropolitan Council undertake this opportunity, I believe it can should happen within each diocese. Each diocese has representatives on the Metropolitan Council, each diocese has members who have worked with the Central Administration. The same perimeters as Fr. Ted described should apply. The intergrity of each diocese can contribute to building up the integrity and well being of the Church. If we can't have appropriate changes from the top down, than why not from the bottom up?
#1 John Lickwar on 2006-10-25 17:07
Syosset reminds me of a childhood melody sung while performing a round dance........"ring around the rosie, pocket full of posies, ashes, ashes , all fall down"
#2 luke on 2006-10-25 18:13
I agree with you John, Fr. Ted's suggestions, as always, are full of practical import. However, I must respectfully disagree that implementing these on a diocese by diocese basis is a good thing. On the contrary, I believe that in our current fragile state such an approach would fragment the controversy into more camps and infighting as various solutions vie for supremacy. Without a unifying jurisdictional core, we will be finished as an American Orthodox voice. We have a legitimate ecclesiological mandate, let us not waste it by allowing further fragmentation. Let us hope that moral leaders step up onto the national stage. This needs to be a national solution.
#3 Name withheld on 2006-10-25 18:23
I really like your idea of a Truth and Reconciliation Task Force. I think it is a wonderful way forward and really retains and works with the spirit of the Gospel.
However, with what seems to have been, or be, lawyers lurking everywhere within the players of this mess, I don't know if there could ever be any way for no written documents to not be used one day in some court of law.
Could any of our Orthodox legal experts clarify this point? Can what starts as a Church Task Force remain as a church task force and any documents arising from such a task force remain out of the hands of civil lawyers?
#4 Patty Schellbach on 2006-10-25 19:30
#5 Tom Haulund on 2006-10-25 20:59
Please accept my compliments on the job you are doing in keeping alive this site and interesting to everyone.
So many proposals up to this time have been suggested and nothing came out as expected.
Everyone was very surprised HOW the diocese of the Midwest banded down following the warnings from Syosset prior, during and even after the General Assembly held in Palatine, IL.
So far NOBODY SAID ANY WORD about the capitulation of the deaneary RESOLUTIONS, which have been put to dormant for ever.
It looks like the Syosset is in control through its servants in some places. It is absurd to believe that nothing will happen and the scapegoats will be forgotten.
There is no more trust in "ANY CHURCH BODY" which will come to do something in this messy situation.
The ONLY way to solve the problem will be the intervention of FEDS, IRS, AND STATE AGENCIES.
Everyone from Syosset should be called in by Fed for depositions, including the members of the Synod. Everything should be done without any beforehand announcement, without any permision to communicate with one another. All the phone calls should be under survailance. Archbishop Job should give the tapes to the FEDS and IRS for investigation. The longer he does not do it the longer the crisis will continue to be.
All members of the old administration should be put under arrest until they investigation is over, then they can enjoy freedom. All the accounts should be investigated based on the reports and paper work done as of this time.
The IRS should make everything possible to check on the accounts which have been reported by Dn Wheeler. Those who know something in this messy situation should have the opportunity to sent info to the Feds, IRS and special agencies.
All the Syosset transactions should be searched in every bank and all the films of those transactions must be made public. In this case there is a 100% transparency and credibility. The clergy union should swallow whatever it should be swallowed.
It is like a state of war between the clergy and laity. WHO is so naive to believe in those proposals in which hierarchs and clergy should be involved. ENOUGH is ENOUGH.
It is time to draw the bottom line and to invite the FEDS and the IRS into the Syosset office. Nobody from in there can be trusted anymore. Within the last year we have been able to see everything twisted and nothing was accomplished.
Just imagine how hard was for the Archbishop of the Diocese of the Midwest to survive among his foes. This is a shame for the OCA. And keep in mind that nodody did side with him. He survived because of God's grace.
MH should resign immediately, Archbishop Job, Bishop Tikhon of San Francisco and Serafim of Canada should be a "LOCUM TENENT TEAM" until the election of the new MEtropolitan will take place. Things will become crystal clear just following MH resignation.
It is about time to see a better sunrise and sunset as Orthodox Christians in America.
A very upset Orthodox Christian.
Withhold my name at this time, please.
#6 withold my name this time on 2006-10-26 00:32
How do you know the Feds or IRS for that matter aren't already involved in this?
Don't you think it's a bit odd that the Proskauer Rose law firm continues to preclude our administration from saying anything for so long? There's got to be a reason why.
Let's use the brains in our heads. Can't we deduce certain things on our own without having to be told everything?
Come on people.
LET'S READ INTO THIS ALREADY!
#7 Michael Geeza on 2006-10-26 07:30
If the IRS or feds were involved there would be a conflict of interest between the accused and the organization. The Metropolitan would have a duty to inform the Metropolitan Council (above and beyond the duty he already has under the OCA Statute to keep the Metropolitan Council informed of the status of all legal matters).
Under the old IRS rules the only sanctions the IRS could impose against a 501(c)(3) entity was to revoke tax exempt status. Because that is so extreme, the IRS rarely issued that sanction.
Under the new rules the IRS can issue a whole range of "intermediate sanctions" against the individuals involved rather than punishing the organization by revoking tax exempt status. And this is what the IRS usually does.
Lawyers always favor non-disclosure over disclosure. There are different reasons for that. One is to try to get the facts straight first. Another is to avoid potential civil liability of the entity. Another is to avoid potential civil or criminal liability of certain individuals. Another is to try to maintain control of the situation.
I am not sure how much anyone can read into this particular situation.
#8 Robert Vasilios Wachter on 2006-10-26 08:05
Point well taken. Thank you! John
#9 John Lickwar on 2006-10-26 08:07
I've been thinking of an analogy - the OCA as a ship.
For many years the ship sailed with much pomp, with a captain who had a glorious hat and a first mate who really ran everything. The captain loved to sail from port to port wearing his glorious hat and walking in parades with others wearing glorious hats, and the first mate loved to make it possible and to share in the parade.
The people, though, were kept in the dark bowels of the ship, rowing for all they were worth, having no idea where the ship was going, what the captain and the first mate were doing as a result of their work, but constantly being told to row harder.
One day, one of the deck hands realized what was happening and tried to get the captain and the first mate to change. When they refused and removed the deck hand from the deck, he finally decided to tell the people in the bowels of the ship, who were scandalized and began to question what had been going on.
At first, the captain tried to silence everyone who dared to question what was going on, and to tell everyone that everything was taken care of and to keep rowing in obedience.
Because the captain refused to talk openly and truthfully with the people in the bowels of the ship, or to lead the ship and its crew on a different path, the people quit rowing, the first mate was fired, and the captain retreated to his cabin, wearing his glorious hat, still saying nothing and hoping people would keep rowing. Now the ship simply floundered in the sea, without anyone at the helm and with no one rowing.
I can think of a lot more to the analogy, but I think you can get the picture.
Getting back to Fr. Ted's proposal: Until the Metropolitan and the Metropolitan Council actually step up to the task and begin to communicate openly and truthfully, taking responsibility for what has been happening for so many years and asking forgiveness, and actually leading the Church "toward the mark of the high calling", as God has called them to do, another proposed committee, I believe, will accomplish very little, if anything. The captain will still be in his cabin and the ship will still be floundering in the sea.
#10 Fr. Daniel Swires on 2006-10-26 08:22
With respect, while the Metropolitan has an obligation to inform the MC about litigation against the Church, he would not have to inform for an investigation where no charges have been filed.
Mr. Geeza is most likely correct -- and the federal agency is most likely not the IRS in this instance.
Fr. Ted is correct -- we'll let the government do what governments do. The Church's entire post-Constintine history is one of accountability to the state. Nothing will change here. We should focus our efforts on the spiritual dimension of what divides us.
After all, if the money problems were fixed immediately, and prevented from recurring, we would still have a seemingly insurmountable problem. This crisis has revealed to us the moral capacity of our leaders to lead, some for good and some not so good. It has revealed the deep divisions within the governance of the Church visible. It has revealed the lack of trust, and quite possibly the lack of love, love being the identifying mark of all Christians. It has revealed the ambition and materialism of individuals and groups within our midst.
We must discover how to heal, not how to seek retribution. Fr. Ted's proposal, or the similar proposal from Fr. Tom Hopko, would be appropriate beginnings to the healing process.
Sdn. John Martin
Martin D. Watt, CPA
#11 Marty Watt on 2006-10-26 14:54
Dear Father Ted Bobosh,
A University or 'Golden Rule' type of peer model
for accountability would be plausible if funding and a committee for Victim Assistance is set up in advance to provide 'wound care'. Universities have these structures and funding for them in place as well as guidelines for articulating with various civil authorities, BEFORE their peer review committees meet.
Your reflection has good intentions, but without a Victim Assistance Fund and a plan to help those injured along this unmarked Road, your proposal is only creating a peer supported glorified 'Pig wash‘ with likely results to follow as in The Second Letter of St. Peter 2:22.
St. Paraskeva House Association
#12 Matushka Carol on 2006-10-26 21:54
Even so, Mike raises a good point.
Given the consistent and repetitive nature of the events that appear to have occurred, the long time in which they happened, the amount of money involved, and the broad range of potential offenses; and even though government agencies avoid investigating problems in churches; our investigatory agencies are not being paid to sleep. Therefore, I don't think I'm alone in assuming that a number of parallel investigations of the various legal aspects of this situation have been going forward for several months, and that the agencies involved are well informed.
There is a regrettable tendency for the subjects of those investigations at this stage to seal their fates, to force the government's hand, by giving false or misleading statements, or by destroying or alterring evidence. To those who may have done such things already or may be tempted to do so soon, I can only say that it is not yet too late. You can still turn to the truth.
The prosecutors who will review the information collected by the field investigators - and, as I say, I would be surprised if they are not already reviewing it - have a sworn duty to seek justice, not just a conviction. Nothing, in my experience, will impress them more than justice occurring on its own, as men who have hidden their honesty from themselves and the world rediscover it, as they step forward on their own and openly speak the truth to the people they've harmed or disappointed.
And, by the way, if they do so. or if some of them do so, or if even one of the key participants in this situation does so, Father Ted Bobosh's method will work fast and famously. But, if not, it won't work at all.
#13 Mark Warns on 2006-10-26 22:37
"Our task will be call for accountability within the framework of the church and its structure and authority."
Amen, Fr. Ted!
The procedure I've described from the university does not have a victim's fund. This is the procedure they follow when a student breaks the rules say for example in the case of wrongful Internet sharing. If the student has committed a crime, that is left up to the proper authorities, but the university still deals with the student, imposing on the student what the university is empowered to do by its own rules with the maximum penalty being expulsion. That is all I am proposing.
As for demanding that the victims of the wrong doings be compensated. I guess one could say that is what the $1.7 million loan is also doing, among other things. Though the victims in this mess are two fold - those needy who didn't receive the charity intended for them, and those who donated but were defrauded by how their monies were used.
Unfortunately, I think we may have to make some choices here between freedom and justice. We can exact justice until every penny is paid for and each wrong doer suffers appropriately. This may entangle us for several years to come and keep us mired in the swamp of our past and in endless divisive retributions. Or we might seek freedom from our corrupt past, ask for an accounting of the stewardship of those involved, deal with them to the extent our church can, let the civil authoities deal with any crimes, make those internal changes in personnel and procedure that will help prevent reoccurrence of the problems and embrace our future.
I am not against justice, but in Christian community we have been told by Christ not to have leadership based in the Gentile way of those who lord it over us. In Romans 13:3-4 St. Paul tells us the civil rulers bear the sword for a reason. He doesn't argue that apostles or bishops should have this authority. Repentance and forgiveness are part of what we must do to follow Christ, even if it is bitter for us. What went wrong in the OCA happened at the hands of those who are our brothers, and we have to deal with this situation accordingly. That doesn't mean they all get to go free. But Christ called sinners not the righteous, and we have to live with the consequences of that. Our calling is to holiness. And also to mercy, love, repentance, forgiveness. It is a package deal, not an either or situation.
My proposal asks us to embrace a better future, not keep reliving a wicked past.
#15 Fr. Ted Bobosh on 2006-10-27 10:04
Fr. Ted et al
I would so like to see what you recommend happen.
Unfortunately, from what I have seen all these committees appear mired in inaction - praxis. "*Theology without action (praxis) is the theology of demons.*" - St. Maximos the Confessor
Outside of the laity making their disatisfaction known, what has been accomplished? Moving the Nov MC meeting to Dec once again delays any action. (It's good in theological /theory - but again no action)
How could the OCA even dare post financial statements on a public web page and have them be false? They lie, the continue to lie even in their silence. Who is the father of lies? Whom do they call Father? John 7:31-47
Someone posed a very good question, "Why does the OCA need a committee to study "Best Practices?" - Yes, why do these Godly men in OCA administraton fear man and not God? (>>"our Lawyers won't let us speak" so we can't answer any questions>>)
Whatever happened to walking in the Truth? or "That ye Love one Another?" Is deception and silencing entire Dioceses (South and West) "Loving one another?" - Thank you Bishop Job for understanding this and not creating PRAXIS.
....As to my own 2cents worth...I think Prayer still holds the key.....each Parish should be PRAYING together for the Spirit of Truth to come and abide in us. Prayer changes things.....and it's not magic....it takes work; fasting and repentence. I think it is still the best answer and I pray for our Shepards who have divided the sheep! However, I do not wish to pray alone - for "whenever 2 or more are gathered in my name"...that is where prayer at the Parish Level should be implimented. Mark 11:24
#16 Jodie Necaise on 2006-10-29 15:02
'Syosset reminds me of a childhood melody sung while performing a round dance........"ring around the rosie, pocket full of posies, ashes, ashes , all fall down" '
And this jingle was about the Black Death.
#17 Linda Weir on 2006-10-30 15:03
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