“Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them,

and they that are great exercise authority upon them.

But it shall not be so among you:

but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister;

And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant:

Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto,

but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:25-28, KJV)

The word the Athenians used for their Assembly was Ekklesia, the same word used in the New Testament for Church
(and it is the greatest philological irony in all of Western history that this word,
which connoted equal participation in all deliberation by all members,
came to designate a kind of self-perpetuating, self-protective Spartan gerousia -
which would have seemed patent nonsense to Greek-speaking Christians of New Testament times,
who believed themselves to be equal members of their Assembly.)

- Thomas Cahill, Sailing the Wine-Dark Sea: Why the Greeks Matter


Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Suffer the Little Children... ? What the Heck!

It seems our hierarchs, specifically Metropolitan Isaiah, have now moved on to the offensive in defending a priest who now has four victims coming forward alleging sexual abuse.

Despite the mounting evidence against Fr. Katinas, and the emergence of more and more victims, our Metropolitan is vigorous in defending him. The Metropolitan's argument is perplexing. According to him, one can defrock a priest and if he's forgiven he'll be reinstated ... so what the heck? He gives the further example of Ireneos, who was busted down from Patriarch of Jerusalem to monk (yet he could be forgiven and become Patriarch again!) So what the heck?

Nowhere has the Metropolitan decried the activities that brought Fr. Katinas and former Patriarch of Jerusalem Ireneos to their present states. And yes, Fr. Katinas' wife is most definitely to be pitied and does deserve compassion. And the parishioners of Holy Trinity in Dallas most certainly deserve compassion. But NOWHERE do we see ANY compassion or words of comfort FOR THE VICTIMS! "Suffer the little children..." said the Lord. Where is the compassion for THEM?

Just once can we hear some humility with words such as, "we need to do better.... We are doing our utmost to make sure this NEVER happens again...."? Do we ever hear anything like this? Instead when the laity objects we're told we are gleefully airing the dirty laundry, "anthropocentric", or disobedient, unchristian, or not righteous ... Gleefully? Would that we never came to the NEED to air such dirty laundry. And it is not our dirty laundry! It is the clergy's, yet never once do we hear that, do we? No mea culpas from our hierarchs, no sir! Just admonitions to pay, pray and obey, and let God sort the rest of it out. What a callous and medieval mindset!

And isn't it funny that the money is always mentioned? Our metropolitan is surprised and displeased that contributions in Dallas are down 20%! The churches may belong to God, but our bishops act like they are THEIRS - and even though we build them, and we pay for their continuing operation, WE HAVE NO SAY. No, Your Eminence, we are NOT seeking to "punish God". What a convenient and facile condemnation! We are simply employing two ways to get your attention, the only ones that seem to work these days - publicity and the purse. You and your peers airily dismiss any attempts at reasonable and reasoned dialogue, claiming some sort of 'divine right' and admonishing us to not be "anthropocentric". But we submit that we are all made in the image of God, carrying within us His divine spark - an image that the hierarchy appears to dismiss routinely by its actions and words.

Obviously, simple shame is nowhere to be seen. And yes, the hierarchy should be ashamed that they are openly defending the alleged perpetrator and minimizing the pain of his alleged victims. The excuse given is that because the victims are now no longer children, somehow they should just stifle their feelings, though the memory and shame of their abuse lingers well into their adulthood. One priest likened such abuse to "spiritual murder." Why is there no pity for the victims' pain? Why do the clergy continually refuse to accept the responsibility they bear for trivializing something so serious, so devastating and so lingering?

As things stand, it is a wonder that any Greek Orthodox parent would even consider allowing a son to serve in the altar. It is a further wonder that decent and honorable men still wish to serve in the priesthood. Why does the hierarchy do nothing to weed out these blots upon our priesthood and our faith, and instead just shift the perpetrators from place to place - or hide their heads in the sand and just pretend that this CRIME is not occurring? And, when it occurs again are the faithful still going to hear the "what the heck" excuse?

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