A few days ago an article, originally published in the National Herald, appeared on the Orthodox Reform Web site. The implications of this article are chilling.
Apparently the new priest and the parish council president at Holy Trinity in Dallas, Texas have asked Dallas parishioners to donate an extra $250 - $1,000 each. By doing so they hope to raise an extra $250,000 on top of their standard stewardship. The sum is needed to protect the church and its properties from lawsuits that are being brought by victims of sexual abuse perpetrated by the church’s former priest, Fr. Nicholas Katinas.
So it has now come to this. Our clergy sins; we pay the price. We are not implying that this is the case with all our clergy – the vast majority are fine, honorable, decent men of God. But when they are not, someone must pay the price.
We should keep in mind that earlier this year our Metropolitan was dismayed that revenues in Dallas had fallen twenty percent with the news that Fr. Katinas was about to be defrocked. So the $250,000 needed just to defend the church and its properties probably won’t cover the amount needed for this purpose AND also cover any shortfall from Dallas' usual stewardship level.
The article further states that the Metropolis of Denver and the Archdiocese are also being sued and that they are "taking responsibility for their own defense."
What does this have to do with us – with other members of the Greek Orthodox faith throughout this Metropolis and ultimately throughout the country?
A reading from Metropolitan Isaiah’s budget protocol dated 7/12/07 (page 4) might be instructive:
Should a parish feel that it has a special circumstance warranting my consideration, I will carefully examine whatever information is submitted to me by the parish priest, and will inform all the parishes of my decision. I ask that any such circumstances be brought to my attention as early in the year as possible. The final appeal period will be between June 15th and July 15th.Who will pay for the sins of the Fathers? You decide.
Please Note: Any reduction in the Total Commitment allocation granted to a parish will be paid for by all the other parishes of the Metropolis. Before an appeal for special consideration is submitted to me, consider the impact of your action on the other parishes. (emphasis added)
* Note: The article mentioned, Church In Dallas Asks $250K From Parishioners, can be found on the Orthodox Reform Web site, http://orthodoxreform.org/cases/fr-nicholas-katinas/dallas-requests-250k/.