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« on: January 06, 2007, 01:22:42 PM »

It has just become apparent that father John Mack, author of 'Ascending the Heights' has become a Catholic. I had always assumed that he was an Antiochian, but he apparently left the OCA for the Ruthenian Catholics.

All I know is that he has not been pastoring the mission in Kansas City for a couple of months. Does anyone have further information on this? Did his family join him? Has he written on the subject?

Thanks
Michael, that sinner
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« Reply #1 on: January 06, 2007, 01:47:04 PM »

It has just become apparent that father John Mack, author of 'Ascending the Heights' has become a Catholic. I had always assumed that he was an Antiochian, but he apparently left the OCA for the Ruthenian Catholics.

All I know is that he has not been pastoring the mission in Kansas City for a couple of months. Does anyone have further information on this? Did his family join him? Has he written on the subject?

Thanks
Michael, that sinner

I heard a rumor that this was happening.
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« Reply #2 on: January 06, 2007, 02:11:12 PM »

Interesting. I don't know of any information about his (apparent) conversion, sorry. I first came across him because his book/video tapes were what my wife and I used during pre-marital counselling. I remember sending back and forth an email or two over the years, though I got the distinct impression that some of my moronic online comments hadn't exactly put me in his good graces. In any event, I would be interested in hearing his thoughts on conversion, if that has indeed happened.
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« Reply #3 on: January 06, 2007, 02:55:36 PM »

I'm fairly certain he has indeed renounced his orders and left the church.  His former mission parish has a temporary administrator at this time.  We should be praying for his former parish as I'm sure many are probably feeling a sense of betrayel and that this is a trying time for them.  We should also pray for him and his family, as they have likely left the communion of the church.
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« Reply #4 on: January 08, 2007, 02:06:51 AM »

It has just become apparent that father John Mack, author of 'Ascending the Heights' has become a Catholic. I had always assumed that he was an Antiochian, but he apparently left the OCA for the Ruthenian Catholics.

All I know is that he has not been pastoring the mission in Kansas City for a couple of months. Does anyone have further information on this? Did his family join him? Has he written on the subject?

Thanks
Michael, that sinner

He was an Antiochian originally and then I heard he had left for the OCA. But no one ever told me why. This is very interesting he has become Roman Catholic. This change kind of confirms to me a thought I had ever since I heard Fr. David Anderson became Roman Catholic.
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« Reply #5 on: January 08, 2007, 03:15:56 AM »

He was an Antiochian originally and then I heard he had left for the OCA. But no one ever told me why. This is very interesting he has become Roman Catholic. This change kind of confirms to me a thought I had ever since I heard Fr. David Anderson became Roman Catholic.

Except that Fr. David Anderson became Byzantine Catholic.  Yeah, I know, many would say, "Same thing."  Also, Fr. David Anderson left around 8 years ago.
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« Reply #6 on: January 08, 2007, 09:48:53 AM »

It was reported at Byzcath.org that Fr. John Mack became Byzantine Catholic and was incardinated to the Eparchy of Van Nuys.
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« Reply #7 on: January 08, 2007, 11:22:40 AM »

He was an Antiochian originally and then I heard he had left for the OCA. But no one ever told me why. This is very interesting he has become Roman Catholic. This change kind of confirms to me a thought I had ever since I heard Fr. David Anderson became Roman Catholic.

I think one of the main pitfalls of the convert experience, at least as far as I have observed, is that it may not stop.  I guess that's why there is a thread about the five year lifespan of converts, or something to that effect.
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« Reply #8 on: January 08, 2007, 11:29:42 AM »

I guess it depends on your perspective.
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« Reply #9 on: January 08, 2007, 12:40:20 PM »

I think one of the main pitfalls of the convert experience, at least as far as I have observed, is that it may not stop.  I guess that's why there is a thread about the five year lifespan of converts, or something to that effect.

But Andrew, the very same thing can happen to someone who has had ancestors who have been Orthodox for 2000 years. Only God knows how many millions of Orthodox Christians have left Orthodoxy in North America since the beginning of the 20th century. Remember the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada story? They had close to 100,000 members in 1961 and now they only have 11,000 members. The attrition rate is phenomenal. When people lived in small Christian villages there usually wasn't an option to leave the faith. But Orthodoxy will always have to compete in the new world with a thousand other belief systems and secularism.
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« Reply #10 on: January 08, 2007, 01:03:31 PM »

But Andrew, the very same thing can happen to someone who has had ancestors who have been Orthodox for 2000 years. Only God knows how many millions of Orthodox Christians have left Orthodoxy in North America since the beginning of the 20th century. Remember the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada story? They had close to 100,000 members in 1961 and now they only have 11,000 members. The attrition rate is phenomenal. When people lived in small Christian villages there usually wasn't an option to leave the faith. But Orthodoxy will always have to compete in the new world with a thousand other belief systems and secularism.

That's not quite what I'm talking about though.  I'm speaking more particularly of what I've seen in some people who find Orthodoxy to be "the answer" as adults, then turn around and find it wasn't and leave.  I also unfortunately personally knew a priest who fell and took his family with him.  I find that situation particularly hard to understand.
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« Reply #11 on: January 08, 2007, 01:26:32 PM »

It is hard to understand why something like that would happen. But Satan will always tempt us to doubt... Maybe some are not prepared for the dynamic relationship of meeting God especially when He allows us to experience dry periods in our spiritual life. This could be the point when some give up the struggle. Living an Orthodox life is not easy. Some of my friends at church have told me they always felt like they were good Christians when they were evangelicals but now that they are Orthodox they feel like sinners and failures.

In regard to your priest friend...the priesthood offers an even tougher burden to carry. I have asked many priests how they carry on when they have been persecuted by their own people or have been tested in other ways. They have all given me the same answer...by the grace of God.
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« Reply #12 on: January 08, 2007, 04:34:49 PM »

Father Deacon Lance,

I tried to find that info, where did you see it?

Thomas
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« Reply #13 on: January 08, 2007, 08:46:41 PM »

Oh my Lord have mercy upon me and save me!!!
  Father Mack brought my family into the church. He was my priest ( in Lawrence ,KS.)
He remains and always will be my brother in Christ.
 I am deeply bitter about his departure from Orthodoxy as he was forced out of the church the details of which involve long standing vendetas from the Antiochions and pressure applied on the OCA by said Antiochions and has caused me to withdraw from regular church attendence.  It is a long and very sad story and a demonstration of why there will never be a United church in America.
 As my Greek friend said when I told him about Fr. John leaving the church  ..." This is a huge loss to the Orthodox faith."
  I was the Parish Council President when he resigned . What I state is fact as I saw it unfold.
I make no apologies for stating the truth . He was forced out .
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« Reply #14 on: January 08, 2007, 09:32:52 PM »

Mo

Care to elaborate?
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« Reply #15 on: January 08, 2007, 10:35:23 PM »

Yes, Mo, please elaborate. See my section in "free for all" on Purges in the Antiochian archdiocese.

But, a few points:

-Fr. David Anderson was Catholic, became Orthodox and after the whole bad Ben Lomand affair, became Catholic again.
-Fr. John Mack was an Anglican before, not Catholic

I was told Fr. John Mack was released to the OCA by Bishop BASIL of the Antiochians because he had become very prideful. Other Antiochian Bishops would have laicized him. Bp. Basil, gave him a way out. Sadly, after leaving the Antiochians he seemed to have fallen into oblivion (from a published book/article point of view). One does not become a Byzantine Catholic lightly, so what gives?

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« Reply #16 on: January 08, 2007, 11:15:15 PM »

Basil:
I saw that thread and thought about posting but withheld. I am going to irritate a lot of people on this forum ( as most of you know , I am the least articulate here and can`t spell to save my life) but .....
   High placed Antiochians in Wichita KS. (St. George`s) had issues with Fr.John dating back to his days as an Antiochian Priest. I am not famliar with the details, though I do know that his critics continued to conspire against him.
  So, I`m going to break it down.....The OCA is in a SEVERE financial crisis.....The Antiochians have money...LOTS of money.....in exchange for certain favors, the Antiochians donated a considerable amount of monetary support to the OCA......
 Father John was an awesome Priest and brilliant articlulater of the faith and did not deserve to be sacrificed by the by Met. Herman in order to save himself. For this reason alone, Met. Herman should resign.....oh yeah...there`s that money thing too Lips Sealed :'( Huh Angry
 
     
 
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« Reply #17 on: January 09, 2007, 12:11:13 AM »

Sounds a little like the Mafia.
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« Reply #18 on: January 09, 2007, 12:57:55 AM »

Basil:
I saw that thread and thought about posting but withheld. I am going to irritate a lot of people on this forum ( as most of you know , I am the least articulate here and can`t spell to save my life) but .....
   High placed Antiochians in Wichita KS. (St. George`s) had issues with Fr.John dating back to his days as an Antiochian Priest. I am not famliar with the details, though I do know that his critics continued to conspire against him.
  So, I`m going to break it down.....The OCA is in a SEVERE financial crisis.....The Antiochians have money...LOTS of money.....in exchange for certain favors, the Antiochians donated a considerable amount of monetary support to the OCA......
 Father John was an awesome Priest and brilliant articlulater of the faith and did not deserve to be sacrificed by the by Met. Herman in order to save himself. For this reason alone, Met. Herman should resign.....oh yeah...there`s that money thing too Lips Sealed :'( Huh Angry
 
     
 

Dear Mo,

Unless the Antiochians offered the OCA millions of dollars, if they did indeed offer Met. HERMAN any money, it couldn't be enough to cover the shortfall in the OCA. The whole budget for the Antiochian Archdiocese is only around $4-5 million dollars a year. Our archdiocese runs a very tight ship.
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« Reply #19 on: January 09, 2007, 01:01:32 AM »

How much is the shortfall in the OCA? Is it really that bad?
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« Reply #20 on: January 09, 2007, 01:04:28 AM »

Eh' kumere I gonna make you an offer you can't refuse.  Cheesy
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« Reply #21 on: January 09, 2007, 01:10:10 AM »

How much is the shortfall in the OCA? Is it really that bad?

Unfortunately yes. Millions of dollars were lost over the years. But with leaders like Archbishop JOB, some courageous OCA priests, and some very talented folks in the laity, the OCA will recover.
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« Reply #22 on: January 09, 2007, 01:13:13 AM »

Dear Mo
don't let bitterness eat you up.
Fr. Mack went his own way, like the grown man that he is.
Many of our bishops and hierarchs are problematical at best. The most spiritual sometimes have the least influence, institutionally (but who knows what the Holy Spirit may accomplishing through them despite how things look outwardly). But generation, after generation, the Church survives.

The OCA scandal last year caused me much strife and a serious, serious look into the Roman Catholic Church.
I came real close to leaving, but I decided one conversion per decade was my limit (LOL!). And that was enough to calm me down and comfort me and I'm still here, with no plans to leave.

What is the old saying; We know who is in the Church, but we do not know who is outside the Church?
When these perplexing issues and circumstances come up, I take comfort in that. Ultimately, it is Christ's Church and bride, not ours.

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« Reply #23 on: January 09, 2007, 01:18:49 AM »

How much is the shortfall in the OCA? Is it really that bad?

You can read the whole history here.  http://ocanews.org/ 

One thing that may very well happen is that other groups will seek to exploit the situation the OCA now finds itself in.  There's been a few signs that this is happening.
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« Reply #24 on: January 09, 2007, 01:22:10 AM »

You can read the whole history here.  http://ocanews.org/ 

One thing that may very well happen is that other groups will seek to exploit the situation the OCA now finds itself in.  There's been a few signs that this is happening.

I'm sorry to hear this. I was familiar with the scandal, but I didn't know it had put the OCA in dire financial straits.
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« Reply #25 on: January 09, 2007, 01:25:46 AM »

I'm sorry to hear this. I was familiar with the scandal, but I didn't know it had put the OCA in dire financial straits.

A fair amount disappeared and the laity have a tendency to tighten the hold on the wallet when they feel like  what they are giving is going down the proverbial rathole.  Kind of a double whammy.

They are in a more generalized crisis though, one could say an identity crisis which the financial issues just brought to a head.  Some of the screeds by Fr. Hopko touch on that.
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« Reply #26 on: January 09, 2007, 01:30:15 AM »

Quote
The OCA scandal last year caused me much strife and a serious, serious look into the Roman Catholic Church.

I'm glad you stayed, believe it or not. Smiley Fwiw, if I could add something that I'm sure pretty much everyone here already knows (but sometimes it's good to hear it again)... this stuff is nothing new, even in the 4th century (when the Church should have been triumphant) there were lots of issues. Gregory The Theologian complained that most priests were in the clergy for the wrong reasons. John Chrysostom complained that most bishops were not up to the job intellectually (and was later condemned and exiled, partly due to the activity of a person who would later be glorified as an Orthodox saint). Basil fought the political maneuver to divide his ecclesiastical territory, and had people consecrated even when they didn't really want to be. The Alexandrian Patriarchate tried to interfere with other sees, and sometimes succeeded. There were 2 (sometimes 3) people vying for the Antiochian bishopric, each of them supported by multiple saints. Anyway... things aren't that chaotic these days, right? Smiley
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« Reply #27 on: January 09, 2007, 12:55:10 PM »

Thomas,

Looks like they took the thread down.  One of ours deacons in Kansas posted he was witness to Fr. John's reception.

Fr. Deacon Lance
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« Reply #28 on: January 09, 2007, 01:17:01 PM »

Very sad.   I hope he's aware of what he's getting into.
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« Reply #29 on: January 09, 2007, 04:30:18 PM »

It is not a tragedy to return to full communion with the Catholic Church.  It is joy.
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« Reply #30 on: January 09, 2007, 04:58:34 PM »

Leaving the church is not a cause for joy.
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« Reply #31 on: January 09, 2007, 05:08:41 PM »

It is not a tragedy to return to full communion with the Catholic Church.  It is joy.

We are the Catholic Church while you are not.  Do not come on our Orthodox Catholic forum and spout propaganda against the true Church.

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« Reply #32 on: January 09, 2007, 05:12:50 PM »

Isn't this "We are and you aren't!" type of exchange pointless and somewhat beneath all involved? Obviously, for those of us who are Catholics, Fr. Mack is coming home, for those of us who are Orthodox, he is either heading over to the sister's house or is abandoning the family altogether. Different perspectives. Hardly surprising.
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« Reply #33 on: January 09, 2007, 05:22:21 PM »

Isn't this "We are and you aren't!" type of exchange pointless and somewhat beneath all involved? Obviously, for those of us who are Catholics, Fr. Mack is coming home, for those of us who are Orthodox, he is either heading over to the sister's house or is abandoning the family altogether. Different perspectives. Hardly surprising.

The fact remains that this is an Orthodox forum, and Bruno should not be posting things like this here.  There are any number of Roman Catholic fora where people can express their opinion about the joy of being in communion with Rome.  Orthodox need a place where they can feel safe to be themselves, to feel that they are at home. 
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« Reply #34 on: January 09, 2007, 05:26:58 PM »

I don't have anything against Catholics.  It just isn't good manners to post that in this thread.

To us it isn't a happy occassion.  The church in the big sense has lost a priest, and the church as in an individual parish has lost their leader and spiritual father.  I bet a lot of people are upset.  It's not a joyful event for us or them.
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« Reply #35 on: January 09, 2007, 05:34:32 PM »

I don't have anything against Catholics.  It just isn't good manners to post that in this thread.

To us it isn't a happy occassion.  The church in the big sense has lost a priest, and the church as in an individual parish has lost their leader and spiritual father.  I bet a lot of people are upset.  It's not a joyful event for us or them.

And the fact that some view those losses as a cause for joy is concerning, as well.
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« Reply #36 on: January 09, 2007, 08:50:39 PM »

Dear Mo:

I am very sorry about the difficulty and your fellow parishioners are going through. This too, shall pass in time. I have seen similar crises, unfortunately, more than once.

That being said, I believe that it is important to look at such situations factually and rationally; especially since there are such raw emotions involved. There are several points in your posting that I would like to address one at a time. You need not respond; but just think about them.

First, you stated that "the Antiochians" were carrying out a vendetta. That is a very broad statement that could be seen as an accusation against every member of the Antiochian Archdiocese. I belong to a parish in Oklahoma. I can guarantee you that I'm the only member of my parish who would even know who Fr Mack is;  and I've only seen him once from a distance !  Why would any of us have a reason for a "vendetta" ?  if you are going to make accusations, then you need to be more specific about who  you are accusing.

Second:  You stated that Fr John "resigned" from being your parish priest. You are new to the church and perhaps you don't understand the church's protocol. If a priest is to resign, he would submit that resignation to his bishop, not his parish council. What is more. a resignation is a *voluntary* act. Unless someone was holding a gun to his head, while he resigned; how can you say "he was forced out" ?  If the bishop wanted to remove Fr. John from your parish, the bishop would have sent you a letter stating so. Without a formal letter from your bishop removing Fr John from your parish, there is no reason that he was forced to leave. Even if he was removed from your parish, he would be free to serve in another parish as an Orthodox priest. Nowhere is there any indication that he was suspended or removed form the priesthood. How then, can you imply that he was *forced* to convert to the Eastern Rite Roman Catholic Church ?  The story just doen't make common sense.

Third: Please explain your accusation that the people in Wichita carried out a "vendetta" against Fr. John. I know those people. A "vendetta 'is so far out of their character as to be laughable, if it wasn't such an ugly thing to say. Bishop Basil is one of the most beloved bishops in America. He is known by all for his kindness, his love for all, his care for his flock and his priests. It is unusual for a priest to be given a canonical relaese to another jurisdicition. It is unheard of for a parish to be given such a release. The fact that Fr John and your entire parish *were * given such a release, hardly speaks to a "vendetta" .  Besides, if the Antiochains wanted to carry out a "vendetta" it would have been much easier to do so when Fr John was an Antiochian priest. The facts just don't add up.

Fourth: In a second posting you implied that someone in the Antiochian Archdiocese "paid" Metroplitan Herman to "force Fr John out". That is a pretty serious allegation to write publicly, and should not be made without factual evidence. You could be sued for slander !  Even so, the story doesnt make sense. The Orthodox Church in America is going through a serious financial scandal. It is public knowledge that the OCA's finances are under investigation by the FBI and the IRS. Do you really think that someone would be crazy enough to give or accept a bribe under the government's nose. Really !

I ask you to think these things over carefully and dispassionately. Often, there are circumstance in play that we are unaware of. Please keep an open mind.

About the church. I would like to ask you one thing. Did you join the church out of love for Fr John or love for Jesus Christ ? Fr John may be gone; but the Lord Jesus Christ is still there. Who are you avoiding by staying away ?   Think it over.  Best wishes.  You wil be in our prayers.

Francis Frost
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« Reply #37 on: January 10, 2007, 12:30:07 AM »

But, we still have not answered the question, why did Fr. John join the Ruthenian Catholics? Let's think about this.

1) He didn't do it for the money. He already left a good "gig" with the Antiochians. So. The Ruthenians don't pay well. If he needed money, he'd go back to the Antiochians or join the Greeks.

2) He didn't return to his tradition. He was Episcoplian, not Catholic before. So he wasn't returning home.

3) He didn't do it because he felt the OCA-Bulgarians weren't "traditional enough". As a parish in the rather small and obscure Bulgarian diocese of the OCA, he was on this own to do as he pleases. In other words, he wouldn't have been run out of town for wearing a cassock or having people follow a traditional orthodox life.

3) As further confirmation that "conservatism" and "traditionalism" wasn't an issue, he didn't join the ROCOR or other "traditionalist" groups such as the ROCA or one of the several Old Calendarist Greeks.

4) Catholics tend to do their due diligence and just don't take "anybody." So it couldn't be because there was some serious scandal, like adultery or theft etc.

5) Therefore, either he is a crazy man who has convinced the Eastern Rite Catholics he is "okay" or, more likely, he had a practical and theological reason to join the Eastern Catholics.

So, as an Orthodox, what were his reasons to convert to Eastern Catholicism?

Basil
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« Reply #38 on: January 10, 2007, 03:54:53 AM »

Greetings!


Everyone here is trying to solve a mystery.  If you need an answer then you should contact Fr. John Mack.  I am not sure why always we have to point a finger on the Antiochian church or other jurisdiction. Use your logic!
 
First, as an Antiochian Sub-Deacon, I have not heard from the Archdiocesan office that Fr. John Mack was suspended or excommunicated. Usually, the Word magazine publishes every month in the Archdiocesan office section if a clergyman has been Elevated, suspended or excommunicated.
Second, if I am truly Orthodox from my heart why should I leave to another religion!???
Third, I am sure that Fr. John has his reasons and they are very personal to him and his family.
Fourth, I am not sure why would the Antiochians pay the OCA $$$
Fifth, I trust Bp. BASIL and his zeal to Orthodoxy. He is loved by all the Orthodox here and there.

We should pray not judge!

In Christ,

Sub-Deacon, Karim El-Far.
« Last Edit: January 10, 2007, 03:57:17 AM by kelfar » Logged
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« Reply #39 on: January 10, 2007, 09:16:31 AM »

Kel-Far

You believe everything your read?  Did you ever hear of disinformation or no information? You think repressive governments are the only domain of back door politics?
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« Reply #40 on: January 10, 2007, 09:18:25 AM »

Bruno,

Please remember we are guests at an Orthodox forum.  If this were a Catholic forum would you appreciate an Orthodox gloating about the conversion of a Catholic priest to Orthodoxy?  Would you not be distressed that a priest left your Church?

My apologies to my Orthodox brothers and sisters for Bruno's behavior.

Fr. Deacon Lance
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« Reply #41 on: January 10, 2007, 11:38:13 AM »

Bruno,

Please remember we are guests at an Orthodox forum.  If this were a Catholic forum would you appreciate an Orthodox gloating about the conversion of a Catholic priest to Orthodoxy?  Would you not be distressed that a priest left your Church?

My apologies to my Orthodox brothers and sisters for Bruno's behavior.

Fr. Deacon Lance

Father Lance, you are a true Christian gentleman.
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« Reply #42 on: January 10, 2007, 12:03:23 PM »

Therefore, either he is a crazy man who has convinced the Eastern Rite Catholics he is "okay" or, more likely, he had a practical and theological reason to join the Eastern Catholics.

I would be willing to bet he changed his opinion about the Papacy.  I found a thread in another fora about his conversion and it said the following

"Fr. Mack was in multiple evangelical/reformed protestant denominations before becoming Antiochian Orthodox in 1994. At that time, he was in the Reformed Episcopal Church, not with the Evangelical Orthodox (who became Antiochian Orthodox in 1987). After serving in three separate Antiochian Orthodox missions from 1994 to 2002, he entered the OCA."

It seems like he's looking for something.  We'll see if he finds it.  The same thread confirmed (by a witness) that he was received in September and recently granted his faculties as a priest in the Byzantine Catholic Eparchy of Van Nuys.  I would imagine they are looking for a place to put him now.  It would certainly be interesting if it was near his old parish.

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« Reply #43 on: January 10, 2007, 12:07:09 PM »

It would seem that Kelfar has the most reasonable suggestion: that of trying to ask Fr. John Mack what happened.  This would seem to be much better then imagining conspiracies and other kinds of skullduggery without much or any real data or fact.  It could be that he does not wish to speak of it,  or that it could be thought not most people's business to inquire.  I don't know, but it's just a thought.

Whatever the cause, it would not seem that it was a casual or easy thing.  There are many people's lives affected and much distress, I would think. I say this having been in the situation of  Episcopal priests change their Church affiliation and reading the, yes sometimes, gloating and smug self-praise by those belonging to the body they joined along with patronizing or uncharitable remarks about the Episcopal/Anglican Church.

Ebor
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« Reply #44 on: January 10, 2007, 12:12:06 PM »

It would certainly be interesting if it was near his old parish.

"Interesting" as in the old curse of "may you live in interesting times"?  Undecided  It would be a painful and awkward "interesting" to say the least.  The people in the former Church are probably feeling very hurt and betrayed and angry.  It would not be a good idea at all for the new Church to send a recent clerical convert back to the same area.

I am speaking from some experiences, both casual and personal. 

Ebor
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