Author Topic: Let's Get Real About Priestly "Indiscretions" by Fr. Aris Metrakos  (Read 10482 times)

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Offline Tamara

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Let's Get Real About Priestly "Indiscretions" by Fr. Aris Metrakos
« on: September 22, 2007, 12:56:50 AM »
Let's Get Real About Priestly "Indiscretions"

http://www.orthodoxytoday.org/articles7/MetrakosSexualSin.php

Fr. Aris Metrakos

Aren't we disgusted with the shocking number of high-profile cases of priests engaged in pedophilia, homosexual activity, and adultery? Some excuse this behavior with the platitudes "a sin is a sin" and "we are all sinners." Uh, excuse me?

Persons who say "a sin is a sin" don't live in the real world. My wife is more than forgiving when I snap at her for no reason. I don't think that she would be that charitable if I were to come home smelling of another woman's perfume.

I concede that we are all sinners, but clergy relinquish the right to even think of engaging in certain classes of sin. When a priest sins sexually he damages the Church the way that crooked judges, lawyers, and police officers damage the legal system. How can anyone not understand this?

Looking back on my seminary years, nobody ever told me that I shouldn't put my hand on an altar boy's private parts, leave my wife for a man, or go to bed with someone other than my wife. Come to think of it, they didn't tell me not to eat yellow snow, either. The faculty assumed that we all knew better.

There's a saying about the word assume. If you don't know it, ask somebody who served in the military to explain it to you. So, rather than assume that seminarians and young clergy know right from wrong with regard to sexual matters, here are some essential rules of behavior for those preparing for and serving in the priesthood:

If you are delaying ordination until you find Miss Right, then be willing to wait for the appropriate woman to come into your life. Rushing into marriage with the wrong person is like voluntarily infecting yourself with an incurable illness. Ask any married person -- our spouse will either make us or break us. The priesthood poses enough difficulties without having the millstone of the wrong wife around your neck.

If you have sexual fantasies about anything other than a woman, get help. If these ideations persist, choose a different career.

If your heterosexual fantasies occupy as much of your time as they did when you were 15, see an experienced confessor. If you are married and have persistent sexual fantasies about anyone other than your wife, again, see the confessor.

If your marriage needs fixing, then go to counseling. If counseling doesn't work, you have three options: separation, divorce, or "gutting it out." Finding a mistress is not an acceptable alternative.

Appearances matter. Don't put yourself in situations where your integrity can be challenged. Don't stay in the same room with children when no other adults are present. Don't go swimming with anybody other than other clergy, and certainly not with minors. Don't meet repeatedly for one-on-one counseling sessions with the same person outside of normal office hours. Don't meet with a long-time female friend in a hotel room when you are together at a conference. Don't give rides to a woman or a child unless other people are in the car.

It's not too late until it's too late. If you are counseling a woman and you are attracted to her, send her to another priest. If you are about to walk into the bedroom of a person who is not your wife, walk away. If you are kissing someone other than your wife -- stop, and get on the phone with a priest-friend whom you can trust.
All sexual misconduct is unjustifiable. Some child abusers excuse themselves because they were victims of abuse. Yet plenty of adult survivors of molestations go on to have normal sex lives. Get help. And before you put your hand where it doesn't belong, remember how bad it felt when it was done to you.

And all sexual misconduct deserves the maximum penalty. When persons on the bench, in the bar, or with a badge undermine the legal system they get locked up for a long time; they are held to a higher standard. Priests who are pedophiles, homosexual predators, and adulterers need to be defrocked -- not only to send a message but to protect the Church and her members. Some of them need jail time too.

And why give a wolf in shepherd's clothing a second chance to ravage the flock? Maybe an adulterous pastor who had one occasion of adultery could be given a second -- and last -- chance, but only after plenty of counseling and a transfer to the other side of the continent. The rest need to be removed.

The second century priest-martyr Haralambos was dragged by his beard through the streets because he refused to deny Christ. In the 21st century, clerics drag the good name of the priesthood and the Church through the tabloids and the evening news. Sexual sin among the clergy must stop.


Rev. Aris P. Metrakos is the pastor of Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Columbia, South Carolina. He is frequent retreat leader and speaker for both teens and adults. Prior to attending seminary, Fr. Aris was an aviator for the US Navy. He travels annually to Romania to help the Romanian Orthodox Church establish ministries for Romanian youth. You can contact Fr. Aris at FrMetrakos@orthodoxytoday.org.

Offline Tamara

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Re: Let's Get Real About Priestly "Indiscretions" by Fr. Aris Metrakos
« Reply #1 on: September 22, 2007, 01:11:53 AM »
Axios! Mustahek! He is worthy! Thank God for priests like Fr. Aris Metrakos!

Offline Αριστοκλής

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Re: Let's Get Real About Priestly "Indiscretions" by Fr. Aris Metrakos
« Reply #2 on: September 22, 2007, 01:29:48 AM »
Why stop with the clergy alone?
"Religion is a neurobiological illness and Orthodoxy is its cure." - Fr. John S. Romanides

Offline Tamara

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Re: Let's Get Real About Priestly "Indiscretions" by Fr. Aris Metrakos
« Reply #3 on: September 22, 2007, 01:33:17 AM »
Why stop with the clergy alone?

Demetri,

Laity cannot be defrocked...but they can be excommunicated. Fr. Aris hits the nail on the head when he writes:

"I concede that we are all sinners, but clergy relinquish the right to even think of engaging in certain classes of sin. When a priest sins sexually he damages the Church the way that crooked judges, lawyers, and police officers damage the legal system. How can anyone not understand this?"

Offline Αριστοκλής

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Re: Let's Get Real About Priestly "Indiscretions" by Fr. Aris Metrakos
« Reply #4 on: September 22, 2007, 01:43:23 AM »
OK,


"Why stop with the clergy alone"?
"Religion is a neurobiological illness and Orthodoxy is its cure." - Fr. John S. Romanides

Offline prodromas

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Re: Let's Get Real About Priestly "Indiscretions" by Fr. Aris Metrakos
« Reply #5 on: September 22, 2007, 01:58:45 AM »
OK,


"Why stop with the clergy alone"?

Αριστοκλής I agree with what your saying but clergy purposely put themselves in a position of Authority and responsibility and they should be more aware of the choice that they are going to make if they take on the priesthood. But on the other side I completely agree everyone would do themselves good to read this regardless of your role in the church.
The sins I don't commit are largely due to the weakness of my limbs.

1915-1923 Հայոց Ցեղասպանութիւն ,never again,
ܩܛܠܐ ܕܥܡܐ ܐܬܘܪܝܐ 1920-1914, never again,
השואה  1933-1945, never again,
(1914-1923) Ελληνική Γενοκτονία, never again

Offline GiC

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Re: Let's Get Real About Priestly "Indiscretions" by Fr. Aris Metrakos
« Reply #6 on: September 22, 2007, 02:43:19 AM »
Well, this Fr. Aris guy seems to be getting a bit emotional...maybe he needs to step back from the issue for a while.

On second though, perhaps he should step away entirely and leave the matter of who to ordain, who to transfer, and who to defrock to, I don't know, maybe the episcopacy? ::)
"The liberties of people never were, nor ever will be, secure, when the transactions of their rulers may be concealed from them." -- Patrick Henry

Offline PeterTheAleut

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Re: Let's Get Real About Priestly "Indiscretions" by Fr. Aris Metrakos
« Reply #7 on: September 22, 2007, 03:41:34 AM »
Well, this Fr. Aris guy seems to be getting a bit emotional...maybe he needs to step back from the issue for a while.

On second though, perhaps he should step away entirely and leave the matter of who to ordain, who to transfer, and who to defrock to, I don't know, maybe the episcopacy? ::)
It's not OK for Fr. Aris to voice his clerical opinion on this important matter?  It's not his business to give instruction to a specific bishop, but it is well within the authority of his office to speak of what's good for the faithful of the Orthodox Church.

Maybe someone here should leave matters of the priesthood to, I don't know, maybe the priests? ::)
Not all who wander are lost.

Offline Αριστοκλής

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Re: Let's Get Real About Priestly "Indiscretions" by Fr. Aris Metrakos
« Reply #8 on: September 22, 2007, 08:14:27 AM »
To the bishops.
"Religion is a neurobiological illness and Orthodoxy is its cure." - Fr. John S. Romanides

Offline GiC

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Re: Let's Get Real About Priestly "Indiscretions" by Fr. Aris Metrakos
« Reply #9 on: September 22, 2007, 11:24:22 AM »
It's not OK for Fr. Aris to voice his clerical opinion on this important matter?  It's not his business to give instruction to a specific bishop, but it is well within the authority of his office to speak of what's good for the faithful of the Orthodox Church.

Maybe someone here should leave matters of the priesthood to, I don't know, maybe the priests? ::)

This tirade is a direct assault on those who actually make the decisions of which he writes, the bishops. Who, I might add, are often capable of addressing the issue far more objectively and with far less emotional involvement than this priest.

As Fr. Aris said, priests are held to a higher standard, so when he makes an attack on the episcopacy by, in essence, condemning their pastoral decisions of economy, he should not expect impunity. If a bishop rules in mercy instead of condemnation, what right does anyone have to speak against this?
"The liberties of people never were, nor ever will be, secure, when the transactions of their rulers may be concealed from them." -- Patrick Henry

Offline Christodoulos

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Re: Let's Get Real About Priestly "Indiscretions" by Fr. Aris Metrakos
« Reply #10 on: September 22, 2007, 11:49:29 AM »
This tirade is a direct assault on those who actually make the decisions of which he writes, the bishops. Who, I might add, are often capable of addressing the issue far more objectively and with far less emotional involvement than this priest.

As Fr. Aris said, priests are held to a higher standard, so when he makes an attack on the episcopacy by, in essence, condemning their pastoral decisions of economy, he should not expect impunity. If a bishop rules in mercy instead of condemnation, what right does anyone have to speak against this?

God bless!+

We all are called to guard and keep pure the Faith! So Father Aris is right.
When we see a brother sinning we should not be quiet says St. Basil the great in his Rules, because this is Ignorance tarned as mercy!

And what " higher" is a priest than a lay brother. Like I have written in an other post some Bishops today are not guiding their flock!

When a Priest sins the whole parish suffers( the whole church)and all members are called to stop it otherwise they are also guilty.
The Bishops in orthodoxy are not infallible!

In CHRIST

Offline GiC

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Re: Let's Get Real About Priestly "Indiscretions" by Fr. Aris Metrakos
« Reply #11 on: September 22, 2007, 11:58:06 AM »
God bless!+

We all are called to guard and keep pure the Faith! So Father Aris is right.
When we see a brother sinning we should not be quiet says St. Basil the great in his Rules, because this is Ignorance tarned as mercy!

And what " higher" is a priest than a lay brother. Like I have written in an other post some Bishops today are not guiding their flock!

When a Priest sins the whole parish suffers( the whole church)and all members are called to stop it otherwise they are also guilty.
The Bishops in orthodoxy are not infallible!

In CHRIST

The Bishops may not be infallible, but they are authoritative in these matters. Those who would condemn or criticize a bishop for showing mercy are hypocrites, they are pharisees, pretenders to the faith; perhaps they should remove the plank which is pride from their own eyes before they seek to remove the speck of mercy from their brother's, no from their father's, eye.
"The liberties of people never were, nor ever will be, secure, when the transactions of their rulers may be concealed from them." -- Patrick Henry

Offline Christodoulos

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Re: Let's Get Real About Priestly "Indiscretions" by Fr. Aris Metrakos
« Reply #12 on: September 22, 2007, 12:23:44 PM »
The Bishops may not be infallible, but they are authoritative in these matters. Those who would condemn or criticize a bishop for showing mercy are hypocrites, they are pharisees, pretenders to the faith; perhaps they should remove the plank which is pride from their own eyes before they seek to remove the speck of mercy from their brother's, no from their father's, eye.

God bless!+

It has nothing to do with mercy to accept the betraying of faith ! This mercy sets himself and others under condemnation ( I think this is not mercy) It is like to be quiet when you see your child burning his hand at the cooker would you call this mercy???

A russian Priest asks:
Whenever I read discussions regarding [altar] curtains, pews, organs, vigil services, clergy appearance, etc. my mind involuntarily keeps asking the question, "Where were the Bishops?"

It is the Bishop's responsibility to insure that good order and Orthopraxis is maintained in the parishes under his direction. When the first churches with pews started to be built in this country, where were the Bishops? I imagine that all of these churches were duly consecrated by a Bishop, and had episcopal services at least once a year. In theory, the Bishop should have been asked to approve the building plans before construction, as well. If the Bishop saw pews in the building plans, why didn't he say, "Sorry, no pews."? Or if he came into a newly-built church that had installed pews, why didn't he say, "The pews go, or I will not consecrate this church."? The Bishop's responsibility at that time would have been to explain to the congregation that pews were outside of the tradition of the church. He should have brought the issue up at the next Bishops' council meeting and had an official statement issued that pews were not acceptable. Why didn't those Bishops do this?

The same goes with curtains and royal doors. If a Bishop came to visit a parish and noticed that there was no curtain, it was his responsibility to instruct the Priest and the congregation that a curtain was an absolute requirement and insist that it be installed or punitive measures would be taken. This is just simple church order and discipline.

If the first time a Bishop walked into a church that had installed an organ and said, "Sorry, no organ," we wouldn't have these problems today. If the first time a Bishop saw a Priest wearing a clergy shirt or a suit jacket said, "Put on your rassa—you are never to appear in front of your parishioners without it," we wouldn't have this issue being a problem today.

It is the Bishop's direct responsibility to ensure good order in his diocese. The Bishop, finding out that a Priest doesn't serve vigil services on Saturday night, has the responsibility of correcting him. Bishops doing their jobs meet with their Priests, visit parishes, issue directives, and maintain good order.

The problem in this country is that the Bishops of most jurisdictions failed  to do their jobs—they allowed innovations to creep in and did nothing about it.

So, let's not blame these things on the influence of American culture—every one of these departures from established Orthodox tradition was allowed either overtly or tacitly by Bishops—who knew these things were wrong and did nothing to correct them


He is speaking of Bishops in the states but it can be the same in other countries!

Elder Gervasios:

The Bishops are the guardians of the sacred deposit of the Canons. Like other Lions and eagles -eagles and lions adorn the Bishops throne -they defend and attack, they inspire and raise up their
faithful, battling for the keeping and implemenation of the canons and tradition. WOE to the generation of those Christians, whose Bishops neglected or ceased struggling for this battle above all!

In CHRIST



Offline GiC

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Re: Let's Get Real About Priestly "Indiscretions" by Fr. Aris Metrakos
« Reply #13 on: September 22, 2007, 12:53:16 PM »
It has nothing to do with mercy to accept the betraying of faith ! This mercy sets himself and others under condemnation ( I think this is not mercy) It is like to be quiet when you see your child burning his hand at the cooker would you call this mercy???

Of course, the issues at hand a pastoral decisions of the Bishops of the Church, not dogma. The very premise of your argument is flawed.

And let's not make this yet ANOTHER discussion about pews and organs. ::)
« Last Edit: September 22, 2007, 12:54:22 PM by greekischristian »
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Offline pensateomnia

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Re: Let's Get Real About Priestly "Indiscretions" by Fr. Aris Metrakos
« Reply #14 on: September 22, 2007, 01:26:18 PM »
Of course, the issues at hand a pastoral decisions of the Bishops of the Church, not dogma.

I didn't see anything in Fr. Aris' article that instructed any hierarch to do anything. His article seemed to be addressed (1) to men thinking about pursuing ordination and (2) his fellow clergymen. Even the latter part of the article contained only general statements about disciplinary actions -- which, by the way, do fall within the strictly defined canonical authority of the priesthood, since the Spiritual Court of First Instance includes members of the presbytery.

At any rate, matters of authority are secondary to the real issue, i.e. the serious nature of clerical sexual misconduct.
But for I am a man not textueel I wol noght telle of textes neuer a deel. (Chaucer, The Manciple's Tale, 1.131)

Offline GiC

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Re: Let's Get Real About Priestly "Indiscretions" by Fr. Aris Metrakos
« Reply #15 on: September 22, 2007, 02:01:37 PM »
I didn't see anything in Fr. Aris' article that instructed any hierarch to do anything. His article seemed to be addressed (1) to men thinking about pursuing ordination and (2) his fellow clergymen. Even the latter part of the article contained only general statements about disciplinary actions -- which, by the way, do fall within the strictly defined canonical authority of the priesthood, since the Spiritual Court of First Instance includes members of the presbytery.

At any rate, matters of authority are secondary to the real issue, i.e. the serious nature of clerical sexual misconduct.

I do not believe that matters of authority are secondary, but rather corollary to the primary issue, which is the right of a bishop to use discretion and economy in the specific applications of canonical principals.
"The liberties of people never were, nor ever will be, secure, when the transactions of their rulers may be concealed from them." -- Patrick Henry

Offline Christodoulos

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Re: Let's Get Real About Priestly "Indiscretions" by Fr. Aris Metrakos
« Reply #16 on: September 22, 2007, 04:07:02 PM »
Of course, the issues at hand a pastoral decisions of the Bishops of the Church, not dogma. The very premise of your argument is flawed.

And let's not make this yet ANOTHER discussion about pews and organs. ::)

God bless!+

Please forgive me but it makes not difference if you are guilty of fornication or a heresy in both cases the canons sets you under anathema! ( In the contrary heresy after repenting from it is cured immediatly instead fornication usually takes a long time of recovery ) :-\

I think we haved discussed enouph that faith and tradition are the same! Every Bishop promises at his election to hold strict the canons! ???

And I think it is important because the canons usually want to protect from such sins. This is the reason the canons want that priest set themselfes aside from the secular world (trough rassa beards....that they should not go to bars...)
I think it is not possible to live in celibathy when one seperates not from the normal way of living! It was always hard but much more in our times were everywhere are temptations and sinful behavier.
This is also the problem of the catholic priests, they want to live in celibaty but do all that usual people doing!
When you want to live in celibathy one must strict fast, pray, stay away from luxus and wealthy and comfortable life because otherwise its not possible! Instead of life pure they will destroy themselfes and others ( but not because they are perverts but because they are humans and all humans have sexual desire)! :'(

Please pray for me!

In CHRIST





Offline PeterTheAleut

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Re: Let's Get Real About Priestly "Indiscretions" by Fr. Aris Metrakos
« Reply #17 on: September 22, 2007, 04:21:05 PM »
Please forgive me but it makes not difference if you are guilty of fornication or a heresy in both cases the canons sets you under anathema! ( In the contrary heresy after repenting from it is cured immediatly instead fornication usually takes a long time of recovery ) :-\
Really?  Which canons?  (Not that both fornication and heresy separate the guilty from the life of the Holy Mysteries, for they most certainly do, but that fornication draws the same penalty of anathema as heresy--this is news to me.)

Quote
I think we haved discussed enouph that faith and tradition are the same!
Really?  You've certainly preached this enough, but I don't think we've discussed this enough, if by discussion we mean actual dialogue and debate.

Quote
Every Bishop promises at his election to hold strict the canons! ???
Really?  And how do you know what a bishop promises at his election?  What of oikonomia, or the relaxation of the canons in specific situations out of pastoral concern for one's salvation?  This, too, is part of Holy Tradition.

Quote
This is also the problem of the catholic priests, they want to live in celibaty but do all that usual people doing!
When you want to live in celibathy one must strict fast, pray, stay away from luxus and wealthy and comfortable life because otherwise its not possible! Instead of life pure they will destroy themselfes and others ( but not because they are perverts but because they are humans and all humans have sexual desire)! :'(
Honestly, I need to join my voice with lubeltri on this issue and ask why you need to finish so many of your posts with pot shots against the Roman Catholics.
« Last Edit: September 22, 2007, 04:51:38 PM by PeterTheAleut »
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Offline pensateomnia

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Re: Let's Get Real About Priestly "Indiscretions" by Fr. Aris Metrakos
« Reply #18 on: September 22, 2007, 05:12:27 PM »
Really?  And how do you know what a bishop promises at his election? 

You could look in the service books to see a sample text of the Mega Minima, if you want to see what most Bishops promise during the formal acceptance of their election. I think our friend Christodoulos was actually thinking about the Profession of Faith during the services leading up to the Hierarchal ordination.

http://www.goarch.org/en/chapel/liturgical_texts/ordination-bishop-gr.asp

But for I am a man not textueel I wol noght telle of textes neuer a deel. (Chaucer, The Manciple's Tale, 1.131)

Offline drewmeister2

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Re: Let's Get Real About Priestly "Indiscretions" by Fr. Aris Metrakos
« Reply #19 on: September 22, 2007, 05:13:42 PM »

Really?  You've certainly preached this enough, but I don't think we've discussed this enough, if by discussion we mean actual dialogue and debate.


Not to interrupt :), but this might be a good article for everyone to read.  It is titled "The Refined Life of Observant Orthodox Traditionalism", written by Abp. Chrysostom of Etna of the Synod in Resistance. http://www.synodinresistance.org/Publications_en/OT_1_2007.pdf  (it starts on page 22)

It seemed like a pretty good article from what I read of it.  Take a minute to look at it, I know it is written by an Old Calendarist but sometimes we get some things right ;).  
« Last Edit: September 22, 2007, 05:21:29 PM by drewmeister2 »
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Offline PeterTheAleut

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Re: Let's Get Real About Priestly "Indiscretions" by Fr. Aris Metrakos
« Reply #20 on: September 22, 2007, 05:16:45 PM »
http://www.synodinresistance.org/Publications_en/OT_1_2007.pdf (it starts on page 22)
Link no work...

That's funny.  The link works in my quote.  Could it be a browser issue?
« Last Edit: September 22, 2007, 05:18:23 PM by PeterTheAleut »
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Offline drewmeister2

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Re: Let's Get Real About Priestly "Indiscretions" by Fr. Aris Metrakos
« Reply #21 on: September 22, 2007, 05:21:45 PM »
Link no work...

That's funny.  The link works in my quote.  Could it be a browser issue?

Thanks for telling me, I fixed it :).

Anyways, the article has good stuff in it IMO for both Old Calendarists and New Calendarists :).
« Last Edit: September 22, 2007, 05:22:47 PM by drewmeister2 »
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Offline PeterTheAleut

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Re: Let's Get Real About Priestly "Indiscretions" by Fr. Aris Metrakos
« Reply #22 on: September 22, 2007, 05:27:11 PM »
Thanks for telling me, I fixed it :).
Yep.  It works now.  Thank you. :)
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Offline drewmeister2

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Re: Let's Get Real About Priestly "Indiscretions" by Fr. Aris Metrakos
« Reply #23 on: September 22, 2007, 05:50:04 PM »
If I may add my own thoughts to all this too.

I think there needs to be a balance between using economia and using akrevia (strictness).  It is good to use economia in some cases but you can also use too much of it, just like you can use too much akrevia.  For example, there is a Genuine Orthodox Church under Met. Pavlos in Detroit that has pews, and many of the other GOC parishes have chairs (not only along the wall).  This would be a good case of economia (although personally I prefer the beautiful Greek carved chairs at the Cathedral in New York over pews haha who wouldn't).  However, economia can go to the other extreme, to the point where you aren't even living an Orthodox lifestyle because everything from A-Z has been economized.  However, the other extreme is akrevia, never using economia, which can lead to some people giving up and leaving the Church altogether.  Orthodoxy is about finding a balance, and I believe it applies here as well.     

I think the article I posted does a good job in saying how Orthodox practice is important but it is also important to apply it to the modern world. 
« Last Edit: September 22, 2007, 05:57:08 PM by drewmeister2 »
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Offline Christodoulos

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Re: Let's Get Real About Priestly "Indiscretions" by Fr. Aris Metrakos
« Reply #24 on: September 22, 2007, 07:53:03 PM »
Really?  Which canons?  (Not that both fornication and heresy separate the guilty from the life of the Holy Mysteries, for they most certainly do, but that fornication draws the same penalty of anathema as heresy--this is news to me.)
Really?  You've certainly preached this enough, but I don't think we've discussed this enough, if by discussion we mean actual dialogue and debate.
Really?  And how do you know what a bishop promises at his election?  What of oikonomia, or the relaxation of the canons in specific situations out of pastoral concern for one's salvation?  This, too, is part of Holy Tradition.
Honestly, I need to join my voice with lubeltri on this issue and ask why you need to finish so many of your posts with pot shots against the Roman Catholics.

God bless!+

Yes what I want to say was that fornication/adultery after confessing and repenting needs time to recovery (like an Illness) for example St. Basil the great:58th canon: For those you have commited adultery is excluded from the Mysteries for 15 years. 4 years weeoing,5 years listening,4 years kneel,and 2 years without receiving communion stand !

But when someone repents and returns from a heresy he can immediatly receive the mysteries!

What Bishops have to promisis you can read from the service text annd:

As it is known, every Bishop during his ordination makes an archpriestly oath which in part runs as follows: "I promise to observe the Canons of the Holy Apostles and of the Seven General Councils, and of the pious Local Councils, which have been legitimized for the preservation of rightful behests, and all Canons and Holy Statute inasmuch as they have been made up at various times by those who truly uphold the Holy Eastern Orthodox faith, and to firmly preserve all of these inviolate to the end of my life and with this my promise I give witness that all things that they have accepted I also accept and whatsoever things they have rejected I also reject. ... If I should transgress any of my promises given here, or to break any of the Divine regulations ... Then let me be immediately deprived of my office and of my authority, even without being denounced or accused, and let me be devoid of the heavenly gift, which was granted me by the Holy Spirit during ordination through the laying on of hands".
See  Bishop Nikodim, "Pravila Pravoslavnoi Tserkvi s tolkovaniiami" (The Rules of Orthodox Church with Explanations), vols. 1-2, St. Petersburg Theological Academy, 1911-1912.

And not only Bishops when I remember right when someone converted in our parish and I had to help
he also had to promis to follow the teaching of the church ,the canons and dogmas (but I do not remember exactly)

I did not want to end my post with a shot, in the contrary I apologized for the sinful priests!
I only want to write that when we oppress sexual desire and do not transform it with spiritual practice
(fasting, intense prayer,mysteries , ascetic practice.....) we will harm us ( mental illness) or others !
Did not the Apostel Paul wrote about the burning and that it can become dangerous ...

In CHRIST

Please pray for me!




Offline Justinian

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Re: Let's Get Real About Priestly "Indiscretions" by Fr. Aris Metrakos
« Reply #25 on: September 22, 2007, 08:14:16 PM »

If you have sexual fantasies about anything other than a woman, get help. If these ideations persist, choose a different career.


So a celibate male with same sex attraction should choose a different "career" (as if the priesthood was a career), and/or "get help"?  ::)
"All this indignation have I hurled, At the pretending part of the proud world. Who, swollen with selfish vanity devise: false freedoms, holy cheats, and formal lies, Over their fellow slaves to tyrannize." - John Wilmot

Offline GabrieltheCelt

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Re: Let's Get Real About Priestly "Indiscretions" by Fr. Aris Metrakos
« Reply #26 on: September 22, 2007, 08:42:10 PM »
Tamara, thanks for posting this article! It's really uplifting to see priests like this. And don't worry about the flak you're getting from the detractors, they're probably worried about being in his cross-hairs.  ;)
Mabruk to Fr. Aris!

 
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Offline Tamara

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Re: Let's Get Real About Priestly "Indiscretions" by Fr. Aris Metrakos
« Reply #27 on: September 22, 2007, 09:54:59 PM »
Tamara, thanks for posting this article! It's really uplifting to see priests like this. And don't worry about the flak you're getting from the detractors, they're probably worried about being in his cross-hairs.  ;)
Mabruk to Fr. Aris!

 

Don't worry...I am not worried about the flak. Fr.Aris knows this is not some theoretical problem in the Orthodox church.
:o The list of sexual abusers grows by the week:
 http://www.orthodoxreform.org/  (scroll down and the names appear on the left hand side)

One OCA seminarian took his own life in March of 2007 after being abused by a priest at SVOTS.

Below is a great article on this problem.

http://yya.oca.org/TheHub/Articles/TheChurchonCurrentIssues/sexual_abuse.htm 


When The Unspeakable Happens:
Sexual Abuse In God's Family
by Ellen Gvosdev, Ph.D.

It is time for the church family to bring sexual abuses out of the closet, to face this problem, and to move forward rebuilding the shattered image of the family of God when such abuses occur. Overt sexual harassment, sexual assault, rape, molestation, incest all happen in the Orthodox Church.

The perpetrator can be a trusted family friend, a parent or relative, the conscientious parish volunteer, or even one who is ordained. The abusive behavior can be termed "violence against women" when adult females are victims of humiliating or debasing remarks, unwanted and/or threatening behavior, or downright criminal acts. When children are the victims, the sexual abuse perpetrated against them is in the form of pedophilia or incest. Within the church family, acts of abuse or violence are also perpetrated against men, in some instances cleric upon cleric.

In all such cases, these acts of sexual persecution and violence are not "sexual" in nature, but rather stem from issues of power and control. There is a potential for such abuses whenever someone is in position of power over another, or assumes a position of power over another.

The term "violence" is used even if the abuse itself is not physically violent because any such abuse is an attack on the spirit, a violation of the person. All such abuses are unethical, immoral, and spiritually as well as emotionally damaging. Many such behaviors are illegal and/or criminal: overt harassment is against the law; molestation of children is a crime that must be reported to civil authorities; rape is a criminal offense; any sexual relationship between a clergyman and an adult female parishioner is not considered consensual, but tantamount to incest in over 10 states as well as being considered unethical by all major religious judicatories.

While victims can be of any age, physical bearing, or education, women and children who are especially needy emotionally, overly trusting, and unquestioningly obedient to authority are most vulnerable. Perpetrators can be "loving" fathers and husbands, pillars of the church, charismatic clergymen, "humble" monks.

When abuses are suspected or reported.

Some facts for clergy to consider when abuse is suspected, or a victim or victims come forth with reports of abuse:

1) Perpetrators are repeat offenders. Whether the perpetrator is a pedophile or involved in misconduct/abuse with adults, the perpetrator will have many victims. Once
an abuse has occurred, it will occur again either in the same place, or a new place. Hiding the misconduct and removing a perpetrator from the scene does no good. if the victims are children or the abuse violent, it must be reported to civil authorities.

2) Offenders lie, minimize their behavior, deny misconduct, and/or implicate the victim reversing the situation, blaming the victim, If they admit to a wrong-doing, they will act remorseful and even provide proof of their good intentions to never repeat Please be mindful that perpetrators need to receive professional help in order to begin to heal emotionally and psychologically, and some perpetrators may never be cured.

3) Spiritual guidance for both perpetrators and victims must be done in conjunction with professional therapy. In the case of children and female victims, it is essential to use a female spiritual guide/advocate. Do not feel pressured to offer quick forgiveness to perpetrators, but rather include absolution as a condition for proven change (continued therapy, fulfillment of civil punishment, etc.)

4) Especially in the case of offenses committed within the church family, remember that "God", the "God factor", "religion" will be used as part of the offence. Sometimes this takes the form of persuasion using "God", other times the "God factor" becomes almost satanic.

5) Believe the victims. Research and experience show that victims rarely lie about sexual abuse, in the case of children, less than 1%.

6) Clergy must seek out resources for parishioners who are victims of domestic violence, and not try to take the place of professionals trained to deal with such cases. Likewise seek advocacy for victims of clerical sexual misconduct.

A few signs of child abuse include, but are not limited to: the physical, unusual knowledge of things sexual, emotional problems including bedwetting, unfounded fears of persons or places, acting out, boisterous behavior, withdrawn behavior. Reporting child abuse has been called an "ethical mandate" for ministry. (The Center for Prevention of Sexual and Domestic Violence) Failure by professionals (that includes clergymen) to report suspected child abuse is a misdemeanor in most states. Research has shown that pedophiles gravitate to professions and institutions that enable them by giving them access to children. The church, therefore, is not immune.

Protecting against accusations.

What can a bishop or priest do to protect himself against accusations or questionable situations? As a rule of thumb, do not say something to a woman that you would not say to a man. Hugging or kissing a parishioner is all right if it is done to male and female alike and in an equal manner. Do not touch a woman in a way that you would not touch a man. Ask yourself, would I do or say this if my parents (or my bishop or God Himself) were watching me?

In the case of children, do not create situations that may raise concern: for example, don't take overnight trips alone with the altar boys; don't be alone with young children of either sex. It is a good idea to meet with children and/or parishioners of either sex in open, more public facilities. Don't visit a female parishioner if she is home alone. Bring someone with you.

If you are the victim of another cleric, write down the facts, and then speak to a trusted bishop or priest about the facts. You have recently received guidelines from the Holy Synod on appropriate actions to take. Do not attempt to see or speak to the perpetrator. (It is never a good idea for a victim to come face to face with the perpetrator.) Work for justice-making and help for all concerned.


Anyone can be a perpetrator.

This article has been geared more toward the clergy, addressing issues of clerical sexual misconduct; either on how to present personal involvement or how to deal with allegations. The importance of this issue, as well as the sensitive nature of the issue has demanded an overview of the situation. However, in no way should it be construed that only clerics abuse. Any member of the church family, male or female, can be the perpetrator. It is necessary to keep an open mind and adjudicate the issue for the benefit of the church family. We can help our brothers and sisters by education, understanding, and sensitivity to the issues involved.

If there is abuse in your parish, remember that the parish is a family and all members of the family suffer. Be honest regarding the abuse, and seek spiritual guidance for healing the congregation. The unspeakable does happen in the church family, but it does not signal the destruction of faith or spirituality. Handling the situation correctly is paramount to healing.

Dr. Ellen Gvozdev has her Ph.D. in Pastoral Practice with a speciality in clerical sexual abuse and misconduct. For specific information, educational programs, advocacy, position papers and/or lectures on this delicate issue, contact her at St. Nicholas Orthodox Church, Ft. Lauderdale, FL where her husband is pastor of the parish. Taken from the Resource Handbook for Lay Ministries. For more information go to the OCA website.

Offline ozgeorge

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Re: Let's Get Real About Priestly "Indiscretions" by Fr. Aris Metrakos
« Reply #28 on: September 22, 2007, 11:45:16 PM »
I think that one of the major problems with sexual abuse by those in authority over the young is that for a long time, it was denied even when it was discovered. In France in 1858, the French psychiatrist, Briquet, was the first to make the connection between what was then called "hysteria" (dissociative disorder) and childhood trauma. When it emerged that a very large proportion of these childhood traumas involved incest, the shock to 19th century French culture was so great, that people denied that incest could happen in a Catholic country, and decided that the "hysterical" people were reporting false memories. In other words, society went into denial by "discrediting" Briquet.  As a result Child Sexual Assault was allowed to continue unhindered and unimpeded for another 120 years. It was not until the late 70's that the Feminist Movement first brought the plight of Child Sexual Assault victims to the public attention.
Like rape, Sexual Abuse of those one has authority over is not so much about sex, but about power- the power to control others. So the reality is that those in power will never be seen as credible in their attempts to deal with it, no matter how genuine their efforts may be. The only way to deal with it is through transparency, which is exactly what the Gospel commands us to do:

"And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.
 For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret.
 But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light:
 for whatsoever doth make manifest is light.
" (Ephesians 5:11-13)


"You are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hidden." (Matthew 5:14)


The only way to stop terrible abuse done in secret is to shine light on it. The only way the Church can have any credibility that it is fighting abuse of power is by ensuring it can't happen by being a "city on a hill" for all to see. This is good advice, not only for Priests, but for all who are in trusted positions of authority. Don't place yourself in compromising positions. These practices are in fact, nothing new to the Church. The Church did this instinctively for centuries. For one thousand years, the Athonite prohibition of women and beardless men under 18 years of age staying on the Holy Mountain is just one example.

« Last Edit: September 22, 2007, 11:49:07 PM by ozgeorge »
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Offline GiC

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Re: Let's Get Real About Priestly "Indiscretions" by Fr. Aris Metrakos
« Reply #29 on: September 22, 2007, 11:58:34 PM »
Tamara, thanks for posting this article! It's really uplifting to see priests like this. And don't worry about the flak you're getting from the detractors, they're probably worried about being in his cross-hairs.  ;)
Mabruk to Fr. Aris!

Because all of us who sit on the liberal side of the debates on morality ourselves engage in all types of sexual promiscuity and deviance. ::)

Perhaps some of us just see the inherent absurdity of comparing consensual sex between two adults and pedophila (which is done indirectly in the tirade from the OP).

Others, I am sure, see the absurdity of trying to limit the pastoral actions of the bishops based on the personal opinions of a given priest.

And perhaps some of us take issue with both.

In my observation, those most guilty of these things in the Church will publically denounce they very things they engage in...there is much truth to the old observation that homophobes are just repressed homosexuals who hate themselves because of it. What one publically says and privately does are not all ways one and the same, especially in a conservative cultural context such as the Church.

There was a time when I would watch my words and did not publically support these elements of my more libertarian values becaused I worried about the very accusations you seem to be making here. Fortunately, I'm now secure enough in my sexuality that I don't particularly care. So, don't worry, I'm more than willing to call you out when you use fallacies like this in your debate. ;)
"The liberties of people never were, nor ever will be, secure, when the transactions of their rulers may be concealed from them." -- Patrick Henry

Offline GabrieltheCelt

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Re: Let's Get Real About Priestly "Indiscretions" by Fr. Aris Metrakos
« Reply #30 on: September 23, 2007, 01:02:37 AM »

 Forgive me but,

Because all of us who sit on the liberal side of the debates on morality ourselves engage in all types of sexual promiscuity and deviance. ::)
I neither said nor implied that.

Perhaps some of us just see the inherent absurdity of comparing consensual sex between two adults and pedophila (which is done indirectly in the tirade from the OP).
You seem to be missing the whole point here. Orthodox priests are forbidden to be priests and engage in homosexual sex. There is no "consensual".

Others, I am sure, see the absurdity of trying to limit the pastoral actions of the bishops based on the personal opinions of a given priest.
So if a priest uses his office to write an article, it's to be assumed he's trying to limit the pastoral actions of the bishops? Interesting.

And perhaps some of us take issue with both.
Indeed. What else are we to expect from the far left extreme elements?  ::)

In my observation, those most guilty of these things in the Church will publically denounce they very things they engage in...there is much truth to the old observation that homophobes are just repressed homosexuals who hate themselves because of it.
So better the bishops, priests, deacons, and ascetics should keep quiet for fear the libs will think them guilty?

There was a time when I would watch my words
Sadly for the rest of us, those days are long gone.  Just kidding. You've been camping out up on that podium for so long that we wouldn't know what to think if you ever came down.  :D

 In Christ,


 
« Last Edit: September 23, 2007, 01:19:07 AM by Jibrail Almuhajir »
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Offline ozgeorge

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Re: Let's Get Real About Priestly "Indiscretions" by Fr. Aris Metrakos
« Reply #31 on: September 23, 2007, 02:43:56 AM »
Well, this Fr. Aris guy seems to be getting a bit emotional...maybe he needs to step back from the issue for a while.
Why are emotions a bad thing? Being "rational" does not mean ignoring your emotions, it means understanding them. Guilt is an emotion, and we can see the results of "switching it off" and being "purely rational" all over the world, and even in the Church.
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Offline GiC

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Re: Let's Get Real About Priestly "Indiscretions" by Fr. Aris Metrakos
« Reply #32 on: September 23, 2007, 03:32:36 AM »
Why are emotions a bad thing? Being "rational" does not mean ignoring your emotions, it means understanding them. Guilt is an emotion, and we can see the results of "switching it off" and being "purely rational" all over the world, and even in the Church.

Guilt is a weakness, most emotion is weakness...yet they can also be what makes life worth living. So enjoy them, indulge in them, but do not be governed by them.
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Offline ozgeorge

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Re: Let's Get Real About Priestly "Indiscretions" by Fr. Aris Metrakos
« Reply #33 on: September 23, 2007, 03:43:16 AM »
Guilt is a weakness, most emotion is weakness...yet they can also be what makes life worth living. So enjoy them, indulge in them, but do not be governed by them.
How does one follow your advice and "indulge one's guilt" or "not be governed" by it if one is a paedophile? ......
My emotions are telling me that Fr. Ari's advice to priests is better than yours, and my reasoning is telling me why.....

If you're living a happy life as a Christian, you're doing something wrong.

Offline GiC

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Re: Let's Get Real About Priestly "Indiscretions" by Fr. Aris Metrakos
« Reply #34 on: September 23, 2007, 03:52:11 AM »
You seem to be missing the whole point here. Orthodox priests are forbidden to be priests and engage in homosexual sex. There is no "consensual".

Well, actually I was refering to both heterosexual and homosexual sex...neither are comprable to pedophilia.

As far as whether or not homosexual sex is 'forbidden', so long as it is being flaunted semi-publicly at all levels of the Church your abstract moral theories are pretty much moot. One can't hardly defrock someone for something they themselves do...at least not without being complete hypocrites.

Quote
So if a priest uses his office to write an article, it's to be assumed he's trying to limit the pastoral actions of the bishops? Interesting.

He put himself in the middle of a political issue, and did it in such a way as to avoid direct retaliation by those who do not want too much attention brought upon themselves. So it is most appropriate that those of us who both need not be concerned and don't particularly care attack the political basis of his argument.

Quote
Indeed. What else are we to expect from the far left extreme elements?  ::)

That's not a label I get every day. I guess we moderates peeve everyone. ;)

Quote
So better the bishops, priests, deacons, and ascetics should keep quiet for fear the libs will think them guilty?

Sounds like a great idea. At least, that's the ultimate goal of this particular line of rhetoric...in many cases it's working. It's also an approach that's above direct retaliation because of the academic nature of the approach.

Quote
Sadly for the rest of us, those days are long gone.  Just kidding. You've been camping out up on that podium for so long that we wouldn't know what to think if you ever came down.  :D

Neither would I. ;)
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Offline GiC

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Re: Let's Get Real About Priestly "Indiscretions" by Fr. Aris Metrakos
« Reply #35 on: September 23, 2007, 03:57:54 AM »
How does one follow your advice and "indulge one's guilt" or "not be governed" by it if one is a paedophile? ......
My emotions are telling me that Fr. Ari's advice to priests is better than yours, and my reasoning is telling me why.....

Even here emotion is not needed, reason alone will suffice. Every state in our union has laws forbidding pedophillia, most of which carry quite heavy sentences, often life in prison. Even if one were attracted to children, reason would dictate that the momentary pleasure is not worth the consequence.

And this is what I was getting at, govern your emotional indulgence with reason...never let the former be the deciding factor your course of action. Pleasure is good, and worthy of being sought after, but let it be kept in check by your reason, and only indulged when the benefits outweigh the costs.
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Offline prodromas

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Re: Let's Get Real About Priestly "Indiscretions" by Fr. Aris Metrakos
« Reply #36 on: September 23, 2007, 04:13:40 AM »
Even here emotion is not needed, reason alone will suffice. Every state in our union has laws forbidding pedophillia, most of which carry quite heavy sentences, often life in prison. Even if one were attracted to children, reason would dictate that the momentary pleasure is not worth the consequence.

And this is what I was getting at, govern your emotional indulgence with reason...never let the former be the deciding factor your course of action. Pleasure is good, and worthy of being sought after, but let it be kept in check by your reason, and only indulged when the benefits outweigh the costs.

GIC what do you think the purpose of a christian life is?
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Offline Tamara

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Re: Let's Get Real About Priestly "Indiscretions" by Fr. Aris Metrakos
« Reply #37 on: September 23, 2007, 11:16:50 PM »
Well, actually I was refering to both heterosexual and homosexual sex...neither are comprable to pedophilia.

As far as whether or not homosexual sex is 'forbidden', so long as it is being flaunted semi-publicly at all levels of the Church your abstract moral theories are pretty much moot. One can't hardly defrock someone for something they themselves do...at least not without being complete hypocrites.


 ???   :o    :(

Offline Thomas

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Re: Let's Get Real About Priestly "Indiscretions" by Fr. Aris Metrakos
« Reply #38 on: September 23, 2007, 11:31:23 PM »
Let's Get Real About Priestly "Indiscretions"


Looking back on my seminary years, nobody ever told me that I shouldn't put my hand on an altar boy's private parts, leave my wife for a man, or go to bed with someone other than my wife. Come to think of it, they didn't tell me not to eat yellow snow, either. The faculty assumed that we all knew better.

There's a saying about the word assume. If you don't know it, ask somebody who served in the military to explain it to you. So, rather than assume that seminarians and young clergy know right from wrong with regard to sexual matters, here are some essential rules of behavior for those preparing for and serving in the priesthood...:.[/size]


I don't know I thought he was lecturing the seminaries faculty, seminarians, and those who graduated from them. I didn't get the feeling he was attacking the bishops.

Thomas
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Offline GabrieltheCelt

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Re: Let's Get Real About Priestly "Indiscretions" by Fr. Aris Metrakos
« Reply #39 on: September 24, 2007, 12:13:54 AM »


As far as whether or not homosexual sex is 'forbidden', so long as it is being flaunted semi-publicly at all levels of the Church your abstract moral theories are pretty much moot. One can't hardly defrock someone for something they themselves do...at least not without being complete hypocrites.
Now Father Aris is a hyocrite? Are you saying here that he engages in homosexual behavior? How are you privy to that information? Did you witness this or were you one of his partners?
And regardless of how you answer this, I think your point is moot. There's nothing abstract or theoretical about what the Church says re: homosexual behavior.
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Offline ozgeorge

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Re: Let's Get Real About Priestly "Indiscretions" by Fr. Aris Metrakos
« Reply #40 on: September 24, 2007, 01:18:45 AM »
I don't think GiC was talking about Fr. Aris specifically. He said "so long as it is being flaunted semi-publicly at all levels of the Church your abstract moral theories are pretty much moot."
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Offline GabrieltheCelt

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Re: Let's Get Real About Priestly "Indiscretions" by Fr. Aris Metrakos
« Reply #41 on: September 24, 2007, 01:27:54 AM »
I don't think GiC was talking about Fr. Aris specifically. He said "so long as it is being flaunted semi-publicly at all levels of the Church your abstract moral theories are pretty much moot."
It wasn't clear who he was referring to as he also said

One can't hardly defrock someone for something they themselves do...at least not without being complete hypocrites.
Because Fr. Aris wrote the article, I assumed GiC was referring to him specifically and not some other priest. Maybe we should be more specific before we start yappin' away, generalizing and watering down the topic.
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Offline Tamara

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Re: Let's Get Real About Priestly "Indiscretions" by Fr. Aris Metrakos
« Reply #42 on: September 24, 2007, 01:50:27 AM »
I thought GIC was implying that this behavior is seen in all levels of the church and it is condoned with a wink because so many take part in it. But maybe GIC could do us all a favor and tell us exactly what he means since there seems to be some confusion as to what he is implying.

Offline ozgeorge

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Re: Let's Get Real About Priestly "Indiscretions" by Fr. Aris Metrakos
« Reply #43 on: September 24, 2007, 01:52:34 AM »
I thought GIC was implying that this behavior is seen in all levels of the church and it is condoned with a wink because so many take part in it. But maybe GIC could do us all a favor and tell us exactly what he means since there seems to be some confusion as to what he is implying.
That's how I understood it too. GiC's point is that a Church which tolerates "semi-public" actively unchaste clergy has no right to make any pronouncements against anyone's unchastity. And this point holds, so long as GiC can show how the Church is tolerating this.
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Re: Let's Get Real About Priestly "Indiscretions" by Fr. Aris Metrakos
« Reply #44 on: September 24, 2007, 02:19:15 AM »
Quote
And this point holds, so long as GiC can show how the Church is tolerating this.

He did attend a certain seminary...

I don't know if there is any point in airing gossip here, but he does have a valid point that if such peccadilloes are going on by those in power, they are unlikely to enforce matters among the lower clergy.  Too many Orthodox people in the US were gloating when the problems in the Roman Catholic seminary system came to light here...

Offline ozgeorge

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Re: Let's Get Real About Priestly "Indiscretions" by Fr. Aris Metrakos
« Reply #45 on: September 24, 2007, 06:24:38 AM »
He did attend a certain seminary...
So?

I don't know if there is any point in airing gossip here
There isn't. And you are.
If you have some evidence of abuse to present, why don't you come out and present it? Abuse only continues because people remain silent about it.
But if you only wish to smear people and institutions, no one is interested.
« Last Edit: September 24, 2007, 07:46:42 AM by ozgeorge »
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Re: Let's Get Real About Priestly "Indiscretions" by Fr. Aris Metrakos
« Reply #46 on: September 24, 2007, 08:11:02 AM »
He did attend a certain seminary...

I don't know if there is any point in airing gossip here, but he does have a valid point that if such peccadilloes are going on by those in power, they are unlikely to enforce matters among the lower clergy.  Too many Orthodox people in the US were gloating when the problems in the Roman Catholic seminary system came to light here... 

There are rumors about some of those in power.  But that's it - rumors.  Most of them are rumors of homosexuality (not pedophillia), not like that's any better.  I won't even think of poisoning this site with them.
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Offline Νεκτάριος

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Re: Let's Get Real About Priestly "Indiscretions" by Fr. Aris Metrakos
« Reply #47 on: September 24, 2007, 11:34:12 AM »
Quote
Abuse only continues because people remain silent about it.
But if you only wish to smear people and institutions, no one is interested.

That's just it.  This isn't abuse (affairs had by clergy with adults).  And some people here don't seem to be making that distinction.

If one knows of such a case going on, there really isn't anything that can be done.  OTOH to not report abuse to local authorities is an entirely different matter.   

Offline ozgeorge

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Re: Let's Get Real About Priestly "Indiscretions" by Fr. Aris Metrakos
« Reply #48 on: September 24, 2007, 11:58:03 AM »
This isn't abuse (affairs had by clergy with adults). 
Firstly, if they are adults in their pastoral/spiritual care, then it is abuse.
Secondly, as GiC points out, the Church loses credibility if unchaste clergy are knowingly tolerated by her, so it is the Church's problem.
Thirdly, I know too many good men whose reputations and lives have been destroyed by false accusations of sexual impropriety. So unless you know something concrete, then do not spread rumours. Mud sticks.
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Re: Let's Get Real About Priestly "Indiscretions" by Fr. Aris Metrakos
« Reply #49 on: September 24, 2007, 11:59:59 AM »
That's just it.  This isn't abuse (affairs had by clergy with adults).  And some people here don't seem to be making that distinction.

If one knows of such a case going on, there really isn't anything that can be done.  OTOH to not report abuse to local authorities is an entirely different matter.   

The young OCA seminarian who took his life was an adult at the time of the affair. But it is still considered abuse because the priest involved was either a professor or instructor at SVOTS. I believe our civil laws include clergyman in the same category as a teacher, professor, psychologist or doctor when it comes to sexual behavior toward those who are under their care.
« Last Edit: September 24, 2007, 12:01:19 PM by Tamara »

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Re: Let's Get Real About Priestly "Indiscretions" by Fr. Aris Metrakos
« Reply #50 on: September 24, 2007, 12:04:12 PM »
Quote
Secondly, as GiC points out, the Church loses credibility if unchaste clergy are knowingly tolerated by her, so it is the Church's problem.

That is the circular problem.  How does one deal with unchaste clergy when there is a "boy's club" mentality?

Offline ozgeorge

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Re: Let's Get Real About Priestly "Indiscretions" by Fr. Aris Metrakos
« Reply #51 on: September 24, 2007, 12:11:13 PM »
That is the circular problem.  How does one deal with unchaste clergy when there is a "boy's club" mentality?
Well, we don't deal with it by making false accusatons and spreading rumours. In fact, this is one of the ways abuse continues, because when people spread rumours which turn out to be false, then the real victims are not believed.
As for how to handle it:
1) Read Fr. Aris' practical suggestions: http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,12840.msg175755.html#msg175755
2) Read what I said: http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,12840.msg175893.html#msg175893
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Offline ozgeorge

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Re: Let's Get Real About Priestly "Indiscretions" by Fr. Aris Metrakos
« Reply #52 on: September 24, 2007, 12:29:20 PM »
MODERATION:
I have removed a post in this thread where allegations were made against a named clergyman of sexual abuse.
Do you people understand the difference between an "allegation" and being found "guilty"?
Do you understand what "innocent until proven guilty" means?
Do not make allegations of crimes against people unless you know for certain that they are true, and if you do know for certain that they are true, then you must report them to the proper authorities. OCnet is not the proper authority.
Making unsubstantiated allegations and spreading rumours which turn out to be false in no way helps victims of abuse, in fact it damages their cause.
Don't let this happen again in this or any other thread.

George
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Offline GiC

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Re: Let's Get Real About Priestly "Indiscretions" by Fr. Aris Metrakos
« Reply #53 on: September 24, 2007, 12:32:30 PM »
That's how I understood it too. GiC's point is that a Church which tolerates "semi-public" actively unchaste clergy has no right to make any pronouncements against anyone's unchastity. And this point holds, so long as GiC can show how the Church is tolerating this.

That was exactly my point. My comment had nothing to do with Fr. Aris, I really don't know anything about the guy.

If you have some evidence of abuse to present, why don't you come out and present it? Abuse only continues because people remain silent about it.

Thirdly, I know too many good men whose reputations and lives have been destroyed by false accusations of sexual impropriety. So unless you know something concrete, then do not spread rumours. Mud sticks.

You answered your own question. There are lots of rumors out there, and there is sufficient evidence in a handful of cases I'm aware of to make the accusations legitimately stick. Of course, these arn't cases of abuse, but cases of consensual sex between adults; I have no moral objection to this activity and hence have no desire to post names and details to a public forum that would only give fuel to the fundamentalist elements of the Church...furthermore, those who are primary witnesses have no desire to harm the institution of the Church by participating in your witch hunt. So let's leave it at general observations, though, ultimately, the specifics are there for anyone who digs deep enough.

As far as my general observations, you will note that they are not being used to attack the institution of the Church, but rather to attack the fundamentalist elements within the Church. When the reality of the Church differs from their ideals...perhaps they should take a step back and reconsider the significance of their position.

The only truly revolutionary aspect of my approach is that I suggest we move from an 'out of sight, out of mind' 'don't ask don't tell' policy, to a level of honesty that allows openness without fear of political reprisal. That atmosphere simply doesn't exist today in the Church, and because we have such secrecy on account of a fear of sex between two consenting adults we have developed a culture that makes it easier for those guilty of actual abuse to hide.
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Offline ozgeorge

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Re: Let's Get Real About Priestly "Indiscretions" by Fr. Aris Metrakos
« Reply #54 on: September 24, 2007, 12:42:04 PM »
You answered your own question. There are lots of rumors out there, and there is sufficient evidence in a handful of cases I'm aware of to make the accusations legitimately stick.
If this is so, and:
The only truly revolutionary aspect of my approach is that I suggest we move from an 'out of sight, out of mind' 'don't ask don't tell' policy, to a level of honesty that allows openness without fear of political reprisal.

You obviously feel strongly about it, why not report it to the Bishop? Or do you just want to malign institutions and persons to no end, and whine about the "need for change"? And please- most people here know the institution you studied at, so don't give me any coy rubbish about "not naming anyone".
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Offline lubeltri

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Re: Let's Get Real About Priestly "Indiscretions" by Fr. Aris Metrakos
« Reply #55 on: September 24, 2007, 12:53:41 PM »
That is the circular problem.  How does one deal with unchaste clergy when there is a "boy's club" mentality?

We call it the Lavender Mafia.

Offline GiC

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Re: Let's Get Real About Priestly "Indiscretions" by Fr. Aris Metrakos
« Reply #56 on: September 24, 2007, 12:58:45 PM »
If this is so, and:
You obviously feel strongly about it, why not report it to the Bishop? Or do you just want to malign institutions and persons to no end, and whine about the "need for change"?

Because we need a change to a culture of tolerance and acceptance...we don't need to start a witch hunt. Your suggestion would only effect the latter.

Quote
And please- most people here know the institution you studied at, so don't give me any coy rubbish about "not naming anyone".

Who said anything about people involved with said institution? It was not the primary subject of my rhetoric, things considered, there's a lot more talk than scandal at that place.
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Offline ozgeorge

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Re: Let's Get Real About Priestly "Indiscretions" by Fr. Aris Metrakos
« Reply #57 on: September 24, 2007, 01:07:18 PM »
Because we need a change to a culture of tolerance and acceptance...
So, who will effect this change? Let's see what you said earlier in this thread:
This tirade is a direct assault on those who actually make the decisions of which he writes, the bishops.
Can you see why I think you're just whining?
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Offline Αριστοκλής

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Re: Let's Get Real About Priestly "Indiscretions" by Fr. Aris Metrakos
« Reply #58 on: September 24, 2007, 01:11:49 PM »
And, of course, ALL this ignores those situations which were properly handled. We do not read of those cases where the bishop properly disciplined the priest ( I personally know of two, now defrocked for inappropriate behavior). How many are not known because the 'system' works?

I really would like to read GiC's concept of 'tolerance and acceptance'.
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Re: Let's Get Real About Priestly "Indiscretions" by Fr. Aris Metrakos
« Reply #59 on: September 24, 2007, 01:48:35 PM »

I really would like to read GiC's concept of 'tolerance and acceptance'.

Indeed, those two words have been so watered down in recent times as to become meaningless platitudes. Elaboration is necessary, though I would guess that GiC's meaning of "tolerance and acceptance" is to jettison the Church's venerable teachings on sexual morality.

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Re: Let's Get Real About Priestly "Indiscretions" by Fr. Aris Metrakos
« Reply #60 on: September 24, 2007, 01:50:41 PM »
Thank you, Lub, but

I'll await GiC's answer.
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Re: Let's Get Real About Priestly "Indiscretions" by Fr. Aris Metrakos
« Reply #61 on: September 24, 2007, 01:52:59 PM »
Indeed, those two words have been so watered down in recent times as to become meaningless platitudes. Elaboration is necessary, though I would guess that GiC's meaning of "tolerance and acceptance" is to jettison the Church's venerable teachings on sexual morality. 

Hmmm.

Tolerance and acceptance have been watered down in this issue partially because people think that to be tolerant and accepting we shouldn't publicly declare the sin.  Mercy and acceptance are within the Church's quiver, once the target is in plain view - the sinner must admit to the sin and show a genuine desire for reconciliation.  Then the Body of Christ will be able to heal the wound, just as Christ Himself was able to heal those who came to Him for mercy.

But if the accusations come out, are substantiated, but the priest shows no remorse or true desire to be reconciled with the Church that he supposedly loves so much, then how can mercy and acceptance and forgiveness be dispensed?  The legitimate claims need to come out and be faced.  The false ones need to be investigated and debunked.  Only then, when the underlying bacteria have been feted out, can we find healing.
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Re: Let's Get Real About Priestly "Indiscretions" by Fr. Aris Metrakos
« Reply #62 on: September 24, 2007, 01:54:30 PM »
I really would like to read GiC's concept of 'tolerance and acceptance'.

That we place love of neighbour over love of dogma and give more consideration to the human element than to abstract theological principles.
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Offline Αριστοκλής

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Re: Let's Get Real About Priestly "Indiscretions" by Fr. Aris Metrakos
« Reply #63 on: September 24, 2007, 01:58:54 PM »
And THAT applies here exactly how?
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Re: Let's Get Real About Priestly "Indiscretions" by Fr. Aris Metrakos
« Reply #64 on: September 24, 2007, 02:05:54 PM »
Do you really need the philosophical principles of the western enlightenment explained to you in detail?
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Offline Αριστοκλής

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Re: Let's Get Real About Priestly "Indiscretions" by Fr. Aris Metrakos
« Reply #65 on: September 24, 2007, 02:06:23 PM »
YES.

and applied here, thanks.
« Last Edit: September 24, 2007, 02:06:45 PM by Αριστοκλής »
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Re: Let's Get Real About Priestly "Indiscretions" by Fr. Aris Metrakos
« Reply #66 on: September 24, 2007, 02:26:06 PM »
Do you really need the philosophical principles of the western enlightenment explained to you in detail?

I don't recall actual Enlightenment thinkers promoting Church acceptance of sodomy. Do you know any? De Sade was not an Enlightenment philosopher, but a nihilist and a sexual outlaw.

Offline Elisha

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Re: Let's Get Real About Priestly "Indiscretions" by Fr. Aris Metrakos
« Reply #67 on: September 24, 2007, 02:44:03 PM »

Thirdly, I know too many good men whose reputations and lives have been destroyed by false accusations of sexual impropriety.

And this is a BIG reason why due process, proper accusations and facts needed to be stated.  Groups like Pokrov just don't seem to get this or care.  To them it is all about "feelings" and "perception".

Offline Elisha

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Re: Let's Get Real About Priestly "Indiscretions" by Fr. Aris Metrakos
« Reply #68 on: September 24, 2007, 02:53:39 PM »
And, of course, ALL this ignores those situations which were properly handled. We do not read of those cases where the bishop properly disciplined the priest ( I personally know of two, now defrocked for inappropriate behavior). How many are not known because the 'system' works?

I really would like to read GiC's concept of 'tolerance and acceptance'.

Well, one involving a bishop, discussed in a thread over a year ago (or has it been over two now?) seems like it was well publicized...and also well handled.  Of course, you are probably right on the majority that ARE well handled and NOT reported.

Offline prodromas

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Re: Let's Get Real About Priestly "Indiscretions" by Fr. Aris Metrakos
« Reply #69 on: September 24, 2007, 07:12:43 PM »
The only truly revolutionary aspect of my approach is that I suggest we move from an 'out of sight, out of mind' 'don't ask don't tell' policy, to a level of honesty that allows openness without fear of political reprisal.

GIC being 17 I can sort of make a statement about following authority (parents) and seeing what happens when there is the policy you speak of, it just doesn't work. All that happens is what some people who have converted to Orthodoxy from the Anglican church said which is that people get used to there spiritual issues (eg. Homosexuality) and the principal of Christian acceptance is followed and the result is a damaged soul of the person that has the problem. Would you affect someones salvation over the "worry" of political reprisal.
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Re: Let's Get Real About Priestly "Indiscretions" by Fr. Aris Metrakos
« Reply #70 on: September 27, 2007, 10:44:14 PM »
This tirade is a direct assault on those who actually make the decisions of which he writes, the bishops. Who, I might add, are often capable of addressing the issue far more objectively and with far less emotional involvement than this priest.

As Fr. Aris said, priests are held to a higher standard, so when he makes an attack on the episcopacy by, in essence, condemning their pastoral decisions of economy, he should not expect impunity. If a bishop rules in mercy instead of condemnation, what right does anyone have to speak against this?

or, maybe bishops are like cops and doctors - they protect their own

Offline Tamara

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Re: Let's Get Real About Priestly "Indiscretions" by Fr. Aris Metrakos
« Reply #71 on: September 28, 2007, 04:53:18 PM »
or, maybe bishops are like cops and doctors - they protect their own

and then the problem is these priests, if they are not defrocked or jailed (in the case of pedophilia or assault of an adult), can move on to other jurisdictions. Our former priest from the early 1970s was never defrocked and no police report was taken at the time because people were embarrassed by the problem. I asked the old timers why someone didn't summon the police. They all told me they wanted to hide the problem and they asked the bishop to get rid of the priest. So the priest was thrown out but not defrocked. The priest then bought a piece of property and started a monastery. At first he was not under any bishop (canonical or otherwise). Then, over time, he moved from jurisdiction to jurisdiction and is now an abbot of an OCA monastery who regularly invites families to come visit. I know this for a fact, because someone placed my name on a list and I received one of his email invitations.

I tried to see if there was any written documentation from the 1970s but there was nothing that could be found. I interviewed the old timers who are still alive but no one had anything written from that era. Without written documentation or a police report there is little I can do to warn families not to visit this monastery.
« Last Edit: September 28, 2007, 07:07:36 PM by Tamara »

Offline ozgeorge

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Re: Let's Get Real About Priestly "Indiscretions" by Fr. Aris Metrakos
« Reply #72 on: September 29, 2007, 12:35:04 AM »
In a way, Tamara, it doesn't matter. (Hear me out before you jump down my throat).
Having worked in health care, the basic approach we take to prevent the spread of infectious disease is Universal Precautions, that is, we treat everybody as though they are HIV infected or have Hepatitis C. We don't touch people without gloves on, we handle everyone's body fluids with gloves and splash masks, we dispose of all used sharps such as cannulas into special sharps disposal bins, etc.
This principle of "Universal Precautions" needs to also be applied in the Church. Confession should take place in a room within view (but not earshot) of others, Clergy should not see minors alone without other adults present, no one under the age of 18 should stay at any monastery overnight, men should not stay at female monasteries and women should not stay at male monasteries, the age old practice of having a chaperone present needs to be revived...
"Outing" and "naming" particular clergy and monasteries is not going to protect anyone from clergy who are not on abuser lists, but who are perpetrators of abuse. "Universal Precautions" however, can and do protect people.
« Last Edit: September 29, 2007, 12:36:51 AM by ozgeorge »
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Offline Tamara

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Re: Let's Get Real About Priestly "Indiscretions" by Fr. Aris Metrakos
« Reply #73 on: September 29, 2007, 01:35:38 AM »
In a way, Tamara, it doesn't matter. (Hear me out before you jump down my throat).
Having worked in health care, the basic approach we take to prevent the spread of infectious disease is Universal Precautions, that is, we treat everybody as though they are HIV infected or have Hepatitis C. We don't touch people without gloves on, we handle everyone's body fluids with gloves and splash masks, we dispose of all used sharps such as cannulas into special sharps disposal bins, etc.
This principle of "Universal Precautions" needs to also be applied in the Church. Confession should take place in a room within view (but not earshot) of others, Clergy should not see minors alone without other adults present, no one under the age of 18 should stay at any monastery overnight, men should not stay at female monasteries and women should not stay at male monasteries, the age old practice of having a chaperone present needs to be revived...
"Outing" and "naming" particular clergy and monasteries is not going to protect anyone from clergy who are not on abuser lists, but who are perpetrators of abuse. "Universal Precautions" however, can and do protect people.

George,

I don't disagree with the principle you have suggested. One hundred years ago most Christian cultures operated under the rules you have shared. The problem is society has forgotten those rules which were set in place to keep the young and vulnerable safe. Also, most folks are trusting when it comes to clergymen or monks so they may feel it would be an insult to demand the clergy follow the principles. Or they may feel too intimidated to question how a clergyman   does confession or chaperones overnighters. 

But I still think abusers who have hurt others should not be left in positions of authority where they can give spiritual counsel to others. The word about this particular abbot was spread to the Antiochian parishes in the area because one of the priests, who is a good friend of mine and was once an altar boy for this abbot, quietly let the deanery know about him.

And I guess I shouldn't just focus in on clergy because the potential for abuse can come from anyone, even when there are chaperones. Mat. Ellen  Gvosdev warns about this problem in the paper I shared earlier in this thread (she also gives similar guidelines to what you have suggested). When I was a young teen girl on a SOYO beach trip I had a run-in with one young man who was a member of the ROCOR church. We were a trusting group and always invited other youth to join us on our trips. The second night of our trip I went into my tent to get ready for bed. The young guy followed me into the tent. Lucky for me the adult chaperones acted quickly were there to help me because I would not have been able to fight him off on my own.


Offline Fr. George

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Re: Let's Get Real About Priestly "Indiscretions" by Fr. Aris Metrakos
« Reply #74 on: September 29, 2007, 06:52:34 PM »
I don't disagree with the principle you have suggested. One hundred years ago most Christian cultures operated under the rules you have shared. The problem is society has forgotten those rules which were set in place to keep the young and vulnerable safe. Also, most folks are trusting when it comes to clergymen or monks so they may feel it would be an insult to demand the clergy follow the principles. Or they may feel too intimidated to question how a clergyman does confession or chaperones overnighters. 

Even if one is inclined to hunt out all the sickos working in/around/for the Church, we should still attempt to enact the change in phronema (mindset) that George suggested.  It would do more to safeguard the church at large than attempting to investigate and pick out every abuser (clergy or laity) - and can be done at the same time as the investigations.

But I still think abusers who have hurt others should not be left in positions of authority where they can give spiritual counsel to others. The word about this particular abbot was spread to the Antiochian parishes in the area because one of the priests, who is a good friend of mine and was once an altar boy for this abbot, quietly let the deanery know about him.

There is a difference between what you're describing here and what is happening with increasing frequency in this country - a reaction to a potentially dangerous situation with spiritual maturity.  For some reason, many people think that saying we need "spiritual maturity" to deal with these situations is akin to saying "slap them on the wrists with a wet noodle." (Mixing metaphors in this case makes my point more tangible, I think.)  I would never advocate this approach (and I don't think anyone else on this thread would, either) - but I do advocate handling it in a way that benefits the victims, provides an opportunity for metanoia - "turning around" - and repentance for the perpetrators, and provides security and safety to the Church community.

And I guess I shouldn't just focus in on clergy because the potential for abuse can come from anyone, even when there are chaperones. Mat. Ellen  Gvosdev warns about this problem in the paper I shared earlier in this thread (she also gives similar guidelines to what you have suggested). When I was a young teen girl on a SOYO beach trip I had a run-in with one young man who was a member of the ROCOR church. We were a trusting group and always invited other youth to join us on our trips. The second night of our trip I went into my tent to get ready for bed. The young guy followed me into the tent. Lucky for me the adult chaperones acted quickly were there to help me because I would not have been able to fight him off on my own.

I'm glad you were safeguarded by your community.  Glory to God.
"O Cross of Christ, all-holy, thrice-blessed, and life-giving, instrument of the mystical rites of Zion, the holy Altar for the service of our Great Archpriest, the blessing - the weapon - the strength of priests, our pride, our consolation, the light in our hearts, our mind, and our steps"
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Offline Tamara

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Re: Let's Get Real About Priestly "Indiscretions" by Fr. Aris Metrakos
« Reply #75 on: October 01, 2007, 01:18:07 AM »
Even if one is inclined to hunt out all the sickos working in/around/for the Church, we should still attempt to enact the change in phronema (mindset) that George suggested.  It would do more to safeguard the church at large than attempting to investigate and pick out every abuser (clergy or laity) - and can be done at the same time as the investigations.

How should we go about making the changes in the church? What should be done?

Quote
There is a difference between what you're describing here and what is happening with increasing frequency in this country - a reaction to a potentially dangerous situation with spiritual maturity.  For some reason, many people think that saying we need "spiritual maturity" to deal with these situations is akin to saying "slap them on the wrists with a wet noodle." (Mixing metaphors in this case makes my point more tangible, I think.)  I would never advocate this approach (and I don't think anyone else on this thread would, either) - but I do advocate handling it in a way that benefits the victims, provides an opportunity for metanoia - "turning around" - and repentance for the perpetrators, and provides security and safety to the Church community.

I don't understand what you are trying to communicate in the first sentence. Are you saying my priest friend handled the situation with maturity? If so, I would agree. But that doesn't help all of the other jurisdictions in the area, does it?(another example of the weakness in our disunity) There were lots of Greek names on that email list. This abbot is quite charming and focuses his attention on the Greek and OCA parishes in the area who are unaware of his past. He carefully never signs his name to his emails. He signs off with "from the fathers."

Repentance and "turning around" for perpetrators may soon involve capital punishment for child rapists. It is likely to be added to the docket on U.S. Supreme Court's upcoming cases. I would guess our newly elected conservative Supreme Court justices, who now make up a majority of the court, may decide in favor of capital punishment.
« Last Edit: October 01, 2007, 01:19:44 AM by Tamara »

Offline Αριστοκλής

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Re: Let's Get Real About Priestly "Indiscretions" by Fr. Aris Metrakos
« Reply #76 on: October 01, 2007, 01:22:40 AM »
Politics? I'd just love to unload this thread to Private forums.
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Re: Let's Get Real About Priestly "Indiscretions" by Fr. Aris Metrakos
« Reply #77 on: October 01, 2007, 10:31:22 AM »
I don't understand what you are trying to communicate in the first sentence. Are you saying my priest friend handled the situation with maturity? If so, I would agree. But that doesn't help all of the other jurisdictions in the area, does it?(another example of the weakness in our disunity) There were lots of Greek names on that email list. This abbot is quite charming and focuses his attention on the Greek and OCA parishes in the area who are unaware of his past. He carefully never signs his name to his emails. He signs off with "from the fathers." 

What I'm saying with my first sentence is that the witch-hunt mentality that some have for finding our problem clergy is the wrong approach, and the approach that your priest friend handled things well.  If there was a communications breakdown, though, between the Antiochian priests and the Greek ones as to the character of this Abbot, the fault lies with those who know and don't tell their brethren - unity can only happen if we think of ourselves as unified; if your priest-friend hasn't told the Greek and OCA parishes in the area about the Abbot just as he told the Antiochian ones, then he's sabotaging unity.  I don't want to focus on the one mistake he made, though.

Essentially, your story above is an excellent example of why we shouldn't be just "outing" everybody - if we know there is a problem, work to correct it; get the priest/abbot/church worker out of their position and out of church work forever without making some sort of spectacle out of it!  If one synod knows, they should send a letter to the others.  Bring it up at SCOBA meetings.  But don't press release it; don't do things to "save face" or "seem tough."  Spiritual maturity and discernment is all I advocate (and, as I clearly clarify in my post above, this does not mean "sweep it under the rug").
"O Cross of Christ, all-holy, thrice-blessed, and life-giving, instrument of the mystical rites of Zion, the holy Altar for the service of our Great Archpriest, the blessing - the weapon - the strength of priests, our pride, our consolation, the light in our hearts, our mind, and our steps"
Met. Meletios of Nikopolis & Preveza, from his ordination.

Offline Tamara

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Re: Let's Get Real About Priestly "Indiscretions" by Fr. Aris Metrakos
« Reply #78 on: October 01, 2007, 01:11:28 PM »
What I'm saying with my first sentence is that the witch-hunt mentality that some have for finding our problem clergy is the wrong approach, and the approach that your priest friend handled things well.  If there was a communications breakdown, though, between the Antiochian priests and the Greek ones as to the character of this Abbot, the fault lies with those who know and don't tell their brethren - unity can only happen if we think of ourselves as unified; if your priest-friend hasn't told the Greek and OCA parishes in the area about the Abbot just as he told the Antiochian ones, then he's sabotaging unity.  I don't want to focus on the one mistake he made, though.

Essentially, your story above is an excellent example of why we shouldn't be just "outing" everybody - if we know there is a problem, work to correct it; get the priest/abbot/church worker out of their position and out of church work forever without making some sort of spectacle out of it!  If one synod knows, they should send a letter to the others.  Bring it up at SCOBA meetings.  But don't press release it; don't do things to "save face" or "seem tough."  Spiritual maturity and discernment is all I advocate (and, as I clearly clarify in my post above, this does not mean "sweep it under the rug").

He would love to tell the other jurisdictions about this monastery but as I said before there are no police reports or written documentation from the time period of the early 1970s. He could legally get into alot of trouble if he went to the deanerys of other jurisdictions and shared what he knows without the documented paperwork. It would only take one priest in another jurisdiction who is friends with the abbot (he does have supporters) who would then inform the abbot about what is being said about him. But I think my priest friend did tell priests in other jurisdictions he is close with and knows he can trust. He is not anti-unity. He loves all the people in all the jurisdictions and wishes he could do more to protect everyone.

I guess the lesson that my friend and I learned is if someone is being abused by another person in the church (regardless of whether or not that person is clergy or just a worker bee) go to the police immediately. File a report. Get the abuse documented. File charges if criminal activity has taken place (there is still a statute of limitations on these types of crimes). Any of our jurisdictions will not remove a clergyman from his position of authority without the documentation.  And besides that, the only thing the church hierarch can do is defrock the clergyman and remove him but the civil government needs to be alerted to any criminal activity. Metanoia cannot take place if an abuser is continually placed in situations where he can abuse again or if he can quietly move on to another jurisdiction where he can run away from his past without a paper trail.

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Re: Let's Get Real About Priestly "Indiscretions" by Fr. Aris Metrakos
« Reply #79 on: October 01, 2007, 01:28:50 PM »
I guess the lesson that my friend and I learned is if someone is being abused by another person in the church (regardless of whether or not that person is clergy or just a worker bee) go to the police immediately. File a report. Get the abuse documented. File charges if criminal activity has taken place (there is still a statute of limitations on these types of crimes). Any of our jurisdictions will not remove a clergyman from his position of authority without the documentation.  And besides that, the only thing the church hierarch can do is defrock the clergyman and remove him but the civil government needs to be alerted to any criminal activity. Metanoia cannot take place if an abuser is continually placed in situations where he can abuse again or if he can quietly move on to another jurisdiction where he can run away from his past without a paper trail. 

And legally, that is what should be done.

I don't know - I suppose that each time this subject comes up I cringe, partially because I'm just infuriated by the clergymen who do this (although some are less able to control it than others, they still all made the choice to commit the sin rather than suffer their temptation), partially because people have the tendency to over-react: when a priest is reported to the police (as the law requires - which I am not opposed to), they also feel the need to gang-up and beat-up the fellow (in a non-physical sense), instead of pitying him and praying for him.

I think this is part of what the Church leaders are reacting to: they wouldn't want to be harassed or deal with the retribution, so they handle the offenders "with kid gloves."  This is sad, because the appropriate response would be to discipline them as the church (and the law) prescribes, but do whatever they can to help restore the person to the Communion of the faithful and heal them from their sin.  Instead, what we see is either (a) move and cover-up, or (b) "out" him and then distance from him.
"O Cross of Christ, all-holy, thrice-blessed, and life-giving, instrument of the mystical rites of Zion, the holy Altar for the service of our Great Archpriest, the blessing - the weapon - the strength of priests, our pride, our consolation, the light in our hearts, our mind, and our steps"
Met. Meletios of Nikopolis & Preveza, from his ordination.

Offline Tamara

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Re: Let's Get Real About Priestly "Indiscretions" by Fr. Aris Metrakos
« Reply #80 on: October 01, 2007, 03:11:50 PM »
And legally, that is what should be done.

I don't know - I suppose that each time this subject comes up I cringe, partially because I'm just infuriated by the clergymen who do this (although some are less able to control it than others, they still all made the choice to commit the sin rather than suffer their temptation), partially because people have the tendency to over-react: when a priest is reported to the police (as the law requires - which I am not opposed to), they also feel the need to gang-up and beat-up the fellow (in a non-physical sense), instead of pitying him and praying for him.

I think this is part of what the Church leaders are reacting to: they wouldn't want to be harassed or deal with the retribution, so they handle the offenders "with kid gloves."  This is sad, because the appropriate response would be to discipline them as the church (and the law) prescribes, but do whatever they can to help restore the person to the Communion of the faithful and heal them from their sin.  Instead, what we see is either (a) move and cover-up, or (b) "out" him and then distance from him.

I think the reason some have followed a course of broadcasting the names is because some abusers are still in positions where they can continue to abuse. I guess if we all had clear guidelines of how to handle the problem that would solve some of what you have described above. Because I think the frustration many experience is due to the expectation that  the church should carry out the role of the civil government. Our synods are not court rooms. Most clergyman are not trained to be professional investigators. These roles are for our civil government. Then the hierarchs can defrock if necessary once verdicts or convictions have been made.  There would then be no need to broadcast who the abusers are because they would either be sentenced to jail and defrocked or defrocked and sent to live somewhere where they would be away from temptation. Abusers would then be unable to move on to other jurisdictions. They could then be ministered to because they would be out of temptation's way.

And George is right. We should follow the ancient principles which were set in place to protect. The principles he stated would thwart those who have the potential to abuse. But what can we do to get those principles in place again?