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Author Topic: Let's Get Real About Priestly "Indiscretions" by Fr. Aris Metrakos  (Read 9611 times) Average Rating: 0
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« 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.
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« 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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« 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.   
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« 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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« 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.
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« Reply #50 on: September 24, 2007, 12:04:12 PM »

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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?
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« 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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« 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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« 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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« 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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« 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.
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« 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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« 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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« 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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« 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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« Reply #60 on: September 24, 2007, 01:50:41 PM »

Thank you, Lub, but

I'll await GiC's answer.
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« 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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« 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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« Reply #63 on: September 24, 2007, 01:58:54 PM »

And THAT applies here exactly how?
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« 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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« Reply #65 on: September 24, 2007, 02:06:23 PM »

YES.

and applied here, thanks.
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« 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.
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« 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".
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« 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.
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« 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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« 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
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« 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.
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« 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.
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« 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.

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« 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.
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« 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.
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« 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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« 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").
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« 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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« 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.
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« 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?
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